New York, New York…or, Close Encounters of the Daniel Radcliffe Kind

So, I was in New York for the NYIGF last week, helping set up the booth for the FRED company, where I design homegoods and the like.
Setup went well- and the booth looked positively smashing, I must say!

I wouldn’t cross that line if I were you…

After, we had a little time to jump into the Museum of Modern Art’s store and check things out.

They periodically carry Fred items, and I found one of mine, the Half Pint creamer inside.

Even though it was an exhausting day of show setup, I really wanted to see if we could score some tickets to How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, starring Daniel Radcliffe, currently running on Broadway. Holy cow! We got tickets! In the very last row!

The coolest thing about NYC, in my opinion, is the preponderance of theater going on at any given time. You could see a new play every day, and probably never run out of options.

Here’s what the Hirschfeld Theater looks like from outside… oddly enough, there was a giant line of people waiting to get in, but because we were picking up our tickets at the box office, we went in first.

The Hirschfeld Theater has lots of (surprise, surprise!) Hirschfeld cartoon art on the walls!

I couldn’t take pictures during the play, but it was fabulous! And Daniel Radcliffe was excellent in it- it was a very demanding role, and he was up to it and able to sing, dance, and perform acrobatics, all with an American accent. I only realized he wasn’t speaking with a British accent about 3/4 the way through, so it was a good job!

We waited along with about 500 of our closest friends in the alleyway behind the theater to see if the stars would come out and meet the crowd. Apparently, this is the same scene every night. It was fun waiting with everyone, a good crowd. Oh, hey! Look!

John Larroquette…I used to LOVE Night Court! He was very funny in this play.


A little piece of Daniel Radcliffe! That’s as close as we could get before he was whisked away in a car. In fact, I didn’t really see either of these guys- Eric and his fancy overhead camera moves were able to catch these glimpses!

This is as close as I really got to meeting him!

BUT, I was able to score what I believe to be The Offical Dorkiest Souvenir Available on Broadway!

Yes, THAT’S RIGHT. An official J. Pierrepont Finch bowtie! This was specially picked up for my kid, Audrey, who happens to be cool, because she gets it.

Post-show, we wandered through the freakshow that is Times Square, still teeming with hundreds of people, even at midnight.

Every time I am in this square, I look to the statue of George M. Cohan, and I wonder just what he would make of this all now.

Let’s play catch up, shall we?

Did you have an awesome summer? Didja?

I have been having a good amount of fun coupled with a lot of work, both in and out of the studio. So, I let my blog languish a bit for summer. Now is the time to bring it up to speed as we go into FALL!

Going back a couple of months, I don’t think I ever showed you this fabulous new book called lllustrating Children’s Picture Books:

It’s by my friends Steve Withrow and Lesley Breen Withrow, and I was most happy to contribute a couple of articles to it. This one is about writing and illustrating board books, which is truly one of my favorite subjects:

This page is about the “other” markets you can pursue with your children’s art. If there’s one thing I do know a lot about, it’s “other” markets! This encompasses toys, fabrics, magazines, and stuff like that.

Let’s see… what else? Ah, I have been illustrating almost monthly for Highlights High Five, mainly little snippets of recipe ingredients.

I am continuing to create the Newport Creamery children’s menus. The current one is summer-themed and has Newport’s Cliff Walk on the cover. Next time you’re there, go ahead and ask for the kid’s menu!

I haven’t managed to update my website in a while (it’s on the list), so for now I will show you a few of my recently designed Fred items, now available at a store near YOU! Keep your eyes open for:

Salt ‘n’ Pants! Oh, how happy it makes me to see this one on the market! The little guy is salt, and his pants are pepper. I know it’s weird, but I’ve been trying to get it made for a couple of years now. Huzzah! Hooray for pants!

Another item I am glad to see out there is the Candy Stash. It’s a zip-up wallet shaped like those candy buttons stuck on paper. Mmmm, paper…and candy!

Fresh into the world is the Desk Daisy– a little potted plant that has 3 stems full of paper clip “petals”, held in place by magnets. Perky, huh?

Also new to the market are Chewdrivers…little interchangeable tool handles that can be fitted with a knife, fork, and spoon. This one was challenging to figure out, but it came out well and works like a charm.

Last but not least, I spent a good part of summer ferrying kids to and from the Swamp Meadow Summer Children’s Theatre. They did a very fun musical called “Olivia”, which was something like a female “Oliver” but with all new songs, and a totally different plot. Anyhoo, I did the art that was used for the playbills, t-shirts, and media stuff.

That’s all for now… we now return you to your regularly scheduled blog posts!

Something Completely Different…

Eric and I decided to try something new a few months back. We agreed to work on set design for Swamp Meadow Community Theater’s upcoming play based on Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Our kids were going to be in the play, so we’d be pretty involved anyway. We both figured it would be a fun, non-work diversion. We both like making and designing stuff, after all. And it’s nice to get away from the computer sometimes!

So, the first thing we did was collaborate on the production logo, which has been used for the playbill, t-shirts, ads, and what-have-you.


We tried to get as many of the wacky elements in there as was graphically feasible- the Grail, the Holy Hand Grenade, killer rabbit, coconuts, French taunters, a shubbery, and the Black Knight!

Set-wise, we started by making some of the bigger props. Here’s the Cave of Caer Bannog (where lives the Killer Rabbit), and the Trojan Bunny. Eric built it out of a humidifier box, and I painted it in faux bois. The cave is made out of a foam insulation panel.


Here’s me painting the Black Beast of Arrrggghhh, which is sort of a giant puppet operated by one person dressed in black.


We have never made a cloud for God before. But we have now!


We decided to make a curtain backdrop, painted to look like a forest. I had the idea to give it an Eyvind Earle look (inasmuch as can be done while painting on a giant piece of floppy fabric). Eric worked out the details in miniature, then we transferred it to the fabric. It was the biggest thing I have ever sewed in my life!


We had some volunteers on a cold day in November to help paint the backdrop.


We worked on the 2 castles simultaneously. One was a castle exterior, and one was an arrangement of panels that would look like 2 castle interiors, depending on how you arranged them. The castle exterior:


And the castle interior, being worked on the exterior of our house! We did end up doing detail work inside on them.


Eric’s doing some detail work.

The castle panels had to be assembled on-site at the school where the plays play out:

Bob and Eric assemble castle walls while a kid “supervises”!

Here’s how things look in the real production!

God rides his cloud and tells Arthur about his new quest!

Swamp Castle exterior, complete with confused guards.

Herbert waits to be rescued from the castle.

The Knights Who Say Ni are in the forest…you can see the backdrop well here.

The castle interior, set up for the tragic wedding scene.

The castle interior, this time rearranged to look like the Castle Anthrax.

There’s the killer rabbit in his cave!

Another prop- the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch. The pin is removable so it can be hurled at the killer bunny. I hope it survives the last 3 shows!

The Legendary Black Beast of Aaaarrrggghhh! In action!

It’s been a lot of work, but also great fun to watch this all come together. This being our first attempt at stage design, we’ve learned a lot.
That’s good, because we’ll be helping out with the next show, too- Alice in Wonderland!

If you’re in Rhode Island, there’s still time to see Swamp Meadow’s Quest For The Holy Grail.
Click right over here for tickets!
Shows are Dec. 11 and 12, at 7pm, and Dec. 13 at 3pm.