July Hedge a gram
When I celebrated the 4th of July this year, I thought about our kids in
the military and all the men and women and their families that are on foreign
soil. My monthly hedge a gram is the time I take to share what I'm doing
artistically. This month though, I've just come back from Okinawa, Japan to see
my daughter. Because of her connections, I was able to talk to book lovers at
the Camp Foster library. I enjoy speaking to children, and especially drawing
pictures for them as they follow along.
I am so excited about the talent and enthusiasm children just have naturally
for drawing. Drawing is really something that can be taught. When I see
children using their unbridled imaginations, I feel like I'm experiencing
something quite remarkable.
Now that I'm back in my studio I'm working on the first spreads of The Big
Sparkler. The Big Sparkler is the working title for my story about Hedgie's
travels in outer space. So far my biggest challenge has been Hedgie's clothes.
I really wanted his prickles to show. I decided that where he had soft fur on
his underside, that would be where his clothes would go. The top part of him,
along his back, is all prickles. When he goes to the planet Mikkop in the
story, he'll wear a space helmet too.
One of the hard things for me to draw is the space lab where the
scientists work. Luckily, I've visited our son's Sean's, laboratory, where he
works as a physicist. The scientists wear special uniforms called bunny suits,
and they wear booties over their shoes. That's because everything has to be
clean, clean, clean.
I also saw how the buildings looked at the Kennedy Space center. There are
windows for the tourists to look in at the scientists working on big machines.
I don't know exactly what the machines were for, but I think some will be used
for a future space station. We were told that there is a giant solar panel up
there that gathers energy. It's bigger than a house, but it is very thin, and
folds up like origami to fit into the space shuttle. Origami is the Japanese
art of paper folding. You may have seen paper cranes, paper boxes, or paper
animals made by folding. I am interested in this story about the folded solar
panel because answers to problems often come from unexpected places. I would
never have guessed that origami would help engineers deliver a solar panel to
the space station!
At my art school, the Boston Museum School, we were encouraged to try
different art styles. That sounds easy, but we also want to reflect our own
deep down feelings about how we want something to look. One person might like
big and bold, another might like mystery. For me, I love details. In my new
space book, my art style is more cartoony and playful. I thought my art would
go fast and I'd be half way through my book by now. It turns out, even my
simple drawings have details, and it takes just as long to get things right.
Tonight, I made chocolate chip cookies. Even though the timer is on for eight
minutes, I know when they're done because of the delicious fragrance. That's
the same with the page I'm working on. There's a finished feeling, when I know
Good luck and happy drawing. All of you with moms and dads in the armed
services. Thank you for helping our country.