Saturday, October 31, 2009

Kid's Play

I knocked these out today on the playground at Carroll Park.

Around 2:45 today I found myself watching a herd of five year olds as they were trained in the art of tricking and treating.

Sharing was not high on the list of things that interested this particular set. I overheard a particularly poofed princess say "Ohhhhhhhh the orange and the white triangles are called trick or treats!!" they were using candy corn to practice. It was all kinds of adorable.

Luke Skywalker's father said "I don't care what your mama said, Fruit snacks is healthy, they're made with real fruit." I wanted to cling to a dying battle station and yell "Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo" instead I tossed the kid a granola bar.
This last one was inspired by the ever prolific Katy Rich - Her girls don't take Halloween lightly.


Friday, October 30, 2009

Skinny Witch

Skinny Witch

When I think skinny I think about nerdy boys.
Does it get any skinner or nerdier than Waldo?
Here's Waldo
Sigh..... He's the dreamiest.

One day 'til Halloween!

listening to right this second: "Those to Come" -- The Shins

Thursday, October 29, 2009

My Creative Space

It seems like this will be the year of 100 costumes. My coworkers and I are all going as sick-o versions of the eight-year-old I animate. I'm doing this one up goth. Tonight I've got a seventies costume party and a gig in SoHo. Tomorrow we pull out the stops.

So here I am, cozied up with an iron and a ream of freezer paper:
My Creative Space

"There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics and the Great Pumpkin."
-Linus Van Pelt

Meet Ralph-O-Lantern.

April and I decorated this slammin' but shiny pumpkin this week. I would have loved to cut his face open with a sharp serrated blade but getting his top off was hard enough. Ralph is the picture of modesty. Also it would seem he's made of wood. I've never met a pumpkin so hard to crack. This man is an island.

Trick or Treat to see more great creative space at Kirsty's Space.

listening to right this second: "
Ashes & Wine" -- A Fine Frenzy

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Prilly's Petals

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My kid sister is in town for the week. April flew in to have a fun filled New York vacation, but we get to call this a business trip because we're branding her new company while she's here. We tried to get a logo drafted in Montana last month but the designs I did while we were there were "stupid" (her words, not mine). At 22, as a first time entrepreneur, she's not looking for advice but for a minion. She knows what she wants and she wants it now.

After fighting back and forth between her vision and my expertise I decided we'd do best to stow the pencils and head out for some inspiration.
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Autumn might be better somewhere other than Brooklyn, but then you wouldn't be in Brooklyn and that be a shame.
Sister time found us on the B71 headed for Grand Army Plaza, where we jumped off and tiptoed a block and a half to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. Sunday was a pretty fancy day for the Gardens.
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We're gearing up for Halloween here in Brooklyn, and the gardens weren't to be out done.
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April and I found ourselves face to face with
Ghouls and Gourds and costumes and roses and enough inspiration to fill our cups that they runneth over.
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We spent all day walking and walking and chatting and making masks and running and eating apples and shutterbugging.
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Sissy-time hasn't been this good since long beachy days in Hawaii. Finally! We found the perfect place for our powers combined - April's flower arranging genius and my sketchiness finally met middle at the BBG, and a perfectly harmonious day ensued
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When we got home I decided to treat Prilly like a real client. I gave her my "this is good design" lecture. I reminded her about everything we saw all day. Then I handed her some 120 pound and let her try to explain what was in her head. Here's some April Alvarez drawings, making their debut right here.
A set of April Alvarez originals:

After taking a look at what the client drew up I stole this swatch from the upper right-hand corner. This is the picture of potential my friends!

Yay for artsy little sisters who are stubborn enough to win their battles!

The Garden variety was just what we needed!
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I made her spell it Prillies, because I think it looks cooler with the double is. She has spelled it Prilly's her entire life. Now I realize I am being "stupid," (my words, not hers). So the next step is taking this back down to the way the poor kid spells her name.

I'm in development mode. Check back to see this new break-out flower designer's star in lights or at least roses later this week.

listening to right this second: "Jai Ho! " -- Pussycat Dolls

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Tornado

Here are some work in progress still shots from the movie I'm in charge of this month at job-job.
Lately I've been feeling like we're becoming the 'opposite of racist' in the movies we provide--whatever that is. It's just that tons of our films feature African Americans or Latin and Spanish people. We hardly ever make a movie about a white person. I've been exasperated by it, in that I think it's getting strange that we're not representing a true melting pot. So when my schedule docked on Wilma Rudolph I rolled my eyes. Then I had to start researching her. I'm awe inspired. She rocks so hard. I love when my job teaches me new things. Wilma Rudolph was one of those people who shouldn't have succeeded. She was born premature, weighing only four and a half pounds. She was the twentieth of twenty-two kids! In the first few years of her life, Wilma's mother nursed Wilma through scarlet fever, mumps, measles and double pneumonia.

