Sunday, August 28, 2011

Pumpkin Dream Sketchbooks #2: Versions

Continued from Pumpkin Dream Sketchbooks #1: Surreal. In this entry Versions, or, The House that JOL Built.

Continuing a look inside the sketchbooks.... I wanted to review just the first image that developed while I was going back and forth on the decision between surrealism versus representational art. The drawings therein have a couple of run-throughs of almost each illustration for The Pumpkin Dream, in a representational style.


Above were the first two representational drawings of the very first scene, that in my head, I saw as containing more detail and color (pulled from using examples of multi-color vintage art such as this 1950's vintage candy card below):

Halloween Candy Card - Pumpkin Patch

The deciding sketch came from the following very simple felt-tip marker drawing below, as I attempted to do all elements of the image simplified into only two colors. I felt this image was the closest so far to my original idea to mimic some of the vintage Halloween styles of two-color products, (seen just below the next drawing), and of influence from 1930's cartoons. 

Vintage Halloween firescreen (below top) and lampshade (below bottom). The witch and black cats from the firescreen were direct inspirations and make guest appearances in The Pumpkin Dream, (such as here).

Tri-panel Fireplace Screen
The Original Pumpkin King (1930s Lantern)

With style finally settled in my mind, (also thanks to some supportive input from friends),  I did at least one more sketch to flesh out the contents a bit more, and delved into the vector recreations - (in orange and black with highlights of white).

The first image below was an experiment in post processing of the images (something I later decided against), (also notice the nixed North Wind character above and below blowing up a storm)!


And then the next image below was at last the final book image with some small additional details, (such as the rounded vintage TV-esque corners, the presence of the main character at the door with lit pumpkins at his feet, and the supporting role of the moon always with some indicative expression).

With the white highlights, the resulting image was a mix - somewhere between, as mentioned, vintage 2-tone lanterns, 1930's cartoons, and vintage packaging/decoration that were created between the 40's and 60's such as this candy seal:

Trick or Treat Halloween Candy Kisses

Up next - some closer looks at particular images in the sketchbooks as they compare to the final results.In the meantime - here are a few other blog entries on this same topic of sketchbooks and style for The Pumpkin Dream:
Sketchy Beginnings...
A Brief History of The Pumpkin Dream (Part 4) - Cautionary Vectors

A Brief History of the Pumpkin Dream: (Part 6) - Swing You Sinners!

And this interview with Halloween Alliance has some discussions on style:
In the Pumpkin Patch with Mr. Bindlegrim

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Colorado Bookshelf Pumpkins

A brief update here --- there are now some great locations to get your copy of the poetic Halloween adventure The Pumpkin Dream if you are traveling through the front range areas of Colorado!

If you are in downtown Colorado Springs you can now find the book at Poor Richard's Bookstore a linked complex of businesses on N. Tejon St. that include a restaurant, café, toystore and wine bar, as well as cards and gifts. Before heading out be sure to check their event calendar and menus online.

The book is also available at the Boulder Book Store together with an amazing selection of over 100,000 titles on three floors! Here is a link to the store's event calendar. Take in the great atmosphere in both the store and surrounding location - the Boulder Book Store is nestled together with restaurants and shops along the Boulder Street Mall - and here are some informational links to Boulder events and a downtown map.

More news will follow where to find the book during the coming autumn months! Don't forget to check out select book stores in Albuquerque. And don't forget events here in Denver with the 6th Annual Halloween Trunk Show!

Friday, August 19, 2011

6th Annual Halloween Trunk Show

I've had some great fun this past week creating graphics for the Sixth Annual Halloween Trunk Show coming this October 8th here in Denver! Using the same beloved vintage image (inset) that's come to be a part of this show's calling card, I've shaken things up just a tiny bit with graphic touches of Halloween orange and black, to toy visually with references to the number six.

The official announcement is beginning to make its way through the Halloween channels - and more news will be coming up as more information is updated on the show's new website:

I will be there with a large batch of Hallowe'en cards (series of nine images), the glossy and standard printed editions of the Halloween poetry book The Pumpkin Dream, and a pandora's box full of vintage finds from Halloween's past. It will be my first year at this show, with some well-known names that I'm sure you will recognize below, such as my favorite local Halloween mentor: Johanna Parker...! 

