Bits & Bobs

I would actually never say 'bits and bobs', but in preparation of our move to London I'm trying to catch up on British slang. Obviously, this will most likely turn out to be a disaster in which I say mostly Irish or Australian things in entirely wrong contexts with a terrible faux-British accent (one person actually said my British accent sounded like a drunk American trying to speak French, but hey - I happen to like Americans who at least try to speak French so whatevs, brah)  and lose more friends than make them, but failure is the key to success, no?

Anyhow! Here are some bits:

© Anna Denise Floor & Kyra de Vreeze - Click to enlarge

© Anna Denise Floor

I'M WORKING ON A COOKBOOK with the talented and inspirational Kyra de Vreeze!!!
We're keeping most of it a secret, but it's going to be an e-book, in English, available online starting sometime late September. The book will feature quick, easy, and tasty recipes (99% vegan & gluten free), tons of information on health benefits and nutritional values, plus plenty of essential culinary inspiration. All of the recipes and photography are done by Kyra, who has written three amazing books (two of which I have and use often) on food as finger-licking medicine. I am working on the accompanying illustrations and layout, which means I get to draw food all day! Yay!

I'm also working on a private project - ILLUSTRATING A CHILDREN'S BOOK written by my brother's father-in-law. It's a time consuming process as I am determined to make the backgrounds look amazing and well, that means I spend most of my free time drawing leaves. It's a miracle I still know what those look like. Obviously, they look like multi-colored stripes. We'll first just print copies of the book for ourselves, but if there's demand - who knows!

And now for some bobs!

So, that's all for today, but fret not - I've also been working on a boatload of new journal pages that I'll share with you soon. (If you wonder why I'm so productive these days, it's because I've developed a cocaine habit, obviously. No, I kid. I'm way too cheap to maintain those kinds of habits. It's vacation, folks, vacation. It's the cocaine of the people who are scared of drugs, haven't you heard?)

Happy weekend, all!

Journal Pages: Italian Summer!

Buongiorno, folks!
How is everyone? I hope you're all magnificent! We just came back from our delicious Italian adventure (gelato! pasta! pesto! gelato!) and you'll be glad to know I spent a lot of time drawing this trip. 

The drive to Italy is quite long, so we decided to stop over in Annecy, France on our way there. The weather was terrible, but Annecy is a lovely little town and I definitely want to come back for a weekend and explore it further. Next day we set up camp in Tellaro, Italy, on the Gulf of Poets. Sounds so romantic right? I thought so too, until I read this story about Shelley drowning and being eaten by fish before his body was dug up from the sand and burned on the beach in a brain-fizzling fire. This detail was in our guidebook. Wtf, folks. Anyway, our campsite overlooked the Mediterranean and it in fact was quite idyllic. 

© Anna Denise Floor - Click image to enlarge

Our first day in Tellaro, we spent on the 'beach' (mostly rocks) and thought about languages and they way they sound. 

© Anna Denise Floor - Click image to enlarge

The Gulf of Poets is near the Cinque Terre, so we had planned to go there and do some hiking, but once we got to Lerici where we wanted to catch the boat there, the weather had turned dreadful. We turned back and drove to Genua instead. Pretty city, but a little dirty and very busy, so after visiting some palaces and having lunch, we decided to picknick in Portofino for dinner. Portofino is supposedly one of the most picturesque harbors in the world and is dominated by big yachts and tan people in white clothes and loafers. We watched the sun go down behind the multicolored houses while eating ciabatta bread with artichoke and pistache pesto. Heaven. 

© Anna Denise Floor - Click image to enlarge

The sun was back on the 25th and we decided to grab the boat to the Cinque Terre and do some hiking. The Cinque Terre are five adorable little villages on the rugged Italian Riviera. The surrounding area is a Unesco-protected national park, and officially the villages are not reachable by car (although it doesn't seem like this is true any longer). You can tour the villages by boat or train, but you can also walk the journey. Or so we thought. Apparently a flash-flood took out half of the paths a couple years ago and instead of 5 hours, the new trail (which was much steeper and longer) would take almost twice as long. Because we depended on the boat to take us back home before dusk and because my knees were not loving all the steps, we did about 5 hours of the trail (3 out of 5 villages) and did the boat/train route for the rest. It was a sizzling hot day with some amazing views, rewarding mountain tops, and a glass of local wine at the end of it. 

