Saturday, December 31, 2005

SurLaLune Fairytale Illustrators

The SurLaLune Fairytale Illustrators site has some gorgeous illustrations and interesting links for anyone intersted in children's book illustrations.

Have a WONDERFUL, safe, healthy, inspired, fruitful, blessed 2006!


Look at Dalton's work. (I'm on another character design and animator roll today..can you tell?) I'd love to watch these artists at work and learn from them.

Ben Balistreri

Ben Balistreri
Look at Balistreri's work. He does character design and storyboards for Nickeldeon. The links are also a treasure trove of talent.

Character Design

Character Design
What can I say..I love this blog. I've blogged it several times in the past few months.

Friday, December 30, 2005

NYTimes Article about Miffy and Children's Book Illustrators

Check out this article about Miffy, (a famous bunny character created by a Dutch artist, Dick Bruna. The article discusses Dutch children's illustrators, exhibits of their work at the Eric Carle Picture Book Museum in MA, and will later be at the USB Gallery in NYC.
You'll have to sign up to read the NYTimes online article, but it's free and worth it. The exhibit at the USB Museum is called:
"Dutch Treats: Contemporary Illustration From the Netherlands," an exhibition of about 80 works by 14 children's book illustrators whose forays into whimsy have beguiled readers of all ages for half a century.

IllustrationMundo-Another Illustrator's Forum

I just found Illustration Mundo this morning. It's an online forum for illustrators. (Just what I need...another online forum to be intrigued by.)

I'm starting an illustration for the NYC SCBWI conference in Feb. Hopefully I'll get it to work out the way I see it in my mind. Things always seem to glow in my mind..but getting them on paper is another thing. I've got to grab every moment I can to do the illustration. Things get hectic during Christmas/holiday break. Every time I think it's time to sit down and create, there's an appointment to go to, or friends and family visiting. These come first and I'm thrilled to have each friend and loved one here, but I've been fighting to get back on track. Time to get offline and get to the drawing board.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

P.J Lynch's Illustrations for The Bee Man of Orn

You've got to see this video clip of P.J. Lynch's illustration process for The Bee Man of Orn. It's a video clip on Candlewick's website.

Helpful info on Poetry

Here's a helpful place to learn about poetry, rhyming, and meter.

KidMag Writer online magazine article

There's a great article on the KidMag Writers website right now. Karen Lee talks about Tailoring your Portfolio to the Magazine Market. Karen's illustrations are wonderful. She obviously knows her stuff.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Some Fun Children's Books

At the library this morning I found some more great kid's books. One is called Toad Heaven by Morris Gleitzman, (an Aussie). It's very funny. I'd guess it's aimed at kids aged around 10 years old. Gleitzman has a quirky sense of humor that grabbed my attention.
I also borrowed Earl the Squirrel by Don Freeman. His scratchboard style was fresh and flowing, working perfectly with the humorous, yet tender story.

Arte Publico

Anyone interested in Latin American literature and publications should check out Arte Publico. They've got a wide range of publications for children and adults. There is also a strong push by them to recover the Hispanic Literary heritage.

Christmas Rainbow

We had a wonderful Christmas eve and Christmas day, celebrating with friends at church, family at home, and extended family later on in the day. It was a joy. Aside from the most important aspects of being together, opening gifts, eating and having fun, something special happened. Around mid-day during the rain, the sun came out. It shone for quite awhile. It was a dazzling bright sunshine, not just the kind that peeks out for a few seconds and retreats behind the clouds. I love it when this happens. I ran outside to look for a rainbow and saw a clear rainbow stretching across the horizon, behind our neighbor's trees. It lasted for over 5 minutes and was very bright. The grass was also misty due to snow melting in the rain, and the combination of the bright sunshine, light rain and mist rising with the rainbow was breathtaking.
I took it as a special gift. (I'm a great believer in taking note of signs in nature..whether it's a cardinal, or a sweet bird song, or a rainbow on Christmas day.)
It was a personal reminder of the day's true meaning and the Gift we celebrate on Christmas day.


Check out Hoku's cool artwork and blog.

Art Candy

Art Candy
I can't remember if I posted this blog before, but it deserves another mention anyway. It's Dan Santat's blog relating to children's books.


I just found Grace Lin's Blog. Check it out.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Amazon Book Rankings

Here's a website that explains how the book rankings work when a book is out. Once again, I got this info from the informative and lively SCBWI forum.
JungleScan is another one.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Antoine Antin's website

Check out aAntin's website. His animation and style is wonderful. Some of the video clips may take awhile to view. I couldn't view them on my dial-up connection (besides..I should not be blogging right now)
I justify it because.....I'm taking a break..I made fudge, got last minute groceries, watched my husband creating culinary wonders, and now need to go make some more goodies and get ready for a beautiful Christmas Eve service. Christmas Eve services are one of the highlights of the year for me...there's something extra special about taking time, finally, in the midst of the hectic season to pause, quiet down and listen to the message I need to sing age-old songs with dear friends and...being an the glow from the candles as they are lit, and the light spreads throughout the congregation. I can't wait.
For now..I'm off to make some yummy chili cheese dip. If it turns out as well as I remember it, I'll try to post the recipe after Christmas.

Character Design

Character Design

I know...I've posted this blog before..but I want to post it again. His work is fantastic, and there is a treasure trove of links here.

It's Christmas Eve!..Merry Christmas!

I can't believe Christmas Eve is upon us!. I'm actually nearly done with most things...still haven't mailed out many Christmas cards, but the other things are done. I also mailed my last pen and ink rendering out overnight express yesterday. (remind me next year not to do the 'artwork at the last minute' thing...I tried not to do it this year and ended up in the same situation as usual.)

If I don't write best wishes for a Merry Christmas to all of you..and a happy Hanukkah, as well as prayers and wishes for a safe, healthy, blessed 2006 in every way!

There's a new free online art newsletter due out in January. Here are some details:

It is a bi-weekly Artist's Newsletter called SELLING YOUR ART. The newsletter is free and will be distributed by email via Yahoo! Groups. The first issue will be released Friday, January 6, 2006. You can subscribe by going to

Friday, December 23, 2005

VLA-Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts

The VLA or Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts is an organization of volunteer lawyers with attourneys and representatives around the country. I don't know anything about them except that they were mentioned on the SCBWI forum. (there's always so much good info there)

Thursday, December 22, 2005

A Trans-Siberian Orchestra Cachibachi

Well..what are cachibachis but odds and ends and doodads..
I just found out that the drummer for the group TSO or Trans-Siberian Orchestra graduated from my high school around the same year as me, or the following year. His name is Jeff Plate, and he played on some sports teams with my brother.
I'm so proud of him! I didn't know him well, but it thrills me to know he succeed so fully in such a tough field.
What a small world. Congratulations Jeff!

Publishers Weekly list of Children's Book Links

PW has a great list of links on their website, as well as their Children's book online newsletter update once a week.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

One Pen and Ink drawing...nearly finished

Here it is. I must be insane. I took this job on at the last minute before Christmas..not only that, but it's about 22"x14"..much larger than normal..making everything take longer due to the amount of detail and grass, buildings, etc. I pieced it together to copy it at Staples. It didn't fit on the copy machine, which explains the line down the middle..
Tomorrow I have to finish the next drawing...I am crazy.....

