Thursday, April 30, 2015

Your Business Lesson for the Day -- All Cards are Business Cards (Revised 5/6/15)

Greeting cards are an artist's best friend. Prints are popular too... but not as practical. Don't underestimate the potential of offering cards as well as prints at your table or via your online store.

Cards are fun to send .. to receive .. and to collect. They are affordable art. Who wants to just get bills in the mail??? A lovely image on a card does more than just sell the card ... it can help create awareness for the artist. Note how the back of the greeting card above is used to convey the title of the work and a brief biography of the artist.

Be sure to do the same with the cards you sell on-line or at your table ... You can also display a few cards inside decorative frames... helps show how the card image can make a great gift idea!

Sending a card is more then sending news or holiday greetings. A card is a way to share art and artists you love with friends and family. Cards are great items to shop for when you are on holiday. They are easy to pack and you'll find images not seen in the typical greeting card stores. Great places to shop for cards include stationary stores, art supply stores and museum gift shops. A trip to an art or crafts fair is a fun way to combine an excursion with card shopping  .. and of course artist alley areas at comic conventions. 

This lovely image....  "Water's Edge, Giverny, France" by Karl Albert Buehr (American 1866-1952)....   is from a blank greeting card I found in a stationary store in the San Francisco bay area.

Cards are often offered as membership or contribution incentives for museums, non-profits and foundations. One of my favorite non-profits is Bat Conservation Intl 
and I was charmed when this greeting card arrived as a "thank you" for my membership. Another bonus: art by Edward Gorey .. and a sweet tribute to the artist, along with thanks to his foundation for continuing his legacy of support for bats. The card is blank inside and came with an envelope. What a nifty idea!

This insert along with the card explained its arrival ... and helped tie the upcoming Mother's Day holiday to the conservation efforts regarding Bracken Cave....
Note to artists .. when you offer cards at your table at conventions .. or via  your website or on-line store... make sure the back of your card has all your contact information! Include some biographical information .. or share the story behind the image. Let your cards help promote you and your art. Be sure your name is clearly visible .. with a font that is easy to read. It's not enough to just have a signature on the image. Help your cards help you get the recognition your hard work has earned you!

 Plus .. you can add a bonus image with stamps!

Get Inspired -- Mark Kennedy advice on persistence with personal projects

Sometimes I read a post on another blog that I just have to share here .. and this is a great one. "Why People Give Up" features a terrific graphic by Anna Vital ..

and a commentary from blogger Mark Kennedy. Read his advice on how to keep going with personal project from this post on  his blog "Temple of the Seven Golden Camels -- everything I know about the art of storyboarding"

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Get Inspired --- "Boston Metaphysical Society," Steampunk comic by Madeleine Holly-Rosing UPDATED 7.9.16

Discovering new artists and projects can happen all sorts of ways ... I recently found both via "Physics Today" Facebook page.  The "Physics Today" page posts birthday bios about scientists and lots of cool high-end science stuff made accessible to the general public, thanks to the page authors: online editor Charles Day; online manager Paul Guinnessy; and website production assistant Greg Stasiewicz. Learn more here:

Charles attends various comics conventions .. and in a post about Wondercon 2015 he included a link to his online article ....

This quote from Charles' article launched my quest ... it had me at "BETH"

Two years ago at Comic-Con I bumped into Madeleine Holly-Rosing, author of the steampunk webcomic Boston Metaphysical Society. At that point, the comic's first chapter had just been published. It introduced the story’s existential threat: the Shifter, an evil being from a parallel dimension, who terrorizes late 19th-century Boston. Also introduced are the three main protagonists: former Pinkerton detective Samuel Hunter, medium and spirit photographer Caitlin O’Sullivan, and scientist Granville Woods. In later chapters, the trio is joined in the fight against the Shifter by BETH, a group made up of Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, and Harry Houdini. I was happy to learn from Holly-Rosing that her webcomic is doing well.

Looked around online and delighted to learn that Madeleine was a fellow exhibitor at Big Wow convention. Here's Madeleine at her table at the show...
Early as possible once the show opened, I raced to find her and to scoop up all the "Boston Metaphysical Society" wares. She had copies of all 5 issues of the comic ... plus buttons and stickers...
 Covers for issues 1 and 2
issues 3 and 4..
issue 5
Close up of the informational postcard...

