Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Happy World Penguin Day!

Well I saw on a fellow illustrator's Facebook page that today, April 25th, is World Penguin Day! Did you know that? I certainly didn't, but now we do! Penguins are my favorite, so what better excuse for a little blog post; I thought I'd share a few little penguins with you today.

The flip book is from many years ago; a little side project (called Moving Stationary) of flip book greeting cards that I started researching and made a batch of books, but never really had the time or money to put into full effect. Still like the idea and will hopefully look into it again someday! Anyway, this excited little penguin just wants to chill (har har har) with you. I had fun making it waddle :)


This one was given to me as a birthday gift in college, by a dear friend and magically talented [2D and 3D] illustrator, Sean Bixby. Everyone has always known about my love of penguins, it's no secret. The expression and personality captured in this little crafted bit of clay is just so great. I've always kept it in my studio to brighten up the mood. Like I said on my Facebook page about it, you better believe I'll be hanging on to this little guy forever–a Bixby original will be worth millions one day! Be sure to check out his new and improved website if you have a minute, to see more of his creations.


Over the past couple of years, I've taken some trips to the New England Aquarium in Boston, either for fun, or to take reference shots for Down East in the Ocean (which was also still fun, of course). Though penguins have yet to be the subject matter of any of my books or illustration jobs, I still spend way too much time at the penguin area of the aquarium every time. It takes all my will not to climb the barrier and go try to hug and pat them, but I could just watch them for hours and take lots of photos. This first one above was one of our favorites on a trip that I took for "Down East" with a couple friends. He was one badass little penguin, definitely the king of that sprinkler, and wasn't afraid to let everyone know it…it was pretty comical, at least to us.

I mean, it's just begging for a hug, right?


Here's a Christmas card that I got from my sister a while back and hung on to. I really love the simplicity of the illustration here, such a great style and design.

 Simple and charming.


Below is the piece that prompted me to do a penguin-post today! Illustrator Will Terry's "Penguin Party", digital illustration. He had posted this to his blog a few months ago and well, of course, I fell in love with it. Look at the light and those textures, not to mention the composition! 
All of his work is incredible, you must see!

Copyright © Will Terry 2012

And another illustrator who got in on the World Penguin Day action, Hazel Mitchell, who's whimsical illustrations are always so sweet and full of life!
Copyright © Hazel Mitchell 2012


Even our Riley girl loves penguins…

…and by love, I mean she loves chewing on their faces.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Giveaway #2-Winner!!

Congrats to 

Nancy K.

winner of the Loon Family original watercolor giveaway!!!

Giveaway #2: Original watercolor with pen and ink, approx. 5"x5"

 Nancy wasted no time on this one, and was the second person to comment/enter to win. 
I'm excited for you to have this piece, Nancy– it'll be in good company with those puffins! :)

I'll be doing another giveaway soon! Thank you to everyone who entered!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Giveaway #2! Loons with their fledglings

The first giveaway last month went really well! I got some new interest to the good ol' Facebook Page, and lots of hands up wanting the little Box Turtle, who went to the first lucky giveaway winner, Farah!

 Let's do it again! 
Who wants some free art?

Loon Family;  Original art, Sepia ink and watercolor on Arches watercolor paper. Approx. 5.5" x 5"
This is a cropped portion of a page from Journey of the Sea Glass. I decided that I wasn't quite happy with the way it was turning out (colors were a little too dark), so I started this particular page over again and was much happier with the second version. It still makes for a fun little painting, though, I think!

So, same rules as last time. If you like this one, and you would like to own this original as my gift to you for supporting my work, it's pretty darn easy.  Here's how you'll be in the mix to win:

1. "Like" my Facebook page and/or "follow" this blog. 
Already do? Bravo, you're halfway done!

2. Leave a comment either on this blog post, or on the corresponding Facebook post on my page 
and/or "like" the image on the Facebook post HERE.

3.  Enter all week, and I'll post the winner on my blog and on my Facebook page on Friday, April 20th. I'll send the winner a private email or message, as well to get in touch with you privately for your mailing address.

