Saturday, February 27, 2010


This is an illustration I created a while ago for an online children's magazine.
I thought it fit the prompt perfectly.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

IF: PROPAGATE and award

I can’t help but stare at my kids at night while they sleep. Not only because they look like such angels, but because I get to admire their complexion and I get to think about how our traits propagate. My son for instance, looks 100% like my husband. Nothing like me.

I haven’t been a great blogger lately. So when Debora Mori awarded me with the Sunshine Award, I was really shocked. I’m very touched and grateful.

I need to pay it forward to the bloggers that brighten up my day:

Alicia Padron

Gaia Bordicchia

Kathy Weller

Diana Evans

Nicole Merkens

There are so many more of you, but I decided to stop at 5.
Rules: Please link back to the person who awarded you and post a link to your favorite bloggers who bring a ray of sunshine into your life. Don't forget to tell them about it!

Thursday, February 18, 2010


A while back I wrote about the sudden identity crisis I experienced when putting together my illustration mailer. I don’t mean personal identity, although in some ways it may be, but more on a business level.

I am a graphic designer and my studio is Tenengo Design. Everyone that has done business with me knows me that way. I thought the natural thing to do was to annex the children’s illustrations to that side of the business. Well, it was very confusing, (not to mention that ADs and Editors really want to find a website that only focuses on illustration).

I finally separated the two websites, thus providing me with dual identity. My illustrations reside over at and my graphic design over at These are some of the screen shots of the newly designed Tenengo website.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Yes! This Queen Bee came over to a warmer place. Apparently Canada was just too cold for her. Well, was more like I had to have it when I saw it over at my friend, Diana Evans' Etsy store.

The very talented Diana Evans recently started to make these cute dolls from drawings she's made. They are the most adorable little things. Here's where she blogged about it! She packaged it so well! It came in without a sparkle off!


Originally I was thinking of a cub, but I ended up with more of a cat.
The reflection shows better on the original, once I scanned it, some of it was lost.
Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, February 11, 2010


I have a few projects that involve branding, which involves creating a logo, collateral and websites that follow a specific marketing objective. I feel fortunate to be able to switch hats and brains that way. Although some times is more challenging than others!
This is a project that I’m still working on, but I’m actually very excited about it, and could not delay sharing. It is the branding of a Nutritionist’s services whose focus is not only nutrition but also toxicity from bio-toxins and heavy metals, along with nutritional deficiencies and fitness. Her program is very unique because it encompasses many areas and really truly gets to the deeper levels of what could be making us sick. My job was to design a logo, business cards and web site that was fresh, modern and communicated her holistic approach. I will share the web site when it’s complete, but for now:




Tuesday, February 9, 2010


I thought it would be helpful to many people hopeful illustrators to read about my experience at the SCBWI New York Winter Conference.

I had registered for the Friday illustrator’s intensive and portfolio showcase. I knew that the conference is mostly for writers, and thought that I would benefit mostly from the illustrator’s intensive. I was right! Although now that I think of it….if they had these panelists during the Sat and Sun sessions, I would have only gone to their sessions since that is what interests me. I would have also saved the extra money for the extra day + hotel, but that’s a different point!

In any case, the panelists were all seasoned illustrators that brought a great deal of experience and knowledge about their career and their own individual path to be where they are today. I won’t tell you what they talked about since you could read that over at the SCBWI blog. I can tell you that Paul Zelinsky, Lisa Desimini and Kevin Hawkes are all amazing! The one common element they all shared is that their style changes based on the project, which I thought was contradictory of what the Art Directors say, which is ‘have a consistent and recognizable style’. Then again, having a Caldecott and other awards helps to be able to break those rules.

This was my assignment for one of the workshops. We were to illustrate Snow white and the seven dwarfs party with a twist. We were to draw the first thing that came to mind which was this:

and then we were supposed to take this idea and stretch it by POV, line, character, twist, etc.

So this is what I came up with:

At 3:00 everyone dropped of their portfolio and then we went back to listen to Art Directors from 3 major publishing houses. They talked about having that ‘Aha!’ moment when they saw something that they considered special. Of course there wasn’t a specific formula for this. It’s more of I know it when I see it. Most of the examples that they showed were truly distinctive from everything else that’s out there. Mostly because they had some humor and they were weird, quirky, or strange. One great example is the work by Red Nose Studio. Really innovative work!

I was hesitant about writing this, but as a graphic designer, I’m really against spec work. I think it devalues and degrades the profession. So I have to tell you that I was shocked when one of the Art Directors from a very large and well know publishing house mentioned asking a hopeful illustrator for spec work! This Art Director asked for several rounds of character design and layout design before being sure if the illustrator was right for the job. I have to say that this really put me off! From what I can see many illustrators struggle to make a living since it is not the most lucrative career. Many illustrators have told me that you do this for the love of art. Then, you have an experienced Art Director speaking to over 150 hopeful illustrators setting the expectation that this behavior is okay in the industry. Really wrong! Everyone’s time is valuable! I just hope that this situation is not standard for other Art Directors. Yes this illustrator got the contract and he is now published. So a happy ending indeed.

We then had a break while the ADs and Editors walked through the portfolio room. Later that evening we had the chance to look through the portfolios ourselves. Over 150 (maybe closer to 200) of them! There was a lot of talent in the room for sure. I wasn’t happy with the placement of my portfolio since they were arranged alphabetically and the portfolios with last names starting with A,B,C were right in front of the door and received the most traffic. Those with last names starting with T,U,V,W,X,Y,Z were at the back of the room and did not get much traffic. Whoever arranged the postcards put mine face down. It was somewhat disappointing.

Friday was the most exciting day! All of the writers (over 800 of them!) joined the conference on Saturday and Sunday. Therefore the content of the workshops was geared to the writers (except the one with Art Director Lauren Linn).

On Sunday the speakers addressed the future of publishing and mentioned how the industry is in flux and everyone is playing the conservative card until they know what will happen. Not a surprise!

All in all it was a great experience, but seeing the large amounts of people trying to break in (and that was just a small fraction, I’m sure) It is difficult to feel empowered and hopeful. But I’ll close on a more positive note by saying that there is no success without failure!

Thanks for reading and feel free to share your comments!

Monday, February 8, 2010


I volunteered at my kid’s school to design the logo and invitation to their biggest annual fundraiser, a silent and live auction event. I had posted the logo on and older post.

This is a 5x7 post card, which also included the envelope and a reply card with a self addressed envelope.



Sunday, February 7, 2010

Illustration Friday: MUDDY 2

I had another idea for muddy and decided to also doodle for fun. That’s the great thing about participating in Illustration Friday, all the drawings are personal and for fun. Now that my portfolio is somewhat ‘done’. I wanted to give myself a break by just drawing for fun.

On a separate note, I send out my first mailer of the year this week and it felt really good.

I have been very busy with graphic design and life in general so it has been difficult to keep up with this blog. Now that a few projects have been wrapped up. I will be sharing those projects with you here in the near future.

illustration Friday: MUDDY

I’m back from NY! So check back this week for a post about that. For now, I’m just posting this drawing for IF ‘muddy’. The piggy was just a doodle I made while watching some TV. Both activities something I had not managed to do in about a month so it was a great!