Oh, Yeah- It’s Spring!

NO- there is no cuteness greater than that exhibited by newborn lambs. To prove my point, here is a batch from Old Sturbridge Village, where we counted seven of ’em!
They are mesmerizing, we could have watched them for hours. They sound almost human. BwwaAAHHH!
Well, maybe like a human going, “BwwaAAHHH!”
And they are so much more pleasant than GOATS, trust me on this one.




Big Bunny, Indeed


This is one of my favorite instances of roadside Americana in this neck o’ the woods- the impressive Big Bunny of the Big Bunny Market.
This is in Southbridge, Mass. (as far as I can tell). It always makes me crack up.

I wonder how long the Big Bunny has reigned supreme over his Market? He looks very confident in his smart overalls.

New In Print!


I have fallen off the blog lately, blame a delightful case of food poisoning- glad that’s over!
The May issue of Highlights High Five magazine has 3 pages by me in it…here’s one of them.
This is a great magazine for kids who haven’t grown into the “big kids” version of Highlights, and also for lovers of childrens’ book art- every page is illustrated in full color. Check it out!

What’s In a Name?


This is a mocked-up page from my upcoming pop-up book, What Kind of Rabbit Are You?.
Interestingly, this is not the name the book has had during it’s birth and lengthy development process- I have been calling it Rabbit Rainbow for years!

As a title, What Kind of Rabbit Are You? probably speaks more to the point of the book. It’s a baby’s first look at diversity and differences, as shown through bunnies! It is a line from the book’s text, too, so it makes sense.

Quite a few things have changed with this book as I have developed it with Little Simon, and I have to say they are good changes. The text has been edited down and tightened, and it is now a pop-up book (with Eric and I doing the actual paper engineering). The engineering made doing the art very different from flying straight though on a standard book- and the end result is WAAAAY more fun than my original dummy. I have LOVED working on this aspect of it!

Good news! This book will be available sooner than I thought…January 2008!

Meet Mike Johnson!


Eric and I had the opportunity to go back to school and meet up with an old friend the other night, another graduate from RISD who’s gone on to do some impressive stuff! Mike Johnson graduated a year after us in 1990. Even after all these years I can remember his fabulous degree project about a chameleon, which was painsakingly animated in stop-motion (very cool puppets being manipulated and filmed one frame at a time). He went on to work with Tim Burton on The Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach before getting to DIRECT The Corpse Bride! Oh, and he got nominated for something called an “Academy Award” after he did it!

Mike brought a lot of behind-the-scenes pictures and videos from the production, including some of the actual puppets used. Here I am with Emily, the Corpse Bride herself:


This is a stunning movie if you’ve never seen it. The amount of work that goes into such a film is staggering- I don’t know how the animators do this kind of work without going mental. I would go berserk on Day One of shooting. I think this is one of the reasons why I didn’t pursue animation after college, though I did think strongly about it.

One point that was raised during the talk was if doing stop-motion films like these was “worth it” considering how far CG animation has come. Even though Corpse Bride integrates (nicely) some CG bits here and there, it is truly a stop-motion film, and has a tactile quality that can’t be duplicated otherwise.
I HOPE films like this will keep being made. I definitely agree that there is a tangible quality about this kind of work that would be lost in CG. I try to maintain a similar kind of “touchable” quality in my illustration work by using real fabric- I think it resonates on a personal level.

Mike is still a nice guy and has a great wife and son…that may be his best production yet!

Illustration Friday: Green


This is an old, old, old piece (circa 1988) from when I was in college. I recently went back thru some of this stuff to use in a presentation I was giving.
It’s a combination of Buster Keaton (who is, of course, in black and white), and the GREEN clad Yul Brynner as seen in “The King and I.” I vaguely recall the assignment being to combine 2 people into one illustration.
This was done in Luma dye (YES! LUMA dye! Does anyone use these anymore? Do they even make them??) and ink.
I still like this quite a bit, unlike some of my old art. This one really relates to my style now, with the black line, overabundance of pattern, and drawing style. I guess it was a foreshadowing of things to come. Never dreamed I would be doing this stuff digitally now, though!

When the going gets tough…


…people like ME get sewing!
I don’t exactly know why, but the more work I have to do, the more I want to sew.
It’s something creative to do that specifically ISN’T work, and gets me away from the computer (since my illustration work is almost all digital now).
I recently made a bunch of pillow dolls based on vintage advertising type dolls that I love. I drew fun random illustrations on vintage fabric (from my huge collection) and then sewed them up.
Pillows? Illustrations? That’s right- they’re PillowStrations!
I can make these when I want to have something that isn’t flat art (or books) for arts and craft shows, festivals, etc. I can also do it while I watch The Office, for instance. Good times, very therapeutic!

I opened up an Etsy shop, too. Check out RecycleRabbit.

I love Etsy- it’s fun to see what everyone else’s craft obsessions are.
I know I’m not alone!
(More pillow dolls going up on Etsy when I get the chance!)