Thursday, January 12, 2017

Happy New 2017!

Thank you to Lydia Dody, the publisher of Style Magazine and journalist, Elissa J. Tivona for the article featuring "Storytime in the Dome" at the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery. This magazine reflects the heart and soul of life in Northern Colorado and it's an honor to be included.
 Style Magazine, January 2016
Style Magazine, January 2017
Click on Style Magazine's cover to get the Flip Book online magazine
Storytime in the Dome at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery
Click on the above logo to go the museum's site.
Everybody at the museum works hard to put this program together - hopefully it's a labor of love. Ben Gondrez, the Digital Dome Manager takes the files from my creative nonfiction picture books, digitizes and animates the page turns to be read and viewed on the gigantic 35 foot dome screen. He adds sound effects, bringing the experience to life. Sarah Kinard, the early childhood and special learning lead makes it all happen. She comes up with the crafts and activities that the kids will create that relate to the book. We head up to the theater escorting a group of cute, literary-loving kids along with their adults where we read the story. Afterwards we head down to the learning lab for art! Both publishers I work with, Arbordale Press and Dawn Publications have generously donated rights to the books since this is an experimental experience. So far it seems like the local families are enjoying it. The article below explains it much better than I do.
Stories Come to Life for the Whole Family
My messy desktop
And I'm making progress on a couple of projects. Here's the "during" and "after" shots for If the Mummy Could Talk.... Below I've placed some type to get a sense of how the cover will look. The book designer will choose the actual font and make it look much nicer. This helps me to visualize if I've left enough room for type, plus it's fun to experiment with various fonts. I'm excited to be working on another book with Rhonda Lucas Donald and Arbordale Publications!
If The Mummy Could Talk... coming Spring 2018
It's a good way to start a new year!
Thanks for taking a look.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Research Phase...

I'm working on a couple of new books. If The Mummy Could Talk... by Rhonda L. Donald is scheduled to be released Spring 2018. It sounds like a long time in the future, but there's a lot of work to be done between now and then. I've been doing research and have turned in interior roughs. Now I'm waiting to hear back from the publisher for more revisions and/or to go on to final artwork.

Have I mentioned that research is my favorite part of illustrating creative nonfiction books? I learn something new every day and hopefully it'll enrich the final illustrations.
Montage from research at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science's Egyptian Mummies exhibit
The docent in the lower left gave a great explanation of the elaborate process of mummification. The body's organs, including the brain which they didn't think was important are removed using a hook through the nose. The organs are preserved in canopic jars. Egyptians believed the gods would weigh the subject's heart to decide whether they deserved eternal life or not. Fascinating stuff!

Below are a couple of very rough interior spreads that my editor, art director and the author are going over now. They are super rough, but since we've all worked together before they understand that the final artwork will look better. The artwork might look similar to this or go in a totally different direction. I like the collaboration because it all works to make the book that much better.

Young King Tut had an awesome tomb but not the healthiest life.
Cats ruled dogs drooled in ancient Egypt


I find the most interesting mummies are the animals and we have several in this book. 

Even today we find ways to honor our favorite pets who have passed on to the afterlife. Here's a photo from a book shelf in my studio. On the left is a photo of my daughter with our first dog, Mohawk, an energetic Irish Setter. Next to the photo is an urn with ashes from our second dog, Tarzana, a good hearted yellow lab who liked to lay on my feet while I worked. Normally I wouldn't show my immortalized pets on my blog. However, after all the research for these mummified pets it doesn't seem so strange. How do you remember your favorite pets?
Our dearly departed pets, Mohawk next to ashes of Tarzana on my studio shelf

My second project is for Patria Press. This is a historical fiction chapter book series I worked on ten years ago with Florrie Kichler. As a kid, Florrie loved a book series called Childhood of Famous Americans (and so did I!). To make a long story short, Florrie bought the rights to many of the titles in the series, had it re-edited, re-designed along with new illustrations and has introduced it to a new generation of kids today.  Now it's The Young Patriot Series.

It was recently bought out by Carol Tully of TEI LandmarkAudio and I'm so excited to be illustrating the fifteenth book in the series, Dan Beard, Boy Scout by Miriam E. Mason. It's in the beginning stages. Even though I don't have roughs to show just yet I've included a photo of 90 year old Dan celebrating his birthday in New York along with a cover from the original series. I like Dan; he was from a family of artists, sketched nature, met Abe Lincoln as a boy and later knew Mark Twain. 
90 year old Dan Carter Beard, at his birthday celebration in New York.
Dan Beard, Boy Scout by Miriam E. Mason from the Childhood of Famous American Series
So I'm in the beginning stages, my favorite research phase and will have more to share shortly. It's scheduled to be published next year, 2017. 
Thanks for taking a look!
Cathy


Thursday, November 10, 2016

Nothing to see here

In a perfect world, I'd update my blog at least once a month. But the two projects I'm working on are technically too soon to show. So I'll show what I can and tell you more about them. Below is a book dummy I'm creating with a friend/author/colleague, Barb Ciletti. We're working as a team to submit to publishers and/or agents to get a book deal - fingers crossed. There's many revisions, but this is how it looks at the moment.

