Caricatures tend to pop up frequently in my work, especially in the last few years. I like to include bits and pieces from the person’s work and hobbies. This is a caricature of Ferdi Keller, a guest house owner in Seapoint, who happens also to be a retired German football star.
The Little Wingsters is a TV series in the making, being shopped around to agents and producers in Canada and LA. The series honours the tiny members of the angelic realm who deliver information, joy and comfort to the human race.
They may occasionally borrow items to wake people up to the beauty of lost things. But if asked nicely, they help in the recovery of such items. This is especially so, once the ‘victim’ has also found other lost things. These things they often needed even more…
Pictures of the Winged Ones and their loot will soon adorn clothing, bed-linen, mugs, badges and a colouring book. All of these are moving from ether to brain to production at a steady pace. So far, the calendar will have to be a quarterly one. That’s because the monthly version must wait till 12 staff members have been hatched, then paused long enough for a mug-shot. They move quite a bit faster than bantam chickens.
Here’s a pic of my booth at the Ottawa International Animation Festival in September 2017. You can see who my favourites are! (Shhh)
Below is the pic from the festival for 2018. Little Wingsters are still taking up more real estate! But actually, there is a bit of planning here. This banner will be part of our display wherever we sell merchandise. One has to think ahead.)
So – more news on that here, and soon. An online shop is in progress too, of course.
Meanwhile, I’m adapting the first book from the pilot episode of the series, which stars Coco, the little healer whose gifts are love and joy. After that is done, there will be three other books, each with a story starring one of the angels. And seeing I’m getting back in gear here with updates, you will see it here first.
Do visit our Facebook page as well, and join us there if you like – would love to see you. See more on the Little Wingsters on this website by clicking on the first image. Too lazy? Oh alright – click here, then.
A realistic portrait as a promotional idea that can be constantly adapted throughout the year.
This illustration was for an opera singer residing in Germany. He is going to use it as a promotional device throughout the year, adding different elements for each occasion or theme. I think it’s a brilliant idea and imagine his clients will enjoy receiving these postcards.
Working from different photos and my imagination, we constructed a more smiley expression and ended up with a good likeness. The main thing of course with a portrait is always that the client likes it and this portrait was a success as far as that was concerned.
Although portraits are something I’ve done since boarding school, it’s always scarey until the final moment. Another very on-the-edge thing I’ve done was a three-hour-long stint as a pencil caricaturist at a launch for Fair Lady some years ago. That went off rather well too… in a sense I miss the excitement of that. Mmmm. Blog turns into meditation turns into insight and – Action.
Have pencils, will advertise. Meanwhile, if you need a portrait of yourself or a loved one, or even a caricature, do contact me.
When the budget needs to go to the bone… stick figures come into their own.
There was a new job involving the supervision of schools from my client for a certain African country north of here; but the budget was smaller than usual. So she came up with the novel idea of doing stick figures and because she was laughing, I thought she was joking.
It worked quite well and her clients were very happy because even stick-people can convey a concept, emotions, frustrating situations… Some of the frustrating situations appear in the first three pics – the disruption of a schoolday by lots of cars full of officials arriving, with everyone rushing to ‘make nice’; the intrusion into schooltime by socialising with the officials while the children do no learning; the distraction during classes by the Visitors.
Other images show the various types of schools found there, and though some are humbler than others, all can be well-run.
Together with Nia Thorpe, Jeanne van der Merwe is the co-founder of Calm Classrooms, a perfect name since it conveys the most important benefit of their programme, to bring calm to classrooms. The aim is to bring yoga to schools using classroom materials in the form of 35 yoga cards showing various selected positions. Since a calm child is much more teachable, this makes the learning experience more pleasant and beneficial for the teacher and the class.
In their own words: The pace of the world in which today’s children are growing up, is only getting faster. Our aim with the Calm Classrooms cards is to encourage children to slow down from the inside out and provide them with meaningful tools for life!
The 35 desk-based activities that make up the Calm Classrooms card deck can be used as a behavioural resource. The resource is easy to use, and helps to create a calm, learning-friendly environment. Its benefits go well beyond the classroom too! Absolutely anyone can use and benefit from our programme – teachers, children, parents and therapists.
The Calm Classrooms cards are based on experience and research, which has shown that calmer children will develop the capacity to gain greater attentiveness and mental focus as well as manage stress and anxiety levels.
In addition, the activities were specially chosen for their suitability for the typical classroom space, and busy schedules. The cards have been divided into five exciting and accessible topics, enabling the teacher easily to draw on memorable, imaginative, safe and achievable activities with little disruption. The five Calm Classrooms topics are: Move, Focus, Relax, Breathe and Connect.
The Calm Classrooms behavioural resource is a simple way to make children’s lives happier and healthier, increase their capacity to learn effectively, manage their emotions, self-regulate their behaviour, and achieve academic and personal success.
Calm Classrooms offers professional development workshops and trainings for educators, students, parents and therapists as well as in-house training and development programme for schools.
From estimating how much tax was to be be paid and by whom, to the final archiving of the records, the small details were interesting to me.
It’s so easy to get it wrong in dozens of ways. For instance, I gave some ladies high heels but these were changed to flat shoes. The local way of dressing also needed to be kept in mind. Facilities and infrastructure are extremely simple and basic. For me it was like going on holiday to this country and visiting for a while.
These title-pages were formed from my own photography archives. Of all my work, this is probably the most pleasant imaginable. It combines my personal love for the English language (a refuge from the difficult grammatical structure of my mother tongue, German) and poetry.
Add to that the sheer enjoyment of combining images to convey a mood, and all the personal memories these images evoke, and one is in a very happy place.
This is the sort of work that invokes playfulness; deep concentration; digging deep into the formal laws of design to make it work, and reaching high into the ether for that spark of inspiration that makes the magic.
Having said all that, the client in this case corrected several false starts which were too complex. She simplified and clarified some of them a whole lot, which made them more effective in their message.
Poetry illustration – when words and pictures dance the good dance
FInding the images to go with a poem can be a very fine line to dance along. Images that come up are personal to everyone who reads the poem. And yet many things about any poem are universal. They tug at common heart-strings; the language is designed to distil a lot of feeling and meaning into very few words. Illustrating poetry is up there as the champagne of illustration, for me at any rate. How can one not feel honoured when asked to embellish someone else’s work of art?
It’s intimidating but I love it intensely – probably because I love poetry with a large passion, so that quells the fear. It is very challenging though, to put into visual form what the poet has already put into a kind of word-image, so vividly are the images evoked, very often.
These are a few selected poems from a recent job for one of my favourite clients… who shall for now remain nameless. They are a publisher of educational materials, as you will have gathered.
Enjoy the poetry and you are most welcome to weigh in with your thoughts on any poem and/or image!
Le Weekend is a new wine range, launched by Karen Turner and Bruce Jack.
I was asked to assist with the wine labels initially, (see previous post) where I reworked the main figures in the picture. Then the client came back with the request for five illustrations in a similar Art Deco style, for the Le Weekend Wines website.