My own daughter won the first-photo-of-a-bookstore contest. Congratulations Piffin! Do you really want me to send you an autographed copy? Guess not. Oh dear, I was cut of from the internet for three full days, quelle misère. Now there's a new modem, a new router, a new network card, works like a zonnetje. You missed the whole development of another NRC drawing, too bad. I really feel like I've been away, crazy. Oh and I joined a life drawing class, I'll show you after some classes. It's been too long, I suck. Exhausted now, see you in the morning.
Wendy noticed it. She saw the pic on the left side of this page, and said so in yesterday's comments. And it's true, my new Little Golden Book arrived yesterday, hurray! I had planned to do a contest like last year, with Tim's Bed. To send a signed copy to the first person who finds my book in a bookstore. But I received my copies so late, that it's already in the bookstores! Willem told me that Praamstra in Deventer had a whole pile of them. So the competition is off, sorry. We could of course do first photo in a bookstore, couldn't we? Okay. I promise a signed copy for a beautiful picture like this one, with the new book! I am quite happy with the way it turned out, though I don't like the way they tore apart the picture above one bit. Probably my fault, I probably was a page short. Water under the bridge.
I'm DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE !
Tomorrow the last one. If I get that done, The Book Will Be Ready! At last, I can't believe it. One more though. I'm afraid I'll need six weeks of fysiotherapy, just like after Tim. I am growing roots in my chair here.
I am not speaking to you anymore. Nobody sends me their favourite song. Except for my own husband. And except for Lex who sent me an mp3. Oh, and Jan, I almost forget Jan. Don't you people like my music? I am listening to Chet Baker right now. And I recommend this, you only have to tell them what kind of cell phone you use. I lied, because I don't have one at all. And that was not an option. (Too much green in the drawing, I'll see to that tomorrow) --> Done.
Maybe I'll add something tonight, but right now I can't think of anything interesting to write. I can hardly find the keys on the keyboard, I've drawn myself blind, and besides that, I have to cook dinner now.
Okay, I'll write some more, 9 PM, peace and quiet. I just voted my favourite songs in the top 2000 of the Dutch radio. Not that I am fanatical about things like that, but every single year Bohemian Rapsody is number 1, so maybe some people with taste -like myself- should take action. I just wanted to vote on Forever Young (which wasn't even on the list) but it turned out I was supposed to vote on three to ten songs. O my. So I clicked here and clicked there. From Maggie Mae to Heart of Gold. And then I had to explain my number one. I hadn't even realised the song at the top of my list was going to be my number one. But allright, that was Smells like Teen Spirit. Easy one to explain. I saw Nirvana perform in Stuttgart, 1991. They were Sonic Youth's support act. And I had played one Sonic Youth song approximately three hundred times while giving birth. Great contraction music, Sonic Youth. So I had to see them when they came to Stuttgart. I had never even heard of Nirvana. And they sucked, to be honest. And the Longhorn was outrageously dangerously overcrowded. And I was wearing white shoes. But I can say I have seen Kurt Cobain. I am forever young.
What's your number one?
One spread, two single pages to go.
This is all very quiet and silent and lonely work. So I listen to the radio. I've always done that. VPRO radio. Years ago, in my studio in Rotterdam, I knew exactly when they broadcasted, which days, which frequencies, and at what time. Nowadays they have something called horizontal programming. Every day the same. Lovely. And because of the time difference, I can listen to De Avonden (The Evenings, after Holland's most famous novel) every single afternoon. Although lately I usually Skype with Willem while working. So my work is not even lonely anymore. Exorcising the meaninglessness of our existences together :-)
From one extreme to another. Yesterday a fully finished shiny end product, today the pity start. A bicycle race, oh my. I don't even dare show the whole sketch, it's hard. I am going to beg Michiel for some Maya help. Nine bicycles, audience, one girl (recognizable) in the lead and the finish in the distance. Give me Voltaire anytime.
I might be illustrating a children's book, but I am a serious children's literature skeptic. My kids never used to read, didn't like it, weren't good at it. School teachers have always wanted to label them dyslectic. For lots of reasons, I never believed them. One of those reasons being that kid's books are just plain boring. Talking bears, that sort of stuff. As they get older, their reading (and writing) problems gradually vanish. Piffin is a now great Nabokov and Dostojevski fan, so I don't think she's very dyslectic. Otger is at a turning point. The Hobbit and Harry Potter. Then what? But now The Great Discovery. Maybe everybody but us has known about this for ever, but we haven't. Pendragon has got him reading! And how! Day and night, night and day. And even the website of the book cover illustrator!! Otger has been designing his things in Maya all afternoon, totally inspired. Ha!!!
