Monday, December 5, 2016

Tomie dePaola Award Contest 2017 Entry

As I've done for the past few years now, I submitted my entry for the Tomie dePaola Award Contest. The prompt was a little different this year:

This year’s assignment is to cast yourself, as a child, in a picture book. Show your autobiographical character in a scene and make sure to convey the emotion of your character. The viewer should be able to read the emotion of the character immediately and clearly.

I was very intimidated at first, but once I got into it, I had so much fun. Here is the final image. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Departure from the Usual

Back in September, a dear friend and fellow Pratt Alumna had her wedding on Pebble Beach in Brooklyn. I usually don't give illustrated gifts (too much pressure!), but I just couldn't resist-- plus, this friend gave me a beautiful illustration for my wedding. AND I remembered that her ceremony site also overlooked Jane's Carousel, sooooo...

...yeah, I couldn't resist.
Congratulations Annie and Andrew!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

SCBWI Draw This! Submission

Although I usually sketch out some ideas for the SCBWI "Draw This!" prompt (from their Insight newsletter), I don't always submit them. However, this month was different. This month's word, "Admire," just triggered something in me, and with all of the chaos in the world right now, I just wanted to create a sweet, quiet moment in my piece. Here is the final, and below that is the sketch:

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Dummy Re-do

Sorry for the radio silence, y'all. Whenever I do (or re-do, to put it more accurately) a dummy, I disappear off the internet while I work out the story and pagination. It's done for now, but this is Dummy #3 of manuscript #7. The story is almost unrecognizable from the original, which is, all-around, a good thing. It's also extremely different from Dummy #2, which I've partly featured on this blog (though at it's core, it's still a retelling of an old classic). My next step is getting a little distance from it before I start the Query Extravaganza. But before I go, I'll leave some new comps from the dummy below.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Black and White

Recently, I've been trying to work a little more variety into my portfolio by playing around with black and white illustration. Don't get me wrong, I love working in color, but sometimes it's fun to mix things up by de-saturating a little bit. So, here are the four little spot illustrations I did this week.

I guess I was REALLY vibing on wrinkly dogs. 

Saturday, April 23, 2016

I have a couple pieces of exciting news to share. First, my husband and I are home owners! We are now living in a beautiful townhouse in Virginia Beach, which means that, yes, I had to move. Again. But this time, it was so worth it. The house is slowly coming together; I'm ecstatic that we can paint the walls now (and not have to paint them back). We also have these stupid-gorgeous textured hardwood floors. I die a little when I look at them.

But I digress! My second piece of exciting news is that I participated in an Independent Publishing project with a really awesome couple named Danny and Kim Adlerman, who run their Independent Publishing company, "The Kids at our House." They have a number of great children's books out, all of which you can check out on their website. In the past, some of their books have later been picked up by Charlesbridge, and Lee and Low recently picked up their game Compound It All! Their latest, A Toucan Can, Can You? is the book I had the privilege of being in. The project was unique, as each spread was illustrated by a different artist, so it really was a collective effort. Two illustrators from the book I had the honor of knowing already: Leeza Hernandez (through NJ SCBWI) and Pat Cummings (my favorite teacher and mentor from Pratt), so I was thrilled to be included.

Each spread is a tougue-twister. Mine was, "How much bow could a bow tie tie if a bow tie could Tae Bo?" It was a lot of fun to do:
The color is actually coming off a little too saturated in this image, but Photoshop can only do so much when you have a little HP scanner. Don't worry, I mailed them the original art, and their scanned image for the book is WORLDS better.

The sketch I submitted to them was originally this (it was actually through an SCBWI NJ contest that I was selected):
And these were their corrections:
Here is the final comp with color added. We wound up making just a plain red border (all the spreads have a border to unify them). Also, God help me, they loved the idea of a rainbow ribbon! Just kidding, it wasn't so bad...
So check out this awesome book! You can also Like Danny and Kim on their Facebook Page!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Portfolio Re-do: Follow-up!

In my previous post I talked about re-doing a piece from my portfolio. That post is below this one, so to view the sketches, just check it out. As for the finished illustration, here it is!

I had a lot of fun painting this one. Now, if you excuse me, I have a sudden hankering for a stack of pancakes...

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Portfolio Re-do

Recently, I have been pretty aggressively changing my portfolio (maybe "aggressively" is too strong an adverb, but I digress). My style has evolved a bit, and so I've been weeding out illustrations that I feel no longer represent what I do. However, there was one in particular that I still felt strongly about as an idea, so I've decided to re-do it. The original that I removed from my portfolio is below. It was a lot of fun to paint all those pancakes, but overall the illustration did not translate well from sketch to final.

By no means was it bad, it just got stiff and lost some life. The layout had some minor issues, as well. I changed some things around, and here is the new sketch:

I am in the process of painting the final now, and certain things have changed. I am adding more "messiness" and a few more flying pancakes in both the foreground and background. I also changed the frying pan/stove to a spatula/griddle to give the impression that more pancakes can be flying in the air at once as opposed to one at a time. To be continued! Wish me luck!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Make Way for Spring! (or what happens when you realize your portfolio is missing a pair of yellow rainboots)

For the past couple of years, I lived in Hawaii. It was wonderful, but there are just certain things you miss out on when you live on an island close to the equator. One of them is the changing of the seasons. There are many things I miss about Hawaii, but I am grateful that Spring is around the corner and that I can experience it again! My early onset of Spring Fever definitely inspired the idea for this illustration. Once I arranged my sketches in Photoshop, I proceeded with the final.

