And thanks for visiting! This blog has given me the opportunity to share my work with the WORLD! Isn't that amazing to think about?! It seems, almost overnight, the world has shrunk in size. Please continue to visit. I hope you like what you see.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


I thought I'd share with you my next two painting projects. I'm excited to get working on them. I'll be working back and forth on both to save me some time. Since these will be painted in oils, I will always have something to work on while waiting for drying time on one or the other. The final pieces will be 18"x24".

I may do some minor tweaking with the sketch of the girl and cat. I'll probably add a necklace to the both of them. I think it just needs a little more.

Hope you like them!

Saturday, August 4, 2012


When I received a runner up reward from Creative Quarterly for their issue 27 competition, I had mixed feelings- happy that my art had been acknowledged but disappointed that it was a runner up. You see, the runner up awards aren't published in their magazine. The only place to view these pieces is on their website (www.cqjournal.com). I truly appreciated receiving the award and felt quite honored actually, but I also wanted to see my artwork in their magazine. Feeling determined, I decided to enter their competition for issue 28.

I thought of all the illustrations I had completed over the last few months and decided to enter something quite different from my previous entry. This entry wouldn't be narrative (tells a story). It would be conceptual (based on an idea, thought or word)- a form of illustration which seems to be acknowledged in competitions more so than the narrative. Well, I guess I was wiser with my decision this time around because I actually received another award, and this time it wasn't a runner up! Yippee and Wahoo!!!

The Creative Quarterly Issue 28 will hit the stands in November and I will be in it!!! If you live near a Barnes and Noble, go pick one up or order one online!

Here's my winning piece. The title is "HOT":

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


This was one of my very first illustrations I ever completed at UVU. It was an assignment for my Illustration 1 class. Wow! It seems so long ago! A professor from the English Department at UVU was creating online ESL readers for anyone who was interested in learning English. My teacher thought it would be great to help him out with some illustrations. Our class accepted the project and chose to illustrate two books. Each student illustrated one page out of one of the books. The book I was assigned was about kittens. I don't remember the story exactly I just remember that my page was, "Kittens get sick."

After looking back at some of my old works, I realized this would make a great coloring page, so I decided to ink it up. Here ya go!

I hope, that by posting my original illustration, I haven't swayed you to use the colors I personally chose. I would LOVE to see the creativity of your kids. Maybe in their version each cat would have polka dots or stripes. Maybe the kittens are sick with chicken pocks. Maybe they will be colored blue because they are sad. I don't think I could even come close to imagining what your kids can come up with but I would sure like to see their works when their done. Scan them in, when their finished, and email them my way. Maybe I'll post some up on my blog!

For those that are having a difficult time trying to figure out how to print these, here's some directions for you to follow.

SAVING AND PRINTING DIRECTIONS: (This is how I would go about printing from my IMac. It may be a little different on your computer, but I hope this, at least, helps some.)

1. On your computer, create a file, title it Coloring Pages, and save it on your desktop or somewhere convenient.
2. On my blog, click on a coloring page to enlarge and isolate it.
3. Right click on the image and choose "SAVE IMAGE AS"
4. Rename the page, if you would like, or just keep it as it is.
5. Choose to save it to the file on your computer which you had previously created.
6. Click "SAVE"
7. Now the coloring page is saved on your computer and in your file. Open your file and then click on the coloring page you would like to print to open it as well.
8. Go to the top of your monitor, scroll down under "FILE" to "PRINT". I've created my coloring pages so that they can each be printed at 100%. No need to reduce the size. They fit perfectly on an 8.5 x11 sheet of paper.
9. You may need to rotate the paper from portrait to landscape depending on the page you are printing. Click "PRINT"
10. You should now have a coloring page to enjoy with your children. Have FUN!!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


As I arrived Monday morning at the Writing and Illustrating For Young Readers Conference (WIFYR), goosebumps suddenly ran up and down my arms. Not because I was cold (How could I be? It was 80+ degrees already and getting warmer by the minute), but because I felt quite anxious about what I was about to face. Was I going to walk into a classroom full of published writers with years of experience who knew everything there was to know about anything or was I going to walk into a classroom full of people like me- people who weren't published but had a tremendous desire and drive to learn? Oh, how I hoped the answer to that question was the latter. I felt quite inadequate about writing since I had, only recently, began writing down the stories that were circling around in my head. All my fears and concerns were quickly erased as I walked into Trudy Harris'  Picture Book class. She put me right at ease with her warm smile and sweet personality and the others in the class weren't as scary once I saw their faces. Now I could see that they were as eager as me.

