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.