drawing

Overheard – I really wanted my middle name to be Thomas

MiddleNameOverheard.jpgFor a few months, I commuted to work twice a week on a bus, and this one was overheard on one such ride. Although this was the first “overheard” I wrote down, it took me a while to draw it. The young man who was speaking was talking to another man across the aisle, although the two did not appear to know each other otherwise. The disappointment of the young man with his mother seemed to revolve squarely around his middle name – no other example of her “failings” was presented.  Pen and watercolor pencil on paper by me.

To view the other “Overheards” in this series click on the title:
I Expected the Notary to be on a Unicycle
Meat and Potatoes, Myself 

Have a great Thursday!

Meat and Potatoes, Myself

This was the first Overheard I did – inspired by a snippet of conversation I heard on Waikiki Beach last year. The speaker was just so earnest, it drew my attention away from the ocean views. I wonder if he was actually talking about food, or something else? I did wind up being fairly literal and making the speaker a potato himself. You can see the other Overheard I’ve posted here. Have a great weekend!

Notary on a Unicycle and an Award!

NotaryUnicycle.jpgI’ve been working on a series of ink and ink wash illustrations of snippets of conversations I’ve overheard randomly – thus I’ve been affectionately calling them “Overheards”. The conversations are already out of context in most cases, and I’ve tried to heighten that by making the conversations between fruits and birds. Don’t know where this will go, but may I present to you the first one and say that there are more on the way!

Right before I left for my Asia trip, I was nominated for the Blogger Recognition Award by Steve D’Adamo of Red String Paper Cuts. Luckily, I don’t think the nominations expire, so here I am, accepting it a month later! Thank you, Steve! Thank you also for introducing me to several more really cool bloggers in your nomination post!

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To accept the award I must:

Thank the bloggers who nominated me and provide a link to their blogs.

Write a post to show my award.

Give a brief story as to how my blog got started.

Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.

Select 15 other bloggers for this award.

Comment on each blog to let them know I nominated them and link them to this post.

Thank the bloggers who nominated me and provide a link to their blogs.
I was nominated by Steve D’Adamo over at Red String Paper Cuts. Steve and his friend Jesse Gutierrez started RSPC not long after I started Illustrated Poetry and they have always graciously allowed me to hang around and occasionally contribute to their blog. Always good stuff over at RSPC! Thank you again for the nomination!

Give a brief story as to how my blog got started:
I actually have a confession to make: this was supposed to be an author blog. Towards the end of grad school, I wrote a novel – my first, to be precise (it was also my first serious attempt at writing anything non-science since college). Like most first-novel-attempts, it wasn’t very good, but also like many first time novelists, I didn’t realize that at first (it was definitely my baby). So I was trying to figure out what to do with this novel, how to get it published, and the first piece of advice everyone seemed to dispense in those days to aspiring authors was to start a blog. So I made a WP account…and then did nothing with it. I didn’t really want to write about writing and somewhere along the line, I realized a half-hearted author blog wasn’t going to cut it. But I didn’t give up on blogging and decided to blog about and connect with people through something I had always been really passionate about: art and poetry.  And I am so glad I did!

Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers:
I am probably the last person who should be dispensing blogging advice! But, if pressed, I would say: 1) blog about what you are most passionate about – doesn’t matter if that seems quirky or offbeat. Some of my favorite blogs on WP are quirky or about highly specialized topics and that’s what makes them great. 2) It’s your blog, it should be fun – it doesn’t matter if the prevailing advice is to post once a day or to write posts tagged with the top 10 trending tags, if that’s not fun for you, don’t do it. Need a blogging break? Take one.

Nominate 15 other bloggers – Well, it’s not going to be 15, and this is the part where the whole awards thing breaks down for me – my nominees are always “no strings attached” and I free them from any sort of obligation in regards to acceptance or post writing. It’s hard enough to find the time to post when we do! I hope folks visit and enjoy their blogs and discover new writers to follow.