 One of many books written by Trudy Harris. Great story!

Trudy, immediately, started us out critiquing each others' stories. She taught as we critiqued, taking every opportunity to enlighten and encourage us. I was amazed at the creativity that flowed on the pages which were laid out in front of me. I hoped others would feel the same about my stories. My critique didn't come that day. That was just fine. My inadequacy was still present.

After lunch, the breakout sessions began. First Alexandra Penfold, editor at Simon and Schuster Publishing, spoke to all who were present at the afternoon sessions of the conference. She shared her thoughts about how people, in general, relate to book characters. Her message was insightful and I took lots of notes. I was amazed at how young she is! Her knowledge seems to fit more within a person who is in his/her 50's or 60's and not in someone so young! I finished the day by attending Anne Bowen's breakout session and then another taught by Trudy Harris.

 I bought this book at the conference. Written by Anne Bowen. FUN BOOK!

Tuesday began with more critiquing and teaching in Trudy's class. My critique didn't happen this day, either. And again, that was just fine.

The breakout sessions began with an address by John Cusick, author and literary agent for Scott Treimel NY. He spoke of the importance of the first line. He shared examples of first lines in stories that, immediately, capture the attention of the reader and cause him/her to continue reading. I appreciated his words and continue to remind myself of something he said. "Every line is the first line to the rest of your story." LOVE it!!!

After John's address, I attended a panel discussion and then closed the day with Sherry Meidell's breakout session where she shared her thoughts about sketching. This is the second time in which I've had the pleasure to be in this great woman's presence and I have to say, I think she's amazing! She is such a friendly person and full of life! I can tell she loves her family, tremendously, and loves life just as much. Such a fun person. I feel warm fuzzies when I think of her. Truly!

 One of many books illustrated by Sherry Meidell

Well, Wednesday was the day for my critique. It was a little nerve wracking for me, but everyone, kindly, shared their thoughts and ideas about how to make my stories better. I was relieved that not only did the class share their thoughts verbally but also in writing (which was passed back to me after the critique). I was bombarded with so many different opinions and suggestions that I knew, unless these words were written down, I would, most likely, forget more than half of them by the time I returned home. Whew! It, actually, went better than what I had thought! In several incidences, my stories actually had the class cracking up! I'm glad they got my sense of humor!

Ruth Katcher, editor at Egmont Publishing, started the afternoon sessions for the day. She shared her thoughts about writing with an authentic voice- a voice we know well because it comes from within our head. Great thoughts. Again, took lots of notes. I finished my day with Julie Olson's breakout session. She shared some great insights into the creation of a dummy book and I learned some things I didn't know before! Oh, how I love it when I learn something new! Great class, Julie!

 I believe this is the first book Julie has written and illustrated. Not sure about that but the book's so cute!

I arrived at the conference, Thursday morning, to an already busy Amy Hackworth, our class assistant for the week. Before I could enter the classroom, she called my name and motioned me over to her side. She asked me, while holding a phone to her ear, if I had received her email the night before. I answered, no. She continued by telling me to hold on a moment while she left a message for the person on the other end of the line. Thoughts rushed through my head. Am I in trouble? Uh oh, what did I do now? Once Amy hung up her phone she pulled me over into a corner and told me Trudy liked one of my stories so much that she had referred me to Alexandra Penfold for a private consultation to review my manuscript for possible publication. Wow! Really?! She told me my appointment was at 11.00 am and not to share this with the rest of the class because not everyone would get this opportunity. She told me, when it was time for my appointment, to get up from my desk and leave quietly and to return the same way. All week, the classroom was a little chilly, but on Thursday, it seemed exceptionally cold. I bet it wasn't really any cooler that day. I bet my unsettled nerves played a part.

