Tuesday, January 31, 2012

kin can draw

Yes, the time is nigh: our sketchbooks must be mailed to The Sketchbook Project TODAY. It's been a labor of love and togetherness, since this year my husband, my daughter, and I all got into the act.

Marty chose "uncharted waters" as his theme, since he doesn't keep a sketchbook. It was new for him to sketch on the fly. Actually, mostly on the ferry.

He sketched the E Cosi, a familiar sight at the dock. This hardy vessel was in Ice Harbor Mittens and will also be seen in the upcoming Here Come the Humpbacks.

This is one of my favorites:

I like his contour of the ferry landing, as seen from the laundromat.

Thanks to last week's midterms, our daughter delayed the last several drawings. But she feverishly finished her last page at midnight!

Meeting a deadline on time is difficult for some of my students, so I am VERY proud she got hers DONE.

Her theme is "Time Traveler" and an ode to the Doctor, of course. I am very fond of her Star Whale.

But this one I L-O-V-E...our Posie off to see the galaxy! Truly, the daily dog walks always take the mind to unforeseen places.

She has captured well a pair of favorite characters, too. Tree people!

It was on a walk with the dog that I noticed our neighbors, the Conleys, had begun building a tree house. And that triggered a story idea, and hence my theme, "tree house."

This is my imagined scene of Nirmala's tree house, with an owl friend.

Here is the Holdridge's lofty perch, where dreams sway in the breeze.

If you've come within five feet of me recently, I've pushed my sketchbook on you, or talked about tree houses. My swell neighbor Nancy loaned me a vintage photo of her mother, aloft in her magnificent tree house, that took me back to a place I haven't been, but can imagine.

With a bit of sadness, we pack them up and send them on their way. The snow falls steadily, but there's the prospect of seeing them this summer at SPACE Gallery. A happy thing!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Fun things are happening in the Teen Zine Factory over at the Telling Room. I'm leading a workshop on making zines with a group of very fresh kids, thanks to my fanaticism about the punch that can be packed in such little paper vehicles.

Zines are any kind of self-published statement, maybe words, maybe pictures, ideas made real. I've used them as an ice-breaker assignment many times, and have quite a collection. Here's just a few of my favorites:

At the Telling Room, everybody spreads out and gets into their creation.

Some were sketching, like Elias, who drew a favorite character called the Blob. Camille drew fluid, flying horses. Janine drew cute comic girls.

Lily was clacking away on the vintage typewriter, making up "lies no one ever told you."

Stay tuned for the upcoming debut of a round of original zines!

In between classes, I trekked to Curious City, where words are always at play. Notice how Curious Chief Kirsten Cappy works under the watchful eyes of her beloved friends from the Hundred Acre Wood.

She served up a hearty lunch and a brilliant publicity plan for A Warmer World, my most recent illustrated book, due out on February 1. And only Kirsten could deliver a cup of tea with such delightful character. Here's my sketch:

The semester has begun again at Maine College of Art, with sparkle and great expectations.

In Illustration 2, we got rolling with a quick exercise called Alphabetic Landscape, in which one draws a word like it sounds or feels or is.

Here's a good one by Isaac.

And I love this one by Molly.

(I added the green for emphasis.)

These two words together are good indicators of what the semester will hold: lots of expanding ideas!

Meanwhile, a delightful package came in my mail from Melissa Sweet, who's just won another well-deserved award for her latest, "Balloons Over Broadway."

Somehow, she can't sit still, and sent along these very groovy potholders! Oh. My. Word.

They are too cute to use, but look lovely hanging next to her other work in our hotsy totsy kitchen.

Bravo, Melissa!

Now it's back to work, drawing more whales. In honor of the Chinese New Year, here's a book jacket I illustrated, which may make you hungry for a bowl of good fortune.

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

warming up

It warms me no end to see another illustration of mine in Maine Magazine.

This one's all about the health benefits of sweat. I'm also pleased to share the pages with my MECA student, Spenser Macleod. He did an illustration for the poetry page. No sweat, Spenser. Cool.

For awhile, it didn't seem very wintery, but then, brrrrrrr, we had a good cold snap. I posted this cardinal on Facebook in honor of National Bird Day.

The very next day Mr. Cardinal was in the branches during a long-awaited snow blast. Was my art the draw?

A friend gave me some paperwhite bulbs. Not being much of a gardener, I went head over heels with the immediate gratification.

I drew her this in return.

It has since gotten even more glorious.

Over the mantel is the cover art for Nest, Nook, and Cranny, which I just learned from author Susan Blackaby has won the 2011 Lion and Unicorn Award for Excellence in North American poetry. Bravo! You can read the entire essay here, but this is my favorite quote:

"This year's winner, Susan Blackaby's Nest, Nook & Cranny, illustrated by Jamie Hogan, is not only a fine collection of poetry, but also succeeds as a book to be grasped and looked at. It somehow makes graceful the dreaded "informative nature poem" collection, transcending the genre of didactic animal books by its severe attention to poetic form, and Hogan's pastels and charcoal pencil drawings, given depth by the visible texture of her Canson paper, decorate without overwhelming the delicate verses."

I'll take that as a compliment!

Meanwhile, I still have whales on the brain. Yet with all my whale spotting, I only just noticed that there is a whale on MY DOOR.

A friend gave us these numbers nearly 20 years ago as a house warming gift: 2 thistle, 6 whale, 5 barnacle. And the whale is a humpback, too. Rather cosmic.

