Blippi’d

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My son Hudson is OBSESSED with Blippi. Can all the Mamas & Papas raise your hand if you have a toddler who is requesting to watch Blippi AD NAUSEAM?! (Send wine and headphones.)

My only appropriate response to this is to draw him in his glory wearing Blippi’s garb. Even when he asks for his children’s vitamin (which are Frozen-shaped because he has a very opinionated older sister), he pulls out ANY shape and yells, “BLIPPI ONE!”

Gosh, I love 2-year-olds.

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Side note…. I wonder if Blippi has any kids books out there and needs an illustrator…..

Quarantine art club

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Sheesh, friends.

This new normal, this quarantine life – it’s not easy, right? I don’t do well with unknowns, with large fears, with missing people. I am thankful for so many things, and also struggling with so many things. I know we all are. For me, music helps. Dancing helps. Working out helps. Hugging my kids helps. Getting outside on my bike helps.

Making art helps.

Here’s a couple sketches I have done outside of my book/animation projects that I’m not allowed to post about. I will keep adding as I do them!

Hang in there, we are all in this together!

Sending many social distance tight hugs. I can’t wait to have a big dance party when this is all over.

Stay safe and healthy!

May 5 – I don’t know why, but it gave me immense joy to paint my favourite chair tonight. I need to actually sit and rest (or write!) in it more, though. #notetoself

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May 3 – I think one of my fav things is hearing/watching someone playing violin. Man, I love that sound. (Best sound on film scores, too.) When I worked in Gastown (a trendy part of Vancouver) someone would take up residence on a bench and play their violin. It ALWAYS made me smile. Sending hope, love and music therapy to everyone tonight.

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Apr 24 – The sun was setting as I was biking the other day, so today I painted it. I’m hopeful, I’m sad, I’m trying my best not to give up. Remember, each day is a new one!

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Apr 21 – My daughter turns 4 today! I have been dying to draw her in this most awesome Mr. Rogers dress she constantly wears 😀

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Apr 20 – My daughter chose my outfit for me 🙂

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April 18 – saw this guy on my bike and his outfit made me smile, so I had to draw it 🙂

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BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT!

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Friends, I can’t believe I get to announce this dream come true. If you don’t mind indulging me, I will give you a quick timeline of how I got here:

I have always wanted to do a project combining my art and faith journey as a gay Christian. In late 2018 I thought of doing a kids book so that my kids, and other kids, could read it. I called it “Dear Younger (gay) Me”.

Nov 2018 – I had a call with Jennifer Knapp (childhood icon!) about an unrelated project we were going to collaborate on, and I brought up my book idea. She encouraged me to do it.

Feb 2019 – I started sketching storyboards & writing on the train to and from work. I was shocked at how quickly it all came pouring out of me. I reached out to Rachel Held Evans. (I wrote a guest post for her blog in 2014 and had kept in contact with her.) She wrote me back saying: “What a beautiful book, Stacey! I’m happy to share far and wide. Thank you for making this.”

May 2019 – I sent out my book idea on a whim to see if I could get an agent to represent me. Within four hours of sending it out, and to my total shock, I had two offers of representation. I signed with The Bent Agency in NYC a few days later.

July 2019 – My agent Claire sent out a formal book proposal to a bunch of editors and we wait. (I am learning publishing is a slow game!) Claire helps me evolve and expand my story from a kids book to a YA illustrated novel.

Oct 2019 – We are approached by Beaming Books who are very interested.

Nov 2019 – Beaming Books sends Claire a book offer to publish! Claire goes back and forth to negotiate the terms as I vibrate with excitement in the corner.

Feb 5, 2020I officially sign the book deal with Beaming Books!! They start a discussion about changing the name of the book to be more suitable for a YA audience. They land on “Still Stace: My Gay Christian Coming of Age Story (An Illustrated Memoir)”.

March 5, 2020 it is officially announced in Publishers Marketplace (above image) I can fiiiiiiiinnnnnnally share this with you all!!

