Saturday, September 24, 2011
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Inspired by the Illustrator Intensive at the SCBWI Summer Conference in LA, I've been experimenting with non-digital (*gasp*) sketching. Paints are a very small/portable Windsor & Newton travel watercolor paint kit that Jeff bought me. The line work was done with a Pentel Pocket Brush Pen, which was recommended by David Small during the Intensive.
Apologies for the slightly blurry photo -- I was experimenting with the Squarespace app on my iPhone, and I think I jiggled the phone a bit when taking the picture. The monster water container in the back is a handmade pottery piece created by my friend Luisa and painted by me. I have a bunch more one-of-a-kind pottery pieces that we made to put on Etsy; it's just a matter of finding the time.
Anyway, I had fun with this quickie sketch! I'm still way more comfortable with digital but figure it's good to always be learning new skills.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
His family gathered together once a month for quite a while and read poems out loud to each other to winnow the 1500+ poems down to a manageable number to put into this new book. It's being lovingly designed to follow in the look and feel of previous books.
Oh, how I love Italian food.
I eat it all the time,
Not just 'cause how good it tastes
But 'cause how good it rhymes.
Insalata, cremolata, manicotti,
Shrimp francese, Bolognese,
Fried zucchini, rollatini,
Fettuccine, green linguine,
Oops—I think I split my jeani.
You are missed, Mr. Silverstein. I'm glad we get to have another book of your poems.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
How do you encourage creativity?
Listening to kids and encouraging their interests, of course. Counteracting at least some of the messages they carry home about what's cool and what's a success and failure from school is also important, I think. Parents now were kids who went through the same system of squashing original, troublesome thought, though, and it's hard to break out of one's own programming to encourage wild creativity in your kids, especially when it gets you calls from the principal's office because your kid just has to get up and dance around the room when she's thinking, or draws wickedly rude, funny caricatures of his teacher or corrects the teacher's bad spelling in front of the class or yells at a mean kid who won't stop bullying a friend or bursts spontaneously into a loud song about Mr. Data's cat Spot during quiet time or writes a story about pioneers and kills off the main character at the end and makes the teacher and principal worried about why he didn't write a happy ending and he tells them it just had to end that way because the characters demanded it or...
So what is a solution for kids?
Well, I had a long rant about the school system here and the horrible budget cuts and the under-appreciated teachers and how parents are expected to make up the budget shortfall and what about the promise of free quality public education in this country of opportunity and all that. It's a fact that kids from lower economic levels get fewer opportunities than rich kids. It'd be so great if their schools could have the resources to encourage them, even if their parents don't have the means to pay for music or dance lessons and sports and all that. It's really crazy-making for a parent with limited resources, and when it comes right down to it, there are more and more of us in that boat than before.
But. Ranting here won't change it, won't fix it. Listening to the kids, encouraging them in whatever excites them and grabs their interest, that helps no matter what their circumstances may be. And it may not be much, it may not be enough, but it's better than nothing.