Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A New Nephew and a New Book

Wow, it's been almost a month since I've posted. I've been wicked busy. But I have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. The whole family made a pilgrimage to Atlanta for Thanksgiving (no pun intended) to see my brand-new four-week-old nephew Charlie. He one of the cutest newborns I've ever seen (and I'm not saying that just because I'm his aunt!)

Now for the new book. "If a Monkey Jumps Onto Your School Bus" is now officially available on Amazon

For anyone out there that likes to color, here is a "If a Monkey Jumps Onto Your School Bus" color page. For more coloring pages and more info about the book visit my website. (Click on the image to view larger and to print.)

Monday, November 05, 2007

Chinese Review

I googled the title of my book this evening and found this great review on a Chinese blog. I'm sure it made more sense in the original Chinese. But this is how google translated it. I kind of like it this way...


May I please have a cookie?
Written by Jennifer E. Morris

小鱷魚喜歡吃cookie,媽媽希望他有禮貌的說please才能吃,不過小鱷魚還是想了一些方法要拿到cookie,他先裝扮成爸爸的模樣,結果失敗了;又用釣勾偷釣餅乾,也被媽媽發現了,還用紙做了假餅乾,但他哭了,他想要真的cookie,媽媽說你的cookie看起來很好吃,問他說:May I please have a cookie?他才知道要用這樣的方式,可以吃到又香又好吃的餅乾囉~ The small crocodile like to eat cookie, and her mother hope that he can be polite to say please eat, but small crocodile or to a number of methods to get cookie, he first herself as a father's appearance, which ended in failure; Also stolen by fishing hook fishing biscuits, was also found his mother, but also the use of paper made false biscuits, but he cried, He wanted to really cookie, the cookie my mother said you look good to eat, asked he said: May I please have a cookie? He should know that only in this manner can eat and incense and delicious biscuits 1,10 ~

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Spiders Spiders Everywhere

I've volunteered to help out with the elementary school's haunted house fund raiser this year. What a mistake that was! I haven't been able to sleep because I keep scheming up new things for the haunted house. I'm having lots of fun but sheesh! I've gotta get some sleep!

Last night I made these spider nests for the arachnid room. I got the idea from Martha Steward magazine. They used Styrofoam balls but as I discovered styrofoam balls are kind of expensive (who knew?) so I stole a couple of wiffle balls from the garage I think they worked okay.

I'm also making a more ambitious prop - a haunted mirror. I'll post most pictures when I finish building the contraption.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Illustration Friday - Juggle

Moody the Clown attempts to juggle his multiple personalities.

Okay... that was just weird.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Foam Boy

Meet my new buddy Foam Boy. I needed a model for some illos I am doing, so I made Foamy out of some squished styrofoam balls, drinking straws and pipe cleaners. I think he came out kind of cute.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Keene Owl Project

I'm happy to be participating in the Keene college owl project. In conjunction with Keene's children's literature festival the college is asking children's illustrators to donate an illustration of an owl (the school's mascot) to their wonderful collection of original children's book art. And since Keene not too far from where I live and my old high school mascot was also an owl I was happy to contribute.

I started out with an owl on a branch.

I thought it turned out all right, but I figured Keene had plenty of owls sitting on tree branches. So I tried to think of something that might be a little more unusual. Something you don't usually see owls doing. Like, I don't know, shopping for moth-mallows at the local Owl-Mart.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Egad, I've been tagged.

I've been tagged by Edna Cabcabin Moran. Actually, I think I've been tagged a couple of times in the past but never got around to actually writing anything. I suppose it's because I can't ever think of anything interesting to say. But this time I'll give it a go. So this is for Edna and all the folks who have tagged me in the past and I never responded (sorry!)

8 Facts/Habits About Me

1. Um... well... um.... Okay, this is going to be harder than I thought. Oh, I got one! I like to sew. Clothes, curtains, slipcovers, dolls, you name it. My most ambitious project was probably my daughter's flower girl dress - 9 yards of satin and tulle with under-skirts and over-skirts and tons of frills. Someday I hope to try quilting but I just don't have the time right now to start another hobby.

