BLOBS #90 RESULTS

Welcome and thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed experimenting with shapes and characters this week. We came up with a few too. Meet PRINCESS PUMPKIN, HUGGING CHEESE CUBES, BIRD plus many more below...

 ANNA'S LEFT (STINKY CHEESE), AMY'S RIGHT (HUGGING CHEESE CUBES)

ANNA'S LEFT (STINKY CHEESE), AMY'S RIGHT (HUGGING CHEESE CUBES)

 ANNA'S LEFT (BIRD), AMY'S RIGHT (HUGGING BOUNCY TOUCANS)

ANNA'S LEFT (BIRD), AMY'S RIGHT (HUGGING BOUNCY TOUCANS)

 ANNA'S LEFT (REALLY LONG NOSE GUY), AMY'S RIGHT (HUGGING ARMADILLO LIZARD)

ANNA'S LEFT (REALLY LONG NOSE GUY), AMY'S RIGHT (HUGGING ARMADILLO LIZARD)

 ANNA'S LEFT (PRINCESS PUMPKIN), AMY'S RIGHT (PARAKEET HUGS)

ANNA'S LEFT (PRINCESS PUMPKIN), AMY'S RIGHT (PARAKEET HUGS)

My sketches are all so loose! I've always been a messy sketcher and have forever wanted crystal clear details to come out of my pencil from the start. But, it doesn't happen! It isn't until I start blocking in color when I can really make sense out of shapes and details pop. Does that happen to you?

The past two weeks have been...a whirlwind. As a result, the world of children's literature has started a small movement to help kids feel safe and comforted in the chaos. To help educators and schools relay this message, children's book illustrators have created art - free to download and post in classrooms, libraries, schools etc. Art that makes kids feel hopeful and accepted. To find these images, use the hashtag #hugsfromkidlit.  

In that spirit, all of my characters are giving or receiving some kind of hug!

The sketch I decided to color up was my HUGGING BOUNCY TOUCANS. A few changes were made along the way. First, my toucans were springing just past eachother...not quite a hug,  more of a head nudge...

...but it was getting a little busy. I decided to shorten my beaks and wings in my final so the focus was on the hands making contact, not the bouncy birds.

I experimented with background too. Since the kids and toucans were tighter lines, I wanted to create more of a sketchy background...

 I love yellow and wanted more sunshine, so I used the channel selector in PS to take some of the broccoli green out...

I love yellow and wanted more sunshine, so I used the channel selector in PS to take some of the broccoli green out...

I even played around with the sand shapes under the seats...

 This straight line version worked better with the hilly background.

This straight line version worked better with the hilly background.

And here's the final! If you would like a higher resolution image to post in your classroom/library, drop me a note: amy@amynielander.com. Thanks for stopping by...and kids:

BLOBS #89 RESULTS

Welcome to Results Day! We hope you had fun with shapes this week. Below you can find SUPERSTAR WHALE, SHARKS SHARING A KELP SNACK, UNICORN and more!

 ANNA'S LEFT (PRINCESS), AMY'S RIGHT (SHARKS SHARING A KELP SNACK)

ANNA'S LEFT (PRINCESS), AMY'S RIGHT (SHARKS SHARING A KELP SNACK)

 ANNA'S LEFT (THE SUPERSTAR WHALE), AMY'S RIGHT (2016 ELF HAT DESIGN)

ANNA'S LEFT (THE SUPERSTAR WHALE), AMY'S RIGHT (2016 ELF HAT DESIGN)

 ANNA'S LEFT (PARROT), AMY'S RIGHT (WHEN SANTA'S TOY BAG GETS TOO FULL)

ANNA'S LEFT (PARROT), AMY'S RIGHT (WHEN SANTA'S TOY BAG GETS TOO FULL)

 ANNA'S LEFT (UNICORN), AMY'S RIGHT (BIRD)

ANNA'S LEFT (UNICORN), AMY'S RIGHT (BIRD)

Have you ever noticed a pattern to your character creating? After turning so many Blobs into characters I noticed when I'm stuck, my character usually turns into...a bird or fish. Thinking back more, fish played a huge role as pets in our household when I was growing up. As for birds...we only had one parrot but my grandparents usually had cockatoos. Is there a connection? Maybe!? Or maybe not. Here are some older fish and bird characters...

