Saturday, December 21, 2013


Today seems like a good day to avoid the holiday busy-ness by staying home to draw.  Lately I've been working on loosening up my line work.  Unfortunately, Mr. Pants is unimpressed. 

I hope that your holiday preparations are going well.  And I hope that your kitty is more appreciative of your artistic attempts than mine is.  Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Hoping for snow...

Hello and Happy Wednesday to you!  I always like seeing how other people work so I thought I'd share a few process photos of one of yesterday's warm-up sketches.  For the ink outline I use FW Acrylic Artists Ink and for the gray background wash in the last photo I used ArtGraf watercolor graphite. 

The cold snap we had in Colorado a few weeks ago is officially over and now it feels far too much like spring.  This little curly haired gal and I are hoping we'll have some fresh snow soon. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Fire & Bone on Kickstarter...

My brother, Christopher, and two of his friends recently launched a campaign on Kickstarter called Fire & Bone.  After less than a week they've received over $90,000 in pledges, much more than their original request of $8,000.  The tiny bronze and silver skull pendants that they make are really amazing (I have one of their white bronze fox skulls and I love it!).

Check out their Kickstarter campaign if you'd like to get in on the action, or just to see what my talented big brother is up to. 

Fire & Bone is adding a wolf skull to their collection and I did this drawing for their site.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Monday news and things...

Look what came in the mail two weeks ago!  Cupcake Cousins, written by Kate Hannigan and published by Disney/Hyperion, is the very first book that I've illustrated.  I turned in the finished illustrations yesterday and the book will come out in spring of 2014.  Hooray!! 

In between working towards deadlines for book projects, I did an illustration for a good friend who will soon be married.  Heads up, Lisa!  There will be a package on your doorstep very soon! :)

In other news, on October 26th I'll be helping to teach a class with Will Terry's School of Visual Storytelling.  The class is about painting in Photoshop and I think there may still be a few spots left if you'd like to sign up.  You can read more about it here.  

Now that I'm mostly caught up with things, I'm going to take a hiatus from the internet for a few weeks while I take care of some things that need taking care of.  It's still sort of grey and rainy here in Colorado.  But, things are drying out and it's beginning to feel like fall, which I've very much been looking forward to.

I hope that you are enjoying some lovely fall weather wherever you are! I'll see you at the end of October! :)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The SCBWI Summer Conference (and other things)...

On August 1st I flew to Los Angeles to attend the 42nd Annual SCBWI Summer Conference.  As usual, this year's conference was a whirlwind of information, inspiration, old friends, new friends, too much coffee and not enough sleep.  And as usual, I didn't take nearly as many photos as I meant to.  But, I did manage to get a photo of Bruce Degen (creator of Jamberry and illustrator of The Magic School Bus books) and Mac Barnett (author of one of my very favorite books, Extra Yarn).  

Bruce Degen
Mac Barnett

And here are some conference highlights...

-Laurie Halse Anderson's keynote speech.  One of my favorite things that she said was "Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes". 

-Steven Malk's workshop, "How to Take Control of Your Career and Chart a Plan".  Steven talked about slowing down and making thoughtful, proactive career decisions.  He gave me a lot of think about. 

-David Wiesner's workshop on writing for illustrators left me feeling encouraged to keep chasing a story idea that I haven't quite been able to nail down.

-Dan Santat's presentation at the illustrator's intensive.  Dan talked about the importance of design in illustration, which I thought was really interesting and helpful.

-Paul Zelinsky's thoughtful critique of my book dummy.  Now I have some new ideas on how to improve my story. 

-Carson Ellis!  I really love Carson Ellis' work and it was great to hear about her process.   Also, her really cute baby was there.

-Seeing friends!  (Check out my friend, Tina Kugler's, awesome illustrations!)

Tina and I at the Black and White Ball

-And finally, one of the biggest highlights for me this year was being the recipient of a mentorship award, as well as an honor award.

The portfolio critiques that I received from the five mentors were extremely helpful and I came away with some really concrete advice on how to improve my work.  I feel very honored to be in the company of the other mentorship winners and I'm looking forward to getting to know them better!  Please take some time to check out their wonderful work...   Andy Musser, Corinna Luyken, Linda Dorn, and Roldolfo Montalvo

I also had the privilege of meeting Lisa Woods, the other honor award winner, and Maral Sassouni, the Grand Prize winner.

After the conference there was lots of hanging out with friends, which included some delicious Udon noodles with illustrators Maple Lam and Jen Betton, and a trip to Seattle with my friend and critique partner, Lisa Anchin, to visit the third member of our critique group, Jessixa Bagley (and Jessixa's very talented artist husband, Aaron Bagley).

A typical Seattle afternoon with Jessixa and Lisa

After a few days with Jessixa and Lisa, my husband met me in Seattle and we headed to the Olympic Peninsula where we did some camping, visited the Hoh rainforest (which is AMAZING!), went to beautiful Ruby Beach, and had a great time (and some great food) in Port Townsend.  (Side note... while enjoying some really good sea food in Port Townsend, we spotted Cloris Leachman a few tables away!)

It always takes a little while to settle back in after a trip, but deadlines are quickly approaching, story ideas are eager to be written down, and my studio is in serious need of a sorting out.  So now I'm off to ink and paint (the sorting out will have to wait for another day).  I hope these last days of summer are treating you well!  If you went to the conference, too, I'd love to hear about your experience!   

Ruby Beach

Friday, August 16, 2013

Back home...