2. I horde fabric. Squirrels stash acorns every where, I've got yards and yards of fabric stuffed all over the house. And I'm gonna use all of it... some day. Maybe when I start quilting - yeah, that's it!

3. I also horde seeds. I pour over the seed catalogs every spring and buy all sorts of odd-ball vegetable and flower seeds. I always have high hopes of planting a lush jungle of vegetables. I daydream about canning bushel baskets of tomatoes and spending crisp fall afternoons canning pickles. But then I get busy shuttling kids to soccer and swim lessons and the poor little seeds lay sleeping in there little paper packets all summer long. Sigh. Maybe next year.

4. My grandmother was a painter too. She had a job painting Xmas displays for The First Christmas Store back in the 40's and 50's. Here's a picture of the type of lawn displays they created. I still keep her brush jar on my work table.

5. I have an odd house plant. It's called a stapelia gigantea. Stapelia gigantea is also called a carrion plant because the flowers are big fleshy things that look like star fish and smell of rotted meat. Although I'm curious, I'm also a bit relieved that mine has never bloomed.

6. I have been entrusted with the family's oldest heirloom. Some families have precious jewels or rare paintings they they hand down through the ages, mine has a pink Christmas cactus. Yep, a Christmas cactus. This particular cactus, has been handed down through six generations of my family. Someone said I had the only healthy cuttings left from the original plant. Let's hope I don't kill it!

7. I grew up in Bradford, PA which is located in Pennsylvania's oil country. Growing up, I had oil wells in my backyard.

8. Phew, just one more. Um, I can plan the piano and the clarinet but neither of them very well.

Now I just have to think of someone else to tag...

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Illustration Friday - Captain

I've been drawing a lot of cute babies and fuzzy animals lately. I needed a little break so I doodled some pirates the other night. I also wanted to play with textures in Photoshop. Of course, I made the captain a woman.

I wasn't really trying to draw anyone in particular but this guy came out looking like some weird evil-pirate version of Cary Grant. Of course, if I actually wanted to draw an evil-pirate version of Cary Grant I probably couldn't do it.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Illustration Friday - Emergency

I just read the picture book "The Incredible Book Eating Boy" by Oliver Jeffers and I loved it. My 6-year-old son loved it too. Which is a big endorsement considering there were no monster trucks or tractors in it. I loved the collage illustrations and it inspired me to try my hand at a collage-y type thing. I guess it's because I'm a mom, but this was the first thing that pops into my head when I hear emergency.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Illustration Friday - Discovery

A few years ago we vacationed in Maine. While we were there we took the kids to a big tide pool. There were thousands of tiny little things to discover there. The longer you look the more you see. And although I didn't actually see this little fish, I bet he was there some where.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Sprucing Up My Website with Dreamweaver

I used to be a Unix C programmer, so I'm used to programming stuff the old-fashioned (i.e. hard) way. And I'm a cheap-skate and didn't want to spend lots of money on some new fangled website building software. But coding and editing my website in Notepad was getting to be a huge drag, so I finally broke down and purchased Dreamweaver recently.

It took me a few days to figure the darn thing out. Okay, I wouldn't say I actually have it figured out yet. That would be an over statement. But I can at least make it do something which is a step in the right direction. And best of all the song "Dreamweaver" has stopped running through my head everytime I open the program.

With Notepad it was such a pain in the fanny to make a change to my site that I only did it when I felt it really necessary. But now... I'm addicted. I can't quit playing with it. Hmmm, maybe Dreamweaver wasn't such a great idea after all. Next... Flash!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

It's Done!

Wow, it's been a while since I've posted. I've been drawing and painting my little tushy off lately. But today I officially finished the artwork for If a Monkey Jumps Onto Your School Bus Yay! I sent all the artwork on it's way this afternoon.

As soon as I update my website I'll post more information about the book and it's availablity. That's another reason why I haven't been blogging, I've been trying to teach myself Dreamweaver. I think I'm finally starting to get the hang of it.

