Monday, December 22, 2008

Giving with Just a Click!

A Call-to-Action: Post a Comment to Help Share the Magic of BEDTIME STORIES!

Here are some great ways you can give to some great causes with just a click. That's right! Just a little of your time, and a click of a mouse and you're on your way to giving. Check out this great idea from the good people at First Book. Now through December 25, post a comment about your favorite bedtime story or memory on the First Book blog Bookmark and , in your honor, Disney will donate one new book to a child in need-just for commenting! It's free, takes just a minute!

Plus, if you make a donation through the First Book website, Random House Children's Books will match your donation book-for-book through December 31st!

Another way to help others can be found at the Breast Cancer Site. They are having trouble getting enough people to click on their site daily to meet their quota of donating at least one free mammogram a day to an underprivileged woman. It takes less than a minute and with just a click you can help fund free mammograms for women in need. Your click is paid for by site sponsors, and mammogram funding is provided to clinics throughout the U.S. through the efforts of the National Breast Cancer Foundation . Help them out and pass it on!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wednesday Links

Check out what books are winning awards!
NY Times Best Illustrated Children's books

Check out contests and book giveaways.
Anastasia Suen's Blog
The Apple (Teachers only-Winner gets 35 Autographed Copies of Jack of All Tails by Kim Norman for their school.)

Check out a great round-up of holiday books.
Wild Rose Reader

Remember to support the industry.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Stop by my friend and fellow illustrator's blog for a great round-up (with photos!) of the Founders' Workshop in Honesdale, Pennsylvania put on by the Highlights Foundation. Tanja is always great at sharing everything she learns and continually supports our local talent. Thanks for passing on our promos Tanja!
Tanja Bauerle's Blog

You'll find a great video with Patrick Arrasmith explaining how he creates his amazing scratchboard illustrations and how book design helps define what he creates at:
Mishaps and Adventures

Head over and find the answers to "Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Brian Lies" and see some very cool behind the scenes sketches (Love Brian’s sketch of the library from Bats at the Library!) at:
Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast

Don't forget to keep checking the Cynsations Blog. There's been some great giveaways. And of course always great interviews. You might even get lucky and win a book like I did. This week my mailbox held this little treasure. Listening for Crickets by David Gifaldi . Thank you Cynthia!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Wednesday Links

Just for fun check out these links!

Test Your Color IQ*
Left Brain vs Right Brain Test
A Royal Test
Spinning Wheels
Checker Board

On the color IQ test I scored a 4 the first time. In my category, the best is a 0 and the worst is 1409, so I took it again to see if I could get a perfect score. I came up with a 3 the second time. The blue-greens were my trouble area. Thanks go to Jennifer at Art Words Life for the link.

On the left vs right test found out I can make my brain work both ways!

On the Royal test I made a very good guess. That's all it was, a guess . But interesting answer.

The other two are just plain mind games, but maybe this isn't all just for fun. Color theory and reasoning skills are good things to brush up on. If you want a better understanding how color works, you can read about Josef Albers and color theory here.

Friday, October 31, 2008


Check out Lynd Ward's illustrated version of Mary Shelly's Frankenstein. Amazing wood cut engravings! Plus that type! I think I'd buy this book just because of the type alone...if I could afford it.

Thanks Fuse #8 for the link to this post. Go there! You'll see a number of wonderful interior spreads.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wednesday Links

For an inside look, and a wonderfully detailed post by editor Alvina Ling on how illustrators are chosen head over to

The Blue Rose Girls

For some wrap-ups on the Rabbit Hill Festival of Literature check out these great blogs.

The Blue Rose Girls
Wild Rose Reader
Art Words Life

Thanks Alvina, Grace, Elaine, and Jennifer!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Wednesday Links

Have you headed over to the Cybils (the premier Web awards for children's literature) to nominate your favorite book of 2008 yet? Don't forget to do it by October 15! You can read the rules here. Remember, once a book has been nominated it's in. No need to second that nomination.

I'm looking forward to nominating a book this year. Last year I had the honor of being one of the judges in the fiction picture book category, and felt it would be wrong to have a favorite going in. But not to worry. Others liked a certain book just as much as I did. It made it to the finals! With the first-round panelists narrowing it down to these outstanding finalists, it was a fierce battle. But in the end, a well deserved win went to The Chicken Chasing Queen of Lamar County.

Pam Coughlan, the organizer of the 2008 Cybils fiction picture book category, sums it up best. "A good picture book is a pleasing merger of text and artwork. A great picture book is a celebration of story and illustration, with lasting appeal for kids and/or adults. The best picture books completely excel in art, story, kid-friendliness, and adult appeal."