Madeleine found and hired her collaborators on the comic .... Art by Emily Hu. Coloring by Gloria Caeli and Fahrize Kamaputra; Lettering by Troy Peteri

and there is a terrific story behind the scenes of how the entire project came together. Discover the details on her website:

and follow posts and updates on her  Facebook page

Best discovery yet was learning that she gives workshops on how to use Kickstarter! Can't wait to take one of these so I can learn the lingo .. and get tips on how to avoid "first timer" mistakes. What a great way to pay-forward for other artists and projects just getting started!

Here's link for recent example of her workshops... held at a comic shop in Culver City, CA

Go gal power!
UPDATE 7.9.16
Madeleine and her latest books profiled in this Author Spotlight feature on Book Lemur page..

Friday, April 24, 2015

POST UPDATED 6/1 -- Claire Wendling highlights from Big Wow and Academy of Art University

This is a post in progress about Claire Wendling's  1st US convention appearance at recent Big Wow convention .. and also her lecture at Academy of Art University in SF.
BLUE TEXT in the post is updated material.

Claire Wendling's table was adjacent to the Stuart Ng Books booth at Big Wow....
We were delighted to introduce Claire (seated below left) to another long-time SNB artist pal, accomplished animal artist and creature designer Terryl Whitlatch (r)
 Here's Terryl catching up with Stuart...
Fans and colleagues eagerly awaiting their moment to see Claire Wendling in person...
So many artists ... from students to peers in the film and animation industries .. kindly shared with Claire how her work has inspired them..

In addition to greeting attendees and colleagues, Claire signed copies of her books and did a limited amount of sketching...
Claire is always drawing .. and always learning ... she kindly allowed two different film crews to document her sketching .... (LINKS TO THESE VIDEOS WILL BE POSTED AS SOON AS THEY ARE AVAILABLE. THE VIDEO BY JOHN FLESKES IS ON LINE NOW AND CAN BE VIEW VIA THIS LINK:    )
Following the convention, Claire was the guest of professor Chuck Pyle (Director of Academy of Art University's School of Illustration in San Francisco... and himself the recent recipient of the Society of Illustrators Distinguished Educator in the Arts Award).
This beloved instructor and highly regarding artist is also a long-time Wendling fan. He was delighted to welcome her as a guest speaker for a crowd of over 300 students and faculty...

 Hours before the lecture began.. the crowd of students began to fill the lobby...
By the time the doors opened, the lobby was packed...

Chuck Pyle introduced Wendling...

She entertained the audience, speaking confidently and directly from the heart, without notes, as she showed images of her art from the last several years to today. Her talk included some insights to her own sources of inspiration and her working process. Her delivery sparkled with her self-depreciating humor along with her passion for drawing and learning. During the Q and A, she encouraged young artists to enjoy the time they have to draw whatever they want .. and to be sure to learn the fundamentals of drawing, as a good background in these skills will help them later in their careers. She also shared how her own learning process continues to this day: she is still always observing anatomy, shapes and shadows, even during routine activities like watching TV or observing people in a cafe. The sketches in her sketchbooks are her doodles of "graphic notes" for reference for later works. Sometimes the sketch itself might inspire a drawing, but usually the sketches and doodles are exercises for her.. trying out different ways to render a gesture or  part of an animal or human figure. This way, if she has an assignment later to draw that same challenge, then she has the experience with drawing it before. She uses reference all the time, but she never draws directly from a photograph. Instead, she observes and absorbs the visual image... often collecting many of these sorts of image/memories for what she is seeking to draw. Then.. after time (sometimes hours, sometimes days or weeks) she can draw what she needs. In  a way, she sees it on the page as she is drawing it, but it is not a reproduction of a specific image, but a physical expression through the drawing of the shapes and gestures combined from her memory.
 The lecture was live-streamed for students who could not attend in person....
For nearly a decade, Chuck Pyle has tried to arrange this event for the school. He kindly credited Stuart Ng with helping facilitate this connection between the elusive Wendling and the community of peers, fans and faculty she attracted. The crowd inside the auditorium .. and the over 100 people who Wendling signed books for after the event... demonstrated the level of appreciation for this experience...