Here is a spread from IMJOSB. This particular spread is for the copyright and dedication information.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Illustration Friday - Suit

Alfie wasn't fooling anyone in his cookie inspector suit - especially his mother. But we are talking cookies here - desperate times call for desperate measures. This is a page from from my book "My I Please Have a Cookie"

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Digital Art for the Traditional Aritist - Photoshop/Painter

I think the best way to get a grasp of what can be done with graphics software is to view other artist's work. So I wanted to mention a few more digital artists that I keep in my inspiration folder (sometimes called my "why-do-I-bother" folder) All these artists use the same software but create very different work - all of it wonderful.

I said in my last post that it's rather difficult to get a watercolor effect on the computer. But Paula Becker's images are done using Painter. And her fun children's illustration have a nice airy feel to them that reminds me of watercolor washes.

Elizabeth Dulemba uses both Photoshop and Painter for her illustrations. Check out this step-by-step progression from her blog.

Carlyn Beccia uses Painter and Photoshop to create wonderfully lush images.

John Nez is primarily a traditional artist but also has a nice gallery of digital work on his website created with Photoshop and Illustrator. Go to the studio section of his site for a discussion of how he uses the computer to create his illustrations.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Digital Art for the Traditional Aritist - Photoshop/Painter

I've been slacking on my blogging this week. It's the last week of school for the kiddos and I've been face painting my little fanny off at various elementary school functions.

I've already talked about Illustrator. I'd like to talk a bit about Adobe Photoshop and Corel Painter. Photoshop and Painter differ from Illustrator because they are primarily raster based packages (not vector based like Illustrator) If you are interesting in making images that mimic traditional oil painting or other traditional painting mediums Photoshop or Painter may be a better program to start with than Illustrator. Also if you are interested in manipulating existing images and photographs (maybe collages?) I would also recommend Photoshop or Painter and not Illustrator.

The following is a piece of mine will give you an idea of the smudgy painterly style that you can accomplish using Photoshop.

Photoshop is my tool of choice. I purchased Painter years ago (version 7) and found it ran REALLY slow on my PC compared to Photoshop so that's why I gravitated toward Photoshop. But I've been told Painter it is much better now and in fact I just received my brand new Painter-X CD in the mail last night and I'm going to give it another chance.

Both of these packages let you use brushes and smudge colors in a way that more closely minics the use of real paints. But which one is right for you?

Photoshop is an industry standard tool that has very large user base and very active support forums. It's also a very stable and robust piece of software. I'm amazed an how stable it is. Every publisher I've worked with has been able to accept and sometimes prefer to receive images in Photoshop file format. And there are gobs and gobs of books on the market about how to use Photoshop.

On the down side, Photoshop's primary function is to manipulate photographs. I believe the number of users that use photoshop strictly as a painting tool is a rather small percentage. Many of the new features that are incorporated into the photoshop are more geared to photographers not painters.

Painter on the other hand is designed for digital painting. There are a mind boggling number of options for fine tuning your brushes and papers. Many more than Photoshop has to offer. But there isn't as large of a user base and not nearly the number of after-market books available.

There are many ways to use these tools. One approach is to mimic traditional materials, such as watercolors, pastels or oils. I think watercolors (especially wet, drippy watercolor) is hard to replicate on the computer. But with other mediums, it can be tough to tell if an image was done digitally or with good old paint and turpentine. How much can these tools mimic traditional media? Check out these artist's websites and you be the judge...

Here's a photoshop piece by Brandon Dorman. Check out the rest of his website. I don't know if it's all Photoshop but it IS all wonderful.

Ryan Church's website is another totally amazing artist that uses Painter to create beautiful concept art. Hmmm, according to his website, he has a DVD out explaining his techniques (I think I gots to get me one of those!)

But you don't just have to copy traditional ways of working. Going digital also opens up a new realm of possibilities. Some people feel that a digital image is only successful if you can't tell that it's digital. I don't subscribe to that theory. Yes, there is a lot of bad digital art out there (there was a lot of bad art done before computers too) But the choice of medium doesn't make an image inherently bad.

Check out Scott E. Franson's work for instance. His lovely children's illustrations (done using Illustrator and Photoshop) definitely have a digital feel to them but they are also sweet and fresh looking.

Hopefully I gave you some ideas about where to start exploring the world of digital art and maybe inspired you to start playing with some of these tools. Because, above all, digital painting is really fun (and it doesn't stain your clothes!)

