30 December 2012

Hooray! SNOW!!!

 Snow is one of the key things that gets me excited, and luckily tonight, we got plenty of it! I love the colors, especially during night shoveling. Hooray!

26 December 2012

Lighted Lawn Dandruff 2012!

Another success year Lawn Dandruff Night! Flasks were filled, cars were warmed, cameras were charged, and pizza was consumed. We were a bit nervous with our destination, not too sure if people would be festive enough for our thirst. North Providence did not disappoint ONE bit! Christmas is no longer complete without this ridiculous tradition. Can't wait for next year! As each year passes, the prospect of actually approaching a publisher for a coffee table book of silly Christmas Americana seems more possible.

17 December 2012

Ursa Major

I was recently contacted by Brown University to help them with their New Year's greeting. I was excited to help the friendly neighbors at the top of the hill (since my school was adjacent to it, down the hill). Because I've called Providence home for maybe a bit too long, being able to paint some of the architecture I know so very well was a pleasure. I was also glad to include a little bit of astronomy! It's also nice to work on seasonal pieces... in the actual season you're painting! Typically I'm painting snow scenes in July for publishing deadlines, so this was a nice change.

14 December 2012

A Busy Couple Of Months

So, I regret immensely ignoring my little blog here. It's been a very busy couple of months, and sort of tricky to share what it is that I've been working on lately. Classes have just ended at both RISD and Montserrat, so I have a bit more time on my hands! I've been finishing up all of the art for Mouse With A Question Mark Tail these last few weeks, and I'm very excited to see the book's F&Gs! They're including three color tip ins, which have been a bit complicated to paint. Over 80 mice in one illustration is a bit intense.

Also, I've just finished up the cover for a reprint of Florence Laughlin's Little Leftover Witch. I had a great time painting this cranky little lady, who I related to VERY easily.

Some more projects are finishing up that I can start to share with you! I got an F&G of FACEBUG, a poetry book written by J.Patrick Lewis and featuring photos by Fred Siskund. So... I'll be back real soon. YAY!

Illustration Friday: SNOW

It's no secret that winter is my favorite time of year. Oddly enough, I become much more active, looking to go outside for exercise, or an excuse to take a walk to look at the gleaming nighttime sky. Here are a few snowbound images, both personal and professional!

Jingle jingle!

06 November 2012

Ahoy, My Felines²

Well... had to scratch that last painting for various reasons that I will chat about later. But... it all makes sense, and I am hoping this new version does the trick. Here's some snippets of more fancy felines, too!

04 November 2012

Ahoy, My Felines!

There's a new project on the desk these last few weeks, and it's been mighty fun. These two chaps will be my friends for the next month or two, and I cannot wait to get to more of the illustrations. Research has been very fun with this one! Excited to share more with you soon.

Look out you land lubbers!

Cat O' Lanterns!

Halloween was mildly uneventful around the studio since it was a teaching day. We didn't even know if we got trick or treaters at the new place. Maybe next year we will be able to tell! But, we did get some Devil's Night fun with the pumpkin and pets. Lily still thinks there is a new cat roomate. Poor Lils.

19 October 2012

Word to Live By

After checking out Drawn.ca for my daily inspiration, I saw this excerpt featured. I'm not the most eloquently gifted person, so I don't usually have words of wisdom to recite... but this is fantastic. High five.

I’ve spent my entire career obsessively trying to “learn how to draw” when I should’ve just been drawing. Always thinking “I just need to get a little better… and then I’ll start working on (insert any of a hundred personal projects)”
The fact is that i’ve been good enough since my teens- and would’ve improved so much more rapidly had my study been in the service of any of those projects- and not in the dozens of sketchbooks pilled in my closet.
Lesson: Don’t use “learning” as an excuse to avoid “doing”.
Shane Glines

17 October 2012

Desk Bound

I may be stuck at my desk for long stretches of time, but I am so lucky to be surrounded with books that allow me to see the world.


I love to travel.

08 October 2012

The British Mice Ride Again!

It's been a low blog post year, but I feel as though it's been a successfully busy year. I think it's a matter of not being able to show exactly what I've been plugging away at. Well, here's a sneak peak! It's a companion novel to Secrets At Sea!!

Tu Me Manques, Paris

Recently completed working on a fun project that called upon my Parisian relationship. I was working on a few backgrounds for an animation. How could I say no? Will clue you in more about the project when I am allowed.

Here's something to wet your whistle!

16 September 2012

The Original Art Show 2012

I am extremely pleased to be included in this year's juried children's exhibition at the Society of Illustrators. Secrets At Sea was selected, and I cannot be more excited. To be included in The Original Art, books must be selected by a jury drawn from illustrators, art directors, editors, and experts in the field.

