Category Archives: Illustrations
Recently I was honored to be asked by author Susanna Leonard Hill to contribute some illustrations for her new how-to write children’s picture books course titled MAKING PICTURE BOOK MAGIC.
As I was already a fan of Susanna (my favorite books by Susanna are: Punxsatauney Phyllis, April Fool, Phyllis! and Can’t Sleep Without Sheep), I was honored to be asked to contribute some original artwork. Three new images have been added to my Digital Images gallery. One of the images, “Carrot Cake”, is shown above!
If you are interested in signing up for Susanna’s course, click on this link: MAKING PICTURE BOOK MAGIC
Clicking on the above link will give you details about the course and also acknowledges the artists that created artwork that accompanies the lessons.
About the course:
Wouldn’t it be great if there was a picture book writing course you could take on your own schedule, that was designed to fit into an active, busy life, and that was also affordable?
Well, guess what? There is!
Making Picture Book Magic is a 4 week course that will teach you how to write a picture book… around the edges of your busy life… for a price you can afford… in a fun, friendly atmosphere. Making Picture Book Magic is designed to be delivered straight to your inbox. You will receive one lesson a day via email, five days a week for four weeks. You get weekends off to unplug, recharge, have family time or do the grocery shopping… or catch up if need be
Besides the weekly lessons, you also have the option of joining the Facebook group where you can get feedback and bond with other writers!
Spaces for the course fill up quickly, so contact Susanna write away (lol, play on words!) to see when you can join the course! Here is the link again: MAKING PICTURE BOOK MAGIC
Hello all, I’m finally getting around to blogging about the new Rate Your Story logo that I designed! Due to a very busy time in my personal life I have been behind in my blog posts, and I wanted to be able to spend some time explaining about the process and the experience of the design of the logo.
If you are a writer and aren’t familiar with Rate Your Story, then you should definitely check them out: http://rateyourstory.blogspot.com/
You can submit your story of any genre for a 1-10 rating by published writers, free of charge! So before you submit your story or article to a publisher, agent, or magazine, why not have a professional take a peek and give you a rating?
Back earlier in 2012, Miranda Paul of Rate Your Story put out a call to illustrators who might be interested in designing a new logo for the website. So I scribbled out a couple of my ideas for the logo and sent them in. I was thrilled when I was contacted a few weeks later and was told that they liked my design and would I be interested in designing the logo? You bet!
I eagerly began cleaning up my original design and chose a font and color. Miranda and the other judges would make suggestions and I would do the revisions and send them back. Here is one of my early drafts of the logo based on my first design:
What came next was, I’ll admit at the time, a bit of a heartbreak for me: they liked the logo, but they wondered if I would mind submitting some different ideas for the logo? I could tell that Miranda was nervous asking me as she knew I had put some time and work already into the logo. I was sad, but I wanted them to be happy; this was after all, their logo! As an artist I must admit that there are times where we fall in love with our ideas, and as an artist you have to be able to take constructive criticism and face the fact that others may just not be as in love with your ideas and designs as you are (the nerve, LOL!). Man I loved those stars! Could I please keep the stars?
Back when I was in school, one of my professors whom I admire greatly, Brian Sauriol, taught us that it’s not a good idea to fall too in love with our work. He would demonstrate this by taking a piece that he spent hours painting, hold it up in front of the class, and destroy it (to the collective groan of the class). Why? Because by falling in love with our work we are essentially making ourselves smaller as an artist. If we get too involved with our work we are not as open to new ideas or viewpoints, and we don’t push ourselves or explore alternative ideas. I pondered that lesson as I got out my sketchpad and set to work on new some designs.
I sketched out some very rough ideas and submitted them, but I wasn’t that thrilled with them. I felt they were a bit boring and flat. There was a lot of back and forth ideas and suggestions through e-mail. Someone had suggested using a person in the logo, so I did another rough sketch. I was happy that that one was scrapped as I felt that the logo was too busy with a person in it. But that didn’t stop me from sneaking in more stars!
Then one day I had an image come to me; I felt it was a long shot away from what they were looking for, but I submitted it anyway with hope. Miranda wrote back that they liked it! I was thrilled because I really liked this design!
The first final logo that I submitted is pretty much straight from my rough sketch.
Miranda replied that they loved it! I was very happy too. Then one more suggestion from Rate Your Story (“What??” my inner artist cried. “But isn’t it perfect as it is?”)
They asked if I could remove the periods from after the numbers, and I feel the logo is cleaner without them. Also, the original final logo that I submitted had a white background. Miranda humbly asked if maybe I could add some color, and expand the quill beyond the border?
Viola! A new logo is born! The above logo, which is longer than the logo that I have at the top of this blog post, was originally modified for the Facebook Page; however we found that it also fit the actually Rate Your Story webpage better than the original condensed logo. So the above logo is what is now displayed at the top of the page.
I also created badges that will be given to people who submit their stories to Rate Your Story to display on their own blogs and webpages. So get busy submitting!
So in the end, Rate Your Story has a spiffy new logo that they are very happy with, and I am very proud to have been able to design it. Not only that, but it was a great experience and it helped me to push the envelope with my own ideas, and the end result I feel is by far better than my original idea for the logo (even without any stars!).
