Saturday, June 19, 2021

Google Doodle -- Juneteenth 2021 art by Rachelle Baker

 June 19, 2021 Google Doodle for Juneteenth. The first doodle for Juneteenth as a federal holiday.

This Doodle is the work of guest artist Rachelle Baker

Here are some sketches of the Doodle in progress.

Here's background on the Doodle and a brief interview with the artist (this is from the Google Doodles page:


"Today’s Doodle, illustrated by Detroit-based guest artist Rachelle Baker, honors Juneteenth, an annual federal holiday celebrating the liberation of Black enslaved people in the United States. On this day in 1865, enslaved people in Galveston, Texas received news of the Emancipation Proclamation, an executive order that mandated the end of slavery in Confederate states during the American Civil War. 

Despite its passage on January 1, 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation remained opposed for years by several states still under Confederate control. Texas represented the westernmost edge of the Confederate territories and was thus among the American regions with the least Union presence. It was in the Lone Star State’s port town of Galveston that some 1,800 Union troops finally arrived to establish Union authority on June 19, 1865. 

Here, the now-famous “General Orders, Number 3” was dispatched, which proclaimed the end of slavery to over 250,000 Black Texans. Although this decree did not guarantee immediate independence or equality for Texas’s Black community, an unprecedented freedom and civil rights movement followed in its wake–the legacy of which persists today. 

Today’s Doodle artwork celebrates joy within the Black community, as well as the perseverance foundational to this journey toward liberation. With each letter, the Doodle transitions from historical Juneteenth parades to modern-day traditions such as education through storytelling, outdoor gatherings with family and friends, and commemorative festivals and parades. These scenes of celebration and community are brightened by bluebonnets—the state flower of Texas—and forget-me-nots that are layered upon backgrounds of decorative ironwork commonly found on buildings throughout the southern states. This ironwork highlights the often forgotten contributions made by enslaved Black Americans and symbolizes their strength and resilience. 

While Juneteenth recognizes over a century and a half of progress, it also reminds Americans to continue to build a more equitable and unified nation. 

Happy Juneteenth!

Guest Artist Q&A with Rachelle Baker

Today’s Doodle was illustrated by Detroit-based guest artist Rachelle Baker. Below, she shares her thoughts behind the making of this Doodle:


Q. What was your creative process for this Doodle artwork?

A. I looked at tons of photos and art illustrating some of the first ever Juneteenth celebration, as well as celebrations, parades, and festivities from recent years. I also read about specific symbols, foods, colors, and activities that were and continue to be important in celebrating and commemorating this holiday.


Q. Did you draw inspiration from anything in particular for this Doodle? 

AI was inspired by family photo albums (and my family getting together for special occasions to celebrate each other), intaglio prints, and illuminated letters."


More on the Juneteenth 2020 doodle....

.... here:

There are many posts here on the blog about the artists behind Google Doodles. See all the links in this post:

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Tom Most makes iconic contribution to Star Wars universe -- the Mythosaur Skull pendant, a case study in branding (UPDATED 6.6.21)

Tom Most feels like a very lucky man. His original sculpture has become part of the Star Wars extended universe. Most created the Mythosaur skull pendant seen in these screen grabs from "The Mandalorian." Most's pendant became a powerful symbol of the connection between Din Djarin and The Child. 

Was it just luck that landed Most in the Star Wars universe? 

Or was it years of experience combined with smart business planning?

Read on and learn.

Tom Most is a sculptor. He majored in traditional sculpture and got his degree from the University of Illinois. Like many graduates, he took a series of jobs early in his career. There was no Z Brush and 3D printing back in those days. Everything was done by hand.

Most honed the sculpture skills in his indie art-life tool kit. He worked in the toy industry. He was also a modeler for companies making pop culture collectibles. Each job gave him a chance to learn and grow. He picked up business skills as well as increasing his art portfolio. He saw the amount of waste that went on when entire budgets would be blown on tweaking small, expensive changes on a proposed item. Back when all those changes could only be done by hand. Most saw the value when new technology entered the sculpting fields. He answered an ad in the paper and got a job at a company using 3D printers for rapid prototyping. 

Most encourages artists to embrace technology. He’s still a sculptor. His love of using art supplies and creating physical works hasn’t diminished with his fluency in using computers. The computers offer a way for him to make art once and then monetize it over different platforms. He learned this on his first digital project – his “Alien Queen” skulls. Once he created the file, making numerous changes was easy. Most uses his scanning skills on his old sculpts. His work experience at Branford and other jobs taught him having to scale by hand was expensive and time consuming. He appreciates what a game changer it is for the logistics of sculpting to have computer files vs making manual sculpt changes.

Art skills, computer experience and business acumen helped Most feel prepared to launch his own company, “Mostly Fantasy.”

Here’s the description from his website:

“With over 25 years experience…Mostly Fantasy has been producing prototypes, sculpture, and art in various media for the toy, display, and collectible industries, as well as offering original model kits and figurines. Processes offered include sculpting, molding, and casting, as well as figure finishing/deco/painting. Consulting services also available.” 

