Thursday, October 17, 2019

Out of the Blue

Black and White Rough Sketch Concept No. 6
Full Color Illustration placed into InDesign Layout
You know that expression, "out of the blue," when something unexpected happens? Well, that's how I felt about getting this U.S. Forest Service Poster commission. Much of my illustrations are for children's picture books, but recently I've been working on editorial projects which has been a nice, unexpected change.

Note Card Illustration for Colorado Country Life Magazine
Every so often I hear from one of my favorite clients, Colorado Country Life Magazine. We've been working together on several illustrations for seasonal themed note cards. One of them is the scarecrow illustration above. This time they asked if I could work on illustrations for the magazine! Absolutely, I loved illustrating the cover and interior art for Martin Mulcahey's legendary tales of buried treasures. Here's October's Magazine.

Front and Back Cover Wrap for What's This Tail Saying?
 And I'm excited about a new book coming out Spring 2020. What's This Tail Saying? is by Carolyn Combs and published by Dawn Publications.
Interior Illustration for What's This Tail Saying?
Illustrator interviews
Last but not least, I got to participate in two illustrator interviews.

Alex Ballou, Marketing Assistant for Fort Collins Museum of Discovery and I sat down over coffee to talk about volunteering, illustration, and life. Here's the link to the interview for National Book Lovers Day. When somebody buys me a cup of coffee I'll go on and on.

One more interview, this time for Voyage Denver, a magazine celebrating artists and unique mom and pop shops in the creative field. Here's the link for that interview.

Thanks for taking a look at my blog. You can click on the links for more information and the images to get a larger view, especially on the US Forest Service Poster which is BIG - 32"x 19"!
All the best,

Monday, July 1, 2019

Summertime Reading Beyond the Book

I love how museums and companies are thinking outside the binding to expand books way beyond their borders. As a volunteer for Fort Collins Museum of Discovery I've been able to share several of my creative nonfiction picture books through Storytime in the Dome.
Wild Ones: Observing City Critters by Carol Malnor

This program happens twice a month in the expansive 360° digital dome. The books always have a live narrator to keep it interactive for these young book lovers. The books are digitized with animated page turns and some include background sound effects! It's a fun, creative way to engage these young kids in reading. Afterwards we head down to the Learning Lab for a related craft.
If You Love Honey by Martha Sullivan
Here's a couple of the photos the Murray family sent me after reading If You Love Honey in the Dome. The girls created a bulletin board full of artwork, crafts and activities relating to the story, especially focusing on the honey bees. There's no limit to their imagination!

Over on the Farm by Marianne Berkes
Are you familiar with Ivy Kids Kits? These are monthly subscription boxes designed around a picture book. I've been in awe of this company for awhile. One day I was on their website and was surprised to learn they were featuring one of my books, Over on the Farm, for that month. (Seems the illustrator is always the last to know!) But it was a happy surprise and I was blown away by all the STEAM based activities created to enhance the book. Please check out more about their company at I love their mission and wish they had been around when my own kids were little.

And finally, here's some illustrations from a picture book I've been working on that's a little different for me. The publisher doesn't want me to talk about the book, but says I can show a few illustration samples. So here's my show-and-tell. It's been a fun project full of flowers, fairies and the moon.

Thanks for taking a look at my blog. Click on the links for further information and the images for larger views.

Friday, April 12, 2019

The Long and Short of It

Denver Children's Festival of Stories 2019
This year's Children's Festival of Stories was wonderful. I've put together a small collage to give you an idea of our day, or at least my little piece of it. Please click on the image which takes you to the Book Fest's Gallery to get the full picture, including story tellers, entertainers, books, book creators, food, (specifically Little Man Ice Cream!), music and the cutest kids ever! Thank you Second Star to the Right and Denverfcos for an amazing event.

Below is a free printable mask activity created for If A Mummy Could Talk. The kids at the book fest enjoyed cutting out and decorating their mask and I hope you will too.
 Cat Mummy Mask Activity

...As a valley becomes a forest from the efforts of just one.
Above are some illustrations from The Tiny Giant which comes out Fall 2020. This week I completed the illustrations and turned in all the artwork early! I can't tell you how good that feels. Now I just need to complete the illustrations for the picture book coming out Spring 2020. Such is the life of a children's book illustrator and I know somehow it's going to all work out.