Actually...I've got to finish the bush on the right hand side of this...a bit more.
The client who ordered this has been a gem. Even though it was a tight push for Christmas, it was worth doing. You can't tell by this image, but the building on the far left is a horse barn..huge..with a gorgeous stone entrance..and houses an indoor ring.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Bolivian Hat-III

I needed to add some color to the here's another of my Bolivian hats/chullos. It seems that people like viewing these hats, so I'm posting an unusual one. This one has ruffled border that is unusual. I'm not sure what the story is with the ruffle, but I love it. Notice the swan like birds in this design.
I'd love to interview some of the men who make these hats. They are incredibly talented.
The next time I visit Bolivia, I plan to try to meet someone who makes these and interview them.

I've heard good things about It's a self-publishing company that allows the client to publish as many or few books as they want. I haven't used their services yet, but consider it a great idea for book dummies. I heard from one woman on a children's writer's list that their products and services are very good. It's a great option for producing samples, book dummies or just personalized books. I also think it would be lots of fun for children to have their work made into books this way.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Holiday fun at The Toymaker

If you haven't visited The yet, and you enjoy fun online goodies, make sure to stop by. They always have adorable, whimsical creations that are printable. You can also sign up for their email updates.

The Association of Illustrators

The Association of Illustrators is based in the UK. I think it may be related to but I'm not sure. There are some great artists and links here. There are also articles on pricing, and although the prices relate to the European market, it's interesting to read about and get a sense of the market.

Interesting: Digital Stories

Just found that website. It's an interesting cachibachi.

American Studies Writing Resource

Here's a terrific resource for writers of all genres.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Oh Bother...some news about Pooh

I got this news from Alison, who always sends great links to us on one of our online author/illustrator groups. I've got to place her link back on my blog soon.

Wrestler Reveals Love of Reading

I hope you can read this link. You may have to enter three short lines of info to read it, but it's worth it if you are interested in literacy. A wrestler named Rey Mysterioso encourages kids to read. He is the literacy spokesman for the World Wrestling Entertainment. Just think about how many kids he reaches that may not be open to listening to others. What a cool guy.

International Trademark Association

The ITA is a wonderful resource for illustrators and artists to check when questioning registered or trademarked names and companies for use in their stories or illustrations.
I imagine it's also a great place to get ideas for other product names.
We have another snow day today..this one caused by frozen rain. "Frozen rain days" aren't much fun, but at least there's some white still showing..probably lethal to try to walk on. No sledding today I guess. At least the fort my kids built will be frozen and longer lasting.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Primitive Dollmaking: My Weblog: Just when you thought it couldn't get any better...

I couldn't resist sending this cachibachi to the blog. Look at all the cool of which is:
(I'm doing this the lazy way, since I've got my own kids plus 2 others here at the moment.)
I also finally put some lights outdoors decorating the bushes in the front of our house , and a 'faux' pine garland with lights on the deck. We also were finally able to decorate the tree after several setbacks..including burnt out tree lights, a cracked tree stand/leaking water...need to re-stand the tree, etc.
The Christmas tree is starting to shape up with decorations from years ago, as well as some hand-made ones that the kids created. We decorate the Christmas tree in the "down home style" (hodge-podge style..sort of a crazy-quilt approach to tree decorating) which is my favorite. I've got beautiful old decorations from my childhood and before. My Mom generously gave me many old favorites. Every time I hang them I'm reminded of the amazing times we had as kids.
Anyway..I also love tinsel and tiny real candycanes.

Women's Fiction with Attitude

Women's Fiction with Attitude
Here's Kathy's blog..which I lost the link to. I'm going to add it back on right now...after I eat another Christmas Candy Kiss...

Another Snow Day

Yippee! I love snow days..and this one comes with the added benefit of the snow and sleet not having fallen yet, which gives me time to get out to do some shopping this morning.
Last night we had the pleasure of attending our local middle school band concert. There's something special about watching and listening to middle school kids play holiday and Christmas music..squeaks, blunders and all...watching them blush in their Santa Claus hats, and seeing their earnest faces when the band director picks up her baton to start the music.
I nearly cried watching them all.
Kids these days are hardworking, fun-loving, creative and diligent. Anyone who doesn't believe it should go to a local middle-school or high-school concert and see for themselves.
I'll have some links up later on. I have to get to the store before the sleet hits.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

La Bloga: El pinatero/ The Pinata Maker

La Bloga: El pinatero/ The Pinata Maker

I found out about this today on the Chicken Spaghetti blog..(one of my favorites..listed on the few links left there on the right of my blog)
I'm going to add La Bloga to my link of "multicultural links" on my website.
(even though I use the term...I really dislike the term..multicultural..for some reason it sets things apart, as though different, when in reality are all multicultural....)

Thanks again Chicken Spaghetti for another terrific link.

I also received my book Magic Pencil-Children's Book Illustration Today in the mail the other day. It's an unusual book, put out by The British Council, and The British Library, and compiled/written by Quentin Blake. I can't wait to get into it. Many of the illustrations in it are wonderful.

Today I added just a few of the former links I had on the blog. I've got many more to add.

Monday, December 12, 2005

It's A Miracle!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh My...I thought I had lost my whole blog....for some reason the whole template was gone...I just about gave up..then..somehow I changed the format and the posts still remained and popped back up. I thought I was going to have to start from scratch. I didn't even look to see if the links are here...I have this sinking feeling they are gone....
Yup..all gone.
If you had a link here and would like it restored..can you PLEASE give me your blog or website. I'm going to be adding links for a Lo-o-o-ng time now..I had some treasures here and it'll take awhile to redo that. What a pain....
but at least it didn't all disappear.
I have no idea how this happened. I didn't even mess around with my blog at all...very strange.

Blogging Blizzard

I hope this shows up. The last time I viewed my blog it was totally white...I'm not sure what happened, but I hope everything didn't disappear without my knowledge. I'm asking for help, but so far I haven't figured out what happened. I may have to start from scratch!!! ARGGGGGGG!!! All of those amazing links GONE?
I didn't delete anything, so I have no idea what's up with this. Stay tuned for more info. I may have to start a cachibachisII

Students for Literacy Ottawa

Students for Literacy Ottawa
Check out this literacy blog from Ottowa.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Shirley Hughes

I've always loved Shirley Hughes' illustrations. Here is a website that Janet sent in on an illustrator's list highlighting Shirley Hughes' work.
Just seeing her photo convinced me all the more what a kind, down to earth woman she must be.
Her illustrations are warm, spontaneous and full of the humor of children, and way they move and fill our lives.
There may be some more artists highlighted on the site. I haven't checked it out yet. It looks like a terrific place to find more interesting articles.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

National Children's Book And Literary Alliance

I just found out about this organization from the net today. It's the NCBLA. It looks like a great organization for children's book lovers, and those interested in children's literature. I'm going to go back later and read more about it. ****************Tangent********************

(I just got back from Christmas shopping..and on a Saturday no less..something I tried so hard not to do because of the crowds, but It was fun.)
I don't know why there isn't a store in a 20 mile radius that has any holiday type tops for girls...I looked in every type of store I could find, and found nothing. Finally I resorted to my favorite thrift store and found 3 gorgeous tops for less than the price of one at any other store...and then I got tempted to buy other things while there. I justify it all, knowing the prices are terrific.

**********back to children's writing topics now**********

Here's another website that is interesting, and has posts about children's lit too. It's called Original Content, and discusses children's books and writing.