After such a warm reception at both Big Wow and the Academy of Art University ... as well as Wendling's recent appearance at the Schoolism event in Toronto ... perhaps we can all hope to see more Wendling personal appearances in the coming years.....

Monday, April 13, 2015

Claire Wendling at Big Wow convention, April 18 + 19 (post updated 4/14 with more links)

Claire Wending has a reputation --- gilded with mystery and legend. She has the aura of an enigma. She is the unstoppable  force ... the artist that leading artists in our niche of illustration, animation and comic art look to when they need inspiration... how can one artist be all these things? And also ... witty, and charming, and humbled by her level of influence... Pure magic, that's how...

Best of all... she is inspiring young artists who are in awe of her technique and eager to share her work with others. We see this all the time in the flurry of activity around the Claire Wendling books at our store and our booth at conventions. Patrons celebrate her skills .. and there's usually one or two who discover her work for the first time .. sometimes on their own, but often brought to Claire Wendling's books by eager friends and colleagues.

The Claire Wendling effect is charmingly demonstrated in this "Cool Art People -- Claire  Wendling" video by "Sketchywitch" on You Tube. The book featured in this video is the Wendling retrospective "Drawers 2.0". This highly-regarded book was a long-time best seller at SNB .. but sadly now out of print. Drawers 2.0 had two different covers, but the same content inside, with text in English and French in both versions. Drawers 1.0 had a black cat on the cover, and slightly less content than the 2.0 version.

Stuart and I were first introduced to Clarie's work via her sketchbook "Desk." This book launched our French adventure, when Stuart was compelled to travel to France for the first time in 2005 to see the retrospective on Claire's work at the Angouleme Festival. He's attended every year since... and each year, he has been privileged to visit with Claire and her husband. Over the years, Stuart Ng Books carried all the Claire Wendling books that were available .. here are just a few sample covers...

The demand for more Claire Wendling led Stuart to publish the Stuart Ng Books imprints of Daisies and Desk.

Wendling cemented her US reputation with a year working in Los Angeles at the Warner Bros.feature animation studio in the 1990s. Her time here was brief, but the impact resonated. Stories about her became legends in the industry. After so many years in France... working away on her own projects .. Claire became more and more of a mystery. Her books and sketches dotted the inspiration boards of the finest artists and animation studios in the world ... but she didn't make appearances at festivals and conventions... and she didn't work on many US projects.

This year .. that changes!

Claire was a featured guest at the recent Schoolism event in Toronto Canada..
More on Schoolism here:
And now.. she makes her triumphant return to the US, appearing both days at the Big Wow Comicfest in San Jose.

Many artists are looking forward to welcoming her and touring their studios with her.

Don't miss the chance to meet her yourself at Big Wow ... a fun, artist-focused convention!

Why a comics conventions??? Check out this Claire Wendling cover art for DC comics Catwoman...

UPDATE!!! Stuart Ng Books will be debuting re-print of classic Wendling hardcover character design sketchbook "Iguana Bay 2.0" at this convention. Pic below is preview of pages from the book...

Meanwhile, here's link for Claire Wendling items currently for sale on Stuart Ng Books website -- includes books, prints, a 12-postcard set of Chinese Zodiac Animals

View all items in stock via this link:

See Claire art on her tumblr blog
Here are just a few sample...
Tumblr  Oct 2014

Tumblr Dec 2013..

Hear Claire in her own words in this Schoolism Vimeo interview ..appx 40 minutes .. with artist Bobby Chiu.
Very inspiring to hear them both discussing the challenges of drawing! Yet another example of how the best artist have struggles... but they are also always drawing... learning ... growing. 'Better than the day before" as Claire says. Later in the interview, she discusses the impact of a time when she was not drawing so much, due to a crisis of pain and fear (and a health issue)... how she wanted to draw, but it was too difficult. When she had to stop drawing "it was like losing .. (a limb) .. when you can't draw its like something is missing.. like something is not beating inside you.." She also discusses how drawing every day was an important part of her recovery ... day after day, even if she felt bad, or the drawings were bad, she kept at it .. and started getting better, on all levels....

Amy Commentary:
Art at the level of a Claire Wendling comes from talent.. but it's also the product of heart, and hope, and health...
Take care of yourselves ... Be well...This kindness to your needs will help you create from a place of strength and confidence.