Thursday, December 15, 2011

My favorite Rob Ryan Books

I can't say enough about Rob Ryan's paper cut designs. I've followed his works through his blog and Etsy shop for years and they never fail to be a source of wonder and inspiration to me. They are all beautifully intricate, detailed illustrations with just a touch of whimsy. The time and patience it takes to complete each piece is amazing. He has collaborated with fashion designers and his screen printed paper cuts are famous.

The Gift by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy and paper cut artist Rob Ryan tells a tale of a young girl and her granted wish to be buried in an enchanting glade she happens upon. The story goes on to follow her life as she lives her life to the fullest, becoming an artist, marriage, and motherhood. It is a beautifully written book and the pictures that accompany the words can almost tell a tale of its own.

Rob Ryan's latest book is A Sky Full Of Kindness, which he both wrote and illustrated. I love that he incorporated the text into the paper cuts themselves. The handmade quality is very unique. This story is about a bird couple who are about to become parents for the first time. Through their journey, the birds learn the greatest lesson of all; unconditional love.

Handmade Portraits: Rob Ryan from Etsy on Vimeo.

I am such a fan of his craft and his philosophy about love!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Online Storytime

I only recently discovered Barnes & Noble's Online Storytime.
This is a monthly (every first Tuesday) program from the book store where authors and celebrities read picture books for children ages two through six. Each video features pan-and-scan fade transition filming of the picture book with the author or celebrity narrating.

This is a great way to discover new books and check out their story and illustrations before purchasing - and all in the comfort of your own home!

Also on the plus side, Rachel Jarrett, Director of Kids and Lifestyle Products for Barnes & says, "Children exposed to read-aloud storytelling at a young age develop language and literacy skills sooner than those who are not. We’re excited to bring some of our nation’s bestselling children’s authors and celebrities-and their stories-into America’s homes and help children learn and grow."

All their past storytime books are also made available on their site.

Ready for next month's read out loud book? It's a very appropriate choice: The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

Friday, July 22, 2011

Typographic Tree of Life Mural

Finished! I wish the lighting was better - and not taken from my ipod!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Native American Inspiration

On a recent trip to the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian, I became inspired by their culture and folklore. I thought I'd share a classic story about The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses by Paul Goble.

A native of England, the author and illustrator moved to the United States in 1977. His work is heavily influenced by Native Americans of the Plains. His art depicts their culture and environment in such brilliant colors and detailed patterns. Goble received a Caldecott Medal award in 1978 for this beautiful picture book.

“I feel that I have seen and learned many wonderful things from Indian people which most people would never have the opportunity to experience. I simply want to express and to share these things which I love so much.” - Paul Goble

Friday, April 22, 2011

Otis, Cuter Than The Little Engine That Could

I recently checked out Otis, written and illustrated by Loren Long. The author's latest book was illustrating for Barack Obama's 'Of Thee I Sing: A Letter To My Daughters'.

Otis tells the simple tale of a happy farm tractor and his buddy the calf. One day, the farmer buys a brand new yellow tractor leaving poor Otis cast outside to rust behind the barn. When an unfortunate event leads to a town wide rescue effort, Otis is the only one left to save the day!

I loved going on his website and watching a video link about his art process with gouache paint.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

2011 is Year of the Rabbit

Last week I was shopping around for a bilingual Chinese + English children's book for my future niece. It's technically my first cousin's daughter but in my family we call practically every female relation and non-relation 'cousin' or 'aunt'.

I came across a wonderful and unique story Monkey and Rabbit Together retold by Dr. Mike Lockett and illustrated by Ming-Jen Hsu.

The story is based on an African folktale about two friends faced with each other's bad habits. A monkey and rabbit have a contest to see who can sit still the longest without exhibiting any of their bad habits. Monkey has a bad habit of scratching while Rabbit sniffs constantly. While telling stories to pass the time, both Monkey and Rabbit can't help but fall back into their old behavior. By the end of the story the two friends learn to accept the other's 'annoying' habits with humor. The tale is a simple and genuine lesson about friendship.

Hsu's illustrations are wonderfully drawn. The animals' facial expressions crack me up. I especially liked his addition of animals joining in during their contest.

An audio CD comes with the book to help kids follow the story on their own. Monkey and Rabbit is in a bilingual format with English on one side and when flipped over, Chinese is on the other side.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Nobody's Fool

Last week I went to Yoshitomo Nara's exhibit, Nobody's Fool, at the Asia Society Museum in the UES. This is his first extensive exhibit in New York - it made up 2 floors at the museum and included more than one hundred works. Besides his drawings and paintings, I never realized he made sculptures, ceramics and large scale installations.

My favorites, and I'm sure many people feel the same, are of the little girl with attitude. They are so often humorous and expressive, but always honest and insightful. He's influenced by punk and rock music and like that genre, his work conveys feelings of frustration, anger, and loneliness of the generation. I loved going up close and examining his paintings - the colors are so lush, almost edible, and they have such a smooth, creamy texture.

His installations are very inviting. The one of a dollhouse, I wanted to crawl into the space and look at everything on each wall! In another room, the installation was of a Japanese style home. He had murals blocked off by a wooden wall with windows cut out at different heights and locations along it. At certain distances, the cut outs give only a small window view of the entire painting. Another memorable installation was comprised of small rooms with doors. Behind every door was a painting or object inside. Each was a surprise and evoked a particular emotion for me. I thought this was very well done.

If you have time please go and check out Nobody's Fool - it is worth the trip. The exhibit will be up until January 2, 2011.

Nara also has a wonderful children's book, The Lonesome Puppy, which you can find in the museum shop.