Illustration Auction: Under the Sea

Illustration Auction: Under the Sea

I bring you today the second installment of the recently relaunched original illustration auction—along with some process pics that show you how it came to be.

First, Robbi drew a sketch. I don’t have a picture of it. You’ll just have to take it on faith. Next she traced the sketch with pen and ink.

1 (http://robbiandmatthew NULL.jpg)

But she was not happy with the mermaid’s face. As much as it resembled the sketch, it did not inspire delight. Robbi demands to be inspired and delighted at least seven times a day, and I am capable of inspiring and/or delighting only six times daily. And so, taking matters into her own hands, she cranked out another drawing, this time with a more delightful face.

2 (http://robbiandmatthew NULL.jpg)

To this drawing, she added gouache skin tones. And rosy red lips.

3 (http://robbiandmatthew NULL.jpg)

And then she painted the arm/fin things, adding just a bit of blue.

4 (http://robbiandmatthew NULL.jpg)

And then the gorgeous green hair. And the shiny iridescent scales. I wish you were here in the barn at this moment to see them with your own eyes. The camera does not do them justice. They sparkle. It is delightful. And inspiring.

5 (http://robbiandmatthew NULL.jpg)

Then Robbi added some color to the water, to the rocks, to the seaweed and the kelp. She wondered if the scene were complete.

6 (http://robbiandmatthew NULL.jpg)

But then she remembered the eyes. Though tiny and seemingly insignificant, the eyes make all the difference. Just a dab of white (especially against a colored background as this is) cause the eyes to pop, inviting us into that window to a mermaid’s soul. A place you want to visit, I assure you.

7 (http://robbiandmatthew NULL.jpg)

And then, with some degree of trepidation and against all better judgment, Robbi painted in the watery background and painted in a wash of lighter sky. She worried it would ruin the piece.

8 (http://robbiandmatthew NULL.jpg)

But I don’t think it did. Not at all.

If you find yourself delighted and/or inspired, this piece is open for the bidding over on Ebay until 10:00pm on Sunday, May 24.


Also, this drawing was inspired by this month’s Bobbledy Theme: Under the Sea (http://bobbledybooks Grab the kid in your life (or the kid in you) and head on over to the Bobbledy Blog (http://bobbledybooks to learn some stuff or share your stories or drawings of life below the surface.

Art for a Good Cause

Art for a Good Cause

A few weeks ago, we posted this image of Robbi’s for auction.

It created quite a bit of excitement, finally selling for more than $300.

On an unrelated note, Robbi has been helping out with the design and creation of Chestertown’s new children’s museum/creative space, KidS (http://chestertownriverarts, which will open April 5.

One of the exhibits will be a mural that is painted over with a special dry-erase paint, which means that kids will be able draw whatever they want on it, and, when they’re done, it will be able to be wiped clean for the next kid to come along. It’s kind of like an enormous coloring book on a wall.

For example, here’s a sketch of what the mural might look like before a kid paints on it.

And here’s what it might look like AFTER a kid paints on it.


Fun, right?

Here’s the problem: the special dry-erase paint is expensive. More than $200 for the amount KidSPOT needs to paint over the mural. Which is where Robbi’s castle illustration comes in.

Here’s our wild scheme. We are selling 8.5″ x 11″ archival prints of Robbi’s castle illustration for $20 each, and all proceeds will go toward funding the mural.

If you’re the sort of person who prefers looking at graphics to reading paragraphs, here you go.

If you are so inspired, head over to the Bobbledy Shop to place your order (http://bobbledyshop


Prepare for the Bombadil to Drop

Prepare for the Bombadil to Drop

FYI all you Bombadil fans out there: All That the Rain Promises (http://bombadil NULL.bandcamp will be available on vinyl starting July 24. You can pre-order here (http://bigschoolrecords NULL.bigcartel now if you need the next month or so try to find a record player to buy.

Here’s a sneak peek, compliments of Bryan and Instagram:

Be particularly impressed by the bone-colored vinyl. Be somewhat less impressed by the album art and insert by yours trulies. Order now! (http://bigschoolrecords NULL.bigcartel



Hello all – the fire sale is OVER. Thank you everyone for testing out the site and getting some wicked awesome deals at the same time (one of you managed to get a Makers Tile game for just $4. $4!! You notice I didn’t advertise this before the sale was over…). All of the troubleshooting helped out a lot, so thank you thank you thank you. Here’s hoping we don’t run into too many more problems in the future!