See you there - and bring all of your six senses!

6th Annual HalloweenTrunk Show

Halloween Trunk Show - 6th Annual

Hosted by Sam Robinson

*** A Show for all 6 Senses ***
Featuring hand-crafted delights, vintage finds,
botanicals,and homemade treats by Erica McNeish.

When: Saturday, October 8th: 12 noon to 6 pm
Where: Leo's Garage 1563 S Pearl St., Denver 80209


~~ Vendors ~~

*Johanna Parker:


*Erica McNeish:

*Cindy Habermann: Creative Hands

*Heide Murray:

*Pearl Clothing:

*Jil Cappucio:

*Ed and Sherry Mamasian: Sticks and Things

*Rabbit Shadow Farms:

*Mysti Gulsrud: Dia De Los Muertos Jewelry

*Mr. Bumble Bindelgrim:

And last but not least:

*Sam Robinson: aka "Manorisms"
past show promoter for "Gifts for Yule" and "Spring Fling"


More information coming soon!
Please visit the website for future udpates:

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Punkins, Shows, and the Bindlegrim Interview!

Change is afoot...! and something is happening to the pumpkins!

In the garden the sunflowers have reached their full height, somewhere around an amazing 9 feet tall, filled with a plethora of blooms in different sizes and sometimes odd shapes, covered with pollen laden bees in a frenzy, and birds beginning to raze certain blooms that were once full of seed.

And not too far off, the Connecticut pumpkins are transforming from a green-vein texture to a bright orange... standing out brightly in the summer-dried lawn near the pale Lumina Pumpkins and the yellowish hybrids. And, no joke, as I write this, the clouds have rolled in and a quiet thunder accompanies a small bit of rain.

Summer is coming to a close folks here at Ichabod's Cottage and here are just a couple of photos:

Pumpkin Skin

Bum-kin Scars

This much orange means Halloween Artist Shows start next month!

There is a frenzy building in the Halloween community as of late. In particular, Halloween artists are putting together the last touches to work in their studios, for the various Autumn shows that will be taking place soon - including, just to name a couple, the Ghoultide Gathering and the Halloween Trunk Show. More news to follow in the coming month.


And Bindlegrim is out stirring up the word of impending Halloween 2011:

Yes, the clock is ticking down to Halloween celebrations!  And as of this writing, if you click over to Halloween Alliance, the countdown clock notes only 76 days left until Halloween!

If you are not overcome with total panic, and if you read further, as I most absolutely hope you do, you may find that Mr. Bindlegrim was lurking about in a very sincere pumpkin patch  up in the northern lands, and for such a usually retiring character, seems to have been tempted by the flavor of some very delicious pumpkin juice, to share a few words about his history, inspirations, influences, and future plans...

Be sure to read: In the Pumpkin Patch with Mr. Bumble Bindlegrim | Halloween Alliance.

~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~

Are you prepared for Halloween 2011...? Check out Halloween Alliance for tons of ideas for celebrating the holiday, including a digitally available book to help you out called Party Halloween!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Pumpkin Dream Sketchbooks #1: Surreal

Some days before deciding (for certain) on a more vintage, representational style for "The Pumpkin Dream" there was some thought of creating pen drawings, and in a more surreal style, somewhat more akin to the pen and ink drawings seen here on wobblebox. There was really only one sketch to speak of in this mode - seen below where there was an attempt to take elements from the poem, and then sit down for a session of surrealistic doodles... (this sketch would have paired with the first eight lines of the poem):

When tattered oaks of autumn lend
prophetic chatter to the wind
and gremlins from a branch dispatch
with felon deeds upon your latch

We trust our tale illuminates
of bogymen whose hunger slake
on children in a sugar feast
the fearless know as trick-or-treat

While I would still love to find the time to do this illustration style (perhaps in some later edition down the road), the thought of trying to create 37 drawings that I would be happy with... while so many other tasks needed to also be done (this book was DIY on everything), I gave this up for something I thought would be more editable - vector art (see the first blog entry Sketchy Beginnings and/or A Brief History of The Pumpkin Dream (Part 4) - Cautionary Vectors).

