illustration

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!

Double Original Friday – Nikigator Sketches

Nikigator2.jpegYou say: I don’t care that they don’t consider it art.
But I do: I see the children running, arms open
Embracing this glittering lizard, seeing themselves
in her mirrored scales.
– Marcy Erb
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Last week I started attending a sketchbook class. We meet in various places in San Diego and draw outside: so it is the perfect combination of things I enjoy! Our first meeting was in Balboa Park and after a brief official “class” session, we were set loose in the park to draw pretty much whatever we wanted. I wound up doing multiple studies of the large outdoor mosaic sculpture called Nikigator by Niki de Saint Phalle (1930 – 2002). It is one of the few sculptures in the park you are allowed to touch and it is literally a child magnet, with kids running, squealing, towards it, arms out to climb and scramble and play. I know of no official study, but just by the level of interaction I observed and the number family photos taken with Nikigator, I would guess it is one of the most visited pieces of art in the park (here’s a color picture!). Niki de Saint Phalle lived an exceedingly colorful and interesting life (The New Yorker published an interesting article about her life last year, I recommend it if you have a few minutes – found here). She is quoted as saying “Whether or not people think it’s art – whether or not it is art – doesn’t matter to me,” in response to critics who were scandalized she merchandized her art in the 1960s to fund her outdoor sculptures. It is interesting to see how much attitudes have changed about that and about how artists are paid and artwork funded.  I hope everyone has an enjoyable 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.

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.)

 

Excerpt Tuesday – Science – Jeffers

Science_JeffersIII had several science related writing deadlines this last weekend and during a bout of procrastination, I decided to revisit my illustration for the excellent and mysterious poem “Science” by Robinson Jeffers.  I found I was still happy with my collage (which is not a always a given when revisiting an illustration!), but decided to change the field of view in order to cast a more ethereal mood. If you’d like to see the original post with the full collage, head right over here. Mr. Jeffers led a very colorful and extremely successful poetic life – he is one of the few poets to have been on the cover of Time magazine and his face was featured posthumously on a postage stamp. The sharp decline of his popular legacy is often tied to his staunch open opposition to WWII and other viewpoints considered unpatriotic at the time. Mr. Jeffers spent most of his life in Carmel, California, and built his home and a four story tower by hand out of stone. Read the full text of “Science” here.

Illustration Friday – Wheel of Fortune

WheelofFortuneSo – the drawing in this post started off as my offering for the monthly Draw-a-Bird Day, which is the 8th of every month. Ms. Laura over at Create Art Everyday had started the tradition of celebrating Draw-a-Bird Day monthly and I was so proud of myself for finally getting it together to not only remember it, but to begin a drawing ahead of schedule. I decided to draw a cormorant, inspired by this post at A-Wing and A-Way (who knew that so many great artists kept pet birds?). And then the drawing sort of took on a life of its own…I kept working on it and working on it…Once I was done, I decided it needed only a title to complete it. Drawing (ink and colored pencil on paper) and composition by me. Have a great Friday!

Double Original Friday – Reductive Anatomy II

ReductiveAnatomyIIHappy Friday to all! I wanted to post another drawing from what’s becoming my “Reductive Anatomy” Series. After the first drawing (click here to see it), I kept exploring the idea of mixing realistic anatomy details in unrealistic proportions – a series of homunculus’ (homuncului?), if you will. I think this one is for those days when you hear something that pierces straight into your heart. Drawing (pencil on newsprint) by me.

Double Original Friday – Reductive Anatomy

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Sometimes, you start with a general feeling of unease and it can be hard to put words to it…I’ve been feeling out of sorts for the last couple of days and having a hard time explaining. When a doodle that was started during an overly-long meeting matured into this drawing (aided by an old anatomy textbook I have), I stepped back, took a look at it, and thought, “Yep – this is exactly what I wanted to say.” Drawing (pencil on newsprint) by me. I wish everyone a great weekend!

Illustrated Thursday – Moriturus, stanza I to III – Edna St. Vincent Millay

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I’ve been wanting to serially illustrate another long poem and I finally settled on the beautifully lyrical Moriturus by Edna St. Vincent Millay. I plan to illustrate three stanzas at a time and if I adhere to my plan, it will take me 13 weeks – matching the length of my “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” series over the summer (if you are curious, you can check out the final entry of that series here, which has links to the other twelve posts). Check out the entire text of Moriturus here – or follow along with me for the next 12 weeks!  Drawing (ink on paper) and composition by me.