Wednesday, May 16, 2018

What if I were...?

Well - I MIGHT be... definitely the "muffin-top" looks familiar...

I've been bringing furniture, storage stuff and lots of books and art supplies... one carload at a time... up to the new studio. The BeeHive looks like a real studio now, but it still needs murals and I've been missing the quotes from the previous space.

Today I cleaned and organized and got my first quote up on the chalkboard! Hurray!
I hope to invite some folks over to help me tangle the walls! If you'd like to be part of the Art Tribe, I'll let you know really soon how that will work. Still trying to decide if I should do a Kickstarter - I've just been so busy with Science comics I haven't had a chance to think it through. It's getting there though...

Oh! And that good looking... guy... creature... Boodle... is a paper-mache creation from a picture book I wrote and illustrated as my Senior AP Art project in High School! OMG. His name is Benji Boodle and I'd been meaning to redo his book for, ummm, a very long time. Turns out that at some point I actually started reworking it, but I have NO memory of doing it. Must have been when I was pregnant with Lilah.

My Mom had kept Benji through all her moves and he recently moved back home when Mom moved off to Bar Harbor a few weeks ago.

Welcome back, Benji! He is also, officially, the second Artist-in-residence at The BeeHive.

Friday, May 11, 2018


Back in October, I was contacted by one of my teachers, Luke Howard, at the Center for Cartoon Studies to see if I'd like to participate in The Secret Berlin Project. He wanted to celebrate the completion of Jason Lutes' epic comic, Berlin, which had taken 20 years to complete! Jason was another of my teachers at cartoon school and a fellow classmate (many, many, MANY years ago!) at Rhode Island School of Design.

I was honored and excited to be a part of this Secret Undertaking as Jason had been the teacher who had influenced me the most. He put so much extra attention into his class presentations and pushed us students to dig deep. He took time to meet with me and argue about school, family, publishers, or whatever I was obsessing over at the time. And, most importantly, he helped me cut and assemble the boxes that held my Thesis comics (Begin Again). ;-D

Major admiration aside, this project was really HARD!!

We were each assigned one random page from the first 6 issues of the comic. Our task was to recreate the page (not changing the text or intention)... in our own STYLE! Yowza! It's not easy to "redraw" the work of a master!

I agonized over it for a few days until my daughter, in her typical "mini-art-director" fashion, started to comment on what she thought were mistakes and bad design. "But what does that MEAN?!" and "the weird guy is just talking, he's not doing anything," and "it's the same picture of a weird guy from different directions..."

Here's the original page that I was assigned:

(comic art by Jason Lutes)

Huh. Yes, she was kind of on to something... What would Jason do? and more importantly, if I was to interpret the page in MY style, What would I do?

As we analyzed the page, I jokingly said, "that weird looking guy looks like my bride-of-Frankenstein Lilah Bean! But with five o'clock shadow and a cigarette!!"

my bride-of-Frankenstein Lilah Bean, with bat wings

And then we KNEW that we had a plan! Lilah (my mini-art-director and layout artist) sketched out the panels with her vision and interpretation of what the typed text really meant. I had the idea for the final panel, with the newspaper-reading-Lilah-Bean-editor-guy sitting on the pile of stones. I contacted my son who speaks a gajillion languages, and he told me how to write "pile of stones" in German, for the paper's masthead. I did all the inking, coloring and lettering.

Well... it's definitely recreated in my style.

It was agony to wait to see everyone else's pages - and to keep it all secret! But the original artworks were collected from 159 artists and bound into huge volumes housed in a handmade wooden box - and presented last week (at the graduation dinner) to Jason. I think he was pleased...

from Center for Cartoon Studies, Instagram
The complete hardcover collection of Berlin comes out this fall, but you can still get the individual issues on Amazon (and other places), as well as Jason Lutes' other graphic novels.

Friday, May 4, 2018

It's a Sign!

I've been sick in bed for two weeks, but I did get one day off to bring some more Stuff to the new Studio in Concord. And my door had a beautiful new sign!

Here's a closer view of it with the studio behind  it...

I was blown away by all the detail that Christa was able to put into it - each color is another layer of vinyl! This sign, and the previous Bumblebat sign, were both cut by Christa who runs The Place. The Place is now one of my neighbors since I am on the second floor at the Concord Community Arts Center!

When I'm feeling a bit better, I promise to plan an Open Studio so you can come see for yourself how COOL all these studios are!

Monday, April 23, 2018

The BeeHive!

It's starting to look like a real studio!
Even divided up, with furniture, it's still really spacious.

The classroom area...

The Shop area...

The resource area...

The Mannequins have new aprons (tangled, of course)...

My mini studio...

Part of the storage room - with a big die cutter and tons of dies...

The rest of the storage room (and the big cabinet I painted)...

I had a test run with the space on Saturday. I invited the NH CZT (Certified Zentangle Teachers) Meet-up Group to the Studio and everyone was very enthusiastic! We're looking forward to planning classes and Playdays.

I still have a lot more art materials and books to bring to the studio, some lighting and murals too... but I got slammed with a virus and I'm stuck in bed for a bit. After my next nap, I'll do some more research on maker spaces and collaborative art spaces.

