Indie Bookstore Day w/ ILLUSTORIA + DIESEL Oakland

 
 

Mark your calendars! April 29th is Independent Bookstore Day (2017) and you'll find Illustoria at one of our absolute fave local bookshops, Diesel in Oakland! The day will be full of events and activities catered to your literary (and little one's) heart's delight. Grownups with creative kids, come drop in from 1-2 pm for a craft session with Illustoria. We'll make easy-peasy and totally original bound books and zines with kids, and there will be stamps and coloring for all. Take home bookmarks, pins, and other cool swag. We'll even have a temp tattoo station!

WHEN:   Saturday, April 29th, 2017 / 1-2pm

WHAT:    Indie Bookstores Day
                Kids' Craft Time w/ ILLUSTORIA

WHERE:  Diesel, A Bookstore
                5433 College Ave
                Oakland, CA 94618

Also check out these happenings at Diesel Oakland throughout the day:

10am - noon: Big Kid / Little Kid Juice Stand. Mimosas for the adults, and OJ for the kiddies. Books for everybody.

1-2pm: Kids' Craft Time with Illustoria

4-5pm: Literary Happy Hour. Our featured item this year is the IBD limited-edition, A Literary Cocktail Party. Pouring their signature cocktails from the book will be, Edan Lepucki -- Tequila Negroni; Novella Carpenter -- Beet Kvass Shots; and Jacqueline Luckett -- Dirty Martini. Cheers!

We couldn't agree more with this testimony to the relevance of indie bookstores today, from the staff at Diesel:

 

"Bookstores are unique places in the chaos and hubbub of our modern times. They are places where you can come to disconnect, relax, and enjoy a moment of silence, yet simultaneously they are also places where you can feel more engaged with and informed about the world around you. Bookstores embody dichotomy: antiquated yet ever-more-relevant, sanctuaries of knowledge but purveyors of distraction, nerdy yet sophisticated, esoteric and yet always welcoming. Cities across the nation have seen the resurgence of these oh-so-vital centers of conscience and community, and we want to celebrate with you! So come out and enjoy a day of browsing, reading, and reveling in all things book-related."

 

Come surround yourself with great books and let's celebrate ideas, crafts, and curiosity together. Here's to our thriving literary community. Yay, Oakland! Yay, Indie Bookstores Day! 

Women Who Draw, Write, and Inspire Us

 
Images left to right: Louise Bourgeois by Elizabeth Haidle (issue 2); sketchbook drawing by Lisa Brown (issue 3); watercolor portrait by Lindsay Stripling (issue 2); "Dream Before Building" by Lark Pien (issue 1); Beatrix Potter by Elizabeth Haidle (issue 3); Martha Graham by Marlowe Dobbe (issue 2); self-portrait by Nina Chakrabarti (issue 3); excerpt from El Deafo by Cece Bell (issue 1); "Hiroshima Mon Amour" by Britt Browne (issue 3)

Images left to right: Louise Bourgeois by Elizabeth Haidle (issue 2); sketchbook drawing by Lisa Brown (issue 3); watercolor portrait by Lindsay Stripling (issue 2); "Dream Before Building" by Lark Pien (issue 1); Beatrix Potter by Elizabeth Haidle (issue 3); Martha Graham by Marlowe Dobbe (issue 2); self-portrait by Nina Chakrabarti (issue 3); excerpt from El Deafo by Cece Bell (issue 1); "Hiroshima Mon Amour" by Britt Browne (issue 3)

 

Women's History Month is coming to a close, but we at Illustoria think every month should be women's history month! We are proud to pay homage to the courageous, intelligent, and rebellious women who have revolutionized their fields and empower us to dream big. Of recent, we've been thrilled to see collectives and movements such as Women Who Draw creating an inspiring platform for talented women illustrators. Today, we would like to take a moment to thank some of the amazing women who draw, write, and inspire us here at Illustoria.
 

artwork © Lisa Brown

cover art © Lisa Brown

artwork © Lisa Brown

Lisa Brown
Lisa Brown, the stupendous illustrator behind our Issue 3 cover, is a critically acclaimed illustrator, author, and cartoonist who resides in foggy San Francisco. She is the mastermind illustrator behind Emily's Blue Period by Cathleen Daly and 29 Myths on the Swinster Pharmacy by Lemony Snicket and has written and illustrated the fantastic Depressed. Repressed. Obsessed. 3 Panel Book Reviews as well as Vampire Boy's Goodnight, The Airport Book, and How to Be. (And this is all just for starters!) Brown also featured her sketchbook and mini-drawing activity in Issue 3, which we love to pieces. Stay tuned for more highlights of Brown this spring, in our super-exciting-filled-to-the-brim-with-inspiration Issue 4: The Grow Issue! You can find more of her amazing work at http://www.americanchickens.com/


artwork © Cece Bell

artwork © Cece Bell

images © Cece Bell

Cece Bell
If you haven't gotten your hands on the heart-melting and hilarious El Deafo by the genius Cece Bell, you might want to stop reading right now and run to the nearest book store immediately. El Deafo is a graphic novel memoir that tells the story of Bell's hearing loss and subsequent adventures with a clunky hearing-aid-turned-super-power. Alongside this Newbery Award Winner, Bell has published I Yam Donkey, Rabbit and Robot: The Sleepover, and Chuck and Woodchuck amongst many others.  We are so honored to have featured an interview with Cece in Issue 1 and a full length Q&A which you can read here. Check out more of Cece Bell's work on her website https://cecebell.wordpress.com


 
artwork © Lark Pien; from "Dream Before Building" in Illustoria issue 1, The Beginnings Issue

artwork © Lark Pien; from "Dream Before Building" in Illustoria issue 1, The Beginnings Issue

 
artwork © Lark Pien

artwork © Lark Pien

sketchbook art © Lark Pien

Lark Pien 
Lark Pien is a Portland-based acclaimed illustrator and the amazing talent behind the Long Tail Kitty series (for which she won the Friends of LuLu Award) and Mr.Elephanter. Pien was the colorist of American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang and Sunny Side Up, two graphic novels for young readers that we could not recommend more highly. We are blown away by "Dream Before Building," a mini-comic she created for Issue 1, and cannot wait to share some new projects she's dreaming up for Illustoria. Find more of Pien's work at http://larkpien.blogspot.com/?view=classic


 
artwork by © Elizabeth Haidle

artwork by © Elizabeth Haidle

 
 
artwork by © Elizabeth Haidle

artwork by © Elizabeth Haidle

artwork by © Elizabeth Haidle

artwork by © Elizabeth Haidle

Elizabeth Haidle 
Have you ever met an artist so talented you want to simultaneously: do cart wheels, bake them a 10-layered Boston cream pie, and hold a radio outside their window à la John Cusack in Say Anything? That's how we feel about our genius, prolific, and awe-inspiring Creative Director Elizabeth Haidle. In addition to spinning up magic at Illustoria, Haidle is the creator of Literary Giants As Kids, a fantastic series you can find in each issue of Illustoria, and illustrator of the dreamy Mind Afire - The Visions of Nikola Tesla, written by Abigail Samoun. We absolutely cannot hold our excitement for the release of I, Parrot, her most recent (breathtaking) graphic novel written by Deb Olin Unferth, which she is currently putting the final touches on. We love the ever-busy Haidle, whose work you can find at http://www.docucomix.com/ and  http://www.ehaidle.com/


