Happy Holidays!

charcoal pencil

charcoal pencil

This little bird is ready for the MI winter ūüėȬ† Whether you fly or skate, may you glide into the new year with style and grace.¬† Wishing you happy holidays and safe travels.¬† Kiotsukete!

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Cabbagehead Knight

Cabbagehead Knight

Here is my entry for the annual Tomie dePaola Art Award.  We had to choose one of three classic books and create an illustration in black and white only.  I chose Little Women, which I had just finished reading a year prior.  I wanted my image to stand out, so I actually chose to illustrate a story within a story.  What would a knight look like with a cabbage for a head?  Would he feel it or not?  The idea of the brave knight with a cabbagehead is a juxtaposition in and of itself.  This piece represents innovation, transformation, and humility.

Then, to top it off, I drew the final picture using chopsticks and calligraphy ink.  Talk about pressure to get it right!  I had already done several studies of both knights and cabbages in pencil, but they seemed to lack something.  Or perhaps they were simply too careful.  With chopsticks and ink you have to let everything go.  You have to let the art move through you.  It is a way to laugh at yourself and the idea of perfection.  Just like this cabbagehead.  Enjoy!

Check out some of the other fantastic entries.

The forum allows artists to comment on each other’s work.¬† Here is what some talented entrants said about mine:

“so good.. reminds me of this book I just came across.”
http://childrensbookalmanac.com/wp-content/uploads/Mr-Gumpy-image.jpg

-Brian Won  http://www.brianwon.net/

“So fun! Love his expression, Angela..and chopsticks? Wow! : )”

-Shirley Ng-Benitez  http://www.shirleyngbenitez.com/

Coming Out of Your Shell

Turtle

This drawing is based on a poem¬†I wrote several years ago.¬† I owned a couple of turtles as pets growing up.¬†¬†They’re actually a lot more entertaining than you think.¬† Especially when one gets loose under your sister’s bed ūüėȬ† I don’t think they’re meant to be¬†pets, though.¬† They’re better off in the wild.¬† Still, I’ll always think fondly of mine.¬† They are a great symbol of both longevity and, surprisingly, strength.¬† I encourage each of you to take a step out of your shell today and do something you wouldn’t normally do but secretly always wanted to…¬†

SCBWI Bulletin Suggests Some Useful Art Books

Check out "Art Tips" on page 10

Check out “Art Tips” on page 10

The new issue of the SCBWI Bulletin came out recently and it’s packed with great info, advice, and illustrations.¬† I especially enjoyed Alison Davis Lyne’s column titled “Art Tips.”¬† She¬†lists¬†several¬†useful art books including some to help you create memorable characters.¬† My personal favorite of the bunch is Exploring Color by Nita Leland.¬† It helps you see color in¬†new¬†and¬†surprising ways.¬†¬†I especially enjoyed the part about how we¬†recognize objects by shape, not color.¬† This gives us freedom to¬†color an apple purple, if we want.¬†¬†I encourage you to try it out.¬† Make a monkey blue¬†or a tree orange.¬† Go for it!

Thinking about it…

I came across the best piece of advice today while reading from Ajahn Brahm’s book and thought it was worth sharing.¬† You can use it in just about any situation, although I think I’ll apply it directly to writing, revising, drawing, and creating in general.

“Thinking about it is much harder than doing it.”

Try to remember this the next time you’re tired at work,¬†in the¬†doctor’s office getting a shot, about to make dinner, etc.

Think about it and you’ll find that it is true.¬† So stop thinking so much and get to work! ūüėČ

“Digging in the Dung”

Happy Saturday everyone ūüôā¬† A friend recently recommended¬†an insightful and often hilarious book by a Buddhist monk, Ajahn Brahm.¬† The book is aptly titled Who Ordered This Truckload of Dung?¬† One of the stories asks us what we would do if a pile of dung was dropped on our front lawn unexpectedly.

“‘Digging in the dung’ is a metaphor for welcoming the tragedies as fertilizer for life.¬† It is work that we have to do alone: no one can help us here.¬† But by digging it into the garden of our heart, day by day, the pile of pain gets less.”

The monk goes on to mention that if we continue to put the dung into our garden, one shovelful at a time, one day we will find our garden blooming and the pile of dung gone.  All that remains is fruit and fragrance.

I decided to illustrate this concept, giving it a small twist.  Enjoy!  And may your own garden bloom.

digging in dung