I may have realized that I don’t like writing about writing, but I sure do enjoy it when talented authors do! In that vein, I have nominated 5 writers who I really enjoy following and often write about writing in an interesting way:

  1. Jane Dougherty Writes – I think Ms. Dougherty was the second or third blogger I followed and she very kindly endured novice-blogger me! Ms. Dougherty is the author of nearly a dozen books (by my count) and hosts fun microfiction challenges.
  2. Myths of the Mirror – this is D. Wallace Peach’s author blog and she posts interesting articles about writing fantasy (need to design a magic system, anyone?). Her series of posts about deciding to terminate her contract with her previous publisher and self-publish her novels was absolutely top notch and I highly recommend it.
  3. M.C. Tuggle, Writer – a writer of many different types of fiction, Mr. Tuggle posts on a similarly wide range of writing topics. I really appreciate that he scours the web and WP for good articles and posts about writing so you don’t have to!
  4. Kate M. Colby – I think I ran across Ms. Colby’s blog right after she started it, before her first book was published and she’s now on her third! I find her approach to discussing issues in publishing and writing to be refreshing and approachable. I also admire her systematic and businesslike attitude towards her own work and her decision to self-publish.
  5. American Writers Exposed – Sometimes you need some relief and a hilarious internet meme about writing and Ms. Jessica and Ms. Sandi post these alongside updates and articles about the nitty gritty of writing and publication. Their blog has the feel of a friendly support group for writers.

Okay! Thank you so much again, Steve, for the nomination! I hope everyone’s week is off to a good start.

Short Poem Saturday – Corn Moon – Summers

KXSX3001.jpgThis was an illustration I did last year, finishing it before I had to take my hiatus from this blog. I was in a “no outline” phase, practicing building up an image from repeated mark-making.

Although a corn moon usually refers to the full moon in September, at least there is the lunar connection for the Lunar New Year today. My apologies to Mr. Summers for the long delay between our correspondence and this post! Mr. Summers is a much decorated poet in many of the Japanese traditions. His personal blog, Area 17, can be found here! He also runs an organization, With Words, that brings poetry workshops into schools and to the public in the U.K.

Drawing (ink on paper) by me. Happy New Year to all!

August Draw A Bird Day – The Emperor

TheEmperorI wanted to reveal the next drawing in my “Major Arcana” series for August’s Draw-A-Bird Day. Officially, Draw-A-Bird Day is April 8th each year: you can visit the D.A.B.D. website here – thank you to M.R. Emberson of A-Wing and A-Away for introducing us to it!  A number of artist-bloggers here on Word Press have been celebrating it by posting a bird drawing on the 8th of every month. Laura at Create Art Every Day is hosting this month’s birdy gathering! Thank you, Laura!

The Emperor is a Jabiru stork, one of the largest birds in South America: large males can stand 5 feet tall and have a 9 foot wingspan. They eat small animals of almost any variety – frogs, lizards, crustaceans, and even mice and other birds. Drawing (colored pencil and ink on paper) by me. Have a Happy Draw-A-Bird-Day! If you’d like to see the other two drawings in my bird themed Major Arcana series: The Tower and The Wheel of Fortune.

Illustrated Thursday – Sonnet: Now I See Them – Palmer

NowISeeThemAs life has conspired to delay my return to art making (Life: “Oh, you are back from vacation? Good! I had been delaying so many minor crises at work and home until you returned!” Me: “Uh-oh.”), I wanted to repost one of my favorite collaborations from about a year ago. Michael Palmer’s Sonnet: Now I See Them is a surreal and modern take on a classical form: the sense imagery is rich and the symbolism of the numbers is fascinating. Mr. Palmer has collaborated extensively over the years with musicians and visual artists and this poem reflects that interaction. If you’d like to read the whole poem, head over here to the Poetry Foundation and see what you think. Drawing (ink on paper) by Chiara Ricci-Tam. She has her own blog on WordPress, Chiaroscurale, where she posts her experiments with art that she does in between her scientific experiments. Stop by and say “hello”!

