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.

Monday, July 27, 2020

HEAR YE, Here's Ye Tiny Giant Free Downloadable Activities!

Tiny Giant Wreath Activity

Tiny Giant Wishes and Dreams Box Activity

Tiny Giant Bookmark Activity

Tiny Giant Poem and Link to Neil Bromhall's Acorn Video

Tiny Giant Arbor Day Jokes
Tiny Giant Digital Puzzle

One bright spot during this time has been working with my friend, Barb Ciletti, the author of The Tiny Giant. We've been putting our heads together (as much as you can put your heads together while social distancing) to come up with a variety of Free Downloadable Activities for you. Here's a few and you can find more on Schiffer Books Resources Page. I'll include that link once we've put everything together.

The Tiny Giant, Schiffer Books, coming September 2020

All activities vetted by actual curious, creative kids

School Library Journal, ...Tiny Giant is a charming and pretty addition to nature-focused collections.
Midwest Book Review, ...This rhythmic story of the life cycle of a mighty oak from a tiny acorn is sure to fill you with awe and appreciation.
Please click on each image for a larger view, to download an activity or to access a link with more information. For instance, the link to the puzzle image actually takes you to the digital puzzle (although it won't bring you back to my blog). The link under the poem activity takes you to Neil Bromhall's YouTube video. Try it, you'll like it.

Hope you're well and thank you for taking a look at my blog!

Friday, March 27, 2020

Oh, what a difference a virus makes!

Under the Sea, part of the Over/Under series
Family Tree (18"x 24")
 Puzzle Me This

Above are a couple of new illustrations for my art licensing agency. They start as ideas that will become puzzles, beach blankets, home decor, murals and more. It's a different process than illustrating picture books, but still relates to kids. I do have more books coming, but it's way too soon for show and tell. Click on each image for an expanded view.

Read Across America

NEA (National Educational Association) launched Read Across America to encourage children to read more books. This began in 1997 and is celebrated on or around March 2, Theodor Geisel's (Dr. Suess's) birthday. It's since expanded to a week long celebration hosted by schools, bookstores and libraries where local celebrities, public leaders, authors and illustrators visit and read with elementary school aged kids. 

I got to visit with kindergartners and first graders at Bauder Elementary in Fort Collins. The kids were wonderful and gifted me a signed copy (signed by them!) of one of my favorite picture books, Little Red Writing by Joan Holub, illustrated by Melissa Sweet.

Read Across America / Dr Seuss Day, March 2 - 6, 2020
 We All Hunker Down at Home

Oh, what a difference a couple of weeks makes. Coronavirus came along and changed our world for awhile as we all hunker down and stay home. I'm lucky to have a home studio to work from. Self isolation is pretty much business as usual for book creators. We're mostly introverts, but still love connecting with kids in our community, sharing our books, visiting schools, museums, libraries, all closed for now.

But book creators are a resourceful bunch. If kids can't come to us we'll come to them, one way or another. Here's a great online resource: The Big List of Children's Book Creators Doing Read-Alouds and Activities - We Are Teachers.

Below is The Big Empty: Drone footage of Denver during coronavirus stay-at-home order by Guerilla Capturing. It was shot and edited by Blake Rubenstein with views of downtown Denver; RiNo, LoHi, Mile High Stadium, Denver Art Museum, among other landmarks. It was shot during lunch hours between Tuesday, March 24th - March 26, 2020. It's eerie watching empty Denver streets, but I feel it's a good reminder that we're all in this together and we should wash our hands.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue

US Forest Service Poster framed by a Colorado sunrise - I'm an early bird illustrator
In with the Old!

Here's one of the last illustrations completed in 2019 (so last decade!) which goes to press January 2020. This was such a fun project to research and illustrate. I'd love to have more jobs like this come along in this new decade.

The Ribbon, new story in the works
 Something New!

I'm collaborating on a new picture book. The working title is The Ribbon. So far I'm just playing around with different looks and exploring possibilities. The story is in flux as well as the illustrations. I don't feel I'm where I want to be yet, but you have to start someplace. Plus, turtles are fun to draw.

Download, print, color and laugh!
 Something Borrowed!

I borrowed these jokes from the folks who bring us Arbor Day. This fall I have a new book, The Tiny Giant coming out. The premise of the story shows how it takes one small thing to make a huge impact. We get the concept through watching the life cycle of a tiny acorn becoming a giant oak forest. I love to create activities that relate to the book. And kids love jokes, right?

Below is a partial cover reveal. The acquiring publisher, Schiffer Books, has been great to work with and is putting all the bells and whistles on the book cover and interior design and layout. You'll be seeing more throughout the year.
Partial cover reveal with a Colorado sunset in the background - gotta set the mood
Shhhh, Blue Beauty and her animals are trying to sleep!
And finally something Blue!

What's This Tail Saying? by Carolyn Combs, illustrated by Cathy Morrison
And I'm adding one last bittersweet announcement regarding my picture book coming out this Spring with Dawn Publications. I've been a huge fan of Dawn's creative nonfiction nature books long before I started working with them. This is our seventh book together and they have always been amazing to work with. Dawn has been acquired by Sourcebooks based in Chicago and is now part of their eXplore juvenile nonfiction imprint. You can find the acquisition details in this Publishers Weekly article. So on one hand I'm excited that Dawn Publications has found a new home with Sourcebooks. This should bring a wider audience to their books, continuing their mission of connecting children with nature. But on a personal note I'm going to miss working with the original folks who have always been so supportive and put their heart and soul into creating these fun nature titles.

Thanks for taking a look at my blog. You can keep up with new images by following me on my Instagram account, @cathymorrisonillustrates. Also, clicking on an image will enlarge it for a better view and clicking on a link will give you more information.

Happy 2020.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Out of the Blue

Black and White Rough Sketch Concept No. 6
Full Color Illustration placed into InDesign Layout
A few more tweaks after gathering feedback from various forest service grassland experts, tribal nations, etc.
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,