Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Picture Book Trailer!

A new short video to share, three weeks before "My Wilderness, An Alaskan Adventure" comes out.

I love the look of so many picture book trailers, my favorites being short and sweet and not too highly animated.  I worked with my tech-genious father-in-law Charlie, who patiently converted my storyboard plans into reality. We made lots of edits and did the whole Ken Burns thing on my little illustrations! The background music choice was important, too. One of the characters in the picture book (Rockwell Kent, father and painter) brought his flute and played it on the island.  I found a Vimeo music store piece with great solo flute that fit the mood I wanted (you can purchase limited copyrights for small buisiness needs) called Arctic City by composer Jonathan Geer. I think it captures what I hope the book does; the mystery, and energy of the setting of this Alaskan wilderness island.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

My Rockford File

Such a dark cycle of news, my soul is weary of listening to the usual radio programs. But freelancers need company. And voices are comforting to hear. So what to do. I thought about my earlier studio days when my drawing board was pivoted towards the old TV in the corner. I sometimes used to watch it when deadlines weren’t so urgent. Daytime even ran old re-runs, mostly old detective shows like Perry Mason, Columbo or Quincy. They had simple, predictable plots but somehow they were satisfying and stood in nicely for colleagues.

Times changed and when Lucy arrived, I needed to focus when I had precious studio time. The old TV died and I let the noon TV habit die out, too. 

Recently, my husband reminded me about The Rockford Files, another noon show I liked with the mild-mannered Private Eye Jim Rockford, solving cold cases from his in his beat-up trailer by the sea. James Garner, who played Rockford, had such an easy smile and manner. A friend who worked on crews in the “movies” once met him and said he was the real deal, a really nice man. Hmmm, my husband said, maybe I should pay Rockford a visit again…

So now, for awhile, courtesy of Hulu, it is me and my lunch in sunny LA, circa 1960’s, watching Rockford chasing down the bad guys, always ending up on some desert road getting shot at, or hauled into a police station.  I like Jim a lot; he could have been one of my uncles in looks. He'd make me feel safe. I’d hire him in an instant, if I ever needed to get out of a pinch.

The late sixties is my kid-hood era. The episodes are full of nostalgia. The fashions in particular just kill me. The men’s jackets have the fattest lapels and the ladies all run around in slinky polyester shirts. The businesses on the streets- 76 gas, small mom and pop take outs, etc., all belong to a long ago time. And the sound of a telephone almost makes me weep in mourning for a world that used to move so slow.

Don’t call me at noon for awhile. I’ll be in LA with Jim. Maybe we’ll fish for yellow-tail on the dock close by his trailer, or have a beer and a hot dog with his old dad. Or take a walk on the beach in the sunset. My deadlines can wait.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Can't see the forest for the trees

My post title comes from a common expression suggesting that if we focus just on parts or details of a whole, the meaning of the whole can be obscured. That can certainly be the case in illustration, where detail work can temporarily bog down the main visual idea. All in good time each leaf is drawn, each bough is sketched in, each bunny finds it's place nestled in the under-story. It can sometimes take longer than I'd like!

Right now, I am deep in the forest, the North Woods of the upper midwest to be exact, and have had my share the last few weeks of drawing trees! I am ready to experience and share the landscape as a whole, as the characters in this new picture book soon will. I'm anxious for "the girls" to wander over moss softened pathways, smell the clean scent of pine, hear the chitter of chickadees above, feel the rough birch bark, taste a good picnic sandwich under shady summer canapy... All in good time. But for today, it is back to twigs in trees...

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

XXStudio breakXX

Yes, our long cruel winter is usually nothing to brag about, and the last snow fall was quite a doozy. But one great upshot is being able to literally cross country ski out my studio door for a quick break! How nice to clear the brain cob webs away today under brilliant blue sky and white-fringed tree limbs.

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