© Anna Denise Floor - Click image to enlarge

Camping just wouldn't be the same without the tent flooding, of course. During the night, our (borrowed) tent gave up the will to live and broke in the heavy rain. Everything was wet and in the morning we evacuated everything in garbage bags and fled to nearby Sarzana, where we walked around, had some coffee, enjoyed the sunshine, and eventually bought a new tent. It was a blessing in disguise, as the new tent was much bigger and so much more comfortable. 

© Anna Denise Floor - Click image to enlarge

Venezia! Jochem had never been, so we had to make a stop here. The city was lovely as ever, but the camp site was terrible. Even though I had been there before and hadn't remembered the camp site as such, it was dirty and swampy and the mosquito's were killing me. I was quite miserable for a little bit, but Venice was worth it. 

© Anna Denise Floor - Click image to enlarge

© Anna Denise Floor - Click image to enlarge

The camp site was so terrible that for some reason we left a day too early - by accident! We had the whole journey planned out and camp sites reserved everywhere, so our next stop actually wasn't available for the night and we decided to drive towards Verona and see what was available. We ended up staying at a farmhouse (or 'agriculturismo') called Alle Torricelle, which was just amazing. It was just the most gorgeous place, with an impressive 'certified' herb garden. All the snacks and food were home made by the matron of the house, and we were shown around the herb garden by her. Verona was also a pleasant surprise. Such a pretty place  and definitely worth a visit. 

© Anna Denise Floor - Click image to enlarge

© Anna Denise Floor - Click image to enlarge

© Anna Denise Floor - Click image to enlarge

The last week was spent on Lake Garda where we took three days of windsurfing classes. It was much easier than we anticipated, and so much fun. We also visited some little towns and ancient ruins while there, as the area surrounding Lake Garda is just gorgeous. I didn't do much drawing because we were out on the water all day, and I was working on some watercolor post cards (more on those later).  

© Anna Denise Floor - Click image to enlarge

And then we got home. We did stop over in Strassbourg on our way back, but I didn't do any drawing then either, as I had to get back to work the morning after. 

© Anna Denise Floor - Click image to enlarge

I'm happy that I got to do quite a lot of drawing on this trip. I think usually my trips are a lot shorter and I feel like I would rather spend time doing things than drawing them, but this vacation had a nice mix. I'll write another post on my travel art kit and how to work outside, but in general let me say it was great to draw 'in the moment' more than usual.

Have you been drawing on your trip? Please share, I LOVE travel journals!

Journal Pages: Death, Gold & Drugs

© Anna Denise Floor - Click to enlarge

© Anna Denise Floor - Click to enlarge

© Anna Denise Floor - Click to enlarge

Felt like bustin' out the markers this week, so here's some real color for you, folks! As always, click the images to enlarge the picture and let me know what you think in the comments below!
 

Inspiration: Oliver Jeffers' One City, Five Hours

You know how I love maps. 
And city guides. 
And oh, oh, Oliver Jeffers. I once heard someone say he's kind of a prick, but I don't believe one word of it because I mean, how can he be when he draws books about crayons that go on strike? It just isn't possible. 

Anyhow. Drawn maps + city guide + Oliver Jeffers = Magic. 

Miami © Oliver Jeffers for Hemisphere

I found these amazing illustrations from Oliver Jeffers' "One city, Five Hours” project via Messynessychique. They appear regularly in the United Airlines magazine, Hemisphere, pairing Jeffers' illustrations with various travel writers’ five hour guides to common layover city stops. 

Just amazing. I clearly need to fly United more often (to far away fun places). 

Shanghai © Oliver Jeffers for Hemisphere

Stockholm © Oliver Jeffers for Hemisphere