Thursday, December 22, 2011

Friday, December 16, 2011

Chicken Licken Illustration for SCBWI Tomie dePaola Contest

I created this piece for the SCBWI Tomie dePaola contest. He selects an excerpt from a classic picture book to illustrate and the winner gets a free trip to New York for the winter conference. He wants to see something different, so I thought I would give all those birds alternative means of transport. I've never drawn so much poultry in my life!

He chose this excerpt from "Chicken Licken" for us to illustrate:

So they went along and went along until they met Turkey Lurkey
“Good morning, Goosey Loosey, Ducky Daddles, Cocky Locky, Henny Penny,
and Chicken Licken,” said Turkey Lurkey, “where are you going?”
“Oh, Turkey Lurkey, the sky is falling and we are going to tell the King!”
“How do you know the sky is falling?” asked Turkey Lurkey.
“Ducky Daddles told me,” said Goosey Loosey.
“Cocky Locky told me,” said Ducky Daddles.
“Henny Penny told me,” said Cocky Locky.
“Chicken Licken told me,” said Henny Penny
“I saw it with my own eyes, I heard it with my own ears,
and a piece of it fell on my tail!” said Chicken Licken.
“Then I will go with you,” said Turkey Lurkey, “and we will tell the King!”

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Illustration Friday - Round

From the sketchbook. I love drawing extra round animals and kids and especially cats – I think it makes them way cuter!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Perfect Holiday Gift Idea

One of my favorite websites is where artists create and post illustrated recipes. I've posted 2 recipes on it so far:
Balsamic Strawberry Salsa and Chocolate Eclair Cake. They published a book with some of the hundreds of awesomely illustrated recipes – I've drooled over it at the book store – it's gorgeous! Food and art at its best! Buy one for everyone on your list!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

November is Picture Book Month

November is a busy month! To go along with PiBoIdMo, November is also Picture Book Month. Here's a little history: with an unprecedented amount of picture books being converted to the digital format, Dianne de Las Casas decided it was time to celebrate picture books in their printed format so she created an initiative to designate November as “Picture Book Month.” Katie Davis, Elizabeth Dulemba, Tara Lazar, and Wendy Martin came on board to champion the cause and spread the word.

Each day in November, a new essay about picture books will be posted on the website from such notable contributors as Suzanne Bloom, Denise Fleming, Leslie Helakoski, Eric A. Kimmel, Tammi Sauer, Dan Yaccarino, and Jane Yolen. It will also feature links to picture book resources, authors, illustrators, and kidlit book bloggers.
Join the celebration!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

PiBoIdMo 2011

It's time for Picture Book Idea Month! For those who don't know, November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) where writers challenge themselves to write a certain amount of words every day in November, then hopefully have a finished novel at the end of the month.

Tara Lazar, a children's book writer started PiBoIdMo to coincide with NaNoWriMo for picture book writers. The challenge is to come up with an idea for a picture book every day in November. I participated in PiBoIdMo 2 years ago, and I'm signed up to do it again! It really helps stretch your creative muscle!

Check it out! There will be guest posts and prizes all month.

p.s. Isn't the banner cute? One of my critique partners, Bonnie Adamson, created it and I think it's as cute as a bug (oh, wait, it IS a bug!) She did such a wonderful job!

Thursday, October 06, 2011

For Steve

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma--which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary." - Steve Jobs

I wonder if the new iphone is named 4S to mean FOR STEVE?

Monday, September 12, 2011

New Recipe for They Draw and Cook

After turning this in to the contest, the background color kept bugging me, so I tweaked it some. I like it much better. And I moved some stuff around a bit. What do you think? I wonder if I could update it on the website?

My latest project for the website They Draw and Cook's kid-friendly recipe contest. This dessert is so easy to make and really tasty!

Friday, August 12, 2011

14 Cool Things to Do in St. Louis

St. Louis by redheadedstepchild64

My latest project is an illustrated map of my home town that I've submitted to the site They Draw and Travel. I love that site – check it out!

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Help an old broad help some amazing girls

One of my favorite bloggers is trying to raise $50,000 in 50 days for her 50th birthday for WriteGirl.

WriteGirl is a nonprofit organization for high school girls centered on the craft of creative writing and empowerment through self-expression. Through one-on-one mentoring and monthly workshops, girls are given techniques, insights and hot tips for great writing in all genres from professional women writers.

