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Archive for the ‘Artists’ Category

I’m so thrilled to host today’s Doodle Day prompt, but I am terrified of drawing it.   It makes me hide in fear.   Are you sure YOU want to draw this doodle??  You do?  All right – I guess it’s time I conquer my fears….  (After all, my almost 2 yr old grandsons are not afraid of these. )

…the Doodle Day prompt today is…….  [gulp]….

CARS

…as in VEHICLES of Transportation….Family movers….from vacation carriages…to moon rovers…fun and silly, sleek and fast,  ….. Duckmobiles….Charactermobiles….Inovativemobiles….

So why am I afraid of and so bad at drawing Cars?    I think I try to be too literal with them.  We have preconceived ideas of what cars should look like and we stifle our creative side.  Alison Hertz (our Doodle Day Founder) and I were discussing it.   Here’s a bit of our conversation:

Alison: (who you may recall was a toy designer):   “I agree, cars are scary and I created the Chunky trucks toy line years ago – I also created the star wars pod racers.  Still scary.  When I was a middle school art teacher, I heard [‘I can’t draw’] from adults all the time – my response was “Who told you that?” The general public thinks that an ability to draw means creating a masterpiece fit for a museum – silly. They put too much pressure on themselves. Look at a 4 year old – they just draw – no pressure, just do it and enjoy it. Grown ups lose that along the way for fear of judgment. Society is too judgy – people should stop worrying.”

Me: I love that.  When I was younger (just a few years ago by the way),  I never thought I could draw or that I was ‘worthy’ of saying I could – because of what you just said….because I judged MY work by the quality or style of someone else’s work. We can certainly admire someone else’s work but we don’t have to be them – because then we would only ever be a second best. But we can be the best US! Doodle Day has been liberating for me…thanks to you, Alison!

So when you start to doodle your car, try not to use a picture or preconceived image in your head…don’t overthink –  let your imagination take you on a doodling car trip…..  You could even try a scribble or zentangle and put wheels on it.  Pick a critter to mobilize with wheels….or jet packs….or….?   Try a series of circles or shapes…add a horn and wheels…Voila!

Questions to get the creative juices bubbling…

  • Where will this vehicle be taking you (or your character)?
  • What ‘era’ is it?   (stone age, pre-auto, space age, futuristic)
  • How many and what kind of people/creatures does it hold?
  • Does your car have a unique feature  (a pool, library, barbecue…)?
  • Are you exploring, or on a leisurely drive or racing off to somewhere?
  • Does your car have its own personality or quirks?

Have fun!!!  And here are a few famous ‘personality’ cars to inspire you.

Oh – and if you have a blog or website – share the info in the comments so we can all check out each other’s sites along with our Doodle Day Group page.

Stay relaxed-remember no stress… and doodle away!!!

Thanks, Alison, for this opportunity – I had a great time.

Blessings on your creativity!

Laura (Grandmamiller)

P.S.  I now have to play doodle delay catchup..I was gone all week…

The Flintstones by Hanna Barbera

The Flintstones by Hanna Barbera

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Beverly Hillbillies Jalopy

Beverly Hillbillies Jalopy

Mrs. Armitage by Quentin Blake

Mrs. Armitage by Quentin Blake

Scooby Doo Mystery Machine

Scooby Doo Mystery Machine

Love Bug

Love Bug

Speed Racer

Speed Racer

Formula ONe

Tiny car

The Jetsons by Hanna Barbera

The Jetsons by Hanna Barbera

If I Built A Car by www.chrisvandusen.com

If I Built A Car by
http://www.chrisvandusen.com

(super book by the way)

Fishcar by Sylviagarza.wordpress.com

Fishcar by Sylviagarza.wordpress.com

47 passenger elephant car

47 passenger elephant car

Moonrover

Moonrover

Cat In the Hat's Car

Cat In the Hat’s Car

CatShoe

Chicken

The Batmobile

The Batmobile

Burger

Oscar Meyer Weinermobile

Oscar Meyer Weinermobile

Daisy

Kissmobile

Pig

And my grandsons’ favorites….

Cars

For all the Doodle Day prompts go to http://alisonhertz.blogspot.com/ and check out the Blog archives.

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Tree House

Tree House

Yesterday’s doodle got away from me….I think because it brought back so many memories.    The suggested prompt was to draw a tree.  I couldn’t help thinking about a HUGE pine tree we used to use as a tree fort.  We would climb it, get all sticky with pitch and our moms would wonder ‘what IS this all over your clothes?’

