Neat-O : Jane, The Fox and Me by Fanny Britt and Isabelle Arsenault

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I recently picked up a beautiful young adult graphic novel called Jane, the Fox and Me by Fanny Britt and Isabelle Arsenault. I think I stumbled across the title on Goodreads, and I thought the cover was beautiful and I wanted to check it out. I’m so glad I did! The book is not only beautifully illustrated but also beautifully written. It’s about a girl struggling through the absolute pain of middle school, bullies, and the getting used to just being in one’s own skin. If the illustration style isn’t enough to draw you in–loose, sketchy penciling, vibrant water colors, and other lush, mixed media see-scapes–the story definitely will.

In the book, Hélene is in middle school and dealing with peers who constantly poke fun at her. She comforts herself by delving into Jane Eyre, her favorite book. The author intertwine’s Hélene’s story and Jane’s. The story is heartbreaking but also completely relatable–who hasn’t dealt with mean kids and feeling uncomfortable with yourself? Finding a way to be okay with it all is really the most you can do, and seeing Hélene do that is way cool.

As a graphic artist, I think it’s a “given” that I would like graphic novels and other illustrated books, but I’m also a sucker for YA literature. Our years as a young adult are so formative, and the books written for that audience and read during that time are so telling of what kind of person you’re gonna be, or what kind of person you’re going to strive to be. If you know any young girls–or boys for that matter, (#heforshe, y’all)–who might be being bullied or just feeling weird about being a person who’s growing into themselves, (or really, anyone of any age who just exists in the world, this book is so good!), I’d recommend this book to them.

Below are some shots of a few pages from the book! Enjoy!

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Neat-o: Whitman Illuminated: Song of Myself by Allen Crawford

DSC_0405I’ve always loved Walt Whitman’s poetry, and I (of course) love hand-lettering, so when I saw the book Whitman Illuminated: Song of Myself by Allen Crawford, it was pretty much love at first sight. I received the book as a Christmas present (thanks, sister Emma!) and have been enjoying it since!

The book is Crawford’s hand-lettered and illustrated interpretation of Whitman’s famous poem. I’ve read Song of Myself before, (I took a great English course my very first semester of college called “Self vs. Community.” It’s always stuck with me as one of the best classes I’ve ever had. The class was all about how one goes about in the world as an individual, alone and amongst others. We read things like Whitman, Thoreau, and Kate Chopin’s The Awakening.) but Crawford’s illustrations and lettering add another artful layer to it. Crawford’s lovely, loose hand-lettering style and graphic illustrations work really well with Whitman’s words. I’ve been having a lot of fun flipping through; each page is so unique, there’s a lot of absorb! I love the way Crawford organizes the type on the page; it’s definitely inspiring for me and my own work.

Crawford is a designer, artist, illustrator and writer who owns his own design studio jointly with his wife. Check out his website. His work his beautiful!

Below are a few pictures of different spreads from the book. I highly recommend picking it up!

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Sketchbook: Wild

Used a fun brush pen to make this loose, messy sketch. It’s been so nice outside, all I can think about is wanting to be outdoors! Though the scenery isn’t quite as lush as the living things in my sketch, it’s been awesome to get outside the past few days. How often can you say that and mean it in January?DSC_0394


Long Time, No See

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve posted! But with a new year comes new resolutions, and one of mine is to once again post on here regularly.

So this first post I’ll keep short and sweet, and fulfill the promise I made to add more photos of my Mountain Man linocut. Below is a picture of the finished product! He currently hangs on the wall in my living room. Ain’t he cute?

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Printeresting: Mountain Man Preview

Here’s a preview pic of the small, 4×6″ linocut  block I am working on: Mountain Man! Less blurry and more process pictures to come.

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Printeresting: It’s Nice to be Nice

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I printed another hand-carved linoleum block, this time on my own small Speedball Printer’s Press. This block measures 4×6 and is the linocut version of a sketch I made a while back of my parents’ favorite mantras when my siblings and I just couldn’t get along growing up. It’s probably a good daily reminder for anyone, actually.

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Inkin’ it up!

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I printed it in red and pink. I’m printing a couple more colors, too!

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Also, sorry for the dark photos. I’m working on it. Just turn up the brightness on your screen for now.


Printeresting: Floral Orb

Hello! It’s been a while. I can only blame my absence on pure laziness. Winter does that to me; my brain shuts off from January to mid-March. I think bears have it right–we should all just hibernate! Luckily spring is upon us, and we’re getting the last of these cold spells (or at least I hope so).

I’ve filled my sketchbook a little the past few months and plan on posting pictures, but I’m most excited about the projects I have done most recently. I’m getting really into making prints again (why did I ever stop doing this??? So fun!), particularly linocuts. I’ve always loved the process. You spend hours and hours carving into a block and creating this image that you almost lose track of what it is you’re making. Then seeing it print out on the paper for the first time is like magic!

My awesome friend Julianne recently set up her Line-o-Scribe, a tabletop proofing press that is just perfect, and she was gracious enough to let me use it–and show me how! We locked in my block, which was about 12×12″ and ran some test proofs to get the pressure and inking down pat. It can be be a long process to get everything to work out perfectly, and I’m definitely a little rusty (I haven’t really printed anything in a couple years!). Getting everything perfect really takes a lot of attention to detail, which has never been my forte. We had to make some minor adjustments, but then printing went pretty smoothly. I ended up printing two different colors–black and bright magenta!

Below are some process pictures of the linoleum block and the final prints.

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I started off  by drawing my image in pencil and then going over it with Sharpie on the linoleum. I didn’t sketch this one out at all; I’ve done enough of these orbs that I knew where I was going and what I wanted to do! Then I just started carving away.

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Carving has always been my favorite part of the process. Some people love inking the block (swish swish swish), other people love pulling the paper off the block and seeing the image on the page for the first time (well we probably all love that!) but carving has always been my favorite!

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Just carving at the park, no big deal. This was on one of the warmer days we’ve had recently… Hopefully coming back again soon!

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Final black ink version. Yay!

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Pink!

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I just can’t wait to carve and print more!

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