What an honor it was to meet with Ms. Penfold. She was straight forward and to the point. She didn't think my story was right for Simon and Schuster and she thought it would offend cat owner/lovers. I appreciated her frankness. Well, if you didn't know before, you know now. This story of mine is about cats. I respected her comments, although she did share with me that she is deathly allergic to cats and, for this reason, has never owned a cat and so could be a little biased. Oh well. But since I wasn't expecting any personal contact with the editors or agents during the conference, I wasn't too bothered by her rejection. I also know that just because one editor doesn't like a story doesn't mean that all editors won't like the story. I still look to this moment as the highlight of my week. My mentor/teacher liked my story so much that she referred me to an editor! That, alone, made my week!

I finished off the day listening to Trent Reedy, author, speak about his inspiration for his book. What a touching and inspirational story and man! I felt the tenderness in his voice as he shared his experiences with us.

Friday, was the end of the conference. More teaching by Trudy and book signing. I bought her book, Tally Cat Keeps Track, which she signed for me. Her son illustrated the book. We ended our class discussing cover letters and then spent some time on questions and answers.

Another book written by Trudy Harris. I love the many layers she incorporates into her stories.

The afternoon session was filled with learning. My first breakout session was with Kristyn Crow. She taught that each page of a book should be treated as a door which opens to the next page. Not only should the words flow smoothly, from page to page, but the illustrations as well. She shared lots of thought provoking ideas which I will ponder as I write and illustrate my books.

 I haven't read any of Kristyn's stories as of yet, but they look like so much fun!

I also attended a breakout session with Christopher Robbins. Just to clarify, NOT Christopher Robin! Not too long ago, he left his position as CEO at Gibbs Smith Publishing, and has recently started a company called Familius which he, because of its size, holds the position as CEO and editor. He shared his knowledge about the technology and digital age we are currently living in.

The last breakout session of the day and also the last of the conference, which I attended ,was taught by Allison Randall. She shared her thoughts about using true tales in our stories. We have many things that happen to us from day to day. We can look to those experiences as we write our stories. Some of the most bizarre things we read could have actually come from someone's reality. Interesting to think about.

Allison's first picture book. And an award winner to boot! Based on a true story.

I left the conference feeling more than simply satisfied with the information and knowledge I had gained. The teachers were wonderful and inspiring. Some traveled far and sacrificed their time with family, work, etc. to share their thoughts with us. I appreciate their willingness to teach me and the others at the conference. These people are the experts in the field of writing and illustrating. Could I have learned from anyone better? I don't think so.

Monday, June 25, 2012


As I review my life, it is clear for me to see that I have been greatly blessed by many wonderful people who have encouraged and supported me throughout my life as I have endeavored to accomplish my goals- whether personal or professional. When I have been discouraged, frustrated, even lost or ready to give up, there has always been someone to come into my life who would lend a listening ear or share some great wisdom which would, eventually, help me get back on track. I believe these people to be a great gift to me and indeed very precious. I have wondered how I could ever give back to them as much as they have given me and I have wondered if it was even possible.

There's a commercial on TV, and I can't remember what it's advertising, that shows one person doing something kind for someone as another observes the good deed. Then the commercial continues with the observer doing something kind for someone else as another person observes that good deed. And it continues with each observer becoming the giver or doer of some other kindness. While I watched this commercial it reminded me of the idea of 'paying it forward'. Thoughts of what I could do to pay forward the acts of kindness which have been shown me started to flow.

I thought of my talents and abilities and the priorities I have placed over certain things in my life and which I felt I had in common with the people around me. It then became clear that there was at least one thing I could do right now to pay it forward. Family is my first and foremost priority in my life as, I'm sure, it is to others. Even though my children are grown, they are still so very important to me and I believe that others' children are just as important to them. So, my paying forward is a gift to the children- our greatest gift and our first and foremost priority. I've decided to create coloring pages that I will place on my blog, from time to time, for you to print and share with your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, etc. It's just a simple act of kindness from me to you but I hope you and your children will enjoy them.

And here's the first one!

And one other thing... I would LOVE for you to send this page back to me, after it's been colored! I'll then choose some to post back up on my blog. Kids will get a kick out of that! Won't they just love seeing their works of art on the computer screen?! Fun, fun, fun!!!

