Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Can I get it done by Friday???

Gotta get 4 hours of sleep.....

Monday, December 29, 2008

Work In progress - me, not the illo

1:00 am Monday night... or that would be Tuesday morning...

Sunday, December 28, 2008

To draw the impossible illustration...

NYC- SCBWI Winter Conference - Illustration panel review- entry. If I get the color done by Jan. 2nd. If it doesn't kill me or - drive me insane.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Sketching ideas..

Some time to sketch last night - another book idea. So many ideas- so little time. My New Years resolution is to shut the world out from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. each weekday -no errands- no laundry- no food shopping -no wasting time... oof- reading lots of blogs.... or writing them, no facebook except at once each night - just write and draw -write and draw.

That and go cold turkey off chocolate -again.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Own a little piece of my imagination...

My prints are for sale at Imagekind. If I've ever tickled your fancy - go check it out!-Thnx!

Monday, December 8, 2008

How long does it take?

Whew - this took longer than expected. How long does an illustration usually take you? How many hours a day are you actively working on a finish?

Season's Greetings

A quickie card this year - sending you all great happiness this Holiday Season!

"Strange, isn't it? Each man's life touches so many other lives. When he isn't around he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he? Remember George, No man is a failure who has friends. " Clarence to George Bailey- "It's a Wonderful life"

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

It's the Economy- STUPID (me)

I'm home from a trip to that place in Florida that I'm a freelancer for. I was told by numerous people that the use of freelancers will be minimal in the fore-see-able future - due to cut backs due to the - economy. Oy Vey.

Bubble - burst.

And that's in licensing. How will the near future effect Children's books?

Back in October- I had gone to a Ny Metro Scbwi evening. Susan Raab, Raab Associates, Inc. - was the speaker. The topic was "Marketing your work" - She spoke of the uncertain economic times ahead and what it all means for publishing. Issues like the cost of paper - school and library budgets - travel costs - all will impact the author and illustrator as well as the publishers. She said that in this kind of climate it is even more important to market yourself wisely.
Most beginners can not afford to pay someone like her to do it for them. She does everything from media PR (Today Show-NPR) -to banners at Target/Costco/Barnes and Noble... But she gave advice on how to think about it and approach it for yourself...

This seems like a good time to share it with you- and repeat it all to myself!

Have a mission statement. Something to define you- who you are as an author/illustrator. Have it written down and ready. You need to have a context for you as a person - not just the book. (Not a bio - more "what you are" than "who you are". This way- you make a case for yourself before you even get someone to talk to you. "Gorilla Marketing"

Think how your book topic fits into the news or current events. If you write or illustrate horses- hook up with an expert to approach publicity with not only the book but information for the public.

Blogs- Website- Facebook -etc - do it all but have it all work together - working along that mission statement. Offer give aways -promotions - excerpts - sample art - first chapters. Have color-ables and down-loadibles. Contribute to industry blogs - get your name out thru industry publications. Start a mailing list(e-mail) and send out news to continually drive traffic to your sites.

Form Alliances - form a group of authors/Illustrators (like PB Junkies) -do combined book exhibits at stores/schools/libraries. School visits - work for the beginners as well as the heavy hitters. Come out of these with photos- build your own portfolio of PR and build content for marketing.

Think of it as a campaign for yourself. Consider yourself a product line - and keep evolving your plan to fit new work.
Stay informed on the industry. Consider informational books- such as holiday-self help-historical-event related - topic specific.

**Get paid for your time**** -It conveys your value! Push as much as you can. Advocate for yourself. Don't take hits personally. Take a long term view. Believe in what you are doing - so others will too.

I just was explaining to my almost 9 yr old- It's not the destination- it's the journey - and she replied with a scrunched up face and a loud "WHAT the HEck does that mean!!?" In explaining it - I was telling myself to quiet that part of my brain repeating from the back seat..."When will we get there? When will we get there?"... SSshhhhh... open up the window- take a deep breath - look up at the sky and dream- and don't get sick to your stomach... it's gonna be a looooooong ride.

Work in progress below..

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hail to the Mouse

My favorite rodent turned 80 this week. With apologies to my husband, Leigh - Mickey won my heart first, back in 1973, when I had the Brave Little Tailor on my view master. I'd click slowly thru this scene when he returns to the castle and Minnie showers him with kisses and he turns shy and dips his head low in the "Oh Gosh" way only he can. -Sigh.

