06 January 2015

Floral Inspiration

Today, as the temperatures struggle to go beyond 17˚, I am looking at J.J. Grandville's Les Fleurs Animées. I was able to purchase this book for my husband at Christmas along with another featuring his amazing ink work. Grandville's characters and scenes border on the absurd but always have such an amazing accuracy of personality and expression.
J.J. Grandville was born at Nancy, in northeastern France, to an artistic and theatrical family. The name "Grandville" was his grandparents' professional stage name. Grandville received his first instruction in drawing from his father, a painter of miniatures. At the age of twenty-one he moved to Paris, and soon afterwards published collection of lithographs. Grandville's ability for political provocation made his work much in demand. He worked in a wide variety of formats, from his first job illustrating the parlor game Old Maid, to illustrated newspaper strips of which he was a master. One of Grandville's supreme achievements, at a time when French printing technology was ascendant, was Les Fleurs Animées, a series of images that are both poetic and satirical. But perhaps his most original contribution to the illustrated book form was L'Autre Monde, which approaches the status of pure surrealism, despite being conceived in a pre-Freudian age. Leading members of the Surrealist movement such as André Breton and Georges Bataille recognised in Grandville a significant precursor and inspiration for the movement. The rock band Queen used part of his artwork for the cover and backcover of their 1991 album Innuendo. Even they knew how awesome Grandville's work was!

27 December 2014


My attempt at a bûche de noël this Christmas. Since Antoine was not able to be with his family this year, I wanted to make sure he had some of the familiar French traditions.

I was excited that this came out the way it did! Flourless baking and lots of eggs for this recipes!

Joyeux Noël!

Hope for 2015

There are only a few more days left of 2014, and while I do not want to complain, I am happy to have it end. 2014 was an active year, but at times a stressful one! I am eager to see what 2015 has in store.

I visited three new states this year (Texas, Washington, and Oregon) and was able to visit Italy, France, and Canada. Traveling makes the heart happy. I hope to be able to add a few more to the list this year! I'm excited to say that I am currently working on seven or eight different projects right now, with some due out in this coming year.

Above is a sequel cover to Shirley Parenteau's Ship of Dolls. Taking place across the ocean from the first book, Dolls of Hope tells the tale of the recipient of the gift from the United States.

With just a few more days in 2014, I'm trying to be as productive as possible, making sure to work the heck out of this year, with enough momentum for next year as well!

22 December 2014

Festal Cheer!

Each age has deemed the new-born year
The fittest time for festal cheer.
-Sir Walter Scott

Well, the New Year is fast upon us! This year's card features a recipe totally unknown to me and my part of New England. Apparently, it's big around Wisconsin and Minnesota areas still. I was excited to hear about this once commonly popular drink, and look forward to giving it a try this New Years!

Tom & Jerry

Often mistaken for eggnog. a Tom and Jerry is light and spicy, with a sweet foamy crown that forms when scalding hot milk is poured onto the batter placed in the bottom of a mug, then stirred quickly, which causes the egg whites to rise. Once you've sprinkled the top with freshly ground nutmeg it is ready to drink.

The Tom and Jerry's origin is a bit of a mystery. Some say it was probably invented by Pierce Egan, a British journalist who lived in the 1800s and wrote the popular novel The Day and Night Scenes of Jerry Hawthorn, Esq. and His Elegant Friend Corinthian Tom (hence Tom and Jerry). Egan is said to have named the drink as a publicity stunt. Others hold that a famous American bartender, "Professor" Jerry Thomas, concocted the Tom and Jerry in the 1850s.  The only Tom and Jerry certainty is that there is no connection between the drink and the cartoon.

Yield: 1 Cocktail

1 egg
1 ounce Cognac or brandy
1 tsp of confectionery sugar
Hot milk
1 ounce dark rum
Grated nutmeg for garnish

• Separate the egg white from the egg yolk and beat them separately.
• Fold the beaten eggs together then add the confectionery sugar. Place  batter  into an Irish coffee glass.
• Add the dark rum, and brandy. and fill with hot (but not boiling) milk.
• Stir well.
• Garnish with grated nutmeg.

Store, covered, in the refrigerator, and use as needed. Will keep up to 1 week in the refrigerator. Mixture will probably separate in the refrigerator. Just stir and use. The drink will still turn out frothy and delicious.

Here's a sampling from Christmas Cards Past!


January 6th, 2014!
Wollstonecraft Detective Agency hits the shelves! Jordan Stratford has been busily working on the follow up books as well, and here's a few teaser images.

Viterbo 2014

Finally getting a chance to share of the images I worked on this past summer. I was lucky enough to join my colleague Fred Lynch in teaching a course in journalistic drawing in a small town just northeast of Rome. It was a fantastic trip, made all the more special by a dedicated troop of students. Visiting Assisi was also a true highlight, as well as traveling by car with the Lynch family from Viterbo to Lyon France. While is was a bit stormy in the Italian Alps, the view was still breathtaking.

The Lynches were also kind enough to take me to another neighboring medieval walled city called Vitorchiano. The views were stunning.

This chance to work in a whole new fashion awakens a deeper connection to my artistic roots. I mean, I used them everyday, but here... on the street, trying to capture a fading light, or a fleeting moment sharpens the trust in myself... not only that I can do it... but I chose the right subject matter as well.

It was a hard working, eye opening summer for sure!

Class Painting Demos

It's been busy these last few months, which is always a good thing! I really enjoy the one day out of my semester where I take an hour and demonstrate my convoluted process. It gives me a chance to step outside of my current projects and just paint... to paint. I took a few extra hours to polish these up last weekend, and it was just what the illustration doctor ordered. These are both from my spring and fall semesters of 2014.

