Tuesday, June 30, 2015

alligator vs. bunny = danger

The Illustration Friday prompt this week is: danger. I had an old sketch of an alligator trying to eat a bunny (from a picture book dummy I'm thinking of revising) and decided to make a new drawing:

 Poor bunny! Do you think she'll get away?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

panda sketches - small for illustration friday

The Illustration Friday prompt this week is: small. I did a few panda sketches (didn't know pandas were so hard to draw!) for a friend, and the panda on the right side is feeling so small compared to the other two pandas. It's hard to be the littlest panda (or child in the family, or kid in the class):

Poor small panda!

Don't worry though. Small panda will grow up to be a big panda before you know it!

Monday, June 8, 2015

last day to bid on children's book art for the ABFE auction

Update: Now that the auction is over,* I wanted to post an update to say: Thank you to everyone who bid on art in the auction! And thank you to everyone who wasn't able to bid, but helped to get the word out! And an extra thank you to the people who bid on my art! To the people who won art in the auction: I hope you love your new art and it brings you joy whenever you see it hanging in your home or office.

Would you like to support free speech and get some great children's book art? Today is the last day* to bid on art in the ABFE** auction. Items have different auction closing times throughout the day/evening, so check early for more choices.

Click here for the link to the auction.

I have two pieces in the auction this time. The first is the painting, Once Upon A Time Birdies. It was created for the auction on Tell A Story Day (for my unusual holidays series). These little birdies are telling a story, and reading a story (EWE AND AYE). (note: the colors look better in real life than in the scan). Click here to bid on the Once Upon A Time Birdies.

The second painting is in honor of Judy Blume (the person ABFE honored at their BEA auction this year). I had several ideas about what to draw before deciding to paint a girl reading a Judy Blume book (ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT'S ME, MARGARET), with more Judy Blume books to choose from when she's looking for another book to read. Click here to bid on the Girl Reading Judy Blume Books.

* The auction is over, except for two Chris Raschka pieces, which you can bid on until Thursday.

** From the ABA website: "The American Booksellers for Free Expression (The ABFE Group at ABA) is the bookseller's voice in the fight for free speech. Its mission is to promote and protect the free exchange of ideas, particularly those contained in books..." Click Here to read more about ABFE.

Friday, June 5, 2015

an airborne cow, cat, and donut: new postcards, unusual holidays, and Illustration Friday

Today's unusual holiday is Donut Day,* and yesterday was Hug A Cat Day. I combined those two with the Illustration Friday prompt this week, "airborne,"to create this portrait:

Cora (the cow) is from a book I'm working on, and also my new postcard.** She searched for her cat Marmalade yesterday to give her a hug for Hug A Cat Day, but Marmalade likes hugs almost as much as she likes Cora's pogo stick (not at all). She got a hug today and a ride on the pogo stick too, but no donut. Poor Marmalade.

Marmalade is swishing her tail in annoyance. Cora better watch out when they land!

* Which way do you spell today's tasty treat: Donut or Doughnut? Spell check says donut is spelled wrong, unless it's plural. Guessing spell check likes to eat donuts by the dozen!

** My new postcards featuring Cora got mailed*** out yesterday!

*** FYI to illustrators: postage rates for postcard stamps went up on Sunday to 35 cents (which they didn't tell me when I bought 150 postcard stamps on Saturday). I was able to buy 1 cent stamps (had to go to two post offices to get enough), so the postcards are on their way. WooHoo!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

superhero bunny vs. candy corn monster

It's a bit monstrous out today (still cold and rainy), so it seems like the perfect time to post monster art (and a cute bunny too).

The Illustration Friday prompt this week is: monster. I didn't have a specific monster image in my head when I started drawing, but given how much I like Halloween, it didn't surprise me that my monster turned out like this:

My monster looks like a giant melted candy corn crossed with a crab wearing furry slippers!

