Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Silent Night...

I hope that your weekend will be calm and bright and full of joy and cookies and fun.

If you visit Between the End Pages, you can see my illustration for this month's theme, "A Christmas Carol".

Also, I'm going to take a vacation from the internet for a week or two. So, I'll see you next year friends! Cheers and Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

And the winner is.....

Thank you so much to everyone who entered my Thank You Giveaway! It made me feel so cheery to read your favorite things about the holidays! Last night, I put everyone's name in my winter hat and pulled out three names. The grand prize winner is....

Congratulations Monica!! I'll be sending you a set of Winter Birds note cards and you can choose any item you like from my Etsy shop. Monica's favorite things about the holidays are listening to the soundtrack of "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and drinking hot chocolate. Mmmm... Today would be a good day for hot chocolate, especially peppermint hot chocolate. In my family, its not really Christmas until we've listened to the John Denver and the Muppets Christmas album a few times.

The two runners up are....

Congratulations Emily S. and Jeanie W!

If Monica, Emily and Jeanie will please email me at BrookeBoyntonHughes (at) gmail (dot) com with your addresses (and Monica, with your Etsy item of choice), I'll get your prizes in the mail right away.

Thank you again for entering my giveaway, and thank you especially for taking the time to visit my blog. Cheers!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Illustration Friday: Brigade

I've been reading Wildwood, written by Colin Meloy, with illustrations by Carson Ellis. Ms. Ellis' illustrations are really wonderful and suit the book perfectly, but seeing as Wildwood is a novel, there are many many characters and scenes that aren't illustrated. I've been loving imagining the fantastical characters and scenes of Mr. Meloy's story. So, when I saw that this week's word was "brigade" I immediately thought of Wildwood's army of coyotes. My original sketch for this involved several coyotes marching, but then I remembered that I had to make dinner and do laundry and make phone calls and work on other illustrations... so instead, here's this guy, an officer in the coyote brigade.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Work in progress...

Another bear taking a stroll.

And if you head over to Between the End Pages, you can see my illustration of a robot bear.

Also, there are still a few more days left to enter my giveaway if you're in the market for some free "Winter Birds" note cards.

Oh, and one more thing... Did you see this interview a few days ago with Abigail Halpin? Her art is delightful and so is her interview.

I hope you have a happy weekend! The husband and I are going to get our Christmas tree and do some holiday decorating. Bring on the egg nog! (er... soy nog.)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Illustration Friday: Round

Someday I'd like to live in a house with round windows. Also, I'm hosting a giveaway. Maybe you'd like to enter?

Monday, November 28, 2011


Many, many weeks ago I mentioned that I would soon be adding lots of items to my Etsy shop. "Soon" turned out to be not so soon at all. But, I'm happy to say that my Etsy shop now has several new illustrations, as well as a set of notecards for sale. Click here to take a peek.

Also, as a means of saying thank you for visiting my blog, I'm hosting a giveaway! To enter, be a public follower of my blog and leave a comment on this post. (Any kind of comment will do, but I'd like to suggest that you mention one of your favorite things about the holiday season. Its easy to get to feeling bogged down and stressed out during this time of year, so maybe it would be good to take a moment to remember the wonderful things about the holidays.) I'll put the names in a hat and on Wednesday, December 7th, I'll choose a grand prize winner, as well as two runners up.

The Grand Prize is a set of 6 Winter Birds notecards, as well as the choice of any one item from my Etsy shop. The two runners up will receive a copy of my 5" x 7" Red Jacket illustration.

I'll also be sending a set of Winter Birds notecards to Maria Bogade, who suggested that the little birdies would make a nice card design.

I hope that you're all enjoying the winter season. Thank you for visiting my blog!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Giving Thanks

This year I'm especially thankful for a few things... My very supportive husband (this will be our first holiday season as a married couple), the wood burning stove that helps to keep our home toasty and our heating bill very, very low, my mom and dad and family, James the cat and Domino the dog, Holbein watercolor paints, snowy days, and the recent addition of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine to Netflix instant streaming (Yep. I'm thankful for Star Trek). And pie. I really like pie. Especially pecan.

And I'm also very thankful to you, for visiting my blog and keeping me company on the interweb. And as a means of saying thank you, I'll soon be hosting a give away. Come back next week to find out the details. And in the meantime, I hope that you get to eat as much turkey and mashed potatoes and pie as you like. And most of all, I hope that you have a very happy Thanksgiving and that you will be reminded of all of the things that you are thankful for.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Illustration Friday: Stripes

Mama, Papa, and Baby Bear went out for one last stroll in the snow before settling in for the long winter.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Mr. James P. Fox

October sure flew on by. Halloween came and went as I laid on the couch under a pile of blankets, nursing a 100 degree fever. So no Halloween festivities or spooky Halloween blog posts for me.

But my fever is gone and a new month is here. Instead of something spooky, here's Mr. James P. Fox on his way to work. I hope you've had a good November so far. It's lovely and snowy here today. Things are looking up.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Hear hear!

Click on the image to read this really great proclamation about picture books, signed by Mac Barnett, Dan Santat, Sophie Blackall, and lots of other great kidlit people. It made my day! (You can also click here to see it.)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Emma and Mr. Knightly

I watched Emma over the weekend. So enjoyable. I also did lots of little experiments on watercolor paper.

