Saturday, September 17

How does a book get painted? Leaf by leaf

How does an image get made? Leaf by leaf - line by line - until the picture comes together.

Monday, September 5

Fall colors changing...


It's fall and leaves are bright new colors.


Owls are in hooting in the the woods.


School fills up days with adventure.

Wednesday, August 24

A deer in the city!


The other day I saw a deer walking up a hill beside my bike trail. I've been here for decades and I never once saw a deer in the city. So I followed after it, pushing my bicycle up the trail.

But it had vanished in the woods.  So I went on my way and sat by the fountain. Then on the way back I returned to the hidden trail through the woods.

And there the deer was again, resting quietly in the grove of trees on the grass, hidden and known only to me.

From a distance we watched each other. I tend to think of a deer in the middle of this city almost the same light as a unicorn. It was amazing to see - like a mystical creature.

But it made me sad thinking about what a difficult prospect it had ahead of it, and the conflict of living in a city full of cars and people. 

I had already passed a local homeless person who I see all the time.  And then yet another homeless person who sleeps by the trail in a sleeping bag. So that's three homeless beings making their way down the trail alone lost in the city.

It made me very sad to contemplate their future prospects - and to contemplate the general hopeless condition of any wild thing in the city.

So I turned around and quietly went home, grateful that I have a place to be my home. 

A few hours later the thoughts started nagging me that I ought to go back and see if it was still there. So I did. I rode the trail over a bridge and hid my bike in the woods. With my camera I quietly walked back up the trail. 

But now, where there had been a deer there was another homeless person fast asleep - hidden in the grove. It was as if the deer had transformed into a person almost.


I guess the nature of a wooded trail is that it's still partly wild - and belongs to no one.  Wild animals can travel down it searching for a better place to be - and homeless wanderers can call it home for a short while. 

Thursday, August 18

America's forgotten boy genius...


These are some pages from my book 'Cromwell Dixon's Sky-Cycle' - the TRUE story about Cromwell Dixon, america's boy genius and youngest aviation pioneer. Now mostly forgotten by history. Cromwell built and flew his own flying bicycle in 1907 that flew a mile over Columbus, Ohio.


After the Sky-Cycle, Cromwell went on to pioneer flying gasoline powered airplanes and set many aviation records - first to fly over the Mississippi River and first to fly over the Rocky Mountains. I did up a complete book blog for the book that can be found here: Cromwell Dixon's Sky-Cycle book blog.

Wednesday, August 10

The funny papers...

Reading the funny papers - this morning's sketch. I was looking through the news and decided I think we're pretty much doomed.  So why not enjoy the comics?

I think the comics offer a refuge from the scary world of the news. The comics offer a happy bright and safe world. A wonderfully nice place to escape to, even if you just have to make it all up.

Thursday, August 4

A dee-lightful big box of books!



This morning I opened the box of books on the porch with great delight! THANKS! Red Chair Press! Wow!


I always think creating art with photoshop is amazing - but equally amazing is how the files get transformed into real books. It really IS magic!


Wednesday, May 25

A Little Perspective From Freelancer Island...

So what is life like as a children’s book-maker? It’s like keeping a little mouse of creative happiness that runs free in the cloistered studio of one’s imagination. It’s being able to make dreams out of thin air and share them with the world. And you’ll have to get used to living in a lonely place known as Freelancer Island... which is a very, very lonely place indeed.

I wrote all about it for the SCBWIKitetales blog....


Monday, May 16

Teddy abides with awesome cool-itude!

The mysterious Teddy arrived, sneaking onto the front porch and totally undercover, of course. And as always, Teddy is tres cool! It's always fun to finally see how a digital book will look in print. Wished I could wear cool shades everywhere I go.




Tuesday, May 3

A woodsy step by step GIF

 photo Stella-Gif-S.gif

It's back to the woods with another step by step GIF. The experience of creating an entire landscape by one's self is uniquely satisfying - we illustrators do create our own little worlds after all.

Friday, April 22

The Free-range sketcher...


The free-range sketcher was out today - capturing people of distinction with a few deft strokes of pencil. Then later I scanned the pencil and finished it off with a dribblely pen line. Sketching can be so much fun when one is inspired. I think it's the race against time that adds to the fun.

Basically I think everybody's got a 'look'. So it's fun to try to capture them if at all possible.  Exaggeration is more important than accuracy. 

I like this dribbly line - it's one of the Kyles brushes. Somehow a dribbly line or a line that changes is more fun to draw than a line that just sits there, I think.

Wednesday, April 20

Owls, the thinking bird.


Owls, plainly the thinking bird.


And the magic of photoshop that makes changes so quick in the event of artistic dissatisfaction. 


Friday, April 15

When in doubt, climb a tree - if that won't help - take a nap.


When in doubt, climb a tree - if that won't help - take a nap. Most of my creative roadblocks get solved with naps. I read that Norman Rockwell used to take 5 naps a day.