In addition to his company’s commercial work for others, Most enjoyed making personal art and items to sell. He opened an online store on Etsy because he found the platform user friendly to set up. He also started selling at conventions.

Most has a reverence for animals. “Nature is the best designer,” he says. His reference library includes skeleton specimens from real animals. He was also inspired by film creatures. An early success for him was his Alien Queen skulls, fully rendered in 360, and sold on his website and his convention booths. (photo from Tom's Etsy listing)

This product production and merchandise sales experience would help him launch his next project beyond his expectations.

In 2015, Most wanted to find a Mythosaur skull collectible. This emblem started as a bit of obscure Star Wars fan trivia. Boba Fett had a Mythosaur skull on the shoulder of his armor. But the skull symbol on Fett’s armor had a crack in it, presumably due to battle damage Fett sustained.

There was cannon in the Star Wars universe that Mandalorians had a “bad ass” right-of-passage. In order to get into the guild, a Mandalorian had to single-handedly hunt and kill a Mythosaur and bring back its head. Trouble was, the Mandalorians were so good at this, they hunted the Mythosaurs to extinction. This led to the skull emblem being awarded as a symbol.

To Most, the crack in the skull on Fett’s armor seemed inconsistent with this Mandalorian mythos. He shopped around for a Mythosaur skull collectible or merchandise item, but could never find one he liked.

So, he decided to make his own.

Here is the original pewter finish (photo from SNB website shows the front face of the skull)

Making his own Mythosaur skull required deploying all the tools in his art-life tool kit. Most started with his collection of real animal skulls. Using parts of various skulls, as well as hands-on anatomy sculpting skills, he invented his own Mythosaur skull. He used his 3D printer and made his own molds for the fabrication process. He also made a distinctive creative choice. Real animal skulls aren’t symmetrical. Most made his Mythosaur a completed rendered, 360, symmetrical skull.

And he branded it with his “MostlyFantasy”name.  (more on this vital inclusion later).

Most’s experience making his Alien Queen skulls helped him perfect his Mythosaur. To make the Queen skulls in formats that interested customers at conventions and online, he had to learn about different metalworking and manufacturing processes. He learned to make the skull in a variety of finishes. This allowed his design to appeal to different customers and have different price points. And he knew to make it with some heft when you held it. 

So was it luck???… or decades years of hard work… that put Most at his table at Monsterpalooza con in Pasadena in 2018?

It was Friday – set-up day. Exhibitors are extremely busy on set-up day. It’s also a time, especially an hour or so before the show officially opens, that other exhibitors shop the show for their collector clients… and the occasional celebrity or guest makes the rounds.

Right at that frantic moment on Friday when the show had just opened to the public and the rush was about to begin, Most was finishing up his display. He saw a shadow and sensed a presence. Someone was looking at his Mythosaur display, with the skulls in two finishes: pewter and bronze. That someone was Jon Favreau.

At that moment, only Jon Favreau knew there was a Mandalorian series in development. He didn’t share why he was shopping exhibitor booths at the con, but he stopped and talked with Most. It was Most’s pewter-finished Mythosaur skull that caught Favreau’s eye.

Favreau appreciated that Most’s Mythosaur skull had some weight to it and that it was fully rendered in 360. Most discussed the two finishes with him. Favreau liked the pewter best. He bought out nearly all the Mythosaur stock Most brought to the convention. Then he walked away.

Later on, Most wondered if maybe he should have asked for a photo, but was glad he didn’t because the moment had been so fantastic. He went back to Illinois with a great story.

A week after that, Most got an online order at his Etsy store. Someone in Pasadena wanted pewter-finished Mythosaur skulls. 50 of them.

That online order connected Most with Favreau’s team.

They were able to reach him, because Most had branded his work.

Most couldn’t remember if he gave Favreau a card when he sold him the Mythosaur skulls. But on the back of each Mythosaur skull, in a natural crevice of the skull’s anatomy, Most had included his brand “Mostly Fantasy” in the roof of each Mythosaur’s mouth.

Between the Monsterpalooza convention and the online order from Pasadena, there had been a power meeting of Star Wars product licensees. Near the end of the meeting, the Mythosaur skull Most had made and Favreau had purchased from him was passed around the room. The word was out. This was the skull they wanted to use. Everyone in the room agreed it was great, but it wasn’t the work of their usual suppliers.

Each person was asked to examine it to see if they recognized the work. At last, it reached the hands of a colleague of Most’s. This colleague recognized Most’s “Mostly Fantasy” brand. He announced to the room that he not only knew the company that made it, he was friends with the artist. (photos below are mine, and show the fully rendered underside of the skull, along with Most's branding).

You never know whose hands your art may end up in.

Brand your work so it can always be ready to work for you.

Through his brand on his work, Most was able to start a connection with Favreau’s team. An agreement was reached to use his artwork. Most was eventually trusted with a trade secret: his skull pendant would be used on the show. He just didn’t know how. Or when. Like the rest of us, he was glued to the show when it debuted on Disney+.

