Category Archives: Events

Build Expectations! View of Industria

At long last, the final drawing! View of Industria was done in graphite at 32″x48″, and digitally colored and printed at 48″x72″Commissioned as the centerpiece for the show Building Expectations: Past and Present Visions of the Architectural Future, it celebrates the city of Industria from Didier de Chousy’s novel Ignis: The Central Fire, published in France in 1883. I’m very excited for the official opening this Friday, September 9th, at the David Winton Bell Gallery in the List Center at Brown University!

Curator Nathaniel Walker, a doctoral candidate in architectural history at Brown University, has put together a fantastic collection featuring historic works from the fervid imaginations of past futurists along with newly commissioned art work (including my drawing!) to illustrate a fresh look at the future. He will kick off the show at 5:30 with a brief talk about these visions of the future. Hope to see you in Providence this Friday at 5:30pm!

For the invitation, please click here:  BuildExpect Invite

For the press release, please click here.

Building Expectations! Final Roughs

The expectations build for Building Expectations! Here are the final steps in my process before arriving at the finish:

After many rounds of making drawings and a few key conversations with the curator of Building Expectations, Nathaniel Walker, I honed in on a train-shaped temple design I liked. And then, of course, it was death by tiny buildings!

Final Temple Design for Industria

I had hundreds and hundreds of tiny buildings to draw in 3-point perspective to “build” the city of Industria. Colored pencils on tracing paper helped me keep different sections in order as I began to construct a composition that would work as both the cover of the exhibition catalogue and the centerpiece of the show. The temple and a strong foreground was important for the right-hand side, which would end up being the front cover of the catalogue:

Early Compositional Layout for Industria

But the back cover needed strong visual weight too, to balance the city detail. Perhaps a very large building, and a moving road with robots? The entire piece also had to contain a significant number of key architectural details from the book, such as French gardens, smoke stacks, glass/iron and “lacy stone” buildings, a “moving road,” and robot slaves. And, of course! a happy couple on a flying machine. And a cat, just because:

Composition Draft in Colored Pencil

And here’s a look at the final rough draft for the drawing, a combination of drawing and gray digital tone:

Building Expectations will open this Friday, September 9th, at the Bell Gallery at Brown University. The final drawing, View of Industria, was executed in graphite at 36″ x 48″ and digitally colored for the giclee print. More views coming next week!


A Nomination for The Penny!

Great news from New Hampshire yesterday! The New Hampshire Writer’s Project selected our picture book, The Penny, as a finalist for the 2011 NH Literary Awards in the category of “Outstanding Children’s Literature”! Click here to vote for The Penny! The ceremony and reception to announce the winners will be held on Friday, November 4, 2011 at the NH Institute of Art in Manchester from 6-10:00pm. Hurray!

Building Expectations! Early Sketches for the Temple

Ignis: The Central Fire, by Didier de Chousy, is the story of building a Utopian city around a hole straight to the earth’s core. This steamy wonderland, full of moving roads and glowworms, flying machines and glass houses, revolves around its train-shaped temple built on a platform over the great hole. Worshippers and civilians alike gather there to celebrate man’s industrious future!

Writing by the seat of his pants through tangents and digressions, de Chousy describes the temple as inspired by both the Parthenon (Greece) and the Pantheon (Rome). As the temple sets much of the visual tone for the city architecture, it was a natural place to begin sketching for my drawing for the show Building Expectations: Past and Present Visions of the Architectural Future at Brown.

Here are few sketches of the temple design, with great thanks to Google Sketchup for enabling me to build a 3D computer model to help with the circle perspective:

Up next: the final rough sketches for Industria!


“A Dartmouth Year” at the Collis Center

After many rounds of ideas for the Collis Center Cafe space, my co-designer, Laura Terry, and I were inspired by the Dartmouth College Winter Carnival poster design. We loved the flat, linear design and the bold color. The execution turned out to be more challenging than we anticipated, but we’re very pleased with the final results. Here are my final digital color designs, followed by photos featuring Laura’s designs and a panorama of the space:

Each of the large masonite panels is 3’x4′, and the two medium ones are 2’x3′. LauraJen, and I finished painting in May, and the show went up late last month. They came out beautifully! Click on the panorama below to see the Cafe, or feel free to stop in and check them out!

