Saturday, January 24, 2015

Get Inspired -- bonne annee, interview tips, and how to "be ready"

The New Year is launched .. and after the festivals comes the hard work required to keep resolutions. With so much news in the world that is uncertain ... from the events in Paris to the rounds of layoffs in animation ... artists must always find new inspiration and be brave. Sometimes we are forced to "re-boot" our direction by circumstances. Sometimes we need to refresh our own view of ourselves or our art. Here are some links with some helpful tips.

(Backstage ballet photo below by Benjamin Millepied)

The first link is intended for dancers who wish to audition for a ballet company .. but the advice here is useful for everyone going to an interview or meeting with a colleague or mentor. Use the tips here to help yourself make the most of these encounters. 

("modern Degas" photo by Helena Buckler)

You won't get every job you interview for. However, every meeting is a chance to practice your listening skills. Confidence in the process comes with experience. Talent is only one part of the equation. It also takes training. And time.... 

(Ballerina Irina Dvorovenko..).

The next links concern the story of  singer Sarah Horn -- 

who found herself selected from the audience of a concert at the Hollywood Bowl to perform a duet with her idol, Kristin Chenoweth. This chance encounter became a viral video sensation.

If you haven't seen the duet, here's the version uploaded by rghurst. This combines the original Mike Kestler version (with 3 Million + views) and the close-ups captured by Holly Choe and a 3rd camera person Karolina..It includes Kristen's tribute to teachers at the end of the clip...

A "dream come true" moment .. how did it happen?? Was it just luck.. or fate ... or practice???

Learn the "behind the scenes" story in this link to Sarah Horn's 2014 TED talk on how that moment happened... because in art, and in life, you often have to "be ready".

And here's an interview with Sarah Horn

Make the most of your New Year's hopes. Draw every day. Practice makes things possible...

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Get Inspired --- Everyday objects come alive with design...

Overwhelming circumstances can sometimes make us introspective.

Looking for inspiration? Trying looking at old things in a new way. So refreshing to see how the creative prism of a designer can open us to a world of charm in practical items.

Enjoy this new version of a soup ladle by Ototo design...

More inspiring examples of re-imaged everyday things on their website:

and here are some other creative examples of re-purposed items...

Turn your trip to the market into a study in color....
Study the shapes in driftwoood.... and build your own sea horse...
Explore how you see what's around you ....

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Paris -- the city of light -- post updated

Paris -- the City of Light. The city of love and romance. These qualities have strength for these challenging days. (Updates/ New Links at end of this post)

The tragic events in Paris continue to unfold. For our artist friends in the city .. in France .. and across the world --- your courage is inspiring. For anyone who thought that cartoons and drawing don't matter, we've all learned just how much they do. Art, creativity and self-expression have always come with an element of risk. These activities have a history riddled with danger, and even death. We've been shockingly reminded of this. The internet is brimming with images full of the raw emotion of these days ...

  New Yorker cover art by Ana Juan.

Paris has a reputation for illumination -- from its leading role in the Age of Enlightenment, to its early adoption of electric street lights. 

Paris sunrise photo by designer Christian Siriano.

The stark contrast of the Eiffel Tower, known for its charm and twinkling lights, gone dark resonates across the world because images transcend language and culture. When we can't read the signs, we find our way with landmarks...

Art and hope are not here to be hijacked by selfish interests, despair and ignorance. Art celebrates our connection with each other. You don't have to speak a foreign language or know a different culture to "get" an image from their art. We have faith in the potential to understand each other with pictures.

Paris street photo by Benjamin Millepied
Let's take a lesson from responses to the California earthquakes --- first, there's "damage assessment", where we begin to repair the architecture around us. The longer recovery is the emotional and physical impact.. along with our sense of safety and well-being. Regaining our sense of self takes patience.. along with easy-to-overlook, but vital components like rest, good nutrition and exercise. 

 Paris at sunset photo below by author Pam Houston..

How do we get better?? The best artists draw every day. It takes that level of commitment to improve -- doing something every day, especially on the days when it all seems too hard and nothing seems to be going right. Let all the images of pencils in response to these events also remind us that every day starts as a blank page. What will we write on it?

Here are some links about the events that have been making the rounds with my artist friends:

OP-ED Posts (links added 1/18/15) --

Perspective on events from Paris resident, American born writer Heather Stimmler-Hall, from her blog "the Secrets of Paris" (link added 1/21/15)


Start here to learn how to use this blog..... You are about to explore an archive of SNB adventures from my (Amy's) perspective ... This blog is the realm of Bride of Bookseller. The posts are all written by me. The goal is to educate and entertain.

