Thursday, December 4, 2008

3 Trees make it to Paris...updated 2/22

This post added 2/22. Here are some quick views of the "3 Trees Make a Forest" show at the Galerie Arludik in Paris. It opened the night we arrived in France last January. Some of you were lucky to see a version of this show here in the So Cal area at Nucleus. The Paris show had news works by all 3 artists, Enrico Casarosa, Ronnie del Carmen and Tadahiro Uesugi.

Here's Stuart with all 3 artists. Ronnie's holding up his hand, Enrico's in the middle, and Tadahiro is signing the book, closest to Stuart.

Patrons at the Gallery... but what I was trying to take pics of are the cool fox pictures by Enrico on the wall....

Here's another view of the artists. Tadahiro Uesugi is signing the book with the open cover. His wife, Kuro, is next to him. The show was packed, and it was fun to see the artists meeting so many fans.
You can find more info about this "3 Trees" show on Enrico Casarosa's blog, along with his images and impressions of Angouleme (2009 was his first trip to the festival).

Sunday, November 23, 2008

views of France

as long promised... here are some magical views of France, courtesy of our patron Yongwoo Chou.

Friday, November 14, 2008

shipping tips.....

Our database keeps the address from your most recent order on file. If you type in a new address on your email order form, please let us know in the comments area that this is NEW SHIPPING ADDRESS for you, so we can be sure to update your record. This will help put the new address on your invoice, and prevent your order being shipped to an out-of-date address.

Our standard shipping & handling is USPS Media Mail w/ Delivery Confirmation. This rate offers substantial savings, but delivery estimates are 7 -10 business days from the time the box leaves Torrance. Weekends do not count.... and delivery times for Media Mail will be extended during the holidays.
If you have a deadline to meet, we strongly recommend upgrading to Priority Mail.
We are happy to provide quotes for Priority Mail on any shipment. Many orders can be shipped via Priority Mail Flat Rate box for $12.
We want to exceed your expectations for packing and shipping. SNB would not exist without your interest, and your understanding of who we are, why we do this, and what we can provide for you :) We do our best to prevent shipping errors. Please notify us right away if your order needs attention.

You are always welcome to contact us via email or phone regarding the status of your order.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

magical creature & Featured French book 10/19

Here's a pic of the new magical creature on staff here at SNB.... and some images from one of my favorite books... it's about a little fox (resemblances to our staff member are coincidental :)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Our drawing wall at SNB Showroom

If you're in the Southern California area, please come visit us at our showroom in Torrance. We are open most Saturdays from noon to 4PM and 7 days a week by appointment. In addition to the many items on line, we have LOTS of items in stock at the showroom that we don't have on the website. And you never know who will show up! Everyone who visits is welcome to add a sketch to our drawing wall. Here are some images from your fellow patrons who've stopped by. Torrance is only a few miles from the beach... the weather is lovely, there are lots of fun restaurants and attractions.. and it's closer than France :)

A map of your SNB world

At long last, here are some pictures of the postcard project...
As some of you know, I launched the postcard project last year to celebrate the 1st anniversary of the SNB Showroom. Since then, patrons from across the US and around the world have sent postcards. These postcards share the many places around the world our art books travel to inspire our colleagues. If your country isn't represented yet, please feel free to send your postcard! You can share a scene from your area, or send a card from a museum or exhibit that inspired you.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Q & A and the Daily Brew 9/14 skunk hunt pics

In the coffee pot for 9/14: Lion Coffee from Hawaii (original blend).

Regret I have been unable to revisit the blog as planned.... I have been trapping skunks!

The house next to ours is a rental, and when the tenants moved out, the crawlspace openings were left open and a bunch of skunks moved in. The landlord lives out of state, so I've had the happy task of evicting the skunks. It's a long story... but the traps have been up for over a week now and the score so far is 4 skunks, 2 possum and 1 raccoon. The traps are humane. The trapping service comes the same day I call to report a trapped animal and they release the animals (hopefully, far away). The little raccoon was the most amusing so far (if only they weren't so destructive). He alternated between trying to open the trap and sitting on his haunches with the biggest pout on his face. The sun was coming up and since his trap was on the east side of the house, I put up a beach umbrella by the cage so he'd be shaded until the trapper came. After that, he looked like all he needed was iced tea on a tray and maybe a magazine and bell to ring if he needed service. It's a good thing I love animals... but I've decided I definitely DON'T love the smell of skunk, and they do spray every time the trapper has to coax them out of the trap and into the carrier. We live in a suburb, which I've now learned is like the Sandals resort chain for wildlife. No predation. Lots of food. Plenty of shelter.... so keep those raised foundations sealed up folks!

