Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Illustration Friday : Clandestine

He'd often take his toy soldiers out at night. His Dad said he was too old for such toys but he couldn't bring himself to throw them out.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Finished Present

Merry Christmas everyone! Here is the final gift - sorry it's a bit blurry, I can't find the wire for my digital camera/computer hookup. I took this with the little camera that came with my laptop.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Sshhhhhh Don't Tell




This is a present I'm working on for my mom. I bought a nice frame that fits three 5 x 7 pictures and am drawing one of each of my nieces (her grandchildren). Hope she likes it! Here are the sketches so far. I'll probably paint them tonight and will post the results.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Late Night Doodle

Illustration Friday: Voices

The voices between people and pets. Click to enlarge!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Color Sketch

Now I get to design the crowd of children that appear during story time in Raj the Book Store Tiger! Here's one little boy.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Peek-a-boo Raj, We See You!

You may look at the time stamp of this post and say, "boy does she start her day early!"  But I'm a fraud.  I was up REALLY late.  

The publisher wanted a more realistic Raj (proportion-wise) so I've adjusted his features quite a bit.  You can't see it too well here because he's hiding under a book, but he's turning out to be a handsome little kitty!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Utter Nonsense

Green Pea Inside Spreads!

Sleeping Bear Press sent me the digital files of The Little Green Pea and I couldn't be happier with them! I was given permission to post a couple spreads. I also have a MUCH better scan of the cover.

The Little Green Pea is due out in April (

Last One!

OK, I think I finally may have found a Raj character design that I am one hundred percent happy with. I tell you, I think I haven't slept well because I keep trying to figure this out in my mind. I've probably been drawing and sketching in my dreams as well - it's like a math problem I'm trying to solve. Tonight will be the first in a while that I will have restful sleep knowing that my work on the character design/style choice is done, and most importantly that I'm HAPPY with it. I'm a perfectionist when it comes to books I'm working on - even books that are little educational stories that most likely won't see the light of day much, I work overtime on those as well - probably whittling my hourly earnings down to minimum wage. But it's because I love to do it and would make books for free (shhhh don't tell anyone).

Monday, December 15, 2008

Loose (messy?) Sketches

I'm a very very messy artist, aren't I? My studio is fine, but when I draw it's always in a rush of energy-- and smudges and paint spatters abound. I've tried neat and tidy, but I guess that isn't me.

And I know I'm not that picky about what I put on here. I don't pick ONLY my best stuff - I just post everything, bad experiments etc. I guess I like to look back through my blog and see how I'm growing as an artist. And I think people like to see mistakes.

MUCH Better

Eeek! That scan looks positively anemic.

Look at the difference! What I did was darken my colors on the original with watercolors, then used a histogram tool that came with the scanner software. That was a godsend! Thanks very much for all the suggestions.

More Sketches....Yet Again

I'm trying some new things. Oh, and my scanner stinks.....white paper always turns out dark cream. And if I try to lighten it, the image gets over exposed and loses color. Maybe I need a new scanner? Hmm...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Illustration Friday: Rambunctious

Penguin watched his friend frolic in the snow. He had never seen such a rambunctious side of Bear before and wasn't sure he liked it. What if his other friends saw Bear acting like that, he thought.

Penguins and polar bears don't live together in real life, but they sure are a fun pair to draw!


Post-chocolate rambunctiousness...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Bad Kitty

Raj, what are you doing tracking dust all over my blog? Bad kitty :0)

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Little Green Pea

"The Little Green Pea" written by Alison Barber and illustrated by me is up on! Cool! It's coming out April 4th 2009. Wahhhoooooooooo! Okay, since it's my first trade book I can be a little extra excited. Waaahoooooooo! One more .......HOOORAY! WOOT!

"Raj" Continues to Evolve

Now that the publisher has chosen the lighter style I've done some tweaking to the characters to match the tone of softer lines. These are some more quick color sketches - I drew these right on the watercolor paper without any thumbnails as I just wanted to make sure everything is working well together including color choices and line variation - and also wanted to ensure there was good chemistry between the kids and Raj. These are outlined with plain ol' graphite- the colored pencils kept breaking every time I tried to sharpen them to an extra thin point. Graphite held up better. The white kitty, Snowball, is kind of the villain in the story - a very fun character to draw since he has such an attitude.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Honey, Are You Warm Enough?

This is a card I did for my wonderful aunt and uncle.

Illustration Friday: Similar

Upon arriving to the school dance, Marylee was horrified to find Janice wearing an outfit similar to her precious polka dot dress from Bloomingdale's. Marylee hoofed it to a dark corner of the school gym and made a pig of herself at the snack table.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Soft Style Wins!

I heard back from the art director and the softer style was preferred. I was leaning that way as well so hooray!

