Posts Tagged ‘book’

Today you should go and read about the artist Jean-Baptiste Monge on the Muddy Colors blog.


Read it today because the Kickstarter for the lovely new book ends in nine (9) days. Having already surpassed the initial goal for printing the new edition; this one looked so good that I finally signed up and pledged to the project. Whether you do so is up to you, but unless you read Muddy Colors a lot, you might miss out on the opportunity to get another great faerie book.

Am I back to blogging every week? Probably not given that my current project is getting my workroom to a state where I can actually work in it. For a long time it looked like one of those “bunging out the Augean Stables” sort of tasks but now I can see a significant portion of the floor and the sewing table so it’s beginning to look do-able. Right now I’m going to try to meet an every other week post schedule and hope that you will forgive me if I miss here and there.


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I have recently purchased the most marvelous book. (please note the smudge under the title is a weird reflection caused during scanning)

figs 4dim cover

Figures in the Fourth Dimension by Ellen Rixford is a delight to both the eyes and the brain. If you like puppetry and/or automatons you will love this book. If you want to build puppets, marionettes, or automata, you will be ecstatic.

This book is big, heavy and loaded with beautiful photos, extremely cogent diagrams, instructions and other valuable information. It starts with basics; the parts and devices used in building mechanical things. Then it moves on to tools, supplies, and setting up workspaces. Then there are chapters on artists working in a wide variety of styles both in the visual and the mechanical approach.

figs 4dim 1

Like this bright colorful killer tomato automaton.

figs 4dim 2

Or this modern statuesque carved wooden automaton, both these examples use similar mechanisms but the artistic esthetic is totally different.

figs 4dim 3

figs 4dim 4

Then there is this elaborately controlled elephant marionette who picks up and eats a fruit.

figs 4dim 5

EL Wire body puppets that in performance are light in motion.

figs 4dim 6

figs 4dim 7

This wooden spaceship is an example of how not only do you get a description of how the device moves/acts but also of how the action is achieved.

An outstanding feature of this book is that while it shows many, many different devices it also explains how to make and use the different mechanisms that the various artist used to achieve the motions.

figs 4dim 8

This last picture is here because I’ve adored Paul Spooner’s art for a very very long time and this one is a perfect example of why. It’s called “The Borgias’ Cat” who happens upon some spilled milk and laps it up . . . and dies. Wonderfully Silly! Dark but silly, just love it.

It took me a very loooooong time to decide which images to share, I finally chose on the basis of variety of styles as there are too many entirely gorgeous photos to choose just a few favorites.

So if you’ve ever wondered how puppets, marionettes, ventriloquist dummies and mechanical automata (both modern and antique) work, what their guts look like, or how to build one. Buy this book. Even if you’re just curious about these things: BUY THIS BOOK!

This Book is Totally Amaze-Bones!!!!

Figures in the Fourth Dimension website is here where you can see more about the book; including the entire table of contents (5 pages — this is a thick heavy book — hooray). Then did I mention . . . you should buy it!

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There are plenty of places out there on the inter-webs to look at design boards. Can you say Pinterest?

I like design boards, they’re fun to put together and are helpful in dialing in a focus on what you really want to accomplish in a given project.

Here is a collage of design boards that I found fascinating way back in the long-long ago.

art of muppets gatefold left

art of muppets gatefold right

They are the center gatefold images from a lovely little book about the Muppets.

This little book in fact:

Art of the Muppets cover

Don’t you just love the muppets? Doesn’t Everybody just love the Muppets?

So go out and find some inspiration. Let’s all make something fun and wonderful.

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Today I have for you another image heavy post, this time about the joys and hazards of outdoor living.

Giant Jam Sandwich cover

The Giant Jam Sandwich came to me via the library book sale, it’s another book from the Weekly Reader Children’s Book Club. This book is from 1972 and I particularly like the sort of trippy illustration style. And the silly, silly story.

Giant Jam Sandwich 1

First all these wasps hit town.

Giant Jam Sandwich 2

Ruining everybody’s fun.

Giant Jam Sandwich 3

So the people have a meeting to discuss what to do.

Giant Jam Sandwich 4

They devise a silly plan involving . . .

Giant Jam Sandwich 5

a giant loaf of bread . . .

Giant Jam Sandwich 6

and a vast quantity of strawberry jam.

Giant Jam Sandwich 7

which attracts and traps the wasps.

Giant Jam Sandwich 8

Problem Solved! So they have a party.

Notice that in the upper right corner some birds are carrying away the giant jam/wasp sandwich wrapped in it’s giant picnic cloth for their dinner.

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stand back sneeze cover

This book seemed like an appropriate choice for today. Don’t know about the rest of you but I’ve been sneezing up a storm ever since the green things started growing. I’ve heard all the science; the spring arriving late made the plants and trees all go overboard to catch up, but that doesn’t exactly make the sneezing stop. Or even slow down a bit, I mean, seriously!

stand back sneeze 1

So I’m guessing that I’m not the only one who can sort of identify with the poor old elephant. And empathize with everyone else who has to live through the onslaught.

stand back sneeze 2

like these monkeys,

stand back sneeze 3

and the panicked parrot,

and check out the way elly is strangling that little tree trying to suppress his sneeze.

stand back sneeze 4

and the scaredy-bear.

