Arfabet opens tonight at Velvet da Vinci Gallery!

Here's a few images from the Arfabet installation at Velvet da Vinci Gallery


Arfabet launches this week!

If you're in the San Francisco area this weekend, I hope you can make it to the official opening and book launch of Arfabet!  The show runs from October 24 - November 25, and the opening event is this Friday night from 6-8pm at Velvet da Vinci Gallery.

In the meantime, here's the animation I created to go with the book. Enjoy!


getting ready to animate

Hello Beautiful People!

I have an update as I prepare to shoot the sequences for my Arfabet stop-action animation! It's hard to believe it's been a whole year since I've done this, and I'm hoping it won't be too difficult to get into the swing of it this time.  For any of you who are new to this conversation, this animation is a companion piece to my forthcoming sophomore publication Arfabet, due out in the next month.  There will be some advance copies available in late October at my book launch at Velvet da Vinci Gallery on the 26th. I just got the postcard in the mail the other day and am soooooo happy with it. If you're in the San Francisco area, please come by and see the show and say hi if you make it on opening night!

But I'm here to tell you a little about my work on the animation. I am not sure if it will be completed by the time of the opening, but one thing is for sure: I need to film it before the show since it stars the pieces that grace the pages of Arfabet that will only be in my hands for the next few weeks! I have worked up a basic idea of how it will work, and it seems that most of the pieces I made for the book are perfect to use. There are, however, a few pieces that I decided to rework in order to animate them.

The Kookierhondje with the kumquat just needs to jump, so I made a stunt double so I could do this on a flat surface.

Similarly, that Zuchon just wouldn't be as fun if it weren't jumping over the Zuccotto, so he's also got a flatter version for the animation.

I decided to remake the Dachshund as well, so that it could show the layers being stacked up to make the Dagwood sandwich. The piece in the show is much larger and glued into one piece. I will eventually glue this one together if I decide to sell it, but I'm also thinking about keeping it in parts to use as a demonstration piece for the future--or possible April Fool's deli platter. You never know.....

I plan to start shooting this week, so will check back with more behind-the-scenes updates as this project nears completion! 


pssst! sneak preview of Arfabet!

Hey Beautiful People! I got my sample copy of Arfabet yesterday! Here's a sneak preview I made especially for you.


the ElePhotoBooth lives on!

I had a great day yesterday at Green Bean Books during the Alberta Street Fair and added over 100 new entries to the ElePhotoBooth Flickr set! Click here to see all of the new ones - here's a few of my favorites below:


Arfabet - final presale day!

Hey Beautiful People! It's the last day of the Arfabet Kickstarter campaign so I'm posting another update, as promised, to give a sneak peek of some of the pages I've been working on for the book!

Here's the cover, starring our Queensland Heeler

I looked closely at the original cover for Arfabet so the two would look good together

I'll let you peek at a few inner pages - but first a reminder of the original Edward Lear alphabet that inspired the project:

Here's my interpretation:

There might be some slight design details that still need some TLC before I go to print, but I'm about halfway done with the interior pages at this point, but will spend the next three days nailing those down, writing the glossary, etc. 

Phew! It's been a big month putting this together and I've loved being able to share it with you. I'll post a few more updates here in next few months to show you some more inside pages, and my work on the animation, creating the backer rewards, and preparing for the exhibition and book launch at Velvet da Vinci Gallery this October! Of course, if you're a backer, you'll get this sent directly to your email. 

If you miss out on the Arfabet Kickstarter campaign, I suggest you sign up for my email list so you'll know when the book is available for sale. Don't forget: the prices I set for the Kickstarter rewards are only available to those who signed on during this campaign. (I'm always up for creating custom dog figures though--click here for details.




photo shoot!

Hey Beautiful People! I'm back yet again to show you some behind-the-scenes views of my photo shoot today for Arfabet! 

