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.

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!