Illustration Friday-Surprise

Here's my illustration for this week's topic Surprise. I did this ages ago. It's scratchboard. I've got to get back to using scratchboard. It's so much fun to work with.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Snow-Day and Oilily Find

It's another snow day! Yippeeee! The funny thing is that the forecast was for a blizzard and we ended up with one inch!
It did the trick though, giving the kids the day off. Hopefully we'll bake some Christmas cookies and fudge. I'm off to a slow start this year, just having bought the first gifts yesterday. I braved the mall. (I don't particularly enjoy malls at any time of year, but at Christmas-time it can be even tougher to deal with the sensory overload and all of the 'Stuff'.)
I found another treasure at the SA (Salvation Army). I've always wanted some clothes from Oilily, but can't justify paying their normal prices. I found a gorgeous sweater in the SA for $3.99!!!! (don't you just Love when that happens?)

I'll add some children's illustration info later that this isn't completely off-topic. Check out the Oilily site for some inspiration.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

New Christmas Coloring Page

I finished a Christmas coloring page to go along with the picture book I just illustrated. The book isn't out yet, but here's a page for kids to color. It's a Christmas tree's ornaments.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

LA Times Kid's Reading Room

Check out Maria Cisneros Toth's children's story Mooarachi. It's running in the LA times! (pretty impressive!)
The LA Times is printing it in installments. Maria is a wonderful writer who I met on our online group:
Latino/Hispanic Writers4Kids. Her warmth and sense of humor are magnetic. Read the story, and keep it marked to read more.

Snowdays, Gifts and Cachibachis

Today was a snowday here in Virginia. I love snowdays...snowcovered trees, permission to sleep later than 6:00 am, and just fun having the kids home, playing in the snow and drinking cocoa. It was perfect. Here in Virginia if there's more than 1/2 inch of snow on the ground schools are generally closed.
When we first moved here I found that astonishing. I grew up in the North, where people put chains on their tires, and brave feet of snow as though it's the most normal thing, gearing up for snow each year, ready to drive on snow covered roads, not just hide indoors when the snow hits. In driver's ed in NY state, we learned how to skid on snow and how to get out of a skid. Here in VA many folks panic when snow hits. Other more foolhardy drivers continue driving at 60mph trying to prove how cool they are.
The kids built funny snowmen, had snowball fights and used their sleds. When you live down here, you never know if you'll have a chance to use your sleds and snow equipment, so it makes it extra special.
Well..I've adapted to the Virginia style by looking forward to 1/2 inch of snow, knowing that most likely school will be closed and we'll all get to hang out at home for a day. It was a gift.

As for gifts, I was very touched yesterday to recieve an unexpected package on our front porch. A generous person I'd finished illustrations for, sent me an amazing gift box full of an assortment of delicious goodies! What a special surprise!
Gifts sometimes come when you least expect them, and this client/friend is a one in a million gift.

Here are some cachibachis for you. .....
Two of my all time favorite Christmas picture books are:
One Wintry Night by Ruth Bell Graham Illustrated by Richard Jesse Watson (one of my all time favorite illustrators)
Both the story and the illustrations are rich and moving.
Another book that I loved so much I borrowed it from the library at least 15 times before I bought it. It's The Animals' Christmas Carol by Helen Ward. Her work is incredible. How I wish I could illustrate like she does.
My librarian friend recommends a book called Silver Packages. It wasn't there yesterday, and I'm not sure who wrote it, but she says that the message is timeless.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

A Place to Create Your Own Font

This is an incredible tool for illustrators to be able to use. It's a site called Fontifier where you can create your own font using your handwriting. It's been recommended on the Picture Book Dummy group by 3 people so far. I want to try it!

I got some marketing done today. It's about time. So far I have over 40 postcards addressed and ready to mail out. Only about 60 more to go now.....

It's actually lots of fun. I just need to do it more often, since the last time I mailed any illustration samples out was a year ago.

Northern Virginia Writing Project

Today I had the pleasure of attending a workshop with the Northern Virginia Writing Project. They have workshops for children who are interested in writing, or who excell at it.
Today's workshop offered another workshop for parents, which I attended while my child attended one.
All I can say is I wish I had had teachers like these when I was younger.
Their program is fascinating in that all of the teachers are also writers , practicing their craft while they teach teachers and kids.
We did several writing excersizes and learned a few techniques to beat writing blocks and bring inspiration.
The two teachers who taught the parent's workshop were Kathy Hailey and Cathy Turner ( I hope I spelled their names correctly). The title of the workshop was "The Gift of Words"
The Northern Virginia Writing Project is a part of The National Writing Project.
It was wonderfully run, and my child came out of it begging to go to the next workshop.

Friday, December 02, 2005

FInished the Drawing

Here's the pen and ink rendering that was due. The only thing that makes me sad is that in my rush to photocopy it and reach the PO in time, I didn't notice that the ceramic flower holders and bottom part of the stone paved driveway got cut off in the copy...oh least it's on it's way. It didn't fit all the way on the copier, but I thought all of the image made it...that's what I get for trying to make copies in a rush, while keeping an eye on my kids.

Multicultural Picture Book Library-list

I found out about this from a post on the Write4Kids forum. It's another good place to hang out online.
It's a list that someone compiled of multicultural kid's books. I know that there are many more than these, but it's just one place to find some.
I have a page of Multicultural children's links on my website if anyone is interested as well.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

December is HERE!

Yikes. Now the fun starts.
I love the Christmas and holiday season, but the pace can really be a challenge. The temperatures here in Virginia have made it feel like Spring, making it even harder to believe that Christmas, the New Year and holiday season are upon us.

I'm finishing a pen and ink rendering for a client. It's an amazing house (mansion) in California. I'll post it when I'm done.

Hopefully I'll find some fun links to add to the blog later on today.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

A Kit for Kids to Create Their Own Picture Books

This is a pretty creative idea. It's called IlluStory Book Kit.

A New Children's Writing Blog to Check Out!

I was excited to find out about the Write4Kids blog! It's brand new. There was a gold nugget there already. It's a link to a place where you can see if a topic has been covered in a picture book before.

New Picture Book Dummy Online Group

I just started a new group on yahoogroups for picture book artists. If you're a children's illustrator, writer, or an author/illustrator interested in the craft of creating picture books, and working on picture book dummies, feel free to join.
Here's the name of it and the link to join:
PBDummyCritters Group
home page: Group
email address:
The main purpose is to discuss the craft of creating professional picture book dummies for submission to publishers. We'll discuss tips, design, ideas, format, set-up, links, etc. on the creation and submission of PB dummies.

I'm working on one at the moment, revising it. It took much longer than I thought to get the first draft done, but now I'm ready to clean it up and redo sections of it.

Monday, November 28, 2005


Here's a non-profit organization based in Switzerland. It's the International Board on Books for Young People.

The Goodnight Moon debate

Have you heard about it? There's a debate about Harper Collin's decision to edit a former photo of Clement Hurd, the illustrator of Goodnight Moon. He is shown in the original photo with a cigarette in his hand. They want to remove the cigarette from the photo.
Personally I think it's rediculous to edit the photo of Clement Hurd, removing the cigarette from his hand. Sometimes people just go to far. I seriously doubt that one small photo of Hurd with a cigarette in his hand will make children yearn to smoke, or give them the message that it's a desirable thing. I can hear it now..when a teen is caught years later smoking a cigarette...
"'s all your fault. Ever since you read Good Night Moon to me years ago, I've been waiting to get my hands on a cigarette. "
I don't smoke, and I would advise anyone not to smoke, but I think they went too far in this case. I'd bet anything it was a boardroom decision by a 'legal expert'. I'd even venture to say that the art directors and folks working there are rolling their eyes behind the scenes. There are probably all sorts of funny comics pinned up on bulletin boards and at the coffee pot areas concerning editing photos and the whole situation.
Here's a website where you can vote on whether Harper Collins should edit the photo or not.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

karen's news

karen's news

Here's a fairly new blog by a children's illustrator, Karen Lee. She's a member of SCBWI and does wonderful work.