2014 draws to a close, and I hope to visit the blog more frequently. It's been such fun to be able to have a chronological record of the last eight or so years! I hope to cram a few more posts in 2014!

04 February 2014


Hello again, dear blog. I miss you. I miss you a lot and I can't tell you why it's been so long. Maybe it's been a touch of being busy or more likely distracted. I have been working, though! I've been lucky to have three different bookcovers to work on since the new year. I'm also nearing completion of the first Wollstonecraft book.

As I type we are about to be hit with the second snowstorm of the year, and even though I've succumbed to the winter's plague, I am loving this weather. I wish I had the opportunity to ski or skate like I used to. Perhaps I should try and just brace the knee. I have a torn ACL and  a damaged medial and lateral meniscus, so it makes the more rigorous sports a bit scary. I will have to get my fix by watching the upcoming Winter Olympics!

I'll come back soon, blog!

12 November 2013

Cold Glance

A cold glance, from under a fur bonnet.
This is a recent class painting demo.

Come one, Come all!

It's that time of the year again! The time to announce Montserrat's College of Art's Annual Illustration Theme Show... CIRCUS! I had a really fun time painting this year's poster. I hadn't done this since 2006 or 2007, so it was a true pleasure. Delving into my many Circus themed books, I started to sketch an idea that subtly showed a playful face. Complete with unicorns of course.

I have not been to MANY circuses, but my all time favorite was in the mid-80s. My mother and father took me to Worcester on chilly night to see a Russian circus. I had no idea that this was an equestrian horse circus, and I nearly lost my eight year old mind. I would love to see it again.

23 October 2013


While Halloween is no longer the same holiday as when I was a child, I quickly realized that it is still one of my favorite. How do I know (since I have long since dressed up for candy or tricks)? I have more paintings that deal with Halloween than any other holiday.

This year I had a lot of fun. I had received a recent cover project, and I took one of the rejected sketches and made it for myself, anyways.
While I do not dress up, Lily intends on being a shark this year. Watch out for her ankle bites!

25 September 2013


Marvin and James are back, on more tiny adventures! Coming February 2014, Christy Ottaviano books will be publishing the first of many in this independent reader series.

28 August 2013

We Art Boston!

I am proud to share with that I am one of the illustrators who will be contributing to this coming October's We Art Boston fundraiser. We Art Boston is the brainchild of Brookline illustrator and friend Joe McKendry who wanted to do something in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings.

“We realized by the time we mobilized The One Fund would be closed. This was a way of helping,” said McKendry, whose wife, Susan Hass McKendry joined the effort which kicks off with the auction Oct. 11 and ends with a family event Oct. 20 on the Rose Kennedy Greenway. I will be there creating stuffed animal portraits, and it'd be great to see you, too!

The more than 40 participating artists of We Art Boston honor the role of story time with a fundraiser featuring original works of art from some of the most beloved contemporary children’s books. Proceeds benefit the Emergency and Trauma Fund at Boston Children’s Hospital, providing physical and emotional care to families following sudden events, with the hope of helping every family feel a little safer when they go to sleep tonight.

In addition to each illustrators contributions, participating members will be creating a group illustration of the We Art Boston title. I've claimed the E! 

Please join us for an online auction starting October 10th and for a family event on October 20th at Boston’s Rose Kennedy Greenway. Details and times will be announced shortly.

12 August 2013

Sneak Peeks!

Projects have been slowly wrapping up, but I'm not quite able to show the full paintings just yet. So here's some teasers!
Annnnd, school will be starting up again soon. I admit, I have the same level of dread returning to school as I had when I was 10.

02 August 2013

They're BACK!

The last few months I've been busily working on the next big adventure for Marvin and James from Masterpiece. It's an independent reader that will be in a series called The Masterpiece Adventure, by Elise Broach. Creating the artwork in ink and spot color has been a really fin way to work and I've enjoyed thinking in flat color. This dynamic duo will be out next February!


While in Japan, I started an archive of the different drinks available at some of the various vending machines. Japan LOVES vending machines, and these things are so well placed. My favorite were the hotel vending machines stocked with beer. Ice cold beer.

12 June 2013

Queen Mama

Something I haven't done in a long time... draw to goof around! With all of my short term deadlines met this evening, I took a moment to have fun with my small companions: Lily and Mama. Clearly, you can see who dominates the whole house. Shhhhh, don't tell poor Lily.

08 June 2013

Summer Already?

I am so sad that so much time has passed since posting. Looking back, I feel as though my work production has lessened because of this lack, but indeed it has been a productive spring. We are just a few weeks away from the release of Richard Peck's The Mouse With The Question Mark Tail. I am super excited as this book hits the shelves. I've also been working away on an independent reader featuring the character from Masterpiece! It's a different pace of story I am typically used to, but as predicted my editor Christy Ottaviano has been incredibly helpful.
I've also just returned from another trip to Japan. This time Antoine was a co-instructor with Montserrat College of Art, and I was a mere spectator. I liked that role!! Niigata College of Art hosted the fifteen students and I could not have imagined a more gracious and dedicated group of staff and faculty. As each day passed, my love for the country deepened... so many different facets! Efficiency and cleanliness balanced with a "play" hard approach to leisure. Simplicity of craft matched with complexity of social customs.

Upon return, deadline season is in full swing once again! Here is a recently finished bookcover! I cannot wait to see what Orchard Books does with the title treatment. The mock up looked amazing!
So! Alas! I am back, in action, and ready to get down to some regular posting! School's on break, and I'm ready to get rolling! Hope everyone is slipping into summer rather nicely!