The little superhero bunny is not sure what to think. Will they be friends? Does the monster like to eat bunnies? (That claw looks like it's about to pick up the bunny, doesn't it?)

Here's a close up of the bunny:

The more I look at this picture, the more it seems to represent my life. Sometimes I'm the bunny, other times I want to dress up like a monster and go trick-or-treating. (Yay Halloween candy!)

How's your day going? Hope it's not as monstrous as the weather!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

rabbit with melty grape Popsicle and cow bouncing on pogo stick

Today's unusual holiday is Grape Popsicle Day! I combined that with the Illustration Friday prompt this week, "melt," to create this portrait of a young rabbit with melty grape Popsicle:

Now I want a grape Popsicle!

Over the weekend, I drew a cow bouncing on a pogo stick, for the SCBWI illustrator prompt, "bounce," for the June news letter (also working on a postcard with this cow):

There are a lot of different and cool responses to this prompt! Check out the #scbwidrawthis hashtag on Twitter and other social media to see more.

Want to see more of my unusual holiday art? Please click here.  

To learn more about my books or see my portfolio art, please visit my website, sruble.com.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

unusual holidays featuring: strawberries, seagulls, bears, turtles, and snails

This week I made more art for unusual holidays - and now it's been a whole month of every day holidays!*

Wednesday was Pick A Strawberry Day. My first thought was strawberries picking teams for a game, which is how this painting happened:

Thursday was Maritime Day, which was a good day for this seagull to give a salute:

This is part of a larger image. The hippo and the seagull on the right are jealous of the hat the hippo on the left is wearing (it's a Hippo-Ship Hat):

Friday was Waitstaff Day. This bear is a good waiter. He will NOT eat the pie before he serves it to the customer (maybe).

I didn't intend to put in the text or thought bubbles, so they didn't fit as well as they would have if I'd planned them. I still like it though, because the words being spontaneous is just like the bear's decision to eat the pie (or not). Here's a close up of the sign and the bear's thoughts:

Yesterday was World Turtle Day. I celebrated by drawing some turtle love (another paint test paper drawing):

Last, but not least, did you know that today is Tiara Day and also Escargot Day? I didn't either, but when I found out, I decided to draw this royal snail (more drawing on my paint test paper here):

Want to see more art for holidays you've probably never heard of? Please click here to see my art for unusual holidays so far.*

To learn more about my books or see my portfolio art, please visit my website, sruble.com.

*I'll continue to make holiday art, because it's fun and I've been doing it for a long time. I just won't be doing it every day.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

unusual holidays: tree love, pigeons with cake, and cows

The last few days had even more unusual holidays to make art for!*

Saturday was Love A Tree Day (one of my favorite pieces of holiday art so far):

Sunday was World Baking Day, a perfect day for these pigeons to bake a cake (or find one). This is a sketch from 2012, but I still love it and it fit for Sunday's holiday:

Monday was Museum Day, and another piece of art from 2012. This cow inspired by Stenberg Brothers exhibition that was on display when I worked at MOMA many years ago. I wrote a blog post about this image, the original movie poster that inspired it, and an earlier version of my cow poster.

Today was Devil's Food Cake Day, and this Little Devil Moo loves Devil's Food Cake!

I just realized that three of these four images feature cows.** Go Cows! Moo!

I'm still making art for holidays you've probably never heard of. Please click here to see my art for unusual holidays so far.*

To learn more about my books or see my portfolio art, please visit my website, sruble.com.

* My one month of daily unusual holiday art is almost up! I'll still be making and/or posting art for unusual holidays, just not as often.

** I like to draw cows. You might have noticed. Or not. Cows are fun to draw. You should try it some time, if you like drawing and you want something fun to draw, like cows. Did I mention that cows are fun to draw?

Friday, May 15, 2015

unusual holidays: jumping frogs, dancing chickens, a penguin barbecuing, eggs, dot day, and IF

The number of unusual holidays and what they're for continues to amaze and inspire me. I don't make art for every one of these holidays, just the ones that are fun to draw! And if a day doesn't have a fun holiday, there are always monthly celebrations that catch my eye.