Check out these links for all the previous winners.
2006 Cybils Awards
2007 Cybils Awards

Friday, October 3, 2008

Illustrator Intensive Coming up!

The workshop with award-winning author/illustrator Pat Cummings is tomorrow! I'm really looking forward to meeting her, hearing her advice on my piece, and seeing what all the other participants have come up with. I think that's one of the biggest benefits, learning tools, of a workshop like this, getting to see how everyone else handles art direction, and just what that art direction is!

And for all of us writers, Pat is also holding a Writer's Roundtable while she is in town. What a great opportunity to get to work on both the illustrating and writing sides of the business! This SCBWI-AZ sponsored event takes place tonight. You can read more about it on the events page of the SCBWI-AZ website.

It's going to be a busy next few days! We have one more local event coming up this Monday featuring bestselling author-illustrator Bruce Hale. "Make Your Story Unputdownable" A Session for Middle Grade Writers. The registration for this event has been expanded. You can still register if you send your check today and contact our regional adviser and let her know.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Wednesday Links

Read a Banned Book!

Support the First Amendment, Read a Banned Book
Join Random House in the fight against censorship. Celebrate your First Amendment right. Read a banned book! Check out the list of banned books Random House has put together. You'll be amazed at what you see. Their First Amendment First Aide Kit site features interviews with banned authors, strategies for teachers, librarians, and booksellers to stand up to censorship, and tips for talking about these issues.

Just the other day my daughter noticed I had Lois Lowry's The Giver sitting out. She told me it was "a really good book." My kids had read it in school. I'm so glad our local schools have not succumbed to censorship. That's the banned book I'm going to read. How about you?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wednesday Links-Must have books

Here's a new book I ran across recently that I just have to add to my library. Check it out! I'm very excited about the first one. It falls in a category that seems to rarely see new additions.

Show and Tell: Exploring the Fine Art of Children's Book Illustration
by Dilys Evans.

It can join these others on my book shelf.

Illustrating Children's Books
By Martin Salisbury

A Caldecott Celbration
By Lenard S. Marcus

Wings of an Artist
by Julie Cummins

Talking With Artists (Series)
by Pat Cummings *

And these that I hope to have soon.

Artist to Artist
by Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art

Pass It Down
By Lenard S. Marcus

* Update on Pat Cummings workshop: If you are in town for Pat's workshop on October 4th be sure to join her at a Picture Book Writer's Roundtable on Friday evening. You can find more information and sign up here.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wdnesday Links

Have you seen what's cooking over at Book Roast yet? There's a great line-up this month. Starting off the week, you'll find the following agent, editor roasts. Questions will be answered throughout the day and books will be given away!

Mon, Sept 8: Evil Editor
Tues, Sep 9: Editorial Anonymous
Wed, Sep 10: Mystery Agent
Thurs, Sep 11: Moonrat
Fri, Sept 12: Janet Reid

Talk about links! Be sure to check in at Cynsations this week too. I always find tons of great information on her blog. Cynthia Leitich Smith is celebrating the 10th anniversary of her website with more great interviews, and a 10th anniversary giveaway. Love those interviews! Congratulations and thank you Cynthia!

First Books is running their What Book Got You hooked? literacy awareness campaign again this year. You can cast a vote, share a memory of the first book that made reading fun for you and help get more kids hooked. They will be giving away 50,000 new books for children in need to the state that receives the most votes. (Voting ends Sept. 15th.) Last year I wrote about the book that hooked me here.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Wednesday Links

Highlights Foundation's website is a great resource for writers. In addition to the wonderful workshops they offer, you will find a whole library of writing tips given at previous Highlights Foundation Writers Workshop at Chautauqua. You can search the archives by topic, author, or title.

While I'm on tips, have you seen Writer's Digest Writing Tip of the Day? Today's tip comes from Jane Yolen, directly from her book Take Joy. (Which every writer needs to have!)

Don't forget to sign up for CWIM's monthly newsletter. You'll be one of the first to get news, tips, and market information hot off the desk of editor Alice Pope. The email sign-up can be found at the top of the homepage.

And no, you're not off a day. It's me. It really is Thursday. This short week just has me off a day!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Day with Pat Cummings

*Click on flier to enlarge.
There are still some openings (workshop will max out at 20 illustrators) for the Illustrator Intensive with Pat Cummings! Cummings is the award-winning author and illustrator of over 35 books for children. She is the recipient of the Coretta Scott King Award, the Orbis Pictus Award, and Boston Globe-Horn Book Award. She currently teaches at Parsons The New School for Design in New York.

