I am now registered with the Mass Board of Library Commissioner’s Performers List! Some of you may know that I teach “How to Draw Manga” Workshops at Libraries and Community centers across the state of Massachusetts. I started teaching these workshops back in 2003 (yikes) and began by cold-calling libraries across the state. Well, my little lecture’s popularity ballooned to the point where I no longer needed to do any advertising to get the word out. Librarians shared my contact info amongst themselves and business has been pretty steady ever since.
Regardless, I feel like its about time that I ought to do a little bit of advertising, if only to let some of the libraries I haven’t been to in a while know that I’m still running this workshop! Maybe I can also reach some new community centers outside of my typically library circuit as well in the process. So per the suggestion of a wonderfully helpful Librarian from Dover I have registered with the Library Commissioner to be on a list of Massachusetts library “performers.”
But I’m also writing this blog post! So that you, curious reader with connections to libraries or after-school programs which are looking for ways to entertain children, might be inspired to make a connection for me here. Anime and Manga is a fantastically popular style of Japanese cartooning and story telling which came to the US in the 1980’s and was made popular by 90’s television shows like Pokemon. The style has grown in popularity so much that there are literally hundreds of titles which employ this style of drawing. Because the style has been so prevalent for over 20 years, many of today’s children grew up with it all around them, and are very interested in learning how to tell their own stories through manga.
If you have a child who would like to learn how to draw Anime and Manga, or if you run an after school program, or if you are a librarian and you are interested in hosting a “How to Draw Manga Workshop” for your kids, I encourage you to visit this link to find out more about my workshop, and to send me an email with any other questions!
This weekend (Saturday and Sunday), Kelley and I will be exhibiting and selling our wares at Granite State Comicon! You can find us in the Artist’s Alley, booth number 907. I’ve included a map below with our table circled. Granite Con will be held at the Radisson Center of New Hampshire, 700 Elm Street, Manchester on September 28th & 29th.
The spaces for Granite Con are not as big as the one we had for Connecticon, so we won’t be able to bring our vertical displays, but we still plan to pack our table with leather masks, armor and bracelets, handmade jewelry, costume accessories, hair pieces and more! Kelley will be doing face paint and balloon animals, and I’ll have my caricature supplies on hand! We’re happy to do your makeup for the convention with Kelley’s hypoallergenic face paints, or get your costume started for Halloween with the perfect mask. Want something specific made for Halloween? We take commissions! If you order a mask at the convention, we will have it to you in time to celebrate every costumer’s favorite holiday on Oct 31st.
On Saturday, June 22nd, Faire Trimmings (a collarborative brand between Kelley and I) will be vending at the Pirate Rendezvous in Damariscotta, ME. Activities begin at 10 a.m. and continue until 4 p.m. The pirates invade at high noon, which is essentially a large parade and general storming of the fair grounds by costumed reenactors. All attendees are encouraged to come in costume, but there is no requirement to do so. The fair and parking is free, but you may choose to make a donation to the Lincoln County Family Holiday Wishes, a Christmas season food and gift drive.
This is a family friendly event and there will be tons of activities and merchandise geared towards children. However, because no one is ever too old to be a pirate, this event draws fair-goers and reenactors of all ages from across New England.
The Faire Trimmings booth, where I will be stationed, will be offering one-of-a-kind leather costume wear and accessories. You can find eye-patches, masks, armor, and jewelry to complete you pirate costume all in one place. We will also be offering prints of original artwork, and for the children we have facepainting and temporary tattoos. We even do caricatures!
I would like to thank everyone at Milestones, Inc for inviting me to host two How to Draw Manga workshops today.
Milestones is a therapeutic school for children with any disorder that interferes with their ability to learn in a traditional school setting including autism, anxiety disorders, non verbal learning disabilities and more. Milestones places children in an environment specifically designed to meet their individual needs, with lots of room to express themselves, and extra staff and support to help them focus and grow. I was invited to participate in their Arts Enrichment Day by teaching two drawing courses: one offered at the middle school level, and one at the high school level.
During my workshops, I had lots of staff support to help keep the kids focused. This was extremely helpful because I typically have to stop the whole class to deal with inattentiveness or outbursts (which can happen anywhere I teach) myself. Having a support team meant that I could keep the lecture going and not risk losing the attention of the other students. I am quick to praise the teacher support team watching over us in the back of the classroom, but they were not needed nearly a often as one would think. The children were very focused and engaged in their drawings, and our open conversations stayed mostly structured and on topic.
The Milestones building was a pretty cool environment to be in. The school is located in an office park, so from the outside you wouldn’t think that the place would be very welcoming to children. But the section of the building used for the school itself was painted bright colors and filled with spacious classrooms. Overall it was much nicer than most schools that I have been to.
Again, I would like to thank the students and the staff for having me, and I would love to return in the future!
Last week with the snow storm of the decade looming, bundled up in front of my computer, I decided to pick up my Wacom tablet and paint a picture digitally. I am not a very experienced digital painter. I’ve only completed a small handful of pieces on the computer before, and none of them have made it into my portfolio. Sure, I use photoshop all the time to color correct, crop, and touch up photos and paintings all the time, but it is very rarely that I do the bulk of the painting on the computer screen.
I had the urge to go back to the computer screen primarily because of time. It takes me a very very long time to create a full scale, fully rendered painting by hand, and sometimes I lose interest in what I am painting or I have another great idea to work on before my first idea is fully realized. Especially for beauty shots like this, the idea and the passion to draw it only sticks around until the next pretty face comes along and I imagine something new; so there was a sense of urgency to get this face and this stunning collar down on paper before it was replaced by another figure in my mind.
The piece was inspired by a costume I saw at Templecon 2013. I used photo reference to sketch out the face and collar by hand, and then I also inked that preliminary sketch before scanning it into the computer. Once uploaded to photoshop, I started rendering by laying down basic blocky colors. Using photoshop is one of the only times that I render with an opaque medium, making it extra challenging to maintain my style. I blended the colors together using primarily the eye dropper and a soft, low opacity brush. I choose to render over some of my inking to turn the figure more in important or especially modeled places like the nose and lips. I left the collar and hair more linear and stylized because that is how I would have dealt with them were this painting done by hand. However by hand, I would have added the lines last, wherein photoshop, I started with all lines and selectively removed or covered them.
I textured the piece with pattern fills and spotty brushes. Adding texture in highly modeled digital pieces is very important in order to avoid a plastic looking finish. The skin has pores and fabrics have a coarseness to them that is easily neglected in digital pieces. Over all I like how this painting came out, and I think that I will be experimenting with digital painting more in the future.
Last Thursday night I was invited to teach a How to Draw Manga Workshop at the Groton Public Library. The local news stopped by to film some of the class, as well as interview me and some of the students after the workshop. I am very pleased with how the segment came out and I think its a good sample of what I do and why I offer these workshops.
If you were unaware, I teach a manga class for children every Wednesday night in Medford, MA. Last week we were creating some characters for Halloween, and while the kids were concentrating on their task, I whipped up these little doodles. They seem to like it when I draw with them, and are always interested to see what I am up do.
This blog was created to chronicle my creative adventures. It is also a spot for me to talk about what I am up to artistically, what inspires me, and what art, culture, or fashion I am compelled to explore at the moment. I try to make posts that contain useful or interesting information, while at the same time, always updating and elaborating on my own works. Post topics will range from theatre to crafting to body-art to beautiful landscapes! Anything that I find visually stimulating or otherwise noteworthy, you can find it here!