Friday, June 29, 2012

Moose Crossing at L.L. Bean!

This year is the 100th anniversary of L.L. Bean! They're celebrating in many ways, with sales and events at locations all over. 

The "Hometown Celebration" is happening here at the flagship store in Freeport, Maine from July 4-7

I was commissioned to paint a photo stand-in board of a moose (you know, for folks to stick their faces in and take photos with?). It's a large piece and was a last minute assignment, but I'm excited to be working with L.L. Bean, it was a lot of fun and went along really smoothly! I thought I'd share the project with you here on the blog:

First I went to Lowes and picked up a giant piece of plywood, and had them cut it down to 3' x 5' at the client's request. Seemed pretty big at the time, but after getting it home, I almost wished it was 4' x 5' to have more room to play with–I mean, a moose can't be too big–but it all worked out just fine!

I primed it white with a few coats of gesso, then laid in the basic background colors for the sky and ground using acrylics, and I painted some "happy little clouds". I really enjoyed this part, working big and freely, it's so different from what I normally do; it was an enjoyable change of method and material.

Most of these pretty clouds got covered up by the giant moose, but that is the main attraction, after all!
Once that layer dried, I used a projector to transfer my loose sketch. I like working at large scale sometimes, but I tend to get wonky with my proportions if I'm free-handing this big, since I'm so used to drawing small. Using a projector takes some adjusting to make it fit just right, but well worth it and a huge time saver. This was how we did the mural at the Community Counseling Center, too.

If you're wondering why our little Moose is levitating, it's because I had to place him where the face opening will be! I measured a standard face size for the opening and made a stencil to match up with my sketch. I wanted to make sure it was at a height that children could reach, as well as adults comfortably on a knee. The hole will be cut when it's all finished by the people with the power tools, best not for me to attempt that part! 

(This photo is totally unnecessary to the story, isn't it.)

Once the general idea and placement were drawn in with pencil, I started painting the moose. I intended on taking more progress shots of the stages as I worked, but I finished the majority of the moose in no time, which was a nice surprise. I had to work quickly with the warm weather and the paint drying, since I wanted to be able to blend it for tones. Here's the moose and some little friends, about 3/4 done. Still needing to finish the ground and legs:

Still needing some refining and bottom portion, but almost there!

Details of the antlers and our friends, the chickadees:

This one above is my favorite little nook of the whole piece :)

From there, I worked on the bottom area, refining the legs a bit, adding some ground, trees, and marshy grasses.  I think it's going to be really bizarre (but comical!) to see a face in there where a moose snout should be haha looking forward to seeing this thing in action!

So be sure to keep your eye out for my moose if you head out to the festivities at L.L. Bean! I'd love to see your photos if you pose as the moose face! Let's see 'em on my Facebook page or Tweet them to me @Fazillustration.

 It was really fun to work on, and I'm now inspired to do more custom photo-op boards for birthday parties and events, it's a comical little extra that everybody loves (if you're interested, get in touch)!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Holy Cuteness Overload, Batman!

Recently I've been trying to be better about getting healthy and have been going on more walks with Riley.  Last Friday, I really didn't feel like it because it was super hot outside and I had lots to do that day, but I made myself get up and go. I'm so glad that I did, because I had the cutest encounter with an adorable and talented budding little artist.

I was walking the dog through some quiet nearby neighborhoods and came across a little boy, I'm guessing 5 or 6 years old or so. He was sitting in his front yard, with his sunglasses on, a little table and chair and a big box on the table, and he was saying "((something)) for sale", very quietly. I assumed lemonade. I thought, aw man, I wish I had some money, I am thirsty! But as I got closer I saw that he was selling something much more unique—his art.  I stopped for a second and wished him luck, as I had no money on me during my walk, and he said thanks and continued his whispering call of "art for sale!" to the neighborhood block... which at the time consisted of just me and my dog, for as far as I could see. 

So as I walked for another hour or so back home, I just kept thinking of how adorable and committed this kid was. First of all, to have the guts to set up shop and show people you're art is intimidating even as an adult! And to be sitting out there in the 85° afternoon? What a little trooper. I got home, sweaty and tired, but decided I just wouldn't forgive myself if I didn't check the change jar and drive back to try and find the house. I debated it, wondering if it would be silly of me to go back, and thinking he's probably not still out there in the heat an hour later, but off I went, and there he was! In the car I quickly signed a copy of My Maine, from one artist to another, along with some coloring page activities from the book, and a dollar. I took my pick from the coloring book pages (ranging from 13¢, 23¢ up to 101¢) and decided I must have that 101¢ prized masterpiece, which was the only free-hand drawing (he let me have it for 100¢).

He was so sweet, and his mother was so lovely, watching from inside to give him his independence. She and I chatted for a minute (I wanted to make sure she knew it wasn't a stranger danger situation!), I shook his hand, thanked him for my new art, and went on my way. 

