Monday, October 31, 2016

Month of Fear - Darkness

It's the final challenge for Month of Fear!  And for Halloween day we did the challege, Darkness.

This is a new type of book for me, a Jacob's ladder book. I painted each panel with a bad luck image. This is one of my smallest yet, measuring 1.5 inches square. It's really best seeing it in motion, so here's another video.
A video posted by Alice Stanne (@stannedbyme) on

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Month of Fear - Metamorphosis

It's the fourth, and final complete week of Month of Fear (though we will do a challenge on Halloween) and the challenge is Metamorphosis.

I took my inspiration from various mythologies about shape shifting creatures including the Celtic selkie, Japanese kitsune, Hindu naga, and Greek story of Actaeon. I doubled down on the metamorphosis by it possible to flip the characters so you place different heads on difference bodies on different legs. This is another tiny book, measuring 2 x 4 inches.

A video posted by Alice Stanne (@stannedbyme) on

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Ireland Sketchbook

At the beginning of October my family returned from a two week trip to the western coast of Ireland. My father is in an American folk band, Betty & the Baby Boomers, who have been traveling to Clifden, Ireland for the past 20 years to play music in their Annual Arts Festival. We spent the first week in Clifden, going to concerts, plays, poetry readings and art talks in pubs and theaters. The second week we traveled north up the coast to Donegal.

I brought a small 4 x 6 watercolor sketchbook I took everywhere and promised myself I would fill. I made it about 50% of the way through, but I'm still happy. It's more loose sketching than I would normally do in two weeks time. So here's a selection of sketches from the trip.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Month of Fear - Wicked

It's another Month of Fear! Those of you who are familiar with MoF know it's a weekly art challenge for the month of October with plenty of spooky themes and a variety of artists  that post every day.

The first challenge was Wicked.

For the Wicked challenge I drew inspiration from Roald Dahl’s creepy short story “The Landlady,” about a lodger who doesn’t quite seem to realize the danger he is in from his cryptic, taxidermy loving landlady. I made a small pop up book (2 x 3.5 inches) illustrated with watercolor paintings.

So many of my books are becoming so interactive that I think the best way to experience them is with a video, so I made one with my phone.

A video posted by Alice Stanne (@stannedbyme) on

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Grand Manan Sampler

Here's the final Grand Manan Sampler, rocks included!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Books & Boxes Workshop

In October I will be teaching a two weekend workshop for the Continuing Education department at MassArt. This intensive, suitable for students of all levels, will begin the first weekend by creating a variety of book structures. The second week will follow up with building a box for one of the books.

I taught a similar workshop in the spring and am excited to add an additional weekend for box making!

You can find more information or register online with the MassArt Continuing Education Online Catalogue.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Grand Manan Sampler - Assorted Rocks

I've gone on about how amazing the rocks from Grand Manan are before. We spend a good chunk of our trip on the rock beaches, staring at the ground.

A few years ago, my friend who usually goes with us wasn't able to come. So I sent her a small box of rocks and decorated it with a chocolate box-like label.

This weekend, I came back to that idea. It's always interesting to retry an old idea again...

This was the first one I made, maybe three or four years ago (sadly I don't have a picture of the final product, just the sketch).

I liked the text from 'Sampler' so I kept that, as well as the shape of the label. But I evolved the lettering and imagery. I did  quick color study on some blue paper to see if the colors I was toying with would work.

And a quick snapshot of the final painting (watercolor, gouache, and Golden gold paint). Now I just have to build a small box.

Such desk mess for such a small piece.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Grand Manan Sketches

My family recently returned from our annual pilgrimage up to Grand Manan Island in the Bay of Fundy. Nine hours in a car and another hour and a half on a ferry really pay off for a week of true relaxation in an incredibly beautiful place.

Flock of Sheep hike on the southeast side of the island.
Since we've gone so many years (something crazy, like the last 15 years) there's nothing really new to see. It takes something really extraordinary for us pull out our cameras anymore. But this year I decided to try and do a better job sketching some of it. I don't pride myself on my landscape skills, but it was nice to have time to just noodle around in my sketchbook.

White Head Island

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Graduation Book

Last weekend my little sister Margaret graduated from Mt. Holyoke. Congratulations!

As I graduation gift I asked our family and life long friends to contribute any words of wisdom, advice, or meaningful quotes. I took all the input (40 pages worth), designed it up real pretty in InDesign, threw in a few illustrations, printed and bound it into a pocket-sized encyclopedia.

Here are the results, and if I do so humbly say so myself, it's one of my best books to date.

And a great big shout out to Margaret for taking these pictures herself, what a pro!

Monday, February 29, 2016

Month of Love - Seasons

For Month of Love we decided to a surprise challenge for Leap Day: Seasons.

 I made a quick (overnight) little color wheel book of all the things I love from each season.

This has been one of my favorite years, both for my own work and that of others. The variety and quality is truly breathtaking. Don't forget to check out the Month of Love website for our final week.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Month of Love - Lost in Translation

This week's challenge for Month of Love was Lost in Translation.

Looking for love in the all the wrong inanimate objects...

I like the sketchbook page I did for this a lot:

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Month of Love - Heroes

Another Month of Love is here! This week's challenge was Heroes.

When I was a kid my dad used to sing us the song “Come Take a Trip in My Airship;” a song about a pilot who takes away a young lady away from all this in his airship. But whenever my dad sang it me as a kid he replaced all the ‘hes’ with ‘shes.’ Suddenly there was a woman flying through the universe having adventures and when she decided to settle down she asked the man to marry her. I loved this strong, empowered sky captain and wanted to capture the chorus of the song in a book. This was my first star book (the name comes from the star shape it creates when viewed from above while open).

Don't forget to check it out on Month of Love and see all the other incredible art that's being made!

Some sketches for the airship:

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Beyond the Book - Artists' Talk

Tonight I will be at the Faneuil Branch of the Boston Public Library to participate in a group Artists' Talk about my books that are in the Beyond the Book IX show. The talk will be from 6:30 - 7:30.

The show will up until the 23rd, with another Artists' Talk on the 21st at the Brighton Branch. If you're local, stop by and take a look!