That tree became everything.  A pirate ship, a space ship, a department store (the boys never liked that one) and  refuge from dinosaurs and poisonous, rampaging monsters.  Of course the tree seemed enormously high – I’m sure proportionately it was.

Lots of fun drawing this one.

Thanks for stopping by and Blessings on your creativity.

Laura (Grandmamiller)

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Itty-bitty Bounce

Itty-bitty Bounce

Regular PPBF readers will note a short addition to today’s post.  I’m also participating with  Alison Hertz‘ (author of FLAP!) challenge to Doodle every Day in May.  Alison has created a FACEBOOK GROUP called DOODLE DAY MAY so join the challenge and the group.  It’s for ALL ages and ALL abilities.You can even still join in the fun.

Here is today’s doodle from me (you can scroll backwards to see my other doodles.)

Now on to a delightful pick for Perfect Picture Book Friday:

Title: Big Chickens Fly the Coop  Big Chickens Fly the Coop

Author:   Leslie Helakoski

Illustrator:   Henry Cole

Publisher: Penguin Books 2008

Genre: Hilarious Fiction

Audience Age: 2-8

Themes/Topics: Bravery, Chickens

Opening Sentences: Four big chickens sat on their nests and sighed.  It’s nice and safe at home in the coop said one chicken.  Yes, said the others.  We should always stay home.  We could always stay home.  We would always stay home except…we’ve always wanted to see the farmhouse.

Synopsis: This is a sequel to the cowardly Big Chickens.   Once again the fearsome feathered friends step out of their comfort zone to explore the farmyard.

Why I like it:  I have to admit that this was not a favorite when I read thru the first time by myself…but when I read it to my grandchildren  I couldn’t control my giggles and chortles and guffaws!  Right away they got the silliness of the caper and were delighted by the goofy getups the chickens wore (skirts, aprons, and even boots).   It has become a repeat request from my 3 yr old granddaughter.  She asks for ‘the big scared chickens.’   You can almost hear the squawking and flapping just by looking at the lively, bright and humorous illustrations.  The expressions are comical in their wide eyed, wide mouthed panic as they explore the farm and encounter dogs, dirty tractors, and stampeding horses.   And don’t miss what these laughable ladies use for nesting boxes.  It is a fun barnyard adventure.

Activities/Resources:  The author, Leslie Helakoski, has lots of suggested activities on her website, from songs, fingerplays, popup cards and even lesson plans for older students on modifiers and figurative language.

Availability: Major booksellers  

(Susanna Leonard Hill is the originator of PPBF and you can find all the other PPB recommendations and links  on her blog.)

Enjoy the read and don’t forget to take time to doodle!!

Blessings, Laura (Grandmamiller)

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Peekaboo

Peekaboo

Here’s the first doodle for today….she’s a little girl I’m working on for a story called Itty Bitty Bunny.  It’s about a little girl who doesn’t want to take a nap.

This is part of my friend,  Alison Hertz‘ (author of FLAP!) challenge to Doodle every Day in May.  Alison has created a FACEBOOK GROUP called DOODLE DAY MAY so join the challenge and the group.  It’s for ALL ages and ALL abilities.

Hopefully, this will also motivate me to post something everyday, or at least more often than I do now!

Join us for the fun, or just to browse.

Blessings on your day,

Laura (Grandmamiller)

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My friend, Alison Hertz (author of FLAP!) doodles every day for inspiration and for fun.  She has created a new doodle challenge along with her daughter.  Alison says, “This morning, my 5 year old – who LOVES to draw in her sketchbook and paints every day – told me that she would like to do a “Doodle a Day”, too, so together we came up with a NEW CHALLENGE for artists, writers, parents, teachers, children, friends, friends of friends and anybody else who is ready to let their creativity shine.”

100_9028

Let the REAL you out of the bag!!

Now notice there is NOT a requirement for age, ability, or professional experience.  Just doodle away and share.  When we draw we engage BOTH sides of our brain. Children become QUIET when they doodle.  And adults RELAX.  So pick up a pen or pencil or crayon or marker.  If you don’t draw people, draw trees, or make name doodles.  For instance, if you have a new character you’re trying to imagine – doodle their name, fill in the letters with what you think their character might like…polka dots, stripes, checker board, or stars….(here’s my personal name doodle).

Name Doodles 004

 

 

Alison gives us the guidelines:  “DOODLE DAY MAY:  From May 1 to May 31, create 1 or more Doodles everyday. These can take up to 2 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes or even an hour from start to finish but if you are spending more than an hour on a doodle, you are trying too hard. Don’t overthink it. . . For those of you who tell everyone that you are “not an artist” or “can’t draw”, I say BUNK! It is a doodle! It can be a squiggle, a tree, a flower, a rainbow, a person, a pet, a pancake or anything else you can think of. No one is grading you. No one is judging you.”

