Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The real reason your printer's not working

This is not in the manual, people. This is real life scenarios. Eventually, we've all got to step out of the classroom and get our hands dirty.

5. The USB cord isn't the right color.
You might not have learned this, but the printer is very fashion conscious. It can tell the difference between the black cord, the grey cord, and the navy blue one. The navy one worked yesterday, you say? Well, swap it out with the grey one today. You can never be seen wearing the same thing two days in a row.

4. There is a Hot Wheel jammed in it.
Look for someone wandering around in footie pajamas, munching on cinamon toast. He and/or she can probably tell you what happened there. But they won't.

3. This is all a dream.
Don't worry. This isn't really happening. It's just printer-induced psychosis that's causing rampant night terrors. Spending too many hours a day battling with tempermental machinery is bound to cause you some internal termoil. The only solution here is to take a day off from trying to get anything done. Really, it's the only way. In the meantime, you're still asleep, so here's a beautiful meadow full of your favorite beautiful movie stars. Go have fun.

2. The printer is experiencing ennui.
The printer is contemplating life, and regretting some choices it made. It didn't want to print mapquest directions, and movie times for the rest of it's life. It wanted to be some kind of data processor on the space shuttle. What kind? I don't know. It just sounds really cool. But it's too late to join the Air Force now, and they wouldn't take him anyway, with all the Hot Wheels dents.
This is a temporary problem. The printer will start funcioning again when shown some of the beautiful copies it has made.

1. @*&$#!!!
Sorry. This one's a head scratcher. Everything's hooked up right. It's got fresh ink. Paper feeds through just fine. Must be a problem on the computer's end. That one is a real piece of work. Maybe it's time for the two of them to try some couple's counseling. Someone needs to work out why they never seem to get along.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Illustration Nation continues

What's rockin' the Zen? Wolcott by Vampire Weekend
Admittedly, music is my weak area. I can talk books, and art, and movies, but I am pitifully unaware when it comes to music. I like this album, although VW does sound like they should be doing the soundtracks for film adaptations of Brett Easton Ellis novels. Must be that east coast texture.

Okay, I talked about music briefly, something I have almost no business doing. Now, on to my specialty, illustration.

So here's another illustrator on my list, Brian Lies. His work includes over a dozen books, many by other authors, and a few he penned himself, including Bats at the Beach and Bats at the Library.
Beach is darling and funny, with the bats applying moontan lotion and roasting bug-mallows embedded with delicious insects. And Library, well, how could I not love a book about books? Lies includes a few spreads of the bats imagining themselves into classic stories.
Lies paintings are magnificent examples of using light well. Of course, he picks a subject that suggests dark colors and deep shadows. Night scenes require very sharp and precise light sources. In Lies's work in his Bats books, the lighting becomes absoluetly theatrical. Simply showing the ordinary settings of a beach or the library at night gives them a bit of a twist. Here's a chance for little guys to get a glimpse of that mysterious and intriguing gray area known as "after bedtime". What the heck goes on then, anyway?
As an author/illustrator, Lies has hit a nice harmony. An interesting subject illustrated with skill and creativity. This is the kind of work done well enough to make an insanely difficult job look easy.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Another Illustrator I Heart

What's playing on the Zen Kids by MGMT
Okay, enough about me. We all have problems. Let's talk about this guy.
D.B. Johnson. Writer and author of the Eddie's World, and the Henry books, in which he uses a little black bear as a stand in for Henry David Thoreau.
The Henry books include Henry Hikes to Fitchburg, Henry Builds a Cabin, Henry Climbs a Mountain, and, I just learned in April there will be a brand new edition, Henry's Night. Take a look.
D.B., I like your style. Henry's got a clever cubist thing going on here, and he's still pretty darn cute.
Keeping with the persona of Thoreau himself, Henry the Bear Version is a minimalist, introspective, free spirit. He involves himself with the local community, meets the Bear Versions of Nathaniel Hawthorn and Ralph Waldo Emerson, but he's on the fringe, man. Henry Works - yeah, the book right above- follows Henry on a little journey around his town and countryside, in which he observes and interacts with nature, and encounters all manner of charming townsfolk. They all have the benign attitude that Henry peacefully wanders around, with no direction, although Henry keeps insisting that he is, in fact, working. By the end of the tale, one of his friends finally asks, "What is your work, Henry?"
He replies, "I'm writing a book."
I hear you, Henry.
And D.B., who has had a long carrer as an illustrator. His paintings are bright and elegant. They make Thoreau accessible to a kid, without loosing anything of the real historical figure. Johnson's depiction of Henry's environment makes it easy to see why he would be so keenly interested in nature, and so happy to spend his time outdoors. Henry's world is lush and full of life and experiences.
So there's another illustrator who's work I admire. I plan to keep posting these, and if there are any illustrators that have really turned your head, I'd love to hear about them.
And because I'm new at this, and I forgot to add it the first time around, go here to see more about Gris Grimly.

Friday, January 9, 2009

New Year, New Home, New Goals, New Blog

It's a new year, and a new day, and I have decided, rather impulsively, to start another new project. Introuductions next? I am an artist and writer, specifically of children's lit. I also love snow. And look at that-we've got a few more inches in the yard this morning.
Time to go out and play.