Happy New Year!

Hey there, party people,

It was a bigfantasticfunfilled-to-the-brim sort of year here. It's hard to believe that 2013 is nearing a close. But old years end, and new ones fly in, whizzing and spinning with the unknown. And I will be greeting this one with friends and fizzy drinks and fireworks. 

Wishing all of you a bright, sparkling end to the year, and may your 2014 be chockfull of stupendous, extraordinary things!

Happiness is...

Hey there blog readers,

I know it's been ages since I posted new work. It's been a busy fall... and winter. Right, it's December. Yeep! When did that happen?

I say busy, but I also mean excellent. Life has been completely and totally swell of late. After the wedding (currently working on a post about that...), there was a trip to New Orleans for illustrator fun times, the holiday mishmash that was Thanksgivukkah (I'm sad I won't get to use this word again for several decades), prepping for and moderating the SCBWI illustrator panel last week, jobs (right, work), family whatnot, holiday things, and a whoooole lot of drawing and painting (including two new dummies!). Yep, all in all, it has been pretty grand.

Since things have been so happy and excellent of late, I wanted to share a little piece that makes me grin like a fool from dummy #1. For those of you who are illustrators, if you're like me, you mimic the faces of your characters as you draw them. Frequently when working I take photobooth pictures and keep a mirror handy, not just to check out my ridiculous mug, but to really nail the emotion of the character. Making this piece was an incredibly fun and joyful experience. I couldn't help smiling.

Happiness is...

SCBWI, illustrators, and logos, oh my!

Hey there blog-folks,

Yesterday night, I had the immense pleasure moderating a panel of illustrators for SCBWI Metro NY. I've been volunteering with the local chapter and organized a talk by a fantastic group of local illustrators - David Gordon, Brett Helquist, Kelly Light, and Dan Yaccarino.

It was the first time I've ever moderated a panel, and I was just a touch nervous. But all of the illustrators on the panel were so warm and lovely, it turned into a very comfortable conversation about process, the ins-and-outs of an illustration career, and finding community. Each panelist gave a brief presentation about their work, process, and current projects. I don't know about you, but I LOVE seeing how other artists work. After the presentations, I asked a whole bunch of questions and then opened up for further Q&A from the audience. It was a warm and wonderful evening filled with wisdom, encouragement, and a whole lot of inspiration.

We also used the evening to unveil the chapter's brand-spanking-new logo. After a several-months-long logo contest that spanned the five boroughs, our two amazing judgesart director, Laurent Linn, and art rep, Christine Tugeauchose a grand prize winner and two runners-up.

The winning entry, by Elizabeth Baddeley (a super talented illustrator and former classmate from SVA), really represents SCBWI, NYC, and the field of children's illustration in a unique and wonderful way. The two runners-up, Barbara DiLorenzo and Ruth Chan, both submitted fabulous pieces.

Our new logo! Ta da!

We loved it so much, we even put it on a cake!

With Ruth & Barbara.

The three winners. Work by Ruth Chan, Elizabeth Baddeley, and Barbara DiLorenzo, respectively.

Many many thanks to the four fabulous panelists for participating! Likewise, an enormous thank you to all of the participants in the logo contest. And last, but not least, many thanks to the SCBWI volunteer staff for helping put on such a great evening.

 (All photos courtesy of Bridget Casey)

Lost Weekend 2013 - New Orleans

Hey there folks,

At the beginning of November, I had the incredible luck to spend another amazing weekend in the company of a mentor and a singularly fabulous group of illustrators.

Unlike last year, Lost Weekend 2013 made camp in New Orleans. I had never been to New Orleans before and was excited when I discovered that our weekend would also include a bunch of sight-seeing.

Our first night in New Orleans, the inimitable David Diaz took us down to the French Quarter for a walk around. We were all vaguely exhausted (some of us jet-lagged, some of us post-wedding-lagged...), but we still managed a good bunch of goofing off bunch heading back to headquarters.

We were still waiting for a few additional Lost Weekend arrivals, so Saturday saw us heading into the city for further sight-seeing. We rode the trolley cars, strolled the streets, and checked out the Audubon Aquarium.

Brooke and Maple in a tunnel of fish.


Maple made a new friend.

So did David.

Something fishy going on? (::groooan::)

Aquariums are magical, and this one was particularly excellent. We saw all kinds of creatures and learned loads. Who knew that seahorses slept with their tails curled around plants to anchor them?

Once our additional Mentees arrived, the weekend began in ernest. There were art demos.

Brooke showed us how she works and demoed some amazing water soluble graphite.

Jen demoed powdered graphite.