Hope you all got a chuckle out of this vintage children’s book

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Divide By Cucumber . . .

. . . Reinstall Universe And Reboot.

I thought I was handling this just fine, after all we all knew it was coming. I heard the news on Thursday and while I’ve been sad, I thought I was mostly OK. Then I walked into the library to exchange my books and there was a big pile of books along with his picture. I started to cry. The librarian who put them there started to tear up. We talked for a few minutes and then we laughed. Proper fitting memorial.

I got home (with my new books) and found the invisible wombat wobbling around in circles muttering (wally, wally . . . Crivens!) This is not a good sign. The ground under my feet doesn’t feel quite real, I feel distinctly off balance, nothing is quite right. (There is however the distinct possibility that this surrealness is due not entirely to my grief but instead to a recent (brief) severe illness and hospitalization.) FYI — the invisible wombat is not a Terry Prachett invention. The invisible wombat is mine and he’s been with me practically forever. For a better idea of the dynamics of this relationship watch the movie Lilo and Stitch — I’m both of them.

If you’ve no idea whatsoever who I’m talking about . . . well I pity you. You’ve been missing out on something entirely wonderful.


Here are a few things you should google: Terry Pratchett, Discworld, Discworld quotes, Hex (explains the heading of this post). Don’t forget to click for images. Google has helpfully put up a list of his books — click on it. Then go read them.

Meanwhile I’ll be trying to pull things together. So far the best I’ve managed is a momentary state of “out of cheese”. Which is dire enough to be going on with.

GNU Terry Pratchett

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Another childhood treasure recovered via the local library sale, Yay!

21 balloons cover

The 21 Balloons by William Pene du Bois was published in 1947 and won the Newbery Award in 1948. Which it totally deserved. I borrowed this from the library as a child and was enchanted by the rollicking adventure story therein. I spotted the spine at the library sale and yoink, it was mine! Rereading it reaffirmed my memory of it being fast-paced, wild, and just chock full of bizarre inventions and architectural wonders.

21 balloons title page

It is the story of a retired schoolteacher who resolves to spend a year aloft in a specially constructed airborne house. The house/balloon is where you start to see some definite steampunk influences.

21 balloons house cross section

Of course his trip does not go to plan, he ends up crashing in the ocean and shipwrecked on Krakatoa. Yes, Krakatoa, and not at all long before it exploded. Wow! The book is all about his adventures in ballooning and his interactions with the rather bizarre inhabitants of a secret colony on the isolated island.

21 balloons electric house

The island is where steampunk meets surrealism in earnest. The above image is from the “electric house” with a living room full of bumper-car chairs and a couch that holds four children and goes the fastest of all the furniture. What a scream.

At night they sleep in elevator beds. And every single house has a different and often highly imaginative architectural style. What Fun!

21 balloons merry go round diagram

Even their leisure activities are different. Check out the Balloon Merry Go Round. I just love the way this is depicted in a technical sort of diagram showing how it works.

21 balloons merry go round in air

And then as an illustration showing the children in it in mid air. The way in which this book is written is kind of unique. It’s a fascinating mixture of actual history and fantasy inventions. It has a dry wit that I found highly entertaining. My favorite line is a newspaper headline after the teacher is found in floating in his escape vehicle: “PROFESSOR SHERMAN IN WRONG OCEAN WITH TOO MANY BALLOONS, and the subheading: Refuses to Explain How or Why“.

21 balloons vegetable stall

Even the illustration style is perfect for this story. The above image is a vegetable stall decorated for the professor’s homecoming celebration. Love that watermelon and banana zeppelin.

From the many, many reasons to find this book worth reading I highly recommend that you choose one and seek out a copy. It’s still in print which I think is just dandy, and there are plenty of vintage copies available is you prefer that sort of thing.

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tashlin front cover

Frank Tashlin’s How to Create Cartoons.

I enjoyed the post James Gurney did on Frank Tashlin so much that I decided to share some more pages with all of you. Also to alert any of you who don’t read James’ wonderful art/illustration blog to this quite amusing book. Definitely check out the Gurney Journey post as it covers different pages than those shown here.

tashlin 8

These faces show the SCOT method Tashlin demonstrates in this book. SCOT means square, circle, oval, triangle which are the basic units that all the pictures are composed of.

tashlin 12

Notice how each figure has a little diagram next to it showing the arrangement of basic geometric shapes that comprise its composition.

tashlin 15

I liked the pages others had posted so much that I dug around until I found a post that contained scans of the entire book. The style is a bit dated, it is from 1952 after all, but it’s got a lot of still valuable information and the authors treatment of the subject matter holds true. On the other hand you (like me) could choose to look at it through nostalgia goggles which render it entirely wonderful.