Cloth Lullaby by Amy Novesky, illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault

Cloth Lullaby by Amy Novesky, illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault

Iomogen by Amy Novesky, illustrated by Lisa Congdon

Me, Frida by Amy Novesky, illustrated by David Diaz

Me, Frida by Amy Novesky, illustrated by David Diaz

Georgia in Hawaii by Amy Novesky, illustrated by Yuyi Morales

Amy Novesky  
Amy Novesky is an award-winning children's book author and editor whom we adore five trips to the moon and back. Most recently, she has written Cloth Lullaby, a gorgeous tale of the illustrious, world-famous artist Louise Bourgeois, with stunning illustrations by Isabelle Arsenault. She has also written critically acclaimed books including Georgia in Hawaii, Me, Frida, and Imogen. We are so excited to have featured a full length interview with Novesky which you can find in issue 3. To read more about Novesky's work, check out http://amy-novesky.squarespace.com/.


Laurel Snyder 
Laurel Snyder is a prolific, critically acclaimed children's author who makes us want to smile for days. She is the author of numerous, joyfully fun-to-read novels for children of which some of our favorites include Orphan Island and Bigger than a Bread Box. She has also written the gorgeous picture books Swan, the Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova and the adorable Charlie and Mouse. You can find Snyder in issue 2, with her biographical  piece "Martha Graham In Motion," illustrated by fantastic artist Marlowe Dobbe, about the revolutionary Martha Graham, the Mother of Modern Dance. Check out http://laurelsnyder.com/ for more work by this beloved author. 


 
art © Lindsay Stripling for "The Best Invisible Thing" in Illustoria Issue 2

art © Lindsay Stripling for "The Best Invisible Thing" in Illustoria Issue 2

 
 
art © Lindsay Stripling

art © Lindsay Stripling

art © Lindsay Stripling

art © Lindsay Stripling

Lindsay Stripling
A phenomenal woman artist whom we couldn't admire more, Lindsay Stripling works from her studio in the Outer Sunset of San Francisco. We fell in love with her paintings the first time we laid eyes on them for their dreamy palettes, mystical settings, and ethereal subjects. Her folk and fairy tale-inspired narratives lead us into inner worlds that are rich and boundless. We're thrilled to announce that Lindsay's gorgeous artwork will grace the cover of our upcoming issue 4: The Grow Issue--so be on the lookout. Find more of Lindsay's work here: https://www.lindsaystripling.com/


 
Ruth Kneass laying with the meticulously sculpted pieces of her Bay Tower mobile.  © Ruth Kneass

Ruth Kneass laying with the meticulously sculpted pieces of her Bay Tower mobile.  © Ruth Kneass

 
Blonde Driftwood © Ruth Kneass

Blonde Driftwood © Ruth Kneass

Nine pieces in collage; a search-and-find activity in issue 3 © Ruth Kneass

Nine pieces in collage; a search-and-find activity in issue 3
© Ruth Kneass

Ruth Kneass
Driftwood artist and mobile sculptor Ruth Kneass creates stunning works of art that take years of patience, time, and skill to produce. She shares the story of her mother's influence and her inspiration growing up to be an artist in Illustoria issue 3. A true appreciator of beauty and nature, Ruth infuses her art and life with a feminine love, care, determination, wisdom, and strength that we find simultaneously awe-inspiring and reassuring. You'll find a treat in issue 3, where she disassembled one of her precious driftwood mobiles to create the most gorgeous search-and-find activity we've ever seen! Find more of Ruth's work here: http://www.kneassboatworks.com/


 
self-portrait © Nina Chakrabarti

self-portrait © Nina Chakrabarti

 
 
art © Nina Chakrabarti; from Nina's upcoming title My Collection of Collections: A Sticker Book

art © Nina Chakrabarti; from Nina's upcoming title My Collection of Collections: A Sticker Book

 

Nina Chakrabarti
We had the chance to interview talented illustrator and activity book creator Nina Chakrabarti and learn all about her inspiration growing up between Calcutta, India and the UK. Born to an English mother and an Indian father, Nina's vivid childhood memories of bright colored saris and streets clamoring with the sounds of trams, trains, and rickety rickshaws; Chinatown and Brick Lane in London; and museums and nature all inspire the joyful work she produces today. In issue 3, she talks about her process creating books such as Hello Nature, My Wonderful World of Fashion, and her upcoming title, My Collection of Collections that will equally inspire young artists and grownup ones. Fun fact: Nina doesn't keep sketchbooks but rather "scribbles on loose scraps of paper, post-its, and newspapers that eventually get tucked away in a box, put up on a wall, or thrown away"! We love her passion for life and her eclectic style, which encourages us to get outside, observe, and appreciate all the diversity our wonderful world has to offer. Find her work here: http://ninachakrabarti.com/


These are just a few of the many amazing women whom we've had the chance to collaborate with over the course of our first three issues. At Illustoria, we are dedicated to increasing the visibility of female creatives by continually supporting and showcasing their work. Additionally, we are committed to promoting women's empowerment in the pages of our mag with stories of both world-famous and lesser-known female leaders from Beatrix Potter to Lee Bontecou. We hope that the stories in Illustoria and the artists behind them will inspire you and the next generation of strong, creative women for years to come.

Giveaway! Art supplies + Issue 3

 
 

Get your hands on The Outside-In Issue plus these amazing art supplies by our issue 3 sponsor, Sakura of America. Kids and grownups will love drawing with Pen-touch paint markers. If you haven't read our review of these versatile, easy-to-use markers, check it out here. And Micron pens are our absolute go-to tool for letter writing, drafting, doodling, sketching, and drawing. 

Head to our Instagram post for giveaway entry details. Good luck!

Sakura's Pen Touch Marker Review

 

If you’re like me, the kind of person that makes a beeline for the pen section at an art store, and then lingers farrrr too long before making a purchase, than you too will understand that there is truly nothing more satisfying than a thick, inky marker. Finding a marker that is super opaque, saturated with color, lasts a long time, AND is shiny is a rare, rare thing. Pretty much the holy grail of markers. Well, you can call me King Arthur because the quest is over. Ladies and gentleman, I give you Sakura’s Pen Touch paint markers.