I'll be back to more SNB news in the coming days...

NEW PICS - look who stopped by

The best part of exhibiting at conventions is getting to see our friends and patrons from all over the world. You just never know who'll stop by our booth. Visiting with us at Comic Con San Diego from years past......

Peter de Seve and Terry Dodson...

discussing a book with Mark Chiarello....

..... Stuart with Pierre Alary

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sketch pad: Nat'l Horse Show w/ PICTURES

Looking for a beautiful setting to sketch horses?

The first weekend in September is the date for the Annual Portuguese Bend National Horse Show. This is a charity horse show, with three days of English riding events. The show takes place in 2 arenas, with an adjacent warm-up ring. Every dollar you spend at this horse show benefits Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

You can get close to all three rings and sketch horses.

The location is Ernie Howlett Park in Rolling Hills Estates, CA (on Hawthorne Blvd, about 5 miles from our showroom). There is natural shade at the park, a playground for the pre-school set and real restrooms (not porta-potties) at 2 locations. For this event, food booths are set up under a large tent. There's even a bar area for adults with flat screen TVs. This park is near the ocean and the Palos Verdes cliffs.... so it's not hot and dusty like most horse venues (you should still bring your hat and sunscreen! I also recommend close-toed shoes).

Since this horse show benefits the children's hospital, there is "country fair" atmosphere, with lots of games and craft booths for kids (even pony rides and a petting zoo). Bring the family for the fun.... and when you're done sketching you can join in too!

There is a public parking lot at Ernie Howlett Park, but it is closed off for this event to make room for rows and rows of horse stalls! Free parking is available across the street on a large, grassy open field. The terrain is pretty bumpy! Shuttle bus service (via large, yellow school buses) will take you to the show grounds. Even though many attractions don't open until 10AM... plan to arrive before 9AM for the closest parking (and shortest shuttle bus ride). You will not be able to walk to your car from the show grounds... you will need to take everything you need with you. You will only be able to return to you car via the shuttle buses. People take all sorts of horse equipment, strollers and even dogs (on leashes) on the buses.

Here's a link with the event schedule, hours, etc. There is a nominal admission charge for this event.
Hope to see you there!

Guest artist Pierre Alary

On his first trip to France in 2005, Stuart discovered the work of Pierre Alary, and has been importing Pierre's books ever since. Pierre's "Belladone" series has been one of our most popular titles. In 2006 and 2007, Pierre was our guest at Comic Con San Diego, graciously signing copies of his books for our patrons and visiting with his many fans. We have published 2 sketchbooks with Pierre. In addition to being a talented artist, he is a wonderful friend. Seeing him is always one of the highlights of our annual trip to Angouleme. We hope Pierre will be signing again at our booth for Comic Con in 2009! Meanwhile, we are looking forward to the arrival of his new book, "Sinbad".

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Daily Brew 8/25 highlights - Eric Goldberg w/PICS

Here are the Eric Goldberg highlights from from his visit to our showroom on 8/23....

..... You couldn't hope for a more charming, funny, experienced, knowledgeable and generous guest (than Eric Goldberg) !!! Holding the signing at the showroom was a much more cozy and cordial setting than Comic Con. We had a steady stream of attendees, and everyone who had a book signed had a chance to chat with Eric. I could write an entire post just on the subjects Eric covered... but for now, here are some highlights:

Eric suggests reading his book in sequence. The book is over 25 years in the making! Over the years, Eric has given a series of lectures and seminars. Drawing on that experience (pardon the pun), he wrote the book specifically to be read in the order it's written to derive the most benefit from the instructions he explains in the text.

Questions from our attending patrons ranged from projects Eric had worked on in the past (often with the person who was asking the question), to mini history lessons on animation, to a amazing pantomimed explanation on how to observe, analyze and learn from different animation gags in classic cartoons.