I've been hearing great things about her workshops. And it's hosted by a great group. You can find full details on the event here.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wednesday Links

Now that summer is over, school has started, and it's back to a scheduled life, I'm giving myself a deadline. For me deadlines make things happen. In the past I posted on this blog at whim. I still will for the most part, but I've decided to reserve one day a week for posting links to other great blogs I've run across. This will help me remember where to find them, and help spread the word. (Sometimes one link leads to another, and another, and another, and I forget where I started!)

Book design links:
Book Design Review
Jacket Whys

What editors want (In manuscript submissions and web portfolios):
Full Circle Literary
Editorial Anonymous

Challenge, and future quiz, on "Everything We Think You Should Know If You're Going To Call Yourself a Pro In This Field":
Susan Sandmore

Studio lighting:
Gurney Journey

Thanks Mishaps and Adventures for the book design links.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Picture-Bookies Showcase Farewell

Sadly, Picture-Bookies Weekly Showcase, a blog created by the Picture-Bookies dedicated to showcasing the work of nearly 50 children's illustrators, is coming to an end.
Thank you members:

* Ginger Nielson
* Sherry L Rogers
* Amy Cullings Moreno
* Kathleen Rietz
* Kristi Valiant
* Paige Keiser
* Bron Smith
* Gina Pfleegor

And special thanks to Ginger for keeping things running smoothly.

Be sure to stop by and have one last look!

Monday, August 18, 2008

SCBWI AZ Illustrators' Intensive

Award-winning Author and Illustrator Pat Cummings will be running a full-day workshop in Scottsdale on October 4th. Early bird, discounted registration is available through September 1st.

This hands-on intensive illustration workshop will focus on developing and improving your illustration skills for the children’s book market. It will also include craft topics such as style and technique, and industry related subjects such as the submission process and marketing. Homework assignment required.

You will find more details and registration information here. While you're there, be sure to check out our newly designed, regional website!

Note: SCBWI-AZ logo design by Juana Martinez-Neal

Monday, June 30, 2008

Escaping the Heat

It's that time of year. A 114 degree day. So far, more than a dozen days over 110 degrees. It's that time of year when we Phoenicians flee this oven we live in otherwise known as "They Valley of the Sun." So, for the next couple of months, as I take every opportunity to escape the heat, this blog will be on hold.

Friday, June 27, 2008

An Interview!

Want to find out more about me? Check out my interview on the Susan Sandmore Blog! Thanks Susan! Susan's a very talented writer who just landed an agent. (Not that long ago I called her up and coming. I was right!) She's got a great blog and a great sense of humor. She threw some fun and unexpected questions at me. If you haven't done so yet, head over and check it out. I won this honor by choosing the right answer on her 10 Truths and a Lie post. I love contests and winning things! In fact, since then I also won the book Moon, Have You Met My Mother:
The Collected Poems of Karla Kuskin
thanks to Elaine at Wild Rose Reader.

Want to win a book yourself? Check out Cynsations for the latest Giveaways!

Note: This post was re-posted and updated from last week. I felt it got lost in the middle of my W-I-P, so I'm giving it another go with a few more links.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Prize Winner is...

or should I say are!

Kate and
Angela Fox (azang)

Why two winners you may ask? As it turns out when I set the rules for this contest, I was celebrating the 10,000th visitor to this blog and I figured the chances were slim, even with Statcounter, that I'd be able to discover the true identity of the 10,000th visitor. Well I was wrong! I hit 10,000 right on schedule on Wednesday and guess what? I was able to track it right to Angela Fox.

Kate your name was drawn out of a hat! OK, I didn't think of actually using a hat, it was more like a Tupperware container. Among everyone who left a comment last week your name was chosen!

Thanks to all who entered!

If the winners could please drop me an email with your mailing address I will send the prints off to you. You can reach me at gail (at) gailmakiwilson (dot) com. Kate, if you have a blog or website let me know and I'll add the link!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Work-In-Progress Part 5

And here's the final! Click on the image to enlarge.

To see all the steps of this work-in-progress click here.
To find out how you can win a signed print of the finished illustration click here.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Work-In-Progress Part 4

Finally the bubbles! They are done with Prismacolor colored pencils on DuraLar Matte . I've never used Prismacolor on Duralar before and thought this piece would be perfect for it. I've seen others use it, and I've played with it some, but wasn't sure how it would work with my "many layers" technique. (Which can easily be 10-20 layers. For the bubbles I probably have 4 or 5.) It was very different for me. There is less detail than I normally do. Which is fine. I was going for a softer focus, blurred motion thing. It sure went a lot quicker! And it gave me the shiny quality of a bubble that I don't think I would have gotten as quickly on paper.