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Digial Art for The Traditional Artist - Adobe Illustrator

Artists interested in trying their hand at digital art are sometimes confused about what software programs to buy. With good reason. There are lots of packages out there and it is wicked confusing. Unfortunately, there is no one software program that I can recommend that you start with. It really depends on you. My advice would be to look at digital artist's and work and see what speaks to you. Then find out what software they use. Of course you don't want to copy anyone's work, but you will have a better idea of how you want to transition into digital art.

That said, let me introduce you to an artist that uses Adobe Illustrator. The above illustrations are by my friend Jannie Ho. Using Illustrator she creates colorful children's illustrations that are slightly wacky and really adorable. You can see more of her work at

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Digial Art for The Traditional Artist - Adobe Illustrator

I'd like to begin talking about 3 different software applications (Illustrator, Photoshop and Painter) Please if someone has something to add to what I have to say or wishes to correct me feel free. I don't pretend to be the world's expert on this stuff.

I'm going to discuss the applications one at a time. But in reality many artists use a combination of these applications. But if you are a traditional artist just trying to get your feet wet with digital work, it may not be practical to shell out $1500 and buy Illustrator, Photoshop and Painter all at once. I hope to just give you a little overview of each so you have an idea what each does. And maybe have an idea where you might want to start exploring.

This week, let's talk about Adobe Illustrator.

When I dove into computer art several years ago, I was trying to do a very graphic type art. Like this Xmas card design...

It was this very design that I was struggling to do in gouache. And I couldn't get all the deer exactly the same and the stars weren't lining up. And I thought there must be an easier way to do this on the computer. So I bought myself a copy of Illustrator. Which was darn lucky because Illustrator is just the package to do this sort of geometric, hard-edge sort of work.

I was still using a mouse at the time - I hadn't even bought a pen tablet yet (more about tablets later)

I should start by saying Adobe Illustrator is a vector program. Which means it stores it's images as mathmatical calculations. Why do you care? Because that makes it very good at creating images with hard, crisp lines and geometric forms. It also makes it very easy to enlarge vector files without losing any clarity in the image. Ever try to enlarge a digital photo and you can start to see the little squares, or pixels, that make up the picture. That doesn't happen with vector artwork. You can enlarge something to the size of a wall and it will still be nice and clear. Neat - huh?

But vector artwork is not as good at representing blurry lines or subtle shading (like in photographs). That is best left for raster programs like Painter and Photoshop (more about those later) Now some people will definitely disagree with that last statement. There are some artists that do amazing work with Illustrator and are able to create photo realistic images using just Illustrator. And more and more features have been added that allow for such things. But if you want your art to look like an oil painting, Illustrator is probably not the first tool you want for your toolbox.

If you want a really in-depth discussion about the difference between vector images and raster images you can go to wikipedia vector graphics and wikipedia raster graphics

Here a few other image that I did back when all I had to work with was Adobe Illustrator. As you can see you can do some shading with Illustrator. Incidentaly, I think I did this piece using a mouse also (still hadn't broken down and bought a pen tablet yet.)

I'm certainly not the most proficient Adobe Illustrator artist out there. If you know of any artists that use Illustrator, let me know. It would be fun to share some samples. Also go to the computer graphics section at your local Barnes and Nobles and check out some of the Illustrator books. Browse through them to see what amazing things people can do with the program.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Digial Art for The Traditional Artist

I had someone (hi Tracy!) ask me some questions about digital art. I thought I'd answer here just in case someone else might be interested.

Do I prefer working digitally?
The short answer is yes. I have always been interested in art. I have worked in watercolors, colored pencils and acrylic. I still love diving into paint sometimes. But for me, working on the computer gives me more freedom to experiment. Why? - because of that glorious invention called the "undo" button. Sigh, if only the rest of my life had an "undo" button. If I was working traditionally in watercolor and had spent days working on a painting I would be very reluctant to try anything radical like, I don't know, changing the sky to a deep phthalo blue. But with Photoshop I have that option. If it doesn't work out - click - undo - all better. With watercolors, well, let's just say it wouldn't be good.