This week was a mix of daily and monthly holidays, and a drawing experiment to see if I can make art with the colors left over on my painting test sheet (where I paint a line or spot to see what the mixed color is or how much color is saturated on my brush).

First up is a penguin who loves to barbeque, for BBQ Month, and also for the Illustration Friday prompt this week - pet - I'd like to have a penguin for a pet! (I really like how this one turned out):

May is also Egg Month (not quite as successful as the penguin, but still fun):

Wednesday was Frog Jumping Day (I drew a ton of jumping frogs on my painting page - this one is my favorite):

Thursday was Dance Like A Chicken Day (I drew a ballerina chicken that didn't quite turn out, and this dancing chicken - the middle pose is my favorite):

Today is Endangered Species Day (there were so many animals to choose from - I couldn't resist painting this Sumatran Elephant):

The other art news from this week is that I was asked to do a celebridot!  (For my dot, I re-imagined the back cover of Ewe And Aye. Instead of drawing a new adventure, they are drawing the story of the adventure they had in the book.)

Celebridots are created by authors, illustrators, and celebrities to celebrate International Dot Day, inspired by Peter H. Reynolds' picture book "The Dot". I'm honored to have been asked and to have my dot included in the celebridot gallery. Check out the website to find out more and see all the celebridots.

I'm still making art for holidays you've probably never heard of. Please click here to see my art for unusual holidays so far.

To learn more about my books or see my portfolio art, please visit my website, sruble.com.  

Sunday, May 10, 2015

a bittersweet mother's day

Today is Mother's Day. It's a bittersweet one for me this year, as it's the first year without my mom. May is bookended by memories of her. Mother's Day is at the beginning of the month, and her birthday was May 30th (or as she would say, "the real Memorial Day"*). My mom's name was Shirlee.***

Shirlee was a book lover, Jane Austen fan**, and children's librarian. She also had a large collection of book t-shirts, and t-shirts with my art on them (many of those were book related and she loved telling people that her daughter made the art on her shirt). Here she is with three of those t-shirts:

1. (top left) says: "So Many BOOKS ... So Little TIME."
2. (top right): This is my art. It's a picture of a superhero cow jumping over the moon.
3. (bottom): Me not wearing a book shirt, and my mom's shirt says: " A Book Is A Present You Open Again And Again. Read Books.

Shirlee loved travel and adventure. She got to go on many adventures, and was always up for another one. She even got to go ziplining in her 70s! Here she is in Alaska (top left), in a pool (top right) ... not sure where, but I think it was Mexico or on a cruise, and with me on the Staten Island Ferry (bottom):

She didn't get to go all the places she wanted to, but she traveled to many more places through books (sometimes traveling in real life and through a book at the same time):

I miss my mom, and wish that she'd been able to stick around longer, so she could do all the things she wanted to do. I also wish I'd been able to spend more time with her. I'm grateful that I got to spend the last six weeks with her, and that I got her this dog after one of her surgeries (my mom loved dogs, cats, ducks, many other animals ... this dog was an impulse purchase and one of the best gifts I ever bought her, because it was big enough to hug for comfort, or put over her like a blanket for warmth):

If I could talk to my mom or send her a card today, I'd say: Happy Mother's Day, Mom. Thanks for being a wonderful mom and for passing on your love of reading. I love you and I miss you. xoxo

* Memorial Day used to be on May 30th, every year. Now it's celebrated on the last Monday of the month.

** My mom did her dissertation on Jane Austen, and the last book she finished was Longbourn, by Jo Baker.

*** My mom was named after Shirley Temple, as many girls her age were. She did not go on to have a career in the movies, but she did end up changing the spelling of her name, to Shirlee, to stand out from all the other Shirleys, and possibly to annoy her parents.