Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008

New Books

I just received printed samples of two early reader books I illustrated last year. It's nice to see books in print because I always wonder how the colors will turn out, and if they'll be close to looking like the way I painted them. These are pretty good!

Monday, December 8, 2008

What I'm working on...

Wow! It's December already? I've been swamped with work this fall! The first half of the year was slow, but it suddenly picked up the past few months. I can't complain! Anyway, I'm working on the art for two early readers and this is a piece from one of them.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


This is an older piece, but it captures the weather today perfectly! Brrrr...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Autumn leaves

Autumn was beautiful around here this year. I don't remember the colors being so intense in a long time, and most of the leaves clung to the trees until now. Today a strong wind and rainstorm have blown the rest of them down. I always wish fall could last a little longer. It's one final, defiant burst of color before the landscape lies drab and bare for five or six months.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

There, wolf!

Whew! I've been busy. Sorry I haven't posted in a while, but I had a bunch of nasty deadlines, all at the same time. Sometimes that happens when you're free-lancing. Anyway, this is the very last Halloween post. (for this year!) This is a sketch I did on speculation for a possible job I didn't get... sometimes that happens when you're free-lancing, too!
Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Halloween Stuff

It's just about my favorite Holiday coming up and I have some of my art printed on various spooky things for sale online. Check out:


for T-shirts, totes, Halloween cards and more...


for Halloween Greeting Cards!

Happy Haunting!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Green Halloween again...

I finally finished a piece in color from the new picture book I've been working on...now off to the publishers.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Back to School

Inspired by my son's infamous Pancake Incident, this is a rough sketch I was working on last week for a possible promotion... I was trying to capture the crazy stress of school day mornings - making lunches, signing permission slips, coughing up money for various activities, making breakfast and trying to get the kids to eat it, running out the door at the last minute... My kids are both in college now, but brings back memories... One frosty morning, my son, angry because he was late and I was making him take his uneaten pancakes with him, slipped and fell on the icy back deck. Such ranting and raving and throwing of pancakes you never did see. Actually, my daughter and I started laughing - it really was funny...guess you had to be there...

Friday, August 22, 2008

A Great Day for Sailing

Life has been busy lately, getting our daughter off to college, but we were lucky enough to get some free tickets to watch the Chicago Air and Water Show from aboard the schooner Windy. Fortunately, we didn't have to hoist sail or swab the decks...
The Blue Angels... they zoomed by so fast, we barely got this photo!
Chicago skyline and Navy Pier from Lake Michigan. Chicago really does have a beautiful lakefront. About a decade ago, Navy Pier was rescued from oblivion and turned into a huge tourist attraction, with restaurants, carnival rides, theaters, museums, lakefront cruises...a fun place to visit. There was a lull in the action when this photo was taken, but the lake was packed with sailboats, motorboats, ski doos, everything that day - almost like rush hour on the lake!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

...and writing the Declaration of Independence

Another sample of a historical illustration I was working on, this one with Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. I have such respect for history, it was a little difficult for me to get into these samples, but after deciding I was just drawing a historical cartoon and it didn't really matter whether the characters looked realistically accurate, it was easier. I might even do some more!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Back to Colonial Williamsburg...

Here's what I was working on last week ...

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Halloween in July

I seem to have Halloween stuck in my head... I've been working on a new picture book, on the subject of Halloween again - The Green Halloween. It seems like I've been revising the writing for ages. Well, at least a decade. Like a lot of my writing, I think I first got the idea at least ten years ago. This is very tricky writing because I decided to do it in rhyme - very hard to do, getting the meter and rhythm right. The PictureBookArtists critique group I'm in has been so helpful, giving me suggestions, new ideas... I'm almost there, almost ready to submit to publishers. This is one of the spreads. The sketches are really rough, but I hope to keep the loose, free feeling in the final art.
You know, I think I have more revising to do...looks like I spelled "ghoulies" wrong! It's always something...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Day at the Dunes

4th of July Weekend, so we all pile in the car and head to Dunes. I think those of us in the midwest take the dunes of southwest Michigan for granted. I really don't think there are such great, big, sugar-sand dunes next to a lake like this anyplace else. The big dune here is 260 feet high... and this is nothing like The Sleeping Bear Dunes farther north at 600 feet.
Lake Michigan water temperature is 65 degrees, but that doesn't stop these people!

View from the top. Every year I say I have to get to the top or I might as well cash in my chips, or whatever. I made it again! Running down is, of course, the fun part...

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Stuffed Animals Out of Control!

Last week I was working on a new portfolio sample and ended up using some of my own old stuffed animals as models. I should do some sketches of them for posterity, just as one of my PBAA friends, Paula Pertile, has drawn some from her collection. She has a fantastic blog at drawingafineline.blogspot.com. I'll put that on my Stuff To Do List...

The Last Dance II

I wrote all about my daughter's last dance recital and never included a photo of the dnacing star herself - so here she is!

