Sunday, October 21, 2018

Wanna See My Tattoos?

So cute, right?

You can get some for yourself, your kids, your colleagues... your colleague's kids...

Just back my Kickstarter! It runs for just 6 days...

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Kickstarter #5! Gorilla book and Tattoos!

I finally did it! I JUST launched my fifth Kickstarter project. It's a "Quickstarter" since it's for a small amount (just $500) and it only lasts a week. Here's the short link: you can use that link - send it to all your friends so they'll back the project too!

The Kickstarter is basically to create a series of tattoos based on the characters from the picture book, "Ready, Set, GOrilla!" written by Melissa Stoller, illustrated by ME!, and published by Spork/Clear Fork Publishing. It will be released on November 13th.

But!!! If you pre-order one through my Kickstarter - you not only get the super cool tattoos... you can also get the book signed by me with a little sketch.

The book just got another pretty good review:


Clarion Rating: 4 out of 5

Ready, Set, GOrilla! is a lighthearted take on serious decisions and consequences.

Melissa Stoller’s Ready, Set, GOrilla! highlights sportsmanship in an entertaining animal race. Illustrated by Sandy Steen Bartholomew, this picture book for beginning readers explores the concept of fairness on a playground.

The story begins when Gorilla, an exuberant bully, challenges his friends to a race. As each runner is on the cusp of winning, he trips or hits them to ensure his own spot in first place. He ignores their reluctance to play again, and moves on to race Gopher, a spirited creature who doesn’t hesitate to point out Gorilla’s cheating despite being a cheat himself. Gopher’s triumph is short-lived, as a cheetah arrives and bolts at the start of the race, showing both Gorilla and Gopher how it feels when the odds are stacked from the start. Realizing how poorly he treated his friends, Gorilla agrees to establish ground rules before a new race begins.

The book conveys a clear lesson on the golden rule through an everyday scenario. Gorilla’s change of heart offers an important lesson in empathy, but his comeuppance feels orchestrated. It’s unclear why the gopher and cheetah are both needed to shine a mirror back at Gorilla. Cheetah in particular doesn’t appear to have changed, though she’s pictured at the end on the merry-go-round with all of the other friends.

Full color spreads enrich the race. From a winding yellow slide to a wooden obstacle course, the playground’s equipment is exciting and dangerous: Penguin spirals in the air, and Llama balances at great height. Sometimes divided in panels, at other times spanning both pages, the illustrations emphasize the physicality of the story. Gorilla bears a cartoonish, human-like profile. Other characters sport a more natural look. Bubbles of colorful, emphatic dialogue fill the white space, which sometimes results in a busy layout.

Ready, Set, GOrilla! is a lighthearted take on serious decisions and consequences. Without over-moralizing, the book implicitly shows how the enjoyment of a race lies in the camaraderie gained and in the knowledge of having put forth an honest effort. Gorilla’s instinctive desire to win “at any cost” is proven selfish. That his friends forgive him adds to the gentle outcome. While not always true to life, the competition ends with enthusiasm for more.

Reviewed by Karen Rigby

I posted the above Review on Patreon with this text:
This one is a much more serious and analytical review of Ready, Set, GOrilla! but still pretty good. My response... or rather... my REVIEW of the review:
"Reading that review was kind of like being in a playground! Up and down.. bump! Then up again. I think Cheetah got a bum deal - but maybe the reviewer is suggesting that Cheetah needs her own book? ;-)"

That post got this response:
Marek Bennett
"We found Ms. S-B's review of the book review engaging, light-hearted, and all too short. We eagerly await her next effort." ~ NH Review of Reviews of Reviews
And on Facebook:
So - anyone else want to leave a Review of the Review? Or maybe, a Review of My Review of The Review? Or, if you are VERY clever... how about a Review of Marek's Review of My Review of The Review? Ha HA!
Yeh - so - feel free to keep it going... ;-D

Obviously I have been staying up much too late working on designing tattoos, Kickstarters, and other promotional materials. I really need to get some sleep. So go ahead and click the link below, and take a look at the Kickstarter project. Tomorrow I'll tell you some more... stuff.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Inktober 2018 - Week Two

I'm still going...! Some of my gray markers are running dry, but I MUST KEEP GOING!

So here are all the drawings I've done for Week Two (you can see Week One HERE).

Day 8 - STAR


I thought it looked pretty cool - with just the background shaded!

But it looks good completely "colored" too.

