Wednesday, April 30, 2008


When I was little I used to worry a lot about getting lost and even had frequent nightmares about it. One of the scariest times was when I got lost in Europe at around age 7. No one spoke English so they couldn't understand what was wrong when I tried to explain in between sobs! I drew the above illustration with some of that fear in mind. It seems your own world stops while everyone else rushes around you lost in their own goings on. The little red bird there is watching out for her though. ;-)

Well today I got another assignment, this time from Scholastic. I'm going to be illustrating an adorable early reader with all sorts of animals. Much of it takes place at night so that's right down my alley. I love drawing night scenes. I think I'll be remember the month of April '08 for the rest of my life with all this exciting work coming in!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

When it Rains it Pours!

Well, I have been contacted to possibly do another trade book. Details are still in the works and it's not yet set in stone. Also, thanks to a very generous friend recommending me, I have been offered a four page spread for Jack and Jill Magazine! Yippee!

Here's a hint about the second book. It's about a cat!


Paige Keiser who is walking on clouds....

Monday, April 28, 2008

Monday, April 14, 2008

Sunday, April 13, 2008


This was a quick picture actually - not planned out. I just wanted to test some watercolor techniques. It's amazing how much color is drained out of the original piece when I post something on blogger. The images on my website are the same dpi, but much more vibrant. Hmm...

The Hair Cut

Saturday, April 12, 2008

News Flash! Meet The Author!

If you have itunes, then you have access to tons of free video interviews with some of the top children's authors and illustrators. Check it out! I'm watching them right now!

Go to the PBS section and click WETA Reading Rocket. Then Meet the Author.

Illustration Friday : Fail

The sudden downpour failed to dampen the spirits of these two travelers of the African jungle.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A Dream Realized!

I got a trade book assignment today!! Yipeeee! The story is absolutely adorable too - written in such fantastic verse you want to sing along as you read. I have no idea how much info I'm allowed to release so I'll just keep the details a secret for now.

So... this is what it's like when all the hard work pays off! I'm going to go celebrate by um...well....reading the last half of the last Harry Potter book (you know, since I'm such a party animal) ;-)

Or maybe I'm too excited to concentrate on reading a book? Ha!


So I sent my manuscript and book dummy off to my 'dream publisher'/editor and THEN several days later discovered a style that would be perfect for the illustrations. The first was a bit more cartoonish than I wanted and may not quite fit their book list. SO - I'm actually going to finish a few more illustrations with the better style and send those to the publisher as well as an add-on. With all the mail they probably get I'll be surprised of the illustrations meet up with the rest of the package, but it doesn't hurt to try.

I'm not yet in a big hurry to send off to other publishers as I want to give this one a couple weeks - just in case. If I don't hear from them I'll submit to the others with new style illustrations and new cover.

The above image I fixed with PHOTOSHOP--thank you Photoshop for saving me hours of work redoing the whole thing. See, the father was leaning a bit too far over and threw the whole illustration off. I just didn't notice it for some reason until the paint went down. Isn't that so often the case? Grrrr!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

More On the Previous Post - The Cupcake Study

(cupcake painting by Duane Keiser)

First I want to say thanks for all the wonderful comments and tips on the previous post!  I actually started this post as a comment, but then decided it was waaaay too long.

I saw this fascinating study on a news show a while back.  Some researchers placed elementary school kids in a room, one at a time, with a delicious cupcake in front of them.  The child was instructed by an adult not to eat the cupcake for fifteen minutes - and then the adult would leave the room.  I think (I can't remember the details) if they didn't eat the cupcake they would get a reward.  So they filmed these kids while they stared longly at the sweet desserts and took note of who was able to make it the whole fifteen minutes, and who either took little nibbles or ate the whole thing before the time was up.  It didn't end there.  They followed these kids into adulthood.  The ones who exercised self-discipline and didn't eat the cupcake ended up being more successful than the ones who couldn't wait.  It was just one study of course, and a slightly goofy one at that, but interesting none-the less.  

The whole point of this story is that I would have eaten that cupcake before the fifteen minutes was up.  I'm an instant gratification type person - and yes I'll often pay the extra money to get my books delivered overnight.  So taking extra time on a sketch before I go to my favorite part (the painting) is extremely difficult and challenging.  But I know with the way I work, I have to sketch a lot.  Some people don't!  Some artists can lay down a great idea right from the start, and I wish I was like that.  But I have to build it slowly through careful careful planning or it ends up a waste paper basket illustration.  It just took my a while to figure that out.  :0)

Monday, April 07, 2008

Not To Bore You

I wanted to share a few thoughts I had on the process of creating an illustration--something that has helped me grow a great deal as an artist - and perhaps in posting it here I could help someone else improve.

I often use chess (a game I love) for my analogies because chess is such a good teacher of patience and perseverance, among other things. Both of which are very useful in the art world and especially when trying to be successful as a freelancer.

As I've slowly whittled down my decisions in terms of my style, I've begun to take more time to plan and create my final drawings. In chess the saying goes, "if you see a good move, look for a better one." This simple idea has made such a huge difference in the quality of my work over the past few months. It's so easy to stop at the fourth or fifth thumbnail sketch and jump at the first good idea you have. Your heart skips a beat, and you feel a rush of excitement. That's it! You think. But don't stop there. There is always a better idea waiting for you. Trust me, give it a try, and see your compositions improve in leaps and bounds. Don't touch that paintbrush (or wacom pad for you digital illustrators), until you really have something special and have pushed yourself a little. Good luck :0)

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Look Out! Chicken Coming Through!

In addition to posting this image, I also wanted to say HI SABASTIAN! :-)