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Themed Drawing Nights: Why they're awesome, and how you can do your own!

Posted on by Rebecca Green

At our studio, The Warren, we've had multiple drawing nights, mainly the classic ol' Drink 'N Draws where people bring sketchbooks, art materials, and a drink of their choice. Each one has been wonderful - obviously when you're hanging out with your tribe, pencils in hand, and you're sharing a few beers, there's nothing better. 

Or it there?

We started having 'Themed' Drawing Nights, something I'd wanted to do since we opened the studio last year. No longer is the 'drink' the most alluring part of gathering, but the gathering itself around one central idea. The first one was based on Food and Cooking, and the stipulation to attending was that you had to bring a food item to share to the drawing table. We had ginger knobs, old food tins, cookbooks, kitchen tools, fruits - everything culinary! The second themed night was based on Nature, so we brought in sticks, pinecones, mossy branches, and flowers. During both events, instead of drawing the same old 'comfortable' things we were used to (you know, that character, or that object you always draw out of habit - especially in the presence of other artists...) we drew within a perimeter of sorts and from life, which is rare for some of us. The best part to me was that we were all on the same wavelength, drawing 'together' instead of being in our own visual worlds. 

At the end of the second event, we opened up the room to suggestions for the next Drawing Night and Erin, who has come to all the events suggested we do costumed figures! So, this past Tuesday, we all dressed up to draw for our March Drawing Night and I think it was my favorite ever.  We had incredible costumes - the attendees blew us away! What we shared wasn't like the stuffy life-drawing classes we had back in school. Instead, we drew circus ringleaders, sleeping witches, and beautiful fairies. We gave the night a little more structure than usual, timing out poses at one minute gestures, five and ten minute poses.
We also had a very cool addition to the night: A Writer! We sometimes get folks who are interested in coming but they don't 'draw'. This didn't stop our wizard, Emily Arrow from coming and writing the best poems about the models. It added an inspiring new layer, and we're thrilled she's now part of the gang. Below are some of the models with my drawings of them. (Later in the post I'll share more pics along with some of the other artist's work!) 

Lauren Lowen was the ringleader!

Lauren Lowen was the ringleader!

Emily Arrow - the sleeping wizard!

Emily Arrow - the sleeping wizard!

Olivia and Ivy MADE their costumes!!!

Olivia and Ivy MADE their costumes!!!

Carla was the 'Emo Vegan!' 

Carla was the 'Emo Vegan!' 

Green and red colored pencil 

Green and red colored pencil 

Her face was hard to draw without eyes!

Her face was hard to draw without eyes!

They were SO fun to draw!

They were SO fun to draw!

Sad about a turkey. 

Sad about a turkey. 

The whole gang! Although there were more artists that came just to draw and not to model. 

The whole gang! Although there were more artists that came just to draw and not to model. 

Here's where YOU come in! I've had inquiries about putting on events like this so I wanted to share some tips with those interested in starting their own drawing series. 

PLACE:  
- Open up your home. You don't need tons of seating, generally artists are fine drawing on the floor.
- Host it at a bar, restaurant or coffee shop. This is harder to pull of a 'theme' as you won't want a bunch of stuff crowding their establishment. If you go this route, I'd highly recommend calling the business beforehand to make sure they can accommodate you, if you need to reserve tables, and if there'd be a fee. In my experience, groups are welcomed but should be encouraged to purchase food/drinks from the business. 
- Take the event outside! Meet up at a park, a cemetery, a crowded city center, anywhere. The theme can easily be based around the location. 
- Some libraries could be a great place to host a quiet drawing session. It'd even be fun to create an event surrounding books - either in physical form, or their content. 

CONTENT:
- Themed Drawing Night can include literally anything! Shoes, food, musical instruments, coffee mugs, clothes, knick-knacks, teas, gardening tools, makeup, animals, science, sports, nature, colors, antiques, maps....and on and on. 
- Based the drawings on stories, and have people read snippets of writings. 
- Process based drawing. For example, you can all cook a dish together, drawing the ingredients, the process, and the final dish! 
- The social sketch idea is that each person works a bit on each piece, creating a large collaboration where everyone takes a piece home. 

