Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Cats sleep anywhere, any table, any chair.
Top of piano, window-ledge, in the middle, on the edge.
Open draw, empty shoe, anybody's lap will do.
Fitted in a cardboard box, in the cupboard with your frocks.
Anywhere! They don't care! Cats sleep anywhere.
This poem by Eleanor Farjean made me smile and think of my own cat, Dino, who does sleep anywhere... his favorite place being on me. But he also likes to sleep...
on a couch,
in a box,
on a bed,
and on top of the fireplace mantle.
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Friday, January 25, 2013
This is the newest addition to my portfolio, although I've had the idea for quite a while. I've always enjoyed drawing bugs of different kinds, which have made their way into several sketches and illustrations. I illustrated the first version of a girl riding on a butterfly a few years ago:
I loved the energy of the illustration, and I wanted to do more with it in terms of storytelling. Because my interest is in children's books it's important that every piece in my portfolio not just be pleasing to look at but also show a story, one that would make a viewer curious to turn the page and find out more.
So I sketched out a world where the caterpillars are waiting for the day when they'll have their wings and their small companions will be able to soar in the sky with them like the older children they are watching from the flower garden.
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
*Click on image to view it larger!
These are two finished illustrations from a story I'm working on about a little clown girl and her clown dad. My dad actually was a professional clown when I was growing up, and I have a lot of fun tales to tell about it. I was encouraged by two speakers at one of the SCBWI conferences (who were amused by these stories I told over dinner) to get them written down. I worked on it for a long time and what kept sticking out in my mind were all the little day to day things that made life different (and more fun) growing up with my dad, who has always been a clown with or without the make-up. My mother joined in later, and I became one as well when I was about nine years old at a National Clown Convention after I wandered into a make-up class looking for my parents. I didn't find them but I stayed because it looked interesting, and walked out an hour later in full clown make-up. There was no going back, I became part of the act! A few years later when we had some bigger jobs my younger sister and brother got into costume and make-up and the whole family put on a show.
A picture of my dad and I. The "C" on his hat stands for Checkers, and I was Sweetie Pie.
Me on the cover of Hopscotch Magazine! My big break!
My younger sister, trying out some looks.
My brother, being silly. This picture always makes me laugh.
The family putting on a show for a company picnic.
P.S.- My dad never actually set dinner on fire, although he did burn some popcorn on the stove and melt the plastic bowl the popcorn was supposed to go in, which left the kitchen pretty smokey and smelly.
Saturday, January 5, 2013
I'm busy getting my portfolio ready for the SCBWI conference in New York with a few new pieces, but I decided to take a couple of minutes with my sketchbook and ink pen to participate in illustrationfriday.com's word of the week, "Edge". I thought it was too good of a word not to stop and have a little fun with it!
* Click on the image if you'd like to view it larger!
Friday, January 4, 2013
This is an illustration from a book dummy I've been working on the last few months about a witch who takes in one cat- and then another, and then another, and so on. The idea came to me after living with a friend who was always taking in and caring for stray animals- I began to think that they had a sixth sense about knowing the right doorstep to show up on. I even took in one of the cats she found out in the snow last year, who I named Linus- he is a wonderful cat and has become best pals with my first cat, Dino. Unlike the witch in my story, however, two is my limit! I hope to share more from this story in future posts!
Sunday, December 23, 2012
Things have gotten busy with the holidays, as they usually do, and I'm now getting back on track. I'll be attending the national SCBWI conference in New York at the end of January, and I have lots to do before I leave! This is a character I'm starting to work on for a book I've written. I have a lot of experience drawing clowns- I drew lots and lots of them growing up because my family, believe it or not, actually were clowns!
Thursday, December 6, 2012
December 6th is St. Nicholas Day, so I thought it would be fun to post up this Santa piece from a few years ago. A local entertainment paper asked a few artists to come up with their own idea of what St. Nicholas looks like, and this was mine!