And a belated Happy Leap Year to you all!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Revisiting my Sketchbook: Final Illustration

A couple of posts ago, I mentioned that I was revisiting my sketchbook to create a new illustration. As a refresher, that sketch is here.

I messed around with color in Photoshop. Especially with a complex scene like this, it helps me plan it out. I don't always adhere totally to the original sketch or the coloring, but they are great starting points.

And this is the final:

And here are some details:
The star of the show (obviously)

This poor, poor Ice Cream Man, who I hope has great insurance

And a little someone I like to refer to as "The Real MVP"
My changes were mostly color, but I did decide in the end that the fence needed to be broken up a bit. (Enter: "The Real MVP").

Monday, February 15, 2016

A Valentine's Day Surprise

I always get really excited if I discover that another artist and I have had a similar idea (some people get discouraged, but I actually just think it's cool and a little magical). When I saw one of the three Google Doodles this Valentine's Day, I got REALLY excited.

This is actually a screenshot still of it. The actual doodle was animated. You can view them all here
The art was done by the immensely talented Google Doodler Kevin Laughlin, whose awesome tumbler you can view here. You can also follow him on Twitter.

Earlier this month, I made a Valentine's Day promotional postcard that I sent out. It looked like this:

(This was the back.)

If you go to my website, I have a handful of illustrations of this hedgehog searching for a Valentine, and the visual joke is that he has a "type." I got the idea from a previous sketch I did years ago (and blogged about):
This was the card I made for my husband (then, boyfriend) while he was still at bootcamp.
I always knew I wanted to revisit this character. You can check out my website to see all of the new illustrations, but here's why I got all excited yesterday:

How funny is that? We had a similar spark and just executed it differently. And for some reason, even though I had been sitting on that hedgehog sketch for a while, I got some sort of push from the Universe to expand on the idea at the beginning of 2016, almost exactly 4 years later. 

Here are the initial sketches of the pieces. Again, all the finished illustrations are on my site.

I hope you all had a Happy Valentine's Day and Presidents Day weekend! 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Revisiting my Sketchbook

I love the SCBWI "Insight" monthly emails. My favorite component is the "Draw This!" word prompt, in which a single word is provided at the beginning of the month, and we are invited to submit our prompt-inspired illustration (by a deadline, of course).

Sometimes I submit, and sometimes I don't, but I always use the word prompt to create new ideas in my sketchbook. The first ever "Draw This!" prompt was "BOUNCE." I actually wound up not submitting a piece for this. However, while I was sketching, I kept coming back to this idea that I just couldn't work out at the time, but knew I would revisit it later. These were some of the sketches:

The initial sketch

Sketches upon revisiting the idea

I knew that I wanted to illustrate this crazy dog that basically causes chaos (not fatal chaos, mind you, but chaos just the same) unintentionally in his joyous pursuit of a renegade bouncing ball.

Really, my issue that I had to work through was the perspective and layout. I wanted the piece to have  context--maybe a tennis player looking on in distress after the ball or a kid running with a broken leash.
I got it down to this sketch and I will soon do a color study in Photoshop (and maybe make some more changes) before painting the final.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Tomie dePaola Award Contest Entry and Process

This blog post is a little late, but I just wanted to shout out a great big "THANK YOU!" to the Universe and Tomie dePaola for selecting my piece as third place for the Tomie dePaola Award Contest. I am so grateful to have placed, and I wish I could make it to the amazing SCBWI Winter Conference this year!

The 2016 Prompt was to "illustrate a moment from the following passage from Philip Pullman's version of "Little Red Riding Hood" from Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm (Viking, 2012)."

Once upon a time there was a little girl who was so sweet and kind that everyone loved her. Her grandmother, who loved her more than anyone, gave her a little cap made of red velvet, which suited her so well that she wanted to wear it all the time. Because of that everyone took to calling her Little Red Riding Hood.
One day her mother said to her: ‘Little Red Riding Hood, I’ve got a job for you. Your grandmother isn’t very well, and I want you to take her this cake and a bottle of wine. They’ll make her feel a lot better. You be polite when you go into her house, and give her a kiss from me. Be careful on the way there, and don’t step off the path or you might trip over and break the bottle and drop the cake, and then there’d be nothing for her. When you go into her parlour don’t forget to say, “Good morning, Granny,” and don’t go peering in all the corners.’
‘I’ll do everything right, don’t worry,’ said Little Red Riding Hood, and kissed her mother goodbye.
Her grandmother lived in the woods, about half an hour’s walk away. When Little Red Riding Hood had only been walking a few minutes, a wolf came up to her. She didn’t know what a wicked animal he was, so she wasn’t afraid of him.

Tomie gave us the specs and added that there should not be room left for type in this case. He also recommended that we read the whole story. I took the hint. It actually gave me important context for the setting of my illustration because it mentions in a later passage that RRH gets sidetracked picking wildflowers for her grandmother at the Wolf's suggestion.
I roughly knew how I wanted it to go visually, but it took me a LOT of thumbnails to get it right. I decided the moment I wanted to illustrate (highlighted above) had to include the wolf, because it had the most tension.
My final selection is on the bottom right, a combination of all the elements I thought worked best. I still made some minor adjustments in the final, though.