* AND if you get a friend to Like my Facebook page, or follow the blog, your name will be counted twice!

The winner will receive the art signed and matted within a week or so of winning.

Easy enough, yes?


The fine print: I'll use a random number generator (like so there's no cheatery. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Peter & Connie Roop

I stumbled upon this article today, a quick little interview with Connie Roop, who wrote Down East in the Ocean with her husband, Peter, which I illustrated last year. I haven't had a chance to meet them yet, other than a few friendly emails. They live in Wisconsin most of the time, and travel to Maine each year. I hope to have an opportunity to join them for a book signing sometime this summer if they are back in my neck of the woods! They are accomplished authors of hundreds of books. One of their most cherished, and one of my personal favorites as a child, Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie, was even featured on Reading Rainbow many years back, and is still in publication. I was honored to be the illustrator for Down East in the Ocean and lend a small hand in their extensive collection.

Click here to read the full interview. I learned some interesting things about these folks!

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Journey of "Journey of the Sea Glass"

Hello! It's been quite a while since I've posted anything, and it was because I was working like a mad woman to finish my latest book! Journey of the Sea Glass is finally done, and will be available this summer!

It's a 32 page picture book for all ages that follows the journey of a piece of sea glass, beginning in the 1940's as a young boy's bottle of Lemon-Lime Soda Pop which breaks, travels through the skies with sea gulls, floats through the ocean with an octopus and a whale, crashes through years and years of waves, and eventually ends up in present day, where it's discovered by a curious young girl and her grandpa at the beach.

Coming soon, summer 2012!

This book was by far my biggest artistic challenge to date. It was a completely different format from my other two books, in that there was no manuscript. So, other than the publishers coming to me with the basic concept, and a few little ideas that they wanted to see implemented, the rest was all up to me. The whole story was on my shoulders, which was really exciting, but also a big endeavor to tackle in the same amount of time that I would have had to just illustrate a story. I decided to use sort of a simplified graphic novel style, combining several "panels" of scenes on top of full bleed illustrations. So in total, there were almost 60 pieces that made up this book! Huge difference from my last book, Down East in the Ocean that had I think 11 total, plus cover.  I also decided to really push the ink work in this book, and even though there are washes of watercolors, all the underlying value and shading, line work and details, were all done using the pointillism technique, which is my favorite. Using very (very!) fine tip Rapidograph pens and sepia ink, I stippled relentlessly for many months, to get the look just right. It ended up being much more realistic and detailed than anything I've done in the past, which I hadn't really planned on one way or another, but it just happened that way! That's the direction my style likes to take these days, I suppose. I used the same technique in Down East in the Ocean, the only difference being that the scenes in that book were much more simple, big and bold, and in this book, there were lots of little details and much more space to cover.

I have to say, it feels fantastic to be finished, and I'm really excited for you all to see it. Like I said, it was my first ever attempt at a wordless picture book and being an "author", so I really hope that when it's out in the world it makes sense to eyes other than my own!! It was a ton of work, I was quite literally nocturnal for a while there toward the end of the project, pulling lots of all-nighters (shout-out to my Starbucks Double Shot Espresso energy drinks, and our little Riley Dog for keeping my company and refusing to go to bed until I did) and napping during the day.  I think my family and friends forgot what I looked like after not seeing me for so long! But I think it was all worth the effort, because I've already had interest from several book stores to carry it, as well as scheduling local book signings, and really kind words from my editor at Down East Publishing, which is always a huge relief. I hope this will lead to more exciting projects in the future...though I will probably bite off a little less to chew next time, for the sake of sleep and sanity. ;)

Here are a couple sneak peeks from the interior of the book, enjoy!

First page spread in Journey of the Sea Glass, which starts in sepia tones, and eventually ends in full color.
©Nicole Fazio

A coloring transition spread in Journey of the Sea Glass.  ©Nicole Fazio

I'll be doing another post soon with one of the pages post stipple/pre watercolors with some details. Stay tuned for that!