Thursday, December 20, 2012


Happy Holidays!  I hope that you are surrounded by family and friends, and all things healing and cheerful.  I'm going to take a break from the internet for a little while, so I'll see you sometime in January.  And, in the meantime, I'm raising my mug of hot tea to you and wishing you love and peace and a new year full of good things.  Cheers! :)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


I think I've decided to go to the SCBWI Winter Conference and have been working on updating my portfolio.  Here's the latest addition.   I'm really excited that Shaun Tan and Mo Willems will be speaking at the conference.  Julie Andrews is going to be there too, and well, that just put it over the top for me.  How about you?  Are you going to the conference?

In other news, it's finally snowing in Colorado.  Hooray!  Let the festivities begin!!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Wishing for...

"Nothing carries more potential for change than individual acts of human kindness."    - Jamie Winship

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Feeling painty

When I had my portfolio critiqued at this year's SCBWI conference in L.A. the main lesson that I came away with is that I need to loosen up.  So, that's what I've been trying to do... let the paint be more... painty.  I've reconciled with my old nemesis, masking fluid, and am experimenting with big, wet washes and splattering paint... and I'm having more fun painting than I have in a very long time. 

What lessons have you learned this year about your artwork?  What are you experimenting with in order to evolve the way you work?  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

What I'm working on today...

After I read this interview with Peter Brown (particularly the bit where he talks about his childhood memory) I had the idea for this illustration.

It feels a little funny... er... maybe a little overly personal, to illustrate something that happened to a real life person whom I've never met.  But, I was really struck by the image that Peter Brown's memory conjured up.  And there's something about the idea of illustrating childhood memories that I find really interesting.  I'll post the finished version soon.

In the meantime, the lack of snow and the near 70 degree weather we're having is making it difficult to get into the holiday spirit.  But, hot chocolate and Christmas music are helping just a tiny bit.  I hope things are festive wherever you are!  Happy Wednesday-ing to you!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Twelve Tales: Snow White and Rose Red

Phew!  I think I started this one at the end of October and I just finished it today.  If you're not familiar with the story of Snow White and Rose Red, you can read it here.  (It involves an evil dwarf and a bear that turns into a handsome prince!)

Today I realized that instead of the twelve fairytale illustrations that I was hoping to finish this year, I've completed seven.  Sigh.  Hm....  I still have ideas for more fairytale images, but I'm not going to be able to finish them by the end of the year (and things are going to start getting busy busy in January).  So, I'm not sure exactly what to do.  I hate to leave a project unfinished.  I'll think of something.  And in the meantime, if you'd like to see how the other fairytales turned out, you can click on each of the names below.

Three Billy Goats Gruff
Snow White
Beauty and the Beast
The Snow Queen
Baba Yaga

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Feeling Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope you'll get to eat lots of turkey and pie!

Here are a few of the things that I am especially thankful for this year...

1. Book deals

2. The sunny new house that we'll move into in the spring

3. Getting to meet my cousin's beautiful baby, Harper.

4.  My dreamy husband

5.  Gingerbread lattes

6.  My jumbo round watercolor brush

7.  The illustrations of Gyo Fujikawa

8.  My friend, Jaclynn Larington, who co-founded NYCmore 2012, to organize NYC marathon runners to volunteer for the Sandy relief effort. 

What are you thankful for this year?  

Monday, November 19, 2012


When I was little I loved filling pieces of paper with faces.  Not much has changed.

Have you seen this TEDx talk by author/illustrator Jarrett Krosoczka?  It's really wonderful!

Also, authors Kate Messner and Joanne Levy have started "KidLit Cares", an auction to raise money for the Sandy relief effort.  There are lots of really amazing things being auctioned off, including a portfolio critique from Marla Frazee, tuition to the SCBWI 2013 Winter Conference in NYC, and a set of signed Lois Lowry books.  Take a look!  Maybe there's something you'd like to bid on!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Happy News!

Yesterday, I received word from my agent that I'm officially allowed to announce that I will be illustrating my first picture book.  Eeeep!  The story, which will be published by Beach Lane Books, is called "Baby Love" and was written by Angela DiTerlizzi.  ANGELA DITERLIZZI!!!!!!!