After a whirlwind of a conference in L.A. and a lovely tour around Seattle and the Olympic Peninsula, I finally arrived home late last night.  Next week I'll tell you more about the conference and my trip, but for now here's a picture of my updated inspiration board and a few photos of beautiful Washington.  Now there are bags to unpack, plants to water, emails to write, and naps to take.  I hope you've been enjoying August! 

Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Oh!  Hello again!  Between project deadlines and getting ready to head to L.A. tomorrow, I'm afraid the ol' blog has become a bit dusty.  So here's a peek at my latest portfolio piece, and a promise that once I'm back from the conference (and my post-conference visit to Seattle), I will get out the feather duster and spiffy things up around here.

If you're headed to the conference, too, and you happen to see me wandering around looking hungry, over-caffeinated, and overwhelmed by all of the inspiration, then please say hello!

Ok, I have a few more (er... more than a few) things to do before I head to the airport tomorrow, so adios for now!  I'll see you again in a couple of weeks!  :) 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Sneaky peeks...

Here are a few details from the illustration I worked on over the weekend.  The summer seems to be moving at warp speed this year and the SCBWI Summer Conference is just around the corner.  Eeep!

This week I'll be working on two different book projects, printing a new portfolio, putting together my book dummy, and getting new postcards designed and ordered.  I'm also taking classes to get my scuba diving certification, which I'm loving!  What are you up to this week?  I'd love to hear!  

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Cupboard

I've been working on adding some darker pieces to my portfolio.  Usually, my portfolio pieces are inspired by a character or setting that appeared in a doodle or a story idea I'm working on.  But, this image is about my family and feels a little more personal than usual. 

One of my grandmother's has Alzheimer's and the other has dementia.  I've been thinking a lot about how very strange and uncomfortable it must be to have your memories all jumbled together and to have the timeline of your life mixed up.  This is the illustration that came from those thoughts.   

In cheerier news, here's a cool blog post from author/illustrator Kelly Light. 

I hope that you had a good weekend!  Happy Monday to you!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Getting ready for L.A....

I'm working on sprucing up my portfolio for the SCBWI Summer Conference.  Lots of drawing, inking, and painting... and a monster here and there. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Into the universe...

I hope that you had a good weekend!  I spent mine running errands, seeing a bad movie, cleaning the house and wrangling our new puppy, Olive.  I'll spend the week working on book projects,  getting ready for the SCBWI Summer Conference in L.A, and loving on (and being exhausted by) the puppy.  And I'm hoping to find my way to a forest wilderness sometime soon.  Happy Monday to you!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

THE NEXT BIG THING: A global blog tour

A couple of weeks ago author/illustrator, Joyce Wan, tagged me to join in "The Next Big Thing", a blog tour about children's books that started in Australia and has spread around the world.  (You can see Joyce's post here). Thanks, Joyce!!

I'll be answering questions about my two up-coming books.  Here goes!!...

1.  What is the working title of your next book?

Cupcakes Cousins by Kate Hannigan and Baby Love by Angela DiTerlizzi.

2.  Where did the idea come from for the book?

The ideas came from Kate and Angela, authors extraordinaire!

3.  What genre does your book fall under?

Cupcake Cousins is an illustrated middle grade book.  Baby Love is a picture book.

4.  What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

The two main characters in Cupcake Cousins are Willow and Delia.  For Willow I think I'd choose a 10 year old Megan Follows, from Anne of Green Gables fame.  For Delia I think Amandla Stenberg, who played Rue in The Hunger Games, would be a good fit.

For Baby Love I'd choose my cousin, Laura and her very cute baby, Harper!

 5.  Who is publishing your book?

Cupcake Cousins is being published by Disney/Hyperion and Baby Love will be published by Beach Lane Books (an imprint of Simon and Schuster).

6.  How long did it take you to illustrate the book?

Well, I'm still working on both books, but it looks like each book will take about nine or ten months.

7.  What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Hm... I can't think of a book that I've read that reminds me of Cupcake Cousins.  Maybe Kate can field that one (you can see a link to her blog below).

Baby Love reminds me a little of Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes, by Mem Fox.

8.  Who or what inspired you in illustrating this book?

For Cupcake Cousins I was very inspired by Kate's writing.  Her descriptions really brought the characters to life and I've loved exploring the world that Kate has created.  The two main characters love to bake and so do I, so that helped, too.

For Baby Love, Angela's text is really lovely and simple and left a lot of room for me to explore.  I asked both Angela and my cousin, Laura, to send me pictures of their babies, which has been really helpful since I don't have a baby of my own.  One of the most inspiring things has been to hang out with my friend Bethany and her darling baby and to see how they interact together.

9.  What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?

Cupcake Cousins is such a warm, heart-felt, summertime story.  And there are recipes!!

Baby Love will make a wonderful gift for new parents (or anyone who likes babies!) and is a very sweet story.  It will be perfect to read to little ones at bedtime or anytime they need a little extra love.

And now it's my turn to do the tagging...

The fabulous Kate Hannigan will be talking about Cupcake Cousins.  Hooray, Kate!


 My friend, critique partner, and amazing author/illustrator, Tina Kugler, will be talking about her new picture book, In Mary's Garden, which she is creating with her husband, Carson Kugler.

an image from "In Mary's Garden"

 And my friend, critique partner, and extraordinary author/illustrator, Jessixa Bagley, will be talking about her new picture book, Boats for Papa

Thank you again to Joyce Wan for inviting me to be a part of "The Next Big Thing".  Please be sure to visit Joyce's blog

Thanks for reading and happy Tuesday!