Tag Archives: Julie Paschkis

Crocodockle

For the past six years I’ve made a calendar which I sell to raise money for the ACLU.

This year’s image includes a crocodockle snapping at the American Eagle.

I have never seen a crocodile in real life, but they populate my imagination.

On the Go , collage, J. Paschkis

I call mine crocodockles because they are inaccurate representations of the noble lizard Crocodylus.

Crocodockles can be scary

Illustration from Artist’s Book ALPHABABBLE by J.Paschkis, bound by Claudia Cohen, Two Ponds Press

but they like to go to parties.

Collage, J. Paschkis

They can help point the way

Ms. Weathervane, ink and gouache, J. Paschkis

or lie below the surface unhelpfully.

Voyage, Ink and Gouache, J. Paschkis

Some crocodockles like eating chickens

and some crocodockles prefer the taste of words.

Illustration from ZigZag, by J. Paschkis coming soon from Enchanted Lion Book

If you would like to order a crocodilian calendar please click here. They cost $15 each: all $15 goes to the ACLU.

Hurry before they are all snapped up!

Aurinko by J.Paschkis, ink and gouache

Thank you.

Julie Paschkis

p.s. I am not the only crocodile enthusiast. Here is a link to a wonderful blog post by Andrea Immel about crocodiles in children’s books.

What Crocodiles Eat for Dinner Besides Clocks, Pirate Captains, and Elephants’ Children

Heat Wave

Seattle is in the thick of a heat wave. Here are some images to make things even warmer.

Sun by Brian Wildsmith

Brian Wildsmith’s sun is powerful, yet benevolent.

Antonio Frasconi made a Book of Many Suns in 1955. Here are nine Frasconi woodcuts of suns. Each small sun has a large personality.

Enough sun you say? There is always more sun.

More, More, More by Julie Paschkis 2018

Here are some images that are not specifically of suns but are hot with color and imagery.

Ingri and Edgar Parin D’Aulaire show the making of the world in their book of Norse Gods and Giants. A volcano erupts. Hot.

Joohee Yoon shows the beginning of the world in her illustration of Walt Whitman’s Hummingbird from the book Beastly Verse. With a controlled palate the world is erupting with heat and light.

There is more volcanic heat on Wm Steig’s Rotten Island. Steig was a master of beastliness including beastly heat

…and beastly beasts.

Is the heat making you feel beastly? Maybe you feel like this She Goat or Bear, from a late 19th centurty Russian Lubok.

Cool off with an early morning bike ride! Here’s a jaunty cyclist illustrated by Mariana Malhão in the book Uma Rosa Na Tromba de um Elefante by António José Forte.

A jump in the water is another good option. Orlando the Marmalade Cat, by Kathleen Hale shows how. The gentle drawing and the lithographic process make the water soft and inviting.

Whatever you do – keep cool!

Easy, Tiger

Time of the Tiger by Julie Paschkis, gouache and ink on paper

February 1st is the start of the lunar new year – The Year of the Tiger.

Every year the artist Dorit Ely creates a collage card showing the spirit of that year’s animal.

Year of the Tiger by Dorit Ely

In the year 1789 William Blake published The Songs of Innocence. His tyger still burns bright.

The Tyger written and illustrated by William Blake

Joohee Yoon relights the burning tiger in her book Beastly Verse from Enchanted Lion. Yoon’s tiger pulses with energy. She uses a limited palette – the colors vibrate. The shadows of the forest become the stripes of the tiger. The page folds out. First you see mostly the forest, then open the gatefold to reveal the rest of the tiger with fearful asymmetry.

Tiger by Joohee Yoon (closed spread, open spread, detail)

Morris Hirshfield’s tiger radiates energy through the curving stripes of the beast, framed by the curving lines of the sky. This tiger is bigger than any mere tree, bigger than the hills.

Tiger by Morris Hirshfield 1940, at MOMA

Straight lines can be energetic too. Tiger leaps with big paws onto this soft rug, this new year.

Tiger Rug courtesy of Honeychurch Antiques.

This quizzical feline might not be a tiger. He wonders.

