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Browsing Tag

Art

Medicine Friends

My grandparents’ house was sold at the end of the summer. This was a Century Farm, meaning it had been in the family for over 100 years; my grandpa was born there. My grandma moved half a mile from her childhood farm when they married.

They each had their own gardens (as did her parents). The story I’ve heard is that they needed their own spaces to plant what they wanted. Both gardens were magnificent in my childhood: my grandpa grew roses, my grandma grew everything else.

I’ve only discovered my dormant green thumb when I bought my first house: all of a sudden I was digging and moving rocks and dividing plants… and transplanting. That first home in St. Paul presumably still has the cousins of my grandmother’s peonies growing out by the front door.

When we moved into the bed and breakfast in 2013, I began the process of recreating my grandmother’s garden once again, though I didn’t realize that was what I was doing at first. There was already a hardy perennial flower bed here with peonies, day lilies, some tiger lilies, and irises.

But there weren’t flox or echinacea or black-eyed Susan.

So when I found out that, a few years after my grandma moved into an apartment, her farm had a buyer, I made sure to go dig. A year later, they’ve bloomed. Next year they’ll be bigger.

Perhaps once they’re established, I’ll be ready to try my hand at roses.

Bed of Roses

More playing around on my phone, drawing on pictures.

I checked out the library’s iPad… but immediately felt like I would have to DO REAL ART, so I decided to trick myself by messing around on the phone instead.

I’m discovering how much I enjoy drawing on photos, because there’s so much background already in place; I don’t have to construct it all. And I can tell I’m becoming more aware of highlights and low lights. I’m curious to see what happens when I try out [analog] paints.

Digital Drawing: Coraline’s House

A group of picture book illustrators stayed at the B&B over Memorial weekend. I had met one of them at a SCBWI conference in Chicago last year, and she pulled a group together and headed north.

First of all, I LOVED that each of them led a workshop. It was so much more fun than being at a big conference where everyone is feeling shy and hurrying from one session to the next.

Emily led book deconstruction and reconstruction (or corruption, as my son referred to it).

Emmeline led us through chapter book illustration. We read the first chapter of Neil Gaiman’s “Coraline” and made notes of what we could draw for the full page and for the “spot,” a smaller image. (I discovered that though I like having a picture of the setting, I otherwise choose small tokens that aren’t necessarily important to the plot; others drew the characters right away, but I like to leave that up to the reader).

Alicia showed us her iPad Pro and Apple Pencil… and so began my conversion.

I’m pretty crotchety about technology; I dig my heels in and don’t like new things– i.e., I was totally anti iPod for years– and then I do a total 180.

I should have seen it coming given that I kept asking them, “But don’t people think it’s cheating to go back and forth doing your art on paper and on the computer?”

Nope, not cheating. Not cheating to use the computer, to make multiple photocopies of the “good” sketch, or to use tracing paper.

So, I tried the magic Apple Pencil (which responds to pressure, in addition to having a ton of cool options). And I was in LOVE.

It was so EASY! There was a BACK BUTTON!

I took a picture of my sketch of Coraline’s house…

 

And started messing around, just using the basic photo editing app on my (android) phone. I loved that I could take pictures along the way. And I discovered that in the digital medium it felt much easier to do background layers– something I seem to forget about on paper.

And here it is: Coraline’s house! Drawn on a phone with my finger!

 

I’m so grateful to join these lovely ladies, and to discover a very accessible way to illustrate. I’m inspired to illustrate some of my own picture books, and I’m starting to research digital drawing pad options.

My son has really enjoyed drawing on photos. Here’s “Miss Glurkel-Glurk:”

 

For some reason, he didn’t think it was quite as funny when I drew on a photo of him… Doesn’t this look like a fun character for a story?

Wooden Giants

Yes! These hidden giants by Thomas Dambo (from Denmark) are delightful!

Have a look at all of them.

p.s. I suggested, half-jokingly, that we should put some of these up on Artist’s Point in Grand Marais. Sounds like I’m not the only person who thinks that would be cool, so, maybe I’ll go have a chat with the mayor

p.p.s. if you write a story about meeting one of these in the woods and it coming to life, let me know.