Tee-dah! Wow, so beautiful right? While these markers will not provide eternal youth or instant nirvana; abundant happiness it can offer - I’ll promise you that much. These markers are extremely versatile. They can draw on pretty much any surface (glass, wood, porcelain, plastic, paper and metal) and will dry instantly. But it’s not regular ol’ ink coming out of the tip--- it’s super rich, opaque paint!

They come in a range of sizes from 0.7mm (thin) to 2.0mm (super thick) which is great for creating and experimenting with variety of line widths. Packs come in metallic (gold, silver, and copper) and assorted colors (purple, blue, yellow, red, green, white and black).

The ink flows from the chamber of the pen to the tip, so to get started give ‘em a couple shakes with the cap still on, then uncap. Depress the tip in an upright position to release any internal pressure. Press firmly on a piece of paper until the ink is released. (Be sure not to over-pump.) Occasionally, the tip will run out of ink, but fear not! Just continue to shake the marker and more paint will flow.

sakura pic.jpg

I’ve been using these guys on everything from protest posters to paper mache! Gatta say, they make nearly every project 100% cooler, and they’re waaayyyy faster to use than actual paint. You can achieve finer, smoother detail too. Just remember, these paint markers are permanent and will stain! So, best to use on non-precious objects, aka NOT the walls, hands, grandma’s hundred year old porcelain, etc.

We're so excited to have Sakura sponsor Issue #4 of Illustoria, which will be on shelves this spring. Meanwhile, you can grab your Pen Touch paint markers and start drawing! 

**** NOW thru 3/31/17: Enter promo code SAKURA at checkout for a 10% discount off ILLUSTORIA subscriptions and gift subscriptions! ****


 

 

Children's Book Week 2017

 
Children's Book Week 2017 poster. Art by Christian Robinson

Children's Book Week 2017 poster. Art by Christian Robinson

 

We love the theme of this year's Children's Book Week, "One World, Many Stories," which prompts us to think about the rich, beautifully diverse world we live in and the importance of spreading tolerance and joy through books, storytelling, and art. 

Children's Book Week is commemorating its 98th anniversary this year! Administered by Every Child a Reader and the Children’s Book Council (CBC), the aim is to instill a lifelong love of reading in kids. You can learn about this year's events--all free and open to the public--at everychildareader.net/cbw/intro. Make sure to head over there and download the free activities and this amazing poster featuring art by the ever-talented, amazingly fun Christian Robinson to display at home or in your school library. And be sure to check out the author readings and events happening in your area!

Lisa Brown cover art: The OUTSIDE-IN Issue

 
Issue 3 coming soon.... Cover art by Lisa Brown; Cover design by Elizabeth Haidle

Issue 3 coming soon.... Cover art by Lisa Brown; Cover design by Elizabeth Haidle

 

We are so pleased to reveal our cover for issue 3, The Outside-In Issue, featuring delectably delicious, wondrously charming art by the amazing Lisa Brown!

As many of you picture book and comic fans know, Lisa is the creator of the ingenious Three Panel Book Review strips featured in The Rumpus, co-creator with Lemony Snicket of The Latke Who Couldn't Stop Screaming, author/illustrator of the hilarious Baby Be of Use board book series, and author/illustrator of her very latest, The Airport Book. Needless to say we've had a creator crush on Lisa Brown for some time....

So when a few months ago Lisa graciously took a morning out of her busy schedule as a writer, illustrator, teacher, mom, and passionate kid-lit advocate to meet with me at one of her favorite cafes in San Francisco, I was beyond excited and a little nervous. I knew through her work that she was exceedingly intelligent and bitingly witty. Being the warm and generous person that she is, Lisa immediately put me at ease. I should have known--after all, those who work in children's books generally are a kind-hearted bunch! Lisa shared with me her thoughts on why it's important to cultivate creativity in kids through that excruciating, self-conscious phase around the middle school years, the range of diverse picture books on her syllabus at CCA, the challenges that women illustrators face in the publishing industry, and she even gave me a sneak peek of her upcoming picture book. (Psst...interview with her and her elusive co-author to come in issue 4!) By the end of the meeting, she sent me along with a list of fabulous artists to contact and agreed to create cover art for an upcoming issue. I was totally blown away...and so grateful, and excited!

Now, here we are several months later with a gorgeous cover by Lisa that speaks volumes about what we at Illustoria care most about: timeless, captivating art with a unique point of view that resonates across generations; the value and delights of print publishing; the power of illustration; our ever-lasting love for visual storytelling. And how cool is this take on the swallowed-whole dilemma from Little Red Riding Hood??! Just wait until you see her back cover....

Thank you, Lisa, for your fabulous contribution to The Outside-In Issue!!

Inside you'll also find Lisa's sketchbook tips to aspiring artists. Truly the inside of issue 3 is just as delectable as the outside, with contributions by an array of lovely artists and writers whom we couldn't have pulled this off without, including: Nina Chakrabarti, Amy Novesky, Paul duCoudray, Micah Player, Willie Real, Elizabeth Haidle, Ruth Kneass, Mike Dutton, Alexis Joseph / Case for Making, Britt Browne, Claire Astrow, Yuliya Gwilym, Alexandra Rose Franco of Rito-ito, Rachel Garrison, Kristen Solecki, Clark Jackson, Martin Cendreda, Anne Pomel, Karl Dotter, and Jeremy Anderson. More sneak peeks to come so follow us on Instagram to see the latest updates. 

Here's a look at #3's table of contents, and be sure to check out our Shop page to see sample spreads from this issue and to pre-order. We'll send out copies in March 2017. 

 
The Outside-In issue's table of contents. So much good inside....

The Outside-In issue's table of contents. So much good inside....

 

I hope you enjoy this issue as much as we loved putting it together. 

Lastly, thanks to Sakura of America and Case for Making for sponsoring issue 3!

Women's March Book Roundup

 
 

As the Inauguration and Women’s March on Washington draws near, we thought it would be an apt time to compile a list of books that revolve around female activism and empowerment as a reminder to our daughters and sons the challenges that we’ve faced, and the struggles that still await us. We hope these books inspire you and your kids to take action to ensure that women’s rights are human rights, and to help create communities that champion inclusivity and diversity.

To find a Women’s March near you, check out the Sister March page at https://www.womensmarch.com/sisters.