And, just because I can, here’s a picture of a donkey doing a split:




Your keen eyes and bear-trap intellects are requested. After setting up the new e-commerce site, we need to test it. And test it you will.

We are offering 50% OFF the first 15 orders. Use the coupon code FOOFAH, cross your fingers, and if it doesn’t work, please email me (robbi null@null idiotsbooks right away (I tested it myself, but that doesn’t always seem to work). Aside from the coupon, though, I’d like to hear about any problems you might have in the process, or any things that don’t seem to make sense.

**NOTE** The one thing the coupon won’t work for is subscriptions. Those, it turns out, are already dirt cheap.

I am aware that one of the sort options is “By Manufacturer”, but apparently that’s a non-negotiable with the software. And doesn’t it make us sound like we’re bigger and better than we really are?

I thought so.

So go to it (http://store NULL.idiotsbooks Enlighten us, while you enlighten your wallets (but not as much as you would enlighten them if you had stopped by yesterday).

(And oh, ps, the first person who spends more than $50 gets the FIRE SALE original. To, um, hang on the table at your next yard sale to bring in the teeming hordes.)

UPDATE: Though we would still appreciate it if each of you spent $50 (or more, or much more), we think it only fair to tell you that Nifer K. has just won the fire sale illustration. Thank you, Nifer, generous of spirit (and wallet).

Grand Opening, with Fanfare

Grand Opening, with Fanfare

Hello all. We have been alluding to exhaustion in recent posts without really getting into the details. While both of us have been busy, Robbi gets the prize for working overtime. Between getting up on Friday morning and going to bed on Saturday night, she got exactly 27 minutes of sleep. On one hand, I think it’s amazing that she’s still alive. I simply can’t stay awake for more than 20 hours, and I have never in my life done the proverbial “all-nighter.” But Robbi, like the other Behrs, is capable of heroic stretches of backbreaking work without sleep or nourishment, most likely gleaned from decades of summers working on the tundra.

Robbi’s task for the last week or so has been a complete overhaul of the Idiots’Books e-commerce site. Fearing that an avalanche of visitors from Slate might crush our feeble WordPress e-store plugin, Robbi has been working with a third-party vendor who will host our store and help us with troubleshooting. From now on, when you buy something from us, you will go to another site for a moment to do the actual shopping and purchasing. But Robbi has been working hard to make sure that this new site looks and feels like the same old you have come to know and love (you may sob gently into a Kleenex if you are feeling so moved). To do this, she developed a series of snappy, energetic banners to delight and beguile you. I love what she came up with, and can’t resist sharing them with you now.

When you get to the new store (http://store NULL.idiotsbooks, you will be cheerfully greeted with the this artful pile of words:

Meandering over to the “books” link (http://store NULL.idiotsbooks NULL.asp?Cat=1), you will be dazzled in the following fashion:

Hovering with alluring portent atop the “subscriptions” content (http://store NULL.idiotsbooks NULL.asp?Cat=3) you will be thus persuaded:

In search of elegant, yet humorous t-shirts or snappy new threads for your ill-mannered infant (http://store NULL.idiotsbooks NULL.asp?Cat=2), you will first be forced to reckon with:

Upon reaching the “posters” page (http://store NULL.idiotsbooks NULL.asp?Cat=21), your eyes will be visually assaulted along these lines:

If your constitution is stout and you make it to the “prints” page (http://store NULL.idiotsbooks NULL.asp?Cat=4), your grim reward will be encountering this:

And if you make it all the way to the “other stuff” link (http://store NULL.idiotsbooks NULL.asp?Cat=6) (as only the most devoted shoppers will), you will be treated to some minor profanity and a rather exciting typeface (see “strange”):

In other words, this post intends to save you the trouble of actually visiting the new store (and is, therefore, a terrible idea, in the marketing scheme of things). No matter. Just know that if and when you do go to the store (http://store NULL.idiotsbooks, it is a sturdier and more functional (if somewhat less lovely) place than it was before.

Her long work done, one would think that Robbi would be happy. Friends, she is not.

Because she is a devout realist with a tendency to low-grade pessimism, Robbi is convinced that the world will end before the Slate piece is published, and all her work will be for naught. Or that the piece will be published but not a single person will be interested in buying a single thing from us. In Robbi’s glass-mostly-empty worldview, the surest way to secure hundreds of orders would be to have kept the old e-store as it was, at which point it would have crashed, and Robbi would have been disappointed for another reason. What I’m getting at is that it’s hard to be Robbi.

Almost as hard as it is to live with her, I bet.