Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Toymaker's Sketchbook - 117 drawings in 64 seconds

This is the little movie that I put together for yesterday's school visit to show my sketchbook. The music is by by a Swedish Electronica band called DetektivbyrĂ„n (The Detective Agency) Their music makes for happy drawing. 



The school visit was an utter delight. The kids, teachers and parents were all so kind and charming. I was terrified beyond words yesterday morning, not knowing what the day would hold... but oddly enough it went really well and a splendid time was had by all. (especially me. ) <3




I paint my own reality.

The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to,

and I paint whatever passes through my head without any other consideration.
 ~ Frida Kahlo 

Sunday, February 21, 2010

It's going to be a busy week! I'm trying to get a headstart by making a list. Ack! So much to get done.

Oh well, tomorrow, let's just hit the ground running. Sound like a plan? 

Here's wishing you all good things. Marilyn.

"Initiative is doing the right thing without being told." ~ E Hubbard

Saturday, February 20, 2010

School Library Makeover!

What a glorious day! I went down with some of the members of Studio Five, my art group to help paint an elementary school library. Before it was like a gulag of reading, grey walls with a "tasteful" cadet blue stripe. But this is an elementary school, not the insides of a submarine. We went in with no fear of color and painted the walls a butter yellow with an orange stripe and a red pillar. It's amazing what can happen when everyone pitches in. A family got us a deal on the paint. Lulu's, a local restaurant, donated a yummy supply of breakfast treats. Seeing all the parents work with their kids to make the library a better place was a complete joy.

J. H. Everett designed the mural that wraps around the room. Here's part of it. 

I'll post more picts as the mural gets completed. I took in my gold leaf supplies and did Willy Wonka's Golden Ticket. Let's get those kids reading, shall we?

What good things are happening in your neighborhood? Do you have a good library to go to?



Many hands make light work.


Books to the ceiling,

Books to the sky,

My pile of books is a mile high.

How I love them! How I need them!

I'll have a long beard by the time I read them.


Arnold Lobel


Friday, February 19, 2010

The Huntington Library

The Huntington Library is not just one of the world's wonders, it's also a fantastic place to go sketching. The botanical gardens are encyclopedic, they have a conservatory that has a bog habitat as well as a rain forest. We saw coffee plants, chocolate plants, pitchers, all kinds of glories. I want to go back just to draw the cactus gardens. The roses aren't in bloom for another couple of months, but camellias and magnolias were everywhere.

One of the things that was talked about in my art lesson on Wednesday laying down a neutral colored wash over the pencil linework, then adding white highlights and then the darks. The winged flower motif at the bottom was an experiment to try that out. 

The little orange and yellow flowers were from a plant in the conservatory. The sign said that the plant no longer grows in the wild. Strange to think of such a thing.


"The source of continuing aliveness is to find your passion and pursue it with whole heart and single mind."

~ Gail Sheehy

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

This Week's Flower Study

I don't know what I'm going to do with these little flourishes yet. I like to keep a file going of my drawings that I can use to decorate toys. I drew these while talking on the phone to my best bud, Julie.

The sun came out this morning and there were lovely wisps of steam rising off of the lawn as the the rain evaporated. There is snow on the mountains and it's clear for miles. Definitely a beautiful day. 

Okay, Spring... come on, will ya! 



The aim of education should be to teach us rather how to think, than what to think -- rather to improve our minds, so as to enable us to think for ourselves, than to load the memory with thoughts of other men.

~ Bill Beattie

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Playing with a compass

A couple of days ago while talking to my friend Katie on the phone, I doodled this. 

We've been talking about writing and how, for us illustrators, drawing, while hard, is the land of the known. Writing on the other hand is scary. I'm not talking about the kind of chatty blogish writing, like me talking to you now. I'm talking about lovely storytelling, telling the kind of story that sucks you in and once the book is closed follows you around for a long time. I want to be able to write like that, but my problem is that the words I put on paper sound wooden and flat to me. My secret weapon is a couple of imaginary earplugs. When my inner critic starts laying into me I just put those imaginary earplugs in and keep typing. 

Wishing you a creative week,


PS Wish me luck tomorrow... the boy has decided to have a Super Bowl party and is cooking all kinds of snack foods for his friends. On the menu, buffalo wings, nachos and some pork stuffed muffin recipe. I'll be hiding with a book somewhere. 

He who never made a mistake never made a discovery.

 ~ Samuel Smiles