Spring at last! Happy May!

What a terrifically crazy month April was! Full of conventions and workshops and projects and books, topped off with a fabulous one-week residency at the Vermont Studio Center. I am delighted with all of the progress, but also overjoyed to be sleeping in one place again. Here’s a little recap of what I’ve been up to:

Vermont Arist Week at the Vermont Studio Center is reserved just for resident fine artists and writers create work at a beautiful facility up in Johnson, VT. I had an enormous studio all to myself, where I could close the door and dance around and draw to my heart’s content, stopping only for meals and studio conversations, and of course the occasional beer:

Not only did I get to make some fun new work, but I had a big breakthrough on a book project which had been giving me trouble. Huzzah! One of my highlights was drawing lots of happy, dancing animals, all of which started as warm-up gesture drawings at my desk:

April also found me at a wonderful (and not a little smelly) parchment-making workshop at Pergamena in Montgomery, NY, where Jesse Meyer leads a class for 8-10 book enthusiasts who have the unreasonable urge to turn an animal hide into a beautiful writing surface, start to finish. Of course a one-weekend class in parchment-making is something like a “cooking show” version of the process (which actually takes several weeks), but Jesse and his family had kindly set up each step in a very comprehensible order, so that we could see each stage of the process in action. I came home with two skins, a calf-skin parchment 12′ square and a dyed-red goat skin parchment about 6′ square. I have no idea what I’m going to do with them yet, but they certainly are gorgeous to touch and to look at:

Lastly, The Penny, a long-time book project that I’ve been illustrating and designing with local author Andy Cutts, finally went to press! I am so excited to hold my first printed hardback book after all the months of creative development and drawing. Once the book is out I will post more images, but here I am holding up the dust jacket of the book as it comes straight off the huge offset printer in Lebanon, NH.

I couldn’t be more thankful to the people I’ve met who have shared their ideas and encouragement with me this month. Thank you all, each and every one of you, for all of your support. I know that May will bring even more possibilities!


Lynda Barry & the “You and Me and Leslie” Writing Workshop

Last week author and cartoonist Lynda Barry (One Hundred Demons, What It Is) stormed the town of White River Junction with her honesty and quirky charm during her two-day writing workshop for CCS students and alumni. “I’m excited to be here, and I was thinking of you all last night while drinking a tiny bottle of whiskey. I felt like a giant. And then I drank another.” She sang songs, acted out South Park episodes, shared stories, and spread out thousands of idea notecards for us to peruse at breaks.

For the next two days we wrote one 8 minute story after another, responding to prompt after prompt as Barry encouraged us to listen to the stories from the Image World already waiting for us in the back of our mind. Her writing method, explained in both of her books, follows these general guidelines:


1) You must write out all of your stories by hand.

2) You may not read over what you are writing while you are writing it.

3) If you get stuck, keep your pen moving by drawing your spiral. Continue writing when ready.

4) You may not read over what you have written when finished, except for while reading out loud to the entire class, during which

5) No one may look at the person reading.

6) No one may comment on what has been read except for Lynda, who always says “good! good! good!” after each story.

7) You may not talk about the writing until the very end of the workshop.


To read out loud without being able to first look back over your writing is pretty terrifying indeed, but the stories that people had written were breathtaking and complete, wonderful little first draft shorts done from start to finish in less than 15 minutes. Incredible! Who knew writing could be easy?

One of my favorite insights that Barry shared was on the song “Groovin'” by the Rascals. Like her, I had always heard the lyrics as “Life would be ecstasy, you and me and LESLIE,” and wondered ‘who is this Leslie person? A man? A woman? Is this a threesome he’s singing about? Maybe Leslie is their child.’ Barry pointed out that from an editorial point of view, ‘Leslie’ isn’t properly introduced and should thus be cut from the song. But the lyrics ACTUALLY say “Life would be ecstasy, you and me ENDLESSLY.” Which makes more sense, right? But is also completely general and boring! The Image of Leslie is lost, killed off, edited out, and replaced with a non-image concept word.

The more specific an Image is in a story–the more of a handle it provides into the world of a character–the more universal and relatable an Image becomes to a reader. How cool is that?

A huge thanks to Lynda Barry for her fabulous class! I’m already writing more, and I plan to keep it up.