Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas

I don't have a lot of art from when I was a kid. There's no "here is the first book I wrote and illustrated." Not too many drawings or paintings. But I do have a few "project" pieces that I treasure. One of those projects came from when I was about 8 or 9 years old. Christmas ornaments!

They still hang on my tree. (So do the ones my sister made. As I got older I always pointed out how much nicer mine were than hers. But then again, she was only 5 when we made them. And hers are still displayed along side of mine, on my tree.)

I marvel at the fact they have held up over all these years. You see, they were made out of Elmer's Glue with food coloring, and navy beans, and other embellishments. And we live in Phoenix. (We can melt candles in the summer without lighting them. Just leave them in the garage or outside.)

One of my favorite parts of Christmas is decorating the tree. Each ornament bringing along a memory or story from the past.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Friday Studio Links Featuring...

Wendy Watson's Winter Studio


Magical Tree
Click here to purchase an archival Giclee print.

Early this year I featured the summer studio of award winning author/illustrator Wendy Watson. Today we get to see where she creates her wonderful books during the winter. How lucky she is to have two places to work. Wendy has written and illustrated twenty-one children’s books, and illustrated more than sixty children’s books by other authors. Just look at this list of books she's written or illustrated!


I recently had the opportunity to visit Wendy's home and see her studio. The one thing that stood out, was the artwork that covers the walls of her home. Wendy is a third-generation author and artist. Many of the pieces on display were not only hers, but those of her father, Aldren Watson and grandfather, Ernest Watson.

A few of their many accomplishments were teaching at Pratt Institute, co-opening one of the first summer art schools - the Berkshire Summer School of Art, and founding and editing American Artist magazine, which remained in publication for 75 years. These three generations have written of illustrated over 275 books combined.What a fascinating family filled with talent!

Plus, she has a pretty darn cool collection of old chairs and desks.

Be sure to follow Wendy Watson’s Blog. Also, Wendy recently opened up a new online studio shop! So head over to do some holiday shopping at her Esty store.

Thanks so much for sharing your studio Wendy!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Wednesday Links

Why Picture Books Are Important

Picture Book Month!

Calendar designed and illustrated by Elizabeth O. Dulemba  Logo by Joyce Wan

November is Picture Book Month! So head over and help celebrate. 
You'll find new posts each day from champions in the field 
reminding us of why picture books are important. Just follow this link.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Links, links, and more links!

Author and illustrator Megan Bair has put together a wonderful blog, full of monthly interviews, reviews, illustration "Greats", reading lists, tutorials, but best of all, she features an Illustrator of the Day. Every day! How's that for inspiration! Follow her passion at Children’s Illustrator’s on Fire. Megan Bair, your blog is on fire! Follow here Facebook page here.

Four very talented gals got together to host Mini-Interviews 2013 on their blogs each week for the month of November: Juana Martinez-Neal on Tuesdays, Molly Idle on Wednesdays, Mikela Prevost on Thursdays and Laura Jacobsen on Fridays. And it didn't just start this year. Head back in time and check out the interviews from 2012 and 2011.

Over at Design Mom, writer, librarian, and designer Carter Higgins takes on the Author Interview Series. Yup! Click on that link. There are tons of great interviews. You'll find plenty of illustration there too! Plus, her blog Design of the Picture Book is loaded with just that. Wonderfully designed picture books. 

Heck, follow all the links listed in this post. You're in for a real treat!

Friday, November 15, 2013

PiBoIdMo- Paticipant


Halfway Point Progress

I figure most of you have heard of this project, and many of you I'm sure are participating too. But just in case you don't know, PiBoIdMo stands for Picture Book Idea Month. It's the brain child of children's book author Tara Lazar. It's a simple idea. A challenge to create 30 picture book ideas in 30 days. Here is where I'm at on day 15.
  • Five picture book titles

  • Five settings

  • Five characters or plot ideas 


    Be sure to read her blog. Tara has daily inspirational posts by picture book authors, illustrators, editors, and more. (Really great stuff!) Here's the run down for the month.

Ramblings About the Project and the Process

I'm not sure yet, if thinking of so many ideas at once is a distraction or a catalyst in creating picture books. It's one of those things where we'll have to wait and see. Many times if an idea isn't written down it is forgotten. From that standpoint, PiBoIdMo is a great tool. Plus, it's a lot like a brainstorming session. No idea is a bad idea. And one idea leads to another. I'm sure many of the ideas are throw-a-ways, but if just one is a light-bulb moment, then great! You've got a new project to work on. But staying focused enough to develop that "cocktail napkin idea" into a complete project is something else. It needs time to develop. That's hard when you're moving on to a new idea first. So I plan on checking back in, in 6 months time to see what's developed. Stayed tuned...


Friday, November 1, 2013

Friday Studio Links - Featuring...

The Studio of Holli Conger!

Wait until you step through this door! 

You are about to enter a space all about style.



I'm not talking about "this space could be featured in a decorating magazine" kind of style. (Although it could!) I'm talking about personal, functional, "this is my art" and "this is where I make it" kind of style. This space is all about personality!

Welcome to the studio of Holli Conger. A girl who creates. And create she does! Her eclectic, whimsical style can be found in magazines, on greeting cards, CD covers, and packaging. Holli not only illustrates children's books- 11 of them so far this year, she is also a successful licensing artist, does killer typography, and has become a huge inspiration to others by documenting her creative journey on Becoming An Illustrator.


Holli has a style that shines though no matter what is is working on. This goes for he studio too. Check out the process of how her studio was built here. And be sure to follow Holli's Blog and visit her Website.