Alison has created a FACEBOOK GROUP called DOODLE DAY MAY so join the challenge and the group.
Thanks, Alison, for inviting us to be a part of the fun.
Blessings on your day and your creativity!!
Laura (Grandmamiller)

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Grumpy Kitty

Grumpy Kitty

Exciting News!! After about a year of dedicated effort, classes like How To Be a Children’s Illustrator by Mark Mitchell, mistakes, redos and learning from so many other fellow artists….someone bought some of my  illustrations!!!  And even more exciting….she’s a published author….like…she  knows real people who can do real illustrations…but she picked one of mine!

Okay – time to act more professionally….I’m sorry I can’t.  There’s still some giddiness left inside….

All right….I’ll try again.  Susanna Leonard Hill is a wife and mom, former

Susanna Hill, Children's Author

Susanna Hill,
Children’s Author

special education teacher and a multi-published children’s author.  She has written Punxsutawney Phyllis, April Fool Phyllis, Can’t Sleep Without Sheep, Taxi, and Not Yet, Rose (which was just printed in German) to name a few of them.   Her popular blog is a delightful, funny read in which she shares her passion for chocolate as well as what she does so well:   encouraging and inspiring fellow writers.  She is also the creator of  Perfect Picture Book Fridays in which I’d started participating to try and be a better blogger.

Around the first part of November  I received an email from Susanna .  The memo line said, “teensy question.” Oh-oh, I thought I’d done something wrong in one of my PPBF posts.  Turns out she had a teensy question that gave me such a motivational boost and validation….  She had seen an illustration on my blog of “Grumpy Kitty” and wanted to know if she could purchase it for a project of hers!!!!

Adventure Girl

Adventure Girl

——–YAhhhhhhhh-ooooooo————-(sorry)   someone actually wanted an illustration!  Who would have thought???  I know, I know,  that’s what I was working for….but…Ahhhhhhh!   Okay – I think it’s all out of me now.    But you see, I couldn’t say anything at the time, because the project was still in the planning stage and still a secret, not yet ready to reveal.   (Well—I did share with my family…sorry, Susanna.)  At last, I can share with everyone – but more importantly tell you about a GREAT, NEW WRITING COURSE by Susanna Hill.

Anyway – longer story short…..Susanna  was going to launch a fabulous online Picture Book writing  course (who better to teach than such an accomplished author?).  She was seeking about 10 artists to illustrate the course curriculum.  I was included in the pool of talent.  Then just recently, she came back to us and asked for more illustrations!!!! (She likes me, she really likes me, er…uh…I mean us!)

Pink Polka Dot Rainboots

Pink Polka Dot Rainboots

Anyway, Susanna said some wonderfully encouraging things and asked for  a couple more of my illustrations, some of which I’m showing here.

Susanna’s online course, “Making Picture Book Magic”  is a 4 week course that will teach you how to write a picture book.  There are 20 lessons, each  designed to be completed in 15-30 minutes (how nice of her to fit it around our busy schedules – that is so Susanna).    Also there are 9 supplements to the lessons, membership in a private Facebook group, and opportunity for personal interaction and discussion with Susanna and other members of your class.  And at the end of the course Susanna will read your finished story and make some comments.   All of this is at a very affordable cost.  CLICK HERE to go to the direct link. Her first two month’s classes have already been filled.  (Smart people  register quickly!)

Also I must mention the 9 other uber talented illustrators who have contributed to Susanna’s course.  They are:  Dana Atnip, Dana Carey, Elizabeth Rose Stanton, Hazel Mitchell, Heather Newman, Julie Rowan-Zoch, Loni Edwards, Martha South, and Tracy Campbell.  Please visit these ladies and you will be treated to beautiful art and inspiration.

I’ve shared  all this to say …..if you have a dream, a goal, then pursue it!!!

Follow Your Dream

Follow Your Dream

Do the work that is needed in any “teensy” amount of time you can squeeze it into.  Seek  professional advice from classes and networking, have an online presence….and work at your passion!   Along the way you’ll meet wonderful people like Susanna  and Mark  who share their talents and abilities and encouragement.  I waited til I was a grandma to pursue my real dream….now I’m determined to go all the way….

Imagine this commercial with me:    ” Laura Miller,  you just sold your first illustration…..what are you going to do next?   I’m going to ……….MY DRAWING BOARD and CREATE SOME MORE!!!!!