The icing on the cake with Eric is that he is one of the most animated speakers you'll ever encounter. He has an infectious passion for great animation of the past... and for the legacy left us by great silent film comedians like Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton. It became very clear from listening to Eric that any animation fan... student or pro... should have a working knowledge of the great silent film comedies!

Eric's answers to questions, and his stories, are imbued with his own impressions of the personalities and techniques involved. Eric's too busy working now.... but at some point in the future he really should be giving seminars and lectures, as he is not only a master artist, but a true teaching master as well. Listening to Eric was a good reminder just how relevant past classic animation and silent films are to modern artists! Eric talked at length and with great passion and detail about how the comic effect of a certain character's walk in "One Froggie Evening" was achieved.

Not only has Eric studied classic animation... he also knew so many of the great Disney and WB artists... so his stories bring icons like Chuck Jones and Ollie Johnson to life and into the conversation.

Eric shared all this and more with the patrons who stopped by.... and Eric "got inspired" as well. While browsing our stock, Eric discovered the work of Carlos Nine! Nine is one of those "inspiration artists," (like Claire Wendling) that the marquee players in our industry know about and look to for their cutting edge style. Eric found the Nine book "HOMMAGE A L'ARRIERE-COUR " and was so excited by the drawing style, which he described as "Heinrich Kley on Acid". It was really amazing to watch and hear the reaction of a master artist to another modern master that he hadn't been familiar with prior to this visit with Stuart.

And of course, Stuart was able to broaden this experience for Eric by sharing his own personal knowledge of Nine and the many books Nine has produced. Moments like that made this signing one of the best "Stuart Ng Books experience" events yet.

So for everyone who was able to attend the signing.... they got the live experience and a signed or inscribed book to take home. Plus Eric kindly drew in each book as well! For those of you who pre-ordered a signed book... your copy will also contain a drawing!!

For those of you who are just discovering SNB and the blog...... not to worry.... after over 2 hours of meet and greet and Q and A at our showroom... Eric stayed after and signed all our stock with a drawing!!! Whew!

And Eric did all that work on only a glass of ice water! The least we could do was take him to dinner at one of our Torrance attractions: Back Home in Lahina on Carson Blvd. The restaurant has live music on Saturday nights, and in the Kaamaina tradition patrons at the restaurant and friends of the band will get up and dance impromptu hulas. The music was unusually LOUD that night, but there was a larger than usual crowd of dancers. If any of you get a chance to chat with Eric in the coming months... be sure to ask him how he liked the Hula show!

Friday, August 22, 2008

SDCC 2008 - Pics from Eric Goldberg's signing

Here are some pictures from Eric Goldberg's signing at our booth at Comic Con 2008. Special thanks to the lovely Darcy, who helps us and our artist guests with all our signings, and to Tina Price and Rik Maki, our booth neighbors at Digital or Not, for hosting our signings this year!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

daily brew 8/21 (highlights)

Here are highlights from 8/21

In the coffee pot for Thursday 8/21: Lion coffee Supreme Roast Special Blend Medium (something different tomorrow).

FRESH SCOOP FROM THE BREW: Our back-order item TRAVIS CHAREST SPACEGIRL vol 1 arrived 8/19!!!! Details in Stuart's email update sent 8/20 to the email list :)

Update on re-stock: There Will Be Books... Our showroom will be open Saturday 8/23 from noon - 4PM. Eric Goldberg will be signing from 2PM - 4PM. While our re-stock order of his books still isn't here yet (SNAFU as usual :), we have a "back-up" supply of books due to arrive Friday. (cut to: the ticking clock under my chair, did that thing just get louder?) Stay tuned...

Peggy has a week off starting Monday, so starting today you'll see a wave of new pics and details on the New Arrivals page. The usual pattern is for new books to show up on the "New Arrivals" page first. Then they are moved to their appropriate area (import; artist sketchbook etc). So if you see something on "new arrivals" one day, and it's gone the next day, that doesn't mean we're sold out.... just look for it in the section.