Kotofei Ivanovich by Tatiana Mavrina

He is painted by Tatiana Mavrina. Her joyful style always reminds me to be free when painting.

Today’s tiger journey ends with another visit to William Blake.

The poet Nancy Willard was inspired by Blake’s Songs of Innocence, and created an imaginary inn belonging to him. She wrote A Visit to William Blake’s Inn: Poems for Innocent and Experienced Travelers. The book is subtly, delicately, delightfully illustrated by Alice and Martin Provensen. Their tiger will lead us into 2022 and the rest of our lives.

Art by Alice and Martin Provensen, from A Visit to Willliam Blake’s Inn by Nancy Willard

Blake Leads A Walk on the Milky Way by Nancy Willard

He gave silver shoes to the rabbit

and golden gloves to the cat

and emerald boots to the tiger and me

and boots of iron to the rat.

He inquired, “Is everyone ready?

The night is uncommonly cold.

We’ll start on our journey as children,

but I fear we shall finish it old.”

The Barking Ballad

Woof! Please welcome a new book onto the shelf.

The Barking Ballad is a true pandemic puppy.

Before the pandemic I became interested in Crankie Theaters. I wrote about them HERE. I decided to make a crankie theater production of The Elegy on the Death of a Mad Dog by Oliver Goldsmith. To make it more interesting the audience would bark along. But then the pandemic struck. Gathering to bark (or meow) around a theater was unwise.

It occurred to me that a bark-along children’s book would be just as fun.

Goldsmith’s elegy is wonderful (you can hear it sung HERE). But its gentle mocking of piety didn’t seem clear or interesting to children. So I took one stanza of his poem and wrote my own story using Goldsmith’s structure and rhythm. Thank you, Oliver Goldsmith.

The book opens with instructions on how to bark and meow along.

The new story is about a lonely cat…

…who eventually meets a particular dog. Read the book to find out how.

They become true friends and companions. They travel paw by paw.

There are more dogs. More barking ensues…

and even more. Cacophany!

Just like it takes many dogs to make a chorus, it takes many people to make a book sing. I was lucky to work once again with the editor Reka Simonsen and the art director Michael McCartney at Simon & Schuster.

This book is best read aloud with lots of barking. For story hour you could cut out a large red circle and yellow diamond to use as cues.

Have fun. Woof!

P.S. The Wordy Book came out in September. It was expected earlier but supply chain and shipping issues delayed its arrival. So The Barking Ballad came fast on its heels, although the creation of the two books was more spread out.

The two books are quite different. Thanks for looking at them both.

You can find The Barking Ballad at your local bookstore, at bookshop.org or at Secret Garden Books in Seattle.

Distelfink

Distelfink is the delightful word for the birds in Fraktur. (The literal translation is thistle finch.)

Fraktur is folk art made by the Pennsylvania Dutch, mainly in the 1700 and 1800’s. I grew up in Pennsylvania and saw a lot of Fraktur. The ink seeped into me.

The word refers to the type of script which was used in baptismal and other documents in Germany. In the new world the Fraktur included script, and became increasingly decorative.

Fraktur were drawn with ink and watercolor and often included flowers and distelfink.

In 2016 I was in a bicycle accident and broke my arm. I was despondent because I couldn’t draw, until a friend suggested that I draw with my left hand. My left hand drawing was slow, wonky and pulled me from my sadness. I did a series of paintings I called Fracture Fraktur.

That fall I made a calendar to support the ACLU, drawn left-handed in my fracture fraktur style.

I included the lion and the lamb – made famous by Edward Hicks’s paintings of The Peaceable Kingdom.

Sales of the calendar raised a lot of money for the ACLU, so I have made one every year since then. I have continued with the same fraktur style, although I reverted to my right hand out of habit and ease.

Most of the calendar images have included the lion and the lamb.

I am currently selling the 2022 calendar called We Are All Connected. Thank you to the many people who have purchased them already.

My hope is to help heal the fractures of America with these odd frakturs. I hope you will get one by clicking here. Each calendar sells for $12, and all $12 goes to the ACLU. The printing is donated by G & H Printing, and Ingrid Savage contributes greatly to the shipping. Your many purchases add up to something larger.

