Saturday, July 21, 2018

Gelli prints

Tried Gelli printing this week. It's harder than it looks, but still very easy compared to other types of monoprint. You do have to work very fast with regular acrylics, even if adding extender. The acrylic still dries quickly and might tear the paper if you're using very cheap bond and aren't pulling if off fast enough. But like the other kinds of monoprint, every print you pull is a surprise and the medium seems to do a lot of the work of painting for you. 

Denise Fleming used Gelli print for her new book This is the Nest That Robin Built. Her text is wonderful, as always. More about it here.

I took Gelli Plate Printing: Mixed-media Monoprinting Without A Press by Joan Bess out of the library and found it useful. There are masses of Gelli print videos on youtube, but I find they either go by too fast or are too chatty and slow. The book was helpful for me to try one method at a time.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Fall 2018: my new illustrated novel!

Kiddo, my new juvenile novel with Tradewind Books is coming this fall.

There will be black & white illustrations inside. I'm scanning pencil drawings, then creating washes
in photoshop.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Clifi - Climate Fiction in Children's Literature

So this is interesting! Cli-fi is a new category in children's and Young Adult fiction. I've read nearly everything by writer Paolo Bacigalupi who writes intelligent and well-researched thrillers about a future irrevocably altered by climate disaster and corporate greed. These include the gripping Drowned Cities YA trilogy and the adult novels The Water Knife and The Windup Girl.

Children's literature academia is catching up and Cli-fi is the theme of the 2019 MLA Conference, which just put out a call for for papers, suggesting the following topics:

- Children’s and YA cli-fi in the media
- Children’s and YA cli-fi and climate change awareness/activism
- Conventions and characteristics of the genre
- Social and environmental justice in children’s and YA cli-fi
- Corporate corruption in children’s and YA cli-fi
- Depictions of altered geographies
- Kinship/community in children’s and YA cli-fi
- Resilience in children’s and YA cli-fi

Friday, September 8, 2017

Teaching Illustration

I'm teaching CEIL 205: Picture Book Illustration, an 8-week course starting at 630 pm, Tuesday, October 10. The course goes towards an illustration certificate from Emily Carr University's Continuing Studies department.

An illustration of the cat called Got to Go on a shed in the moonlight from Mister Got to Go, Where Are You?

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Narrative Games

Very inspired by digital narrative fiction like Kate Pullinger and Chris Joseph's Inanimate Alice, and most recently, Jelly Bone on the Oolipo app.  Also the exquisite narrative game Lieve Oma by Florian Veltman.

Lieve Oma - trailer from Florian Veltman on Vimeo.

It turns out there are a number of authoring tools for non-coding artists like me, so I feel encouraged to try to turn my children's book The Ducks of Nitobe into a narrative game. I've started a Udemy course to learn Fungus, a free open- source narrative game plug-in for Unity.  I'm on lecture 12 out of 43, and so far it's very good.
colour rough sketch from Ducks of Nitobe

Thursday, June 23, 2016

fun with animation

I signed up for the free online course Exploring Animation offered by the Open University.  Here's exercise one, the famous bouncing ball flipbook exercise to learn about arcs and squash and stretch.  Mine was done in photoshop with the AnimDessin plugin and a Wacom tablet.  Bending over a drawing hurts my neck after 20 years of making art, so sitting up at the computer screen lets me have better posture while drawing.

Thursday, June 9, 2016


I'm so incredibly pleased to have completed my MA in Children's Literature at UBC.  The program was a life-changer for me and I found in it a world of new ideas, inspiring professors and colleagues, and friendships with people who shared my interest in picturebook apps. My ambitious thesis was a  creative-theoretical hybrid, a new category which was introduced in the nick of time, as far as my thesis was concerned. Dr. Eric Meyers championed my creation of a functional iOS app in a program that until that time only allowed written theses. I'll always be grateful to him for suggesting and arguing for a human-computer interaction model of a design-based study. So my thesis was also the first of hopefully many more such theses in the Children's Literature MA program at UBC.

My MA took the full 5 years. During that time I also illustrated Mister Got to Go, Where Are You? by Lois Simmie (Red Deer, 2014), founded Rascal Media, and started making animated children's book trailers. I also spoke at three conferences, including at Confia in Portugal.