Being the new kid in town is always a challenge, and doing so in a foreign country can prove to be even more isolating. When my dad's job relocated us from the big skies of Texas to a tenth floor flat in central London, I found myself spending quite a bit of time in the company of my imagination. The backyards and tree forts of my youth were replaced with tube stops, parks that had more rules then trees, and of course daily "tea time".
The Tea Time series is inspired by the friends that kept me company as I made the transition from my barefooted Texas childhood to the more proper life of a Londoner.
I am not a naturally graceful person. My short lived ballet career resembled that of a rhino in a china shop.
My most loyal imaginary friend was a big male lion named "Professor". I have no idea what inspired the name, but this regal character quickly became the focus of many of my childhood adventures. Last I heard, he'd left his tenured post at Oxford to pursue his passion for hair styling.
One winter my grandmother kept a pet praying mantis in the greenhouse behind her Caribbean cottage. Ensuring that Lady Mantis was hydrated and happy was a near full time pursuit that proved to be more challenging then initially thought. You see, Lady Mantis was a picky eater and turned her nose up at the dried out insects we gathered from the window ledge and eagerly presented to her. But this did not deter my grandmother in the slightest. She took to making regular visits to the local dump to "collect" Lady Mantis's dinner. She would roll down the windows, wait long enough for the flies to fill the interior of the Jeep, then quickly seal them shut in the car and race home to present to her famished insect friend.
Lady Mantis was born from the memory of my grandmother and her ongoing commitment to turning us into little entomologists.
The movie Jaws permanently altered my relationship with all bodies of water. Even the bath tub was a potential death trap and don't even get me started on the swimming pool.
Admiral Earl Grey is a seasoned explorer of the seas, protecting little girls from what lurks just below the bubble bath.
Alone in my room I would be fully entrenched in adventures; grand performances with rhinos, deep sea explorations with Admiral Earl Grey, and of course lengthy discussions with the Professor and Lady Mantis. These were big, loud, colorful occations and thus I was always a little confused as to why the nanny told my parents that I had spent the afternoon "playing quietly in my room". She must have been taking a nap or something.
Eat your veggies
My sister recently gave birth to a healthy happy baby girl. I was fortunate enough to spend a few weeks with her over the course of her pregnacy and each time was astounded how much her growing belly would change, sometimes just in the course of the day.
When a friend came to me with the idea of creating a Pregnancy Fruit Desk Calender I jumped at the chance to produce the illustrations. This 38 week calender compares the growing fetus to favorite fruits and vegetables of comparable size. Each illustration is also a post card, allowing mothers (and fathers!) to keep eager friends and family updated on what their growing seed is up to each week.
Currently in production.
Girl. Bike. Dog.
Every adventurer needs a good side-kick, and what better combination then a girl and her plucky pup.
Created as a study on sequential illustration and transitional styles, Girl.Bike.Dog attempts to captures the special bond between kid and canine.
Each night after his father turns off the lights, James climbs onto his rocking horse and gallops into the open plains just beyond the twilight horizon. With his loyal horse and a slew of helpful travelers, James continues the search for his mother; finding her each night in the space just between sleep and wake.
The illustrations are excerpts from the wordless picture book, Moonlight Cowboy.
Special Class: Reflections on Reading
Growing up in a family of readers and writters, books were held in high esteem. As a toddler my sister once ripped out the pages of her library books in a willful protest against nap time. We all quickly learned that there was no offense greater in my mothers eyes: books were as valuable as gold and we were to treat them as such.
Needless to say when I began school and fell behind in reading, I was hit with a full scale remediation plan. My mother spent hours patiently helping me read and re-read my favorite stories. I eventually got the hang of it, but still remember the feelings of confusion and excitement that I associated with the written word.
Originally created for a memory card game title Book Smart, these images capture my experiences as a young reader.
My drawing space is cluttered with random scraps of paper covered in doodles; magical time machines, and complicated mysteries, and usually a cast of characters attempting to figure it all out.
I often feel bad for these forgotten adventurerers, so occasionally bring them to life in the hopes of helping get them a little closer to their ultimate destination.
You never know what doodle will turn into the next full scale project.