Thursday, October 30, 2014

Happy Halloween!

My little girl has been rebelling against drawing in our sketchbook for the last few weeks. But I recently got her to scribble a bit and this odd drawing of hers turned into two witches! I need to remember to photograph her drawing before I add to it because I think a before and after shot would be neat to see.

Here's another- I really like how sometimes lines that she's drawn won't fit into the main image I'm visualizing. So a whole new element gets added making the picture much more interesting. I could see the roof of a house in the lines she'd drawn, so I made the house. But I couldn't figure out what to do with the vertical line that she'd drawn in the top right corner. I kept seeing a balloon's string. But why is one balloon floating off the page? Well it turns out there are lots of balloons floating into the sky because when they mature, the balloon tree releases them like seeds to float away and grow new balloon trees. Obviously.

And here are my little cuties all ready for Halloween. Have a great spooky weekend everyone!

Monday, October 27, 2014

New Bird Song Print

I finally got around to starting a new print. This is a mama bird with three babies in a nest. Mama is singing, Let me sing you a song about your world so new. It will be a companion to Whale Song that I made last summer. And I plan to do one more after this. It's fun to work on a linocut again after drawing for my dummy over and over again!

Thursday, October 16, 2014


The word that my friend Clara assigned me to illustrate this month was Respite. I had a really hard time figuring out what the word meant to me. But it's been a hectic month at my house and I need calm art-making time to regroup. I haven't really been getting enough lately. So here is my respite!

Thursday, October 9, 2014


I'm still working hard on my dummy, but it's getting boring posting about that over and over again. So here is the sketchbook that I'm making with Tessa. She draws with pen and then I try and figure out what her scribble looks like and turn it into a little drawing. It's been really fun! When I've made my way through the book, I'm going to go back and add some color with watercolor.

This is for the Sketchbook Project. What a neat program! Apparently my book needs to be turned in by January 31, 2015 to make it on the 2015 tour and I'd like to do that. It was really fun to see the mobile library of sketchbooks come through town and park at our library. To register the book you  have to give your sketchbook a title, and I'm calling this book Together since its a book of collaborations by Tessa and me. :)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Baby Sings Again and Again

I went to the Rocky Mountain Chapter SCBWI Conference about a week ago. It was great!

Salina Yoon did quite a few fantastic presentations. She is full of energy, enthusiasm, and book ideas- she's published about 150 books for children! She critiqued my dummy and portfolio in general. She was very positive about my artwork which was great to hear. She also had plenty of comments about my dummy that I'm working through.

Tricia Lawrence was one of the agents at the conference, and she gave me great feedback about my dummy as well.

And Stan Yan did a session about drawing repeatable characters, something that I needed. We all drew the same character on graph paper from different angles. We also drew a series of just faces with different expressions, and a series of figures with different body language.

All of this has led me to redoing the story and artwork with lots of new energy and ideas. Baby now has a name, Rosie. (This week it's Rosie anyway!) So the new version of my book is Rosie Sings. I'm afraid you will have to see more images from the book as I keep working on it. I hope you like them!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Susurrus and Illuminate

I'm so excited about these book pages! These are the first two spreads from the collaboration I'm doing with Clara Boza. I just got the top spread in the mail from her today. It illustrates the word Susurrus: a whispering, murmuring, or rustling. I bet you can tell which side I did! Clara's side is made from handmade Japanese paper and gouache. If you run your hand over it, it sounds like the rustle of leaves. And it's sooooo neat!

The bottom spread is for the word Illuminate. I used watercolor pencils and stamps on the right. I really wanted to continue the artwork that Clara created on the left. Mine got a little bit funky, but hopefully turned out ok in the end.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Baby Sings

Yay! I finally got the book dummy done for Baby Sings. This is really different artwork for me. I tried to keep it simple but with some interesting subtleties. Who knows if I pulled it off, but I did get 3 pages and a cover done.

Here is the original art. It will be cropped for the book and those messy edges won't show. It has been fun working a little messier for this book than usual.

And here is the little book itself! It feels good to see it come to life.

Now I'm putting together my portfolio, and then it's the Rocky Mountain Chapter SCBWI Conference in Denver next Saturday. I think I'm going to be ready!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Dropping Art

Last week on September 2nd was World Art Drop Day. I had so much fun getting two of my prints ready to hide in the library!

The one above is an older print of mine that I hid in the picture books with a note. I heard that several of the librarians saw it and would have taken it, but they left it for a patron. It was finally taken the day after I hid it. Hopefully it's gone to a good home!

This print was one I did a few years ago as a submission for the Rocky Mountain SCBWI. They had text to be included, so I left an area above and below blank on the print, scanned it, and added the text on the computer. Then for years I had this print hanging out in my WAAAAAAY too full flat file and it just looked incomplete. I quickly added some hand lettered text while Tessa was eating breakfast and  brought both prints when we went to storytime. This one I hid back in the area that librarians use to prep for crafts. I gave the librarian a hint and told her it was artwork for the library. It was found and it sounds like it is much loved!

This is how it turned out- I like it with the hand lettering!

Monday, September 8, 2014


I printed one of the linocuts from my Baby Sings dummy and didn't like how it turned out. I can usually print a block with a solid black area using not very much pressure and that creates a lighter textured black. Then I paint over it after it's dried and it looks interesting. But these prints are going on top of a music collage with paste paint. The paint seems to seal the paper and when I print, the ink just sits on top making a heavy and shiny print. I tried to do it lightly so some of the paste paint would show through, but it just looked blotchy. Ick.

So after consulting with my friends, I carved away all of the black. But that left the crib looking strange and awkward to me. Sooooooooo, I decided to pull up some of the linoleum and start over. I've only done this a couple of times ever. I use a lot of glue and once it's dried, the linoleum is really hard to pull up! This is  how it looked:

Then I glued down a new piece of linoleum, transferred the drawing, and carved it.

Here it is carved.

And here it is printed- so much better! It still needs some watercolor, but overall it's a big improvement!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Sketchbook Project

A few weeks ago The Sketchbook Project's mobile library came to Steamboat. This is part of an amazing collection of 31,400 sketchbooks from 135 countries! To participate as an artist you get a blank book from them, fill it up, and send it back. The books then live at the Brooklyn Art Library in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY. They may also go on tour and be scanned to be available digitally.


Here is the mobile library parked at the Bud Werner Memorial Library in Steamboat Springs.

And here is a nice reading area where you can look through the sketchbooks.

At the same time, our local library was handing out single sketchbook pages for community members to illustrate what Steamboat is to them. I took a page and used some of my stamps. The library displayed the pages and people voted on their favorites. Mine was one of the winners! Here is a link to the six favorites. Now all of the pages will be bound together into a book.

As a prize I got a beautiful card, a Sketchbook Project pencil, and a rather intense chocolate bar. I couldn't handle the chocolate alone, but tonight I turned it into a couple of amazing mugs of hot cocoa. Yum! I also got my own blank sketchbook to fill that will hopefully go on tour next year.

I really need to keep this sketchbook low stress and I wanted to try something different, so Tessa and I are doing a collaboration! She is doing some drawing with pen, and then I'm doodling and turning her scribble into something using a pencil. Here is the little artist with her first drawing.

And here is how our first drawing turned out.

I'm going to be looking at some of the scanned sketchbooks online when I have free time. Let me know if you have one in the database!