Thank you for your help in this endeavor. Distelfink by distelfink!

P.S. Recently I took part in a live Instagram series called Art Out Loud OnLine, hosted by the Society of Illustrators and Enchanted Lion Books. It was archived. Please click here for a leisurely visit with me at my house and studio, along with Julian Snider and Madeline Feig.

Wordy

Hark! A new book!

The Wordy Book, published by Enchanted Lion is coming soon.

The Wordy Book, as you might have guessed, is bursting, babbling, mumbling and billowing with words, beginning with the endpapers.

The book is a collection of paintings that I made over many years. Each painting is paired with an open ended question.

A word can be savored for its sound and shape as well as for its meaning.

When you hear a word the meaning usually arrives first; sometimes the meaning obliterates the other qualities.

In paintings those other qualities have time to surface; meaning can be fluid. The words bump into each other and they bump into the images in the painting. They ask questions as well as giving answers.

Some of the paintings were created years ago, and they inspired new questions. The Sea of Words was used by the King County Library for their Playing With Words program. What do you sea?

In some of the paintings the question came first and I painted a response to it. What do you see?

Can the inside be bigger than the outside? The dragon has other creatures inside of it, as do we. All of the words in the dragon also have a second word embedded inside them.

In the Ouroboros the end of each word contains the beginning of the next.

Some of the pages are plain silly.

Some ask for more thought.

Is this book for kids? Yes. (Although adults are allowed to enjoy it too.) When I was a child I loved words. A favorite book of mine was Ounce Dice Trice and I itched to read it. I hope my book will scratch that same itch for kids now.

The Wordy Book can be preordered now from your local bookstore, from Enchanted Lion or from Bookshop.org. It will be available in mid August – a good time to notice words, bathe in words, play with words and go astray with words.

p.s. Can you find the tribute to Ounce, Dice, Trice hidden in the endpapers?


p.s.s. Here is what Kirkus has to say about the book:

THE WORDY BOOK[STARRED REVIEW!]

Words and pictures connect in surprising, stimulating ways.

Talk about painting with words. Author/illustrator Paschkis plays with them, too, and encourages readers to do likewise. In the process, she explores the elasticity and seemingly endless possibilities of language. The vividly colored, wittily detailed, folk-style paintings on double-page spreads organically incorporate words into the artwork in wondrous, creative ways. Words frequently repeat in different sizes and colors; illustrated images include words that sound or are shaped like them, are variations of them, rhyme or nearly rhyme with them, sort of resemble them, are sort of spelled like them, etc. A bouquet of flowers in a vase sports roses exuding the scents of slumbersultry, shush, and other evocative words beginning with S; on a daisy’s petals readers find dizzy, doozy, lazy, jazzylief, leap, life, and more decorate the leaves. Delightful words—many of which readers won’t know, and that’s OK—flex vocabulary and spelling muscles to the max and also enhance readers’ visual and auditory senses when the pictures are taken in. Furthermore, the spreads are connected to thought-provoking questions. Some inspired the paintings, or vice versa, and themselves contain examples of wordplay. Persons depicted have diverse skin tones. The book makes a great springboard for creative-thinking activities in writing and art units in classroom and library programs. Keep dictionaries handy. Endpapers abound with swirling words readers can savor (and look up).

In a word, a feast for the eyes, brain, and artistic imagination. (author’s note) (Picture book. 6-10)

i.e. gallery show

A solo show of my paintings will be at the i.e. gallery in Edison, WA. for the month of June, opening this Saturday June 5th from 2-4 PM.

Here are many of the paintings for those of you who can’t visit in real life.

My paintings have always been connected to my work as a children’s book illustrator. Most of my paintings tell stories although they don’t have manuscripts. You can make up your own stories when you see them.
This show includes a few series of work done over the past several years, before and during Covid isolation.

One group of paintings began with this character whom I call Aurinko (the Finnish word for sun). In this painting she has lots of feet so that she can travel far. Those feet were inspired by a Catalan print of La Vella Quaresma that hangs in the kitchen of my friends Karel and Nancy.