Here's detail of one of the bubbles. I'm doing them on a separate sheet of Duralar, scanning, and adding them to the composition in Photoshop. This way I can play with the exact placement and add a transparent quality. Even though I'm drawing each element in this piece by hand my final "original" will be a digital file.

To see all the steps of this work-in-progress click here.
To find out how you can win a signed print of the finished illustration click here.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Work-In-Progress Part 3

Now I've finished most of the girl. I need to soften the darks underneath her neck a bit more. I faded out the wisps of hair at the ends. I like the white of the shirt. Having it vignette works fine. I don't feel the same about the hand. It's actually drawing more attention to it then I want. It looks kind of awkward. Like I didn't know where to stop, which is true. So I will be including her wrist.

Once I've got the form down, I really like drawing hands. Seems like most people don't, but I find if you look at what's really there, and don't let your mind tell you what to draw it's not so hard. Same thing with ears. Draw what you see.

The other thing that happened, without me realizing it, is my paper angle had shifted. While focusing on the details I lost sight of the original placement. Here I have angled the image properly and will have to extent her hair (hair extensions!) and sleeve down to make the bottom edge horizontal again. I guess you can see where I'm going with the color now.

To see all the steps of this work-in-progress click here.
To find out how you can win a signed print of the finished illustration click here.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Work-In-Progress Part 2

Here I have finished up her hair and face. As I work down her neck, I will decide just how "finished" to go with her shirt. I'm picturing having it vignette. I like the whiteness of the shirt. I'm noticing a dark, hard edge under her neck where I left off. I'll be softening that as I go. I'm considering doing a vignette with her hand too, but will have to see how it looks. Even though I'm working in values of gray here, I know as I work that she has blue eyes and sandy blonde hair.

To see all the steps of this work-in-progress click here.
To find out how you can win a signed print of the finished illustration click here.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Work-In-Progress and a Prize!

Each day this week I'll be posting a different stage of this illustration. In celebration of hitting my 10,000th visitor to this blog, I will be giving away a signed print of the finished piece. Since it will be difficult to know exactly who the 10,000th person is, I'm going to open this up as a contest. Just stop by any day this week, check out the W-I-P, and leave a comment. Each comment will count as an entry in the drawing. (There will be no limit to the numbers of times you may enter.) On Monday June 23th I will post the name of the winner. So stop by and have a look. Good luck!

Work-In-Progress Part One
At this point I am using Graphite pencils on Duralar Matte. The overall size is 9x18. I know this piece will be mixed media, I know I will be combing B&W with color to push the "concept" of the piece. I'm undecided on where the two will meet. I'm approaching the girl as a complete B&W drawing that can stand on it's own, but keeping the option of it becoming an underpainting, with some color being added, in the back of my mind.

To see all the steps in this work-in-progress click here.

Friday, June 13, 2008

A Notice from my Library

So, I go to renew some books online today and had to laugh out loud when I checked the reason why I wasn't able to renew them. It said:

You cannot renew items because:

  • You owe too much money

Oh, well. I guess it's time for my annual donation to my local library!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Orphan Works Website

Anyone who opposes the Orphan Works legislation can get pertinent, up-to-date information on a new website put together by a group of involved, knowledgeable, and passionate visual artists. Action can be taken, but it needs to be done quickly. This site has links that make it very easy to see just what you can do to help, and in turn protect your artwork in the future.

If you are undecided on this issue, take a look at the professional organizations listed on the home page who oppose this bill. Then scroll down, and find out exactly how this bill could effect your future rights.

Orphan Works Opposition Headquarters

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Back to Blogging

Seems like I've let this blog become neglected this month. Sometimes life just gets in the way. So in an effort to get back in the swing of things, here's a run down (in no particular order) of things to come:

Conference notes from the SCBWI-AZ
"Welcome to Our House" May Editor's Day

"A Day in the Life" Yeah, my life that is!
Thanks to a tag by Holli Conger

Featured Interview on Susan Sandmore's Blog
(You can read why here.)

Designer Mom

Work-in-Progress of my latest Illustration.

The Biggest Party Favor Ever!

And a couple of surprises...