Most’s skull pendant became a narrative high point of The Mandalorian in Season 1, episode 8 “Redemption.”

The skull is glimpsed briefly as Din Djarin passes it to Cara Dune. He fears he is dying. He explains the meaning of the pendant. It's a powerful symbol of connection to the Mandalorian clans. The pendant will convey his protection over The Child if she presents it to other Mandalorians. The skull re-appears, full screen, at the end of the episode when the Mandalorian realizes his skull pendant has returned to him, and he is happy to see it on The Child.  -

Cinema has the ability to turn physical items into what one of my film school professors called “correlative objects.” From the sled in Citizen Kane to the ruby slippers in the Wizard of Oz to the Mythosaur skull pendant in The Mandalorian --- film stories imbue artifacts with deep layers of meaning for characters. They are movie magic you can hold in your hands. No wonder there is collector demand for screen used props – or replicas.

This You Tube video from Dec 2019 on the "Star Wars Explained" channel is a recap of "Redemption" --- it's full of spoilers and Star Wars universe backstory.

The day after “Redemption” started streaming, Most’s phone “blew up” with orders.

And of course, it was near the Christmas season. That brought complications for Most due to sources in his production line being closed for the holidays. He sold out of his stock instantly. His various production elements worked with him to supply more. He contacted each person who had placed an online order, and each one responded they were willing to wait. He filled all the orders ASAP.

Like many indie artists, Most is a one-man-band: creating, merchandising, selling, and doing order fulfilment. A rush of orders is always good news – but have a contingency plan in case it happens. Be transparent and upfront with your customers, and your suppliers. Consumer confidence is built on trust. Indie art-life depends on having a loyal customer base. In an online world full of copycats, indie artists can thrive when clients chose to support you with their purchases. And with their patience when you have fulfilment issues.

The onscreen skull pendant is slightly different from the skull Favreau bought. The onscreen skull has a shinier finish than the original pewter finish. Most now makes and sells a skull with a “nickel plated pewter” finish that resembles the onscreen skull.

A year later, the majority of Mythosaur skulls on the commercial market are the official licensed product. These licensed skulls are based on Most's molds, but have a variant that reflects a moment in the Mandalorian storyline, where Din Djarin rips the pendant from his neck.

While there is a licensed product, Most, whose artwork inspired this prop in the show, has found himself in a highly unusual situation. If you watch the Disney+ “Gallery” episode #8 about props for the Mandalorian, you’ll see a screenshot at the end that features Most’s skull. There’s no official credit linking Most to the prop or that moment, but for the artist and those who know the story, it’s a highlight. Most is off the radar of mainstream fans. He’s grateful for the association with the show, and that he can continue to sell his pendants that are results of his years of experience and artistic choices.

This indie art-life case study is a good news story with valuable lessons:

Luck favors the prepared. Be open to new skills and technology. Every tool in your tool kit only helps you be more successful. When you create art, you are investing your time and supplies -- be ready to monetize your artWORK different ways. Your in-person sales are marketing for your online store. Realize once you are online or at conventions, you may need to scale up your shipping and/or production procedures.

And it builds on lessons often repeated here on the blog:

Stay healthy! You can’t work if you aren’t well. Register your copyrights – your creative rights protections are greatest if you get in a regular habit of registering multiple images, prior to publication. Brand your work. Get your indie business life in order before you start selling at shows and online. Your local SBA (Small Business Administration) office probably offers free workshops on business basics. Attend convention panels on creative rights and small business practices.

Tom's Mythosar skull is available in three finishes. L to R. The original pewter finish (the one Favreau bought); the nickel plated pewter finish (Tom's version of the "shinier" screen used skull); black nickel plated.

You can see more photos on Tom's Mythosaur skull on the SNB website:

And on Tom's Etsy store:

Congrats to Tom on an amazing indie artist success story --- and thanks to him for sharing it with me via emails and a phone call so I can document it here on the blog. 


UPDATE 6.6.21

A Tom Most Mythosaur skull pendant is the perfect accessory for one of these..."The Child" Life-size collectible figure by Hot Toys

This unboxing video from You Tube shows all the accessories that come with this figure.

But the pendant it comes with pales in comparison with the Most pendant options. A friend of mine stopped by the store recently to purchae a Most pendant for his Hot Toys Grogu. Here's the collectible holding its new Most pendant in the screen version nickel-plated finish.

In photo below you can see the pendant that comes with the figure on the left...
The figure also comes with a set of down-turned ears that can be interchanged.
One more view of happy Grogu with his authentic pendant.

Horse Anatomy Reference Book -- "Anatomy in Action" by Gillian Higgins (updated 7.1.21)

 Every artist needs this equine anatomy book in their reference library. I purchased a copy of  "Anatomy in Action" by equine anatomist and biomechanist Gillian Higgins directly from her UK based website. She offers shipping to the US and a US version of the DVD

About the author Gillian Higgins.

This oversized book was designed for equestrians -- to better understand the bio-mechanics of horses in motion. 

It's also a must-have reference book for artists.

