Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Julie, Romy, and I are about to head down south for some holiday festivity. For those who do not know, my people are from South Carolina. We were planning on boarding a flight that left Chicago this afternoon, but it's been canceled due to some snow. A white Christmas cancels flights, people.

But looking forward to a fried turkey and various other southern-style (probably not good for my cholesterol issues) sides and desserts.

Happy Holidays to all, and to all a great 2010!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Bookpage: Best Picture Books of '09!

This just in! TROUBLE GUM was selected by BookPage for a short list of this year's best picture books. In case you missed it, I was in the magazine back in September for their supercool "Meet the Illustrator" column. Check that out here.

Thanks, BookPage!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Top Ten (November 2009)–Addendum!

I forgot. Make it Top 11 this time. A Facebook friend posted this earlier this month (and another posted just now and I remembered...), and all I could say was "wow". Up for auction is original art by the greats. William Steig, James Marshall, Maurice Sendak, and many more. All you can do is salivate, cause you know you can't afford these pups. But a girl can dream, can't she? By all means, go crack this catalog and dream.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Top Ten (November 2009)

I can't believe a month has blown by since my last Top list. I guess I've only blogged a couple of times since then, too. Heck.

Well, it's been a good month with some prime pickin'. Let's see:

1. GOOGLE SESAME HOMAGE. In case you missed it, Sesame Street just celebrated it's 40th anniversary this past month. Google knows a good thing when google sees it, so Google did a week's worth of Sesame-inspired Google logo treatments. Good on ya, Goog. (Now, pardon moi for all the scrolling...)

2. CHICAGO HUMANITIES FESTIVAL PANEL. The title of this panel discussion, from Nov 7, was The Not-So-Funny Situation of Alternative Comix. It was a dream panel. Lynda Barry, Jules Feiffer, Chris Ware, and Matt Groening. The discussion was comics, specifically the demise of the comic strip in alt-weeklies like the Village Voice and the Chicago Reader (panel was moderated by Chicago Reader's Michael Miner). Lots of talent, lots of laughs, lots of fun. One of my favorite moments was when Chris Ware stepped off-stage for a few minutes, then came running back on when it was time for his slide show. And said, "when you spend a lot of time at home, your bladder shrinks down to the size of a shallot."

3. CANON EOS REBEL XSi. Our first digital SLR (single lens reflex). Takes a great looking picture. And it's so much better in low light situations than our old point 'n shoot. Even though this cam's, like, amateur hour for you serious photographers, it's fits us nicely in performance and price.

4. CAKE BOSS. Julie's got me watching TLC now. Which I think (ironically?) stands for The Learning Channel. Which doesn't quite add up because it basically seems like a "reality show" cavalcade of hot tempers, multiple pregnancy families, little people, overweight people, BBQ competitors, and bikers. Nevertheless, a personal favorite in "learning" is the CAKE BOSS. Billed as a bakery reality, it's painfully obvious when there's a blatant setup, plot fix or unreal moment happening. And it's spilling over with Jersey Italian stereotype (lovably). But I love watching them construct the custom cakes. Airplane or Leaning Tower of Pisa or NYC cityscape or your basic "old school" icing piped beautifully on a 4-tiered wedding cake. Talent. Like edible sculpture. Yum.

5. CHRISTOS' FALAFEL, PHILADELPHIA. Julie and I came upon this street vendor while on a recent trip to Philadelphia. It wasn't your typical cart. This was a spanking clean and shiny silver cart without any obvious signage/pricing. But with big tasty smells and lots of fresh herbs, garlic cloves and flowers adorning the front. After asking the line of regulars what smelled so good, we found out it was Greek char-grilled chicken breast, falafel, and lots of other savory homemade Mediterranean sides. Totally tasty! And fresh. Once we got home, we found out this dude is kind of a legend. People seem to liken him to Seinfeld's "Soup Nazi". Though we found him to be quite pleasant. A neat vid/write-up about this here.

6. BOB DYLAN PLAYS HANK WILLIAMS. I've been on a Hank Williams (Sr.) kick this month. I remembered there was a clip in DON'T LOOK BACK where Dylan picks out some old Hank tunes. Found a clip of it on YouTube. Dylan, Joan Baez, Albert Grossman, etc. And a good hair day for Dylan. That classic Glaser silhouette.

7. MUPPETS BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY. Two tips of the hat to Henson Studios this month. I realize most anyone who's been on the internet recently has either heard of or watched this vid. But I would be remiss in my work as an art blogger and as a Henson worshiper if I didn't also recognize this brilliance.

8. THE CURIOUS GARDEN. This gem by ├╝bertalent Peter Brown was one of a stack of picture books Julie and I picked up at ALA this past summer. It was only just recently that I seriously gave a look. Beautiful. It's all abuzz from the kidlit crowd. Rightly so.

9. FANTASTIC MR. FOX. Really dug this Wes Anderson and co. adaptation of Roald Dahl's novel (novella?). And I read the book just after. I do very much like Dahl, but I dare say the film was even better. Maybe just for the insanely good stop-motion animation. Liked the cuss outta this flick.

10. ROMY STANDS! For her next trick, Romy has solved that whole "how does one stand?" riddle. Sooooo big!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

TROUBLE GUM at 7-imp

I'm still in the thick of final art on a new book by Lauren Thompson, but wanted to drop a quick post. This morning, alongside Steve Jenkins and Scott Magoon, I'm featured (for TROUBLE GUM) on Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. We're rounding out a series of posts, by Jules, highlighting new books by illustrators who've been on the blog before. 7-imp remains one of my absolute favorite kid lit blogs (my go to for the best illo in kid books!), so I'm honored to be invited again. Check it out here.

One other bit of hot TROUBLE news, before I get back to work. Just found out that it's gone into its second printing! Say what??!