Friday, December 21, 2012

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you! I hope that your holiday is full of special moments with your family, friends and loved ones!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

SCBWI Illustrator's Day

On Sept 8, I was excited to be a part of the first annual SCBWI-Indiana Illustrator's Day!  It was so great to connect with local illustrators, and also to hear speakers with topics of particular interest to illustrators.  I was able to participate in two capacities: both as an attendee and a speaker. 

First of all, the event was hosted by 4 Kids Bookstore in Zionsville.  I had never been in there before, and after spending every single break going through the store's shelves, I have to give it a bunch of love.  AMAZING store with quality toys and books.  Lots of fabulous, beautifully illustrated books, Melissa and Doug toys (I even found train tracks parts sold separately!), puzzles, etc.  Seriously, go shop there for your kids' Christmas gifts.

OK, now back to the conference.  As an attendee, I was especially looking forward to hearing Michele Farley speak about her experiences on the 2012 Randolph Caldecott Committee.  While we were all put under oath not to divulge the secrets of the "behind the scenes" for the Caldecott award, it was really enriching to learn what the thought processes were as the committee members went through the picturebooks, why certain books made it high up on the list and others did not, and seeing "highlights" from the picture book stacks. I also enjoyed the "insider's look" at the award and the selection process.

As a speaker, I was asked to give a talk about art reps/agents, and my personal experiences as an agented illustrator.  Several people who attended asked it I would make the information from my presentation available online, and I said "check out my blog. I'll post it there."  Most of my presentation was adapted from a blog post that I wrote back in 2010.  So, if you are an illustrator looking for that information from my presenation, please visit this blog post:
I am working on trying to get my PowerPoint presentation converted to an uploadable PDF, but so far am running into some glitches.  However, the above blog post has 90% of the information that I had in my presenation, for those who are interested.

Thank you SCBWI-Indiana for putting on this great event and for allowing me to be a part of the day!

Friday, August 10, 2012


Hi everyone,

It's been a big secret for the past year, but I can finally tell you all....  This time last year, I worked on the artwork for an instructional brochure that will accompany a new baby developmental toy, the "NogginStik".  It's a great little all-in-one toy that is perfect for little hands, and can be used from birth to toddler years to help babies learn and experiment to meet their developmental milestones.  My daughter Olivia was the exact target age for the product while I was working on the artwork, and go to be one of the "test subjects" when the first prototypes came out last fall.  The head of the NogginStik lights up when she taps it, the base is a rattle, and the whole toy had different colors and textures.
The toy should be on the market in the next month, and I will be posting a link on my website to let you all know where you can purchase it.  As for me, I can't wait to buy all of my "young mom" friends NogginStiks for their own little ones.  In the meanwhile, here is a preview of some of the activities from the booklet that comes with the toy....can you spot Olivia?!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Graceful Ballerina

Just thought I would share a little piece that I did for my best friend, who is expecting a baby girl later this month.  This is done with my new softer style, and a limited color pallet.  As an artist, it is hard for me to "hold back" when it comes to color.  However, by forcing myself to keep it simple (pinks, lavenders, greens, grays and browns), I was able to achieve an emotional atmosphere and a sense of "setting" that is not quite so prevalent in my other works. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Folktales go Steampunk

Hi everyone!  I've been busy the past few months on a bunch of projects, but particularly the mock-project for the Indiana SCBWI conference.  I had an opportunity to do a sample project with Joann Hill, Art Director at Disney Hyperion, as part of a special workshop for the conference.  The participating illustrators were all given the same text from classic fairytales/folktales, and had to come up with an original, unique interpretation.  I worked with text from "The Swineherd", which I had never heard of before.  I was struck by the princess's obsession with gadgets, and disdain of the "natural".  I felt that this pointed towards a steampunk interpretation of the tale.  So, I had a bunch of fun creating mechanical creatures and outfits inspired by the Victorian era...but with a little mechanical flair!  Here is the finished product:

A few "illustrator" details to point out.... The pig farmer is actually a prince in disguise.  So, in the costume designs, only the princess and the farmer wear gold, and the gold straw hat alludes to the prince's crown.  Also, the prince's "farmer" outfit has elements in common with his princely outfit.  Both have gold on his head (crown/hat), red around the neck (ribbon/scarf) and a diagonal across the chest (sash/overall strap). I wanted the costumes to relate to each other, so that you can make a visual associate between the prince and his farmer disguise, to see that he really is the same person.

Aside from this illustration workshop, there was also a picturebook workshop that I really enjoyed.  Joann gave examples of really great visual storytelling, and the concept that stuck with me the most was the "creating a visual climax".  Joann suggested finding the climax of the story, and thinking about what that image would look like, and how it would differ from the rest of the book, and then working outward from that.  Maybe all of the other pages have the characters at the same scale, and the "climax" page shows them large, for example.  Also, the images can create a sense of pace.  Maybe there is a spread or two of man small images, suggesting many small quick actions, and then a page of "rest", where there is one large complete image. I had never had these concepts articulated to me before, and am now looking at picturebooks differently.  Not just pages of collected great images, but more like visual paragraphs...images that lead up to other images, and that have pacing and a point to be made.  It was very enriching.

Also at the conference, I was one of the 5-minute "spotlight speakers" and gave a short talk about my transition into digital art.  I think that the attendees liked it...many came up to me afterwards to ask additional questions about "going digital", particularly my experiences with the Cintiq.  There was a portfolio display as well, and the editors and art directors who came marked their favorites in each portfolio.  For my portfolio, most everyone liked the images of the teen girl in the swimming pool (the one I posted in February) and images from my "Kathryn & Elizabeth" book.  I am always interested by what images clients/potential clients are attracted to.  It usually surprises me!

Aside from the conference, I've also been working on some promotional images, with a slightly softer look than my previous pieces.  Here are some of my newest:

Thursday, February 16, 2012

What I've been up to.

Hi Everyone! It's been a busy winter! In addition to chasing after my one-year-old, I've had several new and exciting projects. Here's a sneak peak!

"Here's Lily: Lily Series"
Published by Thomas Nelson

This book series geared towards late-elementary and early-jr-high Christian girls is getting a re-design. Take a look at some color shots of the main character with her new updated look!

"Building the Nest"
Client: Oltjen Design

This and several other images will accompany a poem about a mother robin building her nest in an apple orchard.

In addition to my client work, I've also completed some personal pieces...

Character Samples
This is a little character that I made up, a turtle whose shell is his house.

Swimming on Saturdays
This is one of my new promotional pieces for 2012, inspired by fun day last summer at our pool with family and friends!