For the latest news on Stuart Ng Books, you can follow SNB on Facebook or Twitter. To receive Stuart's email newsletter (with lots of exclusive offers) use this link from the SNB website:
For info on ordering books, and a website chock full of our extensive inventory, start at the homepage for  SNB:

Scroll down to find the most recent blog posts -- or go to the "Blog Archive" sidebar. This "Your Guide" post provides background on the blog and highlights educational posts from the past:

Stuart Ng Books is a family run, very small business in Torrance, CA. Our bookstore is mostly mail order. We started in the genteel era of old school hands-on bookselling, and we've weathered the transition to the Online arena. In addition to our website, we sell books at conventions and book fairs. Our niche is books on illustration, animation and comic art. Our wonderful, loyal patrons are artists, students and collectors in these fields.
Stuart is a man on a mission, in constant search for great books and artists. He is known for his finds during his annual trip to France to attend the festival in Angouleme, Europe's largest comic art convention. He doesn't speak or read French; he selects his inventory strictly for the art. He's the visual one. I'm more verbal. I took some French lessons... so now I can try to talk with people there (and order more than a ham and cheese sandwich at the cafes). When Stuart launched the business full-time in 1997, we had no idea we would become a world-wide resource for books in our field. When I married Stuart... a LONG time ago.. I had no idea I would also be marrying a small business (we didn't meet in business school.... but that's another story). Where we find ourselves now, all these years later, is a lucky place to be.
Our patrons seek Stuart out and buy books from him because his "eye" and expertise are a bonus they value. Part of the fun of Stuart Ng Books is how we get to facilitate connections and inspiration. We get to see the artistic process in action. We steward the passing of cherished books from the reference libraries of artists who are masters in their field into the hands and creative spirit of a next generation. I try to remind us of all this on the days when our "What is the Matrix" question haunts us: Can a little book business survive in the internet age? Stay tuned ....

The blog started in 2008 as a way to share (my) news and views on our booths at conventions ... and on exhibits and shows we attend that artists might find inspiring.
Reoccurring themes on the blog archive include "Get Inspired"... "Your Science Lesson"... "Your Business Lesson," "Con," "POV shot," "Horse Show," "Book Fair"...
See "FAQ," "Stewardship" and "Legacy Books" for posts about bringing YOU the benefits of a devoted rare bookseller in world where mom and pop bookstores are themselves becoming endangered!


Current favorite posts are the 4 I wrote in June for film "Maleficent" .. including 2 detailed posts on the Q&A with director Robert Stromberg and Production Designer Dylan Cole that I attended at Gnomon school.

Here's link to the 1st of the 4 June posts on Maleficent --
More Maleficent posts in Sept and Oct for the "Once Upon A Dream" book signing, including this re-cap of the event

(LtoR, Dylan Cole, Robert Stromberg, Charles Solomon, Don Hahn at Center Stage Gallery for book signing co-hosted by Stuart Ng Books)

Two fun November posts on CTNX 2014

Also popular -- my post on Copyright Protection for images posted online! UPDATED NOV 27. Lots of resources listed here -- and I welcome comments and additional sources:

Post from May 2014 reveals the "mystery artists" behind Google Doodles

For a complete list of the over 100 countries that have visited the blog, check out this Aug 11, 2011 post: "Hello World.." And one final stat -- as of Oct 2014, the blog has tallied over 100,000 all-time page views.


If you want to visit the SNB showroom -- and your family or S.O. (significant other) wants something to do besides look at books -- here are some links to local attractions:

From SEPT POST 9/5/11: Two "Family Fun" posts about Wilson  Park. See pics of the ballparks, tree house, duck pond and more ... also a paved walking trail that's mostly shaded and about a mile long.

Here's link to Yelp review of the park.

There are activites for all ages in and around Torrance... so if you want to browse our showroom for awhile and your family doesn't... you can all come to Torrance and do different things! We are minutes away from shops and AMC movies at Del Amo Fashion Mall  A miles north will get you to the South Coast Botanic Garden ..... and we're also close to the Lomita Train Museum

On Saturdays, Wilson Park is home to the Torrance Farmer's Market -- great produce and food booths. Wilson Park is also home to the Southern California Live Steamers Minature Railroad  Ride the trains at the Park every 3rd Saturday!

