Saturday, February 11, 2012

02/11/12 - Remissing

Well, I've been remiss on my blogging so far this year - not being as dilligent about it as could be. Time just seems to be whizzing by and everyday seems to be a bit more of a struugle (physically) but Scootertown is a project that is very much alive unfortunately, it's taken a back seat to the upcoming one man show in Brooklyn.

My original plan was to have mailed out project proposals and inquiries to publishers as well as mailed out copies of Scootertown to several more teachers, professors, child advocacy orgs and the like along with a request for letters outlining how they believe Scootertown could be used (as a teaching tool, therapy tool, in child's play, etc), what it's strengths are and if they enjoyed it. Scores of people have the book and everyone has been over the moon enthusiastic about getting a copy but no one has followed thru with a letter - something I need when I write publishers. Letters give the project validity, show dedication and value and prove there is a audience for what I have had in mind....which people who work with children on a variety of levels  (teachers, librarians, foster care workers, therapists, etc) say there is.

But here we are - a lot of projects on my plate, all of them important to me but I really need to focus on one at a time so I can dabble in Scootertown thru this month but my focus has to be placed on Brooklyn and getting the work ready for that show first and with the RSD swallowing me whole again this winter I have to pick and choice what exactly I'm going to put my energy into everyday and focus on that.

Not enough energy, not enough time in the day

Maybe I should just rerwite my letter requesting people review the book again -  take this time in my day to do something worthwhile instead of just drinking coffee and lamenting on my blog...

The Scootertown work desk 

A cut out activity project in design. I want to set up several pages that provide actvivites for children to work on - this page, featuring the main character's homes, would correspond with a map of the town. When I was a child, i always wanted to feel like I was a part of my favorite books, like I had a way to really interact with my favorite characters. I used to draw Stewart Little and take him on advntures - he was so kind and brave, I really wanted to be a part of his life. 

The activity pages I have in mind, for Scootertown books, are a way for children to play in Scootertown, thru character based activities like this. I want to children to be able to set up the town, make up their own stories and adventures, and engage with the characters. I want to inspire children to do, to use their imaginations, to play and to write their own stories. I don't want this to be just another cookie cutter book project.

To view the first 1/2 of Scootertown go to: and click on the Scootertown tab.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

01/31 - Flogging

We're one month into 2012 and Chinese New Year, year of the Dragon, began on Jan 23 rd and i've barely doen any work on the book. I have a list of excuses - moving, settling, squaring away old business in New Bedford, setting up new in RI but the bulk of the blame can be set on low energy - winter is particularly hard on people with pain issues. You constantly feel like your fighting the urge to escape pain thru hybernation. I'm just tired.....

Regardless, today I'm off to the DMV (for the 2nd time) to get my new license, the truck registered and all that jazz. Hopefully I'll have enough energy to work when I get home tonight. So much to do to reach my goals, so many ideas, now I just have to be able to muster the energy to reach them.

Well, off we got then.

Monday, January 30, 2012

01/30 - need to share something

A friend shared this with me via Facebook - I think I'll be singing this song and watching this little bunny for a long time.

Thanks Peg!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

01/22 - setting up the Scootertown room

Finally have most of  my stuff moved in to the new digs named: Rooms of: this way that, up. Spent the last few days organizing the rooms and so this is what my Sccotertown studio room looks like now - not quite homey but at least I have my reference material and a hint of the warmth I need to convey in the books:

Looking a little less than warm right now but I'm happy to have my things around me - I can at least get my head in the game with my reference material set up - I think I need a nice area rug though.

Illustrations, books and linoleum blocks.

I'm working on a couple books that involve characters using their imagination in play. The plush giraffe in the background was a present I got for my 7th birthday - two characters will be riding it and the camel thru the desert in their play.

Kitty sniffing out a dress my mother boguth for me in Germany.

The temporary work desk.

From Oberammergau.

A birdhouse my son made and Scooter - the little guy on the sitting on the stool is the real life Scooter.

NOW I just need to have time get to work on the books!!!!

Monday, January 16, 2012

01/16 - How is coloring the book this hard???

Been working on colors for the map of Scootertown for a few days and every time I think I've got it an dam happy I step back, look and hate it in all new ways. It's so GREEN. GREEN, GREEN, GREEN. The biggest problem I may be creating for myself is that I'm coloring the vegetation in the map green - it really doesn't have to be GREEN. The map is a map. I keep forgetting that I color it in sepia tone washes s if I like. instead of modern day, sugary greens and pinks. Blech. When my son was little, I used to make maps for him and they were always in black, brown and did I forget how nice those were and how much they sparked our imaginations.