Haven't forgotten about the Little Golden Book, on the contrary, it's becoming a stone on my conscience. But I do have a really funny link for you, especially funny for Canadians. My father-in-law found an ad in his local newspaper. For a Canadian restaurant. In Lochem. Of all places. Expensive! Make an effort and read some Dutch.
I booked a flight for tomorrow. It'd be too weird not to be there. And what a blessing our street is such a community. I have made Otger a notebook with a page for every day that I'll be away. And on these pages I've written where he is expected for dinners and sleep-overs. Piffin is okay without notebook, she will be on a field trip to Algonquin for most of the time. And I found time to finish another page today. I kept this one for a day with little time. I am that smart. I put all my work on an external hard drive that I am taking with me, hopefully I'll be able to keep working a bit.
Tomorrow is going to be a disappointment. Today I was told that my drawing will be printed in b&w, on an inside page, stamp size. Don't bother going out through the rain to buy a paper, and don't say I didn't warn you.
I have a new reader, her name is Sonia. You can go read her blog, good luck. It's in Portuguese...! But take a look anyway, she posted some photo's of my Little Golden Bookstore. She told me her son adores it. That makes me very happy.
Yesterday I just posted a drawing without much explainig. But then I noticed in my stats that people kept clicking "view individual entry", I guess they were expecting to read some more. My stats also tell me that I keep getting first time visitors. So maybe those people don't understand what goes on here. Not that much really, I would say to them. I just try to post my work every day, that keeps me going, gives me my own tiny little deadlines. And I feel less lonely when I can instantly share what I'm doing. You can find the sketches for today's drawing here and here. And the drawing is part of a book I'm illustrating. You can find the development of the book here. And the development of the book before is here.
The strangest thing happened today. Piffin came home, took the mail out of the mailbox, wanted to trash the junk mail in the paper bin. Hey, there's a CD in this one. Our address is on the envelope, but not our name. It totally looks like junk mail, so Piffin still wants to trash it. Oh, take the CD out, maybe it's something fun. And what do you know, crimes and misdemeanors. Of course we watched it, so now were criminals. No we're not, we'll return the DVD.
Come back tomorrow. (No, it's not New Orleans.)
Weird to colour a drawing like this, listening to the Katrina news on the radio. It's starting to sound almost like civil war down there.
Today I am being showcased by a quackbusting doctor in Denmark! Or how a cow catches a hare on the internet. Whatever. I had put some quackbusting blogs on my blogroll, that's how it happened, nothing mysterious. I love reading about quackery, it just never stops puzzling me how people can fall for silly and often dangerous hogwash. And besides that, these quackbusting bloggers are sharp, humorous, intelligent, and good reads.
Hahahaha, I was wondering why I suddenly get so much more hits on my AltPick site than usual. And then I realised that the Denmark doctor's visitors must think Altpick has something to do with alternative medicine, hahahahaha! I should update that thing btw.
Or how to turn a single drawing into a spread.
I confess, I posted this monday entry on tuesday. I didn't feel like blogging yesterday. Yesterday was one of these days where everything went wrong or was plain frustrating. Little things like the streetcar driver not stopping after I had pulled the cord. Having to tell the dentist I am not going back to the periodontics guy he sent me to. I don't like him, I don't trust him, and I think he charges too much. Having to send off paperwork and finding myself out of envelopes. Taking the paperwork to the post office in a plastic bag planning to buy an envelope there. Discovering the plastic bag is wet on the inside. Not finding the hair dryer. Sitting on the porch waiting until the paperwork dries in the burning sun. Anyway. I was glad not to be in New Orleans.
I started this one before our camping trip. That allowed me a smooth start, just colouring a drawing that was waiting for me. Feels good to be working again.
We are not sure whether we're going to go for Killarney or for Bon Echo. We'll have to gamble on the non reservable sites, because we can never plan ahead. Bon Echo would be a safer bet, it's not that far away. Killarney is tempting though, group of seven mountains, boohoowoo...
At least my publisher will now believe how fierce the weather conditions are in Toronto. If he didn't before. In a super thunderstorm with horizontal rains an Air France Airbus crashed at Pearson. No news yet about casualties. It was probably hit by lightning. Survivors fled onto highway 401, flagging down cars to get them to the hospital, what a nightmare.
Today was supposed to be the merry-go-round deadline. But I claim sweat exception. I have never before longed so much for autumn. Oh yes, Dave just told me about the webcam on the ROM, I didn't know that. Really interesting, go see. Liebeskind in action. And oh yes, I updated my portfolio today, that was a while ago.
