Friday, December 19, 2008

More of Jessica

I wanted proof that I've been doing more than just lazing around. Here's one of my illo's I'll include with my dummy. 

Saturday, December 6, 2008

I finished it!

After a few years of working on this book every now and then, my dummy for Jessica's Sunbeam Window is complete. I've included the top two images in addition to the last illo to give you an idea of how Jessica has transformed from her beginnings (there's actually another, more cartoony version that I don't feel like finding and scanning). Since beginning the dummy, my style has solidified and I've made decisions regarding her age. All that remains for me to complete are three illo's to paint, and then I'll send her out into the world and hope someone will see this vision the way that I do and buy it. Regardless of the outcome, however, I feel proud that I've achieved this goal. Only three years ago, I couldn't have put this together. I remember the frustration I felt when I tried to create a dummy, or even to illustrate something I wasn't looking at. But I've worked hard, found some great books that pointed me in the right direction, and I did it!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


This poor girl is being left out of the fun. It's yet another illo I did for Stories for Children magazine this month. If you want to read the story that goes with it, look for the title: Maybe This Time.

Whew. I'm exhausted. My husband's had a crazy work schedule for the last two weeks (which should end in about a week, thank goodness). He usually has pretty good hours for what he does, so I'm not complaining. But since my year-old toddler is getting all of his molars at once (and screaming about it to let us know he's miserable), by the end of the day I'm plain tuckered out. I'm actually almost done with my first picture book dummy (to send out). All of the story pictures are finished; I just need to figure out what I want to do with the title page and cover and choose a couple of pictures to paint. It really does take a lot of work to do it all, but I feel like I've learned a lot along the way. Through the process I've developed more personal style (which has also made things take longer). Above all, I feel like I've accomplished something worthwhile.

Until next time . . . 

Monday, November 24, 2008

Illustration Friday: Opinion

These friends are of the opinion that snow play is fun! I'd have to agree . . . but I'm also of the opinion that too much snow (and no sun) makes for a long winter.

I was asked to illustrate the December cover for Stories for Children magazine, and here it is. I'm quite happy with the way it turned out. 

I'm also almost done creating the book dummy for a story I've written. If I get enough time this week, I should be able to finish it. Hooray! 

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Illustration Friday: Repair

The best kinds of repair comes from an older brother who loves you.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Illustration Friday: Too Late

Here's my latest illo for Stories For Children. It's too late for Jamie's mom to take him to the store so he can buy a pair of pants that actually fits. What will he do? Find out next month in Stories for Children magazine (look for Jamie's Pants).

I don't know if anyone else feels like this, but I'm getting pickier about my work. I look at things I've illustrated and don't feel as confident about them. I nit-pick my illustrations, finding so many little things that I don't like and that I should've done differently. It doesn't mean I'll stop illustrating, but it's easy to feel discouraged and feel like I'm not making the progress I should. In this illo, for instance, I like the layout and characters, but I'm not satisfied with the colors. They're okay, but I don't look and think, "Now that's amazing and I couldn't think of anything better to do with it." Sigh. I think my problem lies in that I want things to be true to life, yet I still want playfulness . . . and I let reality take over the more playful side. Oh well. One day I'll get it. In the meantime I'll keep drawing and painting. And by the way, I'm not looking for anyone to laud words of encouragement. I'll still keep doing what I do because I love it; I simply wonder if anyone else laments the laborious process of growth when it comes to illustrating. 

Time for bed! See you next time.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Camera Man

I drew this a few weeks ago when my four-year-old son had an obsession with the camera, especially enjoying shooting his feet. I really like doing pencil drawings and the way that it forces me to be expressive in ways other than with color.

Sorry about the lack of posts lately. My 11- month-old is teething, and NOT happy about it at all. It takes a lot out of me and by the end of the day, I'm one weary mom. But this, too, shall pass. I'm also updating my website since I'll be sending out another round of postcards any day. Oh, the anticipation of what could happen! Even if nothing does, I'm excited about doing it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Stories For Children Magazine illo's

Here are a couple of illo's I just finished for Stories for Children Magazine. The top is a coloring page and the bottom is for a story (Friends or Losers -- check it out in October). I've never painted autumn trees before and it was really fun to do this time. I also really enjoy doing line drawings. It's fun for me to express things with the thickness of the lines. 

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Watercolor Wednesdays

Here are my most recent contributions to Watercolor Wednesdays. The top is Noah creating an umbrella (before receiving instructions to build an ark) and the next is of a daddy dancing with his daughter. 

I like the idea of Noah (my husband's) and the way I drew him, but I'm not as satisfied with the colors and the feel of the whole illustration.

I'm pretty happy with the way the dancers turned out. I love dancing and twirling around in dresses and LOVED it when I was a kid. I was experimenting with this girl's dress by using various rounds of salt in watercolor and feel it turned out well.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

More pictures

Here are a couple of illo's I've done recently. The top is for a story in this month's issue of Stories For Children Magazine (The Monstrous Mile; my illo didn't get anti-aliased and looks really grainy, however) and the bottom illo is for last week's Watercolor Wednesday (the prompt was a tribute to Beatrix Potter).