 

Rad Women Worldwide by Kate Schatz, illustrated by Miriam Klein Stahl 

 

1. Rad Women Worldwide by Kate Schatz, illustrated by Miriam Klein Stahl

Kate Schatz, the author of Rad Women A-Z is back with an equally (if not more so) cool and inspiring book covering extraordinary women from all over the world. The book includes 40 women, with a short bio for each and awesome paper cut portraits by Miriam Stahl. From more well known figures (Angela Davis) to the obscure (the Quintreman Sisters), from the ancient (Queen Hatshepsut) to the contemporary (Malala Yousafzai), Schatz’s book is as richly diverse as it is rewarding. There’s even an added 250 names of rad women included in the back of the book as a reference for readers to continue their own research. Age range: grades 5 and up, adults will love this book too!

 
 

2. For the Right to Learn: Malala Yousafzai's Story by Rebecca Langston-George, illustrated by Janna Bock

Rebecca Langston-George offers a powerful tale, based on the true story of activist Malala Yousafzai’s life and struggle. Though she was raised in a culture where women rights were repressed, Malala was determined to make education accessible for every girl. Unlike similar books in the genre, For the Right to Learn stays true to historic fact, and is not overly watered down. But the engaging illustrations and brevity of the picture book text makes it a great pick for young readers grades 2-4.

 
 

3. Fight Like A Girl: 50 Feminists Who Changed the World, by Laura Barcella

Feminism is not an easily defined movement or label that can be wrapped up neatly in a box with a bow. Laura Barcella understands that, and instead of offering simple answers, she provides readers with a history of feminism by way of the leaders who defined it. Similarly to Rad Women Worldwide, Fight Like A Girl includes serious breadth and diversity. For each figure there is a short bio, a bullet point list of key take aways (called “cool credentials”), and famous quotes. The line drawn portraits and casual language give the book a zine-like quality that makes it an approachable and fun read for pre-teen to teen readers.  

 

 
 

4. Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March, by Lynda Blackmon Lowery, Elspeth Leacock (Adapter), Susan Buckley (Adapter), Illustrated by PJ Loughran

In this thought provoking, evocative book Lynda Blackmon Lowery offers a powerful account of just how it felt to be one of the youngest participant in the 1965 voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery. Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom does not gloss over the day-to-day racism and injustices Lynda experienced, but instead delves head first into the uncomfortable and ugly truth of our nation that we often try to forget. By the same token, the courage and strength needed to become a civil rights activist as a teenager is not underestimated. With a riveting narrative and a graphic novel feel, this book will be welcomed by readers grades 7 and up.

5. Freedom's Children: Young Civil Rights Activists Tell Their Own Stories, by Ellen S.Levine

Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, and Ruby Bridges are household names in the Civil Rights movement. But what about the children and teenagers who put their lives on the line to protest segregation, secure voting rights for people of color, and stand up against daily encounters of racism and hate? In this book, thirty young civil rights activists share their true stories of their struggles to secure freedom for future generations. Reading accounts of how it felt to enact sit-ins, walk-outs, and protests as a person under twenty is immensely humbling and influential, especially for a young readers whose feelings of helplessness or apathy prevent them from fighting against racism and hate in their own communities. These upfront, deeply personal and unapologetic stories are perfect for grades six and up.

 
 

6. One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia 

In the summer of 1968, three strong-willed, close-as-can-be sisters board a plane from Brooklyn to Oakland, California to stay with their mysterious, unimaginably stern mother Cecile who treats them like unwanted pets. Neglected and confused, they spend their days at a community center run by the Black Panthers and try to piece together all the commotion in their neighborhood--men in berets shouting "Black Power" in the streets, flyers talking about revolution, and "Free Huey" graffitied on the walls. Over the course of the summer, the sisters come to find their place during this pivotal, turbulent moment in African American history, and learn to reconcile their relationship with their poet-activist mother who, while hardly a maternal figure, empowers her girls nonetheless. One Crazy Summer is a perfect read for grades four through seven. 

 

 

Shop Local & Support Your Fave Artists

 
Today we have guest blogger and Illustoria contributor Lindsay Stripling, one of our absolutely favorite local artists, sharing with us her thoughts on shopping locally and the artists in the San Francisco Bay Area whom she loves to support. We couldn't agree more with her choices and hope you get inspired to shop local wherever you are. 

The shop local movement started as a way to support the local economies during the recession in 2008 and after, but the current shop local movement has transformed into a way to support local businesses and artists during a time when perhaps they are struggling to keep up with rising rent prices due to the local economic boom. There is no time like the present to support the shop around the corner or the artist you see every morning on a walk- every little bit counts and it helps to create the type of environment we wish to live within.  I took a little time to map out a few creatives who are excellent and whom I will most definitely be gifting from this year and are perfect last minute holiday gifting ideas or a way to celebrate a new year!

Maria Shoettler’s work is so fresh and loose and documents local flowers, veggies and basically the Bay Area environment in a way that honors the land that they’ve come from. Her 2017 calendar has a recipe for each month with her beautiful watercolor illustrations showing the seasonal veggies and fruits that would honor each recipe. She is as thoughtful as she is creative and I cannot wait to give my niece her new coloring book depicting local wildflowers.

Maria Shoettler's 2017 Produce Calendar 

Grace Levine is the genius behind Kitty Hawk Gallery, an adorable boutique and art gallery in Sebastapol. Grace always has time for a fun chat and a good back story on each of the items in her shop. If you do not have time to visit her in person, she has an incredible online shop and is able to honor over the phone orders. Her paintings are whimsical and sarcastic and make me laugh every time. She has her own artwork as well as that of other artists, clothing, jewelry and other goods made by talented local and national craftsmen and women. Definitely a good place to take a day with the fam to get some lunch at one of the cool little breweries and wander around downtown Sebastapol. 

Kitty Hawk Gallery in Sebastabol 

Kitty Hawk Gallery in Sebastabol 

The first time I visited Julie Cloutier’s  studio (the Mud Room) I was so surprised at how hidden it was amongst all the other sunset homes around it. It is in the top floor of a renovated, still in the works, Sunset home that she shares with its owner Georgia Hodges, who also has lovely ceramics to explore. I am always blown away by seeing how people work, and seeing Julie’s space was no different, she clearly is a woman of precision and repetition, a person of process. Her ceramics are incredibly designed, so that you can find any use for them. I have so many of her bowls, cups and tiny sake glasses, and they are always in use. Whether for actual drinks and food or to hold colored pencils, pencil sharpeners or shavings, water for painting or flowers from the park, they find a practical and beautiful appearance on my table. Julie’s ceramics make an appearance at another of my favorite local shops:

Julie Cloutier ceramics

Case for Making is an art supply store like you’ve never seen in the Outer Sunset of San Francisco next to the beach and the park. Alexis Petty who owns the shop designed the space and stocked items around the idea of what artists actually love using and experimenting with. All of the items stocked in shop are things that the working artists who staff the space actually use and love. Alexis is an artist herself and loves process and exploration and she has framed her store with the idea that you everyone has the ability to be creative. Alexis’ newest endeavor with Case is that she now make her own CFM watercolors from scratch! You can gift a set of locally handmade gorgeous watercolors- with colors like Ultramarine Blue, Florescent Red, and Sahara Ochre- you can choose what colors make up your set. There is something for everyone at Case, whether you are an experienced artist or someone who hasn’t ever created before and especially for kiddos, there is something to explore and feel empowered by. Grab some lunch up the street with the fam at Outerlands and then grab some supplies for a creative afternoon at Case.

