Back on track

Finished up the first round on the paper and got to Murray and Doug. Murray called yesterday around noon very positive about the content, the work and the actual paper. He was very complimentary and kind...which makes me proud. Also, a bit hesitant as it now has to be better in the final. I guess I will hear from Doug at some point. After that, I will hire an editor and then refine. The work needs to be refined (some redrawn). And, there is one valentine on the desk that is to go into the final. Time to polish and finish. This is why there has been a lull in my writing my daily drivel to you....too much going on in this arena and work(!). Bizeee...

Speaking of Murray, his work and words are featured this week on Leif Peng's very interesting and expansive blog, Today's Inspiration. I highly recommend Murray's entries as it portrays what illustration studios were and how talent was brought along and emerged from this system. When I started as a designer at Corning Glass Works, we had an illustration studio in town that did line drawings and gouache paintings of Corningware, Pyrex and the consumer products for their catalogs and sell sheets. These poor devils had illustration jobs, but not the more glamourous jobs the Cooper Studio and even Pushpin had for their artists. But there was work for renderers, inkers, painters even in Corning, New York. Now the concept of an illustration studio seems inconcievable except in the case of illustration based companies such as Hallmark and American Greeting Cards. I also recommend the entries on Murray for a peek into the risks he took as a brash, young man with tremendous talent and occasionally not the most perfect timing. I love the illustrations from the baseball player and the wacky machine (the early version of the man machines he did for U&lc), the armidillo, the wonderful wolverine and the wealth of whimsical pen and ink work he did. It is a real shot in the arm for me...a gift to keep going and to not pick fights...Murray is an inspiration with his work, his persona, his gift as an educator and mentor and a friend. And, bless Carol for letting him do what he had to do to become this person we know and adore.

Zina Saunders, wonderful illustrator, insightful writer and all round high energy person noted the Peng entry on her page on the Drawger site. She also included an illustration she has done in a woodcut style that is fabulous. This artist never stops.... Wonderful work, wonderful writing and very interesting and wonderful comments on her page. Take a look.

I am hot on little people drawings. I loved Murray's baseball player for the spirit of the little man the simple face, the feeling. I was looking (and I admit, reading Roald Dahl's Matilda) at Quentin Blake's illustrations and was prompted to take all of the examples (BFG, Esiotrot, The Witches)off the bookshelf to see his work. Blake also has a very cute and amusing website that presents illustration content in a very happy, nontraditional way (categorically) and uses an almost "cloudlike" table of contents with flash animation to enliven and make the site sparkle as much as Blake does. His writing and storytelling is wonderful. And, Blake shares pictures of his studio, his house, his life that adds to the humanizing the legend. Love his pencil neck children along with the imperious, ogre like grown ups often with bad facial hair and warts. Now that I am looking at little people--I am going to have to plunge in. I have a birthday card to design for a client...and illustration definitely is in order.

Now that the valentine piece is coming along, time to design some heart patterns for end pages and section transitions. I am mulling over whether I do a perfect bound publication with Lulu or whether it is wire-o from Lulu. Though the perfect bound is pretty, the requirement of the paper is no printing on the backs. I think that wire-o might suit that better. Plus, they have a few nice color options that could be good. Need to order fu dog buttons (and a few more as there is no limit to the numbers of images to include in the order) and a postcard or two. Nothing over the top. Also need to get some sample output done on canvas and on maple plywood. The wood could be great with black printing on it...24" x 36" panels. But big canvas ones could be good....I should get a sample of each and see which works.

The image at the top is from my work on Avian Flu. I have been a bit wired (read neurotic) about the new Swine Flu (which is now PC to refer to as H1N1). Swine is better than avian for me because at least the vaccines are not incubated in pigs...just eggs. Plus, if you knew the annual flu statistics that we all do not even miss a beat on, 30,000 people die annually from the the "regular" flu. But, the full on pandemic is not someone wants to go through--and I have taken it to a mental image of a Bruegal-esque moment of death and destruction, catherine wheels and fog, a barren landscape of sorrow. Bird headed doctors (the plague masks were bird beaks that had a scented cloth in the beak to stave off the stench of the dying), carts of corpses rattling down Camp Street. Nothing is impossible in the world that grips me at three in the morning (won't life be great once menepause is over?) What is in this head transcends a school closing and please wash your hands and cover your mouth precautions. I am happy though that the family of man...globally, are behaving consciously and responsibly to maybe make this a quiet emergency versus a global trauma. There may be some pig pictures coming to the fore....

New web concepts we need to talk about later: Issuu, Squarespace
New vendors: Justbuttons

And I have a new wonderful surprise I am not spilling until I try them.... I am THRILLED to be so witty!

More later, my friends.