Saturday, June 9, 2012


During one of my classes this last semester, we were required, for a period of time, to work on caricatures in our sketchbook. We were to use celebrities so that our teacher would know what the person we were drawing was supposed to look like. This made it easier for him to compare our caricatures to the actual person. This project was great fun but sometimes difficult. As an artist, I had to decide what to exaggerate. Sometimes, I didn't know which direction to go. Sometimes, I had no idea what to focus on because some people are just, well, simply put,... plain (to put it bluntly) with no distinct features at all. It was interesting for me to come to the conclusion that these "plain" people are actually the most difficult to caricaturize. It seems easier for me to focus on a person's big nose or squinty eyes or big teeth rather than to be faced with someone with ordinary features.

So, get this! For our final caricature project, our teacher just had to assign the class to draw Ryan Seacrest! Can you get any plainer than him? Wow! Talking about difficult! Our teacher didn't think any of our drawings looked like him. He thought mine looked like Vanilla Ice! What?! Oh well. I guess I have some more practicing to do.

Below are some of my sketches from my sketchbook. Can you tell who they are? As I mentioned before, they are all celebrities.

And here's my final drawing of Ryan Seacrest. I finished it off by inking it and then throwing a watercolor wash over it. The finished product is actually quite large so I haven't been able to get it scanned as of yet. Sorry, but my little scanner just won't do the job. So for now, you'll have to settle for the pencil sketch.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


I'm just finishing up the details on a couple of children's books I've written over the last few months and I'm excited to get working on the illustrations. I'm not sure on a style though. I'm taking a class right now at Utah Valley University that has given me the opportunity to experiment a little regarding my dilemma. I'm typically not a digital person. I would rather throw a watercolor wash down with pen and ink or paint in acrylic but this class has given me new options to look at.... digital options. I wish the class would have given me a whole semester to experiment just with different children's book styles, but the class covers not only children's books but fashion illustration, and caricatures, so my time was limited on my experimentation.

Below are two different children's books styles I worked with during the class. The first was created in Adobe Illustrator. I threw a texture over the top of it to give it some interest. I actually really like the texture.  The second I drew with pen and ink then scanned it in and colored it in Adobe Photoshop. I think I like this style the best. I feel I have more control over the shapes of the children, scenery, props, etc. when I draw freehand. I don't have a Wacam tablet and I have never been trained on how to use one so the block shapes for shadows, highlights, etc. would probably be my chosen way of rendering digitally (at least for now).

As I mentioned previously, I'm typically not a digital person. Maybe I should just stick with the the ol' watercolor, pen and ink. What do you think?

Monday, April 2, 2012


Well, I don't know if I can actually say I was published, but I guess I will until someone tells me differently. You see, I was awarded a runner up award by Creative Quarterly for one of my paintings (issue 27)! Yippee and Yahoo!!! But since it's only a runner up award it won't be published in their quarterly magazine. It will only be shown on their website. That's okay by me, though. I still think it's a great honor. So be sure to look for it in June at www.cqjournal.com.

The funny thing is, and I don't know how it all happened, but my painting was mistakenly placed under the photography category! Funny, hu?! When Creative Quarterly sent me the CQ 27: Credit Information sheet, they asked me to fill in any missing information which was highlighted in red. I looked it over and noticed the category they had me listed under was photography! I crossed out photography and typed in illustration along with all the other information they were requesting. I sent them a separate email as well explaining the mistake. Haven't heard back from them yet. Maybe they'll revoke my award once they find out it's not a photograph! Haha! But anyway, whatever they decide, it's been fun!

Here's the sheet they sent me!

Monday, January 9, 2012

 Back To School For ME!

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's Back to School I Go! Oh, Woops! That goes with a different story. Um, well, anyway, It is back to school for me and like I've mentioned before, during the school term, I put on my blinders so all I can see is projects. My postings will, for now, probably become minimal if not extinct. So sorry, but I hope you've enjoyed what I've posted over this winter break and I hope to see you in the Spring!

This illustration is from my Children's Book Illustration class which was taught by the wonderful, amazing, and talented, Will Terry. He's an amazing children's book illustrator! I love his style! (And NO! I'm not getting extra credit for saying this! Just to let you know!) But really, you should check him out sometime!

