Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving Balloons and NaNoWriMo update

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend! We went to see the balloons being blown up for the parade (pictures below), then had a big beef dinner (not a turkey fan), and a relaxing weekend. What did you do for Thanksgiving?

On to the real purpose for this post: balloon pictures! When you try to take pictures of the balloons while they are being blown up, you’re at the mercy of how the balloon is positioned and how many people get in your way while you are aiming the camera. These three pictures were taken with my cell phone and came out okay, although pics from other years have turned out better.

Hello Kitty
Hello Kitty

Kool-Aid Man
Kool-Aid Man

Wimpy Kid
Wimpy Kid

So just how big are those balloons, anyway? They’re HUGE! Here’s a picture I took of Buzz Lightyear in 2008. Three people happily posed for scale … okay, they weren’t posing for me, so I blurred out the faces, but it’s still a great picture to show the scale of the balloons.

Buzz Lightyear
Buzz Lightyear

You might be wondering how they manage to find space to blow up all those balloons. What they do is close off the two streets on either side of the American Museum of Natural History and line the balloons up along each street. Here’s a picture from 2008 that shows Horton in between Shrek and some holiday balloons.

Balloon Line Up
Balloon Line Up

Here’s another example. Remember the Kool-Aid Man picture above? Here’s the wide screen shot that shows him sandwiched in between Sponge Bob and a football and another balloon.

Balloon Line Up 2
Balloon Line Up

If you want to see the balloons next year, be prepared for lots of people. The crowd is always wall-to-wall, even before you get anywhere near the balloons, and especially once you get there. It’s inadvisable to bring small dogs and strollers to this event, although some people bring them (it’s an easy way for a pet, child or adult to get injured in the crush of the crowd). Here’s a picture of the 2007 crowd. It’s a little blurry, so it’s hard to see past the first couple of rows, but it’s all people, as far as the eye can see (and no balloons in sight yet).

Blurry Balloon Crowd
Blurry Balloon Crowd

After Thanksgiving weekend, it was back to writing my novel, because today is the last day of NaNoWriMo. Did you finish? I didn’t, but I’m ok with that (I’ve finished other years). This year I wasn’t able to start until Nov. 8th and I wanted to take the time to write a novel I like, instead of a novel that can’t be salvaged. I haven’t written much so far but I like what I’ve written. For the first time, I know what’s going to happen and how the book ends. I didn’t outline though ~ I’m still more of a pantser than a planner! The first chapter has been written, rewritten, and polished. Chapters 2-4 are about to get rewritten and polished, and the rest is back story that I probably won’t use.

You might have noticed my new fancy word count meter over in the sidebar. I made two to show how much I’ve written and how much I’m keeping so far (chapters 2-4 are in the keep section, even though they’re scheduled to be overhauled). Want your own handy, dandy progress meter for your blog, or website? Here’s the meter I’m using. It’s simple and works really well.

Good luck to all you NaNo novelists trying to finish before midnight! Type faster; fix later! :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Art for Charity Auction (Help Bridget Zinn Kick Cancer)

There’s an auction going on from now until December 4th (9pm CST) to help writer Bridget Zinn kick cancer. Winners will be notified on December 5th. There are lots of great items to bid on, including manuscript critiques, books to read, and art. A little bit about the auction, and below that the info about the art I donated for the auction and how you can bid on it.

Direct link to the auction: http://bit.ly/bridgetauction
Auction ID: bridgetkicks
Password: cancer

About the auction: All proceeds from this auction will go to Bridget Zinn and Barrett Dowell. Bridget was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer in February 2009. After receiving treatment in Portland for 18 months, Bridget and her husband Barrett are now traveling to Phoenix for one week every month for innovative treatment at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Not all of their costs for this promising treatment are covered by insurance. Bridget & Barrett’s friends and family are rallying to help them pay the bills so that they can focus on Bridget’s health and kick cancer. Artists, authors, and other friends and acquaintances have donated items in the spirit of love and hope. Link to Bridget’s blog.