I feel like I am progressing as an illustrator. Besides the fact that I feel like I'm spending so much time and energy being a mom (to two amazing children), I'm amazed that I've been able to progress at all. I attribute a lot of my success to the fact that we frequently visit the zoo, the aquarium, and museums, that I'm constantly around children, and that my oldest son and I read a lot of books. All of these things give me an opportunity to examine real life things and to scrutinize what works and what doesn't in children's book illustrations. Although I feel like I'm improving, I also recognize that I have a LONG way to go. I feel like I'm truly ready and good enough to do magazine illo's (and a book if an editor thinks so too) . . . but I still want to be better. There are days when I feel like I'll never be as good as I want to be, but I am mostly optimistic. 

Enough blabbering. It's time for me to go do what I've been dreaming about all day while playing with my kids.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Illustration Friday: Memories

I illustrated this a couple months ago for Stories for Children magazine. It's a memoir of two girls sharing a summer blanket after one of them broke their leg. I hope you enjoy it!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Illustration Friday: Routine

What kind of routine would you expect triplets to have? This is the kind I would be afraid of.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Illustration Friday: Detach

If a mean, orange troll with pink ears tried to threaten you, wouldn't you try to detach yourself from it, too?

Friday, August 1, 2008

A literary elephant

I painted this for Watercolor Wednesday (the topic was anthropomorphic). What book do you think an elephant would stay awake all hours of the night to read?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Illustration Friday: Poof

I've got two boys that make me laugh (and cry) all day. The oldest was a baby just yesterday, and POOF! he's grown to be a boy now. 

This illustration shows them together doing what makes them both giggle. My 9-monther really likes to pull hair. The oldest likes to inch his head up close so that my baby will pull his hair. They laugh and laugh at this (even at church!). What sillies!

I have recently been thinking about how I want my illustration style to develop. I definitely want things fun (fun colors, characterization, etc) but realistic enough so that people don't have to wonder what the picture is about. While reading Junie B. Jones with my son, I've been studying Denise Brunkus's illustrations. I love her style. I like how she takes realism and plays with it. I don't think I want to do things just like her, but she has inspired me. This illo is partly rendered while thinking of her style. I also used gray pens to outline things instead of my usual black outline. In some ways I like it, in others I prefer a darker line. Hmmm . . . it'll be fun to see over time how my style will evolve. 

Saturday, July 26, 2008


I joined a blog group (Watercolor Wednesdays) and painted this for it. I'm not as happy with the coloring as I would like to be . . . it's too brown. I think I should look at a picture of caves to help me out. Otherwise, I like my characters. Perhaps I'll paint it again some day (or do it black and white).

Friday, July 18, 2008

Illustration Friday: Enough

Who can get enough love? (And who can give enough to cute kids!)

I just finished this for the August issue of Stories For Children Magazine. My heart was happy when my four-year-old son saw my first penguin draft and he said (very dramatically), "Oh WOW, Mommy. You drew some penguins!" He LOVES animals (we visit the zoo at least once a week).

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Illustration Friday: Hoard

This princess has definitely, albeit unknowingly, hoarded all the love from this twitterpated frog.

Friday, June 13, 2008

IF: Punchline

What's the punchline to this haunted car? Take a good look in a window and you just might solve the case of the frightening EE-OWs.

Friday, May 23, 2008

IF: Worry

This boy is worried about his unexpected visitor! I painted this for the upcoming June issue for Stories for Children magazine. I hope you like it!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

What I've Been Working On

I don't have much time these days to do a lot of illustrating, but I sign myself up to illustrate one or two illo's for Stories for Children Magazine every month just so I keep doing something. Here's one of them.

I admittedly dream about the great things I'm going to do some day with my writing and illustration more than I actually WORK toward those dreams. Sometimes I wonder if I'm good enough or will ever be good enough but, regardless of all that, I do enjoy creating things and I feel a great sense of satisfaction when I've done something I'm proud of.

Saturday, April 26, 2008


So my husband doesn't really find it weird, but I was inking over this finished illustration (for Stories for Children Magazine) and messed up the left girl's mouth. It made me sick after it happened and, if I'd had enough time, I would have done it all over again. Alas, a teething baby and other responsibilities left me with enough time to simply finish this illustration just in time, but with not enough time to do it the way I would have preferred. However, thanks to technology and a wonderful program called GIMP (a free Photoshop-like program) I was able to manipulate things until they were a bit more palatable for me. Whew!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

IF: Fail

Bo Peep has failed to find her sheep! Your job is to tell to turn around and then to spot at least 14 differences in the pictures (I know they're kind of small. Sorry!).

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

IF: Save

These brothers are saving a delightful mess for Mom to discover. I just finished this for Stories For Children Magazine and hope you like it. It was fun drawing the mess (although I'm glad I don't have to clean it up!).

Saturday, March 29, 2008

IF: Homage

Wee Ones Magazine asked me to illustrate an upcoming story about a girl who doesn't like her name, but adores her aunt (who she later learns she was named after). The second illustration shows her paying homage to this aunt. I hope you like them!

By the way, can you tell I really like pink and purple? I suppose these pictures could also be my homage to these colors. My 3 1/2 year old son also LOVES pink. Who'da thought?