Day 10 - FLOWING

Day 11 - CRUEL

I started by inking the word "CRUEL" in dark gray, then drawing everything around it.

Day 12 - WHALE

Day 13 - GUARDED

The blue-pencil sketch...



Day 14 - CLOCK

Monday, October 8, 2018

Kirkus Review! Book Review!

by Melissa Stoller and
​   illustrated by Sandy Steen Bartholomew

"A gorilla learns a lesson about playing fairly with his friends in this preschool-perfect picture book by Stoller (Scarlet’s Magic Paintbrush, 2018, etc.), with eye-catching illustrations by Bartholomew (Alphatangle, 2016, etc.).

Gorilla loves to race with his friends, but he’s willing to break the rules to make sure he wins. When he and Penguin have a sliding race, Gorilla trips Penguin at the last second. Gorilla pulls Llama’s tail to stay in the lead. Unsurprisingly, no one wants to play with Gorilla after that. When Gopher arrives, Gorilla finds a kindred spirit who’s also willing to cheat to win! Luckily, when Gorilla cheats, Gopher uses words to object; likewise, when Gopher cheats, Gorilla objects. The two argue, unable to settle on fair rules until they both face off against Cheetah (who gives herself an early start). Realizing that neither of them likes to play with cheaters, Gorilla and Gopher and all their playground friends come up with fair rules to enjoy racing together. Bartholomew’s clever, colorful cartoon illustrations, especially showcasing the final “race” as a playground merry-go-round spinning, are well-shaded to show texture and depth. Stoller’s conclusion, in which the friends work as a team to create the type of fun where everyone wins, will resonate, especially with the preschool crowd.

​With big pictures and few words on each page, a sure hit as a storytime read-aloud."

Pub Date: Nov. 13th, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-946101-69-3
Page count: 38pp
Publisher: Spork
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online: Oct. 8th, 2018

Purchase from Clear Fork Publishing
Purchase from Amazon

Inktober 2018 - Week One

In an effort to get myself back on track - DRAWING COMICS EVERYDAY - I joined Inktober - 31 drawings in 31 days. Started by Jake Parker, cartoonist, to get himself and others to perfect their inking skills - Inktober has become a "thing". Basically, there is a list of word prompts, one for each day of October. You draw a picture inspired by that word, ink it, post it on social media and tag it - #inktober.

This also got me to revisit my Instagram account (it had two pics and 5 followers) which now has 15+ posts and 170+ followers. Cool!

I've completed one week - WOO HOO! It feels really good - and the accountability also feels good. Although I do spend a lot more time on these than I had intended ("anything worth doing is worth over-doing").

I set up a few extra rules for myself.
1. work within a 6"x8" area
2. include my comic character somehow
3. include the word somehow (work on my lettering)
4. Only black and white and gray ink
5. It's October... a little bit creepy.


I also played around with the image in Procreate to make it look more like an old poison bottle label:



I get to a point where I'm not sure if I should push it... or let it be...

I'm leaning towards "push it". I added more text and the black background. I'm glad I did because it makes the fire glow more.

Day 4 - SPELL

Each of these comics starts with a blue pencil sketch. Another thing I am torn about - I really love the way the sketches look - the line quality and variation - but I also like the cleaner lines, contrast and grays of the inked art.

blue pencil sketch


adding grays

finished art (photo. still needs to be scanned) 


My kids says this one is not "realistic" - seriously? It's a comic! I'm trying to get across an idea, not paint like Norman Rockwell.
Kids - they think they're art directors.


 How do I get the drool to really stand out?

Still needs to look slimier...


I was really tempted to give this one a black or gray background too. But then I thought... a bat would be sleeping during the day, right? I know I want to. Up all night working -- sleep all day. White background.

Besides, I'm too tired to do a dark background!

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Studio - Yard Sale - the Tail End

I've still got quite a bit left from last weekend's sale - including the darkroom enlarger, big conference table, art supplies, toys, art books, displays, some shopping bags... and a gazillion rubber stamps. (See some photos of stuff HERE).

Please please please come and get some of this stuff! I need space and I need it NOW!

This weekend is the Warner Fall Festival with lots of cool (weird?) activities and trashy food (omg - I LOVE fried dough!!!) We're going to try and clear out some more stuff, but just on Saturday morning - I want to enjoy the festival too!