Case For Making interior, photo credit Nick Forland 

I first saw Illustoria Magazine when I was working on a Saturday morning at Case for Making. As a kid I grew up loving Highlights Magazine, where there were activities and articles that entertained me for weeks. Illustoria is totally a nod to old Highlights while also being for kids’ grown up counterparts! It's insane how Joanne Chan, the founder and editor-in-cheif of Illustoria, and Elizabeth Haidle, the creative director, have both created a magazine that is challenging and fun for both kids and adults. They have cram packed it with illustrations from talented artists from all over, made it informative and creative with projects, coloring sheets and articles from different creative people. I will say as a kid I had no idea that I could actually be a creative person as a grown up for a living, only because I never saw examples of adults I knew doing that, but had I grown up with Illustoria I would have had a completely different understanding of what my adult life could become. I already gifted subscriptions to kids in my life and I look forward to seeing what else they come up with!

Jen Garrido is a San Francisco Bay artist who works with oils, acrylics and watercolors. She does incredible, loose and colorful florals on paper and panels that she always has for sale on her website. Jen has an alter ego, when she isn’t painting, she is designing textiles for her home wear company Jenny Pennywood that she has printed locally items like tea towels, pillows and textiles.  Jen’s patterns and paintings are fun for everyone in the family and are a perfect gift idea. You can find them in person along with all sorts of other equally beautiful items at the General Store, right next door to previously mentioned Case for Making in the outer sunset.

Jenny Pennywood napkins

Kindah Khalidy is a local oakland based painter that is just an explosion of color. I have been dreaming of getting one of her large paintings to hang in our bedroom. Her paintings are vibrant, playful and very very beautiful, she also makes them into small makeup bags, beautiful shirts and other fun items that you can find in her webshop. She will even make prints of any painting that you like for a more affordable option if an original isn’t in the cards this year.

Landscape Pop Diptych (#196) 2016, Mix Media on Paper, two panels 22" X 30" each

And finally if you are looking for a place to visit with the kiddos, a morning or afternoon trip to get everyone out of the house during this holiday season- take a short trip down the coast to Yonder Shop in Pacifica. Linda Fahey is the amazing ceramicist behind this space, she has turned her studio into a small boutique. When you visit Yonder you can see her work in process as well as shop finished mugs and bowls of hers and beautiful paintings, textiles and apothecary goods of other makers whom she has curated in her shop. Linda is a great host, has lived in Pacifica all her life and visiting Yonder is like stopping by a friends house. After you get some goodies I would wander down to Linda Mar beach and let the kids run around while you watch some surfers and look for whales.

Yonder Shop interior

Lindsay Stripling is a San Francisco based artist who lives and works in a neighborhood located right next to Golden Gate park which runs for miles, due west, straight to the Pacific. Lindsay works primarily with watercolor on paper, using color and form to create dreamlike narratives that echo folk and fairy tales that we vaguely remember from childhood, where the moral might be lost, switched, blurred or even just completely missing. Lindsay’s illustrations have shown up in Illustoria and she is currently working on a fun coloring book for both kids and adults.

Lindsay Stripling is a San Francisco based artist who lives and works in a neighborhood located right next to Golden Gate park which runs for miles, due west, straight to the Pacific. Lindsay works primarily with watercolor on paper, using color and form to create dreamlike narratives that echo folk and fairy tales that we vaguely remember from childhood, where the moral might be lost, switched, blurred or even just completely missing. Lindsay’s illustrations have shown up in Illustoria and she is currently working on a fun coloring book for both kids and adults.

You can learn more about Lindsay and her gorgeous work and support her here. 

You can learn more about Lindsay and her gorgeous work and support her here

 

Holiday Special: 10% Off Subscriptions + Free ILLUSTORIA Bookmarks

 

Give the gift of reading, art, and activities that keeps on giving throughout the year.

 

Spread the mag love this holiday season! Purchase an ILLUSTORIA subscription, gift subscription, or recurring subscription now through December 20th and receive 10% off PLUS your recipient will receive a set of 5 adorable Illustoria bookmarks with their first issue. Enter promo code: iGIVE at checkout.

We will happily handwrite your gift message and include it with the first issue. 

Happy gifting and happy holidays!

Please note: Subscriptions will begin with Illustoria issue 2: The Canvas Issue. If you would like to start with issue 1, please purchase separately. We cannot guarantee a specific delivery date (our free domestic shipping option can take 7-10 days after fulfillment), however you may select USPS Priority Mail shipping at checkout to receive your order within 1-3 days after fulfillment. We will do our best to process orders speedily!

 

Who We Are: Alexandra Rose Franco

 
art by Elizabeth Haidle

art by Elizabeth Haidle

 
 

Name: Alexandra Rose Franco

Location: Mill Valley, California

Profession: Designer/Owner, Rito-ito: A floral, object and scent studio. Strategist, futureprüf: a digital design studio

Here I am making the beginning of a fall wreath

Favorite artist/illustrator:
Artist: I’ve always been drawn to Robert Motherwell paintings for their bold, dark expressiveness.
Illustrator: I recently came across a Japanese illustrator, Ryo Takemasa and love the work.

Fun food illustrations by Takemasa

Fun food illustrations by Takemasa

Best book you've read in the past year: When Women Were Birds, by Terry Tempest Williams. I’m also currently reading A Natural History of the Senses, by Diane Ackerman and really enjoying it, and Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

A beautiful read

Kids book you could read every night: Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

Best memory of being a kid: Building forts with my brother in the marshland behind our house. 

Favorite weekend activity: Going to the Sunday's farmers' market at the Marin Civic Center and cooking Sunday supper together with my partner, Max. 

Coming home with farmer’s market bounty

Song currently on repeat: Currently, anything by The xx

Favorite meal: It's hard to pick one favorite, but I always love clams and linguine with lots of garlic, chili flakes, and white wine. 

Last time you made something with your hands: I try to make something with my hands almost everyday. Today I'm designing with fall flowers in preparation for Thanksgiving.

