Thursday, February 28, 2013

Adios for a few days!

Tristan and I are New Orleans bound this weekend! Excited to explore a new city, eat some jambalaya, and hear some jazz. Have you ever been? 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Make Art That Sells

I'm so excited to share that I'm officially signed up for Lilla Roger's E-course, Make Art That Sells.  I'm a huge fan of the artists she represents and really look forward to learning from her. Plus I'm a nerd and I love a good assignment! The class officially starts in June. I ordered her book the other day, and I'm hoping it arrives in time for my flight this weekend! 

Learn more about this class HERE and let me know if you've signed up too!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Le Owl

Lilla Rogers, my dream-agent, tweeted recently an image of this Thom Browne dress from Fashion Week. 
She wrote, "How would you make a piece of art based on this? Drawing the figure, or using the color palette of cherry red, purple-y grey, and white, or doing a pattern based on the print and the big stripes on the clothing? Show me! I'd love to see!"

So I took this assignment and gave it some thought. At first, I became really set on doing a collage illustration of a mouse in a field of flowers, obviously. 

Then i started, and just wasn't feeling it.  So I stared at the dress again for awhile, and all of a sudden it hit me- an owl with an umbrella, obviously. 

For this, the color palette was really important because I wanted to keep it inspired by the fashion.  I pulled the colors from the actual photo and scanned in some floral doodles that were a nod towards the floral pattern on the skirt and tights.

Here are some screen grabs of my progress:

And here is my final piece! (click to enlarge)

Lilla is teaching an e-course, Make Art That Sells and I can't wait! Join the waiting list to sign up for the class HERE.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

I'm extremely grateful for some feedback on my ice skater, and thought I'd post the newest rendition of my piece.  If you want to see this illustration in progress, I posted it HERE!
Click to enlarge!

Friday, February 22, 2013


Above are a few of my favorite instagrams of lately around these parts. I'm looking forward to a weekend of relaxing, a concert, some shopping, tea brewing, and illustrating.  Any exciting plans this weekend? 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Frida Kahlo

I'm a big fan of Frida Kahlo. I find her life fascinating, her work moving, and her style inspiring. A little while ago I read The Secret Life of Frida Kahlo, and a lovely blog reader recommended I read The Lacuna.  I just did, and I loved it!  It inspired me to do a portrait of Frida, which is something I've been meaning to do for awhile.  

It's collaged, but not in my traditional children's style.  I had a lot of fun doing it, and think I want to further develop my portrait style.  One day I'm going to visit the Frida Kahlo Museum, which happens to be the iconically house where she grew up.  It's on my bucket list!  

And see my Society 6 shop for some products featuring this Frida Portrait!

Monday, February 18, 2013


My pal sloanie is 30 today!!!!! Wish we were able to celebrate together, but our group is planning a trip together to celebrate the 4 of us reaching 3 decades at once. We've known each other since 2001 when fate placed us on the same college dorm floor and its been BFFville ever since! 

Happy Birthday, Taylor! Celebrate today with a cup of birthday cake tea, a marathon of Murder She Wrote and a secret dance party to the Lizzie McGuire Movie soundtrack

Saturday, February 16, 2013

3 years ago...

3 years ago I met the man who is now my husband! Thought it would be nice opportunity to share one of my favorite wedding photos. Not that I'm totally obsessed with my wedding photos or anything ;-)

Tristan rented out the mansion from the movie Annie as a wedding day surprise so we could use it for photos. Annie is my all time favorite movie, and by fate, we found out the mansion was down the block from our wedding venue.  It was such a special hour in the day and such a thoughtful surprise.  And yes, I sang tunes from Annie throughout the entire photo shoot.  

Photo by Off Beet Productions.  

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day blog friends! Wishing you a day filled with hearts and love and chocolate. Tristan and I will be going out to eat to celebrate at our favorite sushi restaurant, Catch. It's our first Valentine's Day as a married couple!

My friend Katie's blog is filled with really sweet Valentine's Day projects, including conversation heart garland! Be sure to check them out. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Illustration Friday- Storm

Last weekend was the SCBWI Winter Conference, and while I was there I spent a lot of time with my handy dandy portfolio. As I flipped the pages back and forth, I realized one image just wasn't right. I created this piece (below) a few years ago while taking a collage class at the School of Visual Arts.