Why are horses the animals artists struggle most with.. but must master to understand all animal anatomy better?

This question is often covered by artist Terryl Whitlatch in her online and in-person art instruction workshops. Whitlatch is renowned for films like the Star Wars prequels, Jumanji, Brother Bear, and is the creator of The Katurran Odyssey. 

Her mastery of animal anatomy has made her an icon in the fields of creature design and scientific illustration. Her lectures often stress that understanding horse anatomy is crucial for artists. Horses have the most extreme anatomy of all animals. No wonder horses are often the most challenging animal for many artists to render with confidence and accuracy.

The "Anatomy in Action" book is a brilliant blend of science and art. It features UK-based Gillian Higgins trademark horse anatomy lessons -- where she paints the muscles or skeleton on to living horses. Higgins gives live workshops and sells DVDs of her programs. You can learn more about her work here:

This post will show some sample pages from Higgins' "Anatomy in Action" book.

This book will help you see horse anatomy in action... and horses in various angles and poses. Let the sample pages here get you excited about ordering this book. You can order with confidence. My book and DVD were shipped quickly and arrived well packed and in mint condition.

Several sections of the book feature large photos of a horse gait (for example, the canter above) and then  you can fold out the two oversized pages that illustrate the gait in sequence...

While most of the riding shown is English, there is this western riding action sequence of a sliding stop...

I highly recommend this site and these resources. Yes, shipping from the UK is expensive.. but it's less than getting to the UK for one of Gillian Higgins' in-person workshops. Consider these resources an investment in her work as well as your animal art education.

Your Guide to Behind the Scenes at Stuart Ng Books - Long form (6.4.21)

 This month I'm trying a new format for the "Your Guide" post. Here is the long format, with all 8 categories in a single post. I'll also have each category available to access as its own post and have linked them. 


Start here to learn how to use this blog..... You are about to explore SNB adventures from my (Amy's) perspective ... Stuart's website links to this blog, but Stuart does NOT write these posts. This "Your Guide" posts updates monthly.

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:

Welcome to the realm of Bride of Bookseller. The posts are all written by me. This blog exists to educate and entertain by sharing resources that can benefit artists.

It takes talent and commitment to thrive as an indie artist. But it also takes balance and fitness. No one talks to artists about this truth: You have to be well enough.. physically.. mentally..emotionally...financially... to get your work done. At the same time, so many artists struggle with chronic conditions that impact their productivity. No wonder artists are stressed. Many posts on the blog here offer possible solutions.... and celebrate the traits all the best artists share: (button below from Alaska Robotics
Scroll down this "Your Guide" post  and you'll discover background on the blog (SNB and BTS backstory)....
Then these categories of highlighted posts:



(includes posts on DreamCon; LA Printer's Fair; Tim Burton exhibiton at LACMA in 2011)


For the origin of the SNB logo, see this post:

Stuart Ng Books is very small business in Torrance, CA. Our niche is books on illustration, animation and comic art. Our wonderful, loyal patrons are artists, students and collectors in these fields.
We started in the genteel era of hands-on bookselling, before the internet. We were mentored by colleagues, some of whose stores folded under the pressures from Amazon. We weathered the transition to websites. Stuart worked hard to build a brand in this tough business environment.  Our bookstore started as a printed mail-order catalog. I say "our" bookstore because it was just the two of us for years. We had a book room in the house for inventory. The dining room table was the packing station for mail orders. I was the voice on the phone, processed orders, and schlepped boxes to the post office. But it's called Stuart Ng Books for a reason. Once the books started earning their way and moved into a store location, I was ready to segue into BTS (behind-the-scenes) mode.

Sales are still mostly mail order. Stuart ships books all over the world.  In addition to our website and Torrance store location, we sell books at conventions and the occasional special event expo or festival. Scroll down for links for convention appearances. Here are two examples of expos/festivals:

Stuart is a man on a mission. He is always on the job: in constant search for great books and artists. He is known for discovering treasures 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 creative place that keeps us both engaged with artists. Stuart Ng Books has exhibited at San Diego Comic Con for over 20 years. For 2020, Stuart planned to open a retail location in Burbank. He’ll resume the search for the ideal spot once conditions allow -- so if you have any suggestions, please contact him directly.
Our patrons seek out Stuart at conventions and online. They 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 ....
I started my blog in 2008 as a way to share topics I discussed with friends and patrons who visited us at conventions. I also use the blog to share trips to exhibits and shows we attend that artists might find inspiring.
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!
HELLO WORLD -- 120+ and counting
For a complete list of the 122 countries that have visited the blog, check out this Aug 11, 2011 post: "Hello World.." And one final stat -- as of February 2020, the blog has tallied over 500,000 all-time page views.


NFTs --- Future for art, or current version of 1630s Tulip craze cautionary tale?

This April 2021 post is where I'm collecting case studies on NFTs as well as resources that explain them.