I went out to get more fans today. The fast turning kind. But just as I got there, they closed the mall due to a blackout. I guess they spent their lifetime share of hydro in there. Must be boring for you to read about the weather all the time, but it's kind of overpowering these days. No relief this week: "The forecast predicts another stretch of temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius, and Toronto started the week under another humidex advisory and extreme heat alert."
About Dutch rock & roll (for Canadians only):
A neighbour in my street suddenly produced THREE records of Gruppo Sportivo. Canadian, not even imported. I didn't even know Gruppo made more than one record. My memory stops at beep, beep, love. A girl in the house where my first boyfriend lived had that record. So with my mind still on Gruppo, I find a TV tribute to Herman Brood today! Brood was a little after Gruppo, but unlike them (IMO) he was a classic rockstar. He slept with half the country, and also with my friend Stella. Not with me. As soon as my traffic is really really low, I will maybe write some about the guys I slept with in my time. Should keep me busy for a while. Herman Brood was wild, he had a long affair with Nina Hagen, my neighbour has her records too. He has a wall of records. Herman Brood was wild, he was a drug addict, and he jumped to his death off the Hilton Hotel in Amsterdam, the one in which John and Yoko held their sleep-in. And Herman Brood had a son, his fans (the other kind of fans) bought him a baby carriage. An orange one. Another friend of mine -who did not sleep with Herman- inherited the thing for her son.
We're down to 27 celcius. My energy is back. From the bottom of my toes I hope this will have been the last heat wave for some time, my recycling bin was full of maggots this morning, yuk. But I turned off the air conditioning and opened the windows. And poor poor Otger. Because of the low (LOL) temperature the pool wasn't as crowded, so he got called out and was made to graduate for the damned bracelet. And he failed. He fucking learned how to swim six years ago!
At least I am looking for inspiration again. All the different merry-go-round features will go through their own adventures in the course of the story. Something vaguely like the above. No pool today, threatening thunderstorms. They say temperatures will be down to the high twenties this weekend, I can't wait. Off to the beer store now, before the storm hits. Or the migraine, for that matter. Calm. Calm. Slow.
Piffin is babysitting the children of a fellow illustrator neighbour, she just brought them home with her. They thought this drawing is very cool, and I guess they should know. Done early today, but I can't go out, the junk removal company is coming to take a look at my back yard and give me an estimate. We're animals.
Does anybody out there want to marry me? I might need a new husband one of these days, the current one is renovating the guest room you see. The room has to be in some sort of usable state when our guest arrives on the 23rd. I don't know in what state the current husband will be by then, I fear the worst. I bought really good liverwurst by the way, mmm. Liverwurst is such a strange English word, and I won't say it. I just asked the butcher for leverworst, and he didn't even notice.
I bought myself a pair of reading glasses to get this detailing done. I should not be telling you this.
An extreme heat alert, a smog warning, and a humidex advisory all continued for most of the province Tuesday, as the record warmth continued. Officials confirmed it’s the hottest June since records were first charted in the mid-1880s.
We'll have Lijn's tabouleh again tonight. I expect you understand I didn't do more than a little sketching. And Piffin is through to grade twelve IB... of course. My trust in the teachers league is completely rehabilitated. They know she can do it, and they trust she will. Wise decision.
Past 4 o'clock and still no word from Piffin's teacher. He is supposed to call me after the teachers meeting. She needs all her marks to be over seventy percent to get into grade twelve IB. Math and French aren't, we don't know about chemistry yet. My nerves.
I only managed to sketch a little today. Piffin had her last exam, on Monday she'll know whether she has made it into grade twelve, we can only hope now. After the exam we did the mother and daughter thing. We went shopping big time. My living doll, of course I bought her clothes. We bought so much we had sore arms when we came home. All necessary things though, all the plates and cups and glasses in this household have been running out and giving up and breaking down. Not even a decent beer glass left. Now everything has fresh and pretty gold rims again. Oh yes, this is the movie Otger's drawings are going to be in. I asked. We're getting photo's of the set tomorrow, but I don't suppose I'll be allowed to blog them.
Otger is working on his first paid job. One of our neighbours is a set designer for the movie business, here in Hollywood North. She needed some drawings for the set of the new Bruce Willis film. So now Otger pretends he is Henry, the twelve year old film character. Problem is, there also have to be early drawings by Henry, which means Otger has to pretend he is six. Not an easy task. Thus. Soon coming to theatres near you, look closely at the fridge.
