Monday, April 27, 2009


This is an old sketch I thought would work for this week's prompt.
I don't know what is happening in my cosmic field lately, but I just can't seem to
get enough time to make enough progress on anything! Things keep popping up that need my attention and take me off track. 

Here's a color version of one of the sketches from the Billy Goat Gruff.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


The Three Billy Goats Gruff
Dummy Book Sketches

Pencil and Photoshop

The youngest Billy Goat Gruff began to cross the bridge not knowing the impossibility of what was ahead...


I am making some progress with my dummy book, and I am very excited about it. This project has made me re-think my process. I am realizing that spending a ton of time on one illustration is okay, but when there's about 14 spreads to create, each step represents time that I could spend on another project, and it minimizes my productivity.

I had thought about time vs. productivity constrains before, but didn’t give it too much importance, since at the time I was more concerned with achieving a certain level of quality regardless of time. Today, I feel that I have more control over the outcome of the illustrations, and have become more comfortable working with acrylics, pens, brushes, and pencils. However, I do spend a great deal of time on my work. 

I have been fighting going completely digital for my own comfort. I enjoy the touch and feel of the paints, brushes etc, and it makes me feel like a true artist. It probably has something to do with having the traditional stereotype of an artist holding a palette while painting on a canvas with a brush etched in my brain.

Up until now, I have used the computer mostly to scan or tighten original sketches, or create a color guide for the final illustration. I have played with some IF posts where I’ve done a quick sketch, scanned it, and then colored it in Photoshop. These quick exercises have made me realized that I can make the cross over and cut my time in half!

I’m pretty pleased with the results so far and I think I will continue in this digital path… I guess you could also say that I am working against the seeming impossibility to cross over to digital

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Breeze Award

I just received an award! The incredibly talented and warm hearted Bella Sinclair just blew me away with this unique award created by Peter Breese!

In his very own words: The coveted Breese Award is given to six inspirational individuals; since most blog awards cater to odd numbers, this particular award was designed for the more even keeled folk. These six should be a collection of bloggers that have helped you, either directly or indirectly, to stay creative.

I love this award because since I started my blog almost a year ago, I have met so many giving people that have helped me, supported and inspired me throughout my creative endeavors and this is my way of saying thanks! I couldn't limit my selection to 6, but hey! I stayed with an even number!


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Welcome to My Studio

I have visited numerous blogs where people post images of their studio and they are usually very impressive and elaborate areas. I just finished cleaning out my studio and adding the armoire (in the picture) to add more storage space, so I thought it would be a good time to share my working space. My studio is a room in the house where I get to be by myself. There’s nothing fancy or special about it, other than it is my very own space. I have a ‘work table’ where I do all my drawings and assembly. I find I like this set up better than a drafting table. I used to have a drafting table and found that my pencils, Exacto knife and other tools would always roll down the table, even if I had a tray or a cup to put them back in. My lamp is a jewelry lamp with ‘natural’ lighting to mimic daylight when working at night.

Well, maybe there’s one special item in the room, and that is my easel. My husband gave it to me about 10 years ago, when we were DINKS. This easel is a piece of art! It is so versatile…It can hold huge paintings or small paintings. It has so many features; I honestly don’t know how to use them all!

I also have a large cork-board where I post some of my work, some inspiration, ideas, or whatever I am working on. I bought the self-sticky cork-board tiles at Target at a reasonable price and then put them on the wall. The tiles kept falling off and I thought I would have to rip off the remaining tiles, but then I used some tiny nails to hold them in place.

I think what I like the most about the studio is that I can go and get lost in my creative world and have some peace and quiet. My husband calls it ‘my sanctuary’.  I love it!

I have my computer set up in a different room that I share with my husband.

Friday, April 10, 2009


I just finished this illustration (Pencil and Photoshop) and I was so excited to see that it actually matched the IF prompt for this week!


Thursday, April 9, 2009


I really wanted to see what the accordion dummy book format would look like. Seems like an added step, but at the moment it helps me visualize the final product. The final dummy will be 7” x 9”, so that it would be easier to print, but this dummy is 85% smaller. Now that I can see and flip through the pages, I can begin to make the tight sketches for each spread. I have a meeting with my local SCBWI and look forward to getting some feedback on both the characters and the rough dummy.
Some questions I'll ask the group (and feel free to comment if you know the answer) are: Does everyone still work with this accordion format? Is there a difference between the dummy you submit to a publisher hoping to get it published Vs. the dummy you make during the production process of a book? 

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


One of the things I took away from the Florida SCBWI Conference was that if you are trying to stand out and show your skills as an illustrator, you can not leave things to chance or hope that an AD can look at your work and imagine how it would fit in with their manuscript. You need to show them!

For instance, if you want to illustrate a children’s book, don’t expect to be noticed by having amazing portfolio pieces that would be perfect in a children’s book, but don’t show your understanding of the publishing world. But, how do you show understanding if you have never been published, you might ask? Well, create your own book. Illustrate and entire book for your portfolio, and have it bound (dummy). It doesn’t have to be an original story; it could be a public domain story that you take to show your strengths as and illustrator. There are many reasons for doing this, but mostly it shows an AD that you can take a character and portray him consistently throughout a story. It also shows that you understand the ins and outs of book publishing such as layout, bleeds, gutter space, word placement, flow, continuity, assembly, story-telling etc.

Hearing this at the conference really made a lot of sense to me. Many years ago I had the opportunity to interview many print graphic designers that were trying to make the transition to web design, and unless they had specific web samples in their portfolio, I could not be sure that they really understood the web world, even if their work was top notch. Designers that had web design samples always had an advantage.
Needless to say, I am now creating my own book dummy to include in my portfolio. I must say that creating one illustration Vs. illustrating an entire book is completely different, and if you are an aspiring children’s book illustrator I highly recommend it.

I am illustrating the Three Billy Goats Gruff. I started out with the character studies of the goats and the troll, shown on previous posts. I need to work on a color version of the characters and change the troll to have one eye. Since the story calls for a one eyed troll (I’m learning that it’s important to be true and honest to the story).

I would like to make more progress but at the moment all I have is a few hours a week for this, so it may be a while before you come to see something other than goats and trolls on this blog.

Below are the thumbnails for the layout. These are based on a 32 page picture book with 4 pages of front matter. The sketches are very loose and a little bigger than a stamp to focus primarily on flow, overall composition and layout. I first started with the text and broke it up into sections/pages to then illustrate that part of the story. There are a few pages that I’m not quite sure about…still making decisions…

ANY comments and criticism are welcomed!

Monday, April 6, 2009


I've been very pressed for time lately, and pencils and graphite seems to be my fastest medium, so here's another pencil drawing for this week's IF theme 'talisman'. 

Friday, April 3, 2009


The ABCs of Yoga for Kids illustrated by the very talented Kathleen Rietz is now available. The book introduces young children to simple yoga moves through beautifully illustrated poses. Please check it out! For purchase and more information visit

Another book that was recently released and is available at all major stores is I Spy a Dragonfly. This book was illustrated by another very talented artist Diana Evans and it is about a little boy and his mom on a fun and colorful journey where they discover the beauty of the Dragonfly. For purchase or more information visit