Category Archives: self promotion

More Maimonides from my pal Ilene

Ilene Winn-Lederer is a talented illustrator pal of mine. She’s written about  Maimonides and also created this beautiful image of him. I asked her to contribute her thoughts about Rabbi Moshe—here’s what she has to say. Incidentally, if you like Ilene’s illustration it is available as a print. Purchase info is at the end of this post.

Here is the text I promised to send. You may know this info but it’s what I provided to the JCC and the Jewish Healthcare Foundation when the painting was exhibited and later purchased. MAIMONIDES’ DREAM 1998
Sumi Ink, Acrylic on Paper 20″ x 24″

Maimonides… rabbi, physician and foremost intellectual figure of medieval Judaism is depicted in this acrylic on paper painting. As the prolific writer whose ideas about philosophy, religion, and medicine continue to influence these disciplines today, he is best known for three works: his commentary on the Mishna, his code of Jewish law, and his ‘Guide of the Perplexed’.

Born Moses Ben Maimon to an educated, distinguished family on March 30, 1135 in Cordoba, Spain, he lived in a time when nearly one-fifth of the people in Southern Spain were Jews. In 1159, a fanatical Islamic sect began to persecute the Jews of Cordoba and the family left Spain for Fez, Morocco. There, Maimonides began his study of medicine, but again his family fled persecution and moved to Palestine. By the 1160’s, they had finally settled in Fostat, Egypt, near Cairo where the practice of Judaism was permitted. Soon after their arrival Maimonides’ father and brother died and Maimonides began to practice medicine to support his family. He was in great demand for his learning and skills as a physician, and soon became court physician to Sultan Saladin. Maimonides also lectured at the local hospital, maintained a private practice, and was a leader in the Jewish community. Maimonides died on Dec. 13, 1204, and was buried in Tiberias near the Sea of Galilee.

I have envisioned Maimonides embracing the Torah, which is encased in a Sephardic style container known as a ‘tik’. He is seen in flight reflecting the phases of exile he and his family endured. His Egyptian sojourn and subsequent rebirth of his career as a physician is represented by the phoenix, which according to legend, was originally called the Bennu. It was associated with the Egyptian deity Osiris and identified as a heron with its long, straight back and two erect head feathers. Later named Phoenix by the Greeks for its brilliant red-gold plumage, this mythical bird was said to create itself from the fire that burned on the top of the sacred Persea tree in Heliopolis. Rising from the ashes, it symbolizes healing and immortality, just as the new sun rises from the old. The burning spice tower on the horizon alludes to the Golden Age of Spain when Judaism and Islam lived harmoniously. The tower burns, but is not consumed because of the memories that survive to become hope. Finally, the sun and moon image represents the timeless nature of dreams.

Thanks, Ilene! Here’s where you can purchase a print of MAIMONIDES’ DREAMhttp://magiceyegallery.com/PicturePage.aspx?id=42

Postcards!

postcard.shot

I got postcards! They have my weird hand-lettering and a lovely astrolabe on the front. The back tells how to find The Western Civ User’s Guide on the internet. I’ll be sending these out to promote my blog and this history I’m writing. The plan is to eventually turn it into a printed book.

If you’d like me to send you a postcard, shoot me an email at john@johnmanders.com.

I do appreciate you guys who read my posts. Thanks for spreading the word.

By the way, these were printed at Best Printing in Oil City, Pennsylvania. Nice job, Licia!

Back to the beginning of The Western Civ User’s Guide to Time & Space

Title type for my groundbreaking soon-to-be bestseller

Fooling around with lettering. It needs a little tweaking. Some strokes ought to be heavier, maybe. I’m trying to hold onto the energy of my sketch. I’m not sure if I like this yet. Let it sit for a while.

The Manders School Visit World Tour

For the past week or so I had the great honor to give presentations to the students at Rowan Elementary School (who put a pirate ship in the middle of their library!) and Bedford Elementary School (whose walls are adorned with giant artworks created by the graduating classes through the years). Many thanks to my hosts/hostesses for inviting me and sharing my work with the kids. I was treated like a rock star and I’m grateful.

I’m gassing up the garishly-decorated double-decker tour bus to be at Cranberry Elementary School later this month. If you’d like me to visit your school, contact bookings@johnmanders.com

Mystery!

Here’s a piece I did just for self-promotion. Every couple of months, my agent asks her artists to produce an image based on a theme. This theme is Mystery. When generating ideas I stayed pretty loose. My first sketches were kind of Sherlock Holmes-ish, Mystery-of-The-Sphinx-ish with Holmes opening an antique Egyptian box in his famous rooms in Baker Street. It wasn’t grabbing me, so I thought to move the whole scene to the inside of a pharoah’s tomb. Sort-of Holmes and Watson became sort-of Indiana Jones and Short Round. The rough sketch shows Egyptian antiquities—chariot, scrolls, statues—for flavor, but as I drew I thought to heighten the suspense by having the deities’ eyes light up at the same moment the casket is cracked open. Indy is unaware of the danger while Short Round watches in alarm.

