Sunday, February 26, 2023

Thinking in Pictures

My collaboration with Nancy Oswald is taking shape. We work back and forth as we revise and tweak the story and illustrations. It's exciting to watch it come together and take the form of an actual creative-nonfiction picture book.

Not only is Nancy a multiple award winning author, she also taught in one and two room schools for over twenty years. She now lives on a family ranch near Cotopaxi, CO. She is a soil enthusiast as well nature lover. I grew up in a family of farmers and ranchers, plus had my very own worm farm. What can I say, I was -a nerd- ahead of my time. As you might guess Wilma's story is close to both of our hearts. 

We plan to start submitting soon, so fingers crossed! Here's three fully colored page spreads from Wilma's Worm. If you're a publisher interested in seeing the full book dummy and manuscript, please email me at or Nancy at


Below are some new pitch decks created for Lynnette Novak, my literary agent with the Seymour Agency. I'm honored to be a part of Team Novak! Here's a recent interview, Agent Spotlight showcasing Lynnette. Her email is We're always interested in new publishing projects.


And a huge "Thank You!" to Poudre Libraries for hosting Book Fest 2023, For the Love of Reading for the entire month of February (also National Library Lover's Month and I Love to Read Month). It might be a short month, but it packs a huge heart! This year's new format included children's books and their creators. You can find details about the fun event here:

Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog. Click on highlighted links for more information and images to see a larger view.


Sunday, November 6, 2022

Calling 2022 my Reboot Year

Much of this year I've been illustrating a fictional chapter book geared toward adults. This has been such a different project for me and so much fun to illustrate. I'd forgotten how much I love working in black and white. Without going into too much detail, it's a conglomeration of tall tales; running the gamut from funny, scary, poignant and just plain bizarre. It's a unique book, sort of a cross between a modern Canterbury Tales and The Twilight Zone. I'll have more to share next year closer to the book's release date.

Nancy Oswald and I are collaborating on a creative nonfiction picture book. The working title is "Wilma's Worm". I first became aware of Nancy when I illustrated the cover for her YA book "Hard Face Moon" with Filter Press, (one of the best books I've ever read!). Through the years we kept running into each other at various conferences and book events. Not only is she a talented, hardworking, award winning author, but she's a great person and a dream to work with! Please check out Nancy Oswald's Website.

Why am I calling 2022 my reboot year? Coming out of the closures of the last couple of years I'm very excited to get back to classroom, library, and bookstore visits again. I had two books come out in 2020, the thick of the virus. They really didn't get the attention they deserve. So lately I'm busy with some local school visits plus setting up engagements for 2023.

The above images are from three afternoon sessions at Red Feather Lakes Elementary. After our story time reading we talked about making picture books, writing and illustrating, etc. Next we created fall wreath crafts with the younger students. For the older kids we created handmade book dummies and the kids wrote and illustrated their own stories. Those kids can write! 

Thank you so much, Red Feather Lakes Elementary!

Please give a shout out if you'd like me to visit your school.

And thanks for taking a look at my blog. Click images for a larger view and links for more information.




Monday, June 20, 2022

The world, one sketch at a time

Sketch Romania 2022

Have you ever heard of Urban Sketchers? It's a global community of sketchers dedicated to the practice of on-location drawing. We share our love for the places where we live and travel - one drawing at a time. We are committed to creating connections by sharing our work, engaging with one another and learning from everyone. Our global sketchbook is a space where diverse cultures, styles, backgrounds, and locations come together.

Sketch Romania 2022 was created and organized by illustrator and educator, Christina Wald. She's also the new international Social Media Coordinator for Urban Sketchers. Christina, along with our amazing guide, translator and friend, Ioana Popescu, Ph.D. took us on the journey of a lifetime. Ioana is currently on sabbatical from teaching at Drury University. Plus you'll want to check out her very cool YouTube channel, Ioana Talk Plants. Ioana grew up in Romania where her 81 year old mom, Anna, still lives. Not only were we able to meet up with Anna at some of our gatherings, she generously invited us over for a homemade meal featuring fresh mushroom stew, wine and other local delicacies. It was delicious and wonderful! 

There's not enough time to go into details here so please check out my instagram:

Also, please see Christina's facebook page:

And here's Jeb Brack's instagram: Jeb created an amazing accordion fold illustrated journal of our trip among many beautiful renderings.

We met up with several Eastern European artists along the way, sketching, dining, drinking and generally having a great time. Hopefully this is the first with many more sketch adventures to follow.

I'm in the foreground with Christina in back - our view from the top of the clock tower at Sighișoara, Romania

After two weeks traveling it's back to work for me. I have new books in the works that I'll be showing soon.

As always thanks for checking out my blog. Click on the links for more information and to enlarge images.

Bună ziua  



Friday, March 11, 2022

News from my Studio With A Wintry View, Brrrr!

Here's looking at you, winter. On these cold Colorado mornings it helps when I'm stuck inside drawing summer themed illustrations. The Cintiq screen on the left shows a rough sketch from Wilma's Worm. The central monitor has the Indesign layout from Meet the Minibeast. Both are working titles for now. 

Pitch Deck with illustrations from Meet the Minibeasts for The Seymour Agency

Drum roll, please.... I have big news, for the first time in forever, it seems! 