Also I'm a bit of a cheapskate, okay, I'm a big cheapskate, and paper and paints are kind of expensive. Granted the computer equipment that I use cost a pretty penny but once I have the equipment it doesn't cost me any more to make 1 digital painting 50. That makes me freer to experiment without worrying that I'm ruining a $7 sheet of paper or wasting a $10 tube of paint.

I do still draw with paper and pencil, I can't seem to get the hang of drawing on the computer. But I use inexpensive mechanical pencil and plain paper for that, nothing fancy.

Is working digitally a skill that someone can learn on their own?

Yep, I did.

I did have a computer background when I started. I was a computer programmer for several years so I did know a little bit about PC's which certainly helps. But my job had nothing to do with computer graphics. I knew nothing about Photoshop or any other graphics application when I started. Everything I've learned has come from books and the internet.

I think it helps to have an art background. I minored in art in college and had some formal art training, although I wish I had more. Some people think that you press a button on the keyboard and the computer will draw things for you. In case you were one of those people, let's get that out of the way right now, COMPUTERS WILL NOT DRAW FOR YOU. You still need to know about things like anatomy and color theory and all that fun stuff.

I'm a traditional artist how do I get started working digitally?
That's a tough one. There are a gazillion ways to work traditionally; watercolor, collage, oils. And there are also a gazillion ways to work digitally. It all depends on what you want to do. There are several graphics applications on the market and they all do something a little different. Over the next few days I will try and post information about some different applications. I'll try and explain what each one does and show you some totally amazing work that folks have done using each one. Hopefully that will give you an idea of where you want to focus your attention.

Of course there is one thing you will need regardless of what application you want to focus. You will need a computer. And if you go out and buy the current version of any graphics software (Photoshop for example) you will need a fairly new, fast, computer. Unfortunately, the Windows95 hand-me-d0wn from your brother-in-law just isn't going to cut it. If your computer is more than a year or two old, there is a good chance it may not run the newest versions of the graphics software. "That stinks!" you say? Yes, it does - sorry.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Wow, what a nice review

I was surfing the internet and found the following review of my book on Epinions. It was such a nice write up I just had to share. Thank you "two elmos"

Incidentally this isn't the first time I've heard of a child using the word please after reading "May I Please Have a Cookie?" Coincidence? maybe.


Sunday, May 13, 2007

Painting Technique - Monkey Cover #7

Front Cover

Back Cover

This is post number 7 showing the steps of painting the cover if "If a Monkey Jumps Onto Your School Bus." I suppose it's lucky number 7 because I'm done! After adding some highlights and details, here is the final product. And best of all, the publisher is happy with it (Yay! that's always a big relief) I scanned a UPC code from another book just to see what it would look like.

I also added the title in. The designer may change it but at least I have an idea of what it might look like.

Friday, May 11, 2007

I love my job

As I was sitting on the edge of my bathtub this evening with sketchbook in hand drawing my toilet, I got to thinking. First, I wondered, how many people have drawn portraits of their potty. Anyone? Anyone? Second, I thought, what a cool job I have that people actually pay me to draw pictures of my toilet. - I really love my job. It's great getting to draw all sorts of odd-ball things. Today I drew a toilet, a baseball mitt, and a giraffe kissing a lunch lady.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Painting Technique - Monkey Cover #6

It's starting to look like something now. I finished up the last little bit of the underpainting yesterday and started laying the colors in. To add color I painted big flat areas using a hard 100% opacity brush. I did this on a separate photoshop layer set to multiply so the underpainting showed through. It's very similar to painting a glaze with oil paints. If I set the new color layer to "normal" instead of "multply" you can see the blocks of color. It looks like this...

Working on a separate layer makes it easier to erase and change colors as I go. When I was all done and happy with the colors, I merged everything into a single photoshop layer so it looks the the version at the top of the post. Now I'm ready to add details and highlights etc.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Illustration Friday - Neighbor

The house next door was abandoned, or so I thought. The windows were boarded up and the gardens in ruin, and I had never seen a living soul on the property. Until one gray Sunday afternoon, I saw a boy on the front lawn. He wore strange, old-fashioned clothes and had a melancholy expression. He stood there watching me through the kitchen the window for a long moment, then he turned and went around the corner of the house. I never saw him again, but later that summer when I was gardening, I found a old and badly weathered toy horse near the fence. Maybe I have a neighbor after all.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Painting Technique - Monkey Cover #5

I'm just about done with the underpainting except for the bus interior and the monkey. This is a monochrome layer that establishes the darks and lights in the painting. This is a relatively new way for me to work but underpainting traditional technique used by painters for hundreds of years. Heck if it's good enough for Leonardo DaVinci, it's good enough for me.