(became effective January 2020)

This January 2020 post is where I update links and info on AB5 (updated 5.17.21)

CASE ACT (Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act )
UPDATE January 2021 -- This is the Bill has become a federal law. Read all about it here: 
(images below from the Graphic Artists Guild)

Several posts here on the blog explaining the CASE Act Bill, as well as links to other sources.

This January 2021 link from Copyright Alliance has FAQ on how CASE Act Small Claims court will work, and when it will start:


It was around July 2014 that I started posting frequently about Copyright Protection for images posted online. My artist friend Lili Chin of Doggie Drawings
had become a target for outrageous levels of art theft. This included an impostor in the UK who downloaded Lili's dog images, flipped them, painted them on canvases adding painted dog collars with actual rhinestones on them, then sold them at art fairs and even a gallery! The gal ended up on a British TV show bragging about her successful business. Lili's fans alerted her -- a great example of how an educated, loyal, invested fan base is the front line for fighting art theft. Even more vital: Lili registers her copyrights. It was a long, expensive, frustrating fight to watch my friend go through. The gallery was appalled at the impostor and kicked her out. The impostor went into hiding. It became a dead end for Lili (and the expensive UK lawyers she had to hire). Lili has won successful settlements since then, but is still fighting art theft. I see how exhausting it is. This waste of artist time and resources, not to mention livelihood, inspired my activism. So I started learning more and posting more. Since 2015, I've subscribed to an intellectual property legal service that allows me to schedule phone consultation appointments. It's an investment I make on behalf of the blog. I want to post info that's as accurate as possible given that many of these issues are fluid with new laws in the works. I use this source to fact check my own IP questions directly with an IP attorney. More on the service here:

My blog post links below share resources and case studies on unauthorized commercial use of artist-owned images for profit by others:
Also see blog post from June 11, 2016 with FREE infographics by Lili Chin on copyright 101
Lili's infographics are available as free downloads on  her link:

Lili Chin won a settlement against Kohls when the retail giant stole her artwork.

This Oct 2016 post has background info on this groundbreaking legal case in the fight against art theft:
This post also has links for the infamous case Lili suffered in 2013 with the UK art thief.
Lili's suit against Kohl's settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.

Important info on blog post  "Fan Art -- Playground or Minefield." Includes link to video clip of panel on IP. This post on the grey areas of Fan Art is also updated.

case studies and taking action

This "Combat Art Theft" post compiles case studies and how artists are fighting back. There is a dangerous culture of tolerated piracy when it comes to online art. This. Must. Stop. Links on this post explain the risks.. and offer solutions.

Loyal fans alerting artists are the front line of defense against art theft. Artists educating fans about creative rights helps curb counterfeiting... (chart below by Ginger Davis Allman -- more info in these links --

August 2019 posts with insights from industry pros about the damage done to artists at all levels when art is undervalued..


The long trauma of 2020 impacted everyone. 2021 continues to bring many self-care challenges. Please be mindful of your mental, emotional and physical health. 
Artists and other indie creators must be well to work -- they are the only ones who can do their jobs. You can't do your best from a place of unwellness.

Use the internet and social media wisely. Share facts, not fear. Always SIFT before sharing.
Fact-check/Find corroborating stories on credible sites.
Trace posts back to original context/media. 

The SIFT system was coined by Mike Caufield, a digital literacy expert at Washington State University. 
Please check out more SIFTing tips here:

There are 15 Posts for April 2020 on the blog regarding COVID-19. Here's link for #1 of 15 of the April posts:
The 15 posts in April include links for indie artist funding resources (post #s 3-5) , DIY disinfecting tips, post #7) links for credible, science-based sites to find the latest on Covid (post #s 12-14). Post #s 9-11 have oodles of online links with family friendly sites like links to zoo and aquarium live cams, as well as tips for home office and self-care survival tools. 

I'm leaving the March 2020 posts in tact with the announcement that they are untouched from 3.31.2020, but are valuable as a record of information we  had available as the crisis hit.

Info graphic below from Compound Interest

I also post links for resources regarding Art and Anxiety. This includes tips on how to communicate the value of your work!.

Link below is for Tumbler post by (gal artist .. just saying :)  C.Spike Trotman. The gem below is just one of the panels from the Tumbler post explaining steps to success for indie artist life ....
The link hasn't been active for awhile... but I'm leaving it here as a record and in case it revives somewhere else. Meanwhile, here's the link for the book form of this terrific comic about indie art survival:

More "art has value" on this post on how to turn a charity request into a paying job ...

Lots here on the blog for artist health -- physical, emotional, financial....
Graphic above by Patternson Clark...

"PSA on Killer Chairs" post on dangers of too much chair time for anyone with a desk job .. and tips to help fight the effects of damage to posture and hand and wrists

In 2015 I launched a series of posts to share stretches and restorative options for Artists and others whose work demands long hours of sitting. These simple exercises will help undo the strain on back, shoulders, arms, wrists and hands. Posts feature stills and video with certified yoga instructor Simone, who gives helpful workshops at the SNB showroom for crew and colleagues. Simone's Facebook page also offers links to online tutorials she finds and recommends:
Always consult your own doctor before beginning any fitness routine.
Here are links for "Yoga for Artists" lessons on the blog:
Lesson #2 - Upper Body Stretches using Chair, Wall and Blocks

Indie artists struggle to either absorb shipping and handling costs or factor them into their prices. Customers have been indoctrinated into the myth of Free Shipping. What is that really costing all of us?

