Sunday, March 26, 2017

Our Home Family

I recently finished this large linocut for my picture book dummy. It's a close-up of the family and I have to say THANK YOU to my critique group who offered a lot of advice and suffered through many redrawings!

The young girl in this image is the narrator of Our Home. There is nothing written about it in the story, but you can guess by looking that she's adopted. I have lots of friends and family that look different ethnically from their parents. I know that presents its own challenges. But part of the beauty of adopting a child from a different culture is how bit by bit it can make our world more open-minded and compassionate. Parents learn more about a culture different from their own with traditions and role models who might become important to their children. It's my hope that every day our world will get more respectful of different cultures and religions, people that look different, and all gender orientations.

Whew, that got a little heavy! But I worked hard on the manuscript of this book to have it not sound preachy, just respectful, loving, and hopefully eye-opening. Below are some photos from the process of printing the linocut.

Saturday, March 11, 2017


Sometimes when I'm working in my sketchbook on the 100 Animals project or last year on the 100 Trees, I feel like there is no consistency between the pieces. I use lots of different media, techniques, styles, and palettes. There are almost no rules! Well, other than creating at least one animal per page.

Artists are encouraged to have a distinct style that is recognizable. So when I feel like I'm all over the map and having an artistic split personality, I remind myself that the whole point of the sketchbook project is to experiment and be playful. I do enjoy taking favorite pieces and reworking them into a more finished series after the fact. I've had so many ideas that came from experiments in my sketchbook! And yes, I could do the work on my own without sharing it on Instagram, Facebook, and my website, but posting it every time holds me accountable to the project in a way that I wouldn't be if I didn't share the pages. So if you are considering a sketchbook project, I definitely encourage you to do it! I've learned so much and had so much fun!

But back to consistency. Even though I try so many different things, I like to think there are some links between all of the different pages. There are favorite themes and favorite colors that pop up a lot. There's a sort of style that hopefully travels from image to image just because each was made by the same person. It's really interesting to think about the themes and styles that are consistent throughout your work. Knowing what those are helps you decide what you want to spend more time on. Plenty of artists tend to focus really tightly and create similar imagery over and over again. That is too restrictive to me. But I have the opposite problem and could experiment wildly without gaining much focus at all. If you have MY problem, try this:

Write down all of the things you most like to draw. Write down your favorite colors, media, & techniques. Write down the things and ideas that inspire you. And pull from that list over and over again! Part of gaining maturity for any artist is knowing what you are good at, what you like, and gently pushing at the outer edges of those things to introduce variety. I'd love to hear your list if you make one!

Here is my list:
Black Line