At the time I was just falling into my collage groove and experimenting a lot. Now looking at it, I was able to see some elements that I really did like and some that needed a big-time edit. I also had a portfolio review recently by Art Director Giuseppe Castellano where I was told I should try some pieces with limited color palettes. J'adore color and that is apparent through almost everything I create (and wear) but I like a challenge and thought working with a limit would be a good exercise. Combine all of that with the fact that this week's Illustration Friday topic was "storm" and a new piece was born.

I scanned in a doodle of the start of an ice skater that I drew while at the conference. From there I pulled elements from the old piece that I liked and brought them into the new piece. What was formerly the background is now taken apart and split into the floor and the sky.

I've also learned that working in a limited palette is similar to working in black and white, so I turned the piece to grayscale a few times along the way to figure out if I was playing with enough contrast.

I work in Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator and go back and forth between the two about a zillion times before a piece is done. I draw all fine line details in Illustrator and create all textured fills in photoshop.  This is probably an overcomplicated way of working, but it works for me.

The finished piece is the one at the tippity top of this post.  What I like about it is that it includes my favorite elements from the original, but definitely fits in with my current aesthetic.  I'm a sucker for a scalloped edge and some glitter.  Hope you enjoyed a little peek into my process! 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The SCBWI Winter Conference

The SCBWI Winter Conference was this past weekend, so I packed up my portfolio and spent 3 days at the Hyatt Grand Central absorbing as much as possible and meeting some really amazing and talented people along the way. A total of 999 illustrators and writers were there, from 17 different countries.  I was lucky to only have to travel about 60 blocks and a few avenues over to get there! 

The conference is overwhelming in the way that it is so much inspiration and information packed into a very short time. Buttttt that is the best kind of overwhelming ever! Lectures from Shaun TanThe Brothers HiltsMeg RosoffMo Willems and Barbara McClintock particularly moved me.  I have a notebook filled with incredible quotes about the power of the word and art and why creating for children is such an important job.  After this conference, I can genuinely say I want more than ever to write and illustrate for children. 

Julie Andrews and her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton spoke on the last day. Julie Andrews. JULIE ANDREWS.  I have very mixed opinions on celebrities and their children's books, as do pretty much every writer and illustrator. Julie, however, is an exception.  First of all, she's not a celebrity. She's Mary Poppins. She has been writing for ages, has respect for the craft, and even has some published under the name Julie Edwards.  She also works with her daughter, and their lecture was so filled with love and inspiration, that when I had the opportunity to speak with them I told them that they made me want to call my mother to say I love her! And Julie responded that it was "the warmest compliment a peer could give" and then I just stood there staring at her, because Julie Andrews spoke to me.  

Coming back from the conference is kinda surreal. It feels like I checked out of normal life for 3 days. All of a sudden here I am with a zillion emails to catch up, a billion postcards of peers who have sites and blogs that I can't wait to visit, and a mind overflowing with ideas I'm eager to get started on. 

If you are an aspiring Children's book writer and/or illustrator, I highly recommend joining the SCBWI and attending a conference.  It's a really fantastic, supportive organization that can help you get steps closer to reaching your career goals.  This past weekend I made a bunch of new friends that I plan on keeping in close contact with and I know we will cheer each other along the publishing path!  I am preparing posts soon to share some of their work. 

My mother-in-law adores the work of Mo Willems. Here I am with him as he signs a few books for her:

The Brothers Hilts' book, The Insomniacs, by Karina Wolf, is one of the most beautiful children's books I've ever seen.  You must, must, must watch the trailer for the book:

Watching people view my work was really fun. Here's a photo from the portfolio showcase:

And that's a wrap!  It was a creative whirlwind and I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of it. 

PS thanks to my husband for going to Barnes & Noble and picking up all the books on my to-get-signed list! And for waking up early with me every day to make coffee.  He's the best. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Something Green

My friend/teacher/mentor, the incredible Victoria Kann, has released her latest picture book in the Pinkalicious series, Emeraldalicious. It's a gorgeous book with a beautiful message about how everyone can make the world a a green and beautiful place. If you have a little one, you should definitely pick it up and see if she's coming to a town near you for a reading/signing.

More about the book HERE and watch the trailer!

& this just's #1 on the NY Times Bestseller List!!!!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Illustration Friday- Wheels

Gears are wheels of sorts! So here is my latest piece for Illustration Friday, posted on Monday because that's how I roll. Ha! Get it..roll...wheels. Cracking myself up over here.