Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Hello, World! I'm back!

I've been in a cave for the last several months, hard at work on a children's book that went to the printers today!!! I'm now breathing a bit easier and am relieved to have all of that work behind me. The project has been very challenging, but through the process of making each new illustration, I feel I've improved and learned a lot.

The book is called The Governor's Mouse. It is a tour of the Residence led by a charismatic (and artistic) mouse named Herb. It is a fundraising book for the 1006 Summit Avenue Society. All the proceeds from the sales of the book will be put toward preserving the Governor's Residence. The author, Kristin Parrish, is a member and past president of the Society. The book will be available this December, and Kristin and I will be signing the book at the Holiday tours of the Residence.

The attached illustration is the final end sheet. The end sheet at the beginning of the book is just the pattern, no Herb. And that is actually the pattern of the sofa in the Great Room of the Residence! Amazing!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Meet the Tarsier!

The Tarsier is one of the smallest primates in the world. Its body is between 3.35 inches and 6.3 inches long, so roughly the size of a human fist. It lives in forests on a few islands in Southeast Asia. There are many things that make this nocturnal animal an odd little guy. The Tarsier's eyes are the biggest of any land mammal, the equivalent of a human having grapefruit-sized eyes! Its extremely long fingers are tipped with rounded pads that assist in gripping. Every digits has flat nails except for the second and third toes, which have sharp claws for grooming. Their first toe on each foot is opposable, like our thumb, but their thumbs are not.

The Tarsier is an endangered species due mostly to the destruction of its habitat for slash-and-burn agriculture. Also, people used to catch them and sell them as stuffed animals to tourists or sell them as pets. Sadly, Tarsiers don't last long as pets because they can't handle the stress and solitude.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Minnesota Coloring & Activity Book

Have you been itching to get out your crayons and colored pencils lately? I'm coming out with a coloring and activity book about the state of Minnesota. Among my favorite pages so far are Jesse "The Body" Ventura, Prince with his symbol guitar, Princess Kay of the Milky Way carved in butter (a butter head), and the page where you guess what foods you could find on-a-stick at the fair. Those are just the beginning because there will be 50 pages, including recipes, crafts, songs, language lessons, trivia, puzzles, and more!

I'll keep you posted about when this book will be available and where!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Meet Seahorse!

Greetings! I'd like to introduce you to this weeks odd animal, the seahorse. As many of you are aware, seahorses are very strange creatures. They can be found mostly in shallow warm sea grass beds, swimming about upright, propelling themselves forward with their dorsal fins (that can beat 35 times a second) and steering with their pectoral fins. To keep from being swept away in the currents they anchor themselves by wrapping their prehensile tails like a coil around seaweed or soft coral. Seahorses can use each eye independently, making it easy to hunt for prey without moving. This helps them catch the plankton and small fish that they feed on. They eat constantly in order to stay alive because they have no stomach in their digestive systems.

Perhaps the most fascinating thing about seahorses is the way in which they mate. Seahorses court one another and mate usually under a full moon, twirling in a sort of dance in which they turn different colors and create music. And in the most unique role reversal, the male seahorse is impregnated by the female. He gives birth to nearly 50 fully developed tiny seahorses.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Meet Mr. Narwhal!

Meet Mr. Narwhal, the latest odd animal to come from my striped studio. I'm not sure whether I should add water or waves around him, so I decided to scan him and post him as he is now. The narwhal (Monodon monoceros) is a medium-sized toothed whale that lives in Canadian Arctic and Greenlandic waters. What appears to be a horn shooting out from his forehead is actually an incisor tooth that projects from the upper left jaw of male narwhals to form a left-handed helix. The tusks can be up to 10 feet long (compared to their body length of 13-16 feet), and male narwhals can weigh up to 3500 pounds.

I hope you have enjoyed this odd animal from my striped studio!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Meet Platypus!

I'd like to introduce you all to my odd animal of the week, Duckbill Platypus. I think I have had a love for the platypus ever since I used to watch Mr. Rogers. He had that platypus family in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe. There was Dr. Bill, his wife Elsie Jean, and his daughter Ana, (short for Ornithorhynchus Anatinus, the scientific Latin name for platypus).

The platypus is a semi-aquatic egg-laying mammal that can be found in the lakes and streams of eastern Australia. If you weren't already acquainted with the platypus, I'm pleased to have introduced you! If the platypus is an animal you just hadn't thought about for a while, I'm pleased to have sparked the thought!

Monday, January 4, 2010

I'm blogging now! For real!

I'd like to introduce you to Ms. Octopus! She is an Atlantic white-spotted octopus, the first in a series of interesting animal illustrations I will be posting every week or so in 2010. This idea came to me when I recently fell in love with the three-toed sloth.

I illustrated a sloth and thought it would be fun to illustrate more odd animals. Some animals you can look forward to seeing in the near future are a seahorse, a platypus, an anteater, and a hedgehog. Please check back soon, and let me know if there are any odd animals you would like to see illustrated! Thanks for looking!