Maple showed us her process.

 David showed off a nifty spray mount technique,

and imparted his sage-like Mentor wisdom.

(photo courtesy of Maple Lam)

(photo courtesy of Maple Lam)

And I kept it all super classy; I brought everyone into the bathroom to demo how I stretch paper.

(photo courtesy of Maple Lam)

(photo courtesy of Maple Lam)

There was a party where we met the SCBWI NOLA crew.

(photo courtesy of David Diaz)

There were walks and a day in the park,

a sculpture garden,
(photo courtesy of Maple Lam)

meeting local artists,

trolley rides,
(photo courtesy of Maple Lam)

loads of goofing off,

and of course hanging out at the house and drawing.

It was an excellent creative recharge. Illustration is a solitary sort of career, but these weekends and conferences with the Mentees keep me going. 

Many thanks to my fellow Mentees for your constant well of creativity and inspiration, and thank you David, for hosting us yet again, sharing all of your wisdom, and for creating this vibrant community and tribe.

For further photos and write-up by Maple Lam, check our her excellent Lost Weekend post.

You can find the other Lost Weekend '13 Mentees on the Internet: 


So this may come as a surprise to you⎯it's not as though I've been counting down or anything⎯but I got married!

It was magical and all kinds of wonderful, and afterwards we blew north for a brief MiniMoon to Montreal. There will be further posts about all of this because the wedding itself was filled with amazing artwork and crafty-ness from friends and family that I am super excited to share with you. As soon as I have photos back, there will be further wedding-related posts.

In the meantime, however, it's back to the studio for me!


It feels like autumn in New York! It's sunny and bright and so very FALL!

Teeny Tiny Book

It has been a busy September.

So busy in fact, that I completely and entirely forgot to post this. Whoops. But on with the post...

I must confess that when I'm traveling I have a terrible habit of not drawing. I do use my sketchbook for the usual silly characters and story ideas, but somehow, I rarely break out my pencils to draw on location. Without fail, after each trip/vacation/visit, I lament the lack of a hand-drawn visual record of the time. I vowed that my recent trip to Seattle would be different, and I knew that spending the time with two other illustrators would be an ideal way to do some serious city drawing.

Jessixa, Brooke, and I certainly made time for drawing, but sometimes it's all about the materials and the format you're working in. While we were exploring downtown Seattle, I bought a teeny tiny accordion-bound sketchbook. It was perfect... not too precious and just right for rambling, exploratory drawing.

I used it to draw all over the city--exploring Pike Place Market, picnicking, drinking tea, drawing chez les Bagleys, watching roller derby, lunching, touring the underground tunnels of Seattle... the list goes on. The accordion format let me to play with each page individually but also allowed for a fluid transition between images. This teeny tiny book turned out to be the perfect souvenir.     

 I actually fell in love with the fluidity of the accordion format and have already started playing with a new one for a future project.

Summertime Magic

Hey folks,

I hope all of you have had your fill of watermelon, beach visits, outdoor movies, ice-pops, picnics and chasing fireflies across the lawn. It's the 1st of September, and fall is on it's way.

Enjoy your long weekend and soak up these last days of summer!

Part II - SCBWI & West Coast Travels: Seattle

And for the second half of my adventure...

After the conference, Brooke (a new Mentee!!! as well as friend and critique partner) and I flew up the coast to visit the amazingly talented Jessixa Bagley (the third member of our critique group), for a little illustrator fun time. We stayed with Jessixa and her husband, Aaron, also an incredible illustrator. (While we were there, we got a sneak peak of Jessixa's forthcoming picture book AND Aaron's graphic novel. It was pretty magical.)

The Bagleys have a dreamy apartment with a breathtaking view of downtown Seattle, the space needle, AND Mount Rainier. (I don't know about the rest of you, but I am definitely not used to seeing a city surrounded by mountains... and we're talking serious mountains - Rainier, the Olympic Range, and the Cascade Range! WHAT?! Crazytown.)

We had illustrator fun times hanging at the table and working on our projects.

Brooke, Jessixa, and I spent the better part of the time bouncing between cafes, drinking tea, eating pastry, and drawing.

Jessixa played tour-guide and took us to some breathtaking spots in her neighborhood and around the city.

We did some picnicking.

And had a whole bunch of fun.

(photo of Seattle shenanigans courtesy of Brooke Boynton Hughes)

And finally after four glorious days, my fiancé, Ezra, arrived, and the two of us had a lovely long weekend of hanging out and exploring.

There was roller derby,

Sidewalk poetry,

And even a giant sandwich.

Seattle is a magical, wondrous place.