Illustrated Thursday – OIW

IMG_3497.jpgWhen I learn a new art technique, especially one that opens up lots of creative possibilities, I have a strong tendency to go a *bit* overboard.

Me: “Transfer printing is amazing! LET US TRANSFER PRINT EVERYTHING!”

Usually, this level of enthusiasm translates into a fabulous new post, but this week, it was the new post’s downfall. My attempt to use printer transparencies with transfer printing for an illustration utterly failed (turns out that laser printer ≠ inkjet printer! Not even a little. Confusing the two for this technique does equal big mess though!). I have definitely not given up on the original post: while I trudge back to the office supply store to rectify the situation, let me bring you a monoprint that went right. “OIW” was my favorite print from a series where I was experimenting with combining random letters and numbers with various facial expressions to see how the characters would shift the mood of the print. Monoprint (ink on newsprint) by me. Enjoy!

Short Poem Saturday – A Farm Picture – Whitman

FarmPicture_WhitmanThrough the ample open door of the peaceful country barn,
A sunlit pasture filled with cattle and horses feeding,
And haze and vista, and the far horizon fading away.
Walt Whitman
(1819 – 1892)

Today’s illustration is courtesy of my dear friend and fellow scientist, Ms. Chiara Ricci-Tam. The unique line quality of her illustration comes from the fact that Chiara drew this with light on a large sheet of photographic film. These sheets of film are normally used to visualize proteins from inside cells, but here she has co-opted one for artistic purposes. Chiara has a blog, Chiaroscurale, where she posts her other occasional artistic experiments. I do recommend a visit!

I have one anthology which lists this Whitman poem as an ekphrastic one (typically a poem about another work of art), but there is no specific painting or artwork mentioned. But ekphrasis can also be a vivid description of a scene, and this one certainly clears that bar, reminding me of my hiking trip in the Welsh countryside last year  – as well as so many landscape oil paintings from Whitman’s era. Drawing (light on photographic film) by Chiara Ricci-Tam. Have a wonderful weekend!

Illustrated Thursday – Surprises and Final Assignments

DMPhoto_SketchinginWales.jpgIt was quite a pleasant surprise to get the notice of a new post over at my friend’s photography blog, click on it, and find this picture of me! Here I am in Wales last year caught in the illustrative act. To see the photo in its native habitat, head over to Dawn Michelle Photography blog.

These last couple of months, I’ve been taking an evening class in illustration – my first formal schooling on the topic. The class has been interesting and fun, expanding my artistic skills, but it has also been a challenge to keep up with both the assignments for class and new art for posts here. My last class meeting and final project is due next week and so it is crunch time! But in the meantime, I thought I would share some of the results from the other two class projects. With haiku to describe my efforts, it becomes illustrated poetry. Enjoy!

A simple substitution,
with a symbol we all know:
so much is suddenly for sale.
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High-End Cayenne
with your Bell Pepper dog,
Peppercini are not good enough for you.
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A roller skating sheep shearing
confused traffic cone.
What else can I say?
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Cat Professor is shocked –
yes, shocked! – to see
what character is missing from the classic book.
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(The first project was to use a widely recognized symbol – the barcode – and incorporate it into your illustration such that it changes the perception or meaning of the piece. The second project was to create compelling and complex personified characters displaying different emotions.)

 

Short Poem Saturday – Profile – Po-jen

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Sung Po-jen’s illustrated book of poetry, Guide to Capturing a Plum Blossom, was published in 1238 in China, making it the very earliest example of an art book. This masterpiece would have been lost entirely if not for a single copy of the 1261 edition that survived the Mongol conquests. This copy spent the next 600 years passed and sold privately from artist to scholar to collector until its importance was finally recognized in the late 1800’s. Drawing (ink on paper) and composition by me, translation by Red Pine.