Friday, October 21, 2016

Rainy Days and Pumpkin Soup!

Today is a cold, rainy, fall day.  The perfect kind of day for spending in the studio!  And the perfect kind of day for Pumpkin Soup!

I discovered this delightful book by Helen Cooper in the grocery store of all places, just last week!  It was actually published the year my oldest son was born - 1998 - so I don't know what took me so long to discover it.  But I am so glad that I have!  The illustrations are delightful and the story endearing.  And since it is such a dreary day here, I just had to post a few images to warm my thoughts, and hopefully yours as well.

And in case you were in the mood for the whole story, you can watch it unfold in this adorable video.  

Lastly, all this talk of pumpkin soup made me want to make some!  So here is a great recipe that I found!  


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Teal - A Great New Children's Book For You To Discover


I am so excited to be able to tell you about a new children's picture book author and illustrator that you need to add to your collection!  Her name is Renee Galvin and you are going to love her new picture book!

I first met Renee on social media and was completely smitten by her honest and playful approach to her artwork and life, and the fun way she engaged with people on social media.  But most of all, I just loved her artwork!  So when she asked me to review her new picture book, Teal, I was smitten all over again:)

Teal is a wonderful story about a little teal crayon who is trying to fit in.  Teal loves to create beautiful artwork and use his color to bring beauty to everything he touches.

But at the end of each day, Teal is confused because he doesn't know where he belongs.  Does he belong in the blue box with the blue crayons, or in the green box with the green crayons?  Where does he belong in this world of colors?

This timely story of diversity and belonging will warm your heart.  Renee keeps the reader engaged with her playful and endearing artwork as she weaves a beautiful message of acceptance throughout the story.  And little Teal surprises us all in the end with his simple, yet profound solution that results in a delightful surprise for the reader.

Teal is a wonderful example of facing obstacles and handling adversity, presented in a playful way.  The endearing message of this story will not be lost on children.  The creative use of the colors of crayons, and trying to fit in, is the perfect way to serve this topic to children in a way that relates to their world and experiences. 

I had the pleasure of receiving an early copy of Teal and I can tell you, I highly recommend you add this wonderful book to your collection.  Teal will be available on Amazon at the end of October, but Renee is taking pre-orders now, and I think you will want to be one of the first to get Teal.  

You can contact Renee to order a book from her on her Facebook fan page here .  

Also check out the special offer she has for early orders!  Teal Promotion  

Hint:  it has to do with jewelry and crayons, and I want one!  You will want to click through to this video because you can meet Renee yourself and she how delightful she is! 


Once you have your copy, please let me know how much you love it by leaving me a comment on this post!  I can't wait to see how successful this book will be:)


Saturday, October 15, 2016

SCBWI Book Blast!

I belong to this wonderful organization called the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators whose mission is to support the creation and availability of quality children's books around the world.  For the next four weeks they are having a book blast event that I thought you would like to know about.  Hundreds of SCBWI authors and illustrators have published books this year and SCBWI has put together a web page where you can go and browse and buy these new books directly from the authors and illustrators themselves.   

You can check it out by clicking on the link

Here is a screen shot of some of the beautiful books that you can find there!  Clover and the Shooting Star is there as well:)  They have books that are published traditionally (Clover is in that bunch) or books published independently.  

So pour yourself your favorite hot beverage, grab a blanket and browse through  to find some great new books to read and give this holiday season!  I know it's where I plan to do my shopping!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Browsing through an old sketchbook.....

Sometimes I like to pick up an old sketchbook of mine to look through it to see what I was doing at the time.  I did that the other day and ran across these old sketches from my trip to France in 2007.  It was a fantastic trip and what made it so great was the people I was with.  There were 8 of us on the trip and we were all artists or aspiring artists.  As artists many of us were "young" and experimenting and we had no fear.  Just to put paint on the canvas or ink on the page was reward enough for us.  We ate wonderful food, looked at beautiful country, and made art.  I wish it could be like that every day...

The drawings are rough, and perspectives are off, but the memories they invoke are priceless.  And it's fun to remember making each line and wondering if I would ever truly become an artist.  Looking at these drawings years later I realize it's not a process or technique that makes you an artist, but a journey of thousands of marks.      

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Foxes in Limbo

Thought I'd share with you a new composition for my next picture book called, "The Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night".  I have been working on this book for a while now and have just returned to it now that I have Clover and the Shooting Star launched. 

This artwork is done in a style that my friend and colleague MJ-K calls "in limbo".  In other words it is silhouetted or without a background, just a white ground.  I have been told that my artwork is stronger when I work this way, so I thought I'd give it a try with this piece.  What do you think?

This is just a color study for a finished painting that will be much larger.  In addition to the color study I also do a value study as you can see below.  The value study actually comes first and then the color study, but I wanted to put the color study at the top because it i more eye catching:)


I like the fun rhythm that the little foxes bring to the piece.  There are 10 little foxes so I have to be careful to draw each one anytime the text of the story refers to them.  I know that when I read to my children we would always take the time to count the characters any time the text referenced the number of them, so for all the future moms who may read my book, I have to give them something to count!  What do you think of this piece of art?  Do you like the "in limbo"?  Have I placed the foxes in a way that invites counting?  Any suggestions for improvement before I go ahead and lay it out to paint it?  Post your thoughts in the comments section below.  And thanks for your help!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Why I Love Picture Book Launches

Clover and the Shooting Star  was officially launched on September 11, 2016 and I was reminded again why I love picture book launches!  There is nothing quite like watching people react to your work and see their faces light up as they view it.  And planning the launch gives me a chance to be a kid again!  

Planning a picture book launch is just plain fun!  Yeah, sure, it might seem overwhelming at first, but remember who you are doing it for - kids!  They aren't picky, they just want to have fun.  You get to let your imagination go wild and think like a child to come up with fun food, interesting interaction stations and a fun venue.  I used Pinterest to create a board where I gathered ideas that would fit with my woodland animal, shooting star theme.   I enlisted the help of my kids to make fun food and decorations based on the pins I collected:)


I chose a park location because what kid doesn't want to go to the park?  And we have a beautiful park near us which is where we go to watch shooting stars!  Perfect!


Bringing the story of Clover and the Shooting Star to life for little ones and adults alike was really important to me.  The story is touching and the characters are engaging and I wanted all who came to the launch to experience that.  My good friend Maxine came to the rescue when she created plush versions of my characters from the book!  She is an amazing designer and works miracles with fabric.  Look at the adorable characters she made for the book launch!

A raffle of the individual characters allowed five lucky people to take a one-of-a-kind Clover plush home with them, and the proceeds went to benefit a "No-Kill" animal shelter in honor of my niece who loved dogs.   That's a double win!  But Maxine didn't stop there, she made me Clover the Rabbit in quantity so people could take Clover home with them along with the book!


But with out doubt the best part of the picture book launch was meeting and sharing with people who were touched by the story of Clover.  I am so honored that people shared their stories of loss and grief with me, and that they found comfort in the wonder and hope of Clover and the Shooting Star.  Moms, dads, and little ones alike can relate to Clover and his story.  And having the Clover the Bunny for little ones to hold and love along with the book just warmed my heart.

Creating Clover and the Shooting Star to comfort my family in a time of need helped others in their time of need too.  There is no bigger reward than that.