Fall flowers at Rito-ito

Fun fact about you: I studied at the Joffrey Ballet in NYC for a stint during highschool and had the opportunity to live on my own and explore the city as a teenager. It gave me a sense of adventure, responsibility, and confidence that I needed as a young person. 

 

 

 

Hervé Tullet & ILLUSTORIA at Bank Street Book Store

 

Hervé Tullet is known for his interactive picture books that engage readers in an experience that is always new and spontaneous. photo ©  Andrey Klemeshov

 

Illustoria is thrilled to be pairing up with Hervé Tullet to celebrate the release of issue 2 at Bank Street Book Store in New York City! Hervé is the internationally bestselling author behind Press Here, Mix It Up!, Let's Play!, Art Workshops for Children, and many more titles equally loved by grownups and kids.  

 

Hervé Tullet painting at one of his many art workshops for kids around the globe.

 
 

I'll be on hand sharing some of my favorite pieces from Issue 2: The Canvas Issue. (Cover to be revealed shortly so stay tuned!) photo © Melissa Kaseman

 

Hervé will talk about his unique approach to storytelling, staying innovative, and what we can all learn from making art with kids. I'll be interviewing Hervé about his process and inspiration, his favorite medium, what music he listens to while he paints, and how to create stories that appeal across generations. I'm also excited to share highlights from issue 2: The Canvas Issue. 

 

So calling all artists, writers, parents, kids, teachers, and librarians: Come join us for an afternoon of inspiration and fun, pick up a copy of the newly released issue 2 and any number of awesome Tullet books that may be missing from your home collection, and enjoy coloring, crafts, light snacks, and swag! For more information about the event, go to the Bank Street Book Store events page and RSVP here

HERVE TULLET + ILLUSTORIA
Bank Street Book Store
2780 Broadway
New York City

When: Saturday / November 19th / 1–2 pm 
 

ILLUSTORIA + Public - Supply in The Great Giveaway

 
 

School is officially back in swing, and the autumn breeze is in the air. What better time to add some extra *umph* to your school and office supplies armory? Alas, but how? Funny you ask! We are excited to announce our participation in Public - Supply’s The Great Giveaway!

 
 

The lucky winner of the giveaway will receive:

  • All eleven gorgeous shades of Public - Supply’s new embossed notebook collection
  • Public - Supply's classic hex pencil set
  • A one-year subscription to ILLUSTORIA
  • Kanken No.2 backpack from Fjallraven
  • “Support Your Local Library” iPad pouch from Izola
  • This Is Ground Italian leather Mod Tablet 3 with Pancho Insert and 2 cord tacos
  • One-of-a kind ceramic pencil holder by Brooklyn ceramicist Ivy Weinglass  

Enter to win this drool-worthy prize here.

The Great Giveaway celebrates the launch of Public - Supply’s new 5" x 8" embossed notebook collection. We are lucky enough to have previewed the notebooks and they are as lovely to the touch and enticing to fill with thoughts, daydreams, and doodles as you might imagine.

 
 

And did you know that Public - Supply donates 25% of profits from every sale to a teacher in a high-need public school classroom, to help fund a creativity-driven project? Check out their site to see some of the latest cool happenings and a full list of the classrooms funded so far. As arts education continues to be cut in the public schools, Public - Supply’s commitment to teachers and students is something we couldn't be more passionate about standing behind. 

Enter the giveaway for a chance to win all these goodies!

 
 

"Support Your Local Library" iPad pouch from Izola, P - S pencil set, and beautiful custom pencil holder by Ivy Weinglass.

We love love love this message and pouch...and our local library, of course!

 
 

Kids and parents will be fighting over who gets dibs on this uber cool Fjallraven Kanken No.2 backpack.

 
 

This is Ground’s Mod Tablet 3 is perfect for traveling grownups and kids.

 
Photo by Melissa Kaseman
 

Last but not least, a full-year's subscription to ILLUSTORIA!! 

Don't miss your chance to win this dream pack. Enter now and good luck!

ILLUSTORIA Shortlisted for the Stack Awards 2016!

 
 

We are proud to announce that ILLUSTORIA has been shortlisted for Best Use of Illustration for the Stack Awards 2016! We’re honored to be among an impressive list of indie publications who are putting out gorgeous, inspiring, creative work. Thanks to all the judges at Stack for considering us, and for uncovering and curating beautiful indie mags to share with the world. What an amazing excuse to come out to London to meet fellow magazine publishers who are passionate about visual storytelling, print, and the power of this unique medium that we are so committed to. Here's the full list of the shortlisted publications in the Best Use of Illustration category:

 
 

ILLUSTORIA representing for the U.S.! If you haven't had a chance to get your hands on our premiere issue, do so now and discover for yourself just how much we rely on beautiful illustrations and a talented array of artists working in various styles and medium to produce ILLUSTORIA, which true to our name is devoted to illustrated storytelling and the celebration of artists, writers, makers, and creativity for all.

The award winners will be announced on November 29th so cross your fingers and wish us luck!

ILLUSTORIA interview on APEX - KPFA 94.1

 
 

Thanks to Melissa Hung for the recent interview with me about Illustoria, which ran on APEX Express on KPFA 94.1. If you missed it, you can still listen to the archived show here (37:00). Melissa, co-founder of Hyphen and a writer, journalist, curator and educator, asks insightful questions about why I chose to launch a print magazine and how we at Illustoria are approaching the need for more diverse representation in storytelling for kids. Tune in to learn about my inspiration behind the magazine, our editorial approach to the stories, art, interviews, and activities in each issue, and how Illustoria hopes to stand out in today's challenging but exciting landscape of print publishing. 

 
Founder/Publisher Joanne Chan talks to APEX about her inspiration to start a print magazine for kids and grownups. Photo by Melissa Kaseman

Founder/Publisher Joanne Chan talks to APEX about her inspiration to start a print magazine for kids and grownups. Photo by Melissa Kaseman

 

Immersed in Under Water, Under Earth + Q&A with the Creators

 

Under Water, Under Earth by Aleksandra Mizielinska & Daniel Mizielinkski, published by Big Picture Press, an imprint of Candlewick Press.

 

Internationally renowned illustrator duo Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinski are back at it again with the tremendous Under Water, Under Earthwhich just released and is in stores today. The Polish couple are founders of their creative incubator Hipopotam Studio and are the masterminds behind children’s books Welcome to Mamoko and Maps. Their immersive art, always teeming with color and information, is captivating for kids and parents alike--making them a favorite here at Illustoria.