Saturday, January 7, 2012


Well, I went and did it! I submitted my work, for the first time EVER, to a professional and prestigious illustration competition! I can't believe I did it! I was shaking like a leaf on a tree as I sized my photos to their specific dimensions and filled out the forms on line. I have to say thank you to so many of you for your encouragement and compliments. If it wasn't for you, I wouldn't have even thought about it. Many of you have so many wonderful things to say about my illustrations but to me, well, my work still needs work. I don't really and truly believe I'll be accepted into their magazine, but I accomplished something I haven't accomplished before and I believe the next time I submit work, 1. It will be better work, and 2. I won't be so freaked out about it! It's probably best that I now forget I even submitted the work so I won't add more stress onto my plate over the next few months. School adds plenty of stress enough, thank you. No more is needed.

Thank you again! Here are a couple of the pieces I submitted.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Someone asked me if the painting from my last post was for a story. Well, yes it is, but probably not a story that any of you know of. You see, I actually make up a story before I even decide what to paint. Let me explain this further by sharing, with a little bit more depth, my current method of choosing what I paint and how I go about it.

The first thing I do is think of a story. It isn't as hard as you may think. I open my mind to the world of children. What do they like to do, what do I see them doing, and when do I see the most excitement or passion coming from their hearts? Sometimes I focus the story around the season we are presently in, but that's not always the case. Sometimes, I decide if I want a girl for my main character or if I want a boy, but that's not always the case either.  I don't force the story. I go to bed while thinking of children and then let my mind do its thing. Basically, I fall asleep telling myself a story. Don't get me wrong. It's not a detailed story but the basics are there. I'll dream of different pages of the story. What the character will be doing, his/her expression, attitude, and the direction I want to go, will start becoming clear. I'll write down just bits and pieces of the story. At this point in time of my life, I'm not trying to write a full blown finished and publishable story. My only desire at this time, is to try to capture the essence of the story with a single illustration.

After I have the story figured out, I decide what the page layout will be. Will it be tall (portrait), wide (landscape), or square? I try to commit to a tradition book dimension. I then start on the thumbnail sketches. These sketches are only just a little larger than 1 inch by 2 inches and are very loose. They are very similar to scribbles.  No reference material is used at this time. During this process, I refer to my notes of the story. I'm not trying to illustrate the whole book. My goal is to capture a moment in time- that one precise second or moment that defines and clarifies the character and the story. You could think of it as if I'm illustrating the book cover. Now, I don't do a ton of thumbnails. I've heard of some artists that will sketch out 80 ideas just for one painting. That's not me. If I get out 20 ideas then I'm more than happy with myself. While I'm sketching, I'm thinking about the age of the child, his or her hair color, and the mood I want to achieve. I may have different versions to one idea. I may try a different perspective or maybe cropping it or pushing it back in space. It is important, during this time, to keep in mind the time frame I'm working with. The more characters I have in my illustration the more time it will take to finish.

Once I figure out what I want to paint, then it's time to find my reference material. I start my search for my model/s, props, and location. Once I've accomplished finding everything and everyone on my list then it's time for a photo shoot. I take photos of the models separately and then together. The props too. I keep my thumbnail sketch in my hands or on the ground next to me so that I can refer to it often. I want to have the same posture, positioning, pose, perspective, and emotion in my photos as to what I have in my thumbnail sketch. I take a TON of pictures and I mean a TON! And sometime, after I look on my computer at what I've shot, I realize I need more! There's so much that needs to be just right- lighting, expressions, perspective, etc.

After I've gathered my reference material, I then return to the drawing board. I rely constantly on my reference material now. I tighten up my thumbnail sketch by referring to my photos. The finished drawing will be quite tight and quite detailed. It will be fairly close to being exactly what I paint. It seems there is always something I change while I'm actually  painting it. I'll do a value study based on this drawing as well. It will give me a map of where the lights and darks will be in my painting. Once I'm satisfied with my drawing, I enlarge it to fit my board, transfer it onto my board, seal the drawing, and then I'm ready to go.

Whew! Finally, the painting (and the fun) begins!