I will always advocate for using tutorials to monetize your online art. Educate followers so they can grow with you as supporters.
Art below by Catherine Scartaccini

Documenting your creative process engages followers. It's also a great way to make your artWORK work for you. You're going through the steps already. You're taking the time.. and spending your resources... to document them. They are perfect to make multi-purpose. Monetize them. Never undervalue your time, talent and effort. Art life requires art work that is compensated.

So many artists posts these valuable tutorials for free. Why not share a few, but then use these sorts of posts to move followers to platforms where they can find more by supporting your art life on Patreon or with Ko-fi.  
Art below by Hannah Stiles, Ainigmati Studios

The internet has been a game changer, but recently I've heard professional artists, executives, instructors and collectors concerned about the growing trend of mediocrity. The easy access to so many versions of familiar images and subject matter means that everyone's art starts to look the same. Imitation is the death of growth. Don't copy other artists work, tweak it a bit, and call it your own. That's fine for practice in your sketchbook, but it's no way to build a brand and audience of your own.
 If you want to reach the next level, get away from the screen. Go in person to look at original art. Attend events that lend themselves to sketching. Visit the zoo, aquarium, museums. Look back in books and at libraries to see what artists were doing generations ago. These are habits the exceptional artists share. Disney legend artist Andreas Deja is a prime example of this. His highly educational blog shares treasures from his personal collection of art by past artists who have inspired him.  My blog post on his wire sculptures shows his work, an artist that inspires him, and links to his blog:
Art history in all genres can expand your own visual vocabulary. Here are some posts that showcase art inspiration from icons of the past, or activities that inspire sketching... 

Icons to study...

activities to sketch and study anatomy


The Stuart Ng Books - Claire Wendling connection dates back to 2005. That year, Claire was the featured artist at the annual  Angouleme Festival of Bande Dessinee, the largest comics festival in Europe.
Prior to the 2005 festival, Stuart had discovered Wendling's work via her sketchbook of personal drawings "Desk" (first published in France; current edition published by Stuart Ng Books)....

....and her award-winning art for the Bande Dessinee (or BD) series "Les Lumieres des Amalou" (written by Christophe Gibelin).

Inspired to attend the 2005 festival for the chance to see a career retrospective of her work, and perhaps meet the artist, Stuart embarked on his first-ever trip to France. In fact, it was the first time he had ever traveled outside of the US. Stuart does not speak or read French. Fortunately for all of us, Claire and her charming husband and colleague Christian speak fluent  English.
Even from those first meetings in the city cafes, Claire and Stuart spoke a common language of appreciation: for Claire's unique skills; and for Stuart's ability to bring her visionary talent to an ever-expanding US and worldwide community of peers and fans.
In the years that followed, Stuart's annual trips to Angouleme for the festival also included a visit with Claire and Christian... bringing them news and appreciation from her US fans ... and always talk of a hopeful visit by them to the US.
In 2015, on the 10th anniversary of the Claire Wendling-Stuart Ng connection, Claire was able to accept two long-offered invitations that Stuart had conveyed to her from mutual friends. Claire appeared as a special guest at the  Big Wow comics convention in early April. She accepted an honorary doctorate and speaking engagements at the Academy of Art Universtiy in San Francisco in April and May. Photo below shows Claire and Stuart at Claire's table at Big Wow.
Here on the blog are a series of 6 posts with photos and behind the scenes highlights from this long-awaited return of Claire Wendling to her beloved California ... where she worked for Warner Bros Feature Animation in the 1990s.
Claire Wendling at Big Wow Convention (background post)
Claire Wendling -- Highlights from Big Wow and speaking engagement at Academy of Art University
"animal" art show at Gnomon School (Claire attended and met with several of the artists)
Paul Choy photos from Claire Wendling signing at SNB
Behind the Scenes at Wendling signing and CA visit
Claire Wendling sketching at Big Wow, link to video by John Fleskes

Wendling was a featured guest at the 2016 CTNX Animation Expo. Here's link for an interview with her on the CTN website:

3 posts on CTNX 2016 -- including this one w/info on Wendling book that debuted:

Wendling was a featured guest at the inaugural Lightbox Expo.
She also had a signing at the SNB store in Torrance.

The online version of Lightbox Expo exceeded expectations with its virtual Artist Alley and array of panels and programs that were recorded and available to re-watch. Here's first of 3 posts on the blog:

Views of the virtual artists alley...

sample of multi-artist "jam session"

September 2019 was the inagural Lightbox Expo at Pasadena Convention Center. 
Five posts here on the blog detailing this new convention and highlighting guests and exhibitors. 
Lightbox Expo also hosts the annual Concept Art Awards. I was very grateful and proud when this community of elite industry professionals recognized Stuart with an important honor.