Look for patterns in your own character designs and let me know what you find!

As for a color study - I decided to do a quick sketch of my ELF with the modern hat. I pictured it being perfect for a TEEN ELF to wear. What do you think?

Thanks for stopping by!

BLOBS #88 SABINA HAHN RESULTS

Guest Artist: Illustrator, Animator & Sculptor Sabina Hahn

Welcome to Results Day!

We are so fortunate to have Sabina stop by this week. She is an incredibly talented freelance illustrator, animator & sculptor. I met Sabina and previous Guest Artist, Steve Light, at the same Highlights Picture Book Bootcamp. Sabina and I were not grouped in the same crit group, but still exchanged work during the workshop. Her animation background is evident in her dynamic storytelling, pacing and page layouts. Her stories were also sweet, fun and compelling, miles and miles away from having a "lesson-y" tone to them.

The best part about having Guest Artists is I am always in awe of what they come up with! What they see in my crazy shapes is refreshing. It makes me feel like The Blob Blog is not only an exercise in creativity but a Vision-Builder too. A way to practice seeing the potential in things. Sabina went a completely different direction than I've ever seen or tried before and it reminded me of a Hidden Picture puzzle. Here's a quick look back at the sheet I sent to her Monday...

and here, is what she sent me Thursday...

Can you find the shapes? What a great kid activity, right? Thank you Sabina! Now on to our interview...

How did you get started in your career as an artist?

The simple answer is that I didn't want to do anything else.

I did study math for two years in college and I was just good enough to know that I am not good enough to really appreciate the beauty of mathematics. I decided to appreciate art instead. And although I moved on to art, I still love numbers.

Who was your favorite book character as a child and why?

Alice in Wonderland.

 Ceramic  bookends

Ceramic bookends

I identified with her the most and still do. The absurdities of people, of rules, of language are so light hearted there but also sharply observed. I find myself quoting the book all the time. "...here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place" is my current favorite.

Which character has been the most fun bringing to life in your previous/current work and why?

Figuring out different monsters for a story I am working on was a lot of fun. 

I identified with her the most and still do. The absurdities of people, of rules, of language are so light hearted there but also sharply observed. I find myself quoting the book all the time. "...here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place" is my current favorite.

Where do you find the most inspiration for your characters?

My kids. Books I read. Phrases I overhear. I keep an on-going list of snippets that I illustrate for my daily drawings. 

Which Blob inspired you the most and why?

I enjoyed trying to connect all the blobs together and making it into a tiny (and very simple) story.

Thank you Sabina again for your time and creating memorable characters for us to enjoy!

You can follow Sabina's daily drawings and other work through Instagram, Tumbler, Twitter and Facebook.

BLOBS #87 RESULTS

Welcome to Results Day! Find SMOUG, NINJA CAT, STUNT FISH and more below. Transformations follow...

 ANNA'S LEFT (DRAGON DINOSAUR), ELLIOT'S CENTER (SMOUG), AMY'S RIGHT (ROBOT BIRD WIP)

ANNA'S LEFT (DRAGON DINOSAUR), ELLIOT'S CENTER (SMOUG), AMY'S RIGHT (ROBOT BIRD WIP)

 ANNA'S LEFT (THE GNOME), ELLIOT'S CENTER (GHOST), AMY'S RIGHT (REAL BIRD)

ANNA'S LEFT (THE GNOME), ELLIOT'S CENTER (GHOST), AMY'S RIGHT (REAL BIRD)

 ANNA'S LEFT (NINJA KITTY), ELLIOT'S CENTER (GANDLOLF), AMY'S RIGHT (SLIDING CAT ABOUT TO CRASH)