Since I'm not rolling in the money just quite yet, I thought I'd help a girl out and help promote her worthy effort. So, if you're feeling generous, click on the pic in the sidebar and give as little as $5! And you get prizes! And if she raises the money, she's gonna shave her head. Love her chutzpah! (Oh, by the way, that's pronounced "hoot-spa," not "choot-spa" the way some people [can you say Michelle Bachmann?] think it's pronounced!) So if you like girls, writing, prizes and feeling good, give some moolah to this cause!
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Monday, July 25, 2011

The Importance of Presentation

data cake
Image by EpicGraphic
I love this simple graphic! It visually explains the difference between a good presentation and a boring one. To explain the graphic design business, for instance, the first two images are what I get from a client and the third image is what I give back to them.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

New Work for My Children's Illustration Portfolio

I'm trying to get more interaction and storytelling in my images and I've been working on this image (posted on Easter). I think it fits more into the children's book arena than it did before - what do you think?

Monday, April 04, 2011

A Change of View

Blogger has added a new feature that makes it easy to view your blog several different ways. You can view it as a sidebar, flipcard, mosaic, snapshot or timeslide view – change the blue scroll bar on the top right to see other views. My favs are the snapshot view and the mosaic view. Here's the snapshot view:

And here's the mosaic view:

Learned about this new feature from Alicia PadrĂ³n. Thanks Alicia!

Click here to try it out and view my blog differently.

Type "/view" at the end of your address to see your own blog like this.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patty's Day!

I know I'm probably behind the times with this, but I just recently watched the movie "The Secret of Kells" and wanted to give it a shout out on St. Patrick's Day. If you haven't seen this movie, rent it, or better yet, buy it! The story is good, but the visuals are so over-the-top awesome.

It's based on the story (folklore?) of how The Book of Kells was created. The beautiful graphic nature of the images just blows me away - as I'm both a children's illustrator and graphic artist, they just give me goosebumps! I don't know much about The Book of Kells, but I've seen glimpes of the art, and it looks gorgeous!

Here are some images from the movie – aren't they awesome?

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Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Why So Serious?

I so love the rock singer Pink! She is so freaking cool! I identify with her so much - she seems to have that hard outer coating and a soft, gooey center just like I have. And lately, her song "Raise Your Glass" has been my theme song (I even changed my ring tone on my phone to this song!). Why? Because I've always been the weird one and very loud (ask my former co-workers)! And I've always been ok with that - I didn't even care if I fit into any cliques in high school - I was just friends with everyone.

I just love the line "Raise your glass if you are wrong, in all the right ways ... all my underdogs, we will never be anything but loud and nitty gritty, dirty, little freaks" and of course, the "WHY SO SERIOUS?" phrase. Most of my loudness comes from my laughing - I gotta laugh. I've always dealt with life with humor and silliness.

Anyway, an example of this silliness was the other day. I was trying to shovel the snow off the driveway, but with the 4" of ice underneath it, it was impossible. The sun was out, it wasn't too cold, so I decided to make a snow dog. I was out there all alone, but I'll tell you, it was the most fun I had for a while! I even found myself giggling to myself. I didn't get to take a picture until the next day, and it had melted a little, but here he is! Just a little silliness for you!

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Wednesday, February 02, 2011

How to Deal with a Bad Day

I got this little gem in my email this morning and had to repost it - it contains some real wisdom for how to think about those "bad days."

by Christine Kane 

Let's face it. No matter how much progress we make, we're still going to have "bad days."

You know the ones.

When the old critical voices are milling about drinking martinis in your head. You try to send them all away with your favorite powerful affirmation, but only a few of them even look up - and one of them turns away and snickers.

So, what do you do when no matter what you do, you're just icky?

Very few success-gurus or business coaches talk about the bad day. Rarer still is any discussion on the process of following your dreams or building a business and the persistence it takes to break through old patterns.

Sometimes it helps to hear someone be honest about this stuff. Not so that you can indulge in self-pity about how hard you have it. But so that when the bad day strikes, you have some leverage and you KNOW WHAT TO DO! (Or not to do!)

So, how do you get through a bad day?

Here's a few things that help me. Let them help you too...

1 - The icky voices do not tell the truth.
They're just your old voices coming up to feed. Do not feed them. This is what makes them stay.