Kansas Reads Presents: Read to a Tot, " NO MATTER WHAT!"

Kansas Reads Presents: Read to a Tot, " NO MATTER WHAT!"
Here's an interesting blog about a Kansas State Program to promote reading.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Another Bolivian Hat

Here's another of the Bolivian hats from my collection. I love this one.

I finally got to the art store today.
After braving the 'day after Thanksgiving' traffic to get there yesterday....nearly one hour.... I found it "Closed until Saturday". It hadn't entered my mind that a store would be closed on the biggest shopping day of the year...
It was worth the wait. It's not a large art store, but it has enough supplies to be worth visiting from time to time. I stocked up on some beautiful Prismacolor pencils, some scratchboard materials, and wonderful Winsor & Newton watercolor paper. Yum. Art supplies are like food to me sometimes.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Have a Wonderful Thanksgiving!

We had our first snow last night. It was like magic..falling down softly. It seemed we were inside a snowglobe. What a fun way to begin the Thanksgiving break. The kids and I were thrilled!

Whether you're travelling to spend the day with family, at home with a house full of visitors, or spending a quiet day today, God bless you with a safe, warm and special day.
I'm so grateful for a million things...for God's grace and kindness, for His provision in my life in everything, for my family, parents, sisters and brother, and my dear husband and incredible children, and the priviledge of being a part of their lives..., for the amazing friends I have near and far away, offline and online, for my church family, (one big bunch of incredible people), for my community, the excellent schools and environment, for our country and leaders, and the freedom we enjoy, as well as those who fight for it, and are fighting right now to help others to acheive freedom and maintain it...
so many more things..but I don't want to bore folks...
Have a special day....I'm thankful for those of you who take the time to read this blog too! Thanks so much for your encouragement and the time you take to read my ramblings.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Some Good Literacy Organizations

Here's an organization that helps kids with their reading comprehension and deals with language arts. It's called Reading Rockets.
Another one I found was called Enlighten Me, where literacy stars (writers and people interested in promoting literacy) are interviewed. This literacy program is sponsored and produced by Verizon.
And here's one I've known of for years...RIF.
I've got the topic of literacy on my mind for several reasons. Today at the supermarket I saw three teenage boys out selling Christmas decorations to raise money for our local Literacy organization. It warmed my heart to see them there. No adults were with them at the time, and it was cold outdoors. They could have been doing a million other things on their first day of Thanksgiving break, but they were there. It's a small thing, but it means a lot.
For quite awhile I've wanted to encourage kids to read. Books, reading, and libraries have always been such important aspects of my life that I want to share them with others. I can't imagine how some people go through life without visiting the library at least once a week. In many places in the world libraries aren't even available.
When I lived abroad, one of the main things I missed was the public library.
I recently started taking part in our local school's "Book Buddies" program. It's a blast. It's a small thing to do, and yet it's a joy. It only takes one hour a week, and who knows what a difference it may make in one child's life.
Hopefully I'll be able to do more to encourage others in their reading..get them hooked on books like I am, or just be an encouragement somehow. Books are a terrific bridge between cultures, races and ages. They transport us to places, times and situations we would never be able to reach otherwise.
I know there are many other literacy organizations out there, but these were some that I enjoyed today.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

caderno de desenhos

caderno de desenhos
Some of her blog isn't in English, but who's fun to see her work. I think she had something in the Bologna Illustrator's show. It's inspiring to "travel abroad"..even if it's just by internet, and see some international illustrators, and what they're doing. She's from Brazil.

Books About Children's Illustration

Recently there was an interesting thread on the SCBWI boards about recommended books about and for children's illustrators. If you're a member, check it out. There are some good recommendations there for books.
While reading it, I went to to check on one book and found out about this one, The Annual 2002 Bologna Annual Illustrators of Children's Books. It looks inspiring. You can view some illustrations in it online.
I wonder if they have any more recent Annuals published though, since I didn't see any more recents versions at
I found a more recent edition. It's the 2004 edition. It seems the 2005 one isn't out yet. I checked on the Penguin site, but it doesn't show up yet.

Here's another website, of Taro Maura to check. This illustrator has been chosen several times for the Bologna Illustrators Exhibition. (these links from Google on the Bologna exhibition are addictive..can you tell? Check them out yourself for inspiration. There are many more.

Here's another book about children's illustration. I haven't heard of this one or seen it before. It's called The Magic Pencil.

Monday, November 21, 2005

My New Coloring Page

Here's the new coloring page I've finished to go with the book due out soon.
You can print it out for use for your children and others to color.

This image is copyrighted and is only to be used by children (or adults who are young-at-heart) to color.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Art Candy

Art Candy
Check out Dan Santat's new blog featuring children's book art/illustrations.
It's got wonderful art on it.

Antiquarian Booksellers Assoc. of America

Check out these antique children's books at the ABAA.
Can you imagine how much fun it would be to browse through a bookstore filled with these? Take a look at the list of book catalogs they have for every type of book imagineable! I got started looking at this site because I was hoping to find a CD of The Enschede Catalog of Typographic Borders and Ornaments. I have the book, which is full of ornate, incredible borders and ornaments. They are wonderful, but I'd love to be able to get them on my computer and use them that way. Cutting and pasting these sorts of designs would be quite a challenge. I've checked the DOver books that have CDs, but it's tough to tell online if the quality of the images is as good as Enshede's images. I don't imagine they would compare.

Blogging Curiosities and Cached images

I've been getting a huge amount of traffic to my blog from some curious reason. I posted an image to my blog awhile back from an image of Bolivian hats/chulos for a Studio Friday theme entitled Patterns. In my haste to post it, I forgot to make the image a bit smaller for the internet, and it was a huge image. I removed it now, but it's still stuck there..cached on google.
I'd love to know why there is so much interest in it...if there's some sort of fascinating online group about textiles somewhere out there in the UK or the Netherlands...I want to join!
I'll post more images of antique Bolivian hats/chulos if anyone is interested (They are copyrighted images for anyone interested in them) Please ask for permission before using any of the images on my blog that I have created.
I reposted the pattern image on my website .
A note to artists out there..and bloggers...beware when posting images on the net that they do get cached even when you remove them. Make sure to post anything you want to protect at a reduced size.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Another Online Children's Illustration Forum

Here's another online children's illustrator's forum I just found out about from a post on the SCBWI forum, which in itself is one of the best there is.
It's called A Children's Book Illustrator's Lounge or "I".
It seems to be a promising group. I've had fun searching it today and plan to take part whenever I can.
(Just what I need...another diversion....
Those who know me must be rolling on the floor laughing right now.)


I know..I know..I posted this blog the other day, but I can't help reposting it. Look at his work. He wrote a book called "Disney's Mulan" I'm going to look for it online now.....

Russian Insider

Russian Insider
Look at this website about Russian animation! Incredible artwork. I found it on Uli Meyer's blog.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Bragging about my Friend....

I got permission to post the good news about my online friend, Author and Illustrator Ruth McNally Barshaw's tremendous news...
She has a book due out for publication in 2007!!! YIPPEEE!
It's being published by Bloomsbury (the original publishers of Harry Potter!! Impressive!!) It's not only written by her, but illustrated as well! It's her first publication and she's done it all!
Here's a link to her site to read more about it.
It's such a joy to see the process a writer or illustrator goes through on the road to publication and then to see them reach their goal with the well deserved reward of publication.

Congratulations RUTH! I'm so proud of you, and can't wait to see the book and buy lots of copies to have autographed with your 'signature style'.

