October 12, 2017

Tonight’s the night to rouse this farm!


Out in the field where the cornstubble grew
stood poor old Scarecrow, hanging forlorn 
with his shirt all tattered and trousers torn.

With lantern lit, he scrambled for the barn
sayin’, "Tonight’s the night to rouse this farm!"

August 17, 2017

If mice had milliners...


If mice had milliners... and goats had goatees,



 there might be more round hat-boxes and muffins.


And fewer problems... who knows?


July 23, 2017

Some favorite book pages...


It's fun to remember pages from books past that most viewers to my blog never saw.


This is from 'Stella... Almost' by Willy Blevins from Red Chair Press.

Such a delightful book to make. Doing the woods scenes was especially fun - a decorative pastorale.

May 31, 2017

My books in Suzzallo library!

Well that was SO much fun - dropping off some of my picture books to add to the collection at Suzzallo library. Believe it or not, I had NO idea a bookmaker could just donate books to a library collection. So now my little selection of books will live a quiet life on the shelves in the children's collection.

Most of my books just vanish in a short while. They vanish into remaindering bins or vanish into children's libraries - where they get crayoned and torn up pages and then they vanish. But hopefully these books will last longer. And that's actually important to a book maker.

I felt like being an author and illustrator was almost like being a celebrity! Usually in bookstores, when I go in and introduce myself as a local children's book author, the clerks will roll their eyes and look irritated, like they wish I hadn't walked in. But today, the librarian seemed astonished. First she thought I had only written the books - then when she asked 'Who did the pictures?' and I said 'I did' - it was like amazement. Usually I feel more like a nobody when I go to the library - not like a Somebody!

So I'm more than happy to quaff down some imaginary champagne of 'author recognition'. lol!

May 30, 2017

Pencil? or Pen Brush?


Pencil? or Pen Brush? That's the question of this little film. With the magic of photoshop it's possible to switch out the line by itself on a drawing - to see how they look side by side.  This makes deciding much easier. And after looking it over I decided to vote for the pencil line - at least for this page of the book.

May 9, 2017

Imagination sometimes arrives on it's own...

Been having too much fun compiling this new poem-picturebook - it's an exercise in imagination. 

When interpreting a poem one is free to take any tack or try a number of solutions. So I sift and compile through my scrap pile, often finding older drawings that have just what I'm looking for. It occurs to me - as an illustrator I am as much an editor and chooser of images as I am a drawer.

The process of intuitively choosing the right image seems to arrive on it's own. I know exactly what I'm looking for arrives.

The idea that somehow an artist could go out and draw all that is kind of absurd.

April 24, 2017

Been Busy Bookmaking...



Writing, writing, re-writing.... brainstorming, dreaming, gnashing teeth, revising, redrawing, drawing, coloring, erasing, computing, Indesigning, Photoshoping. That's my life lately - with the re-writing being prominent.

It's true that one does not write so much as one re-writes. And one does not paint so much as one re-paints! (which is easier to do with digital art)

April 23, 2017

The Missing Link In Bookmaking


If you're a picture book maker with words and pictures, you probably have some experience of 'the missing link'. 

What is the missing link? It's that sticking point that's stuck in your story - where something is wrong and you don't know how to fix it. Believe me, I've been there.

I remember when I was taking a picture book class from Maurice Sendak at Parsons, he had suffered from 'the missing link'. There was one page in 'Outside Over There' where something was wrong. It puzzled him for weeks until he finally discovered the art of the ice babies page needed to be changed... and then things worked. 


One mistake at a time - fixing up a page of art or changing the ending of the words or the dozen other changes one makes in a book are all part of the fun. I'm totally bored with crosswords or other puzzles, but I'm as stubborn as a donkey when it comes to trying to solve 'the missing link'

March 20, 2017

Book making is odd...


I feel like I've been in the maternity ward, giving birth to my new characters and stories. I had a wonderful time making up a new story with pictures - crafting a dummy.

I used Indesign for all the thumbnail boards and page turns. One does not write and draw so much as one rewrites and redraws I find. I made many dozens of changes - changing names - changing locations - changing page sequences - changing text. But the last thing is to send it away to my agent. Too much fun! I wonder if the world will like my stories as much as I do?

Book making is so odd. Maybe the first drawing arrived years ago - and then got lost in a folder - and was forgotten. But then everything comes together years later. Funny how that works.

So what's the last thing I do when I'm making a new picturebook? The last thing I do is I try to forget it all. Yes, bookmaking is odd...

January 27, 2017

A Book From the Time of Dinosaurs


Dinosaurs are always something to wonder about.  For one thing, they're really BIG. But this particular Dino is very easy going and fun.


It's been interesting to recreate the classic art of Syd Hoff for these books about Danny and the Dinosaur. They seem to come from a simpler time... the time of Dinosaurs!

January 22, 2017

Never Lose Hope


On the train yesterday was a child with a tiny pink knitted hat. It was pinned on since it was far too small to fit. She was also wearing a silly backpack and carried a handmade sign. Outside on the station wall was a poster of MLK looking out that read 'Never Lose Hope'. I had to sketch it out from memory when I got home.

So many parents brought their children to the march - and to great effect I would imagine.