Check out the following sketchbooks (brought to us at the showroom by the artists themselves:) Justin Sweet "Droar 2". Cynthia Ignacio and Mindy Lee's collaborative project "Rock God Opera". John & Shelley Loter "Good Girl/Bad Girl" book and their new comic "Supa-rilllas." Regarding the new book from Justin Ridge, "Flavor 1:0": it's a two-fer book you flip over; one half of the book is Justin; the other half is Hey-Jung Kim. What a deal! Our copies are signed by BOTH artists.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Your Science Lesson for today: Pizza and the USPS?

You shouldn't need a degree in rocket science to calculate the odds of a book surviving a trip in the US mail, but maybe ....when you consider some of the choices OTHERS make when shipping books. What are they thinking???? Here at SNB we do not ship in "padded envelopes" or used pizza boxes (yes, that's a USED frozen pizza box that was used to ship a book to us via USPS Media Mail, INSURED!!)

Oh, the things we see behind the scenes....these are just a few examples of the heartbreak of poor packing. We get shipments like this on a weekly basis.
We know how it feels to have a valuable book ruined by careless shipping. We would never do this to you!

We hand pack your books and ship in sturdy containers. We protect all four corners and sides of your books. We put your books in the center of the box, and pad with appropriate material to prevent shifting during handling. Our shipping is labor intensive and motivated by love.
Just for the record, USPS stands for US Postal Service.. not U-Ship Pizza Surplus.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

daily brew 8/18 (highlights)

Here are highlights from Monday's Daily Brew...

In the coffee pot Sunday night for company: we finished off the good stuff (Candie's Big Island 100% Kona... mahalo to Len in Hawaii!).

Update on re-stock: ............Welcome to our wonderful world of waiting.... I have learned to be very zen about re-stock, mostly because there is nothing we can do about order fulfillment issues. I used to think it was just the French books, because there are SO MANY hoops to jump through to get them here. Now I've learned the domestic orders as just as vulnerable to SNAFU status. (you do know what SNAFU means, right?) We order books, building all sorts of lead time etc, and no matter what we do, they get here when they get here, usually right before some deadline (just to add some drama to our day).


We packed up about 10 more boxes over the weekend, and I printed out shipping labels, but when I went to USPS to schedule a Monday pickup, that portion of their website was shut down. I usually make a Monday run to the main post office, so today I'll just have a full cart or two of boxes (as you know if you're one of my fab four readers, all media mail orders paid by credit card or check can't be shipped via on line label and pick-up, and they get a little car ride with me to the Post Office).


Saturday open hours on 8/16: we had lots of visitors and some fun discussions.

I don't want these updates to sound like a Romper Room roll call, but I also want you to know what topics were covered while the showroom was open and who was part of the conversation..... so here goes.....

We had a long chat with a patron named Dave who is in gaming. We talked a lot about the back and forth influence between movies and games these days... and the quest in gaming for photo realism and the pros and cons of that.

Later, we had a nice visit with Frederik Du Chau. Since Frederik is originally from Belgium and speaks and reads French and English it's always good to get his take on the French imports. He's a Bodart fan. He picked up a copy of Green Manor and other items.

How about my plan to get Stuart to take Sunday off. Yeah, "bonne chance"... didn't happen.

What did happen was that I took the day off... unlike Stuart, I have hobbies outside of books. There are a couple of volunteer opportunities I help with during the year, and the summer puppy show is one of my favorites. A club I belong to hosts a puppy show, with a companion parade for rescue dogs. We also helped my friend Pamela, who judged the AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) testing. CGC is a program started a few years ago by AKC to promote responsible dog ownership and basic good manners for dogs at home and in public. All dogs, pure or mixed breed, can participate. Here's a link for info on CGC:
We had over 12 dogs get tested, and nearly everyone passed!

But the real fun on Sunday started when I got back to the showroom in the afternoon. Stuart had opened up special and we had a nice visit with a long-time patron Tom de Rosier.

One of my favorite memories with Tom goes back several years to a Pasadena Book Fair. Tom stopped by our booth to tell us that his friend was a big fan of our catalog. As I mentioned, this was years ago when Stuart used to do a printed catalog. Tom's friend? That was Alex Toth. It was too cool to learn that Toth was a regular and thorough reader of Stuart's catalog!!

