Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Being Specific

Having spent eons now on a (still unfinished) illustrated middle grade novel, I can attest to the absolute necessity of proper character development.  Of course everyone knows how important unique characters are.  And everyone who begins to write and/or illustrate thinks they're creating them.  But, thinking and doing are not the same.  Looking at some of my early work, what frustrates me most is the lack of depth and differentiation.  The characters have a bit of spark, but they're not specific enough.  They should have been pushed more. Lots more. So, I've set up an exercise for myself to paint at least two animal portraits a week.  I've started with friends' and family's and may take on others as they come.  Hopefully by the end of the project the specific will be so engrained in my work that I’ll never paint another generic dog again.   

Here's some examples:


Settled in..Sorta

A few months ago my husband and I decided to take the plunge and buy a fixer.  Our new house is in a great location, but it's small and it is, well, a fixer.  To save money I've been working as the general, hiring subcontractors, pulling permits, designing, and supervising.  We've removed the asbestos, put in new heating/air and ductwork, upgraded the electrical, redone the walls, floors and ceilings (the ceiling will need to be redon, thanks to the heating dudes), trenched the outdoor electrical, and put on a new roof.  I've been painting and tiling and pulling out hair.  Needless to say, although I've also been trying to write and illustrate, work has been a slow.  As many freelancers know, sometimes life just gets in the way.  But, happily this past weekend I was able to get my studio, not just up and running, (it's suposedly been up and running since week one) but also functioning.  I've reorganized the area and now, at last, am ready to WORK.  Yay!

Friday, August 20, 2010


EYEWITNESS REPORTS: EYEWITNESS REPORTS: AUCTION 1 BEGINS NEXT WEEK: "Starting Monday August 23rd you can begin bidding online for the artwork created by a whole slew of amazing picture book artists who have cr..."


Friday, August 6, 2010

EYEWITNESS REPORTS: A Charity Art Auction for 826LA

I'm psyched to be a part of EYEWITNESS REPORTS a benefit art auction in support of 826LA. Dan Santat has enlisted some seriously big names to help raise funds for 826LA a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6 to 18 and their teachers become inspired to write. It's a huge opportunity to own original art from some brightest kidlit illustrators today while supporting a great cause. My eyewitness is one of the zapped dogs. Poor sod, didn't know what happened to him. He's painted in b& in honor of the 30's monster flicks that inspired him. You can see him and all the other eyewitness reports at http://www.theeyewitnessreports.com



You can also see the art in person at NUCLEUS GALLERY from Aug 14-17 Open public viewing. Books will be signed, and limited prints from the book will be sold. Visit www.gallerynucleus.com for more details

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Katie Davis, best selling Author/Illustrator and Kidlit expert was inspired by this coming weekends national scbwi conference to do a blog talk radio piece on her now famous Brain Burps About Books on how to submit a book for publication.  She explains the process and highlights several books, including GRANDMOTHER HAVE THE ANGELS COME?  Any aspiring picture book author and illustrators out there give it a listen http://www.blogtalkradio.com/brainburps  and check out Katie's site: http://www.katiedavis.com/

Friday, July 23, 2010

Library of the Early Mind trailer 1.mov

On my list 'to see' list:

Trailer for "Library of the Early Mind," a documentary film exploring children's literature. Website: www.childrenslitproject.wordpress.comDirected by Edward J Delaney; produced by Edward J Delaney and Steven Withrow. Featuring Chris Van Allsburg, Lemony Snicket, Lois Lowry, Natalie Babbitt, Norton Juster, Jeff Kinney, Brian Pinkney, Brian Selznick, Roger Sutton, Mo Willems, Leslea Newman, Nancy Garden, David Small, Sarah Stewart, Jack Gantos, Richard Michelson, Lane Smith, Peter H Reynolds, Elizabeth Bird, Mary Jane Begin, Nick Clark, Arthur A Levine, Mary Downing Hahn, Jane Yolen, Anita Silvey

Thursday, July 22, 2010


sketches from ICON6 illustrator's conference.

I can not recommend ICON enough.  This year's program included speakers from the fashion, fine art, book, and commercial worlds; as well as timely information on contracts, orphan works and PLUS.  I came home ready to work and thinking I need to spend way more time/effort improving my skills...so... to the drawing board.

Monday, July 5, 2010

GRANDMOTHER won the Colorado Book Award for Children's Literature

I am so pleased that GRANDMOTHER HAVE THE ANGELS COME? Has been awarded a Colorado Book Award for Children's Literature!  Not only did Denise and I both recieve a beautiful plaque and generous check, we also get book stickers!  I love book stickers!! Yay!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

2010 Américas Book Award

GRANDMOTHER HAVE THE ANGELS COME? has been selected a 2010 Américas Book Award commended title. The award winners and commended titles are selected for their 1) distinctive literary quality; 2) cultural contextualization; 3) exceptional integration of text, illustration and design; and 4) potential for classroom use. Yay!!

The Américas Award is given in recognition of U.S. works of fiction, poetry, folklore, or selected non-fiction (from picture books to works for young adults) published in the previous year in English or Spanish that authentically and engagingly portray Latin America, the Caribbean, or Latinos in the United States. By combining both and linking the Americas, the award reaches beyond geographic borders, as well as multicultural-international boundaries, focusing instead upon cultural heritages within the hemisphere. The award is sponsored by the national Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs (CLASP), a United States Department of Education National Resource Center.