(Ruth is generous to a fault and well known on online lists for authors and illustrators for her tips, wit, humor, honesty and encouragement)

...If anyone deserves to be published for top quality work, as well as skill and talent, you do Ruth!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Scribble sketch blop blog

Scribble sketch blop blog
I don't know how I've missed this guy's blog. He's a children's illustrator with a fascinating blog detailing his work on illustrations.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Finished The Picture Book Illustrations!

I'm all done! The images are in the mail. What a RELIEF!
Here's the cover image of the book I just finished.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Wawa Moore: Guys Read!

Wawa Moore: Guys Read!
Here's Wawa's blog. She's a fellow illustrator from the Mid-Atlantic SCBWI who has started a blog about her writing and illustrating...I heard she has a new book out too! COngrats Wawa on your book and on your new blog. I also saw it recommended on the Chicken-Spaghetti blog.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Veteran's Day Wishes.

Thank you to all the veterans out there who have served our the families of Veteran's and the descendants of veterans. The sacrifices made for our peace and freedom are incalculable.
God bless you all, and protect you who are serving at this moment. You are all in my prayers and thoughts.
Thank you.

Online Illustration Crit Group

Here's a promising looking online critique group for illustrators.
I've been reading Betty Edwards book Color- A Course in Mastering the Art of Mixing Colors. It's a wonderful resource to learn or refresh the understanding of color and how to use it in illustrations and paintings. There are clear concise explanations and painting excersizes to put the information into practice.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Can you tell I'm into looking at animator's blogs these days? This guy's work is wonderful, and the posts are worth taking the time to read.
I like the title's a play on's for animators..and in Spanish the word "animite" means...something like "be encouraged" get animated...

Stephen Silver

Stephen Silver
This animator is fantastic. He's the designer of the Kim Possible characters.


Here's another blog about character design. These make me want to start all over and study animation and character design.

Monday, November 07, 2005

UliMeyer: Treasure Island Part 2

UliMeyer: Treasure Island Part 2
Wow. Look at this man's work. He is an animator from London.

Blanquet's Blog: tuesday girl

Blanquet's Blog: tuesday girl
OK. Here's another blog I just found. I'm loading them all here this morning. They are too good not to share.

Ice-Cream Monster Toon Cafe: November 2005

Ice-Cream Monster Toon Cafe: November 2005
This is the blog where I originally found the other two blogs below. Look at her work!


Here is another fascinating blog. It seems he did work for Disney. I didn't read too much about him yet, so I'm not sure if he still creates for them.


Check out this fascinating blog.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

I'm in Trouble Now..............

because......I found the new Yarn shop in town. The temptation is too strong to avoid buying gorgeous, delicious, costly yarns.....
Here's an image of a scarf I'm knitting with two strands of Trendsetter Yarns. Walking into a good yarn shop makes my day. There's an atmosphere like the Christmas season I remember as a child with rich deep colors stuffed in small artful bins and shelves.
I figure that even though I'm busy working on the illustrations, I'll knit while I'm in the car travelling to soccer games, or in dentist's offices.
The illustrations I'm creating are a blast. I'm nearly done with the project, although the deadline is practically here. The most important illustrations for the story are coming up now, so I've got to focus on them. When the book is printed, I'll post some sketches and one or two finished illustrations. I wish I could go back and redo half of them (why does "genius" seem to srike after the illustrations are done?) I plan to redo some of them after the book is out to tailor them to my own ideas.

Children's illustration

As promised, here's the signature that Jackie Urbanovic created for me when she signed it last weekend in the picture book Spaghetti Eddie by Ryan SanAngelo that Jackie illustrated.
ISn't it fantastic? She whipped it out in less than a minute. I have some great children's book signatures. What a privilege. Being involved in the children's literature world is one of the biggest blessings I can imagine..there are so many amazing people, talented and generous writers, illustrators, the joy of hanging out with folks who have a sense of humor, and a high expectation for excellence in their craft. The high of creating something that will make a child laugh, and bring a love of reading and learning? There's nothing like it.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Understanding Kid's Book Categories

Here's a great website that explains children's book categories.
I found some more fun books at the library yesterday. One unusual picture book has THREE illustrators competing for the reader's attention (on purpose as part of the book plot). It's the first time I've seen a book like this. It's called: Once Upon A Cool Motorcycle Dude. It's written and illustrated by Kevin O'Malley, whose work I love. The other two illustrators are Carol Heyer and Scott Goto.
You've got to check it out. The plot jumps back and forth between a sugary sweet fairy tale style and a rough and tumbling boy-driven style.
I think we borrowed every single Jon Scieszka book from the library. One of my kids obviously is hooked on them.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Mid-Atlantic SCBWI Conference

I just returned from our fantastic regional conference.
Talk about a shot in the arm.... Between the joy of sharing a ride with a wonderful illustrator friend from town, having time to talk, share tips, meet new friends, comisserate with illustrators and writers, eat good food, and enjoy the pleasure of listening to accomplished writers and illustrators share stories of their journeys to publication....I'm stuffed to overflowing with inspiration.
It's such a blast to meet people in person who have only been known online, such as online illustrator/blogger cohort Courtney Pippin-Mathur. (Hi Courtney! It was a pleasure to meet you in person and see your colorful quirky art "in person" too...I love it even more seeing it first hand. Love those brown boots too.) and writers, hearing wonderful speakers such as Judith Greenburg , (what a hoot she is...she kept us all on our toes with her pictures and unusual scientific info) and Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, author of Shiloh.
As always there were piles of glossy magazines, freebies, and publisher's brochures to pick up and delve into later for research.
The conference was full..sold out. It's a first rate event every year.
I'll write more tomorrow, and try to send a shot of Jackie Urbanovic's signature on the book I bought that she illustrated.
There's nothing quite like spending an invigorating day in the company of children's writers, illustrators, editors and publishers to fan the flame of creativity.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Inspiring Illustration Sites

Here are two or three I found today.
One of my favorite illustrators is Mark English. His work here seems to be leaning more toward the fine art side, rather than illustration.
Take a look at the faculty of The Illustration Academy. What incredible illustrators.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Redskins Mural Finished

Here are some quick digital pics of the finished mural. I took some better photos with my other camera and will show the whole mural in one image when I get them developed.
What a relief to have this done.
There are 11 Redskins players and 11 Cowboys playing on the field. It's hard to see them here, but they are set up exactly as the client's son wanted them in the play. He (the young man) worked hard to help get the correct players, numbers and placements for me to get them there. There is glow-in-the-dark paint in the crowd and on the top so that it lights up subtly in the dark.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

A website to visit

Here's one I just found that you have to see if you enjoy paper, collages, and beautiful work.
It's called Paper Thoughts.

Inspiring Quotes

Here are four quotes I received as email yesterday in a daily email from
It's well worth signing up for.


"The success of our efforts depends not so much on the efforts themselves, but rather on our motive for doing them." -- Denis Waitley"

The starting point of all achievement is desire. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desire brings weak results, just as a small amount of fire makes a small amount of heat." -- Napoleon Hill"

The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a man's determination." -- Tommy Lasorda"

Let us not be content to wait and see what will happen, but give us the determination to make the right things happen." -- Peter Marshall

Friday, October 21, 2005

Reading about Kevin Liles

I picked up a terrific book by Kevin Liles calledFrom Intern to President-Make it Happen. He tells his story of how he came from a rough background, as an urban street kid, and became the executive pres. of Warner Music Group. What an incredible man, with a story and attitude that sparks hope, creativity and full optimism. He presents 10 rules of business success. This book is a great read.