Happy 80th Birthday Mickey Mouse!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


With my daughter's first horse show this weekend - the sketchbook is filling up with horses. Yesterday at the stables there were the most interesting looking horses. My 8 year old has memorized all horse breeds.... but can't remember to flush the toilet... she told me they were called Gypsy Vanner horses. They had curlyish manes and tails and long hair over their hoofs. They were cool. I was horse nuts as a kid too. I never took riding lessons, so I am living vicariously thru my kid. She's in love with horses and riding and it's great to see her passionate about something other than cartoon network.

Over at Jennifer Meyer's blog- you can check out truly beautiful horse illustration.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Oh Happy Day!

What makes me so happy is the way the kids of all races - but mostly the ones who thought it was impossible -now know to reach, to dream, to work hard because it's attainable- no limitations.

Friday, October 24, 2008

This is awesome..

My brother sent me this- made me happy!

See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The best way out is Through...

At one of the SCBWI conferences went to last year - someone said this "The best way out is through".. and it stuck with me. It's been several rough weeks in family life around here. I found myself almost unable to draw. Completely not in the mood - for the first time in my life. I guess this is what writer's block must feel like. So - I have forced myself to work on this one illustration for the last 3 weeks - if only for 10 mins at a time. And now it's done - and now I'm through - and now I need to get back to work.

I went to a NY Metro SCBWI evening last week. It was very informative about marketing. I'll post notes on that another day.

I also went to a critique group in L.I. - another good story.

And I'm joining up with CBIG - because the L.I. critique group was not right for me!

So- here's hoping the next several weeks bring creativity and productivity and peace back to my life.

Oh - and I bought a Fez.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

IF "Clique"

We can't all be born thoroughbreds. Some of us are the cute- short- round - tenacious donkeys of the world. Cliques that look down on others cause they're different - they are the real jackasses.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The result of poor planning...

back when i was watching the Olympics- I started doodling on Photoshop- The sky- the temples...China's amazing aesthetic was invading my brain..and I liked it. I was very happy about the idea- the moon festival when chinese kids light floating candles... I was happy with the non-typical of me composition... But I didn't sketch first-I was just winging it. And then I wanted to add the kids... these have to be version 7 and 8 of the kids..... usually, I draw the characters first - then have to create the enviroment for them.. usually producing a not so cohesive image... Here - I did the opposite, stepped out of the comfort zone.. and it's driving me CRAZYYYYYYY! Version 7 :

These are very Small World looking- way simple. And I'm playing with texture and brushes- and they look like felt...

Version 8:

I tell ya- i'm not happy with either... and you should have seen 1,2,3,4 and 5- (6- I don't want to talk about)


I'm going to get off of the computer and back to the sketchbook.- Scan in a drawing that I'm happy with. If it ain't broke...

Sisters Unite!

School House Rock - I freakin' love it!

Monday, September 15, 2008

IF "Island"

In 1722 - Dutch explorer -Jacob Rogeveen landed on an island in the South Pacific, on Easter Sunday. Can you imagine his surprise to find.... all of those big heads?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


It's here again. My birthday.

I am not fond of my birthdays. Maybe because once your over 16, it's just not so magical. Once you're a Mom - someone else's birthday is magical.

Also- I seem to be an enigma to my husband , who is a deer caught in the headlights from Aug 11th - Sept 9th every year. Petrified of buying me the wrong gift - he usually panics and buys no gift. Last night he hollered at me, "why do you have to be so picky?" - And I hollered back "I am non-generic! You should be happy to have fallen in love with a non-generic person! I am very specific! I like what I like!" - But I suppose, he can't just go to the mall or Target and find antique radios, old coloring books and saddle shoes. I gave him ideas: singing lessons - I love to sing and have always wanted to do it on the stage- but I want an expert to tell me if I suck or not- so I don't humiliate myself. I also suggested a piece of art for my naked wall above the mantle. Remember, I said I painted skydiving pigs onto the one I was doing.

So - Last night, while reading up on the blogs i enjoy - I found this on the Character Design blog.

I decided to bid as my birthday gift from hubby - if I win, I can help this beautiful baby and his family out - and have one amazing sketchbook. If I loose - I've helped drive the bidding way up- and still have helped this family. If you would like to bid too- please do! Follow the Ebay link!

This morning, I was surprised to see a Happy Birthday message in my blog roll. Noah Ginex- the pupeteer from BNL's "Pollywog in a bog" - was very kind to do this:

So- today- tho' I woke up to a bad hair day- and rain... it's turning out to be a good b'day!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Busy on stuff I can't show..

For your viewing enjoyment....

Do you believe they got away with Minute Mouse?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

IF- Routine

If- Routine : Rough manly beaver work cuttin' down trees, buildin' dams - secure in his masculinity - Bertram enjoys a sushi break.