I didn’t take the sketch to a tight version. I wanted the painting to be fresh while I worked out the lighting. I have 2 sources of light here. One of them is the red lantern I had with me on countless camp-outs when I was a Boy Scout in good ol’ Troop 92.

Moonraker Tea—designs

Moonraker Tea Shop is a fun, new startup on Ocracoke Island, North Carolina (the notorious pirate Blackbeard’s lair, by the powers!). My client, Maria, opened this summer in time for the October Blackbeard’s Pirate Jamboree.

Here are the designs for the sticker and banner. I’m an idiot at the computer. Luckily, Elicia at Best Printing in Oil City, Pa, is a genius designer and handled all the design aspects of this project. You can see in the gallery below how she fooled around with wrapping the lettering around the ship image and getting that just right. Elicia also came up with these nice color variations for the banner. It probably helped that she’s also a pirate afficianado. Here’s more of Best Printing.

My client, Maria, included the latitude/longitude coordinates for the sticker—a really nice touch. Here’s the rough layout she gave us:

I love doing this kind of work—the daft piratey type design. You can poke around here to see more of my handlettering samples. And of course, here.

Moonraker Tea—tight sketches and ink

Moonraker Tea Shop is a fun, new startup on Ocracoke Island, North Carolina (the notorious pirate Blackbeard’s lair, by the powers!). My client, Maria, opened this summer in time for the October Blackbeard’s Pirate Jamboree.

Here are the tight pencils and inked-in finishes based on the rough sketches you saw in my last post. All artwork needed to work as both a small 4″ sticker and a large 6′ banner.

I love doing this kind of work—the daft piratey type design. You can poke around here to see more of my handlettering samples. And of course, here.

 

Moonraker Tea Shop

New project!

Moonraker Tea Shop is a fun, new startup on Ocracoke Island, North Carolina (the notorious pirate Blackbeard’s lair, by the powers!). My client, Maria, opened this summer in time for the October Blackbeard’s Pirate Jamboree. Maria asked me to design a black & white logo that features a fantasy pirate ship & moon image (dreamy, happy, ghostly, mystical) and hand-lettered ‘Moonraker Tea Shop.’ Maria chose the word ‘moonraker’ (the topsail on a ship) for her business and it evokes just the right tone.

I love doing this kind of work—the daft piratey type design. You can poke around here to see more of my handlettering samples. And of course, here.

Here are the rough sketches:

 

Author/illustrator school visit tips from your old Uncle John

I got an e-mail from an author/illustrator colleague who is about to do her first school visit—she asked for some tips about how to make it a success. Here are a few ideas that came to mind.

First of all, don’t be nervous. The students are going to treat you like a rock star. You’ll be new and different and fun. They’ll love you.

Dress like you’re going on an interview.

Have you read the story aloud yet? Rehearse before you go in front of the students. Read it to a friend or two this weekend, just so you can get comfortable with doing that. BE AN ACTOR—be sure every character sounds different from the others. Don’t be afraid to go over the top with the voices. I’m a ham, and wear some kind of hat that fits with the story—a cowboy hat, or bunny ears—because the narrator is also a character. Relax, don’t rush through your reading, and enjoy the experience.

Ask for water. Ask for a microphone if you’re speaking to an assembly. If it’s just 25 or so kids, no mic.

Know how much time you’re allotted and keep an eye on the clock.

I have a few of my books in jpeg format. The school should have a computer and projector—ask for it ahead of time, along with a tech person. You bring your jpeg file on a flash drive. Bring at least one backup on a different flash drive. You can project your images while you read the story.

If you feel comfortable doing it, draw the kids a picture afterward. An easel with a big pad and a chisel-point marker is all you need. Keep it simple. Draw something you’re good at drawing—a cat or a dog. Describe what you’re drawing as you draw it as if you were doing a presentation on the radio.

If you do Q&A, keep the answers simple. Preface your answers with things like, “That’s a really good question.”

When the show’s over, thank everyone and turn the class back over to the teacher.

Country mouse in the city

Mela, my agent, asks her artists every so often to create images keeping to a theme. This time it was City/Country. I decided to update the old Æsop fable about the country mouse and the city mouse.

To feel the city from a mouse’s point of view, I used some crazy linear perspective—with a vanishing point in the sky—and aerial perspective, making the nearby colors vivid and the faraway colors pale. One rainy afternoon I happened to be stuck in midtown Manhattan traffic, so I took a few photos. I’m glad I did! They provided perfect reference for this scene.