Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sneak peak of another book

Can you believe that Christmas is over and we are only three days away from 2009? I sure can't believe it, but I guess I have to accept that it is here. The one good thing about the end of this year is all of the fun things I have to look forward to in 2009 which include at least 2 more book releases and possibly a couple more depending on the final production schedule. I have been extremely blessed as of late and am really excited to share with you the new books that I have worked on recently and the new one that is to come, but know that I can't share too much yet. So with that, here is a sneak peak at a book that is to be released in March. I hope you like. I know it is a different look than my acrylic textural work that I did in "The Sick Bug", but feel it really fits this book. I think you will see why when I am able to share more. Until then, I hope you all have a great rest of 2008 and have some fun plans for the ringing in of the New Year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

"The Sick Bug" gets its first big award

Hello Everyone. I know it has been hard not to mention anything the last week, but since I saw that Susie had mentioned it on "The Sick Bug" website, I thought it was good to go. The official press release isn't going to happen until January when the MCA's announce all of the winners, but here it goes. We just found out last week that "The Sick Bug" has been named a "2009 Gold Medal winner" by the Mom's Choice Awards®. WHOOOOO HOOOOOO! How exciting it is! I can't wait to get those little medallions on the cover of the book. So, for Susie and I, Christmas came early and we are loving every minute of it. Thanks to all of you for the support that you have shown the both of us as we have been out an about promoting and promoting and promoting. It definitely makes all of the hard work worth it.

Anyways, it feels good to get that off my chest and am now anxious for the official press release and to see where it goes from here. Hopefully we will be starting work on "The Sick Bug II" soon as well.

So with that, I will wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Lets hope that holiday cheer will be all around.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Need I say more?

Here is the space I was exhibiting in. I was able to use the whole front section with my paintings, prints and books.

And then here is a shot just before the opening last night. Need I say more?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Holiday Art show at the Elk River Art Gallery

Hello everyone. I know it is short notice here, but thought it is never too late to get the news out there. Starting on this Thursday Dec. 18, I along with a number of other artists are going to be showing works of art at the Elk RIver Arts Gallery for the Holiday show. It has been going on now for a little over a month, but starting Thursday, I will be the featured artist. With that comes a storytime and booksigning from 4-5 pm followed by a reception in the gallery. So if you are still looking for that last minute gift that will blow your recipients away, stop down, say hi and look around. It is sure to be a great time. You can also get a list of the other artists at the Elk River Arts Gallery Website

Here is the info itself and the picture above is just one of the great pieces for sale!

Thursday Dec. 18 through Dec. 20
Opening reception for 4-8 pm on the 18th

Elk River Arts Gallery
716 Main Street
Elk River, MN 55330

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Speaking in front of an audience

As a children's book illustrator there are often times that you are required to speak to a group of people, many of times which include kids. Now I know that for many people, the thought of speaking in front of any size group whether they be kids or not can be a scary thing. But there are things and activities that can make things a lot smoother like getting the kids involved through questions and small activities. But if you are someone who would really like to learn how to do these and don't want to learn in front of an audience, I would recommend looking at a workshop that the Minnesota Humanities Center is offering this January and May. It is a class titled "Reading Aloud Basics" and is a class that is devoted to gaining knowledge about the impact of reading aloud to groups of children.

The workshops are offered either on

Saturday, Jan 31, 2009 from 10-noon


Tuesday, May 5, 2009 from 6-8 pm

The fee is $35 and they are going to focus on the following:

1. Benefits of reading aloud
2. Tips for reading aloud
3. Book/story related activities
4. Discussion questions with reading aloud

For more information you can visit their website at Minnesota Humanities Center

Thursday, December 4, 2008

MNSCBWI Winter workshop

Have you ever wondered how or what you should be doing to protect your work as an illustrator or artist. Well, the Minnesota SCBWI is having their winter workshop called "Guarding Your Work: The New Age of Intellectual Property Rights" this coming January in Minneapolis. It is bound to be a great workshop on what you need to be doing to make sure that your rights stay with you. Also, attorney William D. Shultz will be presenting information on the new potential Orphan Works Bill that is trying to be pushed through congress. So if you are in the Minneapolis area on Sat, January 10th, it would be great for you to take in this wonderful workshop.