MAKE IT HAPPEN:
Put out an invitation on Instagram, Facebook or Social of your choice. Name the time and location. I find it's good to put a start and end time, for those showing up a little later. 
- Check to find local artists in your area and email them personally to invite them. You should, of course, invite others too, that don't fall in the general 'artist' category. 
- It's fun to make an event of it. Bake some cookies, make a pot of coffee, put on some good drawing music. 

Thanks again for everyone who came to the event! And if you put on one of your own, I'd love to hear about it! 

xoxox

How To Make Friends With A Ghost

Posted on by Rebecca Green

According to my friend Joe Kolean, via his friend John Hanson, you have to 'follow the tingle'. I'd never heard it put quite that way, but listening to your curiosities and following that spark can lead you into a state of that sweet magical 'flow'. There is a literal truth to it as well: my toes physically *zing* when I'm in that state of creating - so when I heard this sentiment, I knew! The tingle! Now the tingle is a precious thing because it's elusive. You have to stop forcing ideas to come and almost let them come to you - which is hard when you want to always be making genuine and wonderful things. (Let me interject but not get off track on the subject of constantly being bombarded with so much great content. The comparison can drive anyone mad, and you can never let your zinging toes feel ashamed that they've led you towards something that doesn't measure up to what other's are making.) But when you've watched yourself go through the cyclical pattern, you start to understand your rhythm and when the tingle finds you, MAKE.

One tingling curiosity found me on a walk with my dog, where my head was not particularly filled with creative thoughts. Just the opposite in fact: we had moved (again) and I had finished too many projects at once during our move. I was in a dull lull, if you will, feeling as though I'd like to swear off art, and never make a lick of it again. I had a small project due and was dragging my feet big time. The theme was October, and I waded through all the immediate visual possibilities, and not one of them sounded intriguing. I was tired of drawing girls and animals...and a little ghost wandered into my head. Obviously, little ghosts have been around for eons, but nonetheless, I followed the scenario. Suddenly, I was struck by a little spark...if one were to read to the ghost, what would one read? What kinds of stories do ghosts even like? What do they eat? What do they do for fun? There needs to be a guide, I thought, about how to take care of a ghost! 

Hours later, I was still frantically working and reworking my idea - it'd be a book, a little book, but a book. I'd do quick illustrations and lay it all out and tell a little story and have a good time doing it. Just the perfect fall project to get me back into the making of things. My husband Matt, who teaches English, is a wonderful ideas person - he pushed the story and helped me organize and flesh out the ending. At the end of the day, the framework for the book had been born.

I posted the final book on my site, printed 125 copies, you awesome people bought them, and I got a phone call from Penguin Random Houses, children's Imprint, Tundra. The book was going to be real. This last year, I've worked with my editors, Tara and Jessica, and the team at Tundra, to extend the content, recreate the illustrations, and bring you my first picturebook, How To Make Friends With A Ghost. I couldn't be more proud for this little book to come out into the world. The release date is September 5, 2017. Stay tuned for more info, regarding pre-orders, giveaways, and library/bookstore visits! And because I can keep it a secret no longer: here's the cover reveal! 

I could die I'm so happy! It's going to be hard waiting for Autumn (as usual) but it'll be well worth it. Thank you to those who have been so enthusiastic and supportive for this little ghost, I can't wait to share the final book with you. 

xoxo

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Little Book!

Posted on by Rebecca Green

I've got a little update to the Blurb post I did before the Holidays! While I was visiting with family, I was in the middle of nowhere in the land where a 4 second video can take 18 hours to load. Hence, I am just now sharing this little timelapse of the interior of the book! 

I've also had requests to sell the publication, and am working on putting that together to sell through Blurb. I'm hoping to have that available later this month, so I will keep you guys posted!

And without further adieu...

Comments 4

I'm not into dead animals...

Posted on by Rebecca Green

But I can't stop my obsession with the dioramas at the Denver Nature & Science Museum. Spending time drawing there is one of my favorite parts of that city, and it's something I miss deeply after moving to Nashville. Whenever I needed to re-energize, I'd take my sketchbook down to study the gemsbok, the springhare, the warthogs and the puffins. The exhibits themselves look sort of timeless, like stills from a Wes Anderson movie. 

