Sunday, November 01, 2015

Illustration Friday: Bouquet

It's been for-ev-er since I participated in Illustration Friday. I did a little sketch today for this week's theme, bouquet.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Refilling the creative well!

My one-of-a-kind crochet puppet!
I have been away from this blog for too long. Actually, I've been away from illustration for too long as well. I've been doing creative things, like crocheting or decorating bulletin boards at work, but not much illustration for the past year.

You know how you think you're doing the right thing because financially it makes sense, but it still doesn't feel right emotionally/spiritually/even physically? That's how it was for me. I decided two years ago to go back to school to get a degree/training in court reporting. Although I've always found it fascinating, and I love court TV, I really only did it for the income.

Me & my puppet at The State Fair of Texas
At first, I was working, going to CR school, and also illustrating, but add all that into having a family, and I was wearing myself pretty thin. Because I was excelling at court reporting classes, I decided to put illustration on hold for a while. Fast forward 2 years. I've been struggling at the 160 wpm speed for 15 months, not enjoying court reporting school anymore, switching programs to see if that would help (it didn't), feeling pretty hopeless but afraid to give up 2 years worth of blood/sweat/tears/tuition. I started to wonder if I would even like the job if I managed to get through school in another 2-3 years.

A week ago, I made the decision to walk away from the goal of becoming a court reporter and go back to children's illustration. I can't even begin to explain how much better I feel. One week! I'm less stressed! I feel excited about drawing again! I'm happy. I've decided not to say I quit court reporting school. Quitting seems harsh. It sounds like what I did wasn't for the best. That's not the case. Sometimes knowing that you've taken a wrong turn is the best thing that can happen. I'd like to say I was reunited with my creative self. That part of me was wilting underneath the weight of having to pass tests at 95% or higher, the brief forms that wouldn't stick in my memory, and the feeling of failure when fellow students passed me by on their journey. I prefer to say I'm following a path that was mapped out for me long ago when I enjoyed doodling, picture books, and the belief that my stuffed toys were real friends. I feel like I fit in around the folks of children's publishing. I love books - especially picture books. I want to encourage creativity, the joys of reading/drawing, and bring smiles to children of all ages. And I want to encourage everyone to do what makes them happy every day. :)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Tomie DePaola Contest

I haven't blogged in a long, long time. Sorry about that. Well, it is what it is. Here's my entry for this year's SCBWI Tomie DePaola contest. The prompt was a poem: A Sneeze is a breeze in your nose. Enjoy.

Friday, June 07, 2013

The Next Big Thing!

It’s The next Big Next I tell ya!

What is?



See, it’s like this… it’s a global blog tour that started in Australia.The idea is to bring awareness to authors and illustrators and their current work. I was tagged by my super talented artist friend in Houston, Roberta Baird. At the end of this post you see the awesome authors/illustrators that I’ve tagged…. because they’re The Next Big Thing!

Here are the questions we all follow:

1)What is the working title of your next book?
Right now, I'm looking for a home for a dummy book I've written & illustrated called "The Three Little Pigs Go To Preschool". I've used it as an entry to the Don Freeman Grant through SCBWI, but so far I haven't submitted it to a publisher yet.

2)Where did the idea come from for the book?
I spent 5 years working as an assistant teacher at a preschool. We had the three year olds. I got a lot of inspiration from them as they worked on social skills and how to treat their friends. The three pigs was a perfect fit. (In my version, the pigs DO NOT get eaten by the wolf.)

3)What genre does your book fall under?
Definitely fiction geared at preschoolers.

4)What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Hmmm. Well, I suppose they would have to be voice overs in a cartoon - I would say Sophia Grace or Rosie from The Ellen Show could be Pignelope because I love their cute British accent - I'm pretty sure Rosie is the one who talks the most. Seth Rogen would make a great wolf. Steve Carrell could be Presley, and Pee Wee Herman would make an excellent Petey. :)

5)What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Follow the three little pigs through preschool as they learn to interact kindly to a socially awkward wolf pup.

6)Who is publishing your book?
Good question. Someone who loves fun preschool adventures and pigs wearing pants.

7)How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Well, it's not exactly wordy, and it follows the sequence of the original 3 pigs story in a way, so I would say a few days. Right now, I'm at the 3rd dummy version, and probably the 7th manuscript version.

8)What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Any of the three pig books always have the pigs building actual houses and are young adult/adult pigs, so mine is unique that it's not exactly that same storyline. I guess I could compare it to Maisey Goes To Preschool or something similar to that.

9)Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Write what you know! 5 years of hanging out with 3 year olds & having 2 kids of my own. Plus, I'm not really a fan of the traditional 3 pigs story where the wolf is mean & trying to eat the pigs. I really like piggies too much to allow that to happen!!!!

10)What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?
One of the 3 pigs, is named after my son's FFA pig (Pignelope) who we raised for 6 months. She was a sweet little pig, and I got attached to her more than anyone in my family. I felt I should honor our time together by putting her in a book. (FYI, she became a breeder pig, so no we didn't eat her!)

Thanks for stopping by to see what I've been working on. Please, continue on with the blog tour by visiting two fantastic ladies (my roomies for the upcoming 2013 SCBWI Conference in LA):

Rebecca Evans


Lynn Alpert

Monday, April 15, 2013

Inspiration & the SCBWI Houston Conference 2013

I love to go to SCBWI conferences. They're inspiring, educational, offer great networking opportunities, and I feel invigorated when I leave. So, I got myself down to Houston last weekend to attend their annual conference. The drive from Dallas was well worth it. Here was their lineup:

I loved hearing Peter Brown talk about his career. He's very funny. He and his agent, Paul Rodeen, seem to have a great working relationship together. They're like super cool brothers, actually. Peter's illustrations are wonderful. Love his work!

One of the best parts of the conference was the pre-conference assignment from AD Lucy Cummins. She gave us 2 manuscripts to choose from. One was a picture book (Chicks Run Wild) or a middle school manuscript to create a cover design. Unfortunately, I can't remember what the title was because I, of course, chose Chicks Run Wild. We each chose a page from the book to illustrate, sent in our sketches to her, and waited for feedback. When she got back to us, we went to finals and brought them to the conference for the illustrator's breakout session.

Here was my sketch:

 And the final:

I loved seeing everyone's take on this story. So many crazy chicks! Great chance to work with an AD too. That's always a lovely opportunity. Lucy is super nice, and had a lot of constructive things to say to all of us. Very helpful.

I also won a book in the raffle, so I'm going to send some love out to the author who is from the Houston area. Crystal Allen's book The Laura Line doesn't even come out in stores until April 23rd, and I HAVE A COPY! Yay! Can't wait to read it!

Within an hour of arriving back at home, from a really long roadtrip to Houston, I snuck off to the local library to load up on picture books to get my head around where I go next. My goal has always been to have my own picture book published. I'm feeling really close to making that happen!

Monday, January 07, 2013

IF: Edge

Randy didn't enjoy driving along the edge of the twisty mountain roadways. Too scary, even for a bear!!

Tuesday, January 01, 2013


New year, and I vow to do more sketching, which lead me to the Illustration Friday prompt "NEW". Here are a few ideas that popped into my noggin. The biggest revelation was that I need a NEW scanner! I had to take a photo of my sketchpad with my phone, and it's pretty dark. :( Hope you're all having a great New Year so far!