The info is as follows

"Guarding Your Work: The New Age of Intellectual Property Rights"

January 10th, 2009

12:30-3:30 pm

Merchant and Gould P.C.
3200 IDS Center
80 South 8th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55402

cost is $25 per member/ $35 for nonmember of SCBWI

for questions, contact

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Happy belated Thanksgiving

Happy belated Thanksgiving everyone. I hope you all had a wonderful time with your family and friends. I know I had a great time up in Wahpeton with my parents, sister and brother in law, and my grandparents. It is always fun to see the family and was surprised at how warm it was for the end of Nov. I think they hit 41 on Friday which is way warmer that they are supposed to be. Usually there is snow up there by now, but I am not complaining :). Anyways, I just wanted to say how Thankful I am of all the great things that I have been blessed with this year and am hoping that things will continue to go the same for the following. As you can see by the picture above, it was worthy of a toast that the next year will be as fruitful as the next. Thanks to my grandpa Delmer for the great shot!

So to continue on that note about thankfulness, I wanted to send Susie a thanks for giving me a shout out on the Kare 11 news this morning. She was featured on there with "The Sick Bug" book and did a great job of mentioning the artwork! You can check out the video from the Kare 11 morning show by clicking here PS, if you are having trouble seeing it, click on the small text below image. So with that I will leave you with a little bit of other news. If you happen to be near Ridgedale mall tomorrow in Minnetonka, be sure to stop by the Barnes and Noble next to Target as Susie and I will be signing books from 10-12pm and say hi. Have a wonderful rest of the weekend and may your holiday seasons be full of fun and friends!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

My trip home and a prime placement

Happy weekend everybody. Hope you have been enjoying some fun activities and are being fairly productive. Things here are moving along pretty well. I have been illustrating away on the book that I am getting closer and closer to finishing up. if all goes well, then I should be done a week from Monday barring any setbacks.

So it has also been a pretty crazy few days from a event standpoint as well. Thursday I enjoyed a quick trip back home to Wahpeton, ND and was glad to see so many people that I haven't seen in a while. I even managed to stop and take a couple of photos of the famous worlds largest catfish. Pretty exciting I know. Then Susie and I met up and did a book signing at the MInnetonka Barnes and Noble for the Gatewood book festival on Friday evening. There were a lot of kids there and were able to collaboratively come up with some unique "bug" sketches. All I have to say is kids' imaginations are never lacking! We also noticed that "The Sick Bug" made it to the wall of "prime". It was really great to see the book facing on the wall there (usually it is visible only be the spine) on the side shelves.

Finally I was so proud that I actually spent some time and found the floor again in the studio. It hadn't been cleaned in a while and was looking pretty crazy so I thought I would take a picture before it was gone again.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Classes, books, and a short trip

After looking at the calendar today, I have realized that I am confused as to where the last three weeks have gone! I know it has been busy with teaching, book signings, and working on a book project, but usually it doesn't disappear as fast as it has been. Maybe it is because we are getting so close to the holidays. Do you guys feel this way as well? At least I don't have to stare at the walls and wish time away i guess, even though having that every once in a while would be nice.

As I had mentioned earlier, I have been enjoying lots of fun activities lately and the Children's Book class that I was teaching at the Elk River Arts Alliance was one of those. Over the last 7 weeks the class worked on things ranging from understanding what the different elements and parts of a book were, how to put together a dummy book, concepting, character development, and working towards finished illustrations. We also talked about portfolios, marketing and looking for the right place to show your work. I know this was a lot of information for a short 5 class session, but was thoroughly impressed with everyones progress. One of my favorite things to see as a teacher is the progression of a student and everyone really did a great job. Hopefully, they will continue to pursue their efforts now that class is over. So with that, now I am left with work in my studio as I am getting down to the last week and a half on the current book project. At first I was starting to wonder what I would do with myself after it was done, but was pleasantly surprised with another great book project that is now starting up. I am really hoping that I will be able to share with you guys the progress of this new book as I am working on it, but will have to wait and see if I can get the permission to do so.