2 - This is not who you are.
The voices like to tell you that this messed up person is who you really are and that the rest of the world doesn't have these same flaws.

Not true.

This is just a temporary set back. That's all.

3 - Lattes don't take the voices away. It just makes them go faster.
Bad Days are not a call to rush out to Starbucks, hoping that if you move faster, it will all go away. If there's any action that needs to be taken now, it's probably a nap.

4 - You can put off your productivity until tomorrow.
Consciously choosing to be unproductive is much more effective than spending the day wondering why you can't get anything done. It really is okay to put down your goals and to-dos for one day. You can return to them tomorrow. Today, make it your goal to consciously do nothing.

5 - Everything seems worse when you're tired or hungry.
If you are tired or hungry, that could be the primary cause of feeling bad. Eat something yummy. Take a nap. Go somewhere and sit quietly.

1 - Stop feeling bad about feeling bad.
If it helps, make today a container. Know that you're allowed to have this stuff and that nothing horrid is going to happen with this one day of getting thrown off.

2 - Make no decisions.
The late Richard Carlson, author and psychologist, gave this great advice: "Never make decisions when you're in a low mood." That's because low moods are a natural occurrence and that any low-mood decisions are typically not healthy. Put off all decisions when you're having a bad day.

3 - Don't read fashion magazines. Or the news.

4 - Take a 20 minute walk.
Bring a gentle affirmation along with you. On days like this you don't want to say, "I am master of the universe!!!" On days like this you want to say, "I am loved. I am precious."

5 - Don't try to FIX yourself today.
No need to rush to the Self-Help section at Borders. Maybe there are steps you can take toward being healthier in the big picture. But today, let yourself stop.

6 - Lower your standards.
If you eat a good healthy meal, be proud. If you do a little yoga, give yourself a high five. Tomorrow you can have your old high standards back and be productive and evolved and all that. Not today.

7 - Say NO to anything if it's motivated by the word "should."
This is a good rule to follow on good days too!

8 - Ask yourself what you feel like doing.
Sometimes the answer to this can be surprising. Maybe you'll want to begin a fiction audiobook and clean your closet! Maybe you'll just want a nap. Don't judge your response. Just do it. You might be surprised at how this one little bit of permission changes your state instantly!

9 - Don't do anything destructive.
Don't overdose on sugar or indulge in alcohol. Don't call anyone who drains you. It will not help.

Be very, very kind to yourself.

That the victory is not about not having bad days anymore. The victory is that you can get back up after having one.

Christine Kane is the Mentor to Women Who are Changing the World. She helps women uplevel their lives, their businesses and their success. Her weekly LiveCreative eZine goes out to over 12,000 subscribers. If you are ready to take your life and your world to the next level, you can sign up for a F.R.E.E. subscription at
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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Illustration Friday Chicken (in progress)

It's been fun looking at all the chickens this week. And the Twitterverse is clucking! Jannie Ho (chicken girl) suggested the word and since I consider her one of my Tweeps, I had to join in on all the chickeny fun! I'm still not done with it, but I thought I'd post it before the word changes.

Strangely enough, just the other day, one of my BFFs was telling a story about singing the song "Chicken Train" in her office at work (to everyone's amusement!) Everyone just looked at her as if she was a crazy woman, since no one remembered the song. She asked me if I remembered it and I broke out into song! Does anyone else remember it? It's from the 70s or 80's and it's by The Ozark Mountain Daredevils. I'm not sure that many people even heard of them outside of Missouri, but they were a staple on our local rock station KSHE 95. So the song has been on a continuous loop in my brain all week and I felt I had to take advantage of it! It's a silly, funny song! Click on the video to hear the song while you enjoy my visual Chicken Train!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Theme for 2011– Become

Sorry I've been away for a while - I'm still trying to deal with my mother's sudden passing on Thanksgiving. Boy, grief can really surprise you - it can sneak up on you at the most inopportune times! It creeps into all the little crevices in your life that you weren't even aware were there!

I've finally decided that my theme word for 2011 is "become." I need to really become a working artist/illustrator and stop chasing after the quick money fix (which rarely worked anyway!) To become comfortable with working for myself (is that even possible?) I know fear is always going to be my sidekick, so I need to accept that, too. So my word is BECOME.