May 7th, 2003
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I have gone totally seed crazy. All my windowsills are completely full with pots of basil, tomotoes, daisies, peas, parsley, and some things that I’m not sure about, I call those the wild cards. The tomatoes are kept in an old clementine box that looked so beautiful I had to do a sketch of it in my journal. I realize a lot of things look really good in an old clementine box…

My latest article, ever feel like you are what you do?…
Stone Free -How your business sometimes runs you
I have so many cool things to share with you this month I may sound like I’m gushing but it seems there is an abundance of inspiring things of late…
New Stuff…
Bea has a recent entry, she’s taking a nostagic trip… the Brownie Pouch.
…I wrote a story a while back about my friend Darryl who died in a car accident, (he played Curly in Oklahoma). You can read it here. (it takes a bit to load) He really did make people cry when he sang.
…Have you seen the new Melanie Doane video for “Still Desire You”? The furniture piece behind her is by my partner Arno. It was directed by our good friend Wendy Ord. Here is a frame from it.
Working on… a book cover for Random House…a theatre poster…the new manuscript is finished and sent…more greeting cards.
It’s been a comic kind of month…
“Persepolis” by Marjane Satrapi, I have never had a book that so completely brought out my own stereotypes about a certain culture and then wiped them out completely. This is the most amazing graphic novel I have ever read! It is both beautifully drawn and written in a way that you can’t put it down. I learned so much about what it was like to live in Iran through repressive regimes, war, and contradiction. It changed me. Everyone should read this book. You cannot believe what this character goes through.
“The Soap Lady” by Renee French This was a serendipitous find in the comic book store. It is a unique children’s book published by Top Shelf (the comic company). I’m very glad that I did not read about it before hand because the ending has a very strange and shocking twist! (note: I don’t want to give it away, but if you are one of those people who doesn’t do well with suspense and you really want to know what it is you can go here.) O.k. the amazon link gives it away too.
Sketchbook Diaries by James Kochalka His work is not new to me but I had never seen this series before. I was in my element when I found this one, it starts with the sentence, “My ambition was to create a grand masterpiece from the little nothings of everyday life.” James draws a tiny four cell biographical comic every day in his diary, (well almost everyday, he even does it while hungover or sometimes drunk.) Some of them are strange (his shower brush is talking to him), some are meditative (him staring at himself in a X-mas decoration), and some are laugh out loud funny, (I could so relate to him waiting for the fedex truck, it’s like a sporting event for the self-employed). (warning: do not read this in bed while your bed mate is trying to sleep! You will wake him/her
up.) It is near impossible not to become addicted to reading about his daily adventures. You can actually read them all online for a monthly fee. (I wonder if he actually makes money with that?) I’m devoted James.
Peepshow (the series) by Joe Matt Like many people I could not believe how candidly Joe documents some of the most sad, embarassing and humiliating moments of his life. There are some things that I would just not be able to put into black and white. We all have flaws and foibles and idiosyncracies, and Joe goes blatantly into the darkside, (man it can be ugly.) I think that is part of the charm of his work. Once again the drawing is so wonderful to look at. (I was a huge Mad Magazine fan and his style is so remeniscent of that era.) I ordered two more in the series “the Poor Bastard”, and “Fair Weather”.
Palookaville #16 by Seth So you all know by now that Seth is a huge influence for me. I never tire of his linework, it seems to get better with time. The endpages of this one have gorgeous sketches of what looks to be beehives, which are numbered. It’s the little treats like that, that make it so fulfilling. (Unfortuneately because the new Drawn & Quarterly site has pop up windows I cannot like directly to his sketchbook. Poke around a bit for it, it’s worth the visit.)
Growing A Business by Paul Hawken This book started out great, I was writing down quotes at a frenzied pace. I love that he says that small businesses have a definite advatages over big business in terms of creativity and new ideas. The book is about businesses based on people, ideas and creativity as opposed to money. It gets away from the traditional business books, which I can’t normally read. He really feels that small business is where it’s at, and that we should ‘use our lives’ in the creation of them. But halfway through “Growing a Business” I got tired of the “product” based model Paul Hawken uses, he writes about what he knows. While he advocates doing something that has never been done before, he uses example of companies that have the same old products (ice cream, cookies, garden tools) sold in a not so new to me way. I am very interested in new models of what business “can” be. I want to read about something strange and unique, or at least inventive. Something that pushes our beliefs about “selling”. What about a company who’s goal was something other than profit? Maybe his newer book Natural Capitalism is more of what I’m looking for.
Grateful for… …fresh air moving through my house…sheets that were dryed on the clothesline…daffodils, tulips, and some purple flowers…soft boiled farm eggs.
The Official Quentin Blake website One of my favourite illustrators of ALL time, I just discovered his fantastic new site. I was particularly taken with the illustrated interview with him, a must read for aspring illustrators, (the sandle in the mail story is great stuff.) P.S. I am currently trying to send away for the free Quentin Blake buttons (when you buy three jars of Robertsons Jam), they seem to only want to deal with people in the U.K. but I’m going to ask very nicely.
Obsessive Consumption, A woman who documents EVERYTHING she buys, can’t remember
where I got this link from but it’s quite fascinating. I’m sure I would get very bored of the documenting process. But the design is beautiful. Too bad about her diet.
…a wonderful link from Erica.
Couverture, I covet the egg cups (I am an boiled egg fanatic, did you know that? I have one every day.)
Mod Girl Fashion Tips, because Mods are cool.
…I really enjoy the watercolour illustrations on Daily Candy. I get the feeling the whole thing is a promotional forum though.
Films I recommend:
Spirited Away If you have not yet seen this film rush out today to get it!
I bought a copy on DVD, and want to watch it over and over. Words do not do it justice, it is a triumph of writing, animation, drawing and music. I have never been a huge anime fan, (I grew up in the 70′s and 80′s when there was a lot of it that very poorly animated in Hong Kong, a lot of bad panning shots), but this is so beautiful to watch. I have totally falled in love with Miyazaki’s vision. I don’t want to give anything away but one thing I will say was how wonderful it is to see a world where characters are not either good or bad but have aspects of both qualities simultaniously (unlike typical Disney films). On the DVD you get to see the storyboard tha Miyazake himself did, as an illustrator I was in awe.
Researching… Homemade pasta, I got a pasta maker as a gift a while back and haven’t given it enough use. And with all that basil I’m going to have it should come in handy. Cold frames, we made one to house the lettuce out of an old storm window.

lots of asparagus…homemade salsa (tomatoes, lime juice, cilantro, chilli pepper, brown sugar, salt)…whitefish…shishkabobs on the BBQ.

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