I originally wanted to do the entire book with a flat, solid, silk screen look but I've switched gears - so many books today are done on Photoshop and end up with flat colors - I want to try to find a way to express the humanity not only of the characters and story(s) but of the illustrations. I don't want this to be just another piece of crap book that'll end up on a dollar rack. I want to produce a book that give kids a warm, special, feeling. A feeling that only comes about when they see Scootertown illustrations.

The black and white version of Scootertown: Run Rabbit Run has gone  to some pretty surprising places and passed thru some pretty incredible hands but people are actually getting what it can be used for: both child and adult classes and programs in child development, writing, therapy, play and fun; lessons on bullying, meditation; the treatment of foster children, abused children; child psychology and writing courses - people are finding uses for it I never thought of. And when kids, sometimes they see a story I didn't know was in there and because it's a structured story but almost completely wordless they can put their own story into it. I'm psyched to see so many people understand the intent behind the book(s).

But now I gotta get some color pages together. Although kids (and adults) like the coloring book version publishers need to see color to get a fuller understanding or something so that's what I'm trying to do. I'd like to have both color and a black and white version available for kids, teachers, therapists but have a color version available for bookstore people.

Anyway, gotta go do the map......again. Less green - try sepia this time

Sunday, January 15, 2012

01/15/12 - Coloring Dixie

I'm working on several pages tryign to find an appropraite color scheme for each character and their homes. Yesterday I spent the morning working on Dixie, a bespeckled, gregarious bird fashioned after someone who's gone now but I loved and admired for years: David "Dixie" Frederico. He was bigger than life. Friendly, loving, hugely welcoming and a well known character who made Provincetown MA his home.

Although Frederico is the basis and my Dixie embodies some of Frederico's characteristics, the Scootertown Dixie is a bird all his own: he's loving and loyal, warm and welcoming like Frederico but Scootertown Dixie is a tad controlling and an obsessive micro manager. He LOVES to cook and bake, rollerskate and bathe; he loves crafts and has a room in his specifically for creating; he loves to dance, visit friends, he's helpful and an empathetic listener BUT, in my stories, Dixie has to be reminded, once in a while, that everyone has something special of their own to offer.

My camera is on it's last legs so the pics are a little blurry but here's my wordless introduction to Dixie, and Joel - another Scootertown character:

Dixie in his fuxxy slippers. He wears rollerskates outdie his house and fuzzy slippers inside - Dixie loves to keep things clean and neat so all visitors are required to remove their shoes before entering the birdhouse...he likes to wear his comfy, fluffy, pink slippers. They're just cozy.

And, trying to find a color scheme. Again, my apologies for the blurry photos.
(My little Fuji XP has had just about enough of me...)
In the top right hand corner, we see Dixie as a baby bird learning how to be brave and fly with the some loving encouragement of his mom and dad. Mom and dad will be a combo of teal and brown to match the house and signify their framework or structure in Dixie's character.

If you're interested in seeing a larger view of the image just click on the pic.

I'm trying to find a mix of purple and pink for Dixie - and one where he doesn't look like a bruise! I'm pretty happy with this - a mix of gouche, watercolor abd colored pencil. It's clean, pleasant, happy, fresh, springy and fun.

To pruchase a limited edition, black and white/coloring book version of the book visit my Etsy page:

As Dixie would say "Ciao my friend! Ciao, ciao!!!" (add a very big hug and a very big wave)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

01/14/12 - Working on finding colors for Scootertown

When I made the move to my new place, I set up a room dedicated to Scootertown - it's filled with a variety of reference materials, old books and a few toys that embody the feeling I want in Scootertown. I've been having a bit of trouble finding a the right color combinations, which is a little ironic since I'm a painter, but I'm gonna post what's going on regardless:

The temporary work desk.

Some of the reference material

Note the mix of water based colors: gouche, watercolors, colored pencils and ink. I'll be using a mix of the mediums to build color, texture and movement...that is once I figure out what's gonna be colored how.

My reference pinup board. (The bear has nothing to do with the book. My mom gave it to my son for his birthday a few years ago. Trying to make sure i don't lose it) 

Birdhouse inspiration. Also,c heck out the stove in the bottom right hand corner - it is the exact stove I drew for another Scootertown book about Joel, the adventurer squirrel. He lives in a men's straw skimmer hat in a tree.

Gouche on a plate!

My little bedroom set in the Scooter room includes an air matterss.

Get your own black and white copy of Stories from "Scootertown:Run Rabbit Run" on Etsy: