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To view online veLEVINLAND PROMO MAG.v2rsion of the LevinLand Magazine Portfolio click on cover or here.

This is the digital home of the ‘Illustrators Journal’ (dot) com, a place where you can  see great art, photography and read insights of the proprietor for those interested in the art of illustration, animation and creative expression through narrative design.

I’m looking forward to keeping you updated on the art of illustration and my experience on the road to meeting my expectations and  goals for the future

Please join in the fun, and do consider subscribing to our blog!

Graphic Novels Casting a Long Shadow


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Art above by Lon Levin  all right reserved. For more go to http://www.levinlandstudio.com

By Fiona Smyth, painter, illustrator, and cartoonist

In the Comics and Graphic Novels course in OCAD U’s Continuing Studies, I explore and share information about the exciting contemporary comics scene. In recent years the media has rung the death knell of publishing but surprisingly there is a wealth of graphic novels being published.

The biggest trends in comics:

An emerging cartoonist doesn’t have to rely on a large publisher to have their work printed these days:

The comics medium is currently flourishing through self-publishing, smaller publishers, and an insatiable reading audience’s search for stories told by creators outside the mainstream media.

You can learn more by registering for Fiona Smyth’s Comics and Graphic Novels course this summer at OCAD University.

Fiona Smyth is a Toronto based painter, illustrator, and cartoonist. Smyth’s first graphic novel, The Never Weres, was published by Annick Press in 2011. A collection of her Exclaim comics, Cheez 100, was published by Pedlar Press in 2001. She illustrated writer Cory Silverberg’s Kickstarter funded picture book What Makes A Baby in 2012, re-released by Seven Stories Press in 2013.

Graphic Novel Or Webisode?


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KFBH #3As I explore my own version of a graphic novel comic or webisode I am more interested in what is transpiring in this genre. As I explore I will post more and more so that those of you who follow will become more aware of the explosion of new form novels and artwork around us all.

I shook off the shackle of my illustration style a few years ago. I had been doing children’s book illustrations and animations and after three dozen books, most of which I did not enjoy doing I started to fool around with this idea of depicting my story, my history in words and pictures. I’m not really a writer per se even though I have been published as a writer (“Treehouses” published by Globe Pequot Press in 2008) I wanted to accompany my art with words. The logical conclusion was some sort of comic, graphic novel, art mismash. After a few decades of time in the commercial art world as an art director, creative director, animator and illustrator I felt I’d earned the right to do whatever the hell I wanted to do. No rules except the ones I made for myself.

To support this notion I decided I needed to split my time between a “real” profession as my father would say and my artistic exploration. Now after a few years I work as a realtor to support my art. Hence, I am liberated from the grind of wondering how can I sell myself as an artist.

What has evolved is “The Kid From beverly Hills” which I’ve posted here and there and it has gotten favorables reviews by the few who have seen it. AS I evolve, it evolves. The journey is what makes it fun and exciting not the result. More from me later…



Here is a graphic novel list compiled by Sam Thielman of The Guardia

A frame from Adrian Tomine’s Killing and Dying, one of a number of artistically ambitious graphic novels that have come out in recent years.
 A frame from Adrian Tomine’s Killing and Dying, one of a number of artistically ambitious graphic novels that have come out in recent years. Photograph: Faber
I sympathise – with the former query, anyway. The sheer variety in the “graphic novels” section of the bookstore or library contains everything from memoirs to mysteries. Plus, comics have their own grammar and syntax and often, comics fans are exhaustingly absorbed in their own favorite kind of literature, their references like an endless set of matryoshka dolls. A strand of conversation can lead from Doctor Fate to Watchmen to Detective Comics to Optic Nerve, all in a flash.To make matters worse, some of those comics are much more accessible than others. Kate Beaton’s Hark! A Vagrant and Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home are straightforward and easy to read, though they’re wildly different. Chris Ware’s Acme Novelty Library, on the other hand, is unapologetically challenging and often involves intricate systems of smaller and smaller pictures that don’t necessarily tell you where to start or stop reading.

Ware, like Dan ClowesCharles Burns and Lynda Barry, is drawing on a very different tradition from superhero artists and writers. It’s a kind of storytelling that evolved out of the “underground” comics movement of the 1960s and 70s, when artists like Robert CrumbAline KominskyS Clay Wilson and others were trying to find ways to make dirty, weird, intensely personal work that had more in common with the iconoclastic fine art of the period than with pulp fiction – the prose genre that birthed the first superheroes. Independent comics used to be considered as disreputable as pornography (maybe more so), but now they’re rightly recognized as fertile ground for artists.

In fact, the two parts of the industry are increasingly coming together. AvatarImageDark HorseDynamite and Boom all publish plenty of creator-owned, artist-driven books. In many cases, they’re by people who made names for themselves writing superhero comics and want to write with more freedom at a place where they own their work. The state of the industry makes for some strange bedfellows: Top Shelf publishes pensive ruminations on life and absurdity by Eddie Campbell and Jennifer Hayden, but they also publish Alan Moore’s action-packed pulp-fiction mash-up The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

For longtime comics fans like me, it’s a kick to see the form evolving in so many fascinating ways. Image in particular has landed right at the nexus of art comics and action comics and produces books driven by beautiful, often hilariously strange art (James Stokoe’s Orc Stain, Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey’s Injection) and old-fashioned high-concept sci-fi action, sometimes on the same page. The innovation is opening up the form to a whole new generation of readers.

Here are the 16 books I recommend to get you started, if you’re so inclined. They’re all in print, they’re all readily available from Powell’s or even a local independent bookstore, and you don’t have to do any preliminary reading to understand them. Happy reading. And looking. And good luck finding space for them all.

The Calculus Affair, by Hergé

The Calculus Affair, by Hergé.

 The Calculus Affair, by Hergé.

All 23 Tintin albums follow the globetrotting boy reporter and his companions, chiefly his dog Snowy and his tipsy, short-tempered sailor friend Captain Haddock. But there’s a long-running debate about which is best; the settings are vastly different, ranging from China to the Moon. My vote is for 1960’s The Calculus Affair, a thrilling and lighthearted story of cold war espionage and a secret weapon in the Balkans.

Hergé’s characters have exaggerated features, but they exist in a meticulously detailed world where there are no misplaced lines or scratchy pencil-work anywhere on the page. Joost Swarte, a cartoonist and illustrator who admires Hergé, coined the term “ligne-claire” (clear-line) to describe it. The phrase didn’t just stick, it came retroactively to describe the whole coterie of cartoonists who came after Hergé, called the Brussels school.

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant, by Roz Chast

Roz Chast is probably best known to non-comics readers for her wry and wordy New Yorker covers, and her cartoons for same. You’ve probably seen them – they’re often lists of anxieties and phobias and distractions. In her half-prose, half-comics memoir, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? Chast pitilessly itemizes in excruciating and hilarious detail exactly the share of suffering allotted to her beloved parents as they rapidly enter the last years of their lives.

Chast’s sense of humor never deserts her even when her parents’ bodies fail them, and the resulting volume, which won a National Book award, is both an ingenious depiction of a part of life most people studiously avoid thinking about, and a slow-burn dissection of Chast’s own obsessions, and her love of distraction as a momentary respite from entropy.

Ice Haven, by Daniel Clowes

Ice Haven, by Daniel Clowes

Daniel Clowes has been pretty open about his love for both Nabokov and for Charles Schulz’s Peanuts cartoons. In Ice Haven, he combines the two melancholy artists’ styles to beautiful effect.

Clowes’s formidable skill is anything but cold: the little book (only 88 pages) follows the interlocking lives of a few people in a small town and works out childhood fear, teenage ennui and grownup eccentricity. These themes play out across pages designed to look like comic strips from the local newspaper; it’s so subtle and sweet you might not even notice the kidnapping at first.

Top 10, by Alan Moore, Gene Ha and Zander Cannon

Top Ten #2, by Alan Moore, Gene Ha and Zander Cannon

 Top Ten #2, by Alan Moore, Gene Ha and Zander Cannon.

The premise of Top 10 is so fundamentally opposed to the way superhero comics work that most writers would have run from it screaming: what if everyone in town, from the hot dog guy to the mayor, was a superhero? Bursting with flashy costumes, terrific sight gags and all the strange settings you’d need to build a city for such a diverse populace, the book isn’t so much an introduction to superhero comics as it is a hilariously off-kilter sci-fi detective novel.

Top 10 is also some of the most purely fun comics storytelling available, thanks to a first-rate script by ingenious Northampton comics writer Alan Moore and art by Gene Ha and Zander Cannon. The three work together as seamlessly as a jazz trio: The story is a complex procedural involving multiple murders that follows our heroine, Robyn, as she joins the force and gets used to having a boss who’s a dog, a partner who’s a Viking and a workplace filled with drinking buddies who range from the figuratively hotheaded to the literally radioactive. Though he’s perhaps better-known for Watchmen and V for Vendetta, Moore’s unparalleled skill at making the reader look left when the plot is just about to go right might be at its very best here.

Killing and Dying, by Adrian Tomine

Killing and Dying, by Adrian Tomine

Adrian Tomine’s most recent collection follows six different sets of characters through six different styles of artwork so distinctive they appear to have been drawn by six different people. It’s a feat of virtuosity that could only have come from Tomine, who has been telling tender stories like these for over a decade; with its incredible stylistic diversity – always surprising, never jarring – it’s his finest hour so far.

In each story, Tomine seems to announce he’ll be telling one kind of story only to tell a completely different one in hints and suggestions. Like his friend Clowes, Tomine’s ambitions are primarily literary and comics are simply his chosen literary mode. Here, he makes a compelling case for comics as a medium for the same intricacies as contemporary fiction – and for the possibility that comics can do some things prose can’t.

Cages, by Dave McKean

Cages, by Dave McKean

Dave McKean’s sprawling, generous graphic novel about life, sex and jazz is a necessary jolt of pure, intelligent optimism among a lot of very dark work from his contemporaries. The artist is probably best known for the beautiful collage covers that became his trademark at DC Comics’ “mature readers” imprint, Vertigo, but he’s a formidable writer on his own, here drawing the parallel stories of a half-dozen people living in the same apartment building and falling in and out of love with art, life and each other.

The book is bigger than most – tall and wide, as well as almost 500 pages long – but it’s a surprisingly fast and engaging read, with McKean’s beautiful, scratchy two-color linework giving way at strategic points to breathtaking pages-long sequences of full-color collage and painting in which McKean illustrates a weird and charming cosmology of his own devising.

Hawkeye vol 1-4, by Matt Fraction and David Aja

Hawkeye, by Matt Fraction and David Aja

It hasn’t been easy to find Marvel Comics stories that let the new reader in the front door, but Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye is arguably the best of the company’s recent crop of beginner-friendly comics. (Dan Slott and Mike Allred’s kid-friendly Silver Surfer is a close second.) Marvel’s books are carefully orchestrated across a universe that spans more than 50 years of material, but Hawkeye ignores most of that, to its great benefit.

The book follows the least reputable of the Avengers as he tries to keep sleazy Russian crimelords from stealing his apartment building out from under his working-class neighbors. The book’s vision of factions fighting for a piece of gentrifying Brooklyn is dead-on, and Fraction’s cast of offbeat characters could be culled from the co-op next door. Aja’s artwork is spare and clever and the pair hit a serious Lennon-McCartney groove near the end of the second arc, in a story told entirely from the perspective of a dog who listens in on scenes from previous issues with a deep understanding of human emotion but a very limited English vocabulary.

Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel

Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel

In Fun Home, Bechdel steadfastly refuses to sentimentalize the way her discovery of her own sexuality paralleled her discovery of her father’s secret life. The book is beautifully constructed, with her declared annoyance at her father’s fussy, baroque tastes informing her work’s own spare beauty. And for all her teenage self’s eye-rolling over her funeral home director dad’s love of artifice and adornment, Bechdel’s ability to draw her characters’ most revelatory tics and habits remains razor-keen, often painfully so, for the length of the book.

The love between a father and daughter is complex in the best possible version of the relationship, and Bechdel and her dad’s is particularly fraught, not least by the latter’s suicide. Because Fun Home is ultimately an exploration of devotion and longing, its frankness is that much rarer and more precious.

The Portable Frank, by Jim Woodring

The Portable Frank, by Jim Woodring

All of Jim Woodring’s glorious Frank stories are so terribly inviting that it is difficult to pick just one. Woodring draws the wordless adventures of a bear-cat-chipmunk-type creature named Frank, whose travels take him around a surreal black-and-white world populated by adorable creatures and nightmare horrors, and nearly all those travels manage to end on an unexpectedly poignant, funny or terrifying moment. Woodring’s style is fanatically controlled – every panel looks like a woodcut – but his monsters are unspeakably inventive, like something Hieronymus Bosch would have made in pottery class.

The plots are as simple as the art is complex: Frank usually makes what seems like a reasonable decision from the his own perspective and a horribly, horribly wrong one by the standards of the broader world. (Come to think of it, that is probably the shortest possible biography of anyone alive, from a certain angle.) Fantagraphics’ collection of short Frank stories is a great sampler, like a glass of water from the Challenger Deep.

The Sandman: Endless Nights, by Neil Gaiman et al

The Sandman: Endless Nights, by Neil Gaiman

For the better part of 20 years it was very difficult to pick a volume of The Sandman to introduce readers to its charms. Neil Gaiman doesn’t hit his stride until the second book in the 12-volume series, and the art doesn’t really take off until then, either. But who wants to begin in the middle?

The writer solved this problem by penning seven stand-alone short stories for the one-off volume Endless Nights. The result was as attractive a volume of comics as a superhero publisher (DC, in this case) has ever managed to produce. In it, readers meet the seven Endless, Gaiman’s pantheon of anthropomorphized abstractions including friendly, frank Death; moody Dream; alluring hermaphrodite Desire and his/her twin sister, Despair. Every story is illustrated by a different artist and each one is worth getting to know, particularly the great Italian artist Milo Manara and P Craig Russell, probably best known for his stylish comics adaptations of operas by Wagner and Mozart.

The fun with The Sandman – like Gaiman’s best novel American Gods, a calculated hodgepodge, if there is such a thing, of stories short and long – is often the way the author allows insight into his otherworldly central characters through the pinhole of a seemingly normal, knowable person’s perspective. Here, he’s mastered that technique. The adroit short pieces are one of the reasons the series remains so popular despite its far-flung sci-fi and fantasy conceits: it’s less a three-course meal than a box of candy you didn’t mean to eat in its entirety.

Co-Mix, by Art Spiegelman

Co-Mix, by Art Spiegelman

For people needing a primer on grownup comics, the ur-text didn’t really exist until two years ago, and that’s because the evolution of high-art comic books from greasy underground innovation to literary supplement is largely the work of a single guy: Art Spiegelman.

Spiegelman is justly famous for his comics memoir Maus, about his father Vladek’s escape from Auschwitz and the relationship between Art and Vladek in the years when the book was being composed. But Spiegelman was also the editor of Raw, an anthology series that drew together the best and brightest of the underground comics world at a time when the market was sagging under the weight of too many people trying to ride the same gravy train.

As other publishers collapsed or radically shrank, Raw became the Paris Review of comics, every page risky, bizarre and invariably beautiful, with Spiegelman’s own work as the book’s anchor. Co-Mix is partly an exhibition catalogue of a Spiegelman career retrospective bearing the same name; it’s also a collection of excerpts from Raw and other ephemera, and a wholly necessary study of the form’s escape from the gutter and (in this case literally) into the museum.

Hark! A Vagrant, by Kate Beaton

Hark! A Vagrant, by Kate Beaton

Kate Beaton’s hyperliterate webcomic is on the cutting edge of any number of social realities. Her Sexy Batman strips are as clever a parody of tightly clad contemporary superheroics as anyone has written. But she’s also fascinated by the arcane, the old-fashioned and the obscure, particularly as they pertain to women through the ages. Never preachy or shrill, the strip’s meticulous consideration of history’s funniest footnotes run counter to her excellently messy artwork.

It’s often said, and correctly, how smart the comic’s writing is, but artistically Beaton has few equals and fewer competitors; she’s working in a style almost no one practices anymore, where what looks like a quick pencil rough is specific enough to convey a whole range of complex emotions. Beaton lists Ronald Searleamong her favorite artists, and it’s easy to see the great illustrator’s influence.

Seconds, by Bryan Lee O’Malley

Seconds, by Bryan Lee O’Malley

Bryan Lee O’Malley is probably best-known for his series of manga-style action comics about a slacker living in a version of Toronto that plays by the same rules as a video game, Scott Pilgrim. In Seconds, he’s in the same place – well, Canada – but his twist is more fantastical than science-fictional.

Without giving too much away, O’Malley is an accomplished chronicler of post-adolescent longing. What if we’d taken this job instead of that job? What if we’d never broken up with that guy or that girl? His heroine, immature, compelling and unhappy, gets to find out – it’s like if It’s a Wonderful Life was a fantasy manga about restaurant workers. O’Malley is that rare artist who works in confessional and speculative modes simultaneously; his world may have fantastical quirks in it, but it also has quotidian heartbreak.

The Fixer, by Joe Sacco

The Fixer, by Joe Sacco

Nobody is doing what Joe Sacco is doing; the writer-artist has visited some of the world’s worst war zones and not merely written movingly about them but carefully drawn them, as well. The effect is transporting – Sacco drags readers into war-torn Bosnia and gives them both a sense of place and a sense of urgency, and like the best journalists, he’s got an eye for the rich, contradictory, infuriating people who can make you care about something you ought to care about.

In the title story of this astonishing collection of short nonfiction, Sacco focuses on a bored ex-mercenary with nothing to do after the end of the long and horrifically bloody war. On the one hand, it’s about wartime abstractions like reparations and displacement; on the other, it’s the incredibly urgent tale of an edgy, frightening guy who’d rather be killing people and may yet get to.

Acme Novelty Library #20, by Chris Ware

Acme Novelty Library #20, by Chris Ware

Chris Ware is intimidating. The artist’s biggest works are pointedly impossible to read from the beginning – just trying to get past the dust jacket on Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth can take days. But the final “issue” so far of Ware’s long-running Acme Novelty Library is a little hardbound graphic novel that follows one man from birth to death and many strange points in between. In just the first few pages, Ware invents new narrative tools to describe learning to recognize your own name, discovering colors, and what it feels like when you see your father hit your mother.

Eventually, the book may simply end up a footnote in Ware’s ongoing graphic novel, Rusty Brown. But at the moment, it’s the purest distillation of his ingenious use of hard lines, flat colors and an engineer’s genius for describing complexity without reducing it.

All-Star Superman, by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely

All-Star Superman

You can leave most superheroes off a list of great comics at this point, but not Superman. The Man of Steel’s mark on American culture has been indelible, and it has also resisted updating – the last four Superman films have been disastrously lame.

But in All-Star, writer Grant Morrison and artist Frank Quitely strike exactly the tone that film-makers have missed: modern and clever without being snide or ironic, optimistic without naiveté, and, thanks especially to Quitely, utterly beautiful. The artist’s rendering of the Man of Steel is sneakily reverential – if the cover of the book looks like you’ve seen it somewhere before, that’s because it’s a fairly overt homage to images of Jesus at the last judgment. It’s also playful and fun, with a gorgeous sequence on the inverted-logic Bizarro World (the planet is square, of course) and the kind of lighthearted interplay with Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen that aren’t usually found outside much older books.

The Kid From Beverly Hills Strikes Again


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Growing up in the 60’s and 70’s in Beverly Hillsand Los Angeles was quite the experience. We regularly saw great performers at the Whiskey,Troubadour and Hollywood Paladium, went surfing at Topanga, Malibu and Point Dume. and hung out at Randy’s Doughnuts, Ships and DL’s. These webisodes are design to give the viewer part of that experience.


Children’s APP is Where It’s At!


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PINK PIRATE2Once upon a time I dreamt of marrying my stories and images to the internet and combining words, music, voices and pictures. Of course that’s all being happening for a while. One of the early adapters was and is Roxie Munro, who I’ve interviewed and talked to numerous times. The article below includes her and beyond. It’s a good article that covers this new form which is coming of age.

Once upon a time, some crazy smart person got the idea of taking a children’s story previously passed down through oral storytelling and turning it into a book. This spawned a whole new tradition, and an industry that has thrived for centuries with a work-flow process that involves several distinct phases and teams that take several years to achieve the goal of creating an illustrated story book.
It works like this:

An author first creates a manuscript that is acceptable to an editor. The editor will then work with the author to bring that story to a point of excellence, at which point this editorial team passes the story off to a design team.

The art designer will select the perfect illustrator, who must then be given ample time to realize his or her vision. The designer then lays out the book, selecting fonts and other design elements, and drops in the finished artwork.

The combined effort is provided to the production team in the form of print-ready galleys eventually to be published. And while proofs are being run to test for color and trim accuracy, the marketing team revs up the process of distributing the book to reviewers just as the sales team works to get it into stores.

It is a proven practice and will remain the preferred method of making an illustrated story book for many years to come. Because it works. For books.

But the job of realizing the electronic cousin of an illustrated children’s book—the story app—requires a very different process and a new cast of characters. It works something like this…

In the digital ecosystem, production speeds up with teams working more in lock step, rather than relay style. New editions are possible with the click of a few buttons, making it possible—even favorable for testing purposes—to publish a work in iterative chunks; that is, not in a fully finished state, but a simplified one that is added to over time.