Thanks so much for taking time to look at my blog. Click on the images for more information or a larger view.

Friday, February 1, 2019

The First Sign of Spring

Even through Colorado has many more snowy days ahead spring can't be far away. The first sign of spring for kids, their families and children's book creators is the Children's Festival of Stories in Denver. There's already a lot of planning and preparation going on behind the scenes. I look forward to seeing you there on March 23.
Click on the image to go the Children's Festival of Stories website

Above are some illustrations for The Tiny Giant. If you've been following my blog you've seen some of these images in different variations. This is a book I developed with a writer buddy and we've been revising and submitting for the past three years. Finally, it was picked up by a publisher so has new life. We couldn't be happier with the publisher and the new direction the book is taking. The release date is Fall 2020. The term, "Never Give Up!" comes to mind.
From the Sketchbook: Cathy Morrison
From The Sketchbook is a new series from The Children's Book Council. Illustrators share their creative process to provide context to their completed artwork for their picture books. This month they feature If A Mummy Could Talk, published by Arbordale Publishing, written by Rhonda Lucas Donald and illustrated by me!

Thank you for taking a look at my blog. You can click on the images for more information and a larger view.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Welcome to my world!

The view from my home studio with a work-in-progress from What's This Tail Saying?
 Welcome to my world. Winter in Colorado is a great time to be inside all warm and toasty working on new projects. Below are illustrations from a creative nonfiction picture book with Dawn Publications. The working title is What's This Tail Saying? and it's a Spring 2020 release. The author, Carolyn Combs is a super smart scientist as well as author who knows precisely what animals' tails are saying. When you read our book you'll know too!
Flip! Zip! What's baby Elephant's tail saying?

Uh, oh! Skink doesn't see the raccoon in time to run away.

Two page spread showing copyright page and beginning of the story: Animal tails are talking. Can you guess what they are saying?
Stranger danger! Hearing the alarm all family dives into the pond.

And finally, If A Mummy Could Talk by Rhonda Lucas Donald unwraps at a bookstore near you very soon. To commemorate the book release here's the vintage 1978 King Tut performance by Steve Martin for SNL. And yes, we have an entire spread dedicated to King Tut in the book.

Cover, title page and interior spread from If A Mummy Could Talk...

Arbordale Publishing sent a book ARC (advanced reading copy) and I'm very happy with it. Also, the first review by Kirkus hit this December and they seem happy with it too!
Kirkus Review for If A Mummy Could Talk...
There's more books and projects in the works. I'll catch up with you in 2019 about those!
Thanks for taking a look. Be sure to click on the images for a more detailed view or a link for further information.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Good bye Summer, Hello Fall

My Studio With A View's South Facing View of the Mummy Range
Summertime is said to be "dead" in the publishing world. So many publishers are on vacation and the ones keeping up the pace might have their minds elsewhere, maybe on the beach or the mountains. This summer was anything but dead. However it can be hard to focus with nature calling to get out and explore. Here's a view from my desk to give you an idea of how enticing it can be working in the foothills northwest of Fort Collins.

Shortgrass Prairie
This mandala artwork, "Shortgrass Prairie" is part of a series I'm illustrating for my licensing representative.
Gardener Girl end page artwork
Seems one mandala leads to another. Here's art for front and back end pages for another book that I'm writing and illustrating. You'll be seeing more of this in the coming months. I've got a few books I'm working on and one just SOLD (after three years of writing, researching, drawing, designing, editing, submitting query after query and more revisions) so I'm stoked!

And below are some sweet peas for Seed Packets. If you're sensing a "nature theme" here you would be right.

Sweet Peas

Marianne Berkes and Over on the Farm
 Marianne Berkes is one of my favorite authors and from what I know she never rests. Here she is on her latest book tour. Over on the Farm is one of the books we did together and it's featured in Learning Magazine for the month of September. We've included lots of fun activities for kids too.
Sedona Trolley's New Logo and Badge Artwork
Sedona Arizona
And finally above is the new logo and badge artwork for Sedona Trolley. Collaborating with their marketing director was so much fun. She shared lots of beautiful scenery of the amazing Sedona mountains.

Thanks for taking a look. Please click on each image for more information or a larger view.