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.