Finally, I am getting ready to head back home tomorrow to North Dakota to do a book signing at Hairetage Hallmark. It will be a short trip as I have to be back in the cities Friday morning, but it will be a lot of fun seeing some of my old friends and relatives tomorrow. Hopefully the extreme cold won't stop them from coming.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Not being afraid to fail

One of the wonderful things that the Minneapolis College of Art and Design offers to alumni, students and the general public is the opportunity to sit in on lectures from some of the best in the arts industry. I was fortunate to have been at last Thursday's lecture with Scott Baker( MCAD '78) who is the founder of Baker Associates and is one of the heavyweights in the design and branding industry. Lets just say that everyone of you has products that he has designed in your house, everything from the famous brands as Cheerios, Oreo's, Ritz Crakers, Caribou coffee products, Marie Callendar, Total, and hundreds of other products. He has amassed an amazing portfolio of some of the most recognizable and memorable images in the branding game today and I found it very intriguing to listen to his thoughts and insights in the industry. Even though it is not an area that I am going to work in, it is still the creative process that drives his work. He actually started out as a well know illustrator and then worked his way into the marketing and branding industry.

One of the things that he made sure that he repeated a number of times to the students and the fresh in the market grads was the notion that you cannot be afraid to fail. The notion that great art comes without failure is one that is false. He said that he encourages his employees to not be afraid of failure and to embrace things when they don't work out. Without taking those chances, you cannot grow as an artist. It is something that I have found to be very helpful and was taught that very thing with some of my MCAD professors. It is nice to know that even the most successful people still embrace failure as a great thing. So with that, I encourage you all to not worry about when something doesn't work out, use it as a learning experience and let it go. You will be a better artist because of it.

In other news, things have been going great with "The Sick Bug". We just had a booksigning at the Minnetonka Barnes and Noble last night and enjoyed the evening a lot. The strangest thing was when a little boy in the audience was so eager to meet me and was almost bouncing off his chair. So before Susie and I got started with reading the book and doing a little illustration, we made sure we let him tell us his pressing news. And the best thing of all was that his name was "Sean McCann" He was so excited that he had the same name as the person who had illustrated a book. It was pretty cool since I usually don't run into too many people with the same name as me. SO that definitely made the event! Now it is looking at a ton of booksignings all over the midwest and such over the next month and a half. Hopefully they will be as memorable as the one last night!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Getting back at the portraiture

So, after staring at the painting that I had started a while back of my brother and his wife, I have decided to finish it finally. I know the image that you see above is not at that stage yet, but it will get there over the course of the next three weeks and am excited to get it done and out the door for them to enjoy down in Arizona. It is also fun to get back into the oil paints after working in acrylics and watercolors with all of the illustration work lately. As for the picture itself, it started with a much darker background, similar to what you would usually see in a traditional portraiture, but wanted to play off of the pink/peach color of my brothers tie in the picture so I decided to go with a more green tone to it. I think that it will really come together once I get a few more layers put on. For the faces, I am currently working on the structure and am anxious to start putting the details and highlights in to really bring the faces to a more finished look. So stay tuned to see how this comes together.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Renewed Resolution

I know that I am not the best person to speak of sticking to resolutions when the New Year rings in, but I have to say that I am so happy to be apart of the MNSCBWI's Mentorship program this year. Last night was a perfect reason why it is so great to hook up with aspiring artists, and to work together towards goals that will help not only the mentoree but also the mentor. For me, that person happens to be Betsy LePlatt. She is an artist that has wonderful sense of composition, use of color, and great character development. What seemed to be a simple hour long meeting, was actually one that lasted a little over two hours. It is amazing how energized one can get when you are with like minded friends. Not only am I looking forward to the progress that Betsy will be making over the course of the next year, but I am anxious to see how much of that enthusiasm rubs off on me as well. To have goals laid out and an idea of where one wants to go, it is never to late or early to think of those resolutions that we must have. Why must we wait till the first of the year? Isn't is bound to fail if we already know that it's "just" a New Years Resolution. Why not have a years worth of resolutions that are actually doable. For me, I know that I am going to work on solidifying my presence so that when I contact publishers, they will have a better idea of what I am about, what I can do, and how I can work to make their projects great. Another area that I need to keep working on is the organizational aspect of my studio. How easy is it to just lay things over there instead of putting them away. I know it is a studio, but when I spend half an hour looking for "that roll of tape" or the tube of paint I set down somewhere then it is time to reorganize it. If only all my studio items could be called to find them! So I hope that even though we are two months away from the new year, why not take that extra hour we are giving this weekend and come up with some new and energizing goals that will help us reach where we are going!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Coloring Page Tuesday and my trip to Green Bay

Yes it is true, coloring page Tuesday is here again. This one is from an oldie, but still fun nonetheless. It is a coloring page from "Why the Owl has Big Ears." I hope you enjoy.