If you are in the area this weekend, please come to my:

Studio Garage Sale!
Saturday, October 6
10am-12pm (no early birds!)
on Kearsarge Mtn. Road in Warner, NH

You can bypass the chaos on Main Street by getting off I-89 at exit 9, heading towards downtown, but turn left onto Roslyn Ave. (across from the CAP building), then right onto Kirtland Street.

Last weekend's sale didn't earn much money, but it was a networking windfall. We met so many new friends, and quite a few old ones I haven't seen in... years. There was a lot of laughter too.

I think we had the ONLY yard sale EVER with chalk body outlines and crime scene tape!

My daughter and her friends started tracing each other - just... because...

I'm sure the yard sale browsers thought it was odd that there was a group of kids lying on the driveway!

Chalk outlines weren't enough, there was this conversation:

Lilah: Hey Mom! Do you have any police tape?

Me: Of course. (doesn't everyone?) 
       It's Crime Scene tape - will that do?

They added clues, and "weapons" (note the tiny frying pan!)

Soon the driveway was filled with bodies... some a little bit gory... even Bill's spilled coffee joined the ranks of victims...

 I turned this outline into a mermaid when no one was watching:

 Even the cracks in the pavement got their turn!

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Studio (Garage) Sale

If my studio is in the barn... is it a Yard Sale or a Barn Sale... or a Garage Sale...? Or Studio Sale?

No matter - I have a lot of stuff to clear out!
I had to move out of my big studio in Concord so I have a packed storage unit, a packed garage, a packed mudroom... I have a lot of stuff! On top of that, I have a lot of other changes happening in my life and I need to make room quickly and clear out my house.

If you are in the area this weekend, please come to my

Studio Garage Sale!
Saturday, Sept. 29 and Sunday, Sept. 30
10am-2pm (no early birds!)
on Kearsarge Mtn. Road in Warner, NH

I have quite a bit from the Concord Studio (most is in the storage unit) - art supplies, books, displays, etc. I'll put some photos here too and I'll also list them in the Facebook Yard Sale Groups. There's also quite a bit from all over the house - toys, kitchen stuff (cookie cutters!) and furniture.Here's a little bit of what I've got:

Large, sturdy (heavy) conference table, with folding legs.

 Movie theatre chairs from the old Cinema 93 that I had mounted to a wooden base.

A mini printing press

Two mini-fridges -- a cube, and an under-counter fridge.

Lots of yellow shopping bags -- some with handles and some flat. Many different sizes.

An antique school desk and chair. I always meant to refinish these - the desk would make an adorable bedside table...

 Fabric covered office chair.

Fold out tumbling (exercise) mat.

Unfinished furniture (I used to paint a lot of furniture) - kids' table and chair, and little rocking chair.

Very cool giant birdcage on wheels. (fits a small child or large bird nicely)

Fiskars push-mower (great exercise... the faster you push, the better it cuts!)

Over-sized Alphabet block (storage chest) from Think Big in NYC.

Antique, child-sized, roll top desk (rolling top has been removed)

Hand-painted kitchen table (I carved and stamped the little teapots too!) I think it's about 3 feet diameter.

Big Bucket of miscellaneous rubber stamps. I also have tons of unmounted stamps, and wood pieces available.

Two big bins full of super-cool, antique cameras - Brownie cameras, Polaroids... They are really amazing but some (with leather parts) are more than a little stinky. It breaks my heart.

Lots of art supplies... like these drawers (included) full of metal foils, embossing tools and texture plates.

My beloved Beseler 23CII darkroom enlarger. My daughter asked me what it was and I had to explain what "film" was!!?? I still think that darkroom photography is one of the last forms of True Magic! Watching the image appear from Nothing is amazing!

 A bad pic, but this is a gorgeous, antique, bow front china cabinet - curved glass. (There are three wooden shelves).

Corrugated, folding pedestals with styrofoam and wood tops. Light-weight, but sturdy. Great for a show.

I don't really want to part with this house display, but if I'm offered enough money...
It's one of a kind! The Roof holds rows of journals, books, sketchpads... on the front is an open door to a cozy rugged area. On the back are windows, and the rest of the house is painted with chalkboard paint for drawing on. It is currently disassembled for storage and moving.

There are still two remaining tall bookshelves. These are designed to show the books with their covers facing out (children's books!) They are still in the storage unit, but we can get them out.

This is the best "portable" crib! It's German, I think, and wooden. Very sturdy, has wheels, and it folds down for storage.

 I'm still pulling things from the house, so there will be plenty more! Come and visit us this weekend! And bring lots of cash. ;-)


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