Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Morning Stroll

Hello!  Have you visited Abigail Halpin's blog lately?  It's lovely!

And have you seen the Huffington Post's list of the best picture books of 2014?  There have been so many beautiful books this year!  Huzzah!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Warm-up sketch...

This curly haired sprite appeared in my sketchbook this morning.  I'm hoping that she's a luck fairy, as I could use a little luck these days. 

And here are some things you might like to peruse...

The work of illustrator, Kelly Murphy

Darling dolls by Jess Brown

Gift ideas for the Labyrinth lover in your life

The work of illustrator, Catia Chien

Happy perusing and happy Tuesday to you!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Feathers and things...

Belated Happy Thanksgiving to you!  I hope you had a comfy, cozy, pie-filled holiday. :)

The plan to hit the road in the RV by mid-November hasn't quite come to fruition and, for a variety or reasons, we'll be in Colorado for a few more weeks.  (Turns out major life changes are complicated!)

In the meantime, I'll be doing lots of drawing and painting and deadline wrangling.  And apparently painting feathers.  I'm very fond of painting feathers these days.

What are you working on lately?  I'd love to know! 

Whatever you're up to, I hope you are well and happy and enjoying the holiday season!  xo  

Monday, November 3, 2014

And the winner is...

Thank you for entering the giveaway! 

I wrote out all of the entries and put them into a hat.  And the winner is....

Congrats, Briara!  (I'll be in touch to get your address and your books and prints will be in the mail asap!) :)  Briara's tips were the north rim of the Grand Canyon and riding bikes in Yosemite, both of which are definitely going on our "places to see and things to do" list.  Thank you, Briara!!

I really can't express how much I loved reading everyone's travel suggestions! You all had so many great ideas and we'll try to work as many of them as we can into our route.

Thank you again to everyone who entered the giveaway and thank you especially for your excellent advice!

Cheers! :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Hitting the road (plus a Giveaway!)

Changes are afoot around here.  After months of deliberation and planning, my husband has said farewell to his law practice and is now embarking on a new career as a photographer.  And so, since we both now have the freedom to work from pretty much anywhere and since we're very ready for a change, we've decided to trade in our two bedroom house in the Colorado suburbs for a home on wheels.

Over the next few weeks we'll be preparing our new, used RV for a year on the road.  We'll remove the sofa that the RV came with and will put in a desk and work space which will serve as my new studio.  We'll add solar power, a portable WiFi hotspot, and a hitch to tow our car.  Mid-November we'll load up our books and our clothes and our dogs and we'll set off on this latest adventure.  (We're going to start a blog to document our travels.  I'll share the link as soon as it's up and running.)

To celebrate the beginning of a new chapter, I'm giving away a copy of Cupcake Cousins, written by the wonderful Kate Hannigan and illustrated by me, as well as a copy of The Little Prince, a copy of From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, and five of my 5"x7" prints.

To enter, please leave a comment on this post with a suggestion of someplace (a city, national park, swimming hole, roadside attraction, etc.) that my husband and I should visit during our year on the road.   I'll put each participant's name in a hat and will choose the winner on Friday, October 31st.  (If you also share this post on Facebook, I'll enter your name a second time).

Thank you so much for visiting my blog and good luck in the giveaway!  I can't wait to read your travel suggestions! :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


There are lots of pumpkins and colorful leaves about and I'm very much enjoying the Autumn weather we've been having here. 

I've also been enjoying the lovely blogs of Carson Ellis, Abigail Halpin, and Lisa Congdon, and I think you'll like them, too.

Ben Clanton's book, Rex Wrecks It, has been released into the world, which is very exciting!  Congratulations, Ben!

My friend and critique group partner, Julie Rowan-Zoch illustrated three darling board books which were recently released by Bailiwick Press.  Congratulations, Julie!

And stay tuned next week for a book giveaway!  Happy Tuesday!

Friday, October 3, 2014


I'm very excited to be on the same Publisher's Weekly announcement as my good friend, Maple Lam!  Congratulations, Maple!  Congratulations, Trudy!

