Thursday, March 29, 2012

Busy week

This week has been busy and felt very much like a roller coaster ride.  It went something like this: I spent 3 days after school working on murals with my co-advisor and students; found out the district has said we are not allowed to do anymore murals on campus; coming up with creative solutions to our mural problem; cutting mats and preparing for our school's art show next week during open house; designing and ordering bookmarks for agent's day; photographing new artwork to update my portfolio; driving the ugliest pinkish- cream colored gas guzzling rental car; found out my best friend will be coming home this weekend and we get hang out; had a fun and successful art club "Fat and Happy" day (what we call our potluck); picking up my car from the repair shop; and lastly, edited and updated my website.  Now I just need to get through Friday.  I think an IV of coffee might be necessary, or maybe just mint green tea.

Saturday is Agent's Day.  This will be the first time I attend this event. I haven't really heard a lot of positive reviews for this event in regards to illustrators.  Reading the information on the website and what has been emailed to us, it seems to be more writer oriented.  But I believe in giving things a shot.  You never know what might happen or who you might meet.  I don't really know what to expect, but after adding pieces to my portfolio, receiving my bookmarks in the mail, and fixing my website I'm actually a bit excited to attend.  I can already see a difference in my portfolio of my progress.  

I still love my pen and colored pencil work, but I enjoy the way my characters look done with watercolor pencils.  They look soft and cuddly. I love my original drawings with their black and white backgrounds and colorful characters.  I thought it was a unique style that would set me apart from other.  But the full color illustrations have begun to win me over.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Squirrels read, too!

I really love the image of the Mizzle huddled behind a book.  I really wanted another image that would go along with it.  Of course, this time it had to have Oliver and his squirrel buddies.  I might begin working on a color version of this image soon.

Granny Mizzle

 This Mizzle reminded me of my grandmother the moment I made her.  She is a wise, gentle soul.  Along with Buh-gee, she is one of the oldest Mizzles.  She is responsible for all of the Mizzles and spends her time guiding and protecting them through life.  She listens carefully and often shares her wisdom with the young ones, but she only offers a limited amount of advice or knowledge because she believes it is important for others to experience life on their own.

Sunday, March 25, 2012


I had so much fun with this Mizzle.  He is my only two-headed Mizzle.  I even had the chance to tie my first bow tie.  My favorite thing about him is the lips on both of the heads. I gave him to my mom.  She fell in love him at first sight.  I've been meaning to make another one like him.  My mom came up with the name Bobo, but as I begin to think about the possibilities of using him in my stories I have come to realize that even though they are one Mizzle, each head should have their own personality.  Maybe Bobo is their common name and they have nicknames for one another.

Until I figure that out... Bobo is the artist.  He writes, paints, plays music, and creates.  He is an inspiration to the other Mizzles.  He is not very reliable to help out with the usual chores, but you can always find him communing with his muse.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Meet Buh-gee

Buh-gee was fun to make.  I allowed my curiosity to take over and play with the shape of his head.  I even gave him wings.  I gave him to my younger sister since she named him.  I can't take credit for his fun name.  She has just as big of an imagination as I do.  But I have had Buh-gee in my possession for a few years.  I had lots of photos of him, but I felt I my drawings would be much stronger if I used Buh-gee as an actual model.  I think it is safe to say that it is time to give him back to her.  
Buh-gee is one of the oldest Mizzles.  He is the historian and storyteller of the group.  Everyone loves to hear him tell his stories of the ancient Mizzles.  
He helps Granny guide and protect the younger Mizzles.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Input Please

I have been in the process of creating some quick drawings for some bookmarks.   I have become really fond of watercolor pencils. I am still getting used to how much color to lay down first before washing it over with a wet brush. But this medium allows me to produce simple drawings much faster than I would with colored pencils.

 Here is an image of what the bookmarks will most likely look like.  I am still playing around with font and placement.  Any suggestions or thoughts?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Molly Mizzle

Molly is unique from the others because of the socks I used to create her.  Up until Molly, I had used only cotton, tight weave socks.  For Molly's body and legs, I used those really soft cushy socks, sometimes referred to as spa socks.  This type of sock makes for a really nice plush doll, but it was not very hand sewing friendly. Because of its stretchy nature, the weave of the sock is not as tight as a normal cotton sock.  The hand stitching had to be smaller.  When making her, I decided to try something different with the mouth.  I kind of gave her a pouty lip instead of a whole mouth.

Molly is gentle, kind, and nurturing.  She takes care of everyone around her.  She is the one everyone can always count on no matter what.  She is the most dependable Mizzle of the group.  Sometimes she is seen as naive, but she simply wants to see only the best of everyone.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Meet Goober Mizzle

Goober is one of my favorites.  I began playing with toe socks.  He is also the first to have an outfit.  I used a sock to create his shirt. I love that he kind of reminds me of a crazy creature you'd find the ocean.

Goober is a forgetful Mizzle.  He loves being helpful, but his forgetfulness makes him unreliable. His condition causes him great frustration, so he angers easily.  He tries to compensate by making lots of lists so he can always remember things that are important to him.  He lacks confidence in himself because he doesn't have legs like the others.  But he has a secret list of all the things he wishes he could do.  

Playing with art materials

A rainy day in California means a day to play with art.  A fun filled day of experimenting, but this time instead of creating a variety of pieces I played with one.  I like the was it turned out.  It reminds me of Rockwell's painting "Connoisseur."

Stage 1: I took a few watercolor pencils and coated the board with a variety of shades of blues, pinks, and yellows.

Stage 2: I used a palette knife and spread yellow gouache around the board and allowed it to dry.

 Stage 3: Coated the entire board with blue ink.  When it was dried I used a sponge and wiped it away under running water.