I am beyond grateful for this opportunity. I am trying to do my best writing and drawing for the privilege to be able to represent a voice for the gay Christian community, and for younger me. ALL. THE. FEELS.

Children’s Bookshelf also shared my book deal in their list (below), and I still can’t believe this is happening. But it’s been a long road, so I’m going to celebrate each milestone! (In a perfect coincidence, I was having a dance party with the kids when the tweet came in! 😆) Click image for link.

 

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Stay tuned for updates as I continue to work on it!

Oscar Posters 2020

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It’s my fav time of year! I have loved the Academy Awards since I was a little kid, and my love of film has only grown since then. A few years ago, I decided to do a poster for any of the nominated films that I managed to see. I don’t get to use my graphic design skills as much anymore working in animation, so this is just a fun exercise to stretch those muscles. I will keep adding the ones I do for 2020 as I do them.

*See below for a gallery of past years posters!

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Irishman_2019square

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Previous years 2016 – 2019:

… it’s being a parent.

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Sometimes being an artist for a living and a hobby can get tough. I often struggle to get out what’s in my head, and I am usually (always) super critical of myself and my work. I don’t often feel like what was in my head was successfully transmitted to the screen or paper… but I’m learning to be easier and more encouraging towards myself! Perfectionism is a tough & bumpy road.

When I have a big deadline looming ahead (as I do now), I feel frozen and overwhelmed. I start to doubt myself and feel creatively stuck. When this happens, I tell myself (usually Tams will tell me!) to take a break and go write. It helps to clear my head and be creative in a way that flows much easier for me.

Here’s something I wrote about parenting two years ago, and this morning while on a much-needed break, I edited it. (I’m also trying not to judge or assess it!) Hope some other parents out there can see themselves in the words. ❤

it’s a small warm hand on your neck

it’s sticky items in your pocket

it’s moments of no patience, then immediate unbridled love

it’s wiping big tears away, then chasing joy around the corner

it’s overwhelming doubts if you can do this

it’s big eyes staring silently at you to love them

it’s no answers, yet all the questions you never thought of

it’s sitting down to eat, and never getting to eat

it’s deep breaths & pep talks & breakdowns

it’s playing dress-up & funny dances & being silly because that’s all there is

it’s a little hand reaching up for help, knowing you’ll grab it

it’s a tiny toddler plopping themselves in your lap

it’s no personal space, fingerprints on your glasses & stains on your clothes

it’s a rollercoaster of emotions, then a gentle gliding of a canoe

it’s never feeling ready, yet somehow you already are

it’s rediscovering soft sheep’s wool, the joy of a puppy playing & the crunch of leaves

it’s letting your soul be fueled by the small voice calling “Mommy?”

it’s holding tight onto the big hugs until they let go

it’s learning to let go and see how much they teach you

it’s that feeling that you are a little being’s everything

it’s unbelievably hard

it’s so beautiful you ache

it’s all so worth it

…………….. it’s being a parent

Stacey Chomiak © 2020

“Rainbow Boy” book announcement

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Friends, I have some exciting news!

With the help of my agent Claire at The Bent Agency, I’ve been hired by Beaming Books to illustrate a really adorable picture book entitled “Rainbow Boy” (written by Taylor Rouanzion)! I’ve been working on it for a little while, but it was officially announced this week in Publisher’s Marketplace!

Here’s the official announcement. Stay tuned for updates! 

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UPDATE JAN 5, 2020: RAINBOW BOY is now available for pre-order on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca (for my Canadian friends)! It releases in September – and I am working hard now on the rest of the illustrations! Until then, here is the cover and a sample spread of the inside. 🙂

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Be the Helpers.

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Back in September, my wife Tams was out with our kids on a couple different occasions, and total strangers made very angry & unkind comments. One was from a lady angry she would bring a stroller into a store, and the second was after Hudson made an excited scream in a coffee shop. (Also, he’s not two yet, and very excited about life.)