I am surrounded by all the right references, when I take a good look. These are just the tankers I need for my current illustration. Spied them from the ferry.

This illustration is about how humpbacks travel through shipping lanes. Really? I like thinking they are out in Casco Bay, singing their songs.

Back to both the drawing board and the classroom at Maine College of Art. Besides doing 9 more illustrations for Here Come the Humpbacks, I will have 7 new students in Illustration 2.

That, too, is sweet!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

pencils + trees

In the manner of Kate Bingaman Burt, who made her mark by documenting everything she bought each day with a drawing, I sketched some of the gifts I received this year as thank you cards.

Did you see the moonbow in the sky last night? So awesome. My sweetheart gave me a pair of reading glasses that have little bulbs in the temples, so you can read at night, and ahem, not wake your neighbor.
Invariably, when the moon is getting full, I am energized. An insomniac. He also gave me a Luna Time Clock, so I can always know where the moon is. An insomniac AND a lunatic! Between that, and my lunar calendar, I'm good.

My daughter helped pick out this groovy wallet. Stylish spending. Love!

 Curious friends, Kirsten and Mark, gave us a little orange deer dispenser, adorable and useful. We watched Dr. Who together the day after Christmas. Wibbly, wobbly, timey, wimey fun.

Susan Blackaby, amazing author of Nest, Nook, and Cranny sent from her coast to ours a trio of rubber duckies to add to our collection. Oh, and some peeps! I feel a story coming on.

My potter friend, Peg, who knows I am dotty about patterns, made this mega cup, which I drink from now, plotting in my sketchbook.

Our neighbor, Eleanor, gave us a pretty bottle of gooseberry cordial that she made from trees in her yard.

Trees are so inspirational. Here's where I segue into my current Sketchbook Project. I was talked into this last year by Mary Anne Lloyd, and it was a blast. (Here is my sketchbook 2011.) Just like last time, it took me a long time to begin. Procrastination, also known as incubating, is a large part of my process. 

I've been simmering a book idea about tree houses on a back burner for over a year. Since "tree house" was one of the themes offered by the Sketchbook Project, I figured it would help get something going.

Sure enough, once I get drawing, ideas flow. I still have several pages to fill, but I did the cover this morning, inspired by our visit to Eyes on Owls in December.

I started out in the middle, thank you, Mary Anne. I began documenting the various tree houses I've encountered on Peaks Island. Here's one, where I'm not invited.

After I drew from observation, I needed some invention thrown in. Here's my resident fairy, perched on a pine cone with her acorn tea.

Drawing, looking, and reading has also broadened my idea of what is a tree house. My daughter got Wildwood for Christmas, and since she's still working on her book report on Lord of the Flies, I started reading her copy. I'm in love with the illustrations by Carson Ellis, and the story by Colin Meloy is rich in atmosphere.

There's a huge tree hanging over a bluff on the beach down the hill. Someday it may crash into the sea, but meanwhile, the roots are exposed, and got me thinking about Prue, hiding beneath a warren of coyotes.

 And here's a hint. A certain tree hollow is home for our letter box. I added Kooky in my drawing, as a brave guard. See if you can find it, all you letter boxers!

And what about this naked teepee, built in the fall by Susan? She was ritually burning old papers, writings. Purging in a ceremonial way. So this is a tree house of ash and memories.

Well, I have many more pages to fill. But it's back to work, illustrating whales. Yes, Charlesbridge, I am getting there! But all work and no play would make a dull pencil. Right?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

fun with numbers

Happy New Year! I, for one, like the new numbers. There's a lovely symmetry, and I was born on a twelfth day of the month. This year will mark 20 years living on this rock. We had fun on New Year's Day climbing to "Billy Goat Rocks" on the back shore. 

On the look out for ice, since skating had been the plan for New Year's Eve, but it was too warm.
But we found a frozen tide pool or two.

We stopped by the ice pond, where an island company once harvested ice back in the day.

It looks frozen, but not safe at over 40 degrees. Marty did this for his holiday card, same pond but full of skaters. Wishful!

Meanwhile, I am back to my whale fixation. Spotted this whale ship, a la Dr. Who, in the window at Pine Cone and Chickadee, a favorite place to find cool things.

And check out the cool gift drawn by my daughter!

Love that I look about 25. And how she leaves out most of the clutter in my studio. The buoy hanging by the window was made by my grandfather, Roland Hogan Sr., and appears in Ice Harbor Mittens.

And, she captured me drawing a whale. Sweet! 
I have 7 illustrations done, and 14 to go. Here's a peak:

Speaking of books, A Warmer World is due out Feb. 1. Hooray!

I was excited to sponsor my brave neighbor, Jeanne Gulnick, who dashed and dipped for the Natural Resources Council of Maine on Dec. 31. Sadly, I got trapped in traffic and missed the actual dip. Arrived to find folks bundled up looking as red as a cooked lobster. It was a gray and raw day at East End Beach, for sure. Bravo, you polar bears!

Another highlight of the holiday was seeing my Kittery cousins. We're all so proud of Mati, visiting from San Francisco, who's been included in a new book, Creative Pilgrimage.

Even better, she showed us the proofs for another book entirely about her painting process, due out in June. Congratulations, Mati!

I'm excited for this new year. May we all find new ideas, good health, and abundant blessings in our paths. Shine on!