For years I've been using illustration board to do my watercolor illustrations. I can't remember exactly why I started using illustration board, but lately I haven't been terribly fond of it. And after I watched Marla Frazee's demonstration on stretching watercolor paper at the SCBWI Summer Conference, I felt inspired. So I ordered some lovely, bright white Arches watercolor paper from Dick Blick... And I am in love.

"Oh how the paint flows evenly over the paper!" I said to my husband. "Oh how my pencil glides over the creamy surface!" I declared. He smiled wanly, in an attempt to show understanding. But alas, he couldn't really, truly share in my excitement. But surely YOU, dear friend, will understand the magic of finding just the right new art supply?

Oh watercolor paper, you are the Mr. Knightly to my Emma... it took a little while, but now I finally see how wonderful you are. *sigh*

Monday, October 10, 2011

Snow White sketches

I've been mulling over an idea for a personal project having to do with fairytales... more on that another day. In the meantime, I was trying to figure out what Snow White might look like.

Also, head on over to Between the End Pages to see my "Scribble Off" version of "Song" (as well as a photo of 13 year old me in a cowboy hat) and Jill's super spectacular Lion Mask!!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Millicent Margot McDoodle

This is Millicent. You might remember her from such blog posts as "Zombies are the worst and other conference notes". Millicent is one tough cookie. I've grown quite fond of her and her no nonsense ways.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Little Eleanor

I've spruced up my website a bit, especially the links page, where you can see another version of plucky Little Eleanor.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Cats... and other news

Last weekend we had our 4 year old niece over for a slumber party. And we drew Cats! Hanging out with an awesome 4 year old is a pretty great way to spend a day, especially if you get to draw cats. We also went to the farmer's market, ate cupcakes, had a rousing game of hide and seek, and played with princess stickers. A very good time was had by all.

And, just in case you missed it last week, here's a really wonderful interview with Maurice Sendak on npr.

And one more thing... pop on over to Between the End Pages if you'd like to see my version of September's theme, "Ocean Voyage", as well as some news about Marsha Riti's cute new book, The Picky Little Witch.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Hansel and Gretel Re-do...

Happy Monday to you! After having a portfolio critique with Adam Rex, I decided to re-do a couple of my portfolio pieces, starting with Hansel and Gretel. I used the same basic composition, but wanted to try to create a stronger sense of light. Adam suggested that maybe Hansel and Gretel should be in the dark of the forest, about to step out into the sunshine. I also wanted to change the characters to make their poses less stiff.

The original piece is above. Below are the steps I took to get to the new illustration (not including a few thumbnails and the pencil drawing) as well as the finished image:

And here's the final image. Pen and ink, watercolor, colored pencil, and a wee bit of tweaking in photoshop.

So that's what I worked on last week. This week I'll be finishing up my "Ocean Voyage" illustration for the group blog. If you haven't visited Between the End Pages yet, please stop by and say hello!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Zombies are the worst... and other conference notes

This past weekend I attended the SCBWI Rocky Mountain Chapter Annual Conference. I got to hang out with my friend, Jill Bergman, which was great! I also got to meet the lovely and talented Erika Barriga in person for the first time. Its always nice to meet internet friends in real life.

I had a portfolio critique with the very smart and funny, Adam Rex. Its strange and wonderful how sometimes a single sentence, or even just a few words, can trigger a flurry of small epiphanies. That's what happened when I met with Mr. Rex. Now I'm full of vim and vigor and new ideas.

So, I saw my good friend, met some very friendly folks, and had a really helpful critique. But, perhaps most importantly, I seem to have gained a handle on a long held phobia of mine. You see, I am terrified of zombies. Yes, its true. And yes, I know its highly irrational. Vampires? Mummies? Werewolves? Amusing perhaps, but not terrifying. But zombies? Seeing a picture of a zombie makes my blood pressure rise. Just thinking about zombies makes my palms sweat. And the noise they make... oh dear god...the noise...*shutter*.

But this weekend I purchased Adam Rex's book, Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich. In it there is a comic strip called "Zombie Zombie" that totally cracked me up and left me feeling rather fond of the two featured zombies. I suddenly found myself doodling the living dead.

So, zombies, I'm still not ready to watch your movies. Just thinking of your creepy moaning, not to mention the fact that you want to eat my brain, makes me queasy. But it turns out that I think you're kind of fun to draw.

Maybe now the Zombie Apocalypse dreams that I have on a regular basis won't seem quite so terrifying. Thank you Adam Rex. Thanks for the great critique and for helping me to see that zombies aren't as scary as I thought.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Ready for fall...

I woke up this morning to find that there was a bit of a chill in the air. The summer has been lovely. Hot, but lovely. And now I am ready for fall. For crisp, cool days and golden aspen leaves. Sigh. Hello Fall.

In the next week or two I'll be adding a heap of new things to my Etsy shop. Stay tuned!

And most importantly, a small town library in the Adirondacks needs our help. Please click here to find out more.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Hello Weekend!

This weekend will entail time in the mountains, knitting, hiking, and a highly
anticipated chocolate croissant. Woot!