Blessings on your creativity!!

Laura (Grandmamiller)

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(Susanna Leonard Hill is the originator of PPBF and you can find all the other PPB recommendations and links  on her blog.)

 I must preface this review with a WARNing….while in the middle of reading the book you are going to want to get a sketchbook and colored pencils and create (whether you’re an artist or not).    Even the cover will inspire your creative side.

Title:  Dog Loves Drawing (A sequel to Dog Loves Books)

Author & Illustrator:   Louise Yates          Dog Loves Drawing

Publisher:  Alfred Knopf, 2012

Genre: Picture Book Fiction

Audience Age: 3 & up

Themes/Topics: Drawing & Imagination

Opening Sentences: Dog loved books!  He loved books so much that he opened his own bookshop.

Synopsis: Dog receives a blank book as a gift from his aunt. Realizing it is a sketchbook he begins to doodle and draw stick characters that come to life in his sketchbook adventure.

Why I like it:  What’s not to like?  It’s adorably cute with Dog, and his scribbles of stick people, a duck an owl and a crab.  The characters draw their adventure on a train, a boat and an island.  It’s action packed as they all grab  colored pencils and draw and doodle their way through the fun.  After reading this story to my grandgirls I brought out sketchbooks and a huge box of colored pencils.  They shrieked with delight and the 2 1/2 year old said, Now we can draw like dog!  One little caveat…there is a monster drawn at the end (not terribly menacing) who is restrained when Dog draws a barricaded door….but my 4 year old grandgirl got a little worried.  I had to convince her that it was just pretend and explained that it was funny.   I drew a monster in her sketch book and then she scribbled him out–which she then thought was hilarious.  And moms will appreciate that dog also draws a thank-you card to send to his aunt.  The drawings are delightfully simple at the beginning.  They become a little more elaborate as the story progresses.  They are  colorful and more than their eye appeal they make you feel like you can draw an adventure too!

Activities/Resources:  Instructions to make your own sketchbook,    a list of fun ideas to draw here,  and here’s a fun site to boost adult creativity even for non-artists.

Availability: Immediate from all major booksellers.    Amazon, Barnes & Noble

I am now going to get my sketchbook and draw a lovely overstuffed chair with lots of books beside it, a warm afghan,  a cappuccino with extra whip cream, and maybe even a dog in my lap (or a cat…).

Blessings and enjoy the book!

Laura (Grandma Miller)

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Busy-busy, very full week and exciting events I will reveal in a few days.

[ADDENDUM:…an apology… I thought I had checked to make sure this book wasn’t already on the list….and now I see that it has already been recommended last year…. my apologies….blame it on bad eyes and a thick head.  I’ll leave it up today as a personal pick anyway and you can check out Nessa Morris’ review of the book here.  Mea culpa, Susanna.]

My PPB pick today has been a personal favorite of mine this last year.  I had the privilege to view a video interview of the artist, Patrice Barton, via Mark Mitchel’s How To Be A Children’s Book Illustrator class.  I fell in love with her art and technique and Patrice,  and have corresponded with her a couple times.  There is part of the interview on the author,  Shutta Crum’s website listed below.  I’m sure you will enjoy this book.

(Susanna Leonard Hill is the originator of PPBF and you can find all the other PPB recommendations and links  on her blog.)

Cover image for MINE!

 Title:   MINE!

Author:   Shutta Crum

Illustrator:    Patrice Barton

Publisher: Alfred A Knopf

Genre: Picture Book

Audience Age:  2 & up

Themes/Topics: Sharing

Opening Sentences: Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine!   (you get the idea)

Synopsis:  A story about two very young children (a toddler and a crawling baby) and one adorable dog who don’t want to share a pile of toys.  It’s a delightful playdate as the children and dog claim ownership over every toy and then some.

Why I like it:   When reading this story together it elicited giggles, gasps, awwwws and even ‘oh nos!’, and that was just from me.   My granddaughters love this book, one of the reasons being that they can read it. Mine! only has a vocabulary of two words in the whole book, yet speaks volumes.   The toddler tries to gather all the toys before the crawler can get to any of them.   Then the dog even gets into the action rounding up the toys and staking his claim with a, “Woof!”  The baby is tickled by the antics of the puppy shaking a wet toy, which is my favorite scene in the book and one of the cutest and beautifully rendered baby illustrations I’ve ever seen.   The baby has a final trick up her sleeve tho’ when she claims the final thing as MINE! – but I don’t want to spoil the ending for you.  I first had this book on my e-reader and have read it over and over to the grand girls.  But when I brought the actual book home from the library the 4-year-0ld hugged herself, squealed and said, ‘O Grandma, you got the real Mine! 