Here's Rene Colato Lainez Blog with full details and a list of the winners: http://labloga.blogspot.com/2010/06/2010-americas-book-award.html

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


GRANDMOTHER HAVE THE ANGELS COME? has won in its catagory at the Colorado Author's League (CAL) Awards.  The judge's comments:  "The topic of aging can be difficult to explain to a young child but is discussed here with sensitivity and great tenderness. The illustrations create a visual experience with the use of bold vibrant colors swirling across the pages. The love felt between the grandmother and her
granddaughter are well expressed not only in the text but visually through the illustrations. The text is rich in descriptive phrases that enhance the imagination and call up memories of a loved one: "...see your beauty reflected in the dewdrop on a flower", "savor flavors long on my tongue ", "stroke your cheeks in the light and in the darkness". This is a joyful book that reaffirms the beauty in living a long life and the love between generations."  Denise and I are both thrilled!   

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Hope Haiti

Here's a video showing the organization that the 'tree of life' silent auction will support.  Please remember Haiti and please be generous with your bids.


I found out recently that 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS IN WISCONSIN is going into its SIXTH printing.  Woo Hoo!!  I'm totally excited.  I just wanted to send a special shout out to all my friends, family, and beloved cheeseheads in the great badger state and elsewhere for supporting and buying the book.  THANK YOU!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tree of Life Silent Auction to Benefit Children in Haiti

Here's the image I'll be sending in for the benefit auction hosted by Ridge Art in Oak Park Il.  We were asked to create a piece if art depicting "The Tree of Life" a popular motif in Haitian art.  The Tree of Life exhibit and auction features the work of twenty children’s illustrators, each interpreting the theme in her or his unique, child-friendly style. The art will be sold at silent auction during the Oak Park Arts District’s annual “What’s Blooming” art walk on Friday, May 21, and Saturday, May 22, at Ridge Art, 21 Harrison Street, Oak Park. The exhibit and auction hours are Friday, 6-10 pm, and Saturday, 12-8 pm. All proceeds from the auction will go directly to the Art Creation Foundation for Children in Jacmel, Haiti.

Ridge Art specializes in Haitian Art. The owner, Laurie Beasley, travels to Haiti twice a year to purchase art for her gallery. She has stocked the gallery with new steel drum metal pieces depicting “The Tree of Life” to complement the auction and exhibit.
Ridge Art - Hours & Location:

Thursdays and Fridays from 12:00 p.m. – 6 p.m., Saturdays from 12:00 noon – 5:00 p.m. and Sundays from 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. and by appointment. The gallery stays open until 9 p.m. the third Friday of every month while it participates in Third Friday Art Walks in the Oak Park Arts District. The gallery is located one block north of the Austin I-290 exit (Austin & Harrison) and is accessible by public transportation from the Austin exit of the Forest Park Blue Line.
Laurie Beasley at 708-601-9071
Ridge Art
21 Harrison Street (in “Oak Park’s Arts District”)
Oak Park, IL 60304
Toll-free 1-888-269-0693



Monday, May 3, 2010

LA Times Festival of Books

Festival of Books- I hate crowds, but I love books, and with panels that included Kadir Nelson, Pam Munoz Ryan, David Shannon, Gordon Korman, D.J. Machale, Neal Shusterman and the infamous Pseudonyous Bosch, how can one stay away?

Oliver Jeffers Rocks

A few weeks back Every Picture Tells a Story http://www.everypicture.com/ hosted the FABULOUS  Oliver Jeffers, (one of the best and brightest talents working today) on his west coast swing promoting THE HEART IN THE BOTTLE, I was more than a little excited. Jeffer's presentation included an amazing performance where he drew the spreads for his book THE GREAT PAPER CAPER in real time while another person read it for him. Seriously impressive! If you get the chance to check him out in person, go.  If you want a good book, buy one of his.

Monday, April 5, 2010

NaPiBoWriWee 2010

The incredible Paula Yoo has organized the Second Annual National Picture Book Writing Week (aka "NaPiBoWriWee") event! The event officially begins at midnight on Saturday May 1, 2010 and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Friday May 7th. In preperation Paula is posing writing tips and inspirational tidbits throughout April to get everyone ready to write. Today was my turn to contribute a quote. Check out the blog here: http://paulayoo.com/content/napibowriwee-2010-inspirational-blog-5-mon-4510 and find out even more information on NaPiBoWriWee at: http://paulayoo.com/news

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Joshua Dances

Recently, some friends passed along this inspiring site of AMAZING felted animals by Victor Dubrovsky. http://www.chushka.com/gallery/toys/ I was so in love that I decided I'd better get on e-bay and order myself some felting needles. A couple weeks (and few needle pokes) later. TaDa!!! Joshua lives and breathes. Well, he doesn't reeeeeally breath, but he does... (drum roll, please) dance. Check out his travel blog at http://joshuagsquirrel.blogspot.com/

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Robot- Dust of Everyday Life Blog

This month's theme on the DUST OF EVERYDAY LIFE blog, (The unofficial blog for Picture Book Artist) http://thedustofeverydaylife.blogspot.com/ is "Robots", here's my contribution.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy Holidays!

A slightly belated card... or maybe Santa's headed out for a well deserved vacation.