To do this underpainting layer, I don't use black, I use a yucky, mix-all-your-play-dough-together kind of color and white. I paint this in Photoshop following the original pencil drawing that I scanned in. I use a couple of different paint brushes but mostly one called "Dark Pastel" which I think came with Photoshop.

There are some geometric areas of the image that I used Illustrator for. For example, for the grill of the bus, I created all those skinny dark areas in Illustrator, copied as paths into photoshop then used them as my selection. Then all I have to do is color them in. It's way easier than trying to draw them freehand.

I'm hoping to get the underpainting done tomorrow and start adding some color.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Painting Technique - Monkey Cover #4

The next step in the process is painting the final artwork. For this book I'm going to start each illo by doing an underpainting. If you are wondering what an underpainting is, I'll show you next time. But before I start into the final work I like to do a color thumbnail. I take a low res version of the pencil drawing and quickly color it in using Photoshop (see above.) I save these color studies to use as reference as I work on the final. Sometimes I end up changing the colors in the end but at least I have a guide.

One of the great things about working digitally is that I never have to worry about running out of a paint color or forgetting what color I used. I can just open up this color study file use the eye dropper and viola! more paint.

Painting Technique - Monkey Cover #3

Okay just one more post for today then I have to get my fanny in gear and do some more work before I can post any more.

I did this small study of the monkey. I thought it would be funny if the monkey had one of those bead back massager things on the seat and I wasn't quite sure how to paint it. And this first try proves it! He looks like he's sitting on a big ear of corn. I think I could've fixed it, but my husband talked me into leaving the seat plain. He said that if you haven't been to NYC then you wouldn't know what those back-beady things were. Phew, one less thing to worry about it. But if I ever have to draw a seat made of corn, I'm ready! I also noticed today as I'm posting this that the monkey's left ear is smaller than his right, hmmm.

Painting Technique - Monkey Cover #2

Here is step two. I've cleaned up the pencil drawing considerably. Using tracing paper I redrew the piece cleaning things up as I went. I scanned some elements into Photoshop to move and/or resize them then I printed and traced again until I was happy with it. (I go through a lot of tracing paper.) Also I went back into Illustrator and established a horizon line so I could draw all the elements that have to be in perspective (in this case the rows of bus seats) Illustrator is great for that because I can easily make my vanishing points pretty far off the edge of the page if I need to.

I think I am pretty happy with it now. We got the monkey on meds and he's no long looking like he's going to kill someone. And since there are nine animals in the story I wanted to fit them all on the bus some how so now they are all there.

Bus number 68 just happens to be the bus my kids take to school in the morning. Although Carol their bus driver is MUCH better looking and her tail is much shorter (just kidding Carol!)

Painting Technique - Monkey Cover #1

I had a few people say that my last painting demo was useful to help them get started with digital painting so I thought it was about time for another. This time I'm using a different technique for the final art. I haven't finished the piece yet so I'll keeping adding posts as I get to different stages in the process. Feel free to comment and let me know how you think it's progressing.

Above is a rough sketch for the cover of the picture book "If a Monkey Jumps Onto Your School Bus" to be published by Pleasant St. Press The front cover will show the bus from head on and the back of the cover will show the side view of the bus with all the animals sticking their heads out.

Since a bus is mainly squares and straight lines I did an initial drawing of the bus in Illustrator. I find it quicker and easier to draw geometric things like buses and houses that way instead of using a t-square and ruler. Then I printed out my bus and added the characters. I also found a couple of fun fonts on for the title and author's name. One was called "grilled cheese" How can you not like a font called "grilled cheese"?

The monkey behind the wheel is looking a bit psycho at the moment (YIKES) but at least I have something down on paper to start with. I always tell myself to just get it down on paper and fix it later.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

New Studio

Yay! It's done! I have a brand new space to work! I feel a bit guilty having such a great space (I'm not worthy! I'm not worthy!) But I think I can get used to it.