What I donated: Here are the details on the cards, prints and recipe cards featuring my art.

sruble_HelloNoteCards
 
Hello Note Cards: This set of 20 note cards (2 each of 10 designs) features art with animals. There are sheep, bunnies, dogs and two little girls with their cat. These cards are great for sending notes to say hello, or thank you, or even to give as a gift. Printed on bright white linen paper with matching envelopes. All cards feature the caption, “Hello!” on the outside and are blank on the inside. Click here to bid on the Hello Note Cards.

sruble_HeartSheepdog
 
Heart Sheepdog Print: The Heart Sheepdog Print is 6″ x 8″ and will be printed on bright white velvet paper that’s used for fine art prints and brings out the vibrant colors of the art. The paper is 100% cotton rag, with an acid free base. There’s a 1″ white border around the art and is suitable for framing with or without a mat. Click here to bid on the Heart Sheepdog Print.

sruble_PaisleyWhale
 
Paisley Whale Print: The Paisley Whale Print is 6″ x 8″ and will be printed on bright white velvet paper that’s used for fine art prints and brings out the vibrant colors of the art. The paper is 100% cotton rag, with an acid free base. There’s a 1″ white border around the art and is suitable for framing with or without a mat. Click here to bid on the Paisley Whale Print.

sruble_RecipeCards
 
Snowman and Bunny Recipe Cards: This set of 24 recipe cards with 2 designs (you’ll receive 12 snowman and 12 bunny cards) are great for sharing holiday recipes or favorite recipes from family and friends. They work for any recipe: cookies, carrot cake, meatballs, tofurkey, or even snow cones.
Click here to bid on the Snowman and Bunny Recipe Cards. Note: The top two bidders will both win this auction.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sneaky Robot for IF and Snow Dog for WaWe

The prompt for Illustration Friday this week is sneaky. What’s sneakier than surprising someone with a water balloon attack?

That is one sneaky robot!
That is one sneaky robot!

Have you ever been surprised by a water balloon attack? (I have.) Did you get revenge? (I did. Mwahahahaha.)

The prompt for WaWe this week is snow, rain, or just brrrrrr. I thought the Snow Dog and haiku I did a few years ago fit the topic perfectly.

Snow Dog!

Snow Dog!

Here’s the haiku, in case you can’t read it in the image:
Big white puppy dog,
Looks just like a polar bear,
Likes to hide in snow
I’ve always liked this big white puppy dog and polar bears too.

What’s your favorite animal that likes snow?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

revising old art for CBIG, burning for IF, and my secret NaNoWriMo novel

I love creating new art, but once in a while I like to take an old piece and breathe new life into it.
The CBIG blog is celebrating NYC illustrator’s week by asking members to share a tip and an illustration. My tip is about revising old art to give it new life. When people think of revision, they usually think of text, but pictures can be revised as well. Many times the image gets revised as it goes from sketch to final, but sometimes you have a piece that just doesn’t work out, or a piece you always loved that doesn’t fit your current style. Those are prime candidates for revision.

Things to consider when revising old art: composition, emotion, color, character, and what the illustration is for (fun, portfolio, job, etc.).

Here are a few pieces I’ve revised recently:

First Snow of the Season

First Snow of the Season

What’s new: snow (instead of rain), the cat (instead of a stuffed toy moose and stuffed toy bunny), and multiple changes to the girl on the right. It’s a lot better than it was before, but not perfect. Maybe some day I’ll revise it again!

Paisley Whale Singing

Paisley Whale Singing

What’s new: almost everything! All I kept from the original image was the shape of the whale and the water. This is one of my favorite revisions. I also did a second paisley whale image. See all three pictures here. (Note: the original whale image was inspired by a whale I had done years earlier, but that image only showed the face, not the entire whale.)

Never play with a lit firecracker!

Never play with a lit firecracker!

What’s new: the clouds and grass (plain blue BG before), the expression on the dog’s face, and the caption. This revision is for Illustration Friday this week; the prompt is, “burning.” A person running into this dog might say, “The firecracker is about to go off! The wick is already burning! Everybody run!” (Note: the old drawing was based on an even older watercolor painting of a firecracker wielding wiener dog.)

Secret NaNoWriMo Novel: Speaking of revision, I decided to let my zombie novel sit for a while before rewriting it. I started writing a new novel for NaNoWriMo that I’m really excited about (I officially started Nov. 8th). I’m keeping most of the details secret for now, but I can tell you that it’s YA and it’s a romance. 

Do you ever revise an old image or story that didn’t quite work out the first time? Have you had success with it?