Friday, April 13, 2018

A Mix of Stuff

If you'd like to see the latest photos of progress on the new Studio space, take a look at The BeeHive website HERE.

The rest of April is going to be quite a blur! I'm in the process of selling the Wingdoodle building, finishing cleaning it out, setting up the new art studio (The BeeHive), helping to clear my Mom's house out - she moves in two weeks!, drawing Science comics for Montshire Museum of Science, painting the watercolor sections of the Ready, Set, Gorilla! book, and going to lots of meetings with my lawyer, money people, and maker-space planning meet ups.

I really, really... REALLY... need to run away to Ogunquit ASAP. Preferably BEFORE I crack.

Here's a peek at the GOrilla! spreads...

And here are a couple of drawings my daughter, Lilah, drew:

I really LOVE this one - look at all those tiny details in the fur and wings?!

Meanwhile, I've found some interesting things while cleaning out my mom's garage, besides body parts in jars (she was a pathologist and medical examiner). But adventure is not without its dangers too. I found a bunch of "antique" microscope slide storage boxes - I dumped the slides and specimens, but take a look at this one...

 On closer examination...

 I decided not to keep this one - As I have already had Mono twice!

In the middle of all this chaos is my "most important job" - MOM. But I'm not so good at this one. I work late into the night and have trouble getting up so early. I don't like to cook. Or make lunches.

Today was a particular challenge since The Kid had a field trip that was supposed to leave the school at 7:45am (Whaaaaa?) Turned out the bus was an hour late! All I could think when Lilah told me this was "I could have SLEPT!"

I did find a paper bag for the required lunch, although what ever we found to fill it was much less memorable than the bag itself! Lilah asked me to decorate it...

I'm sure all the other kids had very respectable lunch sacks filled with...
what do parents put in lunch bags?...
but Lilah's was the only one with a truly personal touch!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

In Progress...

I spent a lot of time this week painting and cleaning the new Studio. I painted over the Angler Fish...

That took a lot of work and a lot of paint to complete the second HUUUUUUGE blackboard.

The first, "small" blackboard will have trees AND party lights!

The old cork boards got pretty blue felt resurfacing.

 And today we moved lots of displays, bookcases, books - TWO trips to Concord! Even my life-sized mannequins were transported. The younger one rode in my passenger seat, but the older one sprawled on the sofa in the back of the truck - rather indecently!

I just realized what an odd collection of studio necessities I have... just in this one picture there are three large drawer units filled with about a thousand rubber stamps, a futon couch, 16 stacking classroom chairs, 2 movie theatre chairs from the old Cinema 93, an antique wood door from India, and of course, the life-size, wooden, artist's mannequin.

I didn't take any pics of the chaos in the Studio after stuffing it (with two truckloads of stuff!) - but I will show you what it looks like when I go tomorrow. Now for the really hard part - creating order -  and a Studio that people will want to play in!

When I got home, I was so wiped out. I needed a shower, a nap, and chocolate. In any order. There was a big box waiting for me - it was my Lego Diner!!!!

I had ordered it as my reward for finishing the first four Science Kits (and about ten pages of the GOrilla! book) - and packing up my old store, organizing everything in storage to be moved, packing tons of books, and then moving it all... YES - I needed a reward! (If I can get the Wingdoodle building sold by the end of April, can I get the Assembly Square Lego Set as my reward?)

I also got a few of the new Batman Series 2 mini-figures! Zod and Jor-El were the two I wanted most! Yah! Of course there is a whole new series of blind bag figures coming out... oh dear.

It's going to be a while before I'll have a chance to build the Diner, but at least I HAVE it and can drool over it in person.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Movin' On Up!

One of those kind of bittersweet sort of days...  I'm glad I didn't have to do this alone - my awesome kid actually made it fun.

I had cleared out my little studio a couple of days ago - but today I had to go and - GASP - wash off all the chalkboards!

Whoever moves in next will have to paint over the murals. I'm not sure I could bear to do that. I had only been in this space since August, but so many things had changed.

Time for a fresh start - and that means fresh murals in a new studio!

"Begin Again"... again!

The Kid pointed out that the only quote left - was ON me.

So we took our ladders and buckets, climbed the stairs, and set our sights on customizing our new space.
 We started with a chalkboard. This one is huuuuuge. Actually, the chalkboard is longer than the old studio...  It's going to need another coat of paint. And some trees, right?

It took quite some time to clean - lots of buckets of dirty water and I only managed to clean one corner of the space. But it was enough to set up my New Studio.

Crazy, right?! Everything, plus an extra table, in an area TWICE the size of the old studio... and it still only takes up a tiny part of this space?!

I still have a lot of work to do - this other wall needs a giant chalkboard too. But as we stared at it - with our bloodshot eyes and rumbling bellies - it turned into a fish shape. And since it is made of angles, I realized, it must be an Angler Fish!

We used our Master-Mural-Skills to create our vision...

A vision can be a very dangerous thing!

Look out Little Fish!! Oh No!!

 Yup. Except for the pain in my lower back - that's what I'd call a perfect day!

The BeeHive Studio has two artists in residence so far (pictured above) and is looking for two more Resident Artists to join us!


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