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Graduation Day

Was it really only four years ago? How could four years go by so quickly? Time is a funny thing. It seams to go fast and slow at the same time. Right now, my mind is blurry on the details with time spinning by so fast. But it really was four years ago when my daughter moved off to college. I had just broken a toe so I waited, crutches propped up next to the pick up truck, mesmerized at how much the wind blew in this little mountain town, and kept an eye on her belongings as everyone else carried load after load up to the seventh floor. A seventh floor with an amazing view. It made it hard to be sad leaving your child behind in such a beautiful place. A place where her adult life started and she discovered a way to share the beauty around her.

It’s with great pride I introduce my daughter,
graduate & photographer,
Bailey Wilson.

Friday, May 2, 2008

The Other Side of the Desert

Earlier this spring my husband and I had a wonderful get-away weekend at a place not too far from home, yet very far removed from the hectic, hustle and bustle of life in the city. I fell in love with this place. I think it has become an annual get-away. Maybe next time we will have perfect weather. The evening we took the boat tour was deceptively cold and fairly cloudy, so we thought we were going to miss the sunset cliff, but the sun managed to come out just in time to fire things up before it slide back over the horizon.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Link Back the Love

Link Back the Love is the brainchild of wife, mother, and creative entrepreneur Holli Conger. Check out this link to see all of the cool stuff she dreams up. Today she has a post on her blog, a girl who creates, titled "A Day in the Life" check it out later today and see what she's up to next. (Here's the link) She sure is one creative girl! Is there a blog you like to visit everyday? Head over to Link Back the Love, grab the link back logo, and link away!

What I like to See in an Artist Portfolio
While I'm at it, here's a link to a great post from editor Cheryl Kline over at Brooklyn Arden. She has a lengthy post on exactly what she's looking for when viewing an illustrator's portfolio.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

It's Ten O'Clock. Do You Know Where Your Art Is?

It could be here. And you don't even know it. Imagine your dismay as you browse the bookstore shelves, flip through the pages of an art book, and find work you created in print. Maybe there are even some interviews your wrote, right there, printed word for word. Now imagine all this happening without your knowledge or permission, let alone your profit. It happened in this book.

I know the feeling. Last fall, while searching the web, I stumbled across one of my images being used without my permission as part of a performance art display. It's an awful feeling knowing how hard you worked on something and ending up with no credit or payment for your work. In my case the images were removed from the website, but the public performance couldn't be taken back. The damage was done. Someone else's name was now associated with my work. Period. But what might be even worse, is the mixed reaction from the public. Many artists were outraged and supportive. But some people seem to think “imitation is the highest form of flattery” when in this case it is downright stealing.

Read who it's happened to on the following blogs:
Darren Di Lieto
Luc Latulippe
Jonathan Edwards

Here you can see a gallery of all the images 'used' in the book. See any you know? Please spread the word. And don't buy this book!

Update: Add to the list:
Jeff Miracola
(He does a great job of explaining what all has happened on his blog.)

Thanks Jennifer and Drawn! for the heads up on this.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Spring in the Desert!

The timing and amount of rainfall we had this winter made for a prime wildflower display in the desert. For the last couple on months something has constantly been in bloom. I've managed eight trips out to a spot close to home, yet secluded enough to feel like you're out in the wild. Every trip has been an amazing burst of color, but this one in March proved to be the most spectacular. I took my Mom out for the day to celebrate her birthday. When I headed into the middle of this Poppy field to get a good shot, I felt just like I had stepped into the movie The Wizard of Oz. It made me wonder if Poppies really would make me sleepy! No, they didn't. But they sure made me want to linger.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

I Rock the Drop!

YALSA and readergirlz are partners in Operation Teen Book Drop (TBD). To celebrate April 17, 2008, Support Teen Literature Day, they have organized a massive, coordinated release of 10,000 publisher-donated YA books into the top pediatric hospitals across the country!

You are invited to join in the fun and share your love of reading. Celebrate teen lit day by leaving a book with a TBD bookplate pasted inside, in a teen gathering spot in your community. (Stop by the readergirlz website to print out a bookplate.) Place it where the book will be found, taken, and read. (i.e. a coffee shop, the park, your school, a bus stop.) Imagine the fun someone will have when they find your donation! This is the same day all 10,000 publisher-donated books will be dropped in pediatric hospitals across the country, and it is the same day authors and readergirlz worldwide will release their own books into their communities just as you have.

Special thanks go to Dia Calhoun, Lorie Ann Grover, Justina Chen Headley, and Mitali Perkins readergirlz divas/authors! And to Sara Easterly for spreading the word.