Friday, September 12, 2014

What I'm working on today...

It's gray and chilly outside... a perfect day for staying inside with a good friend and a nice pot of tea.  

My friend, Eliza Wheeler, along with Linda Ashman, author of the picture book I'm currently working on, are part of a new group blog called Picture Book Builders.  The blog was launched at the beginning of September and already has several really informative posts about making books for kids.  Take a look!

And here's a peek of the illustrations I did for Storytime Magazine of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

Happy Weekending to you!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


Hello there!  I drew some rabbits.

And here are a few links to help get your week started...

A really wonderful blog post, as well as a great podcast interview, from Author/Illustrator, Mike Curato.  Mike's debut picture book, Little Elliot Big City, was recently released and I'm so very excited about this beautiful book!  If you haven't seen Little Elliot yet, please go find a copy as soon as you can. 

I've really been enjoying Carter Higgin's blog, Design of the Picture Book.  If you haven't visited Carter's blog lately, I hope you'll take a few minutes to have a look.

A helpful blog post from Illustrator, Clio Chiang, about watercolor skin tones, which I believe I came across in a facebook post from Illustrator, Diandra Mae.  (Thanks, Diandra!)

Marla Frazee's new book, The Farmer and The Clown, is incredibly lovely.  Have you seen it yet? 

Throughout September I'll be interviewing the recipients of the 2014 SCBWI mentorship awards over on  

Stay tuned for some book giveaways in the coming weeks!  Now I'm off to draw and paint.  I hope you are, too! :)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

In the swing of things...

I'm afraid that projects and deadlines have kept things quiet on the blog lately.  And an especially beautiful Colorado summer has meant most of my free time has been spent outdoors.

The SCBWI Summer Conference in L.A. was amazing and inspirational and a bit overwhelming. It's taken me awhile to get back into the swing of things.  Meg Rosoff was especially wonderful, as was the writer's intensive.  And it's always great to see old friends and to meet new ones!

There has been the tiniest bit of fall in the air the last few days.  I really love fall... a season of cozy cardigans and crock-pot dinners, of change and of quieting down.  This coming autumn holds new book projects as well as a new adventure for my husband and I (which I'll tell you more about later).

I hope that you're enjoying the last days of summer and that you're in the swing of things.

I'll see you again soon! :)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Off to L.A...

This morning I put the finishing touches on a new portfolio and tomorrow I head to L.A. for the SCBWI Summer Conference.  I hope to see you there!! :)

Thursday, July 17, 2014


I long to go sit in a cool, dark movie theater and eat some popcorn.  But, instead I'll be drawing, painting, putting together a book dummy, and working on my portfolio for the SCBWI Summer Conference.  The movies will have to wait.

If you're heading to the conference, too, you might like this blog post from Author/Illustrator, Debbie Ohi, on tips for SCBWI conference goers.

Also, last week I was featured on Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast and today I have a blog post about my childhood inspirations over on the KidLit Artists blog.  Maybe you'd like to take a look. 

And here's an article by one of my favorite illustrators, Jon Klassen, about his hero, William Steig. 

And, just one more thing...  I recently fell wildly in love with the work of Julia Sarda.  I think you'll like it, too. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

This week...

For the last couple of weeks I've been locked away in the deep, dark, comforting solitude of an art cave.  It's sort of strange and wonderful how creative slumps are sometimes followed by a torrent of ideas and inspiration. 

I'm busy getting ready for the SCBWI Summer Conference and have been putting the finishing touches on Baby Love (written by Angela DiTerlizzi, published by Beach Lane Books), which will come out next spring. 

What kinds of art things have you been up to lately?  I'd love to hear! 

Also, I was interviewed by the lovely folks at KidLit 411.  You can read the interview here.

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Writing Process: Author/Illustrator Blog Tour

Last week the inimitable Ben Clanton tagged me for an author/illustrator blog tour.  Thanks, Ben!