ANNA'S LEFT (NINJA KITTY), ELLIOT'S CENTER (GANDLOLF), AMY'S RIGHT (SLIDING CAT ABOUT TO CRASH)

 ANNA'S LEFT (NINJA CAT), ELLIOT'S CENTER (UNDERWATER SUB), AMY'S RIGHT (STUNT FISH)

ANNA'S LEFT (NINJA CAT), ELLIOT'S CENTER (UNDERWATER SUB), AMY'S RIGHT (STUNT FISH)

I decided to color up my SLIDING CAT since I wondered what he/she could possibly be sliding into? Before getting into color, I wanted to study real cats with new pens I picked up from the store today...

To exaggerate the sliding I widened my scene...

cat slidingFLAT_sketch.jpg

I felt like staying with neutrals but wanted a tiled background. Maybe this was taking place in a laundry room where the humming of the dryer put another giant pet to sleep. My tile came from the number 2 shape...

 Not square but good enough for the rough scene...!

Not square but good enough for the rough scene...!

Now, the colored version...

Does he look like he's sliding at a high speed to you? Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to check in next week for another big surprise...

BLOBS #85 RESULTS

Welcome! Our characters are finally ready after a busy week. Lots of querying on my end (never my favorite thing to do) and more waiting for responses (least favorite part of the story making process). I do have a couple local exciting events coming up after just finishing my Skype with JFK elementary last week. One is an October 23rd, Books and Authors Event at Leon & Lulu. And in early December I'll be participating in a Lake Orion Library holiday book signing. Stay tuned for more details on that actual day and time.

Also, minor website changes will be attempted soon! Little tweaks here and there will reflect some of the school visit/picture book making progress that has been going on. 

Now - on to characters! What did you create? Our dog CHEWY has made another appearance as well as MAN BUN BOY and a very happy FOX. 

 ANNA'S LEFT (SLUSHIES), ELLIOT'S CENTER (GHOST), AMY'S RIGHT (FISH NEEDS A NEW TANK)

ANNA'S LEFT (SLUSHIES), ELLIOT'S CENTER (GHOST), AMY'S RIGHT (FISH NEEDS A NEW TANK)

 ANNA'S LEFT (MOUSE), ELLIOT'S CENTER (BILBO - OUR GUINEA PIG), AMY'S RIGHT (FOX)

ANNA'S LEFT (MOUSE), ELLIOT'S CENTER (BILBO - OUR GUINEA PIG), AMY'S RIGHT (FOX)

 ANNA'S LEFT (SUPERSTAR FISH), ELLIOT'S CENTER (MAN BUN BOY), AMY'S RIGHT (FISH)

ANNA'S LEFT (SUPERSTAR FISH), ELLIOT'S CENTER (MAN BUN BOY), AMY'S RIGHT (FISH)

 ANNA'S LEFT (CHEWY EATING A CUPCAKE), ELLIOT'S CENTER (DEATH STAR BEING EATEN BY A SCALLAR), AMY'S RIGHT (FOX'S HEAD)

ANNA'S LEFT (CHEWY EATING A CUPCAKE), ELLIOT'S CENTER (DEATH STAR BEING EATEN BY A SCALLAR), AMY'S RIGHT (FOX'S HEAD)

This week I combined two of my shapes to create one character. This resulted in FOX and his really big FISH. I wanted to color up my design as is, but did not want this profile shot. My design evolved quite a bit from the intial sketch... 

I did some quick sketch studies on real foxes than moved on to some character development thinking my FISH was going to turn into a much wanted pet gift for FOX...

Meet FOX GETS A PET FISH! I added many more details to my color design. A decorated den, some ripped up wrapping paper, a more kid-like fox character who is completely ecstatic about his new birthday gift and a miniaturized fish.  Maybe FISH gets bigger and bigger in a story...? As for how FOX feels about his fun new friend - I tried to inject the same enthusiasm we had when we got our new puppy. Pure love and joy! Fox DO like fish in a friendly way, right?

Thanks for stopping by!