Gosh... I don't know what else to say about this... except that I feel so honored that my first picture book illustrations are for an imprint that I have long admired and will accompany the words of a member of the highly talented DiTerlizzi clan.  I'm really excited to get started.  :) 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Twelve Tales: Drawing "Snow White and Rose Red"

Well, I didn't finish this one before the end of October like I planned on.  But, hopefully it will be finished before the end of the week.

I hope you all had a happy Halloween!  And if you're over on the chilly east coast, I hope you have a warm fire and a good friend to snuggle up with. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Trick or Treat

Happy Halloween!  I hope that you'll get to do something fun and spooky this evening!  Last night my husband and I carved jack-o-lanterns and tonight we'll stay at home to hand out candy.  (Although, I think we might need to re-stock up on treats since I've already eaten about half the bag).

Most of all, I hope that my friends and family on the east coast are staying safe and warm and dry.  I'm thinking of you. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Twelve Tales: Snow White and Rose Red (in progress)

For October's Twelve Tales I've decided to illustrate "Snow White and Rose Red".  I remember my grandma reading me a version of this story when I was little, which makes it extra special for me.  And one of the main characters is a bear.  And, well, bears are awesome.

In other news, I was interviewed by the lovely Laura Clempson.  You can read the interview over on her blog, Cupcakes for Clara.  Huzzah!!  Thank you Laura!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pumpkin Patch

Helloooo Fall!  My friends, Jill Bergman and Tina Kugler, have some great new blog posts that I bet you'll like.  Also, I've been feeling very inspired by Geninne's Art Blog lately... lots of fun things to see there.  And if you like Peter Brown's work as much as I do, then I think you'll like reading this interview. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Something different

The past couple of weeks I've been feeling a little bit creatively stumped.  So, I decided to try something new.

I ordered a needle felting kit from Etsy and made a little rabbit.  Then I found a pad of newsprint paper in the closet, went to the art supply store for some charcoal, and did a big, loose drawing of the big horned sheep skull that lives in my studio.  Using new materials is a really helpful way for me to keep creatively loose. 

How about you?  What tricks do you use to keep the ideas flowing?  

Monday, October 1, 2012

Twelve Tales: Baba Yaga

Well, here she is finished... the fearsome Baba Yaga.  I really enjoyed this one, although if I was going to do it again I think I'd try to make her a little scarier.  Maybe make her hair a little more wild and frizzy.  And I also just learned that in some versions of the story, Baba Yaga has iron teeth, and sadly, I didn't give her any teeth.  Next time, Baba, I'll be sure to give you some fierce chompers.

I still haven't decided which fairytale to do for October.  I think I'll look back at your suggestions from previous months.  And if you have any new suggestions, I'd love to hear them!

I hope you had a wonderful weekend!

Friday, September 28, 2012

With purpose

I'm not sure where this little fella is going in his polka dot pants, but he's going there with purpose.  That's something I've been thinking about lately... living life with purpose.

Also, have you visited James Gurney's blog lately?  There are lots of interesting things to see there.

And my illustrator friend, Diandra Mae, is this month's SCBWI featured artist.  Woot!

And just one more thing... If you haven't visited Ben Clanton's blog lately, you should!  His work is so fun!

Happy weekending my friends! 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Martin Rabbit

This little fellow showed up yesterday during my warm-up sketches.  He tells me that his name is Martin and that he loves attending picnics and searching for hidden treasures at flea markets.  He's a bit shy at first, but is quite chatty once you get to know him.  A nice chap, that Martin.

In other news, this Saturday I'll have a booth at the French Nest Market again.  If you're in the Fort Collins area, perhaps you'd like to swing by!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Twelve Tales: Baba Yaga (in progress)

I've decided to change the name of my "2012 Fairytale Project" to "Twelve Tales".  Its a bit easier to say, and well, it just sounds cooler, no?  I think I'm two or three illustrations behind at this point, but I'll get caught up eventually (er... I hope).

For September,  I'm working on Baba Yaga.  Baba Yaga and Vasalisa the Fair is one of my favorite fairy tales (its full of such cool symbolism and was nearly the subject of my grad school thesis project).  But, in the interest of expediency and trying to get caught up with things,  I decided to do a simple scene of Ms. Yaga, sans her chicken leg house, skull lanterns, or the fair Vasalisa.

