Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Happy Winter Solstice

It's not quite the solstice yet, but close enough.

Witches celebrate Winter Solstice, right? Happy Winter Solstice, all you adorable witches.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Camp Secret

I'm excited to announce that a book I worked on earlier this year has just come out!  Camp Secret, by Kathryn Dennis and Melissa Mahle (who, by the way, no big deal, is a former CIA intelligence agent), is a middle grade novel that follows four kids as they discover that their summer camp is really a training ground for junior spies. It's a really fun read, and you can read the first chapter here, or learn more about the book and the authors at their website.

Front cover:
 Back cover:
 Map of the camp:
 Portraits of the 4 main characters:

Monday, November 18, 2013

Monday, October 07, 2013

Friday, October 04, 2013

Ghost cat in the city

Starting to think about Halloween-ish things; therefore I present you with a ghost cat mysteriously floating above a city.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Arctic fox and starry sky (with ptarmigan who has met an unfortunate end)

Let me just say that I started out intending to draw a perfectly nice Arctic fox with starry sky scene, and then somewhere along the way a ptarmigan bit the dust. But you know, foxes have to eat too. Even adorable Arctic foxes.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Payne's Gray

Taking a short break from my current illustration project. Watercolor doodle on a scrap of watercolor paper, using Payne's Gray, Alizarin Crimson and a little bit of Quinacridone Magenta. Payne's Gray is pretty much my favorite watercolor color, which is odd, considering that it's gray, but it's a very lovely blue-gray.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Thumbnail template for 32 page picture book

Here's a thumbnail template for a standard 32 page picture book with separate, solid color endpapers.

For the 40 page template with illustrated endpapers, see here:

And, for more information about picture book layouts, I recommend this post by Tara Lazar:

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

40 page self ended picture book thumbnail template

The title pretty much says it all, but here's a little blank template for thumbnailing a 40 page self ended picture book.  A 40 page self ended book has page 1 and 40 glued down to the boards on the front and back of the book, and pages 2 - 3 and 38 - 39 are illustrated endpapers. Anyhow, doing thumbnail sketches can be a very handy way to plan out a picture book dummy.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Faux Book Cover Project 5 - The Interesting Times of Lily Lee

Here's a continuation of my faux book cover project with hand lettered type.

So, apparently the whole "May you live in interesting times" Chinese curse is actually probably not really Chinese. I can still see this as a book title though.

This started out as a hot press watercolor paper test and then I thought I might as well do something with all that empty space.  The dragon and the lettering is digital.

And here it is without the lettering:

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The library

Painting on the Cintiq, trying to figure out lighting a little more. Have I mentioned how much I love my Cintiq?

I've been really into drawing books lately. I guess I figure a book always makes a scene more interesting. Because, you know, books!

And if you don't like books, well, who doesn't love a Regency-era lady?

Doodle of the day

Random doodle. Experimenting with backlighting.

Jack and the Beanstalk

Trying out a new painting technique using Photoshop's standard Pastel Dark brush, set on Multiply. This may mean something to you Photoshop nerds. For the rest of you: Hey look! Beanstalk!

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Saturday, June 01, 2013

An archer

I just finished reading Daughter of Xanadu by Dori Jones Yang and it inspired me to draw a (pseudo-Mongolian) archer. Many inaccuracies abound in this little drawing, so don't judge me too harshly (all you Mongolian scholars and archery buffs that are reading this blog).

Friday, May 24, 2013

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Alice in Wonderland redo

Long ago, (back in 2006!) when I was taking my first illustration for children class, I did an Alice in Wonderland piece for my portfolio.  I found that piece buried deep in the murky depths in my hard drive and decided to take another stab at it.

I kept some of the ink work from the original (albeit manipulated in Photoshop), changed the coloring, cleaned up the line work, re-painted Alice digitally, and cropped it. 

In the intervening years, I got a heck of a lot better at drawing and figured out how to use Photoshop much more effectively. (Draw every day. Seriously. It works.) Also I became obsessed with drawing hair. Having a Cintiq tablet also makes a huge difference in the ease of creating digitally (I HIGHLY recommend getting one. I love mine, totally worth it.)

She needs a bit of tweaking still, but I'm happy overall with the redo.  I wonder how much my style will change over the next 7 years.

The old piece:

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Guest Post! Erika Barriga: Queen Quail is Quiet

 Today I'm happy to feature Erika Barriga, whose new book, Queen Quail is Quiet: and Other ABC Tongue Twisters, comes out today!  Her illustrations are truly delightful, and she was kind enough to stop by and share a bit of her process.


Queen Quail is Quiet: and other ABC Tongue Twisters came out today for e-readers for Kindle and in print!  Queen Quail is Quiet grew out of my love of learning and drawing.  I wanted to be a little different to approaching learning the alphabet. Creating a sentence illustrating each sound for every letter sounded challenging.  I started out by thinking of words for the letters and then forming a sentence I could illustrate.  Sketching of thumbnail ideas came next and was much easier to do once I realized this would no longer be just a project, but a book.  Most of the sketching was just on plain computer paper and once I refined the sketches into final artwork, I scanned in the images onto my computer.

The sketches were brought over to Adobe Illustrator as a layer.  Then I outlined everything in a bright color (easy to see and stands out) on another layer.  At this stage I think of colors and what would work for the entire book.

Then I made a copy of the outline layer and this is the layer that becomes the color layer.

Usually there is tweaking with the image just a bit (the swim cap for the duck is different from sketch to final), but I try to stay true to the original sketch since that is the foundation.  I believe it is better to sketch and erase than to work out those changes digitally on the computer. When the color is complete, I'll bring the image into Photoshop for additional little changes and finally end with applying a texture.
This book took over four years to complete from start to finish and I can't wait for my baby girl to flip through the pages.  I hope other kids will enjoy it too!

Delinquent Goldilocks

Delinquent Goldilocks came up recently from two different people I know, in two unrelated conversations.  So, here's my version.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

How to draw a bicycle

A little something I learned at the recent SCBWI Western Washington conference.

Announcement! I have an agent!

I'm pretty sure that designing this announcement was not a good use of my time.


I now have an agent! I am represented by Alexandra Penfold at Upstart Crow Literary!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Birds both real and imagined

Bird silhouettes. I've always loved drawing birds, but I imagine these were inspired by the David Attenborough nature documentary we watched on Sunday.

Sewing Machine

A little sewing machine spot illustration that I was doing to go along with a logo.  I decided to scrap this idea, but I still liked the illustration.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Once upon a time there was a little boy

I've been super busy with projects lately and I'm not allowed to show anything yet!  In the meantime here's a sketch that's a bit on the odd side that I colored in on my breaks from my other projects.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Mega block tower!

I've been very busy drawing things for other people, but snatched a bit of time to make this for myself.  It's going to go on the flip side of my new promo postcards. Pencil + digital color.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Snowy woods, the sequel

This is what happens when you take a bit of snowy woods and repeat it using the magic of Photoshop.  And then invert it, again using the magic of Photoshop.  Instant forest scene and instant nighttime birch trees scene.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Snowy Woods

I'm working on a book cover and trying to figure out how to draw woods.  The cover is not actually a snow scene, but I liked the way it looked so I threw in some snow.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Thursday, February 07, 2013