Monday, December 22, 2008


Hear the voice nearby?
Her verse reveals her heart.

She sings to the world.
She sings to herself.
She sings to …you.

Hear the voice nearby.

This stanza is from a picture book I wrote and hope to finish the dummy soon. In, WHEN DAYS GET WASHED AWAY, a little Japanese girl is led by a familiar voice down a tranquil path beyond her village, through the woods to where she … well, to reveal anymore would spoil the ending. There are a few other stories as well set in prose for different cultures, however, the voice of the other stories belong to children. In this story I use the voice of wisdom which is traditionally found in Japanese death poetry. Although this is not haiku there are other forms that support my style of writing.

It’s just a sketch, but sometimes the sketches are my favorite.

Friday, December 12, 2008


Rambunctious pretty much describes the family pet from this picture book that I illustrator due to come out Fall 2009, THE WARMEST PLACE OF ALL. You can see more illos on my site. Although I now live in Florida, I can remember plenty of time our dog enthusiastically assisted the kids with their snowman making project while they played in the snow in Ohio. Brrr

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Don’t blink! There’s an out of control gang of trouble makers coming your way. Somehow whenever I think of cliques it sounds as if the group is up to no good. I’m in the mood for pumpkin pie…

This is a practice piece so I can learn Painter X. My current portfolio consists of traditional medium of gouache and color pencil on paper. Then I would scan and edit in Photoshop. Years ago I experimented with digital painting and recently decided to have another go at it. I love the brushes in Painter, and how easy it is to open up the images in Photoshop to do more editing. I’m just scratching the surface, but at some point I’ll be able to mimic my traditional style. Or perhaps something better. There are few places on this image that need tweaking but then that's what great about digital.

I hope all of you that were affected by Tropical Storm Fay are finally doing well. I’ve been busy with some water damage in the kitchen. Thank goodness my studio is upstairs. Sorry I’ve been away from my blog. See you all on IF* this Friday.


Monday, August 25, 2008


There’s nothing like having a routine at bedtime.

This is a clip from the first picture book I've illustrated, THE WARMEST PLACE OF ALL. It’s due to come out Fall 2009 with Pleasant St. Press. I’ll have a book page on my website soon. yeah!
More to come…

Friday, August 8, 2008


Who wouldn't want to sail away?

I love it when daydreaming gets the best me, and I get lost in the artwork.
This was a part of a wordless picture book contest from a few years ago when I was studying book illustration. The little girl gets carried away by Queen Alexandra birdwing butterfly, narrowly misses an unfortunate encounter with a kio fish, and lands on a little island that seems familiar.

What you don’t see are the illustrations of a lovely tea party with Silkworm and Mr. Japanese beetle. The two have a gift for her. It’s a special purple silk shawl. They all dance about until it’s time for her hosts to sail away. The evening is coming and so is her way home. I huge Luna moth swoops down from the night sky and carries her away on its soft down- like back. She later awakes to find herself right back on the sofa where she started.

But where did the shawl really come from?

Friday, July 18, 2008


Is there such a thing as enough support from others when you feel like you are falling apart? Have hope and remember that true friends will always stay close by, when they know what you are made of on the inside.

I think this illo represents a lot more about friendship then I had intended. After it was done I took a closer look.

There are those who stay close by your side like the little Doll. She does her best to be comforting and keeps a pulse on the situation. The tiny Mouse may think of himself too small to help, but he remains close to your heart. There are those like the Nurse that have the knowledge and skill to assess the problem which keeps you hopeful that healing will come. The Bunny is genuinely concerned, but with no paws is unable to do anything. Others become Soldiers who protect you when you are most vulnerable and know who to call when action is needed from those from afar who can bring more aid. And then there those who I'd rather not name. They look down from their high place, focus too closely on only the damage, and speak in judgment. Yet, all of them can hold the title of Friend.

Which one are you?

Monday, July 7, 2008


I thought this little girl had a pretty sour attitude. Her perturbed gaze and wrinkled nose will do the trick nicely. She’s all dressed up to treat herself to a night of fun. When suddenly she opens the front door to leave and finds...
The full illustration is on my website; however, the picture might inspire someone to write a different story.
Have fun.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


HOARD is a weird word for the week. Perhaps this illo will do. It’s from a picture book story I started a few years ago. After many revisions and even throwing out the entire first manuscript of 800+words, it’s finally ready for a publisher to review. The new text is just over 250words and has a much stronger voice. If I have learned anything, it‘s that I have to be willing to sacrifice my favorite portions of a story in order for it to take on a life of its own and go beyond my original inspiration. A few friends from my critique group had a hard time letting go of the first manuscript’s direction. I had a ton of puns for coffee to punch up the humor, but in this case the text competed with the illos. I had a complete book dummy by that point, and I thought that I would have to start over with new character designs as well. On a whim, I removed all the text and treated it like a wordless picture book and that’s when something rewarding happened. The main character told me the story. I scribbled the words down in the margins of dummy, tweaked them a little, and didn’t miss any of the old text.
And yes, at the moment I’m hoarding the identity of the main character. She’s not there. Maybe I will share her with you next week.

