Wednesday, December 28, 2011

IF: Messenger

Pencil sketch, rather badly photographed
Mary Lou always begged to be Grandpa's messenger--it was such fun to talk into his ear trumpet!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I ♥ Jane Austen

Random sketches paired with a bumper sticker a friend brought from Bath:
Oh yes. 
(Though "I ♥ Tilney" would, perhaps, be slightly more accurate; who can resist the witty hero whose room is strewed with his litter of books, guns, and greatcoats, and who is, if not quite handsome, very near it?) :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Autumn Walks . . . .

Pencil sketch--needs ink and watercolor. Soon. :)
Yikes. Lately I've been too busy with Getting-Ready-For-Winter activities to blog much--though I have been drawing and enjoying the fall colors with my gold gel pen.
But . . . I will be busy brainstorming story ideas in November for Picture Book Idea Month!

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Princess and the Goblin

Pen, ink wash & watercolor
Irene and Curdie in the mountain--a scene from one of my favorite childhood books,
The Princess and the Goblin.
Here's a bit of the process:

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Story of Cedric (IF: Disguise)

Pencil sketch (while traveling; thus the wobbly spelling) with digital color

From "The Story of Cedric," narrated by the strictly-truthful Mr. Mulliner:

"You ask me to put on yellow shoes with morning-clothes?" he whispered, the face beneath his shining silk hat pale and drawn.
"Here? In the Park? At the height of the Season?"
"Yes. Do hurry."
"But . . ."
"Mr. Mulliner! Surely? To oblige me?"

And, recollecting that this girl is not only the daughter of an Earl, but also related to the ffrench-ffarmiloes (not Kent ffrench-ffarmiloes but the Dorsetshire lot), he agrees to switch his tasteful black boots for her fiance's yellow atrocities--and spends the rest of the story trying to disguise his shocking footwear, which will ultimately turn him into a Revolutionary and (this is Wodehouse, after all) an engaged man.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Rapunzel. I think. (IF: Influence)

Pencil with digital color
I'm sure that Rapunzel spent many hours creating elaborate new ways to fix her hair . . .

This is another "I should be working on something else but I want to draw long hair!" picture. (Yes, this happens to me frequently, which is why I 'specially enjoyed this custom blogger template.) Her dress is quite influenced by my favorite fashion era, the 1910s.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What I'm working on . . . custom blogger design

This custom blogger design was a fun project. On the left is my original sketch, on the right is the cleaned up, digitally colored finish. Now I think it's time to work on my picture book dummy . . . :)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Anniversary Watercolor (& IF: Gesture)

Watercolor, Pen & ink

My parents recently celebrated their anniversary, and this was my gift to them. They were married next to a river, so I pulled out the old wedding photo albums for inspirations on clothing, setting, and poses. (I love the Gunne Sax dresses!)

5 Children & It

Today I discovered a new blog, Uncovered Cover Art, and was inspired to create a cover for one of my favorite children's books, "Five Children and It," by Edith Nesbit. (If you've never read or listened to Edith Nesbit, you should do it now!) Here is my entry
I rendered the illustration using the liquid ink pen in Corel Painter X. Looking at the intricate silhouettes of Arthur Rackham (above) is inspiring--and challenging!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Bride of Lammermoor (if: Shadows)

Whenever I read Sir Walter Scott I want to draw scenes from his books. Lately I've been reading The Bride of Lammermoor (a vintage thrift-store find!) and wishing to do some Art Nouveau-style lettering . . . put them together, and there you are!

It's been too long since I've posted--I've been designing and sewing a wedding dress for my sister-in-law, which kind of squeezed out my sketching time. The dress is now finished, ironed, and ready for the wedding--which will, I am quite sure, end much more happily than the Bride of Lammermoor's. :D

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Fairy Princess

Pencil sketch with digital color 

A few days ago the Fairy Princess found me at my drawing table and offered to grant a wish.

"But," she said, "my wand has been having problems lately, so it might take months or years to come true."

"If it takes years, how will I know that your wand made it happen, or if it was something that would have happened anyway?" (I do like to ask confusing questions when fairies visit!)

"Oh, it will be the wand!" she assured me.

And after all, who can disbelieve a seven-year-old fairy with purple wings?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

if: Duet

Pen & Ink and Watercolor
A watercolor I did of my sister a few years ago. Maybe she's practicing Mozart's tabletop duet--one sheet of music with each person reading from the opposite end. Very clever. :) {listen to the duet on youtube}

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

IF: Toy

 ink & watercolor
Who needs toys when there's a muddy springtime world outside?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

IF: Cultivate

A super-quick digital sketch capturing my sister's reaction to the jar of homemade sauerkraut. 
She'll have to work on cultivating a taste for it!

