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.

Tuesday, March 29

Here's another 'Memory-Pix'

Here's another 'Memory-Pix'. I hadn't been past a school playground in years - but I passed by one going to the library - and took a 'memory-pix' of some of the kids. It was amazing to see how they were all in their own joyous little worlds - and all shrieking with happiness. It certainly seems like an antidote to the misery that seems to rule so much of the 'grownup' world.

I like the pastiche of blue shades to serve as a color - it seems to leave more to the imagination.

Tuesday, March 22

7 herons all together fell out of the sky


A lovely spring - today I saw 7 herons come gliding out of the sky all together as if they fell out of the sky


It's time for the herons to start building their nests, which they do in select trees nearby - the same trees every year. 


 Then I ran into an old friend who I thought had moved away - all very auspicious. Nature rules - News drools.

Sunday, March 20

Memory - Pix

Many of the drawings I make are all done from memory - so here's a 'Memory - Pix' of one cute - but very angry  baby. I saw this squalling pink faced fellow one morning on my bike ride - and what struck me was the look of betrayal in his eyes - the angry disbelief that Mama would dare to change his diaper. lol!


Tuesday, March 8

Cherry Blossom Messages...


I could hardly believe my eyes this morning when I saw this scene - that I tried to sketch out. An impossibly elegant japanese woman with a baby on her back hanging paper messages on string from the blossoming cherry tree - while a group of ancient grannies stood around smiling. I've never seen paper messages like that tied to the already amazing ancient cherry trees.

There is some kind of magic that comes out at cherry blossom time here... the whole world swoons. It's the perfect antidote to the grim reality of the rest of the world.

Monday, March 7

My years with Sesame Street...



I love Sesame Street & Children's Television Workshop, since they saved my career at a point when I was just starting out - I remember one rough patch where I didn't have any other clients going except for CTW, who dependably kept me working for years. When I was in New York, I used to love going down to Lincoln Center to drop off my artwork - and I always hoped I'd catch sight of Jim Henson or Frank Oz or Big Bird in the lobby. But I never saw any live muppets.

Sesame Street kept sending me work after moving to Seattle. I spent many happy years painting Big Bird and Muppets.



By then I had two little toddlers of my own, so it all seemed natural that I would be painting Big Bird in my studio and my kids could see Big Bird on TV. Sometimes I'd have my toddlers help me finish up a painting - just adding a few dabs of color... before mailing it off to New York City, 2000 miles away. And it was always fun when the magazine arrived to point out 'my pages'.

I greatly enjoyed the documentary on Amazon: I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story.

I know I've met trade book editors who shudder as the sight of 'muppets' in my portfolio. But I think the world Jim Henson created is unique and has a lasting magic. There's something so reassuring in the set designs - I could spend afternoons on those city stoops and back steps.

Anyhow it made me proud to have spent years working with Children's Television Workshop and the Muppets. They bring a lot of good into the world of childhood learning and making families whole. A noble cause.

I was surprised to see children's publisher Laurent Linn in so many scenes... a celebrity!

Tuesday, February 23

Art & Text - the balancing act



One of the challenging aspects of bookmaking is fitting the text into the design of the page. This book was very challenging - both to write and to design the pages.


But somehow I managed. There were basically three text spaces on each spread and the art had to fit in around the text spaces. 


I can scarcely imagine doing a book this complicated without using Photoshop!  And these weren't even the most complicated pages - some day I'll have to put those up on the blog.