I don't really know why I'm sharing the whole story with you all. It just totally made my day. I hope it made him feel good, too, to make a sale! Hooray for future budding artists :)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

New Survey

My Facebook page and the "Children's Books" page of my website now have a new feature. You'll find a short little survey (look for the green monkey ears in the FB tabs, and on the website is just under the listing of books) where you can either simply send me a comment, question, or feedback, or use it to request things like getting the book(s) in a location near you or arranging/requesting a book signing in a particular store/event/location. I'm hoping it will open up new communications and connections with folks from all over, as well as throughout Maine. People will often mention, "I was in the greatest coastal shop in ______ called ______, you're work would be great there!", so it'll make it easy to let me know if you have any suggestions, and the sales reps and I can take care of the leg work. This goes, too, for out of state locations or events that might be off my radar. 

I should mention, as well, that most any locally owned book store (meaning not the big chains) will generally order any book that a customer requests. So always feel free to ask someone to put in a special order for you! It's good for the book store, too, because they might not have heard of the title, and it'll give them an opportunity to carry it.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

"Journey of the Sea Glass" Book Trailer

Check out the book trailer I just finished for my new book, Journey of the Sea Glass! The book is due out next month, July 16th (I think!!). 

So finally here's a sneak peek at the book that I've been working on so hard for
 a                     very                     long                     time                     !         

I really hope you enjoy it. Be sure to check out the book as soon as it hits stores. You can find it on the DownEast website, Amazon and local Maine stores, right away. And then hopefully many more stores nationwide soon after!

I owe a great big THANK YOU to the wonderful and talented Billy Libby, whose beautiful song, Bus Ride (off his latest album, "Pitter Patter"), was playing in my head as I was putting together this trailer. He so graciously shared an instrumental version of this song that I love so much, for use in the trailer video. It fits so perfectly, I just love it. I'm sure you will, too, so here's a link to his website to hear more:

• • •

Let me know what you think! I want to hear from you all with your thoughts or any questions! Follow me on Twitter @Fazillustration or find me on Facebook to keep in touch! Thanks!

Cute cute cute

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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Great Art for Under $10

You can have lots of great art around your home, even if you're on a tight budget, like me!

Dave spotted some great pieces while we were shopping at Artist & Craftsmen the other day (yeah, he's good like that), and I thought I would pass along our trick to having lots of great art in the house on the cheap!

Jessie Wilcox Smith, "Don't be Scared"

The not-so-secret secret? CARDS! Sometimes even the smallest prints and original art can come with a rather hefty price tag, but I think everyone can and should be collectors of art. Using cards as prints is a great way to have little pops of color and beauty around your home, without shelling out a ton of cash. I do think, though, that when you come across a print or original piece of artwork that you just love, you gotta go for it. Art is one of those things that when you have a reaction to it, and you really, really, really LOVE it, you should really, really, really HAVE it! Especially because you don't know if you'll be able to find it again, so grab it when you love it.

Anyway, I digress.

We like to keep our eyes peeled for quality cards to frame and hang or place around our home. I also keep nice cards that people have sent me. Just cut it down the fold so you're left with the cover of the card. Mat that puppy, and pop it in a cute or simple frame! No one can tell it's just a regular old greeting card, and you get to enjoy the art for a great steal. This is a fun way to spruce up the spare room before guests arrive, or change out the art in any room as often as you like to fit your design!

Here are a couple that we just got that prompted this post, each one ended up costing around $10.

I just adore the work of Jessie Wilcox Smith, don't you? This one is so sweet and reminds me of the way I snuggle Riley, sometimes–when she lets me! 

So this was a 5"x7" blank card that cost, I think, $4.50. The 8"x10" frame is a MainStays frame from Walmart, which you can get most anywhere for around $2. I had leftover matte board, which I cut myself, but you can usually find pre-cut matte at places like Michales for a few dollars (sometimes frames will come with a matte already and that's even less work you for you. Score!).

This Alice in Wonderland piece, below, one is the other we just put together, and really adds a lot to this little plant table and is so nice to have for inspiration. Same costs.

This illustration is from the old Alice in Wonderland. Got to love that line work and the colors just can't be beat.
Love it, my man has a good eye!

And here is a 4"x6" letterpress card that my sister gave me several years ago for my birthday. I really loved it and wanted to keep it, so I put it in a plastic frame that I got on sale (the back is broken for hanging, but it still works just fine as a tabletop frame!) and I really like the combination. 

So if you're like me and want to be surrounded by beautiful art all the time, this is a great way to have champagne taste on a beer budget! Pick up affordable frames as you see them, so that when you receive a beautiful card from a friend, or find a greeting card of your favorite painter, you can whip up some art in under 10 minutes. Enjoy!

Monday, June 4, 2012

New book trailer for My Maine

I just finished putting together a book trailer for My Maine! It was fun to make, and I'm in the process of making one for Journey of the Sea Glass next.  I had been seeing more and more of these book trailers coming out for children's books and just had to create one. It's a great way to offer a little preview of the book before buying, or to pass along to friends and family as recommended reading.  

Please enjoy this little tour around the Pine Tree State with My Maine 
& if you like it, do share it!

And a big thank you to miss Livvy for the lovely voiceover work!! Good job, girl!


For more information on how to order your copy of My Maine, click here.