 
 
 

In Under Water, Under Earth the Mizielińskis continue the encyclopedic theme of their past work Maps with a visually explosive double-sided book that explores the worlds that exist beneath the surface. Readers traverse their journey by starting from the surface and making their way down, beginning with earthworms and ending with the Mariana Trench, the lowest point of the ocean. The book’s organization is playfully idiosyncratic, hopping from root vegetables to subway train stations to tectonic plates. 

 
 
 

Flip the pages and you’ll see each topic is stuffed to the brim with astonishing factoids, wildly vibrant illustrations and imaginative diagrams. The Mizielińskis offer an otherwise impossible look into the coolest things out there, like a train tunnel being gorged out of a mountain or boreholes that go 7.5 miles beneath earth’s surface. What’s even more astonishing is its breadth--the Mizielińskis seamlessly bring together ecosystems, technological processes, natural phenomena, physics and history. It’s easy to get lost in the artists' distinctive cartoon style, which is highly detailed and, given a second look, secretly mischievous.

 
 
 

You and your ever-curious youngin’ will want to devote an entire afternoon digging into this masterpiece. And don’t be mistaken, this isn’t a cool fact book your kid will read once and then tuck away forever in the closet. Rather, this enormous atlas is one they’ll want to return to again and again, each time to learn a new, mind-boggling fact. We were fortunate enough to get an interview with Daniel Mizielinski, thanks to Phoebe and Jean at Candlewick Press...so read on!

Q & A with Daniel Mizielinski 

Can you talk about the research process for your books?

We follow information on internet sources, and check them with real people working in the field. After that, there are usually two or three or four specialized editors—we have a biologist, someone from construction, and so on, reading pages with images and text and they’re finding mistakes that we correct.

How do you find these experts? 

They may be editors for other publishing houses, or in one of our books we had a physicist from CERN who’d done a book about space exploration and physics. Every person is just six Facebook or Twitter friends away, it’s really true. Whenever I can’t find someone, I just throw a question at my Academy of Fine Arts net of students, and within a day I have answers.

 
 
 

Please describe your roles in working together on your books. 

In every book we have both text and images created by me and Ola. It’s hard for me to define how exactly we do that because it’s so seamless we don’t really think about it. We met at the first year of college and we learned how to design and created our first commercial, [bad] projects together and learned from our mistakes. We just know each other so well. 

What is your drawing process? What mediums do you use?

Everything you see is drawn on paper and then usually colors are created in computer. And of course all the layouts are done on computer. But we always start on paper. We design both video games and books, and even with games we do sketches by hand. Usually a lot of assets are drawn by hand. 

 
 
 

I think this is because the education process in the arts schools in Poland is different than in the US. In the US you have this very narrow specialization, and in Poland you go through everything, from the very traditional 16th-century graphics—I had two years of making fresco and other ancient techniques—through design, type design. On the side we are both programmers. There’s a lot of diversity. It’s good because you can always change what you do. If you have a low budget [for a commercial project], you don’t have to hire an illustrator.

Do you think that’s why there’s such creativity today in Polish children’s books?

There’s always been that creativity. The problem was that in the 90s, after Poland regained its independence and the capitalism came in, all those great old publishers didn’t know how to work in the new reality. Before the ’80s or the ’90s, all the books in Poland were published in runs of hundreds of thousands…. The ’90s were a period when people were adjusting to a new reality. We had a lot of great products, but we had a lot of cheap products. After [the collapse of the big publishing houses], small publishing houses started to pop up, created by two or three people, like our publishing house, Dwie Siostry. When we came to them, it was 2007, we’d just graduated from college, and they had like two books. We started working with them when they had this moment where they knew what they were doing but they still hadn’t sold a lot of rights to their own books.

Maps is another gorgeous, large-format book by the authors that flaunts an incredible breadth of information about the world and its inhabitants through detailed illustrations and hundreds of fascinating facts.

Discover something new as you draw, color, and doodle your way around the globe in the Maps Activity Book

Here, because Poland is so much smaller than the US, the only way to make a living making books for children is to sell foreign rights. So Dwie Siorstry were the first ones to do this huge leap. This is the main reason we could abandon making any commercial projects and just do books and games, and they can have this greater reach and publish good books that are also not expensive in Poland…It’s very important here to keep the low price, because you don’t want to create exclusive books that are printed in low runs that designers want to put on their bookshelves. You want to create books for kids that are not only in the center of Warsaw but also in low-income areas. Those books are designed to be really for kids. Not just a trophy for us as graphic designers to create these achievements. We are lucky to have this publisher. It’s great to see your book in a library in a school where maybe students don’t have as many opportunities.

It sounds as though you’re driven to make sure that your books reach kids.

I hear from a lot of writers, not just designers but writers, that writing a book for children is something like a lesser task for a writer, right, it’s better to write some nonfiction for adults, you know what I mean? In Poland, when you look at illustrators and graphic designers, it was never like that. All the great designers, the famous Polish designers, they all did books for children; in the academies, in the art schools, books for children were always one of the most interesting topics. 

Throughout my childhood, all of those books were designed really, really well. I was lucky enough to be taught by some of the teachers who created some of those books, because they’re still alive—because I’m not that old—and it was a great experience. I don’t know if it shaped this consciousness that you need to design for kids or something like that, but I think it’s shaped this idea that a book can be a really great experience. 

Another captivating series by the authors, equally entertaining and scrumptious for kids and grownups. 

Another captivating series by the authors, equally entertaining and scrumptious for kids and grownups. 

Every one of our books is written using those two languages: one is words, one is images. We treat the visual language on the same level as written language, and we try to be careful that those two are not mirroring each other. The worst thing in my opinion an illustrator can do is when there’s a text says, “Mary’s going through a forest,” and you’re just drawing a regular Mary who is walking through a regular forest, and maybe there’s a blob of green for the trees. The best thing you can do is interpret a text and add things that are not in the text. We always try to do that, because it works great in educational books to write that way. If you can convey something much quicker using images, then why use a text?

How have your own children, twins who will be two in January, shaped your work? Do they like your books?

Thankfully, all of our books that we show them are working as designed. As I said before, we want the books to go directly to children, not to designers, that’s true—but while we’re making a book, we don’t think about those children. It’s funny but we make as good a book as possible [for ourselves], back when we were children or now. We were lucky enough that our idea of a good book is similar to a kids’ idea of a good book. 

 

One more from Under Water, Under Earth.

 
 

We always treat children as adults who just have less knowledge. In the Polish language, there is this tendency, I don’t know if I know the correct term in English, [diminutives]— there is a “cat”, and there is a “kitty.” In Poland, you can say stół, a table, you can say stolik, like a small table, and you can say everything in this manner. A lot of the people who write for children are using this super-childish and stupid language. A lot of people who talk to their children also use this language—you know, because they’re children. In Polish, it’s very easy to do that. [Aleksandra and I] never use it. It’s called zdrobnienie—making something smaller. We never do that. We never do that. We never do this, in the language layer of our books or in the layer of knowledge. 

