Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Stories on Silk; A Peek into China is available!!

I'm taking a break from blogging this week; up to my neck getting two shows ready and hung! Sorry. I'll be back next week.
Meanwhile--My book is ready to order! You can get a copy directly from me for $8.30 plus shipping.

It's a bit more expensive if you order it on line;      USA     UK

Monday, April 27, 2015

Soon to be Published!

I have so much I want to tell you! I don't even know where to start.

Everything I am doing now somehow revolves around stories.
I just finished a little book featuring my paintings on silk, the ones illustrating stories I heard in China. It's at the printers now. I'm crossing my fingers that I will have copies for the spring Studio Tour.

Here are some pages from the galleys. At this point it was still a work in process; the type needs to be justified, for example. That's been fixed and I'm biting my nails waiting for it to be approved for printing! 

 The book features my paintings on silk, the Chines Folk stories they illustrate, and sketches and photos from my journal.


Jane Valencia will be telling some of the stories at the Grange, 2 PM Saturday and Sunday May 2, 3, 9, 10, during the Art Studio Tour! Jane is a bard; she will use her harp as she tells the stories!


I am joining Will Forester, Marcia McKinzie, Gus Schairer, and Valerie Roberts at Grange Hall, #1 stop on the Vashon Artists Studio Tour. I will of course have paintings on silk, books, cards, and maybe scarves. I will at least have samples of the book and be able to take orders!

You can also order by emailing me (studioatsuzannaleighdotnet). The book will be $9.50 plus tax if you order through Amazon (not yet available there); if you buy directly from me, the cost is $10 including tax (you save 25 cents).

Will has a new book out too! He has illustrated Deborah Anderson's book of poetry about her spiritual journey. Hopefully, he will also have some prints of some of the illustrations.

Marcia does watercolor batiks on paper, which she is selling all over the country! Valerie will be showing her encaustics. Gus's sculptures in soap stone are pretty wonderful!I hope to see you at the Grange!

Oh! And Marj Watkins and I will be showing together at the Vashon Community Care Center during May and June. We will be there for First Friday Gallery Walk on May 1st, from 6 pm to 8:30 pm. We are showing watercolor paintings and Marj will have portraits--including one she did of a Nori priestess in Okinawa before Okinawa went back to the Japanese.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Family gathering comic update-John M as Leprechaun

Is it a leprechaun? I knew Burton woods was magical! Oh, Wait. That leprechaun looks like my brother John M Watkins! Here I've known him all my life and never guessed! Hm... another story in the making!

I'm done with the pencil version of Family Gathering; I re-drew all the faces so they don't look as awkward. Now for the inking, then values, then color. Lotta work!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

If you are going to China....

Butterfly Lovers, painting on silkby me
If you plan on going to Hangzhou, China--or if you are only dreaming of it, or you like folk tales, I  highly recommend  Tales of West Lake by Izabella Horvath. I picked up this little book in Hangzhou. There are 22 folk stories, each referring to a location around Hangzhou, and with directions how to get to that location. One of the stories is Butterfly Lovers, a very popular story in China.
Here is a piece from my book soon to be published, Stories on Silk; a Peek into China 
Journal entry
August 8
We spent the afternoon in deep conversation with Yang Jian Hua and other Chinese friends, visiting a beautiful garden park that once belonged to a courtier of Kubla Khan, and ended the day with a long delicious meal in a private room in a local restaurant. It was a meeting of the “Speaking English Club”. Steve’s Chinese friends call him Lao Wan Tang, which translates to “the ancient child”. I enjoyed the conversation that slipped effortlessly between English and Chinese. It didn’t bother me that I understand no Chinese, as I like the sound of the language and because the tone of the conversation was companionable and jovial no matter what language was being spoken.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Graphic Novels, everything you need to know

Couldn't sleep last night, so I thought I'd just take a peek at this book a Will Forester gave me--a surprise Christmas present in April! Well....lets just say I was finally able to tear myself away and get to bed around 3 a.m. Wow!