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Last Dance Show

My daughter Laura's dance recital was last week and I had a lot of time for some field sketching during the seemingly endless dress rehersal. All those little girls were so cute in their costumes and makeup and hair all done up... I wish I could have captured them better. It was Laura's last dance show after years and years of dance classes. (She's off to college in the fall!) She did so well - a lyrical solo and a tap number set to "America" from West Side Story - I was really proud of her.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Halloween in June

I've been trying out some online selling sites for my art. Just trying to figure out how these sights work and how to post products for sale is a major undertaking for me, since I'm not real computer proficient! I've been working at it, though, and have a few Halloween things up at Zazzle and CafePress. It's never too early to get ready for Halloween! So that's what that last post was all about - kind of an experiment. I'll be writing about more stuff I have up for sale as I get through it, and I'll be posting some direct links to the shops. Meanwhile, I'll be thinking of costume ideasfor this year... Halloween is still my favorite holiday!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Hidden Pictures

I've been working on some new Hidden Pictures for Highlights Magazine. This is one that was published a while ago. See if you can find a hat, mitten, fried egg, watermelon slice, banana, muffin...and some other things in there! How do I come up with these puzzles? Well, it isn't easy to explain... I usually modify an old sketch that I've already used for another product, like a greeting card. Sometimes you stare at it and can't come up with anything. But sometimes, after a while, everything suddenly opens up and you're finding hidden shapes of objects in everything! I suppose I did this a lot as a child. I had a rather dull childhood (see May 15 post), and besides playing with my bobbi pin collection and magnets, this was one of my favorite pastimes! It's like looking for animal shapes in clouds... and it helps to consider the negative space around objects. Negative space is the area an object doesn't occupy - there are shapes in there, too! Everything on earth is made up of various shapes. As one of my first drawing teachers in college told me, learning to draw is really learning how to see - how true!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Lazy Sunday Afternoon

It's been a busy week... I had a little down time on Sunday afternoon and it was such a beautiful day, I decided to lounge around at a local lake and do some sketching. Field sketching is great exercise for an artist. You have to work really fast. It forces you to be loose and capture the essence of what you see. It also takes a lot of patience and can be REALLY frustrating. People keep moving around! Sometimes you feel like yelling out, 'Hey! I'm sketching here! Hold still!" But, of course, you don't - you don't want anybody to know you're sketching them! I sometimes work on a couple of sketches at the same time. There was this man with a cigar fishing. He kept getting his line tangled up.So I started this girl sunbathing and when she kept fiddling around with her cell phone, I went back to the man. I sometimes start a number of sketches and go back and forth between them. I also like to work on crummy notebook paper. It takes the pressure off of me, since I know I might end up with nothing worthwhile. Why mess up a perfectly good sketchbook when I have tons of old spiral notebooks left over from my kid's school days? These sketches aren't really for anybody to see but me.
Trees are great because they don't move. I've always had problems drawing them, though, and I don't think I'm very good at it. All those leaves are intimidating. The tough part is figuring out what NOT to draw. I just try to get an impression.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Portraits of Sleeping Ed

I'm posting a few sketches of my constant studio companion. Eddie, my Westie, is with me every day, usually sleeping right under my chair. You can see him on my website logo. Lately, though, he's snoring either nearby or on the other side of the room. I suppose he finally got tired of having things accidentally dropped or spilled on him: pencils, erasers, papers, watercolor - even books - poor Ed! Yet he sticks with me through thick or thin.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

What I'm working on this week...

A kindergarten memory book. It's funny, though, I don't have any kindergarten memories of my own. I broke my leg and was in traction for a long time, so I missed the whole thing. I think that back in those olden days, kindergarten was optional - not like now, when kids are practically required to go to preschool! I was always a little worried, though, that the school board was going to catch up to me and make me go back!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Rites of Spring

Since I'm lucky enough to live close by Morton Arboretum, every year my husband Dave and I go on a daffodil hunt. The arboretum plants thousands of bulbs and daffs blanket the grounds. I should have posted this a week or so ago... they're gone now, but they were beautiful for the short time they lasted.

Rites of Spring (part 2)

Another favorite rite... stealing lilacs from the neighbors. (They know I do it and don't mind.) I love lilacs...wish I could capture their scent in my sketch.

Thursday, May 1, 2008


Another kid's greeting card I've been working on...I just love pirates. Inside reads "thar be birthday cake!"

Sunday, April 27, 2008

I finally received some samples of greeting cards published a while ago. These were from a summer promotional series called a "A Snail's Pace". I thought they turned out pretty well, although they printed much lighter than I thought they would...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

What I'm working on...

I've been trying to change my style for the new book dummy I'm working on. Changing an art style is rather like trying to change your handwriting. This is a looser, funkier style... but I think it still looks like my stuff, just sloppier. I also used traditional watercolor on this piece, instead of my usual watercolor dyes. Using dyes was a very bad habit I've been trying to break for years. I learned to use them when I worked for a toy company in the 80's. I loved the convenience of using the eyedropper instead of trying to pry tubes of paint open, and how I could fiddle around with them, layering them, bleaching them... But ultimately they were bad for me, since the colors are not lightfast and fade over time. Maybe I've kicked the habit...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Welcome to my blog!

Here I am on a blog for the first time. Since I've usually always "flown under the radar", this is all new to me. It might take me a while to get it going, but I hope to post something new at least once a week... We'll see! I think of this as my online journal of sketches and thoughts.