The ABC of why I wish New York was closer

I have many reasons why I wish New York was closer, and most all of them are art related. Here’s one such example: The New York Public Library’s (free!) exhibition The ABC of it: Why Children’s Books Matter.

Alas, a New York trip is not in the cards for me any time soon, so I’ll have to content myself with the slideshow of photographs on the exhibit designers’ website (Pure+Applied), complete with a shot of a furry wall and Wild Thing doorway, and for the observant child, Humpty Dumpty sitting on a wall. There is also an exhibition brochure available for download from the NYPL website (bottom of the page), complete with a cleverly designed page on banned books.

The exhibition runs until March 23, 2013.

more info here: NYPL exhibition press release

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Mountains & Plains Winter Catalog.

Dream Boats is the featured book in this winter’s 300,000 copies of the Mountains and Plains Independent Book Sellers Association Winter catalog. It’s on the cover, and a few little vignettes made their way into the inside of the catalog as well.

Mountains & Plains is an almost 40 year old non-profit professional association of locally-owned bookstores, booksellers, and industry professionals. Wherever you are, please support your local, independent bookstore this holiday season. If you happen to be in Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, or Wyoming, there is a list of store locations on the MPIBA website.

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My favourite Vancouver bookstore is Kidsbooks (Kitsilano, South Surrey, and Edgemont Village, North Vancouver). Their staff is incredibly knowledgable, and the are wonderful advocates for local authors and illustrators, and for great books for kids (and teens)…and they even have a few for adults!

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This post is part of a series documenting my process of illustrating the picture book Dream Boats (author Dan Bar-el, pub. Simply Read Books). The entire series of posts is archived here.

View a gallery of all the work-in-progress images including first sketches, reference material, mistakes, redraws, and tests, to final art at a much larger size, here.

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Dream Boats is a 2014 Recommended Read.

Dream Boats made the 2014 Canadian Toy Testing Council’s list of recommended reads for the age group 5+.


Also, this is going on until the end of November: agbd-logo

A Good Book Drive is an annual book drive to bring stories to a new generation of readers, and support kids in need of new books.

Running through the month of November, A Good Book Drive will be inspiring Vancouverites to purchase a new copy of their favorite kids’ book and deliver it to set locations throughout the city to be donated to this year’s book drive recipient.

– read more and find out how you can participate, on the A Good Book Drive website
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This post is part of a series documenting my process of illustrating the picture book Dream Boats (author Dan Bar-el, pub. Simply Read Books). The entire series of posts is archived here.

View a gallery of all the work-in-progress images including first sketches, reference material, mistakes, redraws, and tests, to final art at a much larger size, here.

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$10 international shipping from INPRNT until Nov 10th


I recently commented on INPRINT’s costly international shipping prices ($35 to Canada!). The good news is they’re running a very short promo (it’ll be all over on November 10th) for $10 international shipping!

For the duration of the shipping deal I’m offering a smaller print size option. Please note the print size reflects the size of the paper not the image size (there is a minimum 1″ border on all sides, and my artwork is thin landscape, so an 11″x24″ paper size = 9″x22″ image and 12″x18″ paper size = aprox 6.56″x16″ image

Prior to uploading some artwork of my own, I ordered a print by another artist who’s work I’m fond of, to check the print quality (conclusion: it’s good).
(hint: prints make great gifts…and since we’re already into November and shipping takes a couple of weeks, it’s good to plan ahead)

unwrapping prints from INPRNT

I ordered a few of my prints from INPRNT.com to see what the quality is like. The print and paper quality is great, I’m really happy with it, and the colour is exactly as I was hoping for. It actually exactly matches earlier prints I had done through Opus.
The only thing that I’m not keen on is the shipping price from the U.S to Canada. It’s reasonable within the States, but to Canada I think it’s way too much ($35!). For that reason, I’d love to find out if there was a good print on demand company in Canada as an alternative. If anyone knows of any please drop me an email or leave a comment.

For now, I’ve chosen to offer the prints at sizes that are as close to the original size. As a result of the size, they come in a mailing tube:

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Inside the tube, the prints are wrapped in glassine paper:

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Because the paper is thick, they required a bit of flattening:

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Artwork at YVR

Today, I dropped off a few packages of artwork at the Vancouver International Airport where it’ll be on display in one of the terminals for the next few months to a year, alongside the works of a few other Vancouver children’s book artists.

Included are paintings from Looking for Loons and A Pod of Orcas, as well as drawings and a final print from Dream Boats.