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I found out earlier this week about the death of Patrick Woodroffe 1940-2014 (specifically May 10, 2014). I first found out who Patrick was when I bought his book Mythopoeikon for my Dad for Christmas. We both got a lot of enjoyment out of that book. Like Omni magazine, it opened new doors of perception for me.

It took me a few days to pull together the few books that I have about him and assemble these images for you. His work often has a luminous stained glass glow to it — lots of color and heavily saturated color at that. Be sure to click on them to view them larger. There is a massive amount of detail to appreciate.

Masked Ball

Masked Ball

Take some time and look at this one closely, this is one very wild party.

Cover art for Dangerous Visions volumes one and two

Cover art for Dangerous Visions volumes one and two

Better known as Dangerous Visions and Again Dangerous Visions, these were edited by Harlan Ellison and if you haven’t already read them put them on your to-read list.

Hortus Conclusus

Hortus Conclusus

Chez Nous

Chez Nous

Home of Tinker and Darner, the hole-eating Ducks. Free patching, mending and cobbling. Your holes are our bread and butter. no job too small.

I would love to have someplace like this to go and escape the ordinary.

Corn Fairy

Corn Fairy

Beware the Frumious Bandersnatch

Beware the Frumious Bandersnatch

Check out the tag hanging from his ear: Trust Me. I’ve only seen a couple of his paintings with an Alice theme; I would have loved it if he had done an illustrated Alice in Wonderland book.

Micky's New Home

Micky’s New Home

Micky and Friend

Micky and Friend

Ichtheological Metamorphosis

Ichtheological Metamorphosis

work in progress

work in progress

If you liked these pictures at all, and/or if you want to know more about Patrick Woodroffe; please go over to the Lines and Colors blog. It’s a great blog which I really should add to my blog roll because it’s a particular favorite of mine. Then you might want to do a Google image search — there’s lots of good stuff out there.

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or more properly: The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex.

Smekday cover

I’ve been meaning to read this book for a long time but didn’t get around to it until very recently. I’m sorry I waited — it’s truly wonderful.

Smekday is smart, funny and it should be on the required reading list of every entity seeking to be a fully rounded rational sort of being (with a sense of humor). It’s chock full of delicious salty, crunchy sarcasm; it doesn’t pull any punches; and it made me laugh, repeatedly. I loved this book.

Things that stood out for me: Happy Mouse Kingdom, the always perfect, antiseptic fantasy, the land of fake rubber noses on a string. The wonderful comic book sequences. The day they went into a store and Tip says to J.Lo to get only essentials and he turns up with an armload of paper, pencils and other art stuff (and she lets him keep them).

My favorite quote: “The Boov weren’t anything special. They were just people. They were too smart and too stupid to be anything else.”

Go read it — Now! First chapter available as “look inside” on Amazon. Buy it , borrow it from the library (I did), just be sure to read it.

Then wait with me for the movie to come out. It’s expected to release for Thanksgiving 2014. In the meantime, Dreamworks has made a promotional short called “Almost Home”. Go watch that on YouTube. Watch it five or six times; you’ll feel better, I did.

almost home


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Sorry about that folks, I know that I defo disappeared for too long.

This winter has been brutal. That’s all; just bloody awful brutal.

I’ve finally pulled myself out of a weather induced fugue state and am currently doing a bit of cleaning/reorganizing, specifically in the workroom. The next biggest priority is to get a handle on the book situation before one of the many random stacks falls over and crushes someone. Ha! You think I’m kidding but I’m really, really not. We are looking at a very real possibility of a online garage sale this spring/summer to thin the herd.

Vintage 60s Library Poster Shelf order

Here’s a little vintage poster gem for you. Seriously wish my books were this organized. We started out with sections by subject or author but have devolved into wherever we can find a spot. Or worse: “I think the book I want is in that stack over there.”

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Continuing with the theme of raather strange little animals here’s a new e-book that becomes available tomorrow:

Walter Potters curious world of taxidermy book cover

I can’t remember when I first saw an image of Walter Potter’s work; it was certainly yonks ago. I can remember really, really liking his tableaus from that very first moment.

Being self-taught in taxidermy all his creatures are somewhat wonky, which just makes them fit in better to the sort of demented, twisted little settings in which he displayed them. Love it!

Buy it here.

Watch a video about it here (James Gurney’s blog — Thanks James!).

And do not neglect to do a google search — especially images — of Walter Potter. It is totally worth it. Warning: you may end up spending waaaaay more time doing this than you initially intended to.

Technical note: No, I have not got a Kindle yet. Or a nook, or an iPad or even a bloody smartphone. However I did finally succumb to downloading the free kindle reader app from Amazon for my desktop computer. Yes, it was decision entirely driven by my need to have this particular book.

Therefore: Love of wonky demented little animals = a need that justifies upgrading technology.

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