The second project is a book about mummies! The author is Rhonda Lucas Donald and it's our third book together. The publisher is Arbordale Publishing and it's our ninth book together. The Denver Museum of Nature and Science just opened a new exhibit, Mummies: New Secrets from the Tombs so this is where my research began. The book is scheduled for Spring 2018. I'll be posting images from that project when I'm further along.

And below is what I do when I'm not drawing. I've written earlier about being a volunteer at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery. One of my favorite things is being a docent at the Historical Heritage Courtyard in Library Park. We have a couple of different events, Fort Collins Through Time with school groups and Culture in the Courtyard for the public.


Cathy Morrison (1905 Schoolmarm), Jeff Stone (Antoine Janis) and Cindy Tunney (Auntie Stone)
Thank you Chris Winslow of FC Public Media for the photos.

Tantramar Heritage Trust
 Ok, this photo is not really my students from the Upper Boxelder School. I found it online. But when I'm welcoming a school group to come inside and take a seat in the historic one room school house this is how I imagine they looked back in the day. The kids and I have a great time comparing and contrasting a day in the life of a student from 1905 and 2016.

Thank you for taking a look!
Cathy

Friday, October 7, 2016

A Picture's Worth A Thousand Words

Slide from Power Point Presentation, Judging a Book by its Cover
 I'm super excited about this upcoming conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Robert Schram, the genius behind Bookends Design and I are giving a presentation about book covers for the Women Writing the West Conference. Bob will talk about book design while I chime in on illustrations.

Women Writing the West Fall Conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico
Julia Cameron is the key note speaker and I've been a long time fan of her books. The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity started a movement that's been going on over two decades.

Santa Fe's always beautiful, but my favorite time is in the autumn. Looking forward to making new friends, soaking up some culture and dining on yummy southwest cuisine.
Photos from Santa Fe's tourism site

Friday, September 9, 2016

Bye bye "Baby on Board", off to the printers you go!


I've turned in my illustrations and revisions for Baby on Board. Now I get to see what Patty Arnold of Menagerie Design and Publishing comes up with for the design and layout. She'll make the words and art come together and shine.

I've read one book endorsement which goes on the back cover... "Beautiful in imagery and rich in text, this book is bound to delight and inform readers of all ages. Especially refreshing is that dads are included as primary caregivers in this book! A wonderfully comforting message of connectedness among the world’s creatures shines through--big or small, fierce or cuddly, we all care for our young."
-- Dr. Mary Benson McMullen, Professor of Early Childhood Education, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN

The story starts and ends with people, but in between you'll find various baby mammals, birds, reptiles and arachnids. It's fun to see the book developing and evolving, almost like raising a baby to be sent out into the world.
Copyright page and beginning of the story, page 3
One of my favorite parts of illustrating children's books is after the artwork is turned in. I create free downloadable activities to tie in with the book. I'm not so interested in research, consistency and creative integrity as I am in making something work that 3 - 8 year olds will be able to create and enjoy. I want to challenge them, but not frustrate them, know what I mean?
Baby on Board Floaty Sea Otter Craft
Child-tested by my seven year old grandson!
Not only does the otter float, but also sticks to the side of the bath tub = Awesome kid fun!
Here's some adorable otter pups you can watch while making your craft and waiting for the book release. And more at Monterey Bay Aquarium's Sea Otter Cam. Last, but not least are these incredible Sea Otter Cupcakes. No otters were harmed in the making of these yummy treats!

Below is another craft, less steps, but potentially much, much, messier - BEWARE!
Baby on Board's Very Messy Penguin Footprint Craft
Kangaroo pouch craft, lion coloring page, lots of fun animal activities to make
We're working on a couple of more activities to go along with more animals in Baby On Board. Not every activity we experiment with makes the cut, but you get the idea.
Experimental headpiece activity? Don't think so...
Thanks as always for taking a look!
Cathy

Sunday, August 7, 2016

August's here already?

It's hard to believe it's already August. This year I've had my head buried in projects; four educational picture books, one trade book and several presentations. Yesterday I turned in final illustrations for Baby on Board which comes out in the spring. Now there's one more book and one more presentation to go. I have ideas I want to develop so I'm looking forward getting involved with new projects and open up some space to see what comes next.

In Northern Colorado we have Style Magazine. August's issue focuses on female entrepreneurs. I was fortunate to be interviewed by Elissa J. Tivona. Elissa is a journalist, she travels internationally to present her work in peace and conflict studies and teaches at CSU. She was wonderful to work with and I'm proud to be a part of this month's magazine.



Also, I wanted to thank Elizabeth Dulemba for including Storytime in the Dome in her Friday Linky List! Elizabeth is a Visiting Associate Professor of the Picture Book Design class at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia in the summer. The rest of the year she lives in Edinburgh Scotland, pursuing her MFA in Illustration at the University of Edinburgh. Plus, she's an all around good person to know. We're both members of PictureBookArtists and I keep up with her on her blog these days.

Last, but hopefully not least, here's a couple of illustrations from Baby on Board.

They paddle very slowly as they swim along the coast.
But nestled under Mama's fin, this baby likes it most.
Manatee
Tucked in pouches, gripped in teeth
Propped on backs or underneath
This is what some animals do.
How did someone carry you?
 Thanks for taking a look. See you in September!