So you might be asking what has Shawn been up to the last week since the last post. Well, I was on a great trip over to Green Bay, Wisconsin (and I did get some shots of Lambeau as I was driving bye). I was teaching a workshop over at the Richeson School of Art in Kimberly which is a suburb of Green Bay. The workshop focused on illustration as an art form and what were the different areas in which one could work as an Illustrator. As usual, the students were wonderful and had a great time experimenting with everything from collage work to the more traditional mediums. The time just flew by as we only had three full days to work together, but we made the most of it and am anxious to keep in touch with the students on their after class journey. While over there, I was also happy to head over to Conkey's Bookstore in Appleton and did a book signing of "The Sick Bug" with Susie. We had a great time, but were a little disappointed that it rained most of the evening so traffic was a bit deterred by that. And of course while I was there I managed to find a couple of really cool items. It just so happened to be that the previous weeks author that came in was none other than Jon Scieszka. Before he had left he autographed a couple of books and I managed to snatch them up. They were "The Stinky Cheese Man and other Fairly Stupid Tales" and "The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs". I know I am going to treasure them forever. I just wish I could have met him, but that will be another time.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Coloring Page Tuesday and Postcards galore!

Hard to believe, but Tuesday is upon us again and its time for another coloring page to download and enjoy! Ok, I have two of them here for you to enjoy.

In other news, I was excited to see my postcards show up today that I will be using as my fall marketing blitz. I know I don't send out my postcards as often as I should, but with the additional postcards that the Children's Book Illustrators Guild (CBIG) sends out, it makes for about 4-5 postcards a year. As for printing companies that I use, it usually is between VistaPrint and Overnight Printing. I have found that both offer great prices on postcards and the reproduction quality is great as well. These postcards that you see were done from Overnight Printing and have a nice glossy color front and a satin back. I tried the glossy on both sides last time and found it to be diffucult to not smear the ink on the glossy back, so I am back to the trusty satin look. Overall the cost of these were really reasonable. The expensive part is going to be getting all of the postage for them. So, when I get back from my trip to Green Bay on Thursday, I will be working on addressing and mailing all of these bad boys. Good thing the stamps are self adhesive and not the licking style!!!!!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

2008/2009 Illustration Mentorship Winner

And the winner is................................. Betsy LePlatt!

I would like to congratulate Betsy LePlatt as she was the winner that I chose for the 2008/2009 MNSCBWI Illustration Mentoree. I am really excited to have met her yesterday and will look forward to working with her over the course of the next year. Over the next year we will be working on her children's illustration work and her portfolio to help her have a better presence online and in her pursuit of illustrating children's books. Again congrats to you Besty, your work is amazing and it will be a blast.

Friday, October 10, 2008

A Crazy busy Saturday

Illustration by 2007 Illustration Mentorship winner Nina Crittenden

Well just a short post tonight as I am preparing for another crazy weekend. This time though it is just on Saturday so I will have a little recovery day on Sunday to work on my book project and get caught up with that. As for tomorrow, it starts off with the Twin Cities Book Festival in downtown Minneapolis. The festivities will be beginning at 10 am and running until 5 pm. I definitely would recommend anyone who loves books to stop on by as Susie and I will be signing copies of "The SIck Bug" and many other authors and illustrators will be doing the same for their books. So, before that ends and where the chaos begins, I have to cut out early to head over to St. Paul to the MNSCBWI Fall Conference and announce who I have chosen to win the Illustration Mentorship for the year 2008/2009. It should be a lot of fun and am anxious to meet the winner. Hopefully I will make it on time and not rush into the middle of the awards ceremony! So that's a little of my weekend, hope yours is less chaotic and more relaxing! Have a great start to your weekends and check back to hear all about the winning illustrator.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Classes starting tomorrow

