Archive for April, 2011

I’ve never been a big fan of sneak peaks. They’ve always sort of annoyed me, I feel like they’re teasing me. Kind of like finding a wrapped present before you were suppose to. I like full surprises or nothing at all, not hints of one. But… I’m going to give a sneak peak of my newest book right here. Sorry for all you guys who are just like me.

I call this post what I do because this book has been in the works since fall of 2009. I then set it aside while I traveled the world for a while. That’s the “longest” part. The “shortest” part is because I finally picked it back up 2 days ago. I only had 4 out of the 11 pages completed, but I decided to seriously sit down and tackle the rest of this project over our nice long weekend. (At least, when I wasn’t at some Easter-related staff party. Goodness, the parties this weekend were a bit ridiculous! Fun, but I’m exhausted.)

Anyways, I just finished the final paint strokes on the final page (which, ironically, happens to be the first page in the book), and now I’m just super excited to share what has taken me a year and a half to complete!

The story focuses on simple and repetitive vocabulary for young readers, and follows a young caribou on his search for his herd and those he meets along the way. My mom and I came up with the concept, all the illustrations were done entirely by myself in watercolour, and it will be translated into Naskapi by the workers at the Naskapi Development Corporation in Kawawachikamach.

These were the first four pages I’d completed a year and a half ago. I stuck them up on the wall of the kitchen so I could try to match the other seven pages to these. That was, strangely, way harder then I would’ve thought! I felt like I was trying to emulate some other artist instead of myself. Very weird, but I guess it just shows how my style has changed in a year and a half.

Here’s a page I started from scratch 2 days ago. That bleeding “tye-dye” background is always fun, and adds some cool element to a standard illustration background (I think anyways).

These next few photos are all from today. We had an Easter brunch here at the house and afterwards I camped out on the futon in the living room and kept at it all afternoon and into the evening until I finished.

I kept the piles of paintings shuffled in a mess close at hand, for when I needed to remember how I’d painted that porcupine’s eye or the fur markings on the rabbit.

For some reason I think it’s cool to use a ridiculously thin paintbrush and black paint to outline, instead of simply tackling it with a pen. Yeah, I’m not really sure why I often decide to make things way more difficult then they need to be.

All eleven pages, completed, lined up in order on the living room floor! Whew. Eric will scan these for me, my dad will get the Naskapi translation, and then we’ll photoshop the whole thing together and send it off to Lulu.com for the self-publishing! I’ll post an update once we get out first printed copy and let you know how it turns out.

By the way… Would you happen to be interested in some original illustrations? In the past week I have sold almost every watercolour painting from , a few went to be nestled on the walls of individual homes, and the rest will be up on the walls of a little local hotel here in Schefferville. I never really thought people would be interested in owning the individual original artwork from some of my books, but I guess I was wrong! Anyways, if you see anything of mine that you like, I am selling completed watercolours (like the ones I just finished today for this book!) for $50 each. I really don’t want to keep them, since I have piles and piles of artwork I don’t know what to do with! So… let me know!

Oh, and Happy Easter!

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Record Store Day is an internationally celebrated day observed the third Saturday of April each year. Its purpose, as conceived by independent record store employee Chris Brown, is to celebrate the art of music. The day brings together fans, artists, and the over 700 independently owned record stores in the United States, along with hundreds of independent record stores across the world.
Record Store Day was officially founded in 2007 by Eric Levin, Michael Kurtz, Carrie Colliton, Amy Dorfman, Don Van Cleave and Brian Poehner and is now celebrated globally with hundreds of recording and other artists participating in the day by making special appearances, performances, meet and greets with their fans, the holding of art exhibits, and the issuing of special vinyl and CD releases along with other promotional products to mark the occasion.

– From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

As I’ve mentioned, Eric and I love vinyl records. Admittedly, Eric more then myself. But we’re both super excited to bring our record collections together in holy matrimony. Well, the big celebration of this love (of records, that is) is coming up tomorrow!! And Eric and I are more then bummed about being stuck up here in the great white cold far far ever so far away from any record store. (Actually, I do wonder how far away the closest one is to us right now.)

Last year, Eric also had to miss it because he was still teaching in Korea. I was back in NY by that point and spent the day storming record stores in Rochester with four very awesome record-loving friends, snatching up Eric’s wish list for Record Store Day releases, along with armfuls of freebies.

This year, one of those awesome friends hold our wish list in pocket and will be fighting through the other crazed enthusiasts for some prized vinyl. (We are so looking forward to attacking this day next year in real-life!)

Well, since we couldn’t be a direct part of tomorrow’s big day, we decided to contribute instead in the little way that we can, by releasing an honor to Record Store Day music video for Pocket Vinyl’s song, Savior Dream. It’s a fairly dark song with some fairly dark art, but with a bit of quirky humor. Most of the art is done by myself, some was done by Eric, and all the photography was done by my dad. I could talk more about it, but I’d prefer you to just check it out! Consider this our free Record Store Day gift, and hit up your local record store tomorrow!

“Savior Dream” by Pocket Vinyl (Official Music Video). Made for Record Store Day

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…I finally decided to open my own Etsy shop. For some reason I subconsciously resisted setting one up for years. I’m not sure why… probably just a weird response to the “you’re so artsy!”-ness of every hipster and non-hipster in existance, and so much of the “that’s not artistic talent in the least” that takes over so much of that site.

Then I found Regretsy and I laughed along with everyone else.