I'm especially excited to ink and paint this one and am planning on pulling out the old masking fluid, which for some reason, I haven't used in years.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Illustration Friday: Identical

Happy Tuesday!  I hope you enjoyed the Labor Day Weekend!  Mine involved the painting of furniture, a trip to Ikea, and a lovely hike.  But, sadly, it did not involve a musical kitty duo. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The SCBWI conference... and some news...

I've been pondering this blog post for awhile now and, for some reason, I'm finding it more difficult than usual to distill this year's SCBWI Summer Conference into a few paragraphs.  So, in no particular order, here are some of the highlights...

+ Illustrator friends!  This is always one of the best parts of the conference.   Jill Bergman, Tina Kugler and I shared a room and I had such a great time hanging out with them!  I also got to meet fellow agency buddies, Joyce Wan and Leeza Hernandez, which was really fun.  (Be sure to click on their names to see their amazing work!). 

(L-R, Me, Tina, and Jill at the Hippie Hop)

+ My friend, Lisa Anchin, received one of the 5 SCBWI mentorships.  Go Lisa!!!!

+ Tony DiTerlizzi!  Its pretty much one of the coolest things ever to get to hear one of your favorite illustrators talk about their work.  Getting to see the book dummy for Arthur Spiderwicks Field Guide was definitely a highlight and I loved hearing about the process behind The Search for Wondla (Have you read this?  You should read this.  Its great!)

I really tried to be cool while Tony was signing my copy of Wondla, but unfortunately, any coolness that I had mustered while waiting in line turned into sweaty palmed rambling when I was actually face to face with one of my favorite book makers.  Oh well.  Being cool has never been one of my strengths.  And I'm pretty sure that Mr. DiTerlizzi had enough cool for the both of us.


+ Jon Klassen!  I have a ginormous art crush on Jon Klassen.  (Have you seen Extra Yarn and I Want My Hat Back?)  Jon has such an amazing understanding of visual storytelling.  If you ever have a chance to hear Jon Klassen speak, you should take it.  He's uber talented and very articulate!

+ There were so many great keynote speeches.  Deborah Underwood (author of The Quiet Book) talked about the importance of daydreaming and of giving ourselves permission to take the time to daydream (because that's where our ideas are born).  Ruta Sepetys, Bryan Collier, Arthur Levine and Patrica MacLachlan were also favorites.

+ Melissa Sweet was really wonderful.  She talked about the importance of artistic play.  Everyday for a year Ms. Sweet did a 3" x 3" art experiment.  She used paint or collage or whatever it was that that particular day lead her to.  How freeing to do a little art something just for fun!  Just to experiment and make mistakes and stretch your self!    

+ The Hippie Hop and Hippie Flash Mob!  Woot!

Just like in years past, the conference was a whirlwind of information and inspiration.  There was lots of wonderful advice that I'm excited to try to incorporate into my work.  Overall, the conference was really amazing!  But, new this year, I left feeling sort of deflated. 

On the last evening of the conference, my husband and I had a long telephone conversation in which we decided that upon returning home, I would look for a "day job"... Not because I wanted to give up on being an illustrator, but because we'd like to save up some money so we can buy a new house someday soon, and because I felt like I needed some time to do some experimenting with paint and pens without the pressure of trying to make money with my illustrations.

And then...

Two days later......

My agent called.

And now,  I'm so very happy to share that I have my very first official book deal!  Just when my hope was beginning to wane in a big way, things took a turn.  Phew!  Giant sigh of relief, followed by lots of nervous excitement as I begin work on a heavily illustrated chapter book which will be published by Disney-Hyperion and will come out in 2014. 

So, good riddance you nasty feelings of deflation, you!  Things are looking up!!

(Tina Kugler, Me, and really excited illustrator, Leeza Hernandez.  Er... I think this might be one of my favorite photos from the conference.)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Fruit Hat

I think Tuesday seems like a good day for a fruit hat, don't you?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Home again, home again, jiggity jig....

After the SCBWI conference in L.A. and after a long and lovely road trip from L.A. to Seattle, we arrived back home in Colorado last night.

The conference was a strange and wonderful whirlwind, which I'll talk more about in another post.  In the meantime, here are a few highlights from the road trip.

I hope you've been having a good August!