If we're writing about radiation for kids, we say, ‘OK, the kid who is reading this book is about 9 years old. What else about radiation can I explain or omit? Will they ignore it or skip ahead?’ This is the only consideration. It’s not: ‘Can I tell them about radiation, it’s a hard topic?’ Yes I can. Only maybe you have to fill some knowledge gaps for them. But this is true for every human being. So you can write about anything you want. 

Instagram followers: go to @illustoria_mag and enter to win our Under Water, Under Earth giveaway! 

Todd Webb Follows Georgia O'Keeffe in the Desert

Meet Todd Webb, who lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and who graces the pages of the — upcoming! — second issue of Illustoria with a gorgeous, reflective piece about the great American painter Georgia O'Keeffe. Todd's comic is drawn, literally and figuratively, from O'Keeffe's own writings — he uses her own words. Webb shared shots of his studio, and his thoughts about creativity, and much more, in the following interview.

What were you like as a kid?

Shy and quiet — picked on a lot, so I kept to myself or a small but close group of friends. My favorite place was the library, and I was always reading or drawing. 

What were some of your favorite childhood books?

Early on I read all the Encyclopedia Brown and Hardy Boys books — my dad still had a full set of Tom Swift books too and we read those together when I was really little. I've still got those. I read a lot of Peanuts collections. And Calvin & Hobbes. My dad had a lot of sci fi books so I read a bunch of those at an early age too, but eventually started reading "classics" — Salinger, Hemingway, etc. etc. 

When did you know you wanted to be an artist and writer?

When I figured out that Charles Schulz made Peanuts and that was his job — the idea that you could grow up and draw comics for a living instantly overtook my brain, and I never stopped shooting for that goal, though eventually my aim shifted to comic books instead of comic strips.

Todd Webb's studio

Who or what inspires you? 

Everything — haha. I'm constantly getting ideas from things and people I encounter, see, read about, etc. I like to read poetry. That always gives me weird fun ideas to try out with comics. 

When do you feel you're most creative?

It used to be late at night, but as I've grown older I think I tend to do my best work if I get started first thing in the morning. But a big aspect of being creative is being able to make yourself just do the work every day — even if you're not feeling "inspired" — you've still gotta hit the drawing board and make something! 

The artist at work

Do you have a favorite type of pen, or brush, or paper for drawing with?

For years now I've been inking with Faber Castell Pitt Artist brush pens. I love them! I usually draw on Strathmore Bristol board. I'll buy a big pad of it and trim the paper to whatever size I need for a specific project.  

It all starts with pencil on paper.

What advice would you share with young aspiring artists?

Keep at it! And do it because you love it. Make work and show it to artists you admire. Don't be afraid of mistakes and don't think you need to draw a certain way or that you need special supplies. Do the best you can do with what you have! 
 
Why did you draw something about Georgia O'Keefee?

There's a couple reasons. A few years back I got to see her painting "The Lawrence Tree" (which is a great painting of a tree she used to sit beneath on the Lawrence ranch, seen from beneath as if you were looking up through the branches) and I really liked it. So I started to dig through other works of hers I hadn't been familiar with, and that led me to a big collection of her letters, which were a great read as well. I ended up writing a song about the Lawrence Tree painting, as well as one inspired by a letter ("The Lawrence Tree" and "Georgia, 1931" respectively on the Seamonster album Baldessari). So that was one thing. In the interim, I've really enjoyed connecting with other artists and writers and musicians from the past whose work really speaks to me by making something myself inspired by their works, be it a comic, a drawing, or a piece of music. I think engaging with an inspiring piece of work by making a piece of my own helps me process and figure out what it is I like about it so much, and also serves as a way of having a "conversation" with that person who maybe isn't even alive anymore. Anyways, back to Georgia: in reading books about her I realized she was good friends with the photographer Todd Webb (which is my name!) and it was amusing to me when I'd come across a letter of hers addressed to someone with my name. It was pretty surreal. I was already familiar with that Todd Webb's work, because ever since Google was invented, if you search for me, you'd also get results for him (he was very well known, and many of his photos were of Georgia O'Keeffe) So I thought it would be fun to further confuse the internet by putting a work of my own out there about Georgia O'Keeffe. 
 

Four panels from Todd's upcoming Illustoria comic

What was the process like, working from her own words?

Great fun! When I'm working on a piece like this, I really respond to particular writings of the artists that resonate with my own thinking. For years I used to keep a comic strip diary, and so working on a comic like "Georgia in the Desert" feels almost like drawing my own cartoon journal. I may be drawing about someone else and using their words, but it feels very personal to my own thinking. If that makes any sense! 
 
How does the idea of making art from the things you come upon in everyday life — which is a theme of the comic you drew — inform your own work?

Immensely. I think the things we encounter every day we often take for granted, so it's fun to focus a work on something small and seemingly insignificant — we are surrounded by so much wonder and beauty and we often forget to pay it any mind — Georgia painting huge gorgeous abstractions based on the surface of a rock, or a bone, or a flower or a row of clouds is a perfect example of really appreciating your everyday surroundings, whatever they may be.  

Todd's synthesizers are right on his studio bookshelf.

Tell us a bit about your music?

When I'm not drawing, I'm usually making music. At this point I have two projects: Seamonster is my main outlet, which is poppy semi-electronic songs that I guess sound a bit like girl groups from the 1950s mixed with something like Kraftwerk, haha. Contemporary songwriters like Stephen Merritt (of the Magnetic Fields), Mark Mulcahy (Miracle Legion, Polaris), and Dean Wareham (Galaxie 500) are huge influences. I also recently have started releasing music under the name Oahu, which is quieter ambient electronic experiments in the vein of Brian Eno or someone like William Basinski. Oahu uses lots of synthesizers and tape loops and has no singing. Its good background music for reading. 

What work of yours should an Illustoria parent read next?

Chance Operations: it's a collection of shorter experimental comics where I used chance operations (made famous by composer John Cage) and flipped coins to determine where images, colors, and text would go. It reads more like poems than a traditional narrative, and has a little essay explaining the process in more detail. 

An interior page from Webb's Chance Operations

What work of yours should an Illustoria kiddo read next?

Tuesday Moon: it's the story of a girl named Tuesday who has a rotten day at school, and is paid a visit by the Mann (two n's) in the Moon. They go on an adventure in space together and the moon helps her realize maybe her day wasn't as rotten as she thought it was. Raina Telgemeier, author of Smile, said, "Tuesday Moon is charming, thoughtful, and full of the best kind of whimsy."

An interior page from Tuesday Moon