Drawings from last week’s session. Michelle was a terrific model– the yoga ball/mirror set-up is such a good idea!
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!
In the words of Joseph Wood Krutch, “the most serious charge which can be brought against New England is not Puritanism but February.” But with all of its work and weather it’s been a great month! In addition to doing figure drawing each week and being deep into the finals of a big freelance book project called The Penny (more on that soon), this month I was accepted into a residency for late spring at the Vermont Studio Center. I have never done a residency before and am tremendously honored and excited to go. My own studio and three meals a day on a beautiful farm in Northern Vermont? Boy howdy!! New ideas have and stories been fighting for attention in my brain, so there will be no shortage of work when I get there.
In other news, on President’s Day I turned in my submission to the awesome First Lady Anthology by the tremendous team of Colleen AF Venable (of First Second Books) and Marianne Ways! The book will come out this spring. While the artwork itself is top secret for now, I CAN tell you which First Lady will be mine: Martin Van Buren (our 8th president, as I’m sure you remember) actually had two first ladies, Hannah Hoes Van Buren and Angelica Singleton Van Buren. But it’s not what you think! Hannah died before Van Buren was ever elected, and thus his daughter-in-law, Angelica, resumed the duties of First Lady in her mother-in-law’s place. I had a great time doing the illustration, and from what I’ve seen of the other entries it will be a very fun book.
More drawing, comics, and site updates from me soon. Thanks for reading!