Friday, November 23, 2012
Let the holiday season begin! And what better way to do it than with a Christmas movie? It's how my family always started ours. I remember my aunt putting in Miracle on 34th Street for the first time when I was a kid on the little t.v. in her kitchen and she and my grandmother and I sat around the table and watched it (while probably eating some Christmas goodies). Of course I loved it, along with many other classic movies that I was introduced to sitting in that kitchen.
I've had the idea to do an illustration featuring a movie theater for a while. This is a sketch I did a few years back:
I got busy with other things and set it aside until recently. The photo I used as a reference is of my hometown Orpheum Theater in Sioux City, Iowa in the 1940's. It's my favorite place in town, and I actually have gotten to see Miracle on 34th Street along with several other holiday films that have been shown there since it re-opened. It's so beautiful inside, I like to pretend while I'm sitting in the dark in this grand old theater watching the movie that I've gone back in time to when they first showed it.
I used my collection of old photographs from the 40's for the inspiration, too. I love to see the clothes they wore back then- especially the hats. I have about a dozen photographs of this same family through World War II, winter play, and summer camps. I wonder sometimes about who they were and what their story was.
Maybe their mother or father took them to see Miracle on 34th Street during a Saturday afternoon matinee after some Christmas window shopping. The movie came out in 1947 when my grandmother, Ann Taylor, was 27 years old. Her birthday was Dec. 6th (which was on a Saturday that year, coincidentally) so I decided to put it on the marquee. I was surprised to learn that Maureen O'Hara was the same age! I added two movie posters on each side of the doors- one is The Bishop's Wife, another great holiday flick with Cary Grant and Loretta Young. The other is The Ghost and Mrs. Muir with Gene Tierney and Rex Harrison (and Natalie Wood!) and it's one of my all time favorites. They both came out in 1947 as well.
It was fun being able to add those personal things. Miracle on 34th Street was such a big hit when it came out, surely one that would have made for lots of parents taking their little ones!
My grandmother walking in downtown Sioux City, 1940's.
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
My favorite Halloween story:
When I was five years old my mother worked nights, and so it was up to my father to get my younger sister and I into costumes and take us to our church's Halloween party. My sister took some convincing, but I thought my dad had done a pretty awesome job picking them out. Upon walking in the door of our church, the festivities halted and all eyes were on us. I saw a girl dressed like Mary, holding baby Jesus. There was also Noah, and Abraham, and a few shepherds... and I knew something was not right. The theme of the party was to come dressed as a character from the Bible, and my dad never got the message.
And so there was Mary, Joseph, Noah, Abraham, some shepherds and a couple of Kooky Spooks. We went ahead and had a great time, anyway!
Friday, October 26, 2012
When I was a kid I loved to read the Oz books by L. Frank Baum, and the character of Jack Pumpkinhead, illustrated by John R. Neill, was one of my favorites. Every year as it gets closer to Halloween, I'm inspired to create my own "pumpkinhead" people in my sketchbook. They are so much fun to draw, and a few of them I have turned into finished illustrations.
The past few months have been busy ones! In August I moved, which is always a major effort because it means taking apart my studio, and transporting all of my work and art that I have collected, plus what seems like a million books. And then comes setting it all back up again (so I try not to move too often if I can help it!)At the same time I was working to coordinate an exhibit of illustration work from eleven of the SCBWI-IA illustrator members. It is still being held at the Gilded Pear Gallery in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and we had a wonderful turn-out for our opening reception on September 29th.
Owen, the gallery cat, taking ownership of our promotional materials.
Now that my studio is (mostly) set up again and the show is up and running, it's back to the drawing board!
Monday, July 2, 2012
A good friend of mine recently celebrated a birthday- she is also an artist, and likes to collect local work. I have been meaning for some time to make an original piece for her, so this was a good occasion for it. One thing I love about her is that she is always pointing out the beauty in things others may take for granted, like the colors in a sky or a landscape. I wanted to include those elements in the illustration- along with a quote I love that I wrote beneath on the mat: " Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old." - Kafka