Hard to believe that October is here already. It seems like just yesterday we were in August, but I guess the fall colors are on there way and I will have to enjoy that before the color is all gone. The good thing though about the cooler weather is there isn't as much of an urge to go outside and waste the beautiful evenings. So, in the long run, I will get more done as the weather slowly goes Kaput outside and the night gets darker earlier and earlier. WIth that, I am excited that tomorrow I will be starting a class that I am teaching at the Elk River Arts Alliance. The great thing is it is only about two miles from where I live, compared to all of the other activities that are more in the downtown Minneapolis area. I just won't know what to do with such a short commute! The class itself was supposed to start on the 23rd of Sept., but we needed to postpone it a couple of weeks and am anxious to get going. The class is going to be on the art of creating children's books, so it should be a lot of fun and a productive 10 weeks. We only meet every other tues. but am hopeful that the students will use the time wisely in between classes and come out excited and energized to continue the pursuit of creating for the children's market.

PS, The book at the top is one that I recently added to my collection on Friday from the MEMO conference in Minneapolis. It is called Storm Codes and was illustrated by my good friend Christina Rodriquez. I would definitely recommend the book as it is such a wonderful read and the illustrations are amazing! Congrats to both Christina and Tracy for such a great book

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Interview on

Happy Thursday everyone. If you are looking for a fix on street painting, you should check out my interview on Hope you like!

As for other news, am excited that Susie and I will be at the Minnesota Educational Media Organization's fall conference with our new book The Sick Bug tomorrow. It should be a fun event and am looking forward to seeing fellow blogger Christina Rodriguez there as well.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Coloring Page Tuesday

Joining in on the fun, I have decided to join fellow bloggers Nina Crittenden and Christina Rodriguez for "Coloring Page Tuesday" My submission to the days coloring page is one from my newly released children's book The Sick Bug. This is an image of all the bugs with their name tags on. I have also added a second bonus coloring page with the bugs. Hope you like!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Launch Party Photos

Happy Sunday to everyone. I hope your weekends have been going well. I know mine has been really busy with the big ArtPerchance event at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts on Friday night and then Yesterday with the "Launch Party" for the sick bug over at The Bookcase in Wayzata. We had such a great crowd over there and the books were flying off the shelf so fast that the bookstore ran out of the books within the first hour. Good thing Susie came prepared with a number of extra cases in the back of her vehicle that we were able to keep the fun rolling. It was nice that a number of friends stopped by as well including Nina from CBIG and also Nicole from the MIA. One of the things that was really cool to see was the bug t-shirts that Susie had made. They really were a big hit with the kids as you can see below. Thanks to all that stopped by and am looking forward to showcasing the book at the Minnesota Educational Media Organizations conference this Friday. PS. that is Dara Moore in the last photo. She is one of the editors over at Beavers Pond Press and was the one that got Susie and I hooked up for this great project!

Friday, September 26, 2008

"The Sick Bug" Launch Party

Well, hard to believe, but the big launch party for "The Sick Bug" has finally arrived. The book itself came out a few weeks ago, but this is the time to have fun celebrate the books release. Along with a lot of fun activities for the kids, there is going to be a signing by both myself and the author Susie Bazil and am really looking forward to a fun time. The launch party is going to be held at The Bookcase in Wayzata from 1-3pm tomorrow. If you are looking for a good time for the kiddies and want to come and help celebrate the book, we would love to see you there!

In other news, another little article was released today in the LakeShore Weekly about Susie and the book. I think it is a fun little read. You can check out the article here.

Well off to the big ArtPerchance event at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. I have a piece in the fundraiser and am off to go party and network! Have a great start to the weekend!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

"The Sick Bug" has hit the airwaves

Just a quick post as I am out of state for my sisters wedding but wanted to post this cool link from the Fox 9 morning show from Yesterday. They had a really great spot about the book with the author Susie. Hope you like "The Sick Bug" ON Fox 9 morning show

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Some GREAT news

Hello everybody. I know that sometimes I can seem to be excited by everything that is going on whether it is something to be excited by or not, but I promise that this is really cool. The news involves the recent release of "The Sick Bug" that was written by Susie Bazil and of course illustrated by myself. The book officially came out last Friday and was one of the books featured at the Boston Book Festival last Sat. It has also been included in a number of articles that were in newspapers around the metro. Well, I just received an email from Susie and she is going to be appearing on the Fox 9 Morning show next Wed. the 17th with the book. How great is that! I am totally psyched and wish I could be in the Twin Cities to check it out, but will have to rely on someone to tape it as I will be out of state for my sister Megan's wedding. This has really been a great experience working with Susie and also Dara over at Beavers Pond and am so happy that the book is finally out on the market and starting to make some waves. Hopefully the momentum is just beginning!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

"Catch the Wind" has arrived!