On Sunday's visit with Tom, we had a fun discussion about a film from a few years back, The Last Samurai.... and that movie's theme of what happens when you and your skills & values seem to outlive your job and purpose.

For the freelance artist wandering the industry in search of a gig with meaning, the theme resonates, don't you think?..... Or there's the comedy pitch meeting version: "Samurai 2D Animator" (or maybe the concept just needs more action: "Kung Fu 2D Animator"..... "I know your drawing style").

Sorry, I digress....

More posts and pictures coming soon!

Monday, August 18, 2008

More horse reference, scale models up to 1:1, UPDATED 6.15 and 8.19 with more photos)

The beauty of horses inspires art....
However, they are also one of the most challenging animals to draw. (reference chart below by noted equestrian artist Sam Savitt"
If you want to draw horses, go get a broomstick.
Don't just look at it. Wrap your hand around the broomstick. Get a feel for it. That broomstick's the same diameter as a horse's cannon bone: a major leg bone of a big animal. Bones as slender as broomsticks, with just a thin veneer of muscle, blood and horsehair, support 1,000 pounds of horseflesh.
When racehorses accelerate to 45 mph, they gallop full throttle on broomsticks.
What's the most common mistake made in drawing horses? Making the legs too thick.

Most of us don't see horses every day. I'm not an artist, but I strongly believe that one of the reasons horses are so difficult to draw is that we all have a primal sense of what horses should look like. It's hard to get all the little details right, but we all know when it looks wrong. The horse-human bond goes back to cave paintings. Even today, artists are still drawn to horses, and often asked to draw horses for various assignments.

If you want to draw horses, study horse behavior. For the animated film "Spirit", the horses were given eyebrows to make their faces more expressive. Since real horses lack eyebrows, they express themselves with their ears and their body language.

Horses are large, but they are prey animals. They are always poised for fight or flight. That's one reason they rarely stand with their weight evenly distributed on all four legs, ears pricked foreword. Horses drawn in this type of pose will always read unnaturally to the viewer. The natural position for a horse in repose is to have one hoof slightly raised, resting on the tip, and one or both ears turned to the side, scanning for sounds. The key is, even at rest, to suggest that the horse is only seconds away from motion. Also, horses can't see directly in front of themselves. Their eyes are too far apart for that. And their nostrils are sensitive and expressive, flaring out when they are frightened or at full gallop.

Even urban areas have places to observe horses. Riding stables usually offer group lessons that can be observed from a viewing area. Horse shows include Western riding events from team penning to barrel racing; English show jumping; and Dressage, the horse version of ballet. Dressage is based on the movements that war horses were taught in ancient times, and are great reference for historical battle scenes. Understanding the different riding disciplines, and how skilled riders are centered riders using cues from their bodies and not just tack and artificial aids to direct their mounts, will all add authenticity to your drawings. Horses walk, trot, canter, gallop and pace. They rear up; they roll on their backs to scratch fly bites; they fight; they nuzzle; they even swim.... understanding horse anatomy in action will improve your rendering of all animals.

And you can even get your own authentic, scale replica horse, in a variety of colors and breeds.

This model horse is a classic Breyer model of an arabian stallion.
Model horses are very popular. There are websites devoted to the hobby, which ranges from collecting all the horses produced by a given company, to "customizing" the models (changing their poses, adding tiny saddles and bridles, and other details) and entering them in model horse shows, where the models complete "live" or via photos where the model is displayed in an environment constructed to scale.

Here are some customized model horses:

Okay, maybe I know a little bit too much about all this... but the point is, and... wait for it, it's coming...

A good model horse will cost you about $30, but it's a terrific resource for your studio. Breyer is a great website to start. They've been around forever. They started the whole "model horse show" craze. They produce models in a range of authentic scales, if you're into that sort of thing. And these days, they even list the names of the artists who sculpt their horses. You can buy Breyer horses online or at stores like Toys R Us and JC Penny. Here's the link to the product line at the Breyer website...

And if you always wanted your own real horse, but live in a loft or apartment with only a small balcony, how about a fiberglass horse, (or cow, or whatever) custom painted at 1:1 scale....

In the meantime, start with that broomstick. And keep drawing!!!