Monday, December 08, 2008


I am constantly on the lookout for illustrators that inspire me in some way.  I have's books bookmarked and Lookybook as well.  Here are a couple books that made my jaw drop:

Sunday, December 07, 2008


Okay here is the heavier line version of the images posted below. I'm going to send both of these to the art director to see which she likes best!


More color sketches from "Raj the Book Store Tiger". I'm trying to decide between a softer line made of up a mixture of black pencil and thin black ink line, or a thicker dip-pen ink line. Decisions decisions...

Friday, December 05, 2008

Studio Assistant Continued..

This is the first adorable picture of Risky I saw on the internet.  Bred from show dog parents she had been returned by a family because she was too nervous around people to compete. When I went to visit her for the first time she immediately greeted me with a little nervous piddle on the ground and tried her best to show me how good she was at playing fetch.  She made little grunts as she tried to outrun her mother to a thrown tennis ball.  By the time she was in my car and staring at me through the bars of her cage, I was already in love.  She was given to me on a 'trial' basis in case I wanted to return her, but her intelligent eyes had already won me over and I knew she was meant to be my dog.
In exchange for guarding my studio while I work, by gazing out an open window (even in the dead of winter at times as she demands it), and offering immediate stress relief in between projects by allowing me to pet her tummy and play tug-o-war with her toys, I keep her well fed and watered.  It's a pretty good deal for both of us.

I responded to the "List" comments - sorry for the delay. :0)

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Just For Fun

I've seen several blogs with this list so thought I would take part as well.

I have done what is in this color.

1. Started your own blog

2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band (drummer!)
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis (no, but I did hold a giant hissing cockroach once!)
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community.
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelos David
41. Sung karoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a lawsuit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day

Monday, December 01, 2008

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Happy Ending

As a continuation to the post below, the young piggy finally got another balloon that day.

Illustration Friday: Balloon

I couldn't decide which style to paint this sketch in so I ended up doing both!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Julianna Color Version

Studio Assistant

A long time ago I posted a photo of my loyal and affable studio assistant, so thought I would post an update. Anyone recognize that stuffed animal? It's from Mark Teague's famous series.

*Edit : oh and I forgot to include--this is Risque, Risky for short. She's a long haired Jack Russell Terrier.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Baby's Fishing For A Dream

Baby's fishing for a dream
Fishing near and far
Her line a silver moonbeam is
Her bait a silver star
--written by..?? anyone know?

This is a sketch of the illustration I'm doing for Julianna's room. I'll be visiting my little niece for the first time this Tuesday and I'm so excited!

After several weeks of painting and drawing without a break, I took a much needed creative vacation and spent some time cleaning out my studio. I haven't picked up a pencil for a while now and I feel so refreshed now that I'm back at my desk. Hard work is important, but so are breaks! This sketch was pure joy to work on, which usually means the painting process will be equally so.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I'm An Auntie Again!

Welcome to the world, Julianna! That's my brother Duane (the proud papa), Julianna and their kitty cat, Isabelle.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Bond....James Bond

I'm absolutely giddy about the new James Bond film, Quantum of Solace. A perfectly timed release as well since it's coming out one day after my birthday. I've watched Casino Royal more times than I can count - hope this new installment is just as good.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


I have a confession to make. One of my least favorite things to do is look for visual references. Be it image-search engines, or taking my own photos - something about the process slows down my creativity and I just plain don't enjoy it.

They say that N.C. Wyeth had an incredible visual memory. Sure, he used plenty of his own references and props, but what made his illustrations so real and palpable were his observations of life. So what I've started doing over the last few years or so is study my surroundings no matter what I'm doing. If I'm walking in the park I'll take note of how sunlight and shadows play on the trunk of a tree, or if in a crowded store, take note of how people interact, or what body language they use if they're standing in groups (drawing group scenes has always been a challenge for me). I'm not memorizing these things - God knows I don't have the greatest memory in the world, but you will find these observations seeping into your drawings--and they will become more life-like. You can't always sketch with a pencil and paper, but you can always sketch with your eyes, right? Try it some time.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Desk Snapshot!

My desk as of 10:50pm. Sure to get messier as the night progresses....if that's possible.

Anyone else 'taste test' a little too much Halloween candy? Uggggggh!

Color Sketches Galore!

I'm finishing up the last painting for "The Little Green Pea" and will be switching gears to a pen and ink style for "Raj The Book Store Tiger".

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Travel and Sing

Just LOOK at this brilliant new blog!  My heart 'travels and sings' when I visit it.

Monday, October 13, 2008


I received my copies of Jack and Jill magazine this past week! In addition to getting to illustrate a story, I ended up on the same page as a feature for a book by Phyllis Harris and her hubby, Bradley Harris: "My Brother and I"! Phyllis also designed the characters of Jack and Jill who make appearances throughout the magazine. Very, very adorable kids!

In other news I was very excited to receive the "I Love Your Blog" award from Erik Brooks!
I've been a fan of Erik's work for quite some time now so this was a very nice surprise. Thank you!