Check back on the first Friday of each month for a new Studio Tour. 

Follow this link to see previous Studio Tours.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

New Website!


It was time for an overhaul. When I designed my last site I had no idea Flash would become a thing of the past in...well...a flash! My site needed to work across all devices. So I'm launching a new and improved site.

Click on the above image to visit my new website!

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Business of the Business

It seems like the last month has been filled with the business end of what writers and illustrators have to spend a good chunk of their time doing. Running a business. Yes, I'd rather be in the studio drawing or sitting at my desk researching and writing. But a gal's got to do what a gal's got to do.

Design a new look and logo- check!
Design new business cards and stationary- check!

Postcard design and printing- check!
Mailing list of publishers and who is where- check!
Print mailing labels, stamp, and mail postcards- check!
Create a new portfolio- check!
Decide on portfolio images- check!
Print images- check!
Assemble portfolio- check!

Register for the local SCBWI-AZ Conference- check!
Prepare and mail portfolio- check! (Yes, a second one!)
Mail PB manuscript and dummy book for conference critique- check!
Proofread, print, and mail first 10 pages of MG novel- check!

Redesign website- check!
Photo shoot  for website- check!
Select and size images for website- check!
Launch new website- check!

Phew! Now back to some writing and illustrating. Right after I write a synopsis and cover letter for that MG novel...

Be sure to visit my new website.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Friday Studio Links- Blogging

It seems like Facebook has taken over blogs. It's quick and easy. You spend some of time scrolling, tap a quick like, maybe even add a comment, then move on. But writing a blog post, that takes time. We all have a few favorites we read regularly, but how often do you leave a comment these days? Have your posts dwindled down to occasional? I'm guilty of it. There's no thumbs up. You've spent enough time "researching". It's time to get back to work. You're inspired, you're energized. You leave with something, without leaving something.

This week I've read some amazingly great blog posts. The kind you can enjoy with your morning cup of coffee, think about during the day, and come back to again later and savor. So for today's studio links, I'm skipping the visuals (this is a hard one for me) and sending you right to these blogs. Check them out. And while you're there leave a comment! I will. Right after I finish this post.

Peter Brown blogs about Style
Tony DiTerlizzi blogs about We Art Boston
Aaron Becker blogs about his sketchbook  (Via a blog post on Design Sponge)
Dan Santat blogs about Finding Time

In an attempt to not neglect my Friday Studio Link posts, I'm going to make this a First Friday regular. Once a month is much more realistic than the once weekly I started the year off with. So check back each month. And enjoy these links!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Full Moon

In honor of tonight's full moon, I am pleased to present some of the best in picture book moon stories. Two new ones start off the list!



Max and the Tag-Along Moon


   Moon Bear 

written by Brenda Z. Guiberson 

Kitten's First Full Moon

by Kevin Henkes

 I Took the Moon for a Walk

Owl Moon

illustrated by John Schoenherr

And of course...

 Goodnight Moon

written by Margaret Wise Brown
illustrated by Clement Hurd

If you'd like to find out what time to watch the moon rise in your area, just follow this link and put in your location. I know where I'll be tonight! To learn more about the books shown click on the image. To see more about the author or illustrator click on their name.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Friday Studio Links- Inspiration

 Spring in the Desert

Spring, it's a busy time. Sorry for the laps in posts on studio tour links. It looks like April is just full of deadlines! Fun stuff like wedding planning. My middle child is getting married the end of April. It's a backyard wedding. Our backyard. The house she grew up in. So along with all the fun plans, we needed major re-landscaping in the yard. Fun things like plants and flowers. Not so fun things like trips to the dump and spreading granite...35 tons worth. Yikes!

Then there's that April 15th deadline, and like a true artist I'm pushing that deadline to the limit.

And lastly, I book deadline. The dummy book for a very exciting project will be mailed next week, labeled requested, written and illustrated by yours truly!

Enjoy your spring. Stop and smell the flowers. If your in part of the country that is still waiting for spring, then check out these links with photos here, and here, and here, and here of what the desert can look like in spring. And watch for the tours to resume in May. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Friday Studio Links!

The Studios of


Last weekend I got to spend time with all of the artists you see below. Not quite in their studio, but at the 2013 Tuscon Festival of Books! It is the fourth largest book event in the country. And it happens right here in Arizona. It's a two hour drive south for me, but gives you two full days worth of book fun! I went to the presentations of the following picture book illustrators. (Plus, many excellent authors, but since Fridays are all about studios I'm going to focus mainly on the illustrators. Although I did find a couple of cool writing spaces I had to include.)

To see a link to each studio, some with interviews, click on the photo. To go to the website of each artist click on their name. So be sure to click both places!

Peter Brown

Molly Idle


Chris Gall

You can also see an interview I did with Chris in 2007 here.


Jerry Pinkney


Jacqueline Woodson


Lester Laminack


Adam Rex

You can see even more of Adam's studio here.


Floyd Cooper

 Mr. Cooper is currently updating his website. 
Check back later at floydcooper.com.


Matt Phelan


Stephan Pastis


Guy Poririo


R.L. Stine

Remember, this is just a handful of the talent the Tuscon Festival of Books had to offer. There were many, many sessions I had to pick from, so some I had to miss. If you haven't gone before, mark your calendar for next year!

Be sure to check out the post at Gommies World. She has some great information, and a video, of the workshop Floyd Cooper presented. I was right there in the front row for this one too. It was a very special day!