Piffin is leaving the building. Think of her, chemistry exam. She might consider a carreer in chemistry, opting for drugs or terrorism. But first she'll have to make it through this one. She's on her own. My one and only chemistry result ever was a 3 of 10, and I was extremely lucky with that report mark, because I had not reached 30% on even a single test.
Page 4 I think. Lights, music, and all six features. I think it's rather an act, to get all of that in one little drawing. We had a supper disaster tonight, the mashed potatoes exploded. Miraculously nobody was hurt.
You probably can't see a thing. But the blog has to be complete. It's what I did today, so it's what I show. Doesn't look like a lot of work, to work up all these sketches. Things are not always as they seem.
I guess I hadn't read the text well enough. The helicopter was supposed to carry two kids, and some other children needed sex changes. I have only myself to blame. And good thing I made this collage, It made me spot another mistake that I immediately fixed. Not in the picture above though, enough is enough.
Maybe I will change a detail here and there over the weekend, but right now I have gone merry-go-round-blind. Ready. Piet Schreuders can have some fun next week doing the typography. Good thing I drew a cat.
No, I am not showing this any larger. Halfway with the colouring is a very unshowable stage. I hate it the way it looks now, it's a hard day's night. There'a a barking version of the song right now on the radio, awful.
See, now it's a happy submarine. And I am ahead of schedule even, I planned to start the colouring tomorrow. My old neighbours are hooking up the airconditioning now, the thing is making weird sounds. The old neighbours too, Polish sounds. Toronto is hot. I bought two fans, I have one aiming at my feet.
I had drawn a very girly submarine, and Michiel laughed at me. So he modeled me a real submarine, but I can't get it right. It's totally foreshortened in this view as well, and seen from behind, which doesn't make it any easier. The column in front is way too curved and doesn't carry on logically into the roof, but that's easy to fix. Mañana.
Just a little sketching, there was too much housekeeping today. Usually I set myself a curfew, no housekeeping after 10 AM, because I am too good at it. I could clean all day. Today there was too much though, had to clear out the spare room, make neat little piles of clothes of the whole garbage dump. And in a minute Bianca will come over to barbecue. A real Torontonian dinner, I have Macedonian and South-African sausages, Portuguese baguettes, Dutch cheese, Chinese eggplant, Californian strawberries and Canadian wine.
It is all starting to take shape inside my head, paper is patient.
Research is everything. The little golden book I am starting to work on today is about a merry-go-round. And just like last time, I find out there is one already.
About JP Miller (copied from):
JOHN PARR MILLER (1913-2004)
From the NY TIMES:
John Parr Miller, an early animator for Walt Disney whose later art adorned best-selling children's books, including those in the popular Little Golden Books series, died on Oct. 29 2004 on Long Island. He was 91 and lived in Manhasset, N.Y.
Best known as J.P. Miller, the illustrator of several incredible Little Golden Books, Miller's art is still influential to a new generation of animators artists. His "Little Red Hen" is still in print and considered a classic. "Lucky Mrs. Ticklefeather," "Little Pee Wee" "The Little Golden Funny Book", "The Marvelous Merry-Go-Round", "Tommy's Wonderful Rides", "The Circus ABC" and many others, define the Little Golden Book style. These books, all done in the late 1940s and early 50s, are prime examples of the stylized modern commercial art of the era - and a huge influence on many of today's best animators (including Spumco), leading cartoonists and commercial designers.
According to the Times obit:
John Parr Miller found himself in Hollywood during the Depression, with a widowed mother, need of a job and a portfolio from Grand Central Art School, which he had attended for a little more than two years. He found work in the story department at Disney Studio in 1934... In 1937 he was one of only three artists asked to start the studio's character model department. According to studio archives, he helped create characters for Disney "Pinocchio," "Fantasia" and "Dumbo." He left Disney for military service in World War II, when he made training films for the Navy. After the war, Golden Books recruited him and several other Disney veterans to enliven children's books for a mass market, to go beyond the bland Dick and Jane primers of yore. Mr. Miller continued his work as a freelance artist until about 10 years ago.
I always do these self-assignments when there is nothing official coming in. Of course every time I think nothing is ever going to come my way again. Up until now I have always been proven wrong. And today a fantastic thing came my way. ANOTHER LITTLE GOLDEN BOOK!! Yes, hip hip hurray, I know. About a merry-go-round. I only have to talk them out of helicopter views over cities, dear me. And then I will let you witness the whole development, just like last time. Oh, and next week a big NRC editorial as well, I'll be real busy. Weekend first though. Cheers.