2018, The Year Of The Earth Dog -- A View From The Southwest

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2018 is the Year of the Earth Dog according to the Chinese zodiac. I'm not quite sure what an Earth Dog is, but I immediately thought of a coyote when I heard the the term. My Earth Dog/coyote was inspired by the beautiful artistry and craftsmanship of Hopi katsina dolls. You can learn more about katsina dolls here.

According to online sources, the last Earth Dog year was 1958, which, by the way, just happens to be the year I was born. The horoscope says that those born in the year of the Earth Dog are talented, good communicators, compassionate, sensible, serious, highly principled, and idealistic. Also mentioned was something about the pancreas being important and avoiding fatty foods. That last part sounds pretty accurate to me.


What Reindeer Do

Ever wonder what reindeer do while waiting for Santa to fill stockings? (I bet Santa's Naughty Kid Book has some interesting notes in the margins!)

You can pick a copy or two of this holiday card here.

More Santa Cards Here. 


Sedona Holiday Magic

http://www.markix.net/cards/index.html target=
Even though the town of Sedona, and the beautiful red rock country around it, is now sadly overrun with tourists, it is still one of my favorite areas in Arizona. Being an older native Arizonan, I experienced Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon when both were still peaceful and sparsely inhabited. I fondly remember one dark, crisp night looking at the stars shining brightly above the stately red rocks and falling in love with nature. It was a magical, transforming moment.

The greeting card shown above is available here.


Deadly Eight-armed Wonders

Being a lover of science and nature I always relish doing research about unique flora and fauna for assigned illustration projects. More often than not, I dig up some amazing information. Recently, while working on a book project about how octopuses eat, I found out that these graceful and intelligent creatures have a deadly secret.

According to a story posted on National Geographic News, an Australian study found evidence that "all octopuses, cuttlefish, and some squid are venomous."  The venom helps corrode shells and weaken the prey of these cephalopods.

However, while all octopuses appear to be poisonous, only the blue-ringed octopus is dangerous to humans. Seems these tiny little creatures can kill you rather quickly if they bite you or if you try to bite them for dinner.


The Art Critic

I haven't posted in a while because I have a lot of projects that are keeping me quite busy. However, recently I took a break and did a watercolor sketch of one of my cats scrutinizing my work.

Why Cats Do Not Make Good Artistic Muses


Meet Your Bike

Some art of mine from the latest edition (7-17) of ASK Magazine -- Art and Sciences for Kids. https://shop.cricketmedia.com/ASK-Magazine-for-Kids.html


Meet Dusty Pack

Meet Dusty Pack, the hiking, backpacking Jackrabbit. Go to Dusty's website to download and color The Rules of the Trail PDF before you hit the path. There will be more Dusty coloring pages about enjoying nature in the future. (BTW, these rules are for everyone -- not just kids.)


Camp Read Aloud Shirt

Thanks to Smoky Mountain Strong Camp Read Aloud for sending me this photo of their shirts with some of my free Educator Clips clip art (formerly Discovery clip art) on them. Smoky Mountain Strong Camp Read Aloud is a summer literacy program to help strengthen reading skills and help raise awareness in the wake of a wildfire in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that left many in the area homeless and out of work.


Make a Little Book

Looking for a fun and creative activity to do with your children? How about having them make their own little storybook. Just print out the PDF and follow the easy instructions. The perfect project for that aspiring young author and/or illustrator!  Here's the link: http://www.markix.net/fun/make_your_own_cool_little_book.html


Some Grand Coloring Pages

If you are headed to the Grand Canyon this summer look for these coloring pages (created by me as a volunteer) being handed out at the park.


May the 5th be with You?

Being a native Arizonan, Cinco de Mayo has always been just another excuse to get together with Hispanic friends for some tasty authentic Mexican food. But what exactly does Cinco de Mayo commemorate?  In short, it's a celebration of the vastly outnumbered Mexican army's victory in a hard-fought battle with Napoleon III’s French forces on May 5, 1862, at the Battle of Puebla. Napoleon III had sent an army to Mexico to collect on a Mexican debt to France. He also had plans to establish an empire in Mexico that would favor French interests. Although the victory didn’t change the outcome of the war, it did provide a boost to the army and people of Mexico and helped to unite the country.


Red Tape!

This stock art image is available for licensing. And I have several other stock images that can be licensed for editorial or business use here. In the future, I will be setting up a website (FolioMark.com) where more of my artwork will be available for licensing. And, of course, if you can't find what you are looking for, I'm available to create something on assignment. My contact information is on my website, www.MARKiX.net.


Meet the Well Me Bots (tm) and Asthma Bots (tm)

Meet the Well Me Bots(tm) & The Asthma Bots(tm). The characters, the art, and the print-ready design for these coloring books were created by me gratis as a volunteer for Child Life Services at Valleywise Health. The coloring books help children learn about the symptoms, causes, and treatment of asthma. Valleywise Health is the Phoenix area’s only public teaching health system.


cool d. cat


cool d. cat was modeled after one our family cats. Cool, like his real-life counterpart, is one mellow dude that knows his way around the kitchen.

I have thought often about turning cool’s adventures in to a picture book. However, the market seems already flooded with silly cat books so I put that scheme in my overflowing things-I-can-doodle-on someday-when-I-retire file.


New Magazine Artwork

A couple of the illustrations from a 5-page spread about "The Story of Books" in the January 2017 issue of ASK magazine.