Over the summer, I got to work with the lovely Nicole and Ben to create the branding and website for their new restaurant The Salted Slate. And I am so pleased with how it turned out.
If you are ever in Providence, RI, you must pay them a visit. It's such a cozy and welcoming space. Aaand so much delicious over there! I basically drooled through the whole project.
Thank you to the talented Sage Brousseau for the photos!
Our dog is dying.
Two and a half weeks ago we found out Luna has advanced lymphoma, and it's come on fast and strong. Due to her age (we're pretty sure she's at least 10,) and various other factors, we're foregoing chemo and radiation, and instead treating her symptoms with prednisone.
Anyways, I've decided to start taking a photo a day to celebrate her last days with us: "____ Days of Luna." No promises, but hopefully they won't all be of her lazing around. Even though yes, that's pretty much her jam. You can follow along on Instagram here #DaysOfLuna.
Dark humor alert: My husband and I used to jokingly play "Dead dog?/Asleep dog?" when we'd come home to Luna, sprawled out in the sun, in a blissful--and yes, very still-- sleep. Good times. The lady can nap like no other.
Shockingly, when your dog has advanced cancer and still loves to lounge about, the game is really not so fun.
But its the first thought I have when I look outside and see a puddle of fur in the grass.
Photos taken during her first week with us in 2010.
I recently revamped my Society6 shop with new photographic patterns and perfect timing because they're having a sale right now! (Unfortunately, it excludes frame prints, rugs and canvases. Just FYI.)
This work is a whole new world for me-- one that's been really fun to explore. They're available as prints and cards, but also a variety of other products-- including shower curtains and duvet covers!
Free shipping and $5 off, until midnight Pacific Time November 9th, with this link right here.
Have you ever been to the planetarium at the Natural History Museum in New York? The museum is probably my favorite museum ever, and obviously the planetarium is cool (A. its a planetarium and B. this guy runs it,) but did you know the whole display design outside of the planetarium, as you're walking up, isn't just pretty hanging sculptures of planets? Its really an exhibit that attempts to explain how large the universe is. (So next time you're there, resist the urge to run up the ramp and leave some time to go through the whole thing.) And it does a great job of it. But still, its just so hard to understand. To grasp. Don't you think?
I came across this series of illustrations (one above,) on some cheesy website that does a great job of it as well. So click away if you need some perspective. Or to just join me in nerding out about space stuff.
http://youtu.be/zD2NtzEPBcA This short film, (which is actually an advertisement for a telecommunications company,) of two women flying for the first time is wonderful. Don't you want to be friends with them? Someone get them their own reality show asap!
Did you ever read the picture book "The Bedspread" by Sylvia Fair? It was one of my favorites growing up. Its about two elderly sisters who live in a huge house, in either end of a long bed, and decide to embroider their bedspread. Its magical. These women remind me of them.
Click here to watch the whole video.
Our dog is pretty patient, but we would have to do a series of lounging photos as that's more her forte:
Anyways, click on the first two photos for more and prepare for cute explosions.
I submitted the two collage pieces above for the latest Minted and Domino Magazine collaboration. I'd love your votes if you're so inclined. (You can click on the images to "rate" them.) Its been fun getting back into collage. --I used to do a lot of it. Since taking the Lilla Rogers class and then being selected for the Minted/West Elm challenge, I've been exploring the market of Wall Art. And for me that's meant mixed media pieces. (Right now I'm working on a series for the teen/preteen market.) I have a collection of vintage paper that I've been playing with, but for these two I decided to use catalogs. I love the idea of turning something that would get tossed, into a piece you'd hold on to.
So this is how talking to our health insurance felt like today:
-- with a hint of Dolores Umbridge mixed in.
I wish I had a bit of Sarah Silverman in me, but unfortunately, I was all Tim Meadows. Sighh.
Abby Murphy is a self-proclaimed history nerd who lives in Providence, RI. She has donned 19th-century clothing to work at a living history museum, pored over manuscripts at a literary agency, she now teaches middle school students to read, write, and think. She writes YA historical fiction and recently finished a novel based on her great-great-grandmother, who traveled to Europe in the 1890s. You can learn more about the crazy talented Abby, what she's working on, as well as some yummy recipes, at KeepTheHearthFiresBurning.net
And now a bit about my writing process:
1. What am I working on?
With the fine people at Candlewick Press, I'm working on completing Jabari Jumps!-- a picture book about a little boy who, despite his big talk, may or may not actually jump off the diving board. Its a nail biter.
2. How does my work differ from others of this genre?
The most obvious difference is that Jabari Jumps! centers around a boy and his dad who are black. (There's a little sister in there too, but she doesn't actually do much 'cause she's just a baby.) But I think the presence of a dad who is kind and supportive, and obviously very involved, is a unique perspective as well.
3. Why do I write what I do?
There's a been a lot of focus lately on the lack of diversity represented in children's books. (#WeNeedDiverseBooks ) Its something that's been going on for well, basically forever, so I think its great that its getting talked about. But honestly, when I thought up Jabari over five years ago it was more a reflection of my life's experiences--like growing up and living in cities, my involvement with adoption and experiences with blended families-- than a direct reaction to the heartbreaking statistics . However, though I'm newer to writing, representing people of all colors and ethnicities is important to me and has always been reflected in my illustration work.
In the broader sense, I really love getting into the minds of young kids. Its always a challenge to capture that voice authentically, but when it's done well it's such a treat.--for young and old readers alike. So thats what I'm aiming for.