Monday, March 7, 2011

if: Warning

Pen & Ink and Watercolor
Warning: Keep arms inside at all times. Secure loose clothing and personal items.
. . . but then, Aunt Kitty never had paid attention to warnings . . . 
This was a fun picture to work on--if you look at last week's post you can see a few more sketches from this story. Back in November I drew my first hot air balloon picture. I think I'm hooked. :)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

IF: Layer

My desk is currently covered with layers of papers and sketches. Someday they'll all come together neatly.

Someday. :)

I'll also link an older post which goes perfectly with the "layer" prompt.

Nineteen layers of feather mattresses . . . to say nothing of the pea at the bottom!

The Princess Spent a Miserable Night

Monday, February 14, 2011

IF: Of love, golf...and a sweater. Or something.

I have never played golf, and probably couldn’t (even my croquet playing is so terrible that tea-party hostesses come up to me in pity, begging me to stop--true story!), but even a supremely uncoordinated person such as myself can enjoy P.G. Wodehouse’s golf stories. 

This particular story starts when James and Peter, long-time golfing friends, fall in love with the same girl. Eagerly they watch the progression of her knitting project, convinced it's a sweater for one of them--but which one?
Pen & Ink wash & watercolor
The whole thing hung on one point--to wit, what size the sweater was going to be. If it was large, then it must be for Peter; if small, then James was the lucky man. Neither dared to make open inquiries, but it began to seem almost impossible to find out the truth without them. No masculine eye can reckon up purls and plains and estimate the size of chest which the garment is destined to cover. Moreover, with amateur knitters there must always be allowed a margin for involuntary error. There were many cases during the war where our girls sent sweaters to their sweethearts which would have induced strangulation in their young brothers. The amateur sweater of those days was, in fact, practically tantamount to German propaganda.

Peter and James were accordingly baffled. One evening the sweater would look small, and James would come away jubilant; the next it would have swollen over a vast area, and Peter would walk home singing. The suspense of the two men can readily be imagined. On the one hand, they wanted to know their fate; on the other, they fully realized that whoever the sweater was for would have to wear it. And, as it was a vivid pink and would probably not fit by a mile, their hearts quailed at the prospect.

Finally, they ask who the sweater is for:

"It is not a sweater," replied Miss Forrester, with a womanly candour that well became her. "It is a sock. And it is for my cousin Juliet's youngest son, Willie."

Read the complete short story here. It's Wodehouse--you won't be disappointed!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

IF: Surrender

Unwilling to surrender his hat to the capricious wind . . .
Pen & Ink Wash

"When last I saw an old gentleman running after his hat in Hyde Park, I told him that a heart so benevolent as his ought to be filled with peace and thanks at the thought of how much unaffected pleasure his every gesture and bodily attitude were at that moment giving to the crowd."

I recently read G. K. Chesterton's essay, "On Running After One's Hat." There were a few quotes that were too good not to share! As I sniffled and snuffled my way through a sickish Monday, I reminded myself that . . .
An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. 
An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Knitting as Art

Pen & Ink and Watercolor
My youngest sister recently learned to knit. At a gathering last week she soon attracted a curious audience:
"What is that? What are you doing? Can I try?"

In the spirit of this sensational painting modeled after "The Reader," I've based my illustration on Emile Munier's painting, "A Special Moment." It was fun to pull details (the color scheme, clothing inspiration, vine-covered wallpaper, and purple flowered carpet design) from the painting and give them a new twist!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

IF: Dusty

 This week I took out my spinning wheel (it's a Kromski Polonaise--a fun name for a really beautiful wheel). Was it ever dusty! I think it needs a tune up and lots of oil before it's ready to go again.

That reminded me of a picture I started a summer or two ago when I was experimenting with spinning milkweed down. I thought it would make a good fairy tale: the princess who spins the thread for her ball gown of milkweed down.

I discovered that it doesn't really spin that well (the fibers are too short and slippery)--but what's the fun of being an artist if you don't take artistic license once in a while?

Monday, January 17, 2011

IF: Chicken

My sister is devoted to her flock of chickens, so it wasn't hard to find inspiration for this week's prompt.
We were gone over the weekend so grandpa collected the eggs--along with a golf ball or two!
I guess they all feel the same in the dark and the cold. :)

Pencil sketch with digital color

Monday, January 3, 2011

if: Resolutions

One resolution I don't need to make: Read Lots of Books. It just happens. :)

This is part of a salvaged watercolor from my first drawing for the Spooky Wodehouse Story post back in October. I loved the girl's shoes . . . but the rest of the picture just wasn't working. Can I throw away a piece of watercolor paper? Of course not! (Anyway I like having unique, artsy bookmarks.)