Ben's next book, Rex Wrecks It!, comes out at the end of September.  But, you don't have to wait until then to see his very excellent work.  Mo's Mustache and The Table Sets Itself are just two of Ben's several books and if you haven't seen them yet you should head to the library immediately!  Don't even finish reading this post.  Go right away, before someone else checks them all out.  Seriously.

Ok, now that we've settled that important business and you've returned from the library with Ben's books in tow, onto the questions...

1.  What am I currently working on?

I'm currently working on a few different projects.  I recently finished the illustrations for a picture book called Baby Love (written by Angela DiTerlizzi and published by Beach Lane Books) that will come out next spring.  I've started work on the cover of the second Cupcake Cousins book (the first book, by Kate Hannigan, published by Disney-Hyperion, came out on May 13th and should be available at your local library or bookstore).  I'm also working on sketches for a picture book with Random House titled MORE! and written by Linda Ashman.  I'm finishing up illustrations for a new UK magazine called Storytime and I'm working on book dummies for two of my own stories.

2.  Why do I write what I write?

Er...  I wish I had a good answer for this one but, to be honest, I'm not really sure.  Sometimes story ideas come from a character I've doodled.  One of the stories I'm working on was sparked by a photograph of an old house that I happened to see during a time when I was thinking a lot about my grandparents.  I suppose I write about things that I relate to in a personal way.  My stories tend to be quiet because I am quiet.

3.  How does my writing/illustrating process work?

I feel like I'm still figuring out my process, especially for writing.  But, I think it goes sort of like this...

- I draw a character or a scene in my sketchbook that sparks an idea.  Or I see something interesting at a museum or in a movie or photograph that causes a spark.  I think it was Mo Willems who talked about ideas being like seeds in a garden.  All of the little sparks of ideas are like seeds in my mind.  Some of them germinate very slowly and eventually grow into something.  Once in a very long while an idea germinates very quickly and has to be scribbled down in haste.  And some of the seeds never take root.  Or maybe they're still in there waiting for the right time.

- Once an idea seems like it might be viable I do lots of sketches.  Sketches of the character, thumbnail sketches of the layout, slightly larger sketches to work out composition.

- Then I write.  This part still feels scary and unfamiliar and exciting.  I do a few drafts and maybe
show them to one or both of my critique groups.  And then I write a new draft and show it to my critique group again... over and over.  And then I work on a new story to give my critique group a break from the first story.  And when it seems like I've waited long enough, I show the first story again, and re-write it again until I don't know what else to do.  So far, that's pretty much how the writing part has worked for me.

- For the illustrating side of things, I do several sketches and when I've figured out more or less what my composition will look like, I do a large pencil drawing on Arches 140 lb. hot press watercolor paper.  Then I ink in the line work using FW acrylic ink and a dip pen.  When the ink is dry I erase the pencil lines and stretch the drawing by soaking the paper in water and stapling it onto a gatorfoam board.  Once the paper is dry I start painting with watercolors.  Then I scan the finished painting into the computer and sometimes make a few corrections or adjustments in Photoshop.

So, there you have it!  And now it's my turn to do the tagging!  Up next is my good friend, Jessixa Bagley.  I admire Jessixa's work very much and her book, Boats for Papa, will be hitting shelves soon.  Take it away, Jessixa!  (And thank you again to Ben Clanton!  Don't forget to check out his wonderful work!)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Cupcake Cousins!

Cupcake Cousins comes out today!  Congratulations to author, Kate Hannigan

I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to illustrate Kate's very lovely story and I'm so excited that cousins Willow and Delia are heading out into the world.  I hope you'll keep a lookout for Cupcake Cousins at your local bookstore. 

Here's the Kirkus review of Cupcake Cousins.  And another lovely review from "This Kid Reviews Books"

Hooray! :)

Friday, May 2, 2014

Favorite Books...

I love a good list.  I like organizing my thoughts in list form, and crossing an item off of my to-do list is oh so satisfying.  When I was little I illustrated all of my Christmas wish lists.

Awhile ago I made a booklet of illustrated lists and this is one of the spreads.  What were your favorite books when you were little?  I'd love to know. :)