For our Holidays, we decided to spend time in Colorado, and the trip wouldn't have been complete without a date with my stuffed babies. I carried in my sketchbook and colored pencils and worked quickly, as I didn't have a lot of time to spend. Lately, I've been using Faber-Castell Colored Pencils - they are oil based and I really love the hardness of them. Really great lines, but not super rigid. They're almost like a mix between Prismacolor Premiers and the Verithins. (Both of which I've used for a long time). Because there were SO many kids running around, and so many parents chasing them, I had to work simple, and didn't get to throw any color in.  

I've been trying really hard to stylize when I'm drawing from life. I have to consciously offset angles, and try to have fun making these little characters come to life and not look like the dead little creatures they are. If you've followed my work for a long time, you'll know I have a constant struggle not leaning into realism. After looking at my previous museum sketches, I think I've come a long way in the last two years and that's pretty exciting! 

These characters need to be in a story....

Look at those babies!! Rhea babies! 

As much as I would have loved to spend the whole week there, I had an incredibly revitalizing time resting and laughing with some of the best humans on the planet. Did you find some time to creatively re-energize over break? What do you do to recharge? 

PS > One of my goals this year is to blog more and share more behind the scenes with you so perhaps if I can keep my head on straight, you'll be hearing from me soon! 

Happy New Year my glittering friends! 

Comments 1

Annual Book Tradition: Year 1

Posted on by Rebecca Green

Part of constantly creating work means that every new piece I finish pushes old work farther and farther into the depths of darkness. It gets shoved into the back of a filing cabinet, sent off into a cloud (which sounds magical, but that's only because technology eludes me) or it gets ripped up, given away, sold, even burned. There's something so cathartic about creating something and then destroying it (which worries me about becoming a parent...I kid!) But then there are those moments where you want to harken back to old work to see how far you've come, to see the process which was the beginning. Since my husband and I move a lot, I have not been consistent about compiling a good collection of past work, online or in print, and I feel I might regret that when I turn 80 (and I am planning on living that long). 

So, when I was invited to partner with Blurb this past month, I set out to create a book of my most recent illustrations.

I've created books using their tools before but I'd never created a portfolio book of my own. (Exciting!) As I'm not yet eager to destroy any of my most recent work, I'm still smitten enough with it that it felt really lovely to put it all into a printed collection. It feels nice knowing I can look back on 2016 and see what I was making. Now that the book is printed and bound and beautiful, I plan to create a book every year - and then when I'm 80, I'll have fifty books! It is in my nature to take something simple and make a giant unattainable and unrealistic goal but please check back in fifty years and let's see who's on target. 

To begin, I thought I'd knock the dust off my InDesign skills I gained a million years ago in Typography 101. As fate would have it, I hate math and rulers and layouts and design and had a moment of panic when I realized how much work it was to actually design a book. Enter BookWright to the rescue! I'm usually not one for templated options but this program saved. my. life.

It was so easy to use - basically, you choose a template per page based on how many photos you want , and whether or not you want text. Instead of dropping each image directly into the template from your computer, you upload your photos to the program and choose which one you'd like to add to each page. It snaps to a grid (thank god) and lets you zoom into the image while maintaining the boundary line. It sets up cover options for you as Blurb offers a dust jacket, a wraparound cover, and a paperback. After you've created the book, you just upload it, they print it, genius navigators deliver it, you unwrap it, you melt a little, and you have a book. I really can't tell you how excited I was when this beauty arrived neatly in its cellophane sleeve, bundled in all its glory. 

I chose to include work primarily from 2016, though I did sneak in some work from last year and a studio image from 2013. I also included a short interview and some little Instagram snaps. The book itself is a hardcover wraparound, with light grey end papers and a matte stock (matte for life!) They offer an array of paper stocks, so if you're thinking of creating a book, you can order a swatch kit (which runs a little under $8) and that price is taken off of your book purchase. 

After the Holidays, I plan to put some originals up for sale through my site, and am happy to announce that specific paintings will come with a signed copy of the book. How's that for a segue into 2017? Besides, I'd like to sell these paintings before they end up in a filing cabinet or worse - a bonfire! 