Wilma contracted Polio. Hospitals were segregated and she almost died multiple times, submitted to the kind of medical help you can imagine a poor little black girl in the South in the 1950s would receive. She had a Forest Gump kind of brace on her leg until she was twelve!

I loved the stories I read about her mother who would not give up. Determined to beat the odds, her mom packed Wilma up. They traveled fifty miles twice a week to get Wilma to physical therapy in the only place that would treat her. Her entire family worked round the clock helping Wilma do strengthening exercises, nursing her to health.

Look her up. She died so young. but in her short lifetime she shattered boundaries. She wrote her own biography. She consulted on the movie made about her life. She won so many awards. If you
Google her you'll find multiple accounts saying she changed the world. Talented enough to brake through the time's preconceived notions about race and gender she changed the way the world measures the value of a person.
In 1960 she became the first American woman to win three gold medals in a single Olympic games.
Ooh and she was sooo so fast.

Watch her run. She'll blow your mind.

Up Close and Personal: The Original Art

Tonight - yes, I'm officially that girl, I don't have a pet, I feed the blog. I think about it as I traipse up the stairs. I carefully unlock the bolt to my front door and tip-toe down the hallway, depositing my cocktail dress on the floor, I step over my watercolor block tower. I head for my laptop and stare into it's big round eyes.
"Feed me," it implores -- which brings us to tonight...

This evening my artsy friend - Head Cheerleader/Monday Motivator, Sandra and I snuck away from our art at 5:30 in the pm - yes before the sun went down! Sorry art.We met on the crossroads, where I transcend the worries of this world and all cares melt away - nestled between Park and Lexington - a fortress of solitude,
The Society of Illustrators.

I scored two tickets to their most important event of the year - well as far as I'm concerned,
The Original Art Show opening.
illustration by Kadir Nelson
All your questions will be answered at the Society.

If you are like "Ick. Words." I will try to make it less painful -

The Original Art show kicks the trash of the majority of gallery shows. It is expertly curated, flawlessly executed and something any illustrator should be desperate to see. The show features the fine art of some of the best children's books published in America within the last year. Awards are given. Speeches are made. Hands are shook. Drawings are drooled over. Cocktails are drunk. Everyone is drunk. Oh and there are itty-bitty hamburgers. Don't eat the wasabi buns. You might die.

I almost died multiple times tonight. I swooned over Sophie Blackall's Wombat Walkabout - written by Carol Diggory Shields.

Wombats in newspaper hats?! Genius.

I got choked up at the lonely little penguin who stares into an endless ocean in
Antoinette Portis' -- "A Penguin Story."
I can't wait until I get to plop down and get comfy while I read about the plight of this chubby little fellow when I revisit the show under less packed wall to wall mingling.

I almost died laughing at the articulate expression Will Hillenbrand brings to his work with 'Sleep Big Bear Sleep!" - written by Maureen Wright. This cover does not do justice to the original art - i wish you could see it opened up because when you look at the full cover as will painted it you so deeply appreciate his compositional genius. What a smarty pants, that Will!

A big part of the night was the acceptance speeches. Five awards are given annually - it's a big deal. Like seriously. Big. Huge! I have to go shopping now.

This year Dr.Seuss was awarded the Posthumous Life Time achievement award. His art director accepted the award for him. She was so charming and witty. I hope that I get to work with someone who seems to 'get it' as much as she seemed to at some point in my career.

Chris Van Allsburg was at the society to accept his Contemporary Lifetime Achievement Award. He was so so different than I thought he would be. I push my Harry Potter specs up my nose and double check my pocket protector because yes, at some point in my life I decided what I thought Chris Van Allsburg would be like. Fly away little nerdbot, jump on the Polar Express out of your little nerd kingdom.

This year's gold medal went to Kadir Nelson for his book, Coretta Scott. I didn't know about this book before tonight's show. Like all the books represented in the show there is one original painting from the book against a plain white wall. This is not my kind of book I can tell. I'm sure you can tell. This is so not She Sure is Sketchy style.
But. But. Man it pulls you in. It sits there on that wall and you realize you wish you knew this girl because she is so strong and so composed and that she's been through something hard but now she is content. You get all that from the one illustration on a white wall pulled up in extreme close up portrait. and that is all from one illustration. Dang. that is good art, yo. Good art.