Each year, Stuart recharges with travel to France to attend the largest Comics festival in Europe. It's held in the city of Angouleme, about 2 hours from Paris. During this trip, we get to reconnect with artist pals and colleagues.. and I often get to document my side trips to museums and other art reference adventures. While I used to attend annually, I have taken an indefinite sabbatical from intercontinental travel. You can find France related posts in the February posts of most years on the blog:

Yes, Stuart Ng Books exhibited at Comic Con 2018 and 2019. However, I did not attend these years so there are no posts here on the blog.

Views of the Exhibit Hall and around the convention... including links for the Blade Runner Experience interactive attraction.


Six posts .. highlighting SNB booth.. Indie Artist Exhibitors....Pavilions, Toys and the Price of Popularity.. link for podcast on Exhibitor Tips for Artists.... Revisit the show starting with  #1 of 6

Comic Con 2015 Seven Posts in all on topics from SNB Booth to Cosplay .. to Marty Mouse SDCC survival guide.. plus lots of links for commentary and photo albums. Start here for topic titles and links:

From the first CTN Animation Expo in 2009, Stuart Ng Books has been an annual exhibitor at this event. We missed out on 2019 because booths were sold out when Stuart went to sign up. Instead we enjoyed a more relaxed weekend just shopping and visiting with colleagues.

Posts on the November entries here on the blog over the years document this Expo's explosive growth. The 9 blog posts from 2011 show a range of activities and guests:

Artist tables moved into the large outdoor tent in 2016. 
An admission ticket to this large outdoor tent venue at the Expo is still a great way to meet many artists and buy directly from them. 

Blog posts document booths at WonderCon from its days in the Nor Cal San Francisco Bay Area through its transition to current location in So Cal at Anaheim Convention Center. 
In 2009 we almost didn't make it --

First blog posts of WonderCon at Anaheim are from 2014

Stuart rarely gets to exhibit at or attend this con, as it's on the same weekend at CNTX. However, many of our artist friends find exhibiting at DesignerCon is a good fit for them. I have posted on the blog about it on the times I've been able to attend. 
As an experiment, SNB was at both CTNX and DesignerCon in 2018 -- but we were stretched thin as you can see in this brief blog post
This 2014 DesignerCon post shows it at the Pasadena Convention Center

Stuart attends these cons, but I haven't been to them, so no posts here yet.

Exhibiting at conventions and long-time personal relationships with artists are just some of the ways Stuart is able to provide signed copies of books for his patrons. He is also called on by studios and art schools to provide book sales for guest artist lectures. Signed copies allow SNB to carry some in-print titles from major publishers. Indie bookstores can't compete with the massive price-cuts on current books offered as loss-leaders by online giants. They are selling books at a loss. They don't care about books. They want your consumer dollars for all sorts of other purchases and services. Stuart wants to offer in-print books as a convenience for his patrons. So he adds the priceless benefit of the book having been in the hands of the artist and/or author. This way Stuart can offer the book at a reasonable price that covers his inventory expenses etc and helps deter outsiders from buying signed books from him just to flip them for higher prices online. Most of the signed copies Stuart stocks sell out right away. This is because they are going right into the collections of fans who treasure them. Win-win.

Signings at a convention...

 Some studio arranged signings..

More on signed books here:


In 2015, I started listening to more podcasts. There are many great ones out there. If you "don't have time" for podcasts... or fitness... try planning a time to get up from your chair for a 10 or 15 min walk once a day, and listen to a podcast while you’re moving around. See if it becomes a happy habit with benefits! Some podcast segments are under 15 mins. Many are about an hour. Listening to a podcast adds a learning opportunity to many activities. Here's a post where I gathered a list of podcasts recommendations, including these 3 top picks.

Bancroft Bros Animation Podcast (SNB is a sponsor)
Here's a post on one of my favorite episodes of this podcast:

Hirschfeld Century Podcast

The Complete Creative
Originally known as "The Business of Art", this podcast was re-launched in Oct 2019 as The Complete Creative. It's an outstanding resource for all indie entrepreneurs. The episdoes are all archieved here:

Between Diapers and Deadlines
Artist Brett Bean and his wife Julie, a designer, deliver truths about juggling parenting with indie art life. They also interview other artists for tips on artlife with families.

Matheatre -- History Science Theatre podcast
Lives of scientists are dramatized as musical theatre podcast episodes. An entertaining way to look at science using music and drama. (Full disclosure -- I'm a longtime fan and sponsor of Matheatre's online zoom lessons with historical scientists and I also sponsor this podcast via Patreon). 
Link for the podcast:

For more on the zoom classes (the Tuesday sessions are geared for grade school, but suitable for all ages). These programs can also be customized.

The podcast from one of my favorite science museums -- the Science History Institute (not related to Matheatre programs above). 
Tons of art prompts and premise potential in the interviews on these episodes. Everything from alchemy to Covid-19.
Science  Vs
Outstanding Podcast I discovered via Distillations when it interviewed producer about this October 2019 --prior to Covid -- "what if" episdoe regarding pandemics:
Science Vs has interivews with Dr. Facui and other top scientists looking at Covid as well as science history.


