I was asked recently by a friend (and elemetary school art teacher) to create a short video for her students of my life as a professional illustrator: How does one day unfold for me; where do I collect inspiration; what sort of tools are specific to what I do; what DO I do - and what ever do I even look like?! These are big questions, with potentially complicated answers, and the truth is - I do a wide variety of things in order to keep the lights on and Oscar well fed. It seems I have fewer and fewer "typical" days... but if you asked me to generalize for a moment and describe a single, quintessential day, I'd quickly use words to paint a picture of what's been neatly put into moving images above.
As luck would have it, I am studio-mates with a world-class videographer (and all around amazing and very talented individual). Doubly fortunate for me, Steve (Stebs) Shinnerer of Paper Fortress Films had been interested in shooting an "A Day With..." portrait of me (as part of a larger creative series) since last fall... The timing finally right, we coordinated a day of interviewing and shadowing through multiple locations (including my beloved Franklin Park Zoo), and a few weeks later, the final edit was ready for it's debut - in front of dozens of eager first and second-graders... in Missouri... The resulting 4-minute project is darn near pitch-perfect - I actually find myself pausing to thank my sweet stars for this life every time I watch it (plus, it's chock full of cool animals... so, WIN).
As a supplement to the video, I took one of the sketches started during that one, lovely day, and developed it into a finished coloring page, so that each child in my friend's class could create their own work of art, inspired by an FPZ creature ("Azul", a hyacinth macaw, to be precise). Drawn in a similar style to a project I did for National Geographic.com years ago, the ink drawing is designed for easy print/download. If you'd like to color your own parrot, just click on the image below and print from your browser, or save to your hard drive!
A note to my few dear subscribers:
You may have noticed the silence here at the ungulate blog over the last 6+ months... it was with great disappointment that I had to suspend regular creature feature posting; life, as they say, is what happens when you make other plans. This little personal project, beloved as it may be to me, just couldn't compete with a host of professional projects and opportunities that have been courting my time and talents in increasing numbers. One of those time monopolizers was, I am so proud to say, training for the 2013 Boston Marathon. The big day of course turned horribly sad toward it's end, but I couldn't have been happier with my run, and the reason for my effort:
I ran the 2013 Boston Marathon on behalf of the Franklin Park Zoo. That's right, I took on the fundraising challenge of running 26.2 miles with a charity that couldn't fit me better if it were hand-tailored to my every measurement. I ran with 2 other beautiful, strong women, each of us pledging to raise $5,000.00 by the end of the summer.
The race may be over, but my fund-raising continues, and it's projects like the one above that make it crystal clear how important the Franklin Park Zoo is to the Boston community, and beyond. Perhaps especially in light of the tragic events at the end of the April 15th race, now is the time to support the institutions and organizations that enrich, enliven, entertain and educate this vibrant city. So, if you are inclined (and I would urge you to be!) PLEASE CONSIDER SUPPORTING MY MARATHON RUN with a donation. I trained for 3 months and put over 4 grueling hours on the race course - what can you do to make a difference in the lives of these animals and their tireless keepers?