The authoreditor, and publisher tend to collaborate more at the outset to realize a manuscript not limited to a story text, but requiring content for interactive elements, text boxes, navigational instructions, etc., as well. And the creative team expands, adding to the ranks of editorialdesign, and production teams, the following contributors:

  • Development, or programming, team
  • User experience (UX) designer
  • User interface (UI) designer
  • Game developer, if the app is to include interactive learning elements and features
  • Animator, if images are to move
  • Educational consultant, to assure that the app is developmentally appropriate to the target age
  • Beta-testers, to ensure that the book and design are intuitive to use

To wit: It takes a lot of people-power to realize a great story app.

Team efforts overlap. For example, in our current process, as author Mary Hoffman and team editor Emma D. Dryden have been working together to perfect the manuscript for In the Footsteps of Giants, I’ve been working with our art, user interface, and user experience consultants to design the look and feel of our future story app.

Mary and I have been preparing a list of image suggestions to pass off to our photo editor, Cynthia Carris Alonso, who has begun the process of researching and obtaining rights to use the visual content to accompany Roxie Munro’s original artwork commissioned at the start of the process.

In the meantime, our marketing team, including Dan Blank and his team at WeGrowMedia is already strategizing plans in anticipation of a June launch. And I am now on the hunt for vocal talent that can record and send to us raw files that we will then engineer with added sound effects. (If you’re interested in auditioning, contact me here.)

We couldn’t do any of this without at least a draft story to work with. But neither did we need a completed manuscript to begin production. Indeed, the first and last piece of the puzzle to be signed off on will be the manuscript, for it will likely change again once we are inside the recording studio.

Which is why I say that creating a story app is a team sport, and a highly collaborative effort at that!

Will Human Artists Become Obselete?


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TWO STUPID ROBOTSNo is my answer. Even if a robot can be fed data that will turn out any kind of artwork style i.e.: a Picasso, Rembrandt, Warhol is that what we want? Is commerce more important than someone expressing themselves uniquely. Oh I’m sure a robot with artificial intelligence one day will argue they have souls too but I would hate to see the dystopian future that will create. Glad I won’t be around. Here an interesting article about “Robot art”



Laura Carlin : Children’s Book Illustrator


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In an effort to find and spotlight the finest and most innovative children’s book artwork, the Illustrator’s Journal will bring to our readers the IJ Children’s Book Spotlight. 

Presented here is the artwork of Laura Carlin.


Laura lives and works in London. She graduated from Buckinghamshire University and the Royal College of Art, where she received a Masters and won the Quentin Blake Award. During her MA she was also awarded the Uniqlo Fashion Illustration Award, which enabled her to travel to Shanghai and Tokyo. The drawings from her Tokyo trip were published in a book entitled Ten Days in Tokyo.

Laura has illustrated many children’s books for Walker Books, including The Iron Man by Ted Hughes, winning a V&A Award and an honourable mention in the Bologna Ragazzi Award. In November 2014 another Walker Books title illustrated by Laura ‘The Promise’ was selected by The New York Times as the best illustrated title of 2014. For The Folio Society Laura has illustrated four collections of Anton Chekov stories and Le Grand Meaulnes by Alain Fournier. She illustrates a weekly column in the Financial Times as well as being a regular contributor to Condé Nast Traveller, The New York Times, The Guardian and The New Statesman. She has worked on advertising campaigns for American Express and British Airways as well an identity for The Dorchester’s Coworth Park Hotel.

laura-carlin-page-23In addition to her commercial work, Laura currently works with Quentin Blake in advisory role for the development of the House of Illustration.

Laura has been voted, by the Art Director’s Club of America an ADC Young Gun, one of the 50 most influential creatives under 30 years of age.

Alongside her illustration career, Laura also works as a ceramist. Her work is for sale at The New Craftsman and Yorkshire Sculpture Park as well at privately hosted sales.

In October 2014 her book A World of Your Own was published by Phaidon, her first work as an author. Using a gentle chronological narrative of one day, the book encourages looking, drawing and making – initially from life and then from imagination.

For more info or to hire Laura click here http://www.lauracarlin.com

Finding Winnie illustrator Sophie Blackall wins 2016 Caldecott Medal


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As part of the Illustrators Journal efforts to increase our footprint we’re going to cover and write about artists who we feel are relevant and current.

Sophie Blackall fits that mold and so here’s some of her very beautiful and sensitive artwork and a recent article about her Caldecott win.