All-time favorite posts include these entries on film franchise Maleficent:

2019 -- preview posters with artists credited!!! (art below by Andy Fairhurst)

4 posts I wrote in June 2014 for first film "Maleficent" .. with 2 detailed posts on the QandA with director Robert Stromberg and Production Designer Dylan Cole that I attended at Gnomon school.

Here are links for the four 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)

March 3, 2015 post on "Art of Motion Picture Costume Design" exhibit at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising Museum.
Here's link to LA Times story about the exhibit...
The featured costume for this exhibit was the Maleficent gown from the christening scene.

FIDM exhibit 2016


MARTIN "MARTY" MOUSE tours the cons ... and the world!
Internet phenom Marty is the star from Martin "Marty" Mouse facebook page which has grown over the years into the Marty Mouse House by Photographer Sarah Hunt Her glorious photos of Marty have been featured on Buzzfeed, Cute Overload, etc and bring the charm and comic fun of wee ones to a world-wide audience of over 75,000 + fans. More on the Marty Mouse House world
I'm delighted to escort Marty (in squeeze Marty pillow form -- art designed by Steph Laberis  ) at conventions and on other adventures, documented here on the blog, with links to featured artists and other finds.
Here are the Marty posts
CTNX 2014

Plush art tour pals for 2016
Huggable Koi #10 in France

Plush Art Pals Tour WonderCon
How does art plush happen??? Check out this Kickstarter that surpassed its funding goals and launched its artist/creator to a whole new level  ... 

Your local art fair is a great place to find artists in your own neighborhood. Here in SoCal we have a number of these. I especially enjoy the Patchwork Art Fairs, organized by DearHandmade Life

May 2014 post, also frequently updated, reveals the "mystery artists" behind Google Doodles. This post also includes background info on some of my favorite Google Doodles over the years. March 2016 update has info on annual Google Doodle contest for students K-12th grade.


Image above by Manny Carrasco...
The tragic circumstances with Cecil the lion in 2015 provoked an outpouring of tribute art. I collected some images on this blog post.. as well as articles about conservation efforts.

YOUR SCIENCE LESSON.. (Aug 27, 2009) video clip from Musee Curie

See February posts in 2016 and 2017 for extensive photos of  my favorite museums in Paris..
the Musee Curie...

In early 2021, the Musee Curie released this awesome animated comic, available online in French and English!

the Grand Gallery of Evolution ...

and the Hall of Comparative Anatomy.


(another fun SCIENCE LESSON post -- CHEMICAL HERITAGE FOUNDATION LIBRARY (in PA) and MUSEE CURIE (in Paris) post from Aug 21, 2009)
The Chemical Heritage Foundation Library is getting a new name in 2018. As of Feb 1st, it will be known as the Science History Institute.


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, and more ... also a paved walking trail that's mostly shaded and about a mile long. Still there are lots of amenities.. and if you bring a bag of unsalted peanuts.. chances are you'll make friends with some squirrels!

The duck pond pictured above is closed now. It was fenced and drained back in 2015 due to the drought and general maintenance issues with this water feature. After long delays and increased costs detailed here...
It's been renovated as the "Splash Pad" -- an interactive water fountain, popular with kids on hot summer days.

Here's a link to Yelp reviews of the park.

There are activities 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 few 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:


Why is Stuart Ng Books located in Torrance? One reasons is the proximity to HORSES!!

No, I don't have a horse -- but just a few miles from us is the rural enclave of  Palos Verdes (PV)  -- 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.
The show has been held for almost 60 years by the non-profit PCCH (Peninsula Committee Children's Hospital), an organization that raises money for Children's Hospital Los Angeles. All proceeds from this charity horse show benefit Children’s Hospital LA. More on PCCH here:

With the launch of Lightbox Expo in 2019, my annual visit to this horse show is on hold, as Lightbox is the same "first weekend in September" date! Auuugh.

Five posts on 2015 horse show... including this one featuring background on artist Terryl Whitlatch (her book was highlighted in the horse show program)

This horse show is 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  and 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.

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:

Popular post from 2016 featured contemporary equine artist Jo Taylor (pictured below in her studio)

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

other Equine artists I've highlighted
George Ford Morris
CW Anderson
Post on Horse reference and scale models (including Breyer horses)


 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)


ANIMAL ANTICS.... SNB publication of Pres Romanillos sketchbook previewed here on the blog.

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 started as 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 was only outside vendor.
In 2019, the event was combined with the studios annual holiday market -- so the artist vendors expanded to include jewelry, home decor items, apparel and even holiday decorations.
We are lucky to be invited there every year, as they kindly consider Stuart's booth a "perk" they are providing their artists. Always a great day with fun folks at a beautiful setting. Here are links for the years I've been along to attend:




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

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!
Stuart was featured on an MSBNC show in 2010. The link hasn't been active for awhile, but I'm leaving it here just in case it resumes :
The segment was also reported here:
See 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.