I hope you guys are all staying cozy and warm - can't wait to catch up with you in the New Year! 

xoxo

 

 

 

Comments 7

A Wednesday in November

Posted on by Rebecca Green

What a year!

Things have been quite busy in my studio and while I try to keep you all posted via Instagram, I've A) left my blog untouched and B) been working exclusively on book projects which means I can't share them until next year - which is so hard!

If you've followed my work for the past year or so, you'll recall the little Ghost book I released last October, What To Do When A Ghost Finds You. I had a blast creating that book and sold a limited number or printed copies. After which, I was contacted by Tara, a lovely editor at Tundra Books of Penguin Random House Canada with an exciting offer to publish the book. What started out as a little side project regarding ghost care has bloomed into a full scale picture book, complete with added content, all new illustrations, a new title, and more color! The book is set to be released next Fall, and I cannot wait to share it with the world. My dream is to travel to different bookstores, introducing the little ghost to all its new friends, and making ghost crafts to celebrate my favorite time of year. I. Can't. Wait. 

I've also been working hard on two additional picture books for younger children, along with some middle grade novels - in which I am creating the cover illustrations and some interior b/w illustrations. It's a dream. It's more than a dream working on all these books. Don't get me wrong - it's a ton of work - my days are quite full - I am no longer taking commissions, doing gallery shows, and I have not had time to even think about opening an online shop, which has been on my to-do list for months. But I have realized that I have come full circle - when I graduated college 6 years ago, it was my dream to write and tell stories through images - to work exclusively on books. It's taken me a winding road to get here, through alleys of editorial work, retail shows, gallery shows, personal commissions and the like. Somehow I kept pushing only to end up where I started, which is exactly where I'm supposed to be. 

That said, this month, I am showing at the Julia Martin Gallery here in Nashville and you should check it out! It's the last gallery show I'll be doing for a long while and will be up until the 30th. I did a bunch of new pieces for it, but I also put on display, a number of sketches, and illustrations from the past year or so. 

And on and on and on we go. 

I'm off to clean my house, make a new recipe and host some lovely friends for dinner, because all this work can't be for naught. We must live too.

Until next time! xo 

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WORKSHOP ANNOUNCED!

Posted on by Rebecca Green

Hey guys! The Warren just posted the first workshop of the season! I'll be teaching a class on Animal Textures: Painting Fur, Feathers and Scales in Gouache and Colored Pencil! The four hour class will run from 10am - 3pm on Saturday, August 20. Space is limited! 

original photo by Kellie Leming

original photo by Kellie Leming

photo by Kellie Leming

photo by Kellie Leming

photo by Kellie Leming

photo by Kellie Leming

Get more info or your ticket HERE! 

Nova Scotia + ICON9

Posted on by Rebecca Green

Good Morning World.

It feels so nice to be back in Nashville in my studio. Finally a time to focus, digest, and settle into new projects. This past month, I was able to travel home to Michigan, drive to Nova Scotia, do a little camping with friends, and then attend ICON9 in Austin, TX. It's been a whirlwind, but as the dust settles, I'm finding little inspirations that I've subconsciously collected along the way making their way into my sketches for future work. 

The Sunset Hike in Cape Breton

The Sunset Hike in Cape Breton

The Boreal Forest, which looks dead, but is very much alive! 

The Boreal Forest, which looks dead, but is very much alive! 

My husband Matt and my bestie Sweet Baby Re Re. Eating Soup in freezing June!

My husband Matt and my bestie Sweet Baby Re Re. Eating Soup in freezing June!

In NS, we stayed in Cape Breton for a couple of days and took a guided tour for a sunset hike through the Boreal Forest to watch the sun set over the ocean. We learned about the forest, the fir and spruce trees, the acidic soil and fresh sap, and the inhabiting american martens (which are one of my favorites). We got to see two moose as well, and they are incredibly humbling creatures. It was magical. Expect to see some of this magic soon if I can help it. 

In process planning for a new personal painting! 

In process planning for a new personal painting! 