Here’s a little peek at some of what will be on view:

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On the list!

Dream Boats made the Canadian Children’s Book Centre Best Books for Fall 2013 list (news and accompanying photo via my publisher).

Also, a copy of the book made it all the way to Japan, where it got this very nice review.
For a lot more book reviews (fiction and non-fiction), visit the Perogies & Gyoza website.

Perogies & Gyoza: Dream Boats

Aaaand…Dream Boats was also nominated for a Cybils. Nice!

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And finally, Harper Collins is putting on a contest to illustrate Dennis Lee’s title poem of Alligator Pie. It’s Alligator Pie’s 40th anniversary. Not sure how I feel about that; I love the poem, I love the book, but I also really love Frank Newfeld’s illustrations and they were a source of endless delight to me when I was a kid. When I think of Alligator Pie, I can’t, nor do I want, to separate the words from the drawings. They are illustrations from another time – in a good way. As is the text.

On a related note, that wikipedia page on Frank Newfeld is sorely in need of some more content, and sadly, many of the out-links are broken. So in lieu of finding some images online, pick up a copy of Alligator Pie in your local children’s book store (I was pleased to see that it’s in print!). Or maybe have a helping of Garbage Delight. Or dig a little deeper and discover other book Frank Newfeld designed, illustrated, or wrote.

If you do want a little more information on Frank Newfeld, there is a write-up on him for a past GDC BC/Alcuin Society/CDOT/Canada Council/SFU event with a bit more info. I feel fortunate to have been able to attend this, especially given the great memories I have of the time I spent with his illustrations as a kid.

There are also some photographs from the event, including some photos of his artwork. Beautiful, beautiful work.

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This post is part of a series documenting my process of illustrating the picture book Dream Boats (author Dan Bar-el, pub. Simply Read Books). The entire series of posts is archived here.

View a gallery of all the work-in-progress images including first sketches, reference material, mistakes, redraws, and tests, to final art at a much larger size, here.

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Featured Reader Art & Event Reminder.

This fantastic dream vessel, rendered in marker and ballpoint pen, is courtesy of 7-year-old avid reader, Ella. Thank you very much, Ella!

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Also, a quick reminder that I’ll be at Village Books in Bellingham on October 5, 11am for an illustrator Q&A, beginning with a short talk on illustration. Not sure yet what I’ll talk about yet – maybe about influences and inspiration, style (or lack of), or that I learned the most important thing about creating art, not from art school, but from my grandmother when I was 5 years old. Or maybe why I chose to illustrate this book the way I did, and the challenges I encountered along the way… Bring your questions!

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DB_Origami_boat_black_outlines_sm_var

This post is part of a series documenting my process of illustrating the picture book Dream Boats (author Dan Bar-el, pub. Simply Read Books). The entire series of posts is archived here.

View a gallery of all the work-in-progress images including first sketches, reference material, mistakes, redraws, and tests, to final art at a much larger size, here.

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Cover Out in Portland

I’m just back from a fantastic, restful camping trip on the beautiful Oregon Coast (see photo above), ending  with a 2 night Portland stop-over (in a hotel – which, in my opinion, is the best way to end a camping trip).

While we managed to squeeze the camping into the dry days, our city visit was a little wet. One day, we ducked into Powell’s Books to avoid a downpour and I discovered something familiar in the children’s section:

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I also found these and the illustrations were just so beautiful that I couldn’t very well leave them behind…

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Dark Emperor & Other Poems of the Night, written by Joyce Sidman, is Illustrated by Rick Allen in many-layered lino prints, and is rich in colour and texture. The night scenes are vibrant and lively, and cheerfully coloured. A Monster Calls, written Patrick Ness, illustrated by Jim Kay, is equally exciting for its lack of colour and wonderful deep, dark spookiness;  it is the kind of book that I was thrilled to read as a 12-year old.

Just look at this great composition and this lovely figure, so beautifully drawn.

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A Monster Calls also has the added bonus of being nicely designed, and does a fine job tying in a lot of great texture-rich sketchy vignettes and scuff marks.

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DB_Origami_boat_black_outlines_sm_var

This post is part of a series documenting my process of illustrating the picture book Dream Boats (author Dan Bar-el, pub. Simply Read Books). The entire series of posts is archived here.

View a gallery of all the work-in-progress images including first sketches, reference material, mistakes, redraws, and tests, to final art at a much larger size, here.

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