Wednesday, May 8, 2013

20 Years of BookPALS

Storytime with Kaitlyn Dever and Jonathan Morgan Heit


What a great way to support reading!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Last week I revisited this drawing....again.  I feel like I’m still learning new things about Corel Painter 12; I’m sure I’ll never learn it all…but I keep trying.
I wanted an overall green hue; however, I did not want to just put a gel layer over top the final art.  Drawing comes easier to me than color most of the time. Anyway, I began to feel like I was over blending and then the line work in my final print felt muted.  I wasn't happy with it, and I didn't want to, yet again, draw over top of the outlines.  Oddly enough, yesterday I was thumbing through some past issues of Corel Painter mags and came across Effects> Focus>Sharpen.  Artist, Helen Chierego, noted that she always finishes up her work with this last step. Go-fig, I think it helped my drawing. 
I’m going to try it with some of my other artwork as well.   

I'm always open to new tips.
Happy Drawing,

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Next Big Thing....

The next big thing is a global tour which started in Australia, to bring awareness to authors and illustrators and their current work. Thanks go to Susan Miller for tagging me.

1) What is the working title of your next book?

Currently I have two projects that overlap, a picture book and a middle grade/graphic novel; however, I would like to share about the most recent picture book I illustrated, SILLY FRILLY GRANDMA TILLIE.

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

Well you’d have to ask the author, Laura Jacobs, about her first thoughts, but the Silly Tillie character was inspired by some great ladies from our local Oviedo Garden Club. They took me under their wing when I joined; I was the youngest member.  I find it amazing how much this generation wants to give of themselves by sharing knowledge and great stories. I dedicated the book art to them. 

3) What genre does your book fall under?

This picture book fits well for ages 4 to 8. I think the reading level of the story determines this more than just the artwork style. It’s a great book for parents, grandparents, and older siblings to read aloud to the younger ones learning to read.

 4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Let’s see, my garden friend, Mary, would make an extremely clever Grandma Tillie, but if her schedule wasn't free, Angela Lansbury would do quite well. Sophie’s character needs someone with serious big-sister experience; however, we would have to go back in time to cast my little sister, Leah, as Chloe in ponytails. So the world will have to wait for the big movie, but perhaps there might be an ebook version in the future.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Whenever Grandma Tillie babysits Sophie and Chloe, she seems to disappear, only to be replaced by a parade of lovable characters; however… there’s more.

 6) Who is publishing your book?

FlashlightPress with editor Shari Dash Greenspan. 

 7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

I’m sure there were many manuscript drafts to be expected.  I made several changes to the book dummy I created before the line-art was approved. It’s a real collaboration of ideas, and some of my process is described on the ABOUT page on my website.

Regarding the time it took, well, this book was my first fully digitally-painted story, and I ran into problems. I worked for several hours at a time without resting my arm. (Digital paint doesn't need to time to dry.) The old Wacon still worked, but my shoulder was giving out.  Even though I had completed about half of color art, I changed my working process. I invested in a new Wacom Cintiq, relearned and readjusted to drawing directly on the tablet/screen, and upgraded my computer hardware.  The goal was to be more efficient and avoid re-injuring my shoulder; however, I also worried that there would be a visual difference in line quality and color technique of the overall book. Between the first half of the color art and new art, the process felt different so I went back and retouch all the page spreads. So in fact, I feel like I did the final art twice, but it was worth it because I’m so happy with color and texture.

I can work much faster and smarter now…yeah!

 8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

There are several wonderful picture books about the relationship between one’s grandchildren and grandparents. You can do a Google search but also check out Flashlight Press’s others books like GRANDPA FOR SALE and GRANDFATHER WRINKLES. The artwork in each is very different. I would also encourage you to visit Who knows, the next great picture book story may still be waiting to be told.   

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I think this Grandma Tillie, herself, has inspired me to illustrate another grandchild/grandparent story in the future. I have fond memories of my own grandmother, Rose, who was very creative, insisted on walking a mile every day and lived to be 95 years- young.  

10) What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?

I think Grandma Tillie is a drama-diva so I wonder what she did in the past. If kids are encouraged to imagine what inspires her, she becomes a story that lives beyond the pages; all good stories do.  
Do you remember the first time you suddenly realized that your grandparents were once children too? 

Thanks for visiting my blog and joining me for my part of the Next Big Thing. The tour continues:  Henry Cole

Monday, January 7, 2013

Congratulations to DC Sayre & WG Zahner!

Congratulations to DC Sayre & WG Zahner!

Great news this weekend! DARBY PETTY AND THE LOST TREASURE OF THE IVERNI won the 4th Annual 2012 Sundance TRMS Contest for best animation/fantasy.   

You can read more about the Table Read My Screanplay at .  I am so happy for them both and everyone involved.  About a year ago, DC (Doug) asked me to create a drawing of his wonderful character, Darby.  It’s a privilege to have a small glimpse into his story making process.  Most people never really see the struggles behind the scenes that writers and artists go through to bring their visions forward. This tale is so lively and clever; I have to say that Darby has taken on a life of her own.  I think the best stories do that, and I’m excited to see where she may pop up next.  

DC J was also so generous as to use the illustration of Darby to celebrated his success at

Be careful all of you out there.  Darby may "steal" a place in your heart as well.
All my Best,

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

My secret garden

What a beautiful morning, day before Thanksgiving.  Sometimes I walk in the garden and feel like I'm Alice in Wonderland.  Then I go back inside and draw. :)