Sorry I’ve been a bit absent. I’ll write more about why later… it’s good! But yesterday we took a break from everything to pack up the canoe for a paddle around the lake (or, more accurately, a troll around the lake… we are the rednecks who hooked up a trolling motor to our canoe. It’s pretty awesome. Hoorah.) The sun was warm and it felt like spring. While Colin was rocking short sleeves and Veda was ready for a polar bear swim, I still wore two sweatshirts with my hood up most of the time. I’m always colder than everyone. Darn it.
Oh boy am I happy to share these with you! These are a series of new work for a client of mine called First Read who partnered with Save the Children. These are to be used in brochures and other collateral materials geared toward providing children’s books to families in Africa and Asia. Save the Children supports literacy and educational development opportunities for pre-school age children.
My client initially wanted illustrations of adults and children reading together, but I thought that might be a little too expected and literal. So as I was concepting on these I thought: “These are for children’s literacy, so why not make them fun and geared toward kids!” So I played with the idea of doing more of a kids book style of illustration showing animals.
I surprised my client a bit with the sketches and concept, but he ended up loving it. And I got to do the finals in this whimsical, super-engaging style. It was really fun to illustrate like this — still my typical work with the textures and layers, but geared toward a younger audience with a brighter palette and underlying drawing style. I loved it! And the client ended up loving the results, too. That’s the best.
The greenway trails are right outside the back door at our current home. You literally walk through the backyard, teeter over the rock bridge and join up with the hiking trails that wind through the woods. When we rented this house sight unseen I didn’t realize how much this would affect me, but it’s made a huge, huge difference in my day to day. I hike daily. I listen to the river daily. I watch for hawks and deer prints. I hear chattering squirrels and sometimes owls. I keep vigil over the changing trees. The sound of my footsteps has become my meditation. I find peace.
Living in the woods has also deeply affected my parenting. I try to go outside and walk the trails with Veda at least once a day. We notice things together. We wander. And today was one of those days. I was feeling tired so I asked Veda if we could go sit by the river and toss stones. It’s a great activity because I can relax with a cup of tea while she climbs on the rocks and gets some energy out as she’s finding the perfect stones to throw.
So as I was sitting and loving the warm sun on the back of my neck I started noticing bright terra cotta and ochre colored rocks peeking out of the mud. I showed Veda and we started to gather them. We noticed some were smooth and some had texture. There were different sizes and angles and layers. Some crumbled easily. You could draw on bigger rocks with a few of the brighter orange ones. We wondered what kind of rocks they could be and decided to look it up later (our “look it up later” list is enormous.) In any case, it turned out to be a pretty little collection.
After that she moved on to gathering her own collection of sticks, and I started seeing long, thin rock shapes. The more I stared the more I saw. There were at least two dozen that I could easily dig out and line up, which is what I did. I’m not sure why they were this shape. Does the river wear them in that pattern? Did they break off into similar shapes serendipitously? I don’t know. It’s fun to wonder about though.
We left our little collections there on the rocks for other hikers to find. We hoped that they would add to them. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
I wanted to show you what we’re doing for Veda’s valentines exchange with her class tomorrow. Most of her fellow students are boys so we wanted to make something that wasn’t overly girly and saccharin sweet (but still kinda cute). For a quick idea I popped onto Pinterest and found these pirate valentines which were totally usable as-is, but my printer stinks. So we decided to make our own.
First came the sketch (designed to fit perfectly on the ink pad so we didn’t have to use paint like last year…. which worked but was just a little more messy and time-consuming. Ink pads work better for short attention spans. :)
Then we transfered that onto our unmounted, easy-to-cut linoleum and cut out the white areas.
The paper is just Matstack . (Easy because they are a uniform size.) So we inked up and put down our initial stamp.
Lastly, we stuck on a felted heart for an eye patch, cut slits to attach teeth-friendly lollipops and Veda signed the back.
Took about an hour or so total. I hope her classmates like them. :)
How she went from this incredibly tiny newborn to this tall, smart little girl in four short years is beyond me. I can hardly believe it.
If I could describe Veda in one word, it would be “happy.” She’s an amazingly joyful little girl. She loves to learn and discover things about the world around her. She loves to draw and paint and build things. She loves to tell stories and make up elaborate, funny daydreams (often involving pickles and/or grapes). She loves to run and roll and jump. She loves to EAT and eat and eat. (hee hee!)
This morning when she woke up and came into our bed for a snuggle, she was all smiles. She knew she was four. We told her her birth story again. We told her all the things we love about her. We held her and marveled at how tiny she once was and how long she is now. We told her we love her.
Happy birthday to my little girl.