BLOBS #95 DENISE M. CASSANO RESULTS

Guest Artist: Illustrator & Teacher Denise M. Cassano

Welcome to Results Day!

This week we have been celebrating Denise and her range of work on FB and Twitter. From pet portraits to art tips to writing prompts for teachers, she has covered it all!

I met Denise last summer at the same Highlights Workshop I met previous guests, Sabina Hahn & Steve Light. We have been online critique friends since then. It has been a privilege to see Denise's work up close and share my own with her. I always know she'll provide constructive feedback! Let's reveal her results from this week's batch of blobs.

A quick look back at the activity sheet...

Now the transformation...

Pretty fun, right!? Can you find the original shapes?

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Great job Denise!

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

I was very interested in graphic design and advertising in high school. Once in college, I was exposed to a wider variety of art: painting, illustration and ceramics in particular. It was at Hofstra University when I decided I wanted to go into teaching while making my own art. I spent a summer abroad painting in Venice through NYU which was life changing (you can actually see that influence many years later in the picture book I'm working on right now!). While teaching, I worked as a muralist-painting scenes in people's homes and businesses. As time went on, my work evolved more into storytelling. That really was an outgrowth of my students being able to see art in a fresh way, a way that adults can't. I realized that I can create detailed images that evoke a response and tell a whole story. That intrigued me.

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

I specifically remember LYLE, LYLE CROCODILE by Bernard Waber. It was a rollicking fun story, sad at times, and even though it was completely implausible, it made you believe the character was real. They acted like it was totally normal to have a crocodile bathing in the bathtub. I think that's why that book has such staying power. You believed the character was real and you want to see what else he will do.

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

The story I'm working on now has been fun - the two main characters, a girl and a dog, are in Venice in search of a special treat, but things keep getting in their way and they can't find it. It's fun to play with one concept in the text, but contradict it in the image. Kids get that interplay and I think it's fun. In each scene she is reacting to her changing environment - it keeps the story fast paced.

Where do you find the most inspiration for your characters?

Little things that happen. They're all around if you just pay attention. For example, my next story is based on the behavior of my dogs - no matter where I am or what is going on, they want to be on me. Physically on me (one is a 30lb terrier and the other a 60lb Pittie mix). They want to snuggle at any cost. I thought - hum, there is a story in here somewhere. This time it will be funny. I look forward to getting started on it this month.

Which Blob inspired you the most and why?

I liked the bulbous round one on the bottom right. It looked like a peach, a duckling and a pumpkin at the same time. All the blobs are good though - the ones you don't see immediately are the ones that push you out of your comfort zone.

Thank you for giving Blobs a try Denise and letting us get to know you better!

BLOBS #93 RESULTS

Happy Friday! How did character creating go for you? I waited again until late Thursday night to figure these out. Which is really the norm now. This past week I finished up revising a picture book dummy that went through a major story overhaul. Months in the making. I finally got it ready to query a particular agent, and spent hours and hours crafting the submission. The hardest part is next. Hitting SEND. Then the 2nd hardest part - waiting. I usually have to force myself to snap out of all the query-opening-scenarios running through my head and MOVE ON! This weekly blog helps me do that. Here's a quick peek at a before and after page from the two dummies...

                 Old page

                Old page

                  New page!

                 New page!

Big difference. Now, on to character designs!

A look at my CREATE A CHARACTER sheet at the start and finish. I think it's fun seeing blank blobs fill up with characters and details.

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A closer look at each...

                        AMY'S (A PUPPY POP)  

                       AMY'S (A PUPPY POP)  

             AMY'S (BABY PREFERS TO BEAR CRAWL)

            AMY'S (BABY PREFERS TO BEAR CRAWL)

                     AMY'S (FRUIT LOVING BOY HAVING A SNACK ON GUINEA PIG BEAN BAG)

                    AMY'S (FRUIT LOVING BOY HAVING A SNACK ON GUINEA PIG BEAN BAG)

This one and Baby Bear got me moving. I had fun with the details of fruit loving boy, because how sweet would it be to see more voraciously fruit eating 7 year olds out there? The bottom shape fell into place once I felt like I needed to find a body for him. Adding fruity details to his shirt and lunchbox started to pull things together. I couldn't decide what type of shoes he should be wearing. My first thought were tennis shoes! He needs his natural sugar and carb intake to stay active, right?  But since he was sitting on a guinea pig bean bag, I wondered if he kind of had to be indoors. Maybe a library or classroom. That made me want to put something cozier on him like slippers. But, in school? A regular day just turned into PJ day. This boy is in his fruit jammies. Or wait - fruit JAMs! He may need a vegetable loving friend?