Hello everyone. Another exciting day has arrived as I finally received copies of a children's educational book I illustrated titled "Catch the Wind". Mortenson Construction company which is a major player in the construction of renewable energy projects like wind turbines and such was the driving force behind this non profit venture to use the book as an educational resource. They are also the ones working on the new Twins stadium in downtown Minneapolis, so there was a natural bond of course :) With the book they also created an area on their website called Discover Renewables where you can download coloring pages, crossword puzzles and things such as vocabulary words associated with the wind turbines. If you know of any kids that are interested in learning more about how those big wind turbines are made or work, this is definitely a book for them!

One another note, it has been a really good week so far with another children's book project that I have been working on and am getting close to getting the characters all finished with their development. It will be fun to tell you more about this book as soon as I am able to, but until then, know that I am not slacking too much and am still working in the studio. This weekend though will be a different case as I am getting anxious to go to the opening of "A Child's Hope" at the Owatonna Art Center. It is a show that features the work of illustrators from The Children's Book Illustrators Guild (CBIG) of Minnesota and one in which I have two pieces that are displayed. The show itself opened yesterday but will have the reception on Sat the 13th from 1-4pm at the Owatonna Art Center. So if you happen to be in the area or are near the Owatonna Art center between now and Nov. 1st you should stop by and check it out!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Illustration Friday: Clutter

Do I need to look any further than my studio for this one?

Thursday, September 4, 2008 and more

My "Mill City" street Mural 2005

Image copyright Jonette Novak

Image copyright Jonette Novak

My finished Street Mural for the International Children's Festival in St. Paul

An element of being an artist that I really enjoy is when I get to create street murals. Over the last 5 years or so I have been able to work on murals for various events ranging from mall openings, children's festivals and for museums. It is always a blast to interact with the audience and show them what can be accomplished with chalk on the sidewalk or street. What really peaked my interest though was when I was fortunate enough to work alongside a number of the top sidewalk chalk artists in the country a couple of years ago at the St. Paul International Children's Festival. From Rod Tyron, Tracy Lee Stum, and Joel Yau, It really opened my eyes to the type and quality of work that can be done on the street. I also had the privilege to meet Wendy Stum and Anthony Cappetto who own Art for After Hours which is a company that brings these talented artists around the world for events and festivals. Their insight was great in looking at what was possible with street painting. Now they have upped the push for the genre of street painting by creating and the blog Blog Now on These are two great resources for anyone interested in street painting. It will be a lot of fun to see the new videos and posts that are to come from some of their great artists. So Best of luck with the sites Wendy and Anthony, you guys definitely have done a great job with creating an inspiration and resource for street painters.

From L to R: Tracy, Wendy, Anthony, myself and Rod

In other fun news, I was surprised late last week when I got an call from Christina Rodriguez who is the Illustration Coordinator for the Minnesota Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. With her call, I was asked to be the 2008-2009 Illustration Mentor for MNSCBWI. I was honored that they thought highly enough of my work to ask me to take on this important task of guiding another illustrator through the process of what it takes to get published, marketing and all of the nuances of being a children's book illustrator. Over the course of the next year, there will be lots to do and am anxious to see who I will be paired up. I know it will be a lot of hard work, but that is the course that as an artist one must get used to. For you will not go anywhere unless you are willing to put in your dues and keep at it. So I will be sure to keep you posted when the winner is announced and will be introducing them in due time.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Backing up your files

As I listen to the coverage of Hurricane Gustav, I am reminded that in an instance, things can be changed drastically. When it comes to that instance, you won't have a chance to save those all important files that you have been working on for the last week, month, or a number of months without backing them up. I know it is not something that always crosses your mind when working on digitizing your images, scans, or even photoshop files, but it is something that you must think of in case of that natural disaster. Whether it be a flood, tornado, fire or whatever, you must look at a system that works for you in making sure that you do not lose your life's work and files. For myself, I have found that keeping a backup of all files is not only necessary in my studio, but also by keeping a complete set of the backup files outside of my location, which just happens to be at my parents house. That way if everything were to get damaged here, at last I would be able to access the files from a hard drive that is kept there. I know you may think that seems redundant, but how much are your files worth to you? How about all of those images you took of your paintings that have been sold and have no clue where they are at? A few hours to back up your archive now can make all those headaches non existent in the case that something were to happen.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A great find.