I imagined her in different settings and seasons (and with varying numbers of legs and heads).

I painted this series using a dip pen and waterproof ink, then added color. Here is a detail. What is summer without bugs?

The Fishermoon soon joined Aurinko.

And the mermaid. And various other creatures of the woods and waterways.

Another group of paintings was painted with gouache and pinpricks. These were from the heart of the pandemic – a time of isolation.

Here is a detail:

Another series is gouache and collage with simple shapes and bold colors.The paper for the collage elements is hand-painted. I began this series in 2019 and have continued because the strong colors feed me.

Here is a detail:

I made designs for giant enamel panels for Sound Transit in 2020 with this technique, playing with the idea of transportation. I will be redesigning them to be mosaics, so these paintings could be included in the show. You might recognize the influence of La Vella Quaresma again. Unlike that story, my character gets to keep and use her legs. She even gets new shoes.

The Skagit Valley is a wonderful place to ride your bicycle.

I hope that by bike, car or foot you can see the show in real life, or visit the i.e. website to see more work. Thank you.

On the last day of the show (Sunday June 27) I will be teaching a workshop where we will make paper lanterns. For more information on the workshop please click here.

Paprika Coloring Book

Last spring I started creating coloring pages and posting them on my website here. It was a way for me to offer something to people who were suddenly home all the time (kids and adults). And it was a way to steady myself in a wobbling world.

Now, a year later, I have posted more than 150 drawing pages. They are all available to download for free here.

Recently I picked 21 of my favorite pages and made a new coloring book.

You can buy the coloring book at JuliePaprika for $10. (Click here). The pages can be colored with pencils, crayons, markers or paint.

You can make up your own stories for the images as you add color.

Because I used to be an art teacher, I hope that you will also make your own drawings from scratch. Here are a few prompts for starting a drawing. These are some of the ways I jump start myself.

DRAWING PROMPTS:

  1. Draw a shape and repeat it many times. Then decorate that shape with doodles.

2. Draw a straight line. Connect another line to it. Keep adding lines and see what happens. Various dimensions might appear.

3. Write a word so that the letters fill the whole page. Decorate the letters.

4. Draw something that is laying around your house. Don’t worry if your drawing is wonky or strange. If you wanted a perfect picture you could take a photograph.

5. Draw a line and repeat a similar line next to it, over and over. You can do it with many shapes (like these leaves), or just one shape over and over. The little irregularities and variations of the line as it repeats will make your drawing interesting.

I hope that you will have fun creating your own drawings, and adding color to mine. And I hope that as the world opens up there is still time to draw or be contemplative in other ways.

p.s. Today’s blogpost comes with dessert. Here is a recipe/painting of strawberry rhubarb pie by my niece Zoe Paschkis. You can see more of Zoe’s work on Instagram ( click HERE) or Etsy (HERE).

Piano

Drawing by Saul Steinberg

Pianos are splendid. Here is a book that explains with brio how they came to be.

My friend Julan Chu, a gifted pianist, lent me a fine, shiny piano. It felt wrong to have it and not to play it, so I began to take lessons again last January.

Julan Chu -portrait by Julie Paschkis 2003

My lessons became virtual when the pandemic arrived, and they also became more important to me. The discipline of practicing scales and pieces has been an anchor (a metronome?) during these strange times.

In the book Dancing Hands, Margarita Engle tells the story of the pianist, composer and singer Teresa Carreño, who immigrated to the U.S.A. from Venezuela during the Civil War. This book tells the story of the power of music in light and dark times- like a piano it conveys a whole range of emotions. Click here for a link to the illustrator Rafael Lopez’s fantastic blog about how he illustrated the book.

Although I am practicing and playing through dark and cloudy times, you wouldn’t illustrate my attempts with vivid blossoms. My hands stumble and squawk more often than they dance.

Christoph Niemann

But it is interesting to try, and it is satisfying to see incremental change. Every once in a while I can make music.