For an author to craft a story around a single word is a credit to Ms. Crum’s storytelling ability.  Of course with just two words the strong supporting cast is the art itself, beautifully hand drawn and colored in digital pastels by Patrice Barton.  Ms Barton won the 2012 SCBWI Crystal Kite award for her illustrations in this book.  You can go to her website  to see more beautiful art from the book and a trailer as well.

Awards:       Society of Illustrators Original Art Exhibit 2011                                         – School Library Journal Best Books of 2011
– NYPL’s list of 100 Titles for Reading & Sharing, 2011
– Texas 2×2 Reading List
– 2012 Crystal Kite Award, SCBWI

Activities/Resources:  An article about teaching preschoolers to share with several links is here.

Games for preschoolers that teach sharing are here, just scroll about 1/2 way down.

Availability:  The Board Book was just released last year.  Readily available at all book stores.    Amazon    Barnes & Noble

Make Mine! yours – you’ll be glad you did.

Blessings and enjoy the book.

Laura (Grandmamiller)

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A belated Happy New Year and  blessings of creativity  to everyone!  I’ve been under the weather since the first week of January and alas, was not up to the last two PPBF.  But I’ve recovered…so on with my PPBF pick for this week.  (Susanna Leonard Hill is the originator of PPBF and you can find all the other PPB recommendations and links  on her blog.)

Title: My Friend RabbitMy Friend Rabbit by Eric Rohmann
Author: Eric Rohmann
Illustrator: Eric Rohmann
Publisher: Roaring Book Press,  2002
Genre: Picture Book
Audience Age: 2 – 8
Themes/Topics: Friendship, Loyalty
Opening Sentences: “My friend Rabbit means well. But whatever he does, wherever he goes, trouble follows.”
Synopsis: Mouse and his friend Rabbit are playing together with Mouse’s toy airplane when it gets stuck in a tree. Rabbit’s solution of building a pyramid of animals to retrieve the plane brings more trouble.
Why I like it: In less than 100 words a humorous story about friendship and loyalty is presented; many of the pages have no text. The brevity of words draws you into the art, which won Rohman a Caldecott Honor. The supporting characters of elephant, rhino, hippo, reindeer, bear, alligator, duck and illustration from My Friend Rabbit. Copyright Eric Rohmannsquirrel are enormously and comically portrayed in hand colored relief prints as bold as Rabbit’s idea. When reading the book to them, my grandgirls picked up on the mounting problem and had their hands over their mouths and eyes wide open anticipating the next page. They squealed out loud at the climax of the story when a mountain of animals come tumbling down. Instantly they demanded a reread and then after the second time they each wanted to ‘talk the pictures’ (their version of reading the book.) And the 4-yr-old was already quoting the phrase, “Not to worry, Mouse. I have an idea.” The illustrations vary from taking up just the bottom corner to completely filling a two-page vertical spread. Because of the limited text it invites discussion and interpretation of the pictures. You’ll want to closely study the pictures for the subtle advancement of the story.  Rohman himself says, “This book also began with many words and as I made the images I saw that the silliness was best left to the pictures.”   The Rabbit is one lucky character because he has a friend who sees his shortcomings, but is loyal to the end. I would enjoy having this book in my personal library not just for the illustrations, but for the delightful, simple, funny story of a special friendship

Awards: Caldecott Medal, Parent’s Choice, NAPPA Gold Award,
Activities/Resources: Discussion questions are here
A math application using ordinal numbers is here

and there is a TV/internet show based on the book complete with all the characters:  Go here to watch and find the schedule.

Availability: Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Scholastic Books.  (The paperback was just released in 2011.)

Blessings & enjoy the book!!

Laura (Grandmamiller)

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To my many dear friends in the world of children’s books,

As writers and illustrators for children, the impact of the tragedy at Sandyhook Elementary has been deeply felt.  Like so many of you I haven’t wanted to write or draw for days.

Yet that is what we must do.  We-make-a-difference,  especially to children.  If what we draw is with love, then it is greatly needed.  If what we write is with love, then it can change the world.  And that is also greatly needed.

Let us not be stifled by an act of evil, but let us reach within to draw out the love and creativity that can be a balm.  Let our energies and inspiration  flow to bind up the wounds and bring comfort to children and families.

Love can be painted, love can be written, and love can heal.

With great respect for the difference YOU can make –WRITEDRAW-CREATE  with love!!

I love you all,

Laura  (Grandmamiller)

Devotion on coping with Sandyhook Tragedy

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