I put together a mock-up version of the book last weekend, where I took my own photos so I could make some big final decisions like the best background colors, how to position the figures so the text would interplay with the dogs, and then to see how the two facing pages looked together. This is a really important tool to have when I go for the real photo shoot because it saves me precious time and money to be able to refer to my mock book, set it up, and then have a real pro take the final shot. Please note that the text you see here is only a placeholder--I will use a different font for the letters, and I haven't even finalized the exact wording of the rhymes or the phrase at the bottom of the pages, but it's just enough to help me going, and serves as my first draft of Arfabet:

you may be able to see here in the J page that I didn't like the original placement of the figures, so I moved them around in Photoshop--then we matched that in the photo shoot. I also decided to change the background color from gray to pale blue.

Here's the entire cast of Arfabet, layed out on a nearby table so I can grab them as needed. There will be six backdrop colors--red, yellow, pale blue, sky blue, pale pink and hot pink. The front and back covers, as well as the title page will have white backgrounds, just like Elephabet.

Here's a few shots of my photographer Dan Kvitka working on the A photo. We first do the actual shoot, and then Dan takes it over to his computer to look at it up close to make sure everything is in focus, dust or dirt particles are removed, etc. 

When there are clouds involved, the wires or other support mechanisms are digitally removed.

Dan loves to bring his sweet dog Manny to work with him - here he is critiquing my version of a Yorkshire Terrier.

We had a mid-afternoon visit from artist Ryan Berkley, whose studio is in the same building. His daughter Ramona loves dogs, so she and Manny were instant buddies.

Some shots are a little trickier, like getting the Xoloitzcuintli and Xouba to ride these waves in the book that are different from the ones in the actual sculpture. I'll crop the sides for the book, of course.

So now I get to spend the next few days putting the book together! I'll check back one last time before the Kickstarter campaign ends to show you a few of my finished pages. If you are still waiting to pledge, the time is nearing! Click here to choose your reward and help me get my second book in print!!


final bonus cutie!!

Hey Beautiful People!! Here I am yet again to show you the final seven doggies for my upcoming book Arfabet!  I am so excited for the photo shoot tomorrow because it's my first REAL chance to see the book as I've been dreaming about it all these months! Photo shoots are exciting and intense - for someone like me who spends a lot of time alone in my studio, and sharing in a somewhat passive way (meaning photos on the internet, as opposed to first hand critiques--very few people have actually seen the finished work at this point! I always feel like a professional photo shoot is my first public presentation of a project.) Plus I just adore my photographer Dan Kvitka, so I promise I'll take some shots of that process and post them in the next few days.

SPECIAL NOTICE FOR KICKSTARTER BACKERS! There are only three days left to adjust your pledge to my campaign, so make sure you don't fall into these common missteps:
1. Do you live overseas and want your reward shipped to an address outside the U.S.? Make sure you add the correct amount for your pledge level in addition to the reward value. Details are explained with each reward.
2. Did you want more than one of my rewards? No problem! What you need to do is tally up the amounts for each reward you want and make sure your pledge amount matches that total, no matter which item you picked. I'll contact you later on to find out exactly what your pledge is for if it's above the normal amount for that item, but the time is NOW to place your order--every pledge level with books or original artwork is offered here for a better price than you will get in the future because I'm using the up-front funds from this pre-sale to cover my production and printing costs. Thanks!!

So without further ado, here are the final seven members of Arfabet:
The Chihuahua cheese courier - it was really fun figuring out what cheese would make this piece work. This is one of the largest pieces in the group--the skateboard alone is around 20 inches long!

The English Bulldog who enjoys a spot of Earl Grey Tea.

The French Poodle - in the book she will be hanging out with some farfalle noodle butterflies.
This piece is about 10 inches high.

This is the Labrador who licked so much she turned into licorice.
This piece is about 3 inches high.

The Mastiff who serves Mai Tais
this piece is about 8 inches high.

Another large piece, this is a Norfolk Terrier who loves nonpareils

Here's the Utonagan who has a udon noodle beehive
It's around a foot high!

And here's the bonus cutie patootie dog! It's Weegee! He'll appear in the title page of the book.'s time for me to get back to my preparations for the big day. Three more days until this Kickstarter campaign ends!! Woo hoo! Thank you everyone who has backed this project, and if you're one of those who like to wait until the last minute, the time is now! I'll leave you with this alphabet video to ponder.