I was frustrated these happened, within a week of each other, as this has been a totally exhausting and lonely stage of parenting – especially for Tams, when I am away working. So I wrote this post below as a response, on social media. It got picked up by the local news, which I will link at the bottom. (If you read the comments, many people missed the point of why I wrote this… but I guess it’s not for them, then.)

There are no perfect kids, there are no perfect parents and there are no perfect people. But there is always room to exercise empathy and be a bit more kind with each other. Let’s try.

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Friends, can we chat for a sec?

Mr. Rogers said, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

I’m wondering today, can we do one better? Instead of just looking for the helpers, can we BE THE HELPERS?

Most of you read about @tamschomiak recent run-in with the random people in the local coffee shop, asking why she would bring our (loud) kids in there. It was really upsetting.

Today she was in a thrift shop with the kids and another random lady said “Why the hell would you come in here with that g*d awful stroller and two kids?” & gave Tams the most angry look. Sigh.

Friends, we can do better. We are all a little (lot) tired and sad and maybe just plain angry with the state of the world right now.

BUT WE CAN DO BETTER.

My warrior of a wife just wanted to take our kids on an outing, which in itself is NO SMALL FEAT just to get out the door, let me tell you. Like SO MANY parents out there, she’s constantly exhausted, she’s emotionally depleted, she’s feeling weary in the thick fog of parenting two young, bright, healthy, loud, enthusiastic, boisterous toddlers. She often has to manage things on her own, so I can focus on the projects I’m juggling, and she flipping rocks that job better than any Mama I know. But frankly, this has been a really tough season of life for us both.

Comments like these, they are so discouraging. Sometimes it only takes a mildly annoyed comment to plummet someone into depression, or just plain ruin the rest of their day. Don’t be the straw that breaks someone’s back. I refuse to be.

Waiting for your coffee, passing people on the street, around your co-workers… just do better. Smile more. Encourage people. Say thank you & mean it. Ask people how they are. Be gentler with each other, you don’t know what hurt may be hiding beneath the surface. Decide to care, just a little, about people your energy interacts with from day to day. Every interaction, big or small, makes a difference. EVERY ONE.

The only way this world will get better is if WE DECIDE TO BE BETTER.

And if you think of it, send a thumbs up to my wife to remind her she’s a freaking rockstar. ❤️

#acalltokindness #bethehelpers #gaychristianmamas

 — with Tammy Chomiak.

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Being a guest on “Blessed Are the Feminists” podcast

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A few weeks ago, the kind folks at the “Blessed Are the Feminists” podcast invited me to be a guest, and talk about my experiences with Christian feminism, having LGBTQ faith and being a gay Christian mama.

It was such a great conversation, and I think, so important to have right now! The episode aired Sept 1, and can be heard on their website here. Or look them up on iTunes & Spotify to subscribe! Follow them on instagram & twitter @holyfeminists!

Here’s a few tweets they put out about my episode:

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“Stranger Things” S3 art!

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Oh my word, who else loved the most current season of “Stranger Things”, in all of its’ 80s mall glory?! It was just so fun!

I was really inspired by the first season to do my own Golden Book concept – you can see that here. I also just really loved the characters, so I did some ink sketches of them all – you can see that here.

I was too busy to do stuff for season 2, but for season 3 I just had to do some art. I have plans to do at least an illustration from each episode, but so far I did these two from episode 1.

My version of Scoops Ahoy with Steve & Robin:

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A quick paint study of the cinematography – I loved this shot from episode 1!

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“Dear Younger (gay) Me” Book Update

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My agent Claire and I have been working hard on this for the last few weeks, and hopefully soon I will have more news to share!

This project has just poured out of me, like a pitcher full of water finally being emptied. In my 18 years as an artist, I have never quite had that feeling before. Usually I struggle with getting what’s in my head onto the page/screen. I’m really excited to finish it, and for everyone to get the chance to read it! I have a lot more work [drawing] to do, but I feel so incredibly grateful to work on it every chance I get. Here are the latest illustrations I have done – they will make more sense with the text. 🙂

Stay tuned for the full story and publishing updates!