It's strange to talk of ICON9 in past tense as I feel like I had been counting down the conference for weeks, and it was always something exciting in the future...and just like that...it's over! It was an awesome week filled with inspiring speakers, makers and doers. I was able to take the stop-motion loop workshop with Chris Sickels of Red Nose Studio, who has been a favorite illustrator of mine for years. It was eye opening and exciting to think about doing more 3D work, and putting it to motion. It was also so cool seeing his puppets in real life! They're even more charming in person! 

Chris Sickels demonstrating his stop-motion process! 

Chris Sickels demonstrating his stop-motion process! 

One of his very sweet puppets! 

One of his very sweet puppets! 

I also did the Roadshow! It was a blast, and I want to not only thank the folks at ICON for letting me share my work there, but also to each and everyone of you who came to my table to show support and purchase prints and cards! It was pretty chaotic but every one I met was incredibly caring and enthusiastic. I hope everyone had a great time! 

The next best thing to hearing all of illustrators share their work, was meeting people face to face! In a career where most of my interactions take place online, it's just very fufilling to meet people as human makers, and not just online identities. I got to see the ladies from Light Grey Art Lab (who inspire me and my studio mate Kayla with everything they do) and I got to finally meet Teagan White! Teagan and I have chatted through email for a couple of years now and actually have the same Children's Publishing Agent, Nicole, but I hadn't met her in person.

This ICON was the first one where I actually knew a number of people, so hanging with old friends was incredibly refreshing and awesome. And I leave you with this, which represents the feeling of the whole event which was an exciting, sweaty (thanks Austin!), whirlwind of weirdos. 

Adios Monday Warriors!

 

 

 

Well this is embarrassing.

Posted on by Rebecca Green

My last post was in APRIL. Today is July 1. I have much catching up to do. 

This past Spring has been quite busy with the opening of The Warren,  signing on with my new and incredible agency, Tugeau 2, and working like mad behind the scenes on a couple of book projects and a branding project. 

The Branding Project is one I am thrilled to share. First, I have to say, I'm generally not one for taking on branding work - I don't do logo and design work, simply because I am not a designer - I leave that to the geniuses. But when I was approached by photographer, Katch Silva, and graphic designer, Tony Sasso, to create illustrations for her brand (and after seeing her inspiration board, which was right up my alley), I jumped in head first. I had a blast creating the characters, the sweet story-based illustration, the handwritten type, and the slew of natural elements to be used in her well-rounded brand. 

The illustrations were created with gouache and colored pencil, and cleaned and delivered digitally. To see more from the project, check out the Katch Silva Gallery in my portfolio! And be sure to check out her stunning photography. It will move and mystify you, I promise. 


This Tuesday, I'm heading to Austin, TX to attend ICON9!  This will be my third time ICON, and I think it'll be my best one to date. The first ICON I attended, I was a student volunteer - the second, I was a starstruck wallflower (I'm shy and awkward!) but this time around, I know quite a few attendees (no more drinking coffee alone in the corner).

I'm pretty excited, I'll have a table at the ROADSHOW Thursday night, and will be selling new prints, greeting cards, and notebooks! All of which will be available in my online shop when that opens later this summer (I know I keep pushing it back, but I'm a one-woman business and I'm human) so if you can't make it to the event, you'll still be able to grab some goodies. I'll been busy packing, stuffing, and painting this week to prep! 

As excited as I am for the Roadshow and the whole conference, I am most giddy about the Stop-Motion Workshop with one of my favorite illustrators around. I'll be learning how to loop stop motions with artist Chris Sickels of Red Nose Studio. He's been a huge inspiration for almost a decade, and I'm thrilled to get behind the scenes, meet the puppets, and learn the process. 

©RedNoseStudio

©RedNoseStudio


Can't wait to meet everyone at ICON! I'll be sharing my time on Instagram if you want to follow along!  As always, thanks for reading! 

xo

Lunch Lady

Posted on by Rebecca Green

GUYS. A blog post two days in a  row. I'm killing it. 