Well, in going back into my sketchbooks, it appears I did almost a full round of more representational style art, and then for some reason (probably the zero budget) vacillated back toward the possibility of pen and paper once again (see below). I think this next drawing (probably inspired more so by being very tired) was a thought toward doing something sort of retro, loose, and surreal with lots and lots of negative space.  And I was apparently still trying to figure out the first lines of the poem, which were perhaps the hardest lines of the poem to complete - and there are likely hundreds of versions of the beginning)....

I guess part of me is very interested in Halloween imagery with a little surrealistic twist - and in looking back through the sketchbook - even before the idea to do "The Pumpkin Dream" was settled in my mind... I found this whimsical drawing that takes the Jack O'Lantern into some weird realms - such as the octo-pumpkin?

Next up: Pumpkin Sketchbooks #2: Versions

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Pumpkin Dreams in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Had a great weekend in Albuquerque reuniting with friends and family (miss that town so much) and bringing "The Pumpkin Dream" (Industry Edition) to the bookshelves there, featuring its more recent format full of decorative borders and dingbats.

The Pumpkin Dream: A Cautionary Tale By Mr. Bumble Bindlegrim (cover art), an illustrated Halloween poetry book by Robert Aaron WileyThe Pumpkin Dream: A Cautionary Tale By Mr. Bumble Bindlegrim (page 7), an illustrated Halloween poetry book by Robert Aaron Wiley

Here are some of the places the book now resides, on the shelf, and I wish to recommend the following bookstores (together with a couple of travel highlights in the vicinity).

ABQ (west):

Bookworks is an awesome bookstore just north of the Bosque/Rio Grande State Park at 4022 Rio Grande Blvd NW, in the Flying Star Plaza next door, of course, to a Flying Star Cafe. It's a wonderfully charming bookstore, that at the time of my visit, I had just missed a presentation from an author who studies wolves, (I should have checked their event calendar). As you can see from the photo above (provided from the store to google maps) the atmosphere was made for cozy times with a good book - I really love the adobe style fireplace in the middle of the room.

While you are in the area - check out the store, cafe, park, and perhaps just drive along Rio Grande Blvd northward that is exceptionally beautiful during the autumn as it is lined with beautiful cottonwood trees scattered among the large farms and horse ranches along either side. Also, you would not be too far from Olde Towne Albuquerque full of southwestern shops, and nearby to the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, The Botanic Gardens (part of the Bio Park), and The Albuquerque Museum (which for the latter if you go before August 21st is offering a great exhibit of Clara Driscoll, better known for the company Tiffany).

ABQ (east):

Page One Bookstore for me, is like an old friend on the east side of town (at the corner of Juan Tabo and Montgomery), that introduced me to a ton of great music and books when I was living there in the early 1990's -- (I loved their trade-in programs and for good finds on a budget for used and alternative books & music).  To see more of the store online - I just noticed they have a flickr account -pageonebookstore and here too is their events calendar.

They are just under the shadow of Sandia Mountain, a beautiful mountain landscape that was created by ancient plates moving one under another, so that the west side is full of great hikes along cliff faces, while the east is a forested slope, (the Sandia Peak Tramway from the west side will take you quickly to the top). And while I always enjoyed the "all day" hike of La Luz Trail, on this trip I finally discovered the beautiful Piedra Lisa Trail for a nice short morning hike to the Rincon Trail - (see Sandia Hiking Trails).

Nob Hill (and more):

Finally, I would also like to make sure a give a nod to Mariposa Gallery in Nob Hill (a district near UNM in central Albuquerque, that has some great shops and restaurants). The gallery has been one my favorite places during recent stops in Albuquerque... with friendly art representatives in store, who have a fun eye for contemporary alternative arts and for beautiful jewelry.  They have been ever so kind to carry the book starting in September.

And also, one side note, though my book is not on the shelf there, I would like to also recommend Alamosa Books (at the 88th block of Holly). Always heartening to see a newer independent bookstore, they have a very friendly staff, and a great atmosphere, and specialize in titles for youth.
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