Pre-Order “What is a Dog?”

[EDIT 6/13/17 – Preorders are closed, thanks everyone! Buy the book here]

BIG NEWS!  I will be printing 100 paperback copies of a picture book I wrote and illustrated a couple years back.  “What is a Dog?” is a project that I’m so proud of and I’m excited to have the opportunity to make this short run of books.  HUGE thank-yous to everybody who bought the .PDF version on Gumroad.  All the proceeds from that went right into this!

So while we’re waiting for these books to be produced, I thought I should at least get a headcount to get all these books out into the world.  Claim your copies by filling out this form — it’s a first-come, first-served kinda deal.  I’ll be signing each and every copy!

If you haven’t read the book, I don’t want to spoil the fun by telling you everything. First let me say that it’s not so much a story as it is an exploration. Cute dogs are only part of the equation, and it’s up to the reader to sift through the various tears in both reason and reality. What is a dog, and where do you draw the line?

I’m also gathering reviews to give you the general flavor without giving too much away:

“What is a Dog? Is a fun, kooky, informational, and short journey about something we all love: dogs! It features amazing illustrations and a diverse cast that shows appreciation for every sort and type of pooch. If you love doggos, this book is for you!”

– Joshua W.

“Young kids will love finding the dogs (and non-dogs), but older kids will definitely enjoy its edges.”

– Maureen M.

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He Will Not Divide Us

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Watercolor and ink!

If you don’t know, Labeouf, Rönkkö & Turner started a live stream in New York on Inauguration Day, inviting the public to say “He Will Not Divide Us” into the camera and microphone. In under a week, I had collected several screenshots of things I found interesting or funny, and I knew I had to draw what I saw.

People come to the camera for all kinds of reasons. Some people sing, some people stay silent, some people shout vulgar things, and some people say the five words at the center of the project. Through it all there is bad weather, wild costumes, possums, dogs, and lots of food delivery. Just seeing the ebb and flow of this segment of 36th street has been fascinating.

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Centered on the Center 2017

I’m excited to be participating in one of my favorite shows again — this time with not one, but TWO pieces. I love this show because it showcases the incredible range of skill and imagination to be found in our own community [of hundreds of thousands of people.]

I hope you’ll join me (and much of Orange County’s artsy population) at the Huntington Beach Art Center on Main St this Saturday the 28th.  There’s sure to be something for everyone in this open-subject, open-medium show!

The exhibit will be up through March 4th.

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Goals for 2017

First, I want to thank all of you for filling 2016 with good times and laughs. Now it’s on to another 365 days of messy mistakes and minor successes!

I want to have goals for 2017, but I like to keep my goals flexible. I never want to get tunnel vision while I’m working toward them.

1. Host an Art Show

I had so much fun with the Spooky Show last October, I’d love to organize something like that — a show hosted by artists for artists!

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2. Pitch a Picture Book to a Publisher

Last year I joined SCBWI and attended the Summer Conference in LA. I learned so much about the publishing world, and while I’m sure there’s oceans more to learn, I want to jump in! What’s the worst that could happen?

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3. Make at Least One Polished Piece of Art Every Month

This one sounds super do-able NOW, but I know once I get swamped with projects and life’s odds and ends it’s going to be a real challenge. It’s easy to draw every day, but it’s not so easy to commit to a sketch and give it a nice finish.

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So how’s that for a start? At the tail-end of last year, I discovered the super lame¹ magic of planners/calendars, so I’ve recently been making monthly or weekly “resolutions” which have increased my motivation and productivity by a factor of at least nine.

Best of luck to everyone in this fresh new year! Let’s all have a happy orbit.

 

¹ This is in no way meant to disparage the noble world of planners and planning, but I think we all know it’s a bit frivolous.

It’s Not Over ‘Til the Fat Saint Falls Down the Chimney

craftfairpromo3Whether you had a great visit to the first show or you missed it, you’re in luck.  Because as Yoda once said, “There is another.”  And it’s going on right now, yes RIGHT NOW at the same location. All this week, in the run up to the start of Hanukkah, which also happens to be Christmas Eve, the shop is open from 10a – 8p, and on Saturday, 10 – 4 (gotta make time to set the cookies out for Santa, you know how it is.)  See you there!

 

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Timeless Treasures Boutiques Craft Fair

craftfairpromo1I don’t know about you, but this is about the time that I start to get a little jittery if I don’t have a gift at least planned for my loved ones. Lucky for us, there’s a cozy little craft fair starting tomorrow where you’re sure to find something cute, something fun, something unique to give your friends.

And what do you know, I happen to be participating!  Come visit my booth to find dog and cat ornaments.  I have just about every type of cat and a nice selection of dogs to choose from, but there is only one corgi so you’d better come get it before it gets got!

craftfairpromo2I have little wood pins – flying pigs, rocket ships, ufos, pizzas, and some silly surprises to boot. And speaking of wood, I teamed up with my Papa ‘Trozzi to make a couple of really cool bird houses, candleholders, and in an experimental fervor – PVC pipe bird houses!

A lot of vendors will have food, jewelry, and knitted goods. There’s something for everyone.

If you don’t know which day to come, SATURDAY is Ugly Sweater Day, if that influences your decision at all!

House of Spook 2016

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hos16blog3Last night I joined 20 artists in haunting an old house in Whittier with some spooky art!

Among the sweet treats and ghostly ghouls we displayed Halloween-themed art work and sold prints, stickers, and apparel.

Since this was to be a spooky show, I paid extra attention to potentially hair-raising moments to find inspiration for my piece.  I was sure that finding a creature in the shower was pretty spooky, and a shift in perspective only heightened the terror.

It was really fun to have a show in a historical building.  The house looked spook-tacular, and a good time was had by all!

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Travel

So there I am, sitting at my desk with a pencil in hand. I begin to draw. I draw a Thing, but it looks familiar. So I draw another and another. Everything I draw feels like I’ve done it before.100drawn

So that’s it. I’ve done it. I’ve drawn everything there is to draw. There’s nothing more I can do.

I’ve never been one to express my life through art. My inspiration comes from what I see and wonder about, not from emotion or circumstance. So if at times I find that I’m repeating myself in my work, I have to go somewhere else.

Art is about looking. If I’m in a place where I’m too familiar with my environment, I’m not looking — I’m knowing! Imagine only talking about what you know all the time. Nobody is going to listen to someone after they’ve spewed the same fifteen facts eight times in a row, so you have to learn something new. Travel is a great way to learn.

ihungerAlthough it would be awesome to cross an ocean, even the familiar can be new. I try to put myself in situations where I’m not on autopilot. I’ll go somewhere and be around people I’m not used to, smell new smells, taste new tastes. Then I have plenty of new things to draw, and when I come back I see things I was ignoring at home!

So if you feel like you’ve drawn everything in the universe and there’s nothing left for you to draw, you’re wrong. There’s so much stuff on planet Earth, and so much is happening to that stuff all the time. It’s great and horrible and amazing and it begs to be put down on paper.

Whether it’s for a weekend or a month, get on a bike or a bus or a plane, shake the cobwebs out of your eyes, and draw!

To those out there who use art to express your feelings: do you ever find yourself artistically “stuck” because you’re caught in an emotional loop? What do you do to break out of a repetitive emotional cycle?