Even more culture just minutes from our showroom -- The International Printing Museum. This tiny gem hosts an annual printers fair ( -- as well as a Dickens festival (post nov 29, 2010 ) a Ben Franklin b'day celebration (post Jan 6, 2012, and a founding fathers independence day event in July. Check their website for calendar of upcoming presentations:


One of the many reasons Stuart Ng Books is located in Torrance is our proximity to HORSES!!

No, I don't have a horse -- but just a few miles from us in Palos Verdes  (PV)  is a thriving equestrian community -- with miles of trails -- lots of riding stables -- all located right on the coast with ideal weather. If you want to sketch horses and equestrian life in a mild, shaded climate there are a number of public parks in PV with rings that riders use to train their horses as well as the various public and private stables in the area. Here are links for two of the public parks:
Ernie Howlett Park (site for annual charity horse show)
Dapplegray Park, Rolling Hills Estates

Every September, a nationally ranked charity horse show, The Portuguese Bend National Horse Show, is held in PV. It's a family friendly event with TONS of amenities. -- and an outstanding sketching opportunity for artists. There is a large, shaded, grassy knoll where you can sit for hours and sketch. You can also get quite close to the horses and riders if you want. While many equestrian events in PV are FREE to attend, there is a nominal admission charge for the charity horse show on Sat  & Sun -- because all proceeds for this event are a fundraiser. Admission to the charity show is free on Fridays. The show runs fri - sun on the 1st weekend in Sept.
"HORSE SHOW 2011 - PREVIEWS AND PICS FROM PREVIOUS SHOWS" post from 9-6-11 has some of my favorite action shots of horses and gives you a flavor of this very special event.

The show has been held for over 50 years by the non-profit PCCH (Peninsula Committee Children's Hospital), an organization that raises money for Children's Hospital Los Angeles. More on PCCH here:

For more info on the annual Portuguese Bend National Horse Show -- including date for this year's show and schedule of activities, check out this link to show webpage:

One of the most popular posts on the blog concerns artist Norman Thelwell.

other Equine artists I've highlighted
George Ford Morris
CW Anderson


 and THE BLACK STALLION (Oct 2010)

2011 was the most active year on the blog. Here are links for some of the most frequently visited posts:

(includes posts on REGIS LOISEL

TERRYL WHITLATCH (This post updated 6/14; added you tube interview with her from Academy of Art University)



(another fun SCIENCE LESSON post -- CHEMICAL HERITAGE FOUNDATION LIBRARY (in PA) and MUSEE CURIE (in Paris) post from Aug 21, 2009)

ANIMAL ANTICS.... your preview here on the blog of the Pres Romanillos sketchbook!!

A set of three  "FAMILY FUN" POSTS ON ANNUAL MODEL TRAIN SHOW (oct 30th 2011)


ART OF ANIMALS (Aug 2010) exhibit at Forest Lawn in Glendale with links to more images from amazing artwork at this show!

"DREAM CON 2011"

Dream Con is an annual Book Fair for and by the DreamWorks Animation artists. They get to showcase some of their personal projects -- self-published sketchbooks, photography, original art etc. It's held on the DreamWorks animation campus and SNB is the only outside vendor. We are lucky to be invited there every year, as they kindly consider our booth a "perk" they are providing their artists. Always a great day with fun folks at a beautiful setting


"GET INSPIRED - Artist contacts from Printing Fair 2011"

Want to sketch bones??? Check out these three posts on the LA County Museum of Natural History and the Sept 2011 opening of the new Dino Hall:  Link for LA County Museum of Natural History

Can't get enough of San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) ???
See July and August 2011 posts for our booth at Comic Con (SDCC) for that year.
And posts this year for my summary (and mini-rant) on what's up with that show ...

SNB experiments (like our booth at a Twilight convention Oct 2010.  ); Scenes from our bookscouting trips (Aug 2009 is a good one ); Even a post on the time someone shipped us a book in a used pizza box (Aug 2008 post  . For posts written back when I was "the voice" on the phone at SNB and at the order desk full-time, search "Daily Brew" (2008 - 2010). All this and more lurks here on the blog for you to discover..

Some blog posts highlight the directions that SNB takes me (but not necessarily Stuart)... search the archive posts to find Hoops and Yoyo; Twilight;
Ready for a dance break? Enjoy this music video of band Ok Go w/ agility dogs!
Here's the link for the MSBNC show that featured Stuart: AUGUST 2010 posts additional pics and info on SNB on MSNBC...

FYI notices: 1) Stuart's last name, "Ng", is pronounced like the suffix "ing" in "drawing" or "Wendling." 2) you can email comments or questions directly to me at seahorse310(at) Aloha and thanks for visiting.