Brian Floca took home a silver medal for his book Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11. You should see this guy. You look him up and down and just add water - instant crush. So cute. So geeky. So adorable. I was too nervous to talk to him afterward but if I would have I'm sure he would have been drawn in by my vivacious hair tossing and intelligent witticisms. There we go again little nerdbot, what quaint little fantasies.

I read reviews for this book when it came out this year. I knew it was raved about. I love this whole science meets art thing, It's why I'm an animator so I'm sure when I get the chance I'm going to fall for Moonshot. I'm really looking forward to reading this because it was raved about in my earshot all night, the illustrations I saw are forcible
, oh and this guy is hott.

Chicken Cheeks went home with a Silver Medal too. Kevin Hawkes' always funny sensibility saturated every page of this crowd pleaser with simple, strong, bold color. Looking at his original illustration I was awed by how wildly popular this book must be with the young'ins. I can just imagine pitching that book to the six year olds I used to focus group. They would have split their sides, "Sorry parents who signed release forms. All of your kids need to be sewn up. They've been looking at animal butts all morning and their little bodies just couldn't handle the laughing."

The founders award was given to a book I don't even have to go back to the Society to look at before decide to squirrel it away in my personal collection. Harry and the Horsie is the first book illustrated by Lincoln Agnew. One glance and I was hooked.
When it comes to the work of Bill Watterson I'm incredibly selfish. Mine. When I see his influence seeping into the work of my contemporaries I marvel at how they can even begin to know him like I know him or be influenced the way I'm influenced. I see the magic in Lincoln's work and I just want to share the journey. I think Harry and the Horsie and I will be grand friends, but if they think they're taking up Calvin and Hobbes' place of honor on my studio shelves they've got another thing coming. I'll clear a spot next to Max and Ruby. While it's not quite as prestigious an award as the founder's it's still a wild compliment.

I'll be back at the show to really get up and fog up the glass every picture is framed behind in the coming weeks. Check back for more coverage, including a very important award show right here at She Sure is Sketchy.
listening to right this second: "Mad World
" -- Alex Parks
I freaking love this cover.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Make It Creepy

Make it crawly!Ten days and counting!
I had plans to expand this line, but after white on black, black on white and candy corn Halloween were explored I twiddled my thumbs. Maybe it was going to be something I came back to at Christmas. The life of a licensing artist is never easy. Then, while visiting my favorite baking cutie at
I stumbled upon her mega inspiring Trixed out Treats.
photo by Bakerella
Is there anything that girl can't do?
She made me realize spiders are meant to be neon.

Download the 8.5x11" design paper fo' free for all those spookly last minute craft projects.
It's available until the witching hour on the 31st!
Find it at: Amber Ink. Make it Creepy - Bright Green
Coupon Code - "creeps"

P.totheS. - Wouldn't this make the cutest cupcake papers?! That just hit me now. I was thinking paper plates. As always designs features at She Sure is Sketchy are available for awesomesauce licensing at
listening to right this second: "You Can't Hurry Love " -- Phil Collins

Sunday, October 18, 2009

In Memoriam

This was a really hard weekend for me. I blame the weather. It must have been frigid October rain that pushed our newly departed and totally unwelcome house-guest into our lovely little, previously flawless apartment.

The last two horrible days have involved lots of running, the occasional scream and much fasting. If I wanted to commit a crime this evening I could without fear of ever being caught. The constant hand scrubbing with Brillo pads rendered me completely untraceable.
Fingerprints? What fingerprints?
This no good, very bad weekend involved a mouse trap. And guilt. Lots and lots and lots of guilt.
Then there was some more guilt.

Followed by some guilt.
I may or may not have cried in the cleaning aisle at Associated.I'm sorry Algerman. So sorry.

P.S. I am sorry if this blog post made you want to barf.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Snack Time

This illustration is both fact and fiction.
Fact: On any day in Autumn you can sit in a New York City Park and
sketch kids who are desperate to befriend the "wildlife".
Fiction: No New York City squirrel is ever thankful for a hand out. NYC park inhabitants turn their nose up at friendship, but they'll grab that nut and run like mad.

Stop by Watercolor Wednesdays for more fab fall colors.

listening to right this second: "Jackson Cannery " -- Ben Folds Five

Friday, October 16, 2009


These illustration thumbs are taken from two dummies I'm in the middle of pulling together. Different books, same series. Double the fun.

In other news that starts with the letter F - I had to turn on the heat this morning.
Fall!!! Come back! I'm not ready for the tundra!!

Remember - I'm a greedy comment loving wench. Be generous. Xoxo.


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