We decided to put my new studio in the attic. I feel a bit like Quasimodo being all the way up here in the belfry but I love it. For the past six years my husband and I have been sharing an office off the bedroom. For a while it worked out fine because the kids were little and he worked during the day and I worked at night but lately we were trying to occupy the space at the same time and it just wasn't working. Something had to be done.

We were lucky that when they built our house they had put in stairs to the attic and had left rough plumbing for hot water heating. But there was still a lot to do. Here is what the attic looked like before we started...

My biggest pet peeve about the old office was that there were no windows and poor lighting. And the attic I was moving to just had one small window so we added 2 skylights and 3 more windows along the far wall of the room. That's more like it!

Here's a view of the other side of the room. There are still somethings to do yet. I'd like to have a nice corner desk. Luckily my husband likes building desks. And I want a big gigundous bulletin board so I don't have to spread out my drawings on the floor anymore. I've already bought some new red fabric to slipcover my old tired sofa (I am SO sick of those flowers!) And I think those big sliding closet doors are just begging to be painted with something interesting. hmmm....

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Illustration Friday - Polar

This is a two-page spread I did for a picture book I wrote called the "Arctic Caboose" about explorer Robert Peary's expeditions to the North Pole. Several people thought I goofed because they didn't think puffins could fly (yep, they can - I've seen 'em)

Kindergarten Book Talk

Click on me to see me run!

The kindergarten kids at our school have to do "book talks" every month. I love book talks, I'm really bummed that this is our last year of doing them. The kids chose a book to bring in and share with the class. In addition to standing up and explaining the book to their classmates they have to do a project related to the book. It was my son's turn today. He chose "Firefighter" by Michael Rex and for the project we made a firefighter. I think he's pretty cute if I do say so myself. We put his legs on with a paper fastener so he could run to the fire. (Click on him and you can see his legs move.) Run Fireman Leo! Run!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Illustration Friday - Fortune

Everyone knows that leprechauns have a fortune hiding at the end of the rainbow. (This particular leprechaun is a St. Patrick's day card I did for Design Design Inc.)

Speaking of leprechauns, I moved to Massachusetts several years ago. When St. Patrick's Day rolled around my neighbors all asked me if my daughter was setting leprechaun traps the night before St. Patrick's Day. I was told that the leprechauns always seem to elude the traps set for them but they do leave treats for the girls and boys that try to incarcerate them.

I grew up in Pennsylvania and my mom was heavily into all the holiday traditions from Santa to the Easter Bunny, but leprechaun traps were a new one to me. Anyone else ever hear of this tradition?

Brand Spanking New Publisher

Congratulations! It's a bouncing baby publisher! New children's publisher, Pleasant St. Press has officially launched their website this week. Visit them at Why am I so excited? Because I am honored to be illustrating one of their very first books "If a Monkey Jumps onto Your School Bus" The illustrations are still in the works but I've been having a ball working on them. It's such a fun story. Hopefully I'll be able to share the cover with you soon.

Well I better get back to work. There are monkeys that need a drawin'.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Spring Cleaning

I've been doing some spring cleaning around the house lately and I thought I'd extend that to my website too. I changed the color scheme and added a few new images. I hope to add more images in the coming weeks. If you have a chance come check it out at

Saturday, April 07, 2007


John Nez's post of these beautiful cherry trees prompted me to post a picture of New England in spring time.

This photo was taken out my window a couple of days ago. My husband built the bench - he's so handy.

Illustration Friday - Green

Kermit always sang, "it's not easy bein' green." But this guy seems to have come to terms with his olive complexion.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Spring has sprung

Here in Massachusetts we aren't enjoying the daffodils like this guy yet but at least there are a few brave crocus poking their heads out. But I heard we are suppose to get snow later this week. sigh.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Alfie is a cover boy

Okay so it's not Time or Newsweek. But Alfie did make the cover of the Scholastic book club flyer this month - he looks darn happy about it too!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Illustration Friday - Hide

Parties are suppose to be fun and happy. But sometimes they are just too loud, too crowded and too everything and you just want to find a quiet place to hide.