Stage 4: I created random patterns with rubber cement; allowed it to dry; and then coated the board with ink wash. When it was dry I removed the rubber cement.

Stage 5: Added a new layer of rubber cement; allowed it to dry; and coated the board with red-violet ink.  When it was dry I removed the rubber cement, except the board wasn't as dry as I had thought and a part of the surface was ripped.

Stage 6: I wanted to use this as a background for one of my characters. I drew a light outline with a soft charcoal pencil and filled in the outline with gesso.

Stage 7:  I used watercolor pencils to color in Stargazer.  The background competed too much with her, so I used a blue-violet ink wash to mute it.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Meet Jeff Mizzle

Jeff was the beginning of my journey making my own dolls without the assistance of a pattern.  I tried combining some of the techniques I learned from the others.  The ears, arms, and legs were just like the previous creations. Jeff's eye is similar to Belinda's face, where it is an added piece to the original sock.  I, also, added a tail similar to Graffey's.

Jeff is the responsible one.  Everyone can always count on him to do the right thing.  He is the rule follower of the bunch.  He has a bit of OCD and has to do things a specific way. No matter the situation, even if there is an emergency, he must do everything in the specified order. He loves to spend his time sitting at the highest part of the tree, where he can think and sing to the stars.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Meet Graffey Mizzle

My third creation from the book.  I think of all of the characters I learned the most creating him.  I made many mistake along the way and had to start over a few times.

Larry's best friend, Graffey is a coward.  He is terrified of not following the rules, but he will follow Larry anywhere.  He always manages to find himself in trouble or on some adventure because of this.  He is extremely loyal and makes a great friend.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Meet Belinda Mizzle

Belinda was my second creation from the book.  Again, she didn't turn out like the picture in the book.  I was still learning the ins and outs of sewing, so after a while I had to re-sew parts of her that had come undone.

Belinda is a bit of a Mizzle diva.  She believes everything is always about her.  She doesn't like to work, but is very good at delegating her responsibilities to others.  She is extremely bossy and superficial.  Her biggest secret is that she has the biggest heart.  She really loves and cares about everyone.  She is thinks if she shows her soft side that it will make her seem weak.  When others are not looking, she secretly does good deeds, but extremely small ones so she doesn't draw attention.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Meet Larry Mizzle

Larry was my very first creation.  I had no idea what I was doing and had very little experience with sewing.  I can tell you I followed the design pattern in the book, but my results didn't look like the photos provided.  I'm glad it didn't, though.  By my results not becoming an exact replica of the sample in the book, it gave me a glimpse of the creative possibilities there were.
 Now, when I look at him, I feel a desire to restitch him, but refrain from doing so because I think that is where a lot of his character comes from.  I definitely learned a lot about making these sock dolls after making Larry.  I realized that I had made the arms and legs extremely short in comparison to the body.  I probably could have gotten 2 dolls out of the pair of socks, but I used up most of the pair on him.  I began by using regular sewing thread.  It is very thin and would break while sewing.  I have since moved to a thicker thread used for upholstery. 

He is extremely curious.  He asks many questions and always wants to know "why?"  Even after someone has explained something to him, he still needs to see it for himself.  He gets into trouble because he doesn't listen to what is being told to him.  He is best friends with Graffey.  They go on many adventures together discovering the answers to all of their curiosities. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Finding Happiness

One of my students came up to me and said "Ms. Roldan, I think you found happiness."  I smiled and thought that is kind of a weird thing to notice considering I am generally a very happy person.  But I was curious why this was on her mind.  She explained "Well, you wake up and come to work where you teach the youth how to be creative; at work, you, also, get to explore and play with mediums with your students and learn something together; you create your Mizzles and make up fun stories; you draw every day; and you are pursuing your dream of becoming a children's book author/illustrator, while doing all of the rest.  You are constantly being creative and loving what you do... you have found true happiness!"  She is absolutely right!

 But living a life in creativity isn't the secret to my happiness.  I have always managed to be creative in some way or form.  And it is true that I am currently in this constant state of creativity, which keeps me very happy.  It is finally seeing me for who I am and what I am truly capable of that makes me happy.  I know my flaws and have rediscovered my strengths.  I refuse to judge myself, but to love the imperfect me.  I have come to realize that it is never too late to pursue your dreams; and you are never too old to stop dreaming.  I have come to understand that no matter how bad things get there really is no need to stress or worry because it will all manage to work itself out; it always does.  It has taken a lot of bumps in the road for me to finally reach this state of happiness.  It was really nice to find out others can see how happy I am.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Where it all started

It all began with a book and some socks.  I found John Murphy's book Stupid Sock Creatures.  I thought it might be something fun for my art club students, but it ended up not grabbing their attention.  I, on the other hand, fell in love and maybe obsessed with creating fun sock creatures. Little by little, my collection of socks, buttons, and sewing materials grew.  It now sits, unorganized, in its own closet.

About 5 years later, I have created too many of these to keep count.  I wish I had taken photos of the first batches I made.  There were so many I adored, but gave them away.   I kept many. My little Mizzle family has grown; each one full of personality.  This eventually led to me creating stories.  I knew they lived in trees, but they needed friends.  It took me very little time for me to realize how perfect a squirrel would fit that role.  They live in trees and have a curious nature just like the Mizzles.


 But this has only increased my love for squirrels.  Today was pretty amazing because I got to hand feed Striker, one of the squirrels who come to my parent's backyard for nuts.  She has been visiting for the past 3 or 4 years.  We know it is her because she is the only one who will allow us to come close to her.  We are not allowed to touch her, but she will gently take food from us.

I have been thinking about this all week.  I draw my characters and share them with you, but none of you really know them.  I think I'm going to spend some time introducing them to you.  I'm a bit excited!  I can't wait for you to get to know them all.