This year’s show features 139 books chosen from entries submitted nationwide. Two Silver Medals and one Gold Medal are awarded by the jury for outstanding achievement in children’s book illustration. This year’s Silver Medal winners are Jon Klassen for This is Not My Hat (Candlewick Press), and Steve Jenkins for The Beetle Book (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt / Books for Children). The Gold Medal winner is Laëtitia Devernay for The Conductor (Chronicle Books). Congrats, fellow illustrators!!

 I've gathered enough courage to head on down for the opening. I know... I sound like a big whimp, don't I! I am typically a tad shy with these types of events, but I cannot pass up this opportunity to see all of the amazing work that has been collected. Perhaps I will see you there, too?

 For more information, follow this link.

Opening Reception and Awards Presentation
6:00 pm Cocktails (YESS!!!)
7:00 pm Awards Ceremony
Annnnd, then I have to run to catch a bus by 9pm.

 Society of Illustrators
128 East 63rd Street New York,

October 24 - December 22
Tuesday 10-8 Wednesday- Friday 10-5 Saturday 12-4

In The Garden

 At first people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done, then they begin to hope it can be done, then they see it can be done -then it is done and all the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago. ― Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

15 September 2012

FInding Lost Time

It's so important to have personal work on the back burner. I may not have been able to work on this painting in 2 months, but I know when I am done with my client work, this little world is waiting for me. Rewarding work with work. Nice. This will be a painting of my childhood woods. Complete with shed, pet cemetery, tree spirts, and the ghost of my cat.

A New Place With New Work

So, the whole apartment is finally moved, and we are SLOWLY settling into the new house. Because of the start of school and a boatload of deadlines, it's not quite presentable yet. I am figuring after moving all of my books, I won't want to do that again for another 6 years. We have time to settle in. The new studio is a little smaller than the last, but it's just what I need. Two great windows for light and ventilation. I will miss the great skylights from the last place. The fuzzy studio assistant has not skipped a beat, and she's still coaching me to success!

I've been scurrying to finish a multitude of projects which include two middle grade novels, multiple background scene for an animation, a book of poetry, and a difference game for Behind the Bookcase. Got to finish the projects... then I can start organizing all of the boxes from the move. Here's a snippet of the cover for Secrets At Sea's companion novel!

Hope everyone else is having a wonderful fall!

03 August 2012

Those Darn Cameras!

This is just too good not to share with everyone. You know what does it for me? Berlin's "Take My Breath Away". Poetry in catastrophically drunk motion.

23 July 2012

Advanced Illustrators Workshop

August 30 – September 3, 2012

Begins Aug. 30 with dinner at 6 p.m. (optional tour of HIGHLIGHTS FOR CHILDREN and Boyds Mills Press offered at 3 p.m.); ends Sept. 3 after lunch.

I'd like to announce a wonderful weekend I and several other talented illustrators will be attending. Are you interested in an illustrative retreat in the Pocono Mountains? Well, look no further. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact me or the Highlights Foundation. Here's more about the late summer event:

While your artwork is accomplished alone, it is only with guidance that an illustrator can begin to understand how to make it in today’s picture-book world. Let one of today’s top children’s book illustrators be your guide. Explore the children’s book market with them, learn new techniques, and enjoy the camaraderie of artists who understand your passion.

During this intensive, five-day workshop you’ll immerse yourself in illustration—oil wash on board, printmaking, pen and ink, watercolors, and more. Daily hands-on workshops will challenge you to sharpen your illustration skills, all under the support and guidance of our highly talented mentors.

In addition to illustration techniques, you’ll also explore
* dummy preparation;
* storyboarding;
* continuity;
 * portfolio expectations;
* character development;
* self-promotion; and
* finding a market.

Your work will receive personal attention through one-on-one critiques from your mentors, group critiques with peers and guest art directors, and feedback from special guests at our portfolio showcase.

 Conference Highlights
* The Barn provides space for meeting and meals.
* Support and guidance from carefully selected authors, illustrators, editors, and academics.
* A unique opportunity to network with others in the children’s literature business.
* An intimate and inspiring setting in the Pocono Mountains.
* Charming on-site lodging.
* Farm-style meals prepared by a top-notch chef.

Sign up now! I am sure that spaces will go quickly. Hope to see you there!

