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.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

New Beginnings

I found this quote this morning. I'm applying it to several areas of my life. When thinking of illustrating and writing for kids, I find it especially appropriate.
"Begin to free yourself at once by doing all that is possible with the means you have, and as you proceed in this spirit the way will open for you to do more."
Robert Collier

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Back to Work

What a beautiful long weekend! We spent the days playing outdoors with some family and good friends at home and at a local lake beach. The weather was perfect. Now I've got to readjust my mind to remember that today is Tuesday.

Wow. New Orleans. The devastation is unbelieveable. The scope of the tragedy is too much to really understand. My prayers, thoughts and whatever practical things I can do are with you all New Orleans. Here is a link for Quilters to help Katrina victims.
Here's another one for Crafters United to help Katrina victims.
Scholastic is offering aid and children's books for Katrina victims too.

For some cheer, check Tomie dePaola's blog .

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Artists can help Katrina Victims

Here's a specific way artists can help Katrina victims. Kards For Katrina is an effort put forth here at this website. Find out how you can design an originally crafted card and have it benefit Katrina victims.
It's heartening to hear the stories about how help has been pouring out from all over the country, in so many ways. In our church, a man decided to take a big truck, loaded with food, gas, diapers, and many cases of bottled water. He's well on his way now, funded by donations from church members and friends from the community. Over $4,000.00 was raised for his trip and truckload so far.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Pens, Quills and Nibs

For the illustrators and writers out there who have a thing about pens, here's a website all about Quill pens. Just looking at the site made me want to get my hands on some of these pens. I haven't used a regular quill pen in years. My favorite cheaper pens are always the extra fine tipped felt pens, similar to rapidographs. Look at these Murano Glass pens!
Look at these Vintage pen nibs! Those really make me want to do more pen and ink with quill pens.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Studio Friday-Favorite Tool

Here is my Studio Friday entry for Favorite Tool. Of course I couldn't pick just one. I have a ton more, depending on what medium I'm working on, including Winsor & Newton gouache, Prismacolor pencils, but here are: #4 Cotman Winsor & Newton paintbrush, Rotring rapidoliner (disposable cartridge version of a rapidograph) #.25 tip, #2Cotman Winsor & Newton paintbrush and 1 Script paintbrush. This one is Loew-Cornell. I'd love to buy some really expensive brushes, but these do work well. Anything Windsor & Newton is good in my book.

New Young Author

Have you read about the 10 year old boy who has begun writing a series? His name is Michael Dowling. I love hearing about kids using their creativity and taking the step to do big things. I can't wait to get my hands on his book and read it. The book is called "Corydon and the Island of Monsters"

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Blink, kid's games and other Cachibachis

I'm reading a teriffic book called Blink by the author of The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell. Both books are thought provoking, and well worth investing the time to read. Blink deals with the thought process, and how we reason things out and make decisions. Read it.
There's a kid's game that I found out about through the Kid's Lit blog. I went to play the game and fell in love with the illustrations, the music, the creativity of the whole design. I wish I had taken part in the project. It's the kind of online kid's game that is not only lots of fun, but seems somehow healthier...or more'll see when you check it out.
Check out the Ferry Halim's website. The games are at Orisinal there on the site. It's addicting.
I found another blog that I'll have in my blog links on the side. It's called Bella Dia.
She has a wonderful sense of style and a rich assortment of links, interests and posts.
For hands-on/offline kid's games, try the card game 'SWAP'. Our kids love it. It's been an amazing success at our home. I don't know what it is, but somehow it has the perfect combination to keep kids laughing even in the midst of the competition.
One of the kids is sick we're laying low here.
My thoughts and prayers go out to New Orleans, and all those affected by Katrina.