There are 5 designs to download and color while you’re watching tv, flying to see family over the holiday, or sitting at your desk on those super long conference calls. It’s such a relaxing activity and made me think of the hours Grandma and I put in on all those Snoopy coloring books when I was little.
Home again, home again, jiggity-jig! One unplanned detour through Atlanta and we are home–after a wonderful, whirlwind of a trip to The Big Apple. On this trip I tried not to take as many pictures and really just soak everything in. But on Sunday, one of my favorites and I went to see the 150 Years of Wonderland exhibit at the Morgan Library. It was there that I read about Lewis Carroll’s humorous essay “Photography Extraordinary” and, if you’ll excuse the pun, went down a bit of a rabbit hole.
In 1855, Carroll published an essay anonymously in The Comic Times called “Photography Extraordinary” that spoofed this new invention of photography. (It’s worth noting that Carroll later became an accomplished portrait photographer himself.) You can read the full text here, as part of the Morgan Library’s online exhibition, which is really fantastic in its own right. The premise was that this new machine could capture the idea of a dunce and, through further development, make it sound brilliant. He then suggests that the same mechanism be applied to the speeches of Parliament. Ha!
As I started thinking about this idea of repetition leading to full development, I started seeing it in John Tenniel’s illustrations for Wonderland as well as the work of many other artists. For instance, The White Rabbit, shown above, appeared repeatedly on sketches throughout the collection. Little details like the lines around his eyes or the length of his ears would change but his essence was always there. (For the record, of all the rabbits, the sketch above was decidedly my favorite.)
Much like an artist, the chef works out the flaws of a knife technique as they become more comfortable with the practice. A musician works out the nuance of a piece as they become more in tune with the placement of actions and the rhythm. The truth and meaning come out as the writer employs different ways of stating their opinion. And perhaps your mother was right: Practice does make perfect.
Last week, in Video 002, I shared a peek at this reclaimed book I’ve been working on. Today I thought I’d give you a closer look. It’s a library book that was withdrawn after years of wear & tear and left in the free bin at a local book store.
I started on the page with the Random House logo, and ideas proceeded from there. If you look closely at the dedication page, it reads:
Dedicated to the memory of my dear home life.
Happy coincidence, no? Now with the help of pens, paste, and colored pencils, it’s slowly becoming a book about our home, our favorite objects and activities.
We made it! TGIF! As you get your brain into weekend mode, here are a few of my favorite things from around the web this week.
I am ridiculously excited about “It’s Me, Hilary: The Man Who Drew Eloise,” an upcoming documentary on HBO by Lena Dunham and Matt Wolf. Hilary Knight has long been one of my very favorite illustrators. I love his style, but I also love that each time I look at one of his illustrations, I find a new detail that adds so much charm to the story.
He has a thing for Famous Grouse and Wild Turkey in both bird and bottle form.
Disclaimer before we begin: I never listen to Story Corps. If I want my news in the morning with a dose of fun or touchy-feely, I’ll watch the Today Show because then it at least comes with a side of Matt, Al, & Willie. Otherwise, just tell me what’s happening in Washington and what the weather is–please and thank you. But this morning, Obama was on Story Corps with Noah McQueen, an 18 year old White House mentee that’s part of the My Brother’s Keeper program. The conversation is totally worth a listen. And (bonus) this one won’t make you cry; it will just make you really proud to be an American. (cue Lee Greenwood)
Finally, if you’ve ever thought of raising a family in the city, my friend Caryn Schafer shared her story on Design Mom this week. Her insights into motherhood are honest and beautiful. Plus, you’ll find yourself wondering how many books she really does own.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times: “If it’s going to be cold and grey, the least it could do is snow!” Well this has been one of the snowiest weeks I can ever remember, and I’ve been trying to soak up every second of it! Snow days have been particularly welcome because I’ve been working on a couple projects for work that require lots of illustrating. Truth be told, it is much easier for me to make pretty things from my home studio with it’s perfect light, a cup of coffee, and Dexter. So on this snow day, I thought I’d share some new work that I’m pretty excited about.
First, a peek inside the sketchbook. I’ve started reading T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets (as part of this challenge), and that second page is covered in some of my favorite quotes. One in particular that has been on my mind…
What might have been and what has been Point to one end, which is always present.
The doodles above represent 4 different styles of some concept art I made last week for DIY Network. It’s so much fun to try different techniques and styles, and I think what we landed on will be pretty rad. You’ll see it this Spring.
Over the past couple of months, I’ve been working with HGTV to make a series of illustrated videos that teach basic concepts like what wine glass to use and how to pick the perfect rug. I’ve posted some behind-the-scenes pics on Instagram but today I can post the first two videos!
I know. I know! It’s only Thursday. But I have to tell you, I am sooo ready for the weekend! Tomorrow afternoon, Husband & I will be heading up to the mountains with some of our dearest friends to spend the weekend relaxing by the river. So tonight, I’m putting together a few little goodies for our trip. This, of course, turned into “Why not plan a cute little brunch & post it on the blog?” You’re welcome.
In retrospect, it is really no surprise at all that Dr. Seuss was a hat man. A hat is, after all, the most whimsical of all accessory choices. I especially loved this quote from his wife….
“Believe me, when you get a dozen people seated at a fairly formal dinner party,” his widow, Audrey, said in an interview… “and they’ve all got on perfectly ridiculous chapeaus, the evening takes care of itself.”
Doesn’t that just make you want to change your dress code for all house guests now? Looking for a fab new hat for yourself? I found a few that I particularly love over at Anthropologie. They have just the right amount of quirky, don’t you think?
Looking for a little more Dr. Seuss inspiration to bright up this February Monday?