I'm still working on illustrations and finishing the mural. I hope to post finished pics of the mural on Tuesday. It's nearly done now.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Prayers for those in the Path of Wilma

My thoughts and prayers are with my dear friends in Miami, Tampa and in the path of Wilma.
It doesn't seem possible that another storm this strong is due to hit.

One wonderful comforting Psalm is Psalm 91 about protection in the midst of danger.

I'm nearly done with the mural I'm painting. I'm still working on the book illustrations as well, and loving it. It's a joy. I wish I could post the roughs, but will post sample illustrations once the book is out.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Books and Music

I've been behind on posting here due to my two projects.
Today I visited the library again and found some more music and books worth mentioning.
I got a CD of Jane Monheit-never Never Land. Wow. I'm hooked on her style and music now.
I also got a wonderful children's book out: Little Red Riding Hood-retold by Josephine Evetts Secker, illustrated with WOnderful illustrations by Nicoletta Ceccoli. If you haven't had the pleasure of viewing her work, check the link. Her illustrations have won numerous awards, and it's clear to see why.
Today I joined the D.C. Illustrator's Club. It'll be good to get my portfolio set up there, as soon as I can figure out how to do it.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Pics of Redskins Mural

Here are three photos. I'm about 2/3 done with this..still have to add all of the players, numbers on the top of the field, finish the Redskins letters, logo in the center, add shadow and other details in the crowd. etc. It's 10 feet long by 7 feet tall.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Studio Friday entry-Golden Yellow

Here's my entry for Studio Friday. The topic is Golden Yellow. These are assorted items I found around my studio in that category.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Two Wonderful Freebies for Artists and Kid's Writers

It's a rainy day here in VA...which puts me in the chocolate chip cookie baking mood...maybe I'll bake some later..either that or molasses cookies. I have a great recipe for them, and the best thing's fast and easy.
I received the most recent Art Business News magazine in the mail the other day. It's a large, glossy full color magazine covering the latest news in art galleries, paintings, and technologies for artists. Even better, it's Free! Check out the website and sign up for it if you're interested.
An online news update that children's writers and illustrators would be interested in, is Publisher's Weekly Children's Bookshelf. There is also a weekly PW Comic Update and PW weekly, as well as Religion Bookline.
I may have noted this a few days ago, but wanted to make sure I got the info up.
Here's a great quote I just read about concentration and persistance:

"It's the constant and determined effort that breaks down all resistance and sweeps away all obstacles." -- Claude M. Bristol

Friday, October 07, 2005

A few More Good Books.

My son recommends the Artemis Fowl Files. He keeps telling me I've got to read the whole series. I'm still working on the second Artemis Fowl book.
I'm also reading Arturo Perez Riverte's book Capitan Alatriste. I absolutely love his books. He's a fantastic writer, blending history, romance, intrigue in an intellectually stimulating way. I don't know how to put it into words exactly, but his work is brilliant. I'm listening to this book on tape and highly enjoy the narrator's wonderfully 'Spanish accented English'.

Not much more to write at the moment. I'm still in the midst of the children's book illustrations, which is wonderful, as well as working on a mural some mornings. The mural is nearly done, but I keep forgetting to bring my digital camera to take some photos. I'll try to get some on Monday to post. I can't post any of the children's book illos yet.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Braces Off!

It's been one of those weeks where all I've done is go from dentist to doctor to orthodontist for either myself or my children. I've had 5 appointments in the past 2 days between all of us..but the good news is....I got my braces off!!! Yes...this is my second time in braces...I had them on as a teen, and then had to get them again (at the same time as my son, which is quite funny). It's been 19 months since they went on, and now they are finally OFF. What a relief..although the follow up retainer biz isn't much fun. The results are well worth all of the work put into it.

Meanwhile the mural is coming along well. I'll try to get some digital pics of it today. I'll also work on getting some more links up soon in the blog. I'm reading Each Little Bird that Sings by Deborah Wiles. I highly recommend it. She's got a wonderful sense of humor and warmth that shines through in her writing. This book makes me want to hang out in the world she has created.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Full Weekend

What a full busy weekend it's been...between 2 soccer games on Saturday, then our first teenager's birthday party, complete with 7 teens running around the house and yard celebrating, then the celebration of the baptism of another of our children today, it's been non-stop. The weather here is gorgeous! Sunny and warm...perfect Autumn weather.

I'm well on my way in painting the mural of the Fedex field and the Redskins. (somehow in doing this project, I've gotten very interested in football, and aquired a new appreciation of the sport. That's one of the benefits of being an illustrator. You never know what you'll learn, and what intrests it will bring into your life. I'll post a photo of the mural when it's done. It may be a few weeks before I fully finish it.
I've already had three other people interested in having murals done since I started this one. I'm not sure whether I'll do any others, since it would pull me from my main love of illustrating children's books, but it's always a good thing to have as an option.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Article about the Business of being an Artist

Here's an enlightening article about the business of art.
The 2006 Children's Writers and Illustrator's Market book is out now. I can't wait to get it! If you haven't ever bought it, and are serious about the business of being a children's writer and/or illustrator, it's a must have.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Pen and Ink Rendering of a Home

Here's one I just finished and sent out.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Marketing Ideas

I've been thinking about marketing ideas lately, and decided I'll post the links of any of them that I can remember and find links for. One of the most obvious is cafepress. You can have your images printed on T-shirts, mouse pads, tote-bags, mugs, lunch pails and a large assortment of objects. In the past they only had T-shirts and mugs, but recently they've updated the variety of objects to print the images on and sell them. I need to update my own cafe-press site.
Another obvious thing is Post cards. Most illustrators highly recommend Modern Postcard .
One thing I plan to do, but need to find a reasonably priced source for, are bumper stickers, &/or magnetic car stickers. As artists, we have such an advantage in creating fun, attractive bumper stickers and magnets.
Another idea I've wanted to follow up for years has been to make some jigsaw puzzles. There are printable puzzles that you can print your images on in your own computer. I haven't bought these (in the link) but that's one example of what they are like.
You can also print your own art on iron on T-shirt transfers. These used to be limited to use on white or light colored T-shirts, but there are now iron on transfers that have a backing on them so that the image can be placed on darker or bright colors.
Then of course, you can show your work off with your own Pins, magnets, stickers, buttons (the kind with pins on the back).
Free Coloring Pages are wonderful too. I've thought of printing some up and leaving them at places that kids frequent. (with permission of course) such as dentist and doctor's offices, emergency rooms (did you ever notice how there are never many things for young children to do there?) Libraries may also be open to allowing children's illustrators to leave coloring pages there. Just make sure to put your web address, name and copyright notice on these.

I know that most art directors say not to include fancy inserts in submission packets, but I think stickers could be a nice touch, if the image is strong and catches their eye.
Rubber stamps of your art is another idea. I've done this before and had a blast with it. I need to redo some. You've just got to research the rubber stamp companies that produce them for the best price. (the companies that produce them for personal use.)

Have you Pinged your Blog?