Gravett's book features pages by graphic artist/authors whose work has really influenced the medium, with notes that point out things I would have missed. Then he follows up with examples of work by people influenced by that particular artist/author. I have ignored Graphic Novels for most of my life. I thought it was all vapid superheroes, silly comics, or dark fantasy with the possible exception of TinTin and Little Nemo. I thought Elfquest and Girl Genius were anomolies.
Thank you Gravett!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

update on Stories on silk--for Wednesday, April 15

My sister in law, Xiao Ning, was my guide to China
Tax day! Hit a wall when I realized it was unrealistic to
  • get my taxes by done today AND 
  • get the book I envisioned published even in temporary form in time for Spring Art Studio Tour the first two weekends in May.
So, I'm doing a much shorter version; paintings, stories, and an anecdote or so from my travel journals. I plan to do a longer version next.
"Love Birds", from the story "A Beam of Light from Heaven

Friday, April 10, 2015

Emerald City Comic Con people

I know I promised to tell you about the people I met at Emerald City Comic Con. Truth is, follow up on people is my weak point. So I'll just say, I think it will be worth your time to look up these folks whose work I enjoyed:

OOPS! Look at the time! More later (after I get my taxes done).

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Stories on Silk--China: a boat from Jinghong to Thailand?

Easter morning on Vashon Island
When the day starts like this, the whole week is infused with joy --which is bound to carry over into my work!

I finished the first draft of the text for my little book, Stories on Silk--China. I confess, it was a little intense, transcribing my journal notes and trying to decide what people would find interesting or insightful and what I should leave out. I'm getting some help with this part, the deciding part.

a page from my travel journal
I'm giving parts of the text to various friends to get their input, asking what should I leave in when I edit? So far I'm getting comments like, "It's all interesting!" or "You could leave out the part about the cockroach and the headache." Both are helpful; I'm too close right now to make an objective decision. In the end, though, the decision is mine.

Ive been checking my facts, too. I was sure, at the time, that I could take a boat down the Mekong River from Jinghong, China to Cheng Kong, Thailand. It's true the same river goes past Jinghong and down past Cheng Kong before going into Laos. What I should have realized--if I had bothered to look at a map--is that it also passes through Laos before it touches Thailand! And where would I be getting visas to go through Laos from China to Thailand? No wonder we couldn't arrange a boat from Jinghong!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Emerald City Comic Con

I went with questions:

by Pam Wishbow
     What formats were people using to publish their graphic stories?  What sizes and shapes of books or booklets? How were they laid out? What are people charging?
     What concepts are people addressing in their work? Anything besides Dungeons and Dragons, Vampires, Combat, and other hero "good guy/bad guy" fantasy?
     Who are the people buying?
     Would I find artist/writers I want to follow or to keep in contact with? found so much to like, I would be  broke if I bought everything I wanted to! The sixth floor had more of what I was looking for and was less crowded.

One of my favorites was this sweet little book, only 4" square, by Pam Wishbow. At first glance, the illustrations look like wood block prints. In a genre where so many stories are dark fantasy, this one nourished my soul.

pages from As The Crow Flies
I found insightful coming of age stories, like "As the Crow Flies" by Melanie Gillman. This one is about 7" by 5.5", with 23 pages.

"Sing Ninety Nine and Ninety" is only 12 pages including cover, printed on 8.5" by 14" and hand stapled. By "Anne Notation", it is very well drawn and laid out. I would probably not have bought it except that the title is the title of a song my mother used to sing, as the coloring made me think it would be rather dark.
I found humor, such as in the work of Carrie Potter and Sara Williams in their Juniper comics. I love their "Juniper Sampler",  horizontally bound (stapled) 5.5" by 8.5".

All of these appeared home grown; i.e. printed and stapled by the artist. The Kid Beowulf book, "Shild and the Dragon", a 9" by 6" little book of 40 pages,complete with barcode, seems professionally printed.

So, as far as size and formatting, it seems anything goes as long as it's more image than text. I take that back. One artist/writer did a book on Japanese Ghost stories which was more text with some illustrations. His name is Zack Davisson, and he is a translator, writer, and scholar of Japanese folklore and ghosts.

The little hand bound books ranged from $5 to ..... maybe $12. The more established writer/artists work, such as Girl Genius, were selling their work for $25-30.

I'll talk a bit more about the people, writers, artists, and Comic Con visitors, soon.