I'm beyond honored (and still pinching myself) to officially be represented by Lynnette Novak of the Seymour Agency. Click on the above Pitch Deck Card for more information about the agency. I realize this relationship is still all shiny and new. However, I find Lynnette to be super supportive, wonderful to work with, not to mention a heck of a deal maker. After many years of working in isolation from my mountain top it feels so good to be part of this amazing group.

These first graders from Werner Elementary in Fort Collins welcomed me with open arms! Literally, these cute, curious kids give the best hugs. This was my first in-person school visit since March 2020. I can't tell you how much I've missed these presentations and book readings.

National Education Association's Read Across America Day

 We read from The Tiny Giant illustrated by me and written by Barb Ciletti. Ahead of time, I sent pdfs of activity pages to Mrs. Krueger, the first grade teacher who invited me. She bound all these pages together to create a cool activity package, highlighting the book. Thank you for a very fun experience!

And here's the front end papers from Meet the Minibeast, coming out Fall 2023 with Schiffer Kids Publishing. I love creating end papers. Here's more about the history of end papers from Garry Parson's blog. 

Thanks for taking the time to visit my blog. Please click on links for a larger view and more information.


Saturday, December 4, 2021

Step Lightly: Book Maker Construction Site Ahead!

World Read Aloud Day is an annual celebration of reading and story sharing that connects students with children's book illustrators and authors from all over the world. It's a fun event coming up February 2, 2022. Book creators volunteer their time that day visiting classrooms and libraries for a virtual read-a-loud plus sharing our book making experience.
Thank you Jessica for this fun poster featuring 100 Days of School Projects. Please see more on Jessica's Pinterest.
As 2021 winds down I'm wrapping up some projects while starting others. Most are in various stages from rough sketch concepts, reading and researching, revising and presenting, story boarding, etc. Nothing is ready for show-and-tell just yet.

My studio is a mess, but it's part of the creative process. I keep telling myself this.

Here we're moving off the floor and opening a drawer of my old school flat files... (also a mess).

Here's a couple of projects I am happy to finally share; both working with Barb Ciletti and Schiffer Kids. We just signed two contracts. One is for a brand new picture book. The second is redeveloping The Tiny Giant as a board book and puzzle package created for younger kiddos. Nothing makes me happier than watching a toddler engrossed in a board book. This is something I'm super excited about.

For now the upcoming book's working title is Meet the Minibeast, but everything can change. It's under construction, going through growing pains; some parts undergoing major revisions, some parts just need a little tweak. We want to make the final book as awesome as possible. So the below illustration might or might not make it into the final book. It's a very fun project to work on and I'll be showing more sketches and illustrations along the way. Even though the book isn't scheduled to release until 2023 the final story and artwork need to be submitted to the publisher this summer. Once it's in their hands the designer takes over and does the final design and layout. From there it goes to the marketing and sales team, gets proofed and printed, and cataloged. Finally it’s sent out to book reviewers, book stores, etc. so it can be released fall 2023. That seems like a long way off, but it'll be here before you know it. 

Since I haven't included a ton of artwork in this blog post I've posted a mini portfolio highlighting a few of my favorite projects I’ve collaborated on recently. Just click this link!
Christina Wald's Blog
Alright, last bit of big news is that I'm going to be traveling with Christina Wald's Sketch Romania 2022 Tour! Christina and I have been virtual friends for several years. We both illustrate children's books for Arbordale Press. She's an amazing illustrator, educator, Urban Sketcher and world traveler. Below is one of her watercolor sketches when she was in Romania last 2014. Originally our trip was scheduled for the summer of 2020, but we all remember how that year turned out. Plus, my plein air painter husband is coming along too. It's going to be an amazing two weeks. I've been working digitally so long that I need to brush up on my analog skills.
One of Christina's sketches from Brasov Square in Romania, 2014 and link to her twitter

Thanks to everybody for reading my blog. Click on images for larger detailed views and links for more information. 

Here's to a happy, healthy 2022 and beyond.


Saturday, July 10, 2021

What's happening this Summer?

Publishing is seasonal with most books debuting in Spring and Fall. So what's up in the Summer? Writers and illustrators are still creating. Acquisition editors continue to discover and acquire upcoming titles. Art directors are still designing and creating beautiful picture books. But we all take a little extra time to stop and smell the roses. In my case, I also draw the roses along with the yucca, moon flower and many of the hungry pollinators who come out by day and by night. 

Front End Papers Artwork

Back End Papers Artwork


And below are a couple illustrations from a portrait series. These are two of my favorites.

Digital Pastel Portrait of Amanda Gorman
Digital Pastel Portrait of John Lewis
A huge "THANK YOU!" to Peter Limata for including The Tiny Giant in his Storytime Book Series.  

One of the few good things that came out of our COVID lockdown was so many publishers started granting rights for Virtual Story times. My favorite is Story Time with Mr. Limata on Facebook and YouTube. I first discovered him on Instagram, @StorytimeWithMrLimata, but most people know him from his appearance on the Ellen Show! We all appreciate his creativity and hard work he puts into his class of second graders along with sharing picture books with the rest of the world. Lucky us!

And last, but not least... The Tiny Giant is the recipient of the 2021 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award - Children's Picture Book Silver Award Winner! Thank you to the judges and Schiffer Publishing for believing in our book!

So enjoy your summer and thanks for taking time to check out my blog. Please click on the links for more information and the images for a closer view.