Petr Vasilievich Miturich

When I am at the piano I need to let everything else go, which is difficult. I realize how fractured my attention has become. Practicing requires presence.

In May Christoph Niemann published a graphic essay in the New York Times about the solace of learning piano as an adult during the pandemic.  (Click HERE for a link.) He brilliantly illustrated the pain and the pleasure of the practice. Now he has turned that essay into a book: Pianoforte.

His illustrations are perfectly compressed ideas – succinct, funny, and true to my experiences.

He shows the frustrations …

the side benefits…

and the ephemeral pleasures.

 

I had to include actual music in this post!  Please click HERE for a link to Ballade No. 15 , composed by Teresa Carreño, played by Alexandra Oehler.

And here is a link to the website of my fantastic piano teacher, Carrie Kahler. She teaches young children as well as adults. Because the lessons are virtual you could sign up no matter where you live.

What has kept you going during the pandemic? Please share your thoughts in the comment section. Thank you.

 

The love of doing, redoing and not doing

In a year of great doing, and the sometimes even harder task of not doing, we thought we’d pause and share our appreciation of the things that give us joy, purpose and meaning no matter what is happening in the world around us.

Julie let what she loves–creating images and writing–speak for itself.

Flourish and Grow by Julie Paschkis

By Julie Paschkis

Planting Thoughts by Laura Kvasnovsky

Illustration by Mila Marquis

Here you are again, on your knees in the dirt. 

Close your eyes and feel the sun warm on your back and the dry papery husks of the bulbs in your hand: Muscari armeniacum.

Breathe in the sharp scent of sandy soil and the darker fragrance of compost and leaf mulch, and hear the birds, if they chirp, and the rustle of the breeze.

The earth waits. Dig in and settle the bulbs, grateful for that ancient impulse to grow, to bloom, to go to seed, to fade.

And grateful for the turning of the seasons that finds you here again, on your knees in the dirt.

Mending by Margaret Chodos-Irvine

Dress and photo by Margaret Chodos-Irvine

Close your eyes and think about the clothes you are wearing.

Think about everything that went into making them: 

The people who put them together, somewhere in the world, 

the plants and animals and energy that were used in making them.

We mend in gratitude for all these things. 

We practice patience. We practice acceptance. 

We embrace imperfection as part of what makes everything unique.

Words Full of Promise by Julie Larios

Illustration by Piero Schirinzi

I’m a poet. To me, being a poet means using words – individual words – words made of evocative letters. How can letters evoke feelings? Well, when I see the letter “j,” I love the dip it takes below the line, the little hook that feels rebellious, non-conformist. I love the letter “z” in a word, because it feels (and even sounds) strange; it’s a letter that can’t decide if it wants to go forward or backward. When you write it, it reverses direction. It’s a letter full of doubt, and I prefer doubt to certainty. The letter “k” is a bit aggressive, very certain, the Genghis Khan of letters. Each letter of the alphabet has a unique personality, yet together they cooperate, they cohere, they form little societies called words. 

This Thanksgiving, I’m grateful for each letter of the alphabet, and for the way letters make words and words make poems, and poems are, by nature, inclusive, they invite people of differing experiences to contemplate shared feelings – they help us share a spot at the Thanksgiving table. 

I invite you to think about the shapes of letters. Rebellious, uncertain, bold, shy – you’ll find their nature if you look. String some together into a word, two words, three. Don’t worry about grammar yet. Build a poem with one-syllable words. Right now I’m thinking of the word “thirst.” Begins with a “t,” ends with a “t.” That word feels suspended in time -something hangs in the balance, makes a growl. Then I consider the word “juice.” Playful. Generous. Put them together for a two-word poem, full of promise – “Thirst? Juice!”

Sleep by Bonny Becker

Illustration by Eugeni Balakshin

Close your eyes and think about sleep.

Turn off noise, color, fear, hate, right, wrong.

Even love can wait.

Nothing needs you right now.

Turn off the story.

Slip over the edge into the velvet void.

Nothing needs you right now. 

Be done today with do.

Rest and begin anew. 





Thank you from all of us to all of you.