Saturday, December 3, 2011

Sherlock Bones and The Mystery of the Kitty Prints

Hmmm, this morning there were oil paint kitty prints all over the desk. I, Sherlock Bones, will get to bottom of this! 


Who could have done such a thing?
The scene of the crime...

The first suspect, Mister Pretty... he says that he was out drinking at the Bathtub...

Then he went to to a musical concert, a production of "Cats".

 My next suspect was McQueen... aka "The Otter"

He says that he didn't do it.

 Oh well, I guess we'll never know. What do you think happened?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Details from The Toymaker's Christmas and The Toymaker's Workshop.

One of the things that I really enjoyed about making The Toymaker's Christmas and The Toymaker's Workshop was the freedom to add all the little detaily bits. 

Friday, November 25, 2011


A random assortment of things that I am thankful for...


 The Beach, especially in winter when there is nobody there. My BFF Julie was in town for Thanksgiving and we spent a great day wandering about.

Creativity = The Boy made a bowl in woodshop for Nana. So proud.

Cats are awesome. 

How about you? What are you thankful for on this fine day?



“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, November 21, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving from the Toymaker!

May you be warm, happy and well,

Best thoughts,

Marilyn and the Small Dog.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Pencil Geeks

I am such a pencil geek. Some of my artist friends are mad for ink pens. My friend, Janet Takahashi, has an amazing collection of inkwells. Me, I am always searching for the perfect pencil.

Keep your diamonds, my idea of heaven is They recently did a re-release of the Blackwing pencil, used by all the animators in the fifties and sixties. The original 602, had a buttery smooth dark line that was the stuff of legends. Last year the Palomino Pencil Co. put out a Blackwing version that was very lovely but the lead was too soft for daily use, at least for me.

Now they've come out with a new version with a black erasure and the original inscription, "Half the pressure, twice the speed" which has a better lead, in my opinion. Still dark and smooth but not so soft that it can't keep a point or smudge too easily.

My current super favorite for everyday drawing is the California Republic Golden Bear, beautiful line, great eraser and not expensive. Love, love, love.

Here are a  couple pictures of animators Bob Singer and Kim Dwinell testing pencils at the last Studio Five meeting.
 Bob talked about bunny character design and sampling the Golden Bear 2B.

Kim showed us how Disney animators would always have a scratch pad handy to keep the point sharp.

What are you mad for? What do you collect?


Monday, November 7, 2011

Gignormous Cat Returns from Vet

Back from taking Mister Pretty to the vet. He has a cold.

Note to self, taking a twenty pound  pissed off cat to the doctor in a flimsy cardboard cat carrier is not a good idea. Next time acquire a dog kennel or something used to transport raptors from Jurassic Park.

Mission Accomplished... barely.



If we treated everyone we meet with the same affection we bestow upon our favorite cat, they, too, would purr. ~ Martin Buxbaum

Friday, November 4, 2011


There is something about Fall that makes me think of quilts. Maybe it's the rain,"soup, apple pie, hot peppermint tea" weather. We don't have proper seasons here in Southern California, more like smog, fires, mudslides and sunshine. The Young Man, (formerly known as the Boy) described it as "bipolar". It can be in the fifties one day and the eighties the next, depending on which way the wind is blowing.

When I was in high school, I obsessed about quiltmaking quite a bit. I loved the names, "Flying Geese, Ohio Star, Wedding Ring, Drunkard's Path, Bear's Paw". I don't have the patience or room to actually make one now. I can draw them though. I read once that if you're good and you get to heaven that you will be met by all the quilts that you intended to make. In that case, I'm set.

When the bold branches
Bid farewell to rainbow leaves -
Welcome wool sweaters. ~ B. Cybrill

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

It's a book!

Usually the mailman brings things likes junk mail and bills, but today was different! An advanced reader's addition of Haunted Histories, Creepy Castles, Dark Dungeons and Powerful Palaces by J.H. Everett and Marilyn Scott-Waters arrived.

It came out great! The book designer did a lovely job of it. It's been a long, long time from doing the proposal until this day, hundreds of drawings and many, many hours of work. I am filled to the brim with delight.

I can't wait until July 17th when it comes out in stores.

This is me right now.

Making fiction for children, making books for children, isn't something you do for money. It's something you do because what children read and learn and see and take in changes them and forms them, and they make the future. They make the world we're going to wind up in, the world that will be here when we're gone. ~ Neil Gaiman

Saturday, October 29, 2011

All Hallow's Read

Neil Gaiman, one of my favorite writers on the planet, came up with a wonderful idea to have people give scary books as gifts on Halloween.

I salute anything that gets kids reading. That, combined with the fact that J.H. Everett and I are working away on the second Haunted Histories book, got the pencils moving. J.H. Everett sent me a delicious sketch of a bunch of skellies in the graveyard reading and I got my type hammer out to start making posters for the poster contest.

What is your favorite scary story? I like Sherlock Holmes in The Hound of the Baskervilles, Roald Dahl's The Witches and Gaiman's The Graveyard Book. Phantom of the Opera is creepy good and so is anything by Edgar Allan Poe.

Happy Halloween!


Friday, October 28, 2011

World of Color...

I've been working like crazy on the second Haunted Histories book with J. H. Everett. I wish I could give you a peek at it. So creepy and wonderful. It's been all pencil sketches and piles of drawings. My keyboard is covered with graphite.

Last night I painted up some doodles just so I didn't forget what color looks like.

How about you? What do you want to make time for?


“The child is in me still and sometimes not so still.”
~  Fred Rogers