Russian Badgers

I’m pleased that the Lenape Chamber Ensemble again requested a fun drawing from me, for their Children’s Concert next spring. This concert will include music by Mozart, Widor and Prokofiev, played by world-class musicians who also teach the young audience about musical themes and the composers. I read a bit about Prokofiev’s life and thought the iconic St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow would provide some architectural interest in the background, since my last illustration for a concert was set in Venice for Vivaldi.

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I also discovered that Prokofiev was a noted chess player! I decided on badgers for this drawing’s main characters, and so drew a couple playing chess while others serenade them with flute, violin, viola, cello and piano, which are all featured in this concert.

Here is the sketch partially inked in – unfortunately had to change the pelican at right to a small bird, to fit in the word bubble.

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And the final all inked in – below. Should be a delightful March concert!

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Venetian Bunnies

The Lenape Chamber Ensemble will again present a delightful concert for children in November, and I was asked to draw up a fun flyer advertising it.  The concert features world-class musicians who talk to the children about patterns and themes in the music, bits about the lives of the composers, and their specific instruments; and then they play snippets of the featured compositions (they play the full versions of these pieces for two adult concerts around the same weekend). Sometimes the musicians invite the children to get up and dance in whatever way the music makes them feel. I love going to these concerts to see the little preschoolers and elementary school children’s reactions to these glorious pieces of music!

This Children’s Concert will feature works by Leclair, Telemann, Couperin, and Vivaldi; I researched the pieces to be played and the composers, and found that Vivaldi (nicknamed the ‘red priest’ because he was indeed a cleric who inherited his family trait of red hair) was born in Venice. I’ve also been listening lately to Gilbert & Sullivan’s operetta The Gondoliers, which takes places in Venice, so I decided to use that picturesque city as the backdrop for my illustration for this poster.

I researched pictures of gondolas and some landmarks in Venice, like the Rialto Bridge and the domed basilicas, and roughed out a pencil sketch of a little clutch of musical rabbits floating along in a canal –

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The layout of my flyers for the Lenape Children’s Concerts is always similar, as you can see from this one and this one – they like me to hand-letter the text, so I plan the drawing around where the words will fall. I traced this pencil sketch onto bond paper using my lightbox, and inked in all the details using Faber-Castell Pitt pens.

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I highly recommend the Lenape Chamber Ensemble concerts – both the children’s and the adult ones – the lovely auditorium at Delaware Valley University is just the perfect intimate size to enjoy these wonderful artists playing gorgeous music.

An Animal Chamber Ensemble

I’ve drew my latest flyer illustration for the Lenape Chamber Ensemble’s spring children’s concert.  I always pick some cute animals to portray the musicians in the concert, although in reality they are world-class instrumentalists who play delightful snippets of classical masterpieces for youngsters, tell stories of the composers and get the children to dance to the music. These are wonderful concerts.

lenchens_beavers_1I had never drawn a colony of beavers before so I chose them; I placed a bunch of them on a dam for their concert, and since there were only four musical instruments to include this time I added a nattily dressed beaver couple as their audience. I started with a very rough pencil sketch, and I typed the wording in on a template I’ve made – the text always follows the same format, and I hand-letter it for the finish. It makes it easier to keep straight and space right if I hand trace the letters from this template.

I scanned the first sketch and made the characters a little bigger, and realized I had mistakenly drawn a harpsichord, but it should be a piano. Then I quickly inked & lenchens_beavers_2pencilled in blacks and gray values to see where I would concentrate the most color and texture in the picture. I added in a duck flying by, announcing refreshments, which they always provide to the kids at the concert. The duck was a little too large, I reduced it for the final art.

Onto a clean sheet of bond paper I traced the lettering using my lightbox, and also lightly traced the scene in pencil. Then I used a Faber-Castell fine felt-point to ink in the characters one by one, and all the little sticks and ripples of the dam and the water. I changed the backdrop from vague rolling hills to a fir-tree forest instead, with some reflections in the water. The finished art is below.