4. How does my writing process work?
Some phrase or scenario will catch my eye and then I try to build a story around that. I try to figure out what kind of character would say/do such a thing and then it builds from there. At this point, my "writing" looks like lists with tiny scribbled thumbnails and notes After several drafts, I move on to the drawing with bigger thumbnails and storyboards. Then I redo it a million times going back and forth between the drawing and the writing. My critique group keeps me from going crazy and makes sure I'm moving forward. Everyone can relate to getting trapped in the-- oddly comforting-- endless cycle of revisions, right? Thankfully, my crit group does not allow wallowing.
Ok folks, that's it for me! Abby thanks for having me!
Let's get to know Jorge, (from my critique group as well!) Russ, and AJ! Click on the head-shots to read more about their creative processes next week!
JORGE LACERA is a fun guy with a background in creating art work for television and feature animation. He has also created visual development for computer games. Now that he's a dad, he's turned his quirky eye to children's book illustration. While the work currently shown here is of the darker kind, Jorge is developing a children's portfolio that shows his warmer, fuzzier side as well. Jorge is particularly interested in doing picture books, chapter books, graphic novels, and YA covers.
RUSS COX was raised by a pack of crazed hillbillies in the back woods of Tennessee. Without much in the way of modern conveniences, like a television set or running water, he spent his time drawing and whittling away the hours. All of that drawing paid off. He has illustrated the Freddy the Frgocaster series written by Janice Dean (Regnery Kids), Major Manners Nite Nite Soldier by Beth and Mike Hofner (Outhouse Ink), A Merry Moosey Christmas by Lynn Plourde (Islandport Press Fall 2014) and his first book that he wrote and illustrated, Faraway Friends, will be released in April 2015 by Sky Pony.
AJ SMITH: I’m an author/illustrator specializing in silly stories and funny drawings for kids (and immature adults). I live in Newburyport, MA with my beautiful girls, Karen, Mirabelle and Chloé. My first trade picture book, Even Monsters comes out in Spring 2014.
So I've been keeping this quiet until it was official, but the papers are signed, and I can't believe it but: I HAVE A BOOK DEAL. (Yes, those caps mean I'm screaming at you.)
I'm very proud to announce that Jabari Jumps!, written and illustrated by your's truly, will be published by Candlewick Press and coming to you in time for Father's Day 2017.
(I'm having a hard time writing a super heartfelt post about how much this all means to me. So I'm going the animated gif route instead:)
I am so excited. And nervous. Giddy. I have been working towards this for a long time and am so happy the stars aligned and matched Candlewick and my little book up together. It is such a good fit. And wow, I will be in good company. WOW. I can't even...
The manuscript edits are finished and soon dummy illustration edits will begin. And then, I'll get to illustrate a book.
A BOOK. Guys:
Anyways, I can't wait for you to meet Jabari, his baby sister and his dad. But in the meantime, I'll of course keep you updated on how its all going.
Ok let's wrap this up with Prince:
I stumbled on this a few months ago. Its from an issue of Vogue from a while ago. Pretty awesome, right?
I thought it would be fun to pick out a few pieces for your living room to go with my Reindeer in Color print. Wouldn't these look nice together? They're all from West Elm and right now quite a few of them are on sale, so hop to it!
- Reindeer in Color print
- Metallic Chevron Pillow Cover
- Montgomery Sofa
- Gates Lacquer Side Table
- Kasuri Wool Dhurrie Rug
- Broken Stripe Pillow Cover
- Ceramic Animal Planters
- Reactive Bronze Vase
I'm seriously eyeing that chevron pillow for myself...
To celebrate Earth Day, I wanted to recommend two picture books. Wangari's Trees of Peace and The Tree Lady are each about women, on either sides of the world, planting trees to better their communities. Wangari's Trees of Peace written and illustrated by Jeanette Winter:
The Tree Lady, written by H. Joseph Hopkins and illustrated by Jill McElmurry:
Happy Earth Day reading!
The film follows a small group of people who cryogenically freeze bodies after death in hope that they will be revived sometime in the future.
The subject is totally fascinating, (and a bit baffling?) and of course beautifully shot. Watch the whole thing here!
Congrats you guys!
Oh hey, look it's a post not about my print for West Elm (that's available right here!! Gah!) haha. Anyways... Who has seen the Divergent movie? We haven't yet-- and I'm blaming that on a certain drooling monster who seems to be demanding an awful lot of attention lately. (The cutest kind of monster, I assure you.) We were huge fans of the books and as each still came out from the movie, I found myself frowning-- She doesn't look like that! Where are all his tattoos? Why is he so pretty? Blah blah. Now I totally relate to the angst Hunger Games fans felt. Anyways, what did you all think? Still fun even though the protagonists are way too attractive? I'm guessing, probably.
I remember years ago taking one of my babysitting charges to the second Harry Potter movie. He was in fourth grade and spent the entire movie furiously whispering (and sometimes not whispering) to me about what was wrong with xyz. It was not fun. He was upset and crushed by the end of it. No amount of explaining how movies are different than books, and, they can't possibly include every scene from the book, made him feel better. I understood then, and of course I still do now. I can whisper furiously through a Lord of the Rings movie with the best of them.
I guess what I'm saying is, I really hope this is one of those times where it's just a fun viewing experience, as opposed to a three-hour-righteous-outrage fest.
P.S. Oh hey there's a Divergent summer camp. That's cool, I guess? Better than a Hunger Games one.