Then I thought, “Maybe I should be trying to make things better instead of just laughing at people…”

So, I am announcing the opening of my etsy shop. Just a handful of some beaded jewelry I’ve made recently, and I’ll most likely be adding to it more as the days go on.

Thanks for looking.

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A little while ago I wrote about my old dog, Sammy. He’s a great old dog.

But today I would like to join the ranks of my other crazy friends who take artsy photos and blog about there cats (you guys know how you are…). My friend/ex-roomie and I always laugh about one phone conversation in particular where, although we hadn’t talked in over 3 months and had lots of catching up to do, instead we mostly gushed about our cats. I’m not ashamed! I love my cat. Her name is Sister Sweater Moonshine. Sweater for the mewithoutYou song (and still my favorite to this day); Moonshine suggested by Eric; but we just call her Sister for short.

Sister is the only cat I’ve ever met who actually likes to crawl under my blankets with me to sleep! I love that she does this, she can be so cuddly sometimes.

She can also be so mischievous.

I got Sister for my 23rd birthday, when I first moved back to Schefferville almost two years ago now. She is such a sweetie, and she’s kept me company when I needed it the most.

Actually, usually she’s sort of stand-offish. At least, since she stopped being a kitten. Which was sometime this year I think. And she was only being cuddly with us when she’d be looking for lovin’. Which is just plain annoying and we’d throw her on the porch.

But for some reason, she’s almost always cuddly on my bed. She’ll completely ignore my calls and dodge away from my hand in the kitchen or in the middle of the afternoon, but she’ll walk all over my face and lick me awake on a sunny Saturday morning.


By the way, I love my room. I painted it bright yellow and dark blue when I was 15.

The snow birds are here!! They usually show up around this time of year, meaning spring has finally come! They follow the melting snow line, so they mean hope. I love them. So do the cats. It’s been awesome seeing Sister and my mom’s cat Misty freaking out at the windows, watching the birds. I think the birds have an affect on Sister’s personality as well. Since they’ve been around she has been so much more cuddly. I love it.

Finally, I want to show you our book:

For Eric’s birthday in 2010 I made him this book all about Sister. He loves kittens and loved that I had just gotten a kitten and had contributed to her name, and, well, I liked him. So I made him this book. Unfortunately the self-publishing company and I didn’t see eye-to-eye and his book reached him with the wrong cover and all the pages distorted. he still loved it. The book got set aside as other projects came up. But recently, Eric and I decided to pick it up again. He helped me do rewriting, we fixed the distortions to the images, and just a week or so ago we received a copy of the book that’s been a year and a half in the making, about our love of a kitten.

Much of the writing, as you can see, is the noises Sister makes.

Korean. Because this was for Eric. While he was in Korea.


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I was just in another room of the house, when I began to hear the thick melancholy tunes created by Timber Timbre wafting over from my dad’s old record player in the library, where Eric had just set it spinning. Timber Timbre is one of those groups that, although I only first heard them last fall, I know that one day I will feel nostalgic listening to. They just hold such a rich, deep, echoy sound.

While I was thinking this, and thinking into my future of one day feeling nostalgic listening to this record, I started wondering which record player this album would be played on. (Don’t giggle, that’s just where my thoughts led me.) It wouldn’t be my dad’s, his is staying up here in Schefferville. Mine maybe? Mine is at the house Eric and I will be living at in Connecticut. Though, last time we were there it was pretty dusty and the speakers weren’t the awesomest. Eric’s maybe? Nah, that’s Eric’s and it’ll be staying at his parents’ place in Houghton…

Wait, no it won’t… It’ll be in Connecticut. At our house. Because it’ll be our’s. And we’ll listen to all our records on it, probably pretty regularly.

Now, don’t get me wrong, it has “sunk in” that Eric and I will be married, and living together forever, and all that. But for some reason, realizing that we were going to be moving his record player into “our” house and it would belong to both him and myself kind of took me by a weird surprise. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I guess the whole reality of the whole thing just got a little closer. A little extra thing to be happy about.

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Why can’t we get all the people together in the world that we really like and then just stay together? I guess that wouldn’t work. Someone would leave. Someone always leaves. Then we would have to say good-bye. I hate good-byes. I know what I need. I need more hellos. ~Charles M. Schulz

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Being a good person is difficult. I don’t want to judge anyone. Ever. I don’t want to assume that my way of thinking or the way I do things is any better or any worse then anyone else’s, at all. It’s really hard though! It’s tough not thinking I’m the most important person to ever live.

One of my favorite quotes is from Mother Teresa, when she talked about the people she worked to help: “They are Jesus. Everyone is Jesus in a distressing disguise.” That thought has helped me in teaching many frustrating art classes, and in getting through potentially very irritating situations.

I have a bad habit of getting angry really quickly. Not always, but sometimes. And I hate. It just makes me so mad!! Just kidding. Really though.

Recently a new quote has been spinning a lot through my head, as I’ve been encountering many different frustrating situations and getting annoyed with the different ways people act. It’s the simplest, almost silliest quote, and it comes from an unlikely place:

“…And the pig promised himself that he would never think badly of any creature ever again.”

It’s from the movie Babe.
Eric and I watched it recently, and realized just how brilliant (and weirdly artsy) that movie is. I’ve always liked it as a kid, but this time around it helped me think over some things.

Sometimes wanting to be like this seems completely hopeless, while I still get irritated and frustrated and I still find myself thinking badly of people at times.

But not enough to give up completely. The world hurts too much for that. And I want to be better.

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