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.


Sunday, March 28, 2021

Birds do it. Bees do it.

Here's some illustrations from a work-in-progress. Did you guess that it's about pollination? Right now the project is very fluid, lots and lots of changes going on. I won't bother to give you the working title because that's been changing weekly right along with the story. Here are some page spreads which may or may not make it into the final book. So it's a sneak peek just for you. Shhhh, don't tell anybody.

A tiny fleet of insects wings its way to nectar and pollen.

Hummingbirds hover at petunias, and tango with trumpets of mint.

Flowers bloom around the clock. Some only bloom at night. The Cereus cactus blooms once a year so you better be watching. Most of us are familiar with daytime pollinators like bees, hummingbirds, lady bugs and butterflies. What about the nighttime pollinators? Bats, fireflies, hawk moths and even some geckos are a few of our nighttime heroes working hard to save our planet.

Their feast awaits.

By day or by night, pollen falls when creatures feed.

One of my favorite projects that capped off 2020 was illustrating a picture book by Ryan Caver and Jacqueline Bordeaux. The book is for, an environmental Conservation Organization. Check out their inspiring instagram feed, @clean.horizons ( and their website is  

For every book you purchase Oliver and his friends pledge to pick up a pound of trash in your honor. This is your opportunity to help protect our coastlines along the Gulf Coast, keeping our beaches safe and beautiful and our wildlife happy and healthy. Who is Oliver, you ask? Well, he's absolutely amazing! You really need to buy a book to get involved and find out more!... 

Below are some free downloadable activity sheets created for the book.

Cootie Catcher Sea Turtle Challenge Activity Page for Litter, Litter, Please Come Here

Be-A-MAZE-ing activity sheet for Litter, Litter, Please Come Here

No to littering! coloring sheet for Litter, Litter, Please Come Here

Scratching my head, trying to work out the kinks for the cootie catcher/sea turtle activity.....

Think I've got this thing figured out with a lot of help from kids who totally know their cootie catcher construction and games!

Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog. Clicking on the illustrations enlarge the images, much easier to see details. Click the links to go to Clean Horizons for more information about their environmental group and to purchase a book. You can also click on the activity pages to download them, print them out and enjoy!!


Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Wrapping Up 2020, One Illustration At A Time

What can you say about 2020?  

It’s been no picnic, but we’ve tried making the best of what life has thrown our way this year. I’ve been grateful to be able to work from home and have some fun projects to wrap my mind around. 

Below are illustrations from Litter, Litter, Please Come Here by Jacqueline Bordeaux and Ryan Caver. This is a very fun, simple story with an empowering message for today's kids. “You can clean up your environment, a piece of litter at a time. It only takes one to to make a big impact.” When the book is published I'll post a link with more information.

Our beach friends make the trash a meal. Imagine how that makes them feel?

Litter, litter, everywhere. Litter, litter, please come here. 

Many call the beach their home. Fish that swim and crabs that roam.

Now back to that Picnic theme...

The last several years I’ve been illustrating various projects for Darling NYC. They always throw fun challenges my way. The videos below are for Pink & Pepper, two of five picnic themed ads to launch Morton Himalayan Pink Salt & McCormick Ground Pepper Shakers. All the creative, the animation, design, etc., is Darling. I drew the illustrations.

 Various illustrations from Pink & Pepper

So now you know, children’s book illustrators sometime do more than illustrate children’s books.

Thanks for taking a look at my blog. 
And here’s hoping for a brighter and better 2021.