I knew I wasn't going to make the deadline for another Illustration Friday- So I managed a sketch. I like the sketch so much, I didn't want to rush the color. Should I do black and white since it's an homage to this:

Or should it be color- or sepia tones?

My website will soon be redone - Hallejuha! -So I'll use this as the under construction/Out to Lunch image.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Quest for Character .... continues ...

- How do you feel when you draw? Not how do you feel when you sit down to -tired -stressed- fine -etc...

But while you're drawing -how do you FEEL?

I feel true. I feel home. I feel ME. - I trust my head , my heart- my hand... and what comes out is not always perfect, but it's real.

I thought maybe it's an altered state - like a different level of being, but no - I'm altered when I'm not drawing. I long to draw when I'm making dinner, watering flowers - grocery shopping. I want to draw the things I see - the sounds I hear - the kooky people that exist all around me and the craziness that exists in my imagination.

Being told your art is "too" anything.. feels wrong. I can't be "too" me. Pursuing children's books has handed moments of self doubt - and those moments are vanquished -when I draw.

So - persevere. Keep drawing . Use your pencil like a machete and hack thru the publishing jungle - to reach that oasis -of exactly where you're supposed to be.

This is concept art for my book.

Cum By-yah! ;)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

In the future

I shall refer to the work I do for D***** - as "the Mouse who must not be named"

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

It's late..

It's a lovely summer night , 11:30- windows open - everyone asleep but me up in the studio. A car turns onto my street - stereo blasting.... Andreas Bocelli. The guy behind the wheel is singing his heart out. Suddenly, I'm in a Barilla commercial.

Now it's 12:30. made some book progress. Finished Guster babies. Off to bed!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

"Don't stop believin".....

This week, a 41 year old won an Olympic swimming medal. Dana Torres was asked what she would tell her now 2 year old about her Olympic experience - her answer: "Don't put an age limit on your dreams."

This week, this almost 38 year old became an artist for the Walt Disney Company. I will tell my daughter the same thing. And tell all of you too - don't give yourself an expiration date - just keep swimming.....

Here's a sketch I'm working on for the Guster babies- K

Monday, August 18, 2008

"A celebrated people lose dignity upon a closer view"

The title is a quote from shorty himself.

A rainy day at the zoo this week - so I finished reading a book about Napoleonic times. Nappy and Jo - 2 crazy kids - fabled romance - out to conquer the world.

"What shall we take in tonight my love? Italy? Austria? Belgium?""Name it and it's yours- the world is at our feet, Jo"

But as with most "politicians" and "celebrities" - they didn't really have their s**t together. They had affairs- divorced - died miserable. The mighty tend to fall, don't they?

These two would have been in every tabloid. I don't get into idolatry. I'm not much for "the cult of personality" - if time truly tells... things don't change.

So I doodled up the imperial couple in happier times. Au revoir pour l'instant, mes amis!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Someone told me "It's all happening at the ZOO"!

I am at the Bronx Zoo all week. My daughter is doing the one week day camp. I chose to stay all day 5 days as an animal drawing intensive. - Could someone shoot me now?

It's not the furry, feathered, beaked, slithering etc... animals that are getting to me. It's the human species that I'd like to see on the endangered list. I've encountered many strange varieties and it's only my 3rd day- 2 to go! Today was free admission day- so I'm a little over exposed to people.

Also - who should I speak to about getting the animals to stand still? - I've been doing a lot of gestures. Of course if they were all napping - I'd be bored. I saw some wild gorilla action today. The silver back was beating the crap out of the smaller gorillas - for lettuce. Hate to see what he would do for a burger.

Monday I had a great time in the Rain Forest building. I had a staring contest with a black leopard... I actually got to draw him. I loved the tree kangaroo- I don't have any drawings yet- maybe tomorrow he'll cooperate and stand still.

I love when I draw in public - the crowd watches - people ooh and ahh-"Look,look at her- she's drawing - " and inevitably, a small child's voice can be heard "I can do better than that" - usually I trip them-:)

I find the people this week are noticing me drawing them and are not at all happy about it. I usually get away with it. So here are my sketches so far this week. There's a true doodle of a mother walking the path next to the vultures- who shrieked as a squirrel climbed a branch over her head "What the hell is that!?" - her kids had a good time with that.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Studio Door Peeps

To see this bigger- click the pic.

Nancy - you got 4 right! Chuck, Walt, Winsor, J.K.,... Daniel Radcliffe is cute- but- not above studio door material-It's John Lennon. And (not) Hanna- is Charles Schulz.