A while back, I did a bunch of food paintings for my friend Joe Kolean's film debut, which was great, I love painting food. But then an even more awesome thing happened and editor, Kate Berry approached me about using the apple illustration in the second volume of Lunch Lady Magazine.  I got it in the mail this week, and it took me a couple of days to open the package because it was so beautifully wrapped. I opened it yesterday and almost fell over. Seriously stunning. Do yourself a favor if you like good design, food, family, recipes, and art and get the first and/or second issue of Lunch Lady.

Now, I am not a parent (unless you count my nerdy animals) but I'm literally obsessed with recipes. A trip to the library is a trip to get a cookbook. My off time is spent with my nose in my own cookbooks, and pinning dozens of new recipes on Pinterest. It's my very own creative craft where I have no pressure or expectation, and when it's all said and done, I usually get to eat a sweet meal. 

So proud! My little apple is the apple section header! 

Photo by Ava Puckett! 

Photo by Ava Puckett! 

Ahh. What a great little treat to open up. Now, time for this lady to grab a coffee and sit myself down with my own little Lunch Lady treasure. Thanks again Kate! 

 

xoxo

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FOXLORE

Posted on by Rebecca Green

I can't believe I haven't posted in over a month! Heresy! I will say on my own behalf, I've been busier than a one armed paper hanger (can you name what movie that's from? If you can, we probably would be great friends.) I've been working on multiple book projects and I can't wait to share them. Let me tell you… I've found my home! My corner or the art world. I scoped in galleries, in advertising, in editorial work but could not get comfortable. And then I walked into the book world and BOOM. I'm home. 

This post, however, is not about books, but about an illustration I did for an incredibly talented band, The Crane Wives. I've been creating the album covers for the band since their first album way back in 2011. Last year, they released their third album, Coyote Stories, which was one of my favorites to illustrate. 

This week the band released Coyote Stories' sister album, Foxlore. I created the illustration with full freedom (which is why I love working with them). The fox was looking stoic but he needed something…a little…spark. My 'ideas guy' as my better half likes to call himself, suggested a crown half joking, but that was it. I sent the sketch to the band and they loved the crown. He is now not only stoic, but ever so regal. 

The painting is 10x20" Gouache and Colored Pencil on Paper. Here is the sketch I initially started with. The location is actually based on a beautiful overlook outside of Nashville, Narrows of the Harpeth. I visited for a hike, and the view is breathtaking. 

And here is another detail of the final! 

Now. I promise I won't wait a whole other month before sharing again. 

xoxo

February 27, 28, 29 :: TRIFECTA

Posted on by Rebecca Green

Today is February 29! How often do you get an extra day of the year?! Every four years, that's how often. What are you going to do with all this extra TIME?

Today I have this final celebration for you: The Trifecta. Cooking |  Bread  |  Tea  (In no particular order). This weekend I took time away from my work, and instead made potato soup, had a bonfire, rearranged my house, went hiking, sat in the grass, ate pancakes - I had a real plan free weekend. I do apologize for not giving you your daily pins, but here they are in all their glory. 

I have been watching Michael Pollan's show COOKED on Netflix, and I am inspired and in awe. Cooking has become my closet obsession. Though I don't share it that often, most of my free time is spent in the kitchen trying new ingredients and recipes - every trip to the library is for cookbooks, and every free phone moment is spent saving recipes on Pinterest. So today we celebrate cooking in all of its capacities. Also - bread and tea - no explanation needed. So comforting. So magical. 

Head over to the Flow Magazine Friends of Flow Pinterest Board to see today's final post! Thank you to everyone who has been following along this month. And stay tuned, as I am working on making prints of selected drawings from this series. I'll keep you posted! 

xoxo Happy February 29! Happy Leap Day! 

 

 

February 26 :: Pencil!

Posted on by Rebecca Green

Pencils are definitely ordinary objects, that once scrutinized, are impossibly extraordinary. My friend Edie was telling me about the new pencil store, CW Pencil Enterprise in NY and how incredible it was. Just days later, I was listening to the latest Freakonomics Podcast which actual features this new store. This particular podcast is all about the pencil - how it's made, and how impossible it is to actually make. It's so extraordinary! 

 

So today, we celebrate Pencils! Check out more on the Friends of Flow Pinterest Board

And have a great weekend!