Giuseppe Verdi & Nonna

Giuseppe Verdi makes his entrance in The Famous Nini.

More research for Nonna’s costume can be found here.

L’Imperatore d’Etiopia

The Famous Nini is due out June 7, but already has copies available.

A scene I particularly like: the Emperor of Ethiopia arrives in Venice to visit Nini the famous cat. Here’s the thumbnail sketch—

Here is the sketch, built from the thumbnail.  I envisioned the Emperor and his daughter traveling from their ship up the canal via a royal gondola, like the one the Doge used. That’s Verdi top right, with some Carnivale party-goers (they look a little somber—the princess is tragically mute).  I tricked out the gondola with some African style pelts, but my art director felt a tiger-skin would be out-of-place in a cat-lover’s book.

The Doge's gondola

Emperor Menelik

Spreading the risk

Nightly specials

Rambling around the highways and byways on my way to visiting schools, sometimes I see a billboard that takes my fancy.  Here’s one I liked, and sent a photo to my pal Vince Dorse.

He sent this back:

Frank Frazetta, RIP

Illustration legend Frank Frazetta passed on today—no art student of my generation didn’t feel his influence.

From the New York Times:

“Frank Frazetta, an illustrator whose vivid colors and striking brushstrokes conjured up fantastic worlds of musclebound heroes fighting with broad swords and battle axes to defend helpless women from horrible beasts, died on Monday in Fort Myers, Fla. He was 82.”

He was that kind of artist which is all too rare: he could really draw.

Fixing up the new studio

Here is the main staircase of the National Transit Building, leading up to the art studios.

Painting over the gothic purple walls with ‘custard yellow,’ a Martha Stewart paint color.