Japan = Awesome

Back in June, Antoine, his brother, father, and nephew combined with my brother and sister-in-law took an amazing trip. We were fortunate enough to travel to Tokyo, Osaka, Nara, and Kyoto. With Antoine growing up there, I had heard stories of how amazing a place it is. I kid you not, he wasn't lying. All of this is just one girl's opinions, but I'd like to point out some high and lows! GARDENS EVERYWHERE. When I think gardens, I typically think of the kind Louis XIV would have loved. Controlled, bright, geometric. Japan is the complete opposite. Their gardens possess a naturalistic, or picturesque quality, and skirt the fine line of being cultivated and virgin. Super awesome. REALLY FUN SIGNS. Dōtonbori, Osaka has to be one of the craziest shopping streets I will ever be on. Many travel books commented on the ugliness of Osaka, but I found this to be quite opposite, and in many ways I preferred this city to Tokyo. TRAINS. I love trains. Make it a hi-speed one and I am even more excited. SO CLEAN, SO FRIENDLY. I was so impressed how such a densely populated area could remain so clean and organized. Granted, some of the architecture is unaesthetic, being a bit boxes and covered in wiring. Our merry group started taking pictures of the pieces of trash we would see, because it was that infrequent. Impeccable! BEER. I never knew that Japan was that stoked about beer! And even better with the summer temperatures! Vending machines on the street: beer. Vending machines in your hotel: beer. And, all of it was really cheap! On the flip side, when ordering non alcohol drinks in restaurants... the glasses are really small. Europe does this well, and my American thirst is just too great for such small glasses. TEMPLES/SHRINES. These buildings become so numerous, after a while you forget just how striking they are. The lights and space in and around them is so pleasing and well planned, I wish we could have lived inside them. BAMBOO. Ever since I was a child, I saw images of these forests. I've long dreamed of seeing them in person. What I didn't realize was that the color is the most amazing cool shade of green I have never seen before. Scooting along in the train, I would look at the shapes and textures of the forests. Even from a distance, these bamboo forest are amazing, with tall fern-like anatomy. A-mazing. PRESSURE. The worst part of the trip occurred on the second day. As we were headed out to Yadabashi Camera on the train, the horn started to blast in such an alarming manner as we approached a platform and every person inside the car looked forward. NOT A GOOD SIGN. My brother was just able to catch the glimpse of a man jumping in front of the train. As the train tried to stop, our car was the one in which was over the man. Trying to hide this from Antoine's younger nephew was imperative, and luckily, we were successful. While stuck in the train for a few moments, my brother and sister-in-law (each a dr. and nurse) naturally sprung into action, but alas we were locked inside. I was able to glimpse the stretcher carrying him out, and while not a horrific scene, made me sad to think why such a young, well dressed man would make this decision. We were nervous for the rest of the trip when we heard that train whistle blow. Phew well... ok. Sorry to end it on a weird note! BUT! I can honestly say, Antoine was not lying when he said Japan was one of the most amazing places on earth. Sure, it's busy, and urban, and overwhelming at times, but the hospitality, beauty, and friendliness of this ancient nation is amazing. GO THERE! Oh, and there are ridiculously cute things EVERYWHERE. It WINKED at us!

3x3 No. 9 Children's Show!

Hello! My, it's been some time. I've missed the blog. I've mssed the blog so much I am contemplating getting rid of my facebook page to solely concentrate on this better kept chronologic list of happenings. I wanted to check in to share that my recent work on Behind the Bookcase has been accepted into 3x3's No. 9 Children's Book Show. Super excited, especially since I am eager for this book's release in October. Here are the images that will be featured:
In other news, Antoine and I just got through a week of hell in regards to our next move. If any of you are ever thinking about buying a home, feel free to drop a line because we'd love to share what NOT to do... and how to really keep your realtor(s) in order. After this week, my opinion of humanity dropped a notch. Oh well, you live and learn, right? New studio will be set up in a month! Have I ever expressed how much I hate moving? We still like the house, and its early 1900s touches, so it's just a matter of washing the realtor "ick" off us! Hope everyone is having a good summer!

29 May 2012

The Forest Watches

When I was younger, we lived on the edge of a small forest, complete with swamps, lady slippers, and Wampanoag folklore. My siblings and I would spend so much time outside amongst the trees, that I began to know every root clump or raspberry patch there was. One morning, I started my day following the paths and felt something watching me. I looked up and saw a sculpted face staring back. Because it was made of out the same bark as the tree, it was perfectly camouflaged. It took me several weeks to figure out the brothers had placed these, and not the spirits of the forest. Those few weeks produced more stories and scenarios involving these omnipresent tree spirits than I could remember. I'm now trying to bring those stories alive once again.

22 May 2012

0.3 Seconds on the Today Show!

Woooo! Look, you can almost recognize the ogre!

02 May 2012

The Rejected Spreads

Sometimes looking back through old versions of my dummies, I encounter long forgotten ghosts: The Rejected Spreads. The months of painting the approved force these other ideas to a far off memory. I stumble upon these again while filing away a project when completed. Pausing slowly, I make sure to remember these previous efforts. Could I use this idea again? It's so easy to forget all of the ground work (endless sketching and thumbnailing) that took place before getting to the final idea.
I will always have a special liking towards these rejects. To the land of misfit sketches!