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Again, I heartily recommend these concerts if you want to introduce a young child to the beauty and enjoyment of classical music!

 

Squirrel Scherzo

My newest notecard is a little squirrel, bedecked with an elf hat for the holidays, skipping happily to a scherzo he’s playing on his violin. A scherzo is a piece played ‘jestingly’ or ‘whimsically,’ just what I intended for this little fiddler. I started with a pencil sketch –

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then transferred it to illustration board, where I drew it in prisma pencil and painted it in acrylic paint washes.

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These notecards, like the others in my collection, come 8 cards and envelopes to a pack and are blank inside. They are printed in the USA and made with partially recycled paper. Since I had the holidays in mind when I drew this little fellow,  I also printed some cards with a message on the front –

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They are both available on my Etsy site, just click here.

Simple Websites

website_screenshotsI created my own AchillesPortfolio website on WordPress, which has been a blessing since I can easily update my blog and site pages myself. It took a little time to learn but WordPress makes it fairly easy to develop a site with no coding experience. From time to time I am asked to create websites for small businesses and, as long as they are indeed fairly simple, I can build them fairly quickly on WordPress.

I presently manage two sites other than my own – one for local landscape painter Ned Jordan, whose paintings of my local area, the Jersey shore and the Maine coast I really find beautiful.  The other is for composer/librettist Misha Dutka.  I met Misha through the Bucks County Gilbert & Sullivan Society and a while back I illustrated the promotional pieces for his opera for children. He is promoting his newest work, a grand opera titled Liebovar, to opera companies and agents, and wanted a basic website to which he can direct people to view his resume of work.

I recommend taking a look at these two talented artists – through their websites!

 

 

Viola da Gambas and Frogs’ Legs

Once again I was asked to draw a fun illustration for the Lenape Chamber Ensemble’s Children’s Concert, which will be performed November 4th at Delaware Valley University here in Doylestown.

frogs1This musical programme features a lesser-known instrument, the viola da gamba, which means ‘viol of the legs’ which is in contrast to the traditional violin, or viola da bracchia (viol  of the arms). To play up the importance of ‘da gamba’ for the instrument, I chose to sketch a frog playing it. The viola da gamba has a few differences from the rest of the string family – it has ‘C’ shaped holes to the left and right of the bridge, instead of  the ‘f’ shape of other strings, and the bow is held underhanded, instead of the overhand grip for other bows.

I sketched the other instruments – violin, viola, cello, bass and harpsichord – being played by happy salamanders.

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– and situated them all in a little swamp, as you can see below. I’ve said it before, I highly  recommend these concerts for young children – the musicians are world-class and they all teach, so they are very generous and personable in talking to their young audience between playing snippets of classics.  It’s a wonderful experience for kids, and parents can attend the performance for free.

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My Business Referral Notecards & Panda Piano Notecards are now on Etsy

I’m interested to see how it goes listing some of my illustrated notecards on a big platform like Etsy. As I wrote in a previous post, I’m finding Etsy to be very efficient and time-saving in terms of selling my original art products. I’ll write updates as to my success on the site as time progresses. 1etsy_thankyouforsendingbizmyway_3

I drew my ‘Thank You for Sending Business My Way’ notecards when I was a member of a small business support group, to thank the colleagues their who referred me to other businesses. It depicts a traffic cop character waving on an eager gaggle of business people, women and men of various races, and the inside of the card is blank, so the sender has plenty of space to write a personal note of thanks. Full description at my Etsy site.

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I drew my melodious little panda cub as part of a series of whimsical animal musicians, for piano teachers or piano students — or for panda fans! — to use for thank yous, congratulations or any other noteworthy occasion. The inside of the card is blank, so the sender has plenty of space to write a personal note. Full description at my Etsy site.

Both of these are easy to order online here at my shop.