Friday, November 04, 2016

Friday Five

I've been meaning to post on my blog more, and thanks to Gina Perry I've been inspired to at least post on Fridays. Here's 5 ways I'm moving forward in my quest to become a published writer/illustrator:

1)Attend more workshops! September I went to our North Texas SCBWI retreat and also spent some time at The Birdhouse with my friend, Janee Trasler;  October was a workshop with Ben Clanton and tomorrow I'm attending a picture book workshop in Tulsa, Oklahoma to learn from Tammi Sauer. I'm determined to learn all that I can to write a picture book that an editor falls in love with!

2)Create! I've created 4 new portfolio pieces that I'm really happy with and also reworked my logo. I've decided I want to focus on the preschool board book arena. You can check out my portfolio at

3)Learn new techniques! I'm lucky that my day job allows me to work in Adobe Photoshop sometimes, and this week I also worked in Adobe InDesign laying out a brochure and also the district's holiday cards. I have used InDesign in the past, but this allowed me to refresh my memory and learn how to do more in Photoshop & InDesign.

4)It's okay to fail. I saw a video on FB about the lady who invented SPANX that said she grew up in a family that encouraged failure because if you are failing that means you are trying and going for it. Well, I received a critique for a story I submitted to an editor and it wasn't the most glowing critique, but instead of getting down and hopeless, I decided to take the comments and see how I can make it a better story. I agree it wasn't working. I'm hopeful that I can make it better and hopefully find a publisher for it.

5)I've forgiven myself for not having the confidence to follow my dream in the past. I was telling a friend the other day that I believe we have a path mapped out for us, and even though we know what it is, we can wander elsewhere. That true passion always brings us back to where we belong though. It's okay. Don't beat yourself up over the wandering. I learned a lot about myself and I became more aware of what is important in my life. :)

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Summer School!!

I had to take a summer school class in high school due to a failed semester of P.E. (yes, I failed P.E. in 9th grade - who does that??!) But that's a story for a different time. Let's just say that the accounting class I took to make up that credit was not that exciting for me, but was indoors, there was air conditioning, and no swim cap was required, so there's that.

Fast forward roughly 33 years and I can honestly say I'm excited for summer school! This one is even better though because 1)It's from the comfort of my own home (or work office, because, hey, I admit it, I check my emails at work) 2)It's all about the craft of writing, which I love! 3)There are fabulous prizes for just commenting on posts or completing the program.

And what's not to love about this logo?!??!!

So stinkin' cute!!

If you would like to join in on the Kidlit Summer School fun, go to to get signed up. There is also a Facebook page to participate even more. Class begins Monday July 11th through August 5, 2016.

I'm off to buy a new pencil box, but you go ahead and get signed up and I'll see you in class tomorrow. :)

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Crochet Monkey

I've been going through old files and revamping my portfolio. I found this cute little monkey I created with a crochet afghan my aunt made. I think he would be great in a preschool classroom. It's always fun to find previous work that you still love. :)

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