You can get more hits on your blog by Pinging your blog at Blog Exlosion. It lists your blog's updates when you do this.
(Hopefully it doesn't add spammers to the blog, but I have a sneaking suspicion it may)
I'm working on my children's illustrations for the picture book today. What a joy. My studio is stacked with children's photos from children's clothing mags, Family Fun magazines and others.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Full Days

I've been extra busy for the past few days..having a hard time blogging. I just started a mural for a friend. It's a 10' x 7' mural of the Fedex Field (Home of the Redskins) for her son's room. So far I've got the field painted in, and part of the stands, but it's going to be a lot more work. I can't wait to see how it turns out. It's funny where illustration leads you..often into areas of unknown territory. I've had to scout out websites for the NFL field dimensions for this mural. It would be pretty bad if I painted it incorrectly in the room of a football fan.
I'll show pics of it when it's completed.
I'm also still working on the illos for the picture book, when I'm not at her home painting the mural. Talk about juggling..yet somehow it works out and I have time for both.
More links to come..hopefully later tonight.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

A note from Colleen Mondor about Katrina donations

I received a note from Collen Mondor who contributes often to the blog Bookslut, ( a literary blog) She mentioned that they are building support for donations down South for the Katrina victims, especially the children. Below are the main comments from her note. She allowed me to copy and post them here so that more people will be aware of the effort and contribute. Her comments are in bold:

"As you may have read in Bookslut a couple of weeks ago, (where I am a regular contributor) I am trying to build support for donations down South. I am currently working with a group in Baton Rouge to help some children displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Josh Causey and his group at Parkview Baptist Church are spending their time with children sheltered with their families at Southern University. They are doing arts and crafts, playing games and reading books. The program is expanding to other shelters and includes after school tutoring. I have set up wishlists for the kids at Amazon, but I'm hoping that authors, illustrators, reviewers and comic creators and publishers will also consider donating a few titles. The children cover all ages and all interests - at this point, I think they would be thrilled with any gift. I have already heard from some great young adult authors like Cecil Castellucci, Louise Hawes, Mitali Perkins, M.E. Rabb, Brent Hartinger, Bennett Madison and Cynthia Leitich-Smith, all of whom have purchased from the lists and/or mentioned them on their sites.
And if you can spread the word about the wishlists to everyone you know (one for books, one for games), that would be awesome.

Best Wishes,
Colleen Mondor
Eclectica Magazine & BookslutMailing Address for Parkview

Josh CauseyParkview Baptist Church
11795 jefferson highway

Baton Rouge, LA 70816"

So, if you are interested, contact Colleen. It's a wonderful project, and there's so much to do to help.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Congratulations Are in Order....

For several gifted illustrators. I was happily surprised to see two people I've met and known from SCBWI who won awards at the L.A. SCBWI event!
Carlyn Cerniglia is from the Mid-Atlantic SCBWI region. She won the Grand prize for portolio display and juried art exhibit! WHooo-hoo Carlyn! It looks like Carlyn will be travelling to NYC to visit several art directors. I'm thrilled for her!
Another is a wonderfully talented woman named Amaliah Hoffman. Her work is incredible. She's gifted with much imagination, perseverance and a sparkling personality. I met her in NYC and enjoyed chatting with her. Congratulations Amaliah! She's had her work shown in Tiffany's windows in NYC. Can you imagine?

Friday, September 23, 2005

Studio Friday entry-Fresh

Here's my Studio Friday entry for the topic "Fresh"
I painted this awhile ago, but it seemed to fit the topic.

My thoughts and Prayers to all near Rita's path

To all in the path of Rita, and to those who have loved ones and friends in it's path, my thoughts and prayers go out to you.
My heart is yearning to do something to do something constructive..and that is the only thing, and best that I can offer.
Stay safe dear folks!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Studio Friday entry-Three of a Kind

Here's my Studio Friday entry for Three of a Kind. These are hand-knit Boivian finger puppets that I have on the fingers of a wooden hand (the wooden kind like the mannequins for artists) in my studio.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Books to Read, Online Image Resource

I've been dealing with the local loss of the young man who died last Friday. On Tuesday night (and in the afternoon) there were visiting hours. The line stretched out of the funeral home and stayed out there until nearly 9:00pm, which was when the visiting hours were supposed to end. from 7pm-10:00 hundreds of people honored Chris Dove, his family and his love and service for others. What a testimony to a life well lived, though short. He was a Young Life minister.

If you're an illustrator with free coloring pages online, Here's a place to add your link, so that people can find them.

I've found some more good books to read. The first is Code Talker by Joseph Bruchac. It's a historical fiction book for young adults about the Navaho Marines of WWII who helped America win the war. I've always been fasinted by them. I heard that the last Code Talker recently died. What a great loss. They are unsung heros in so many ways.

I also saw a book that is now on my wish list. It's called The Art of Reading, and is from RIF. It celebrates 40 years of books and reading, by highlighting 40 illustrators, and their illustrations depicting their favorite childhood book and how they interpret it. It's a Must Have book for children's book illustrators and writers.

I also borrowed a book from the library by Deborah Wiles called Each Little Bird that Sings. It looks wonderful.

For the illustrators out there, when searching for images to use for reference in illustrations, you probably use Google images. That's always been a great resource for me. I also have a huge stash of Family Fun magazines, Martha Stewart Kids mags, Mary Englebriet mags and others, but there are times I need to find an idea faster than the old fashioned way of riffling through magazines. Now I've found another online source. It's
The images are copyright free photos for use in publications I imagine, but the fact that there are many images of active young children, families, pets, indoors and outdoors is fantastic. I needed an image of a young girl twirling in a dress and found a good action view. I won't use it exactly, but it does show good action.

I'm now on my third children's illustration for a book. So far it's been a wonderful experience, and has been going faster than I imagined, but I've got to get the concept in my head for the next few illustrations. There are several ways they could be done. Decision making is not my forte.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Purple Puzzle Place

Purple Puzzle Place

I just had to add's a perfect blog for a Cachibachi post...
I enjoy her style, humor, and the range of topics she blogs about.

Ice-Cream Monster Toon Cafe

Ice-Cream Monster Toon Cafe

Here's a cool blog by an animator.
I found it through the A Doodle A Day blog, where his pen and ink work is posted and created prolifically. Check out his pen and ink drawings. He uses many different pens, styles and ink techniques.

There's a brand new Children's Media Forum online called The Children's Media Professionals Community. You can join for free and take part in online discussions here. I just signed up. It looks promising.

This weekend was an emotional one with highs and lows.
An acquaintance of ours, a young teacher at our kid's school, lost her young husband to a tragic car accident on a road I travel daily. She and her husband were so young, vibrant, in love, with a 6 month old baby. It's been hitting me very hard, even though she was not a close friend of mine. Things happen so quickly.
Give a hug to your loved ones. Give each other grace, and be patient with those around you. Take time to listen.

Then..that same afternoon, we took off for a wonderful weekend at a family camp with many families from our church. What a joy it was to take time away from the hectic pace of school, sports, and all the electronic blaring noises and distractions. The camp was in West Virginia and was a beautiful, peaceful place to play, eat, talk and listen.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Creative Income

Creative Income

This is a neat blog with creative ways to market and promote your art.

Go After Your Wish

Here's a quote from today's Insight of the Day. It fits so well with what I'm doing, and being a children's illustrator/writer that I had to post it.

"You must go after your wish. As soon as you start to pursue a dream, your life wakes up and everything has meaning."
Barbara Sher

Author of "I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was"

I'm working on illustrations for a children's picture book. It's so much FUN! I've done two of the preliminary sketches and one of the colored pieces is nearly done. I wish I could post it, but of course I can't until the book is out.

I've been enjoying Renee Graef's illustrations. She created some of the American Girl illustrations, and Little House on the Prarie book series.

