Not at the beach... but down in Los Angles for the 45th annual SCBWI Summer Conference. Soaking up writing and illustrating inspiration and trying to paint a few polar bears while I'm at it!
Some MAJOR inspiration here from the cover of Kwame Alexandar's THE CROSSOVER. No polar bears in this story -- and far from it in fact -- but its an amazing book for your summer reading list, and Kwame is an incredible advocate for student writers and readers all over the world. As a book quite literally built around basketball, it might seem pretty far removed from the Arctic ocean and polar bear country, but in certain North Slope Borough schools, basketball is where its at. As a coach, father, and sports fan, this book also had a special resonance, and it won a Newberry Award in 2015 so there's that. Enjoy!
My inner bear (and lack of proper tools!) took control in the garden this past weekend. Replacing rotten fence posts only to remember that 18 inches of concrete anchor them to the earth. BIG ROCK. SMASH! This time I'm using treated posts and not pieces of timber salvaged from the woods.
Backpacking bears! A "day-in-the-life-of-the-artist" theme coming up for the next little bit. Enjoy!
And on Tuesday of last week, July 19th, I celebrated a picture book birthday for the brand new LATER, GATOR! Alas, I was deep in the woods and my mountaintop celebration was pretty quiet... No polar bears in the book, but I drew one here for an appropriately themed Presidential Post Card :) You can find Gator at a bookstore near you or call my local shop for a signed and personalized copy: Trail'sEnd Bookstore (509) 996-2345
GRRRAAAA!!!! Pretty much how I felt as I forced myself to listen to last Monday's Republican Convention coverage on the 2 hour drive home from Wenatchee... Thankfully, spending the rest of the week on a backpacking trip with my daughter and friends - and away from any and ALL media coverage - might have tipped my soul back into balance.
Keeley's second excellent postcard contribution for the week. A full day of summer school visits yesterday and then we spend three days backpacking in the North Cascades! We'll keep a look out for wolverines and other wild Washington critters, but there will be a little lull in my post card posts. Stay tuned for a deluge when we return!
A 12-hour day on the road for Wenatchee-area school visits plus my daughter's violin lesson left very little time for post card painting... Thankfully, Keeley jumped into the fray again to help keep the project on track :) I kind of LOVE this fantasy hybrid polar bear creature that she painted while I was drawing with Cascade and Grant Elementary summer school kids :) Something about the colors and the shading reminds me a bit of Sophie Blackall's amazing work. Thanks a TON kiddo!
Down in Wenatchee today teaching a comics workshop in summer school! Drew last week's comic on the iPad Pro enroute back home from Boston. Not my usual routine (I normally ink with a brush and color in Photoshop) but it worked out pretty slick AND you can watch it happen!
Oh, and LATER, GATOR! debuts tomorrow :) Come say 'hi' to the little Gator guy at my hometown book release party: Saturday, July 23rd. 2pm at Trail's End Bookstore
For #ArcticSeaIceDay: In the year 2052, precocious ursus maritimus inventor Albert Karhu develops the SEAICE3000 -- forever stemming the tide of a melting Arctic via a device that transforms C02 into ice!
Should this NOT prove a viable course of future events, we should do all that we can today, in 2016, to SAVE OUR SEA ICE and to take our own climate actions to preserve this fragile world!
A great new student contribution to the #polarbearpostcardproject today! After a school visit in June, this student wanted to keep working on her card beyond the time that we'd had in class. Her submission, which I remember at the time seeming sophisticated in its content for a 4th grader, finally found its way to me -- and this afternoon I passed it along to President Obama. If you are a teacher or librarian with climate change and arctic animal related curricula, I'm happy to do free 20-30 minute Skype visits to speak about my own trip to the Arctic and the reason that I'm painting and drawing all of these polar bears. Give me a call or send an email! #wearethearctic
Follow the link above to find out how you too can help to protect the Arctic Refuge!
I usually ink my comics on paper and then color them in Photoshop with the wacom. In order to keep a lighter load for the International Literacy Association conference in Boston last weekend I left the computer at home and did this week's strip on an iPad Pro with the Procreate app -- and I'm pretty pleased with the result! Not only that, but that app records the entire process so you can basically watch me brainstorm :) NOT a pretty process, so don't expect a video link every week!
"Home Sweet Home!" after a great several days at the Boston-based International Literacy Association Conference, I did fall a little behind on my post cards - but I'll make it up this week. The workable trade-off came in the form of speaking with hundreds of people as a part of the Alaska Wilderness League's booth and in helping to pass out about 900 #wearethearctic books to teachers, librarians, and literacy specialists from around the country. I gave away 135 Polar Bear Post Card Prints as well, and hope to speak with even more students and teachers this fall in the form of Skype visits to encourage support for Arctic protecions. GRRR!
A second fine day of giving away #wearethearctic books at #ILA2016 Talked to LOTS of people about the Arctic National Wildlife refuge and the bears have distributed at least 120 Polar Bear Post Card Prints to teacher, librarians, and educators from around the country! Looking forward to Skyping with schools and hopefully helping kids and classrooms to send even MORE post cards of support for Arctic protections when schools ramp up again in the fall. One more half day at the conference on Monday so stop by booth NO. 610 and get you free books on the refuge.
A post card drawing yesterday from the Boston Gardens -- not too far from my hotel and the 2016 International Literacy Association conference. It's a little dark because scanning on the road is nothing like working from home, but so it goes :)
Thinking a lot today about the role that literacy plays in creating a better world -- one where fear of other people/places/ideas/religions is perhaps not quite so prevelant. And the weeping willow... there are several scattered around the garden, but the events of the last few days are sad indeed. In the words of our fine President and the recipient of this card: We can do better.
Ugh! I guess this is grumpy me when I've had way too much to do in way too short a time... VERY excited to be heading east to Boston and the International Literacy Association Conference -- and the furrowed brow of build-up has eased a bit now that I am on the road :) Stop by the Alaska Wilderness League Booth to chat about the Post Card Project and take your own first steps towards #climateaction to protect the #Arctic
I'm a little early with the theme... but it's virtual fireworks only here in eastern WA (which is totally fine and appropriate given our sage brush summer climes) so the colorful spirit of both independence, tolerance, and acceptance that actually DO make our country so great can lead you preemptively into a happy July 4th weekend!