Thank you Miranda Paul and Rate Your Story!
I love this time of the year, don’t you? What other time of the year is it fun to be scared, and where ghoulish, creepy decorations are not only accepted but admired? I feel sad for the kids on the East Coast as due to the predicted “Frankenstorm” (coincidence?), their Trick-or-Treating may be postponed or abandoned.
I do hope that everyone else enjoys a safe and Happy Halloween!
In the spirit of treating, I have posted an image that I am allowing others to save to their computers so that it may be printed out for coloring and decorating by kids (heck, okay, I’ll give the adults permission too!)
Just click on the image and right-click to save the image to your computer. Then you should be able to print it out.
And while you are here…if you look to the right on the sidebar you will see my new “Networked Blogs” where you can follow my blog in one easy click! Don’t miss out on future posts, tutorials, interviews, & give-aways!Please keep in mind however that I am offering this image for personal-use only, and that this image is copyrighted and may not be used in any other format or form unless given permission by the artist. Thank you!
Happy Halloween everyone!
The Dog Days of Summer are actually drawing to a close, but I couldn’t let August go without my wave goodbye to summer as September waits in the wings. As I hang my head in shame for not blogging in so long, I hope I can make up for it in the weeks to come as I plan on being more active in my blogging.
This summer has proved to be very busy for me, from having to buy a new car as my Old Faithful 11yr old Ford Focus bit the dust, to working a great deal of overtime at my work (hey, we all have to pay the bills!), to looking for a new home. So I haven’t done as much artwork as I would have liked, but the past few weeks I have been busy with new projects, one of them the illustration that you see above.
I had a lot of fun illustrating it as Astronomy was always one of my favorite subjects, and the history behind the term “Dog Days of Summer” is a neat one. It has ties to Ancient Greece, Rome, and Egyptian times.
The Dog Days refer to the hottest days of the year, which in the Northern Hemisphere are usually around mid-July to late August. While one may picture an old dog panting and sleeping in the shade to escape the heat when one hears the term, it actually has to do with the star Sirius, which is a part of the constellation “Canis Major”.
In ancient times, during the late days of July and August, Sirius and Canis Major were visible just before sunrise as they travel the same path as the sun during that time of year. Once the sun rises, they disappear from visibility…but they are still there! In Ancient Rome, it was believed that Sirius, being the brightest star in the sky and second only to the sun, must be responsible for the heat as there were “two suns” in the sky during this time. Obviously back then it was not yet discovered that it is the Earth’s axis in proximity to the sun that is responsible for the unbearable heat. While Sirius is certainly the brightest star in the sky, we don’t receive heat from it.
In modern times, one can see Canis Major and Sirius from mid-July to early August just before sunrise, but the term Dog Days are still considered to be August through early September.
I hope everyone has a chance to enjoy the dwindling days of summer before they disappear for another year! Go swimming in a lake, take a bike ride, make s’mores around a campfire, or lay outside under the moon and stars…get outdoors and have fun!
In like a lion indeed! This March is the warmest that I ever remember, and while I absolutely love the warm weather, it has also brought high winds, fog, tornadoes, and hail. Hopefully late March will bring us some of that “lamb” weather! The above cartoon is my slightly different slant on the “In like a lion, out like a lamb” saying.
I have been behind in my personal blogging. I spend more time reading other people’s blogs, commenting, and following links to interesting articles and tutorials. Addicting!
These last few weeks have been quite busy for me: revising picture book manuscripts, writing new ones for the 12×12 challenge, sketching illustrations for another picture book for my next illustration group meeting, working on a sketch for the next SCBWI-MI newsletter, and beginning a new project, soon to be announced.
I also participated in the SCBWI-MI Critique Day 2012 and I am very pleased to now be a part of my very first writing critique group! Many of us were new to critique groups and I look forward to getting to know the other members and see how our writing grows and develops as a group.
In addition, I’m also learning more techniques in Photoshop and how to create art digitally. I wanted to share a digital painting tutorial (Digital Painting 101, below) that has helped me a lot on how to use different brushes and more ways to use color (and at the same time create a cute little monster!) Video courtesy of Monster Cutie.com
Have a great week everyone!
I find it very appropriate that 2012 heralds in the Year of the Dragon. With all of the hype of 2012, on whether or not the Mayans had it right and the world will end, or if we are ushering in a new Age of Enlightenment as the spiritual world proclaims; either way, we need a strong presence to be associated with 2012. The dragon is a symbol of power, protection, and wisdom, and in the Chinese culture they are revered.
I was born in the Year of the Boar, or Pig. Either way that you say it, it doesn’t sound very majestic or flattering in the least. I mean, they left out the cat for the pig? Really? I feel a bit ripped-off as I have loved dragons since I was a child. But I guess that was what the universe chose for me (no offense to pig lovers).
And today I can’t help but to think about my friend Marquis who moved to China last summer to study abroad; I wonder what occurs in China on the New Year? I picture fireworks, celebrations, and tons of fun happenings. Hmmm…could this be a picture book in the making?
So of course I had to illustrate my own version of a Chinese Dragon ringing in the new year! Here’s hoping that 2012 brings in peace, happiness, & prosperity for all!
Here’s a link to an article and some great pics of the celebrations! Roar!