I was looking for names for new characters recently and much to my delight I stumbled across a list of the most unique baby names in the US from 1918 onwards. The list included such gems as: Chemistry, Horseshoe, Groovy, Situation, Temerity, Jobless...and my absolute FAVORITE, Primordial, Donut, Obsession, and Barbecue.
Whoever would choose to name their beloved offspring Barbecue??!!?!?
If, to you, those words ring out like a magic incantation, then you’re quite right! Lapis lazuli is the name of a blue rock found in parts of Afghanistan, which is responsible for a very electrifying, and very coveted shade of blue. The Venetians called it “ultramarine” (Italian for ‘a place beyond the sea’). During the Renaissance, Lapis lazuli was used only to paint the cloak of the Virgin Mary, and at the time it cost more than its weight in gold.
Ever since I started painting, I have been mind-boggled by this color. I see it used around the world – on Frida Kahlo’s house in Coyoacán, Mexico, in Majorelle Gardens in Marrakesh, Morocco, on Yves Klein’s blue abstracts, Matisse’s friendly nudes, and in my absolute favorite painting of all time, Titian’s Bacchus and Ariadne (above), which hangs in the National Gallery in London.
I have decided to kick up my heels and plan a research journey to chase this lapis lazuli around the world. I’m heading to Venice in October– to the city where it was first processed and traded its way into Europe.
There’s a pigment shop on Calle delle Rasse, where I hope to find out more about it! If anything, I should make some new friends and hopefully have a bit of gelato!
Thanks to the wonderful generosity of the folks at Child's Play International (Ltd), we recently had a book signing for The Great Googly Moogly at the BEA Book Expo in New York. The whole experience left me awestruck. I am so thankful to get the chance to work with such dedicated, passionate, creative and downright wonderful folks! I still can't believe I get to make a living from drawing in my jammies!
When it comes time to begin a new project, there's always a tingly feeling of being off the beaten track. I have no idea what the book is going to be about, who is going to be in it, or what it's going to look like page to page. Other illustrators I know call this "First Page Fear". Everyone copes with first page fear differently - I like to geek out and sharpen things.
For some unknown reason, I developed a terrifying fear of flying a few years ago. The only way I manage during take-off and landing is to doodle on the helpful, friendly barf bags they leave in your front seat pocket. I leave behind my maniacally-detailed doodle bags as a sort of "Hang In There" gift for whoever finds and needs it next. This one I kept, though, as a momento of my recent trip to the BEA Book Expo in New York - which I will write about soon!
I've been working on finding a new way of working this winter. Moving past my old tricks and habits is triumphant and terrifying at the same time.
Here is an exerpt from a series of Animal board books I'm working on at the moment with the lovely, Child's Play (International) Ltd.
This is one of the scenes that didn't make the cut for a picture book I'm working on. Still, it gives me the giggles so I thought I'll share it with you!
It's that time of year again! WHOO Wee! I hope we're all ready for the wahoo to begin!