I have a few spots open, I was going to hang Martha Stewart up - I do admire her tenacity and taste... but I have since rejected Martha and the need for domestic perfection to pursue artisitic fulfilment. I may hang my college Prof Roger DeMuth up. He's a great guy , great artist, great teacher.. inspirational dude.

So these are the people I admire - I realize they are not all perfect - but they all (follow)ed the beat of their own drum. They were (are) the best they could be- or strive to be it. That's what I'm shooting for in life. Sometimes I go all Laverne and Shirley and hit the plaques before I leave the studio.

IF "Poof"

Illustration Friday topic "poof". My daughter gave me the idea of "Poof" the Magic Dragon- "Puff's" sister.

"Poof the Magic Dragon lives by the Sea;
She invited her magical friends over to sit and sip some tea." by Maggie Light

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Name these folks

- Here's the close up. There's one person I don't expect anyone to know- local NY-er. But I think you'll get most. Tom got the easy one!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Doodling is productive!

I started doodling yesterday- trying to rev up the engine with daily drawing. This is what came out. It's not too shabby. I'm working on place- will work on the window/oriental carpet/sconce. Want to work on lighting too - this is at night - with only the moonlight and a candle and a gaslight. I'm excited to color it up.

I was thinking about our upcoming camp out with the Mother/daughter group. We're 6 moms and six girls who've known eachother since the girl's were babies and we all attended a new Mother's group. Now the girls are 8/9. Last year they stayed up late, telling spooky stories in their tent, and we stayed up late listening from our tent.

So- I was thinking about that and how important books are to these girls- they have regular book swaps. Then I thought about how books were IT. No t.v., no computer, no i pods, no Wii . Imagine the impact they had. I wish I could go back in time.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Summertime and the living is..... lazy.

I am having a strange summer. I will draw and draw for a few days, then I will do , absolutely .... nuthin'.

My studio is in the attic. A few years ago, my husband turned a Greg Brady bedroom into a working space for me. This is where I spend my days, usually drawing, lately procrastinating - cleaning - finding reference on the computer.

I have started a painting out of frustration with my book. Maybe a change would spur me on.

There's an artist I like very much Ambera Wellman who I found over on Anthony VanArsdales's blog. Amazing paintings of expansive skies! I thought, I'm a decent artist, I'll paint my own expansive sky. So I did. It looked like it needed something, So I added skydiving pigs. - a clear indicator - you have to be who you are, and not try to be someone else. They don't have their parachutes on yet, I was going to paint a companion piece with a skydiving pig with a copy of skydiving for dummies... hence - no parachutes. But I may be kind and spare them turning to hash on the ground. - Apologies to C.G. Young

So - Here's my studio and all the sketches for the book I'm working on... It's going slooooow.

My husband ran plumbing all the way up and installed a small sink to wash brushes.

My daughter has her own studio space. It's my desk from when I was a kid.

You can see Jabba the Mutt and Jedi George Nibbles hanging out. My desk chair's broken - I have to get a new one if anyone has a recommendation -I'd love one. I keep a vintage Varsity sweater that used to be owned by a guy named Lenny up here. It's chilly in the winter. I listen to WNYC all day, everyday, I am addicted. I listen to it on an old AM radio.

I work mostly on a Mac these days - even drawing there - gotta get the new chair. Getting a Wacom tablet has been the best change in how I work in the last 2 years. I like drawing in Sketchbook Pro - then coloring up in Photoshop. I use painter a little but- I need more time to explore that program.

There are great built in shelves that were here from the Greg Brady bedroom - paint can do wonders- they used to be the color of bricks. I try to be organized - but I am a generally cluttered person. The boxes have helped me keep sketches, promo papers and reference almost organized.

I try to keep my favorite chachkes about to make me happy and keep me inspired. The other shelves against the stairs can't be reached easily, so I filled them with memories. You can spot a 70's me here and there, along with my fave childhood books, toys, lots of Mickey Mouse, old crayons, clay- I love anything from the 20-40's that was made for kids, coloring books, how to draw books. And there's Edna- from The Incredibles - when I need a pick me up , I just give her a squeeze and hear "Hellooo Darling!"

Down the stairs - I have the movie poster of The Iron Giant- my absolute favorite animated movie. Above the door - I've made little plaques of people who inspire me. These are people, some visual artists, some not, who followed their own paths - completely ignoring what anyone else thought. They not only have great talent but the ability to believe in themselves and trust in their own unique views of life. I try to look at them each day as I leave... spurring me on to come back to the studio tomorrow.

How many of them can you name? - I'll post their names soon!- now- this was some serious procrastination -back to the book!