Sophie Blackall Artwork

Tuesday, January 12, 2016 | 0

finding-winnie-blackall.jpgSophie Blackall illustrated Finding Winnie, written by Toronto author Lindsay Mattick. (HarperCollinsCanada Ltd.).

New York-based illustrator Sophie Blackall has won the 2016 Caldecott Medal – America’s most prestigious prize for children’s illustration – for her artwork in Finding Winniewritten by Toronto’s Lindsay Mattick.The book tells the true Canadian story of Winnipeg, the black bear from Ontario who became a mascot for soldiers during World War I and later inspired author A.A. Milne’s most beloved character, Winnie-the-Pooh.”Children will be enchanted by Winnie’s journey from the forests of Canada to the pages of the Hundred Acre Wood. Blackall offers a tour-de-force of visual storytelling,” said Caldecott Medal Committee Chair Rachel G. Payne in a press release.Edwin Speaks Up children's book

One of the best picture-book artists working today, Blackall offers winsome art that is interesting in its use of perspective, perceptive in its depiction of family dynamics, and just plain adorable in its effort to make ferrets fetching. (Not always an easy task.) Parents and children will agree, this is a book that’s clever in every sense of the word: skillful, original, and witty. —Booklist (starred review)

Saturday at El Matador Beach

During the winter a day at the beach seems like a dream away…

The Illustrators Journal

I spent yesterday at El Matador Beach in Malibu shooting two models with a group of photographers. I art directed many shoots with actors, actresses and models but I’ve never shot one. This is part of my expansion into photography. Aside from some technical gaps I felt pretty comfortable moving the models around. I didn’t have a reflector so I shot fill with the flash that comes with my canon T2i. I also shot raw files which later on had far more information that I’m used to. All in all it went great and I set up the first gallery of shots under my photography tab above. here’s the link https://illustratorsjournal.wordpress.com/lon-levin-photography/el-matador-state-beach-shoot/

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IJ’s 800th Post!


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Journey On


The route you take in life is yours and yours alone. You are responsible for its outcome. Approaching the new year reflect on the path and decide if you’ve done enough to become the best person you can be. This is a photo of the spot I start my 6 mile run every week. Each time I approach it I know this is not just a path to perform some exercise it is symbolic of my will to continue the journey and try my best to perform at a high level.

Below are powerful paragraphs of thought from Deepak Chopra.

Go on be cynical, scoff at anything that smacks of religious fervor or reaching altered consciousness any other way than getting stoned on some kind of legal or illegal drug. It doesn’t matter it works for those who want it to work and it doesn’t cost you a cent. I’ve done both and the power of your own consciousness is far more awesome than anything artificial you can take. My life has changed by tapping into that strength, visualizing what you want and who you want to be. Then when the opportunity presents itself (and it always does) you are prepared to act even when you don’t realize you are. The trick is managing that. Once the thought and desire has materialized it needs to be managed properly or it will fade faster than stone wash blue jeans. So read on if you dare or click onto another topic. The choice in life is always yours.

eAdapted from Power, Freedom, and Grace by Deepak Chopra (Amber Allen, 2006)

In cosmic consciousness we are still in this world–-waking dreaming, and sleeping— and yet we are connected to our source in waking, dreaming and sleeping. Like a light at the door that shines inside the room and outside the room, we are in both places. When this happens, synchronicity, chance encounters and hidden clues increase. We start to understand the power of intention. We start to watch our internal dialogue, and we say, I know that how I speak to myself actually causes things to change in my physiology, in my world.

In cosmic consciousness, we find that relationship is the most important thing in life; everything in life is a confluence of relationships. We begin to see that everything is a balance between feminine and masculine energies, the yin and yang, and anytime there is more of one than theother, we are out of balance. Right now, we need to reawaken the feminine because the dominance of the masculine has led to belligerence, arrogance, and aggression, the very problems we see in the world right now.

In cosmic consciousness, we are aware that we are not the physical body, nor are we the mind and all the roles we play. We are the silent witness, and a sense of freedom and liberation comes out of this awareness. We are involved in our roles, and yet we are free at the same time. We recognize that after death our spirit will continue to play other roles,and we feel more ease. As we abide in cosmic consciousness and allow it to blossom, the universe plays itself through us, and the whole dance of life becomes effortless.

Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/the -gifts-of-cosmic-consciousness.html#ixzz1MBEvlDnG


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