Friday, June 6, 2008


When I was very young my grandmother sewed dolls for my little sister and me. My dolls were often dressed in purple and wore pigtails. I wore pigtails too. I still have most of my dolls except for my favorite one. She was left under my climbing tree during a storm. later I found her beneath some loquat leaves in a dried up puddle. The dirt wouldn’t wash off, her fabric became brittle, and soon she was gone. My heart sank. It was my fault. I had forgotten her, but only that one time.

Friday, May 16, 2008


Cats are widely found
in the garden of the Queen
much to her chagrin

I've been going back to a few older illos to see if I can put some new life in them. This is still one of my favorite drawings. I really love Photoshop! I am sure the cat is having a lovely time.
I tried a little haiku for the illo. I've been reading a lot of it lately. Perhaps I will write more if you think it's any good.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Electricity - IF*

I've been a very bad blogger lately so I thought I would jump in and see what's happening on Illustration Friday. This is a sketch from a story I'm developing, but I can't show much more than this, yet. I've had a busy few months. I moved into a new home, set up a new studio, and finished the illos for a first picture book due to come out in fall 2009. I'm looking forward to getting back into the swing of things. Hopefully, my "IF' illo character and story will be picked up by a publisher AZAP.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

SCBWI Carolinas Conference 2007

In September 2007, I went north to Carolina for their SCBWI Fall Conference. Fantastic illustrator and friend, Karen Lee, graciously opened her home to me. It was a wonderful weekend!

Karen and her critique group buddies made me feel very welcomed. Ian Sands, a local artist and teacher presented a very insightful lecture on promoting one’s artwork online. There are so many resources available, and Ian took much of the fear out of venturing into the technical future of self-promotion. There’s Ian in the red shirt.

Karen and her husband Tim are both illustrators. Tim works 100% digitally in varying styles full of color and texture. He even took the time to show me a few things about Photoshop that I was stuck on. There is much to be said of such a generous and creative family. Please be sure to visit their website and blogs to see what new illustrations are being developed!
Thanks again, Karen, for your hospitality.


In July 2007, I taught a small group of artistic kids during Calvary Assembly’s (Orlando) Fun Art Month. What a creative and eager bunch! Since their ages ranged from 7 to 11 yrs old, I wanted to make sure that each child walked away with something they could apply to each stage of their artistic developed. We talked about dominate shapes in composition, and my favorite tip, drawing & transferring artwork with tracing paper. I suspect that many kids become frustrated with trying to draw everything perfect the first time. Using tracing paper, against a window to transfer their artwork to quality paper, allowed them the freedom to experiment with different techniques without destroying their “originals”. At the end of the month they had their own art show. Great job!

SCBWI Orlando Mid-Summer Conference 2007

In June 2007, I attended SCBWI Orlando Illustrator Intensive Mid-Year Conference. Award winning illustrators Janeen Mason and Caldecott medalist David Diaz shared their approaches to children’s book making, illustration techniques, self-promotion and other demands from the industry. Part of the afternoon was dedicated to an open group critique to discuss the attendees’ portfolios that included a sequential art assignment. Character designs, color, layout, text placement, and book sizes all contribute to the development of a picture book.

It was a wonderful time to connect with other illustrators from around Florida and encourage one another to follow their dreams.

Linda Rodriquez Bernfeld, our FL Regional Advisor is all smiles with David Diaz and me. Linda has worked very hard to keep our conferences exciting and informative for our members. Many thanks to Linda and those who assist her.

On a personal note, this wasn’t my first time meeting David Diaz. There was the previous summer at SCBWI’s 2006 LA Summer Conference, and also back in 2001 at the MAZZA Summer Institute at Findley University in Ohio were David was one of several speakers at a week-long children’s book conference. The MAZZA art collection of children book illustrations is a must see if you are ever in the area! At the conference, David signed my tote bag. That was 2001; then he signed it again in 2007. Neat!