One of the things that I really enjoy doing is searching for great books to add to my slowly growing library. Whether they are books about artists, art history, classics, or children's books, it is fun to find books that are not only printed well, but are great to read and look at. With that, I have been enjoying a new addition to my library the last week, a reprint of the 1909 Grimm's Fairy Tales with illustrations by the remarkable Arthur Rackham. The book is a wonderful recreation that is beautifully printed and bound. It even has a really great slip case. As to where I got it from, it came from a place called the Folio Society which exists to create beautiful editions of the world’s greatest books. The books are a little more expensive than a traditional version of them, but the production value just blows you away when you get to actual look through it. I definitely would recommend anyone who is a book lover to check it out.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Fall Classes and Buddy Guy

After a seemingly short summer, it is hard to believe that I am talking about the fall already. But with all that is to come in the next four months, I am actually happy that the fall has arrived. There will be the releases of a couple of new books with "Catch the Wind" and also "The Sick Bug", and a number of really fun events associated with them. Also on the fall menu is a couple of different classes that I will be teaching as well. The first of them is a 5 session class at the Elk River Arts Alliance that will be held every other Tuesday starting Sept. 23 on Creating Childrens' Books. This class will be 2 hours on Tuesdays and will be a great class for anyone who has always wanted to illustrate a children's book or is fascinated and wants to learn more about the process involved. The second class that is coming up as well is a class on "The Art of Illustration" at the Richeson School of Art in Kimberly, WI. This will be a class that will be a great overview for someone interested in being a professional illustrator. Whether it be illustrating books, magazine articles or product illustration, this class will give the participants the information about the industry as a whole. Another great aspect about the class is what to do next. They will learn how not only to put a portfolio piece together but also how to market themselves as an illustrator. So if you or someone you know in the vicinity of Wisconsin would be interested, feel free to pass along the information. The more students the merrier. For more information, feel free to click on the link to Richesons or you can look at the bottom of this post and I will list more information.

And then there was BUDDY GUY. As many of you know already, I am a HUGE fan of the blues and greats like BB King, Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters and the like. Having been to a number of Buddy's concerts before definitely didn't leave me satisfied and I needed to see more! So with the lineup of Big Head Todd and the Monsters, Johnny Lang and Buddy Guy, a few friends and I ended up at the Minnesota State Fair and Buddy's concert. As usual, it was a great show and am already looking forward to the next one when he comes to town next. I know the pictures here are not the best, but I can attest to the great seats we had and the beautiful weather that was present for the show. I would definitely recommend to you that if you haven't seen Buddy before, you must check him out as he is an amazing performer!

Children's Book Illustration class at The Elk River Arts Alliance
716 Main Street in Elk River, MN
--Every other Tuesday---
Classes start Sept. 23 and continue on Oct. 7, 21 and Nov. 4 and 18.
6:30 to 8:30 pm
Cost $ 150 for all five classes
***Registration for class will begin soon. To reserve a spot in the class call the Arts Alliance at 763-441-4725

The Art of Illustration at Richeson School of Art
557 Marcella Street, Kimberly, WI
Oct. 17-19, 2008: Three day all day workshop
Cost $350

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Two of my books showed up!

For me, one of my favorite moments of working on book illustrations is when the book that I had worked on for so long shows up. And today was one that was doubly exciting with two books showing up on the doorstep. Hopefully I will be getting more samples of the books for my portfolio and archive, but until then, I am enjoying the two new additions to the shelf. The books themselves are titled "The Bird Shaman" by Judith Moffett and "Sunny's Adventures' by Leketha Marie Johnson. Now it is waiting for the other two books that are coming out in the next couple of weeks with "Catch the Wind" and "The Sick Bug"