As for Baby Bear. Picturing a stubborn baby is not so hard. This little girl prefers to crawl- the Bear way. She could be a lover of all things Bear. Maybe it starts with a little Bear lovey she gets one day. More and more bear things are requested....bear clothes, bear stories, hair to be worn in bear-tails. Which made me wonder...what DO bear tails look like. More here on that one.

I cleaned up her pose to add more drama in my design phase. And here's a quick color study of Baby Bear...

I hope you enjoyed today's results. Thanks for checking in!

BLOBS #92 RESULTS

Welcome! I hope you enjoyed fiddling around with characters this week. I find when I need ideas with Blobs, I link all of my characters together to create a family of some sort. Meet GRANDMA ROSE WHO LOVES ROSES, HER PETS THORNY & TULIP, and her GRANDDAUGHTER LILY.

 AMY'S (GRANDMA ROSE LOVES ROSES)

AMY'S (GRANDMA ROSE LOVES ROSES)

 AMY'S (GRANDMA ROSE'S PET  ECHIDNA , THORNY)

AMY'S (GRANDMA ROSE'S PET ECHIDNA, THORNY)

 AMY'S (GRANDMA ROSE'S CAT, TULIP)

AMY'S (GRANDMA ROSE'S CAT, TULIP)

 AMY'S (GRANDDAUGHTER LILY, PLAYING DRESS UP)

AMY'S (GRANDDAUGHTER LILY, PLAYING DRESS UP)

I decided to do a color study of LILY. I know how much fun dressing up can be for kids and I thought LILY would love a colorful, flowing gown. My inspiration came from a Shen Yun performance we saw years ago. Now those are absolutely stunning costumes! And when they move - breathtaking. The hanging jewels that frame LILY's face reminded me of rainfall. I thought they might sprout nicely from the floral/sun like gems placed in the center. I also extended her dress to have a train to add some asymmetry. And here's a closer look at LILY...

Thanks for stopping by!

BLOBS #91 RESULTS

Happy New Year! I hope you had a fun holiday break.

It is back to business! And with that, an update. I will be solo character creating here at The Blob Blog. My kids have outgrown our weekly creative exercise. There may be a special appearance here and there, but for now, it's just me.

I welcome company though! If you would like to share your creation, let's do it together! Send me your design and we'll blast our creative powers out to the world and inspire others to create confidently too.

I waited until mid-day, today to attack these blobs. Honestly, I wasn't sure if I had outgrown them too. To date, The Blob Blog has been operating for 2.5 years. That is a lot of random shape creating. Turning absolutely nothing into something can also be daunting if one is in an unmagical mood. As I wondered if this blog makes sense anymore...a spark was put in motion. What binds me to discovering a character, is finding a story to go with it.

The fun begins.

It started with the first shape. Looking a little nose heavy to me, I pictured a sweet beaver. Or maybe....a not so sweet beaver (I did say this started off as daunting, right?). Then came...an UN-sharable beaver. A beaver who lived in a family of generous, dam building beavers, but he, did NOT want to build a dam. He wanted to keep his sticks. And build his own non-dam things. 

So, say Hello to...BEAVER, AND HIS UN-SHARABLE STICKS (plus STICK CREATIONS)!

PB dummy development coming soon. Blobs DO make sense.

 AMY'S (BEAVER WILL NOT SHARE HIS STICKS)

AMY'S (BEAVER WILL NOT SHARE HIS STICKS)

 AMY'S (BEAVER'S STICK BOAT)

AMY'S (BEAVER'S STICK BOAT)

 AMY'S (BEAVER'S STICK DINOSAUR)

AMY'S (BEAVER'S STICK DINOSAUR)

 AMY'S (BEAVER'S STICK POODLE)

AMY'S (BEAVER'S STICK POODLE)

And a quick color study in an unsharing moment....

Have a great weekend!