Google now has a blog search. I can't wait to search for blogs on it. I'm surprised it took them so long.
Publisher's Weekly now has a free weekly newsletter called The Children's Bookshelf about Children's publications. You can sign up for it here.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Women Entrepreneurs

I received an email update from Ladies Who Launch, an entreprenurial group of women online. It highlights an 8 year old girl, Alice Darrow, who began a business making fancy flip flops to raise money for the Tsunami victims, and is now making flip flops to raise money for the Katrina victims. It's an inspiring story. You can sign up for updates with the Ladies Who Launch as well to read about other women's entreprenurial ventures and tips.
For anyone into knitting you've got to check out It's my favorite online website/magazine. The patterns are unique, the website is well designed, it has a youthful appeal. Of course I'm not skilled enough at knitting yet to do most of the patterns I yearn to create, but looking at them is lots of fun too.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Art Meet-up Groups

Here's a place online where you can sign up for art meet-ups in your area. I imagine if there isn't one in your area, you can start one this way. My favorite meet-ups are through the SCBWI meetings we have in our Mid-Atlantic region from time to time. Our next SCBWI conference is coming up on October 29th. I'm getting ready.
Check out the Kards for Katrina that have come in so far. Consider making some to send in. Even kids can make cards and have a part in helping raise money for support of Katrina victims. The cards must be hand-made and should be 5" x 7".

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Tasty blogs

I enjoyed reading Holli Conger's blog entries about becoming a children's illustrator. There are 12 journal entries covering the process involved in marketing, creating images and all that goes into working as a children's illustrator. Read it and enjoy the links and the process she describes.
Here's a food recipe blog called Delicious Delicious.
For sheer viewing pleasure, go to Oilily's website. It takes awhile to view. I love their clothes and products, and the imagination and creativity in all that they do.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Creativity Blocks-Using them to Build

I've been thinking of writing blocks, art block and the fears and stagnation that can occur from time to time. Thankfully I'm not hitting any right now, but just in case, I'm making note of ideas and techniques I've found that help me when they do happen. Some of the worst blocks I get are from fear. Fear of failure, fear of not reaching certain expectations (I could write a whole book about expectations and the traps involved with them)
Fear of success, fear of creating something ugly, weak, or lacking. Wasting my time. (now there's an adult concept for you. I'm sure kid's don't sit down to paint and get the idea that they may be wasting their time. They do it for fun, and because it's fun to mix the colors and express themselves)
Anyway, back on track to the blocks..there are financial pressures, unrealistic expectations of 'perfection' after only a short amount of effort or time, comparison with others who are gifted in ways we are not.
So, in order to deal with the blocks, here are some techniques and ideas I use. They all work. Some work better than others depending on what's causing the block. You'll know what works best intuitively. It works a bit the way the body craves certain nutrients without the mind necessarily knowing why.
*Take a walk
*Take a nap (I often resist this idea, but the creative flow that comes from it is well worth the time that seems to be 'wasted' during a nap)
*Take a shower or bath
*listen to rich music in whatever style I crave
*eat chocolate
*Take time to laugh. Don't take yourself and life so seriously. A merry heart maketh good medicine. Having goals doesn't have to take all the fun out of life.
*drink a good cup of coffee
*work out hard, make sure to sweat
*weed whack (seriously..this works really well)
* visit a bookstore, thrift shop, or someplace with multicolored objects to touch and view. It isn't necessary to buy anything, the point is to look and touch things. I used to visit an amazing fabric shop with fabrics, buttons and doo-dads from NYC. I wish I could still visit that shop, but we've moved from that area....then I visited a yarn shop nearby (dangerous for the budget, because the textures & colors of yarn were too much to resist)
*play outdoors
*bake something delicious...brownies, cookies, anything to fill the house with a homey aroma..and result in yummy food.
*light delicious smelling candles
*sharpen my colored pencils (by the way, I found a wonderful-low cost pencil sharpener at Wal-Mart. It's an Exacto brand pencil sharpener, and the quality is fantastic! It is just a plain old fashioned style sharpener...not electric or hand held. It's the kind in elementary school. I love it and highly recommend it. My electric one was becoming too dull.
*draw, paint or write just for fun
*clean or reorganize studio area
*think of someone you love and create something for them, or with them in mind.
*Hang out with other imaginitive creative folks (or people who have a passion for what they do)...whether they are artists, carpenters, musicians, dancers, knitters, scientists, writers, teachers, coaches, athletes,...
hang out with people who have a passion for what they do and watch them do it. (I love watching people who have a passion for what they do. Ask them questions, learn from them) I guarentee you'll get your energy back after hanging out with upbeat people who love what they do)
* If you must whine, do it and get over it. Give yourself a time limit. Don't waste time whining for too long. It can be a bad trap.
Don't waste too much time on self-pity either. It doesn't get you anywhere.
*look at inspiring magazines, photos, books, art.
*Julia Cameron's book The Right to Write is fantastic to read as well.
*reevaluate where the block is coming from and if it is from an untrue source, such as a vague sense of unworthiness as an artist, don't listen to it. If it is due to financial pressure, that's a tough issue. Financial pressure can make some people more effective, while it cripples others. It's complex...not sure what to say about that one except to be easy on yourself.
If the block is coming from discouragement, take a break from what you are creating and do any of the above, or create something in another medium or venue...knit, cut paper, use crayons, use markers or something not normally used.
Most important, and above all, kick that thought out that you are meant to be perfect, and that everything you are creating has to be perfect (perfectionists have it hard as artists, and most of us tend to be perfectionists) None of us are ever going to be perfect. Even the master artists have underpaintings showing areas they repainted, fixed, tweaked, and most suffered with self-doubts for their whole lives.
*Give yourself freedom to create art that stinks. (although I find this one very hard, it's really the best "block breaker" of them all)
*Tell yourself before you start...."If I finish this piece and it stinks, fine..whatever...I'll do it again. It's not the end of the world if I hate it. It's not the end of the world if anyone else thinks it stinks." Just think, at least you tried, at least you are working toward a goal, rather than slogging along like a bump on a log.
There's a proverb in the Bible that I says something like "In all labor there is profit" I'm not sure if I have it exact here, but it sets me free to realize that even if the end result of what I'm attempting doesn't meet with my preconcieved hopes and expectations (it doesn't usually) it's fine, because I learned something, practiced some more and hopefully had fun doing it!
Another thing is to realize that
* This too shall pass- it's just one of those days of periods of days where things aren't flowing as well as I wish they would. Maybe it's a resting time, maybe there are other stresses affecting my work and energy. Everyone has days, and even longer periods like this..human nature.
There's a great article in the art newsletter about art and it's healing nature. There are other inspiring links there as well.

Friday, September 09, 2005

An Unseemly Publishing venture

Here's the latest news on Publisher's Weekly. It seems that Martha Stewart has an interest in children's books. In the first episode of her new TV show, two teams will compete to create a children's book, get it illustrated. The winning results will be published the next day by Random House Children's Books.
Talk about leaving a bad taste in my mouth....hmmmm..time for some more Edy's ice cream to make me forget.

Here's another good quote to bring the focus on what's important when attempting to acheive a goal.
"Difficulty is the excuse history never accepts."
Edward R. Murrow
I have this quote taped to my computer screen. It's powerful.
Time to get back to sketching now.

Alison Wonderland

Alison Ashwell, a Scottish illustrator, posts here about various artists and art organizations raising funds for Katrina victims.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

What Came in the Mail?

Yesterday I recieved a book that my online illustrator friend Sherry Rogers illustrated. It's a board book called Counting Little Geckos by Charline Profiri. Sherry's distinctive illustration style of bright, joyful images accompanies Charline's rolicking counting rhyme. The art is imaginitive and full of fun surprises when you take the time to look closely. I've heard that kids love the book, and can verify it in my own home. It's a winning combination.