Penguins and other progress

This was a little invite I whipped up yesterday for my niece. I used roughly the same technique as my daughter's 1st birthday invites. I inked a sketch, scanned it, then finished it digitally in photoshop.

It's been a whole month since my last post. I had to scratch my head and wonder what I've been up to.

I've made great strides on a second picture book dummy. The manuscript is VERY short, so it's been a struggle to find just the exact-right visual to match. In time I'll start experimenting with the style of the finish for this book. It's so simple, it might need to look a bit different than my usual gouache style.

Also, I just got back a cool little promo I want to pop in the mail next week. I'll show it off once they hit their destinations. It's a very short run of a story told in 4 business cards (mailed together). More on this to come.

Happy weekend to all!

Illustration Friday: Carry

There were so many nights like this with my babies. Sinking into the night, but holding on just enough to get through.

One really rough night with my son, I blasted Bird and the Bee's Birthday on my headphones. I know the song is probably meant romantically, but it became my mommy anthem.

I originally sketched this with text from the lyrics: Hold On / Hold On. As a finish, I just wanted to leave it pure.

The room formerly known as my office, 1 year later

More than two years ago I blogged about my old office being fully decorated. Less than a year later, I culled down to the basics and moved my office into a back corner of our living room. One year ago Saturday, it officially became our daughter Piper's bedroom.

I have no regrets about giving up that space. I love Piper's room. We've built lovely memories there. I love having my office where I can hang out with my husband in the evening. To be honest, I decorate at a snail's pace. I put a few finishing touches on her room this week. I don't decorate by ordering everything in one theme. My own baby blanket hangs over her crib. The blanket I crocheted while she grew in my tummy and I wanted nothing to do with illustration is on her glider.  The Amy Ruppel wall sticker goes with the original painting my husband bought me years earlier, that never had to move from it's spot on the wall.

Many of my children's books still hang out in the upper shelves. Her brother's baby toys line her shelves too.


Auntie Louise bird painting was the first thing I painted when the urge to be creative hit full force (and her middle name is Louise, after my great Auntie Louise who inspired that bike-riding, fish delivering bird). And most importantly, Piper seems happy here. And we are so happy and blessed to have her. She's our wild, funny, independent, sweet, and easy-peasy, spikey-haired girl.

Happy Birthday Piper Louise!

Pufferfish Party: process


I don't normally work on final art digitally, but since getting a new tablet, I thought I'd start playing around with it. My daughter's first birthday is approaching, and it's the perfect time to try something new. Next time I play around I want to do it without the black outline - try to mimic my own gouache style instead.


This is the sketch - I don't usually create compositions this busy, but I thought I'd try something different on all levels.


This is a pic of the inked art - I used a copic multiliner. Thank you, Kathy Weller for recommending those beautiful pens!


This is a screenshot from the digital piece in progress - the colors were far more saturated and still mostly flat color fills.

IF: Adrift (late!)


How is it Friday already? I meant to submit for Illustration Friday's Adrift theme this week, but I blinked and missed it.

Regardless, here is the Thank You card I sent to guests of Miles' 1st birthday. It was fun to have so many little ones that day, I was inspired to draw little versions of them. This is the same quickie-digital style I did for his invitation, and even though it was fun (and manageable) to create, I'm daydreaming about painting this for his bedroom. I need to add in his cousins who couldn't make it that day, but came up for a fun visit yesterday. Maybe in a little dingy/zodiac on the side!

Here's a picture of the party:


And it's aftermath... We haven't wanted to take down those banners just yet!


Digital Experiments


{Scanned drawing, live traced and colored in Illustrator}

I like to play a mental game with myself that I should be a digital artist for all sorts of time-saving reasons. But when push comes to shove, the paintbrush and my gouache feels most natural. That being said, I went to school for, and worked professionally with computers for most of my career. I do a good amount of freelance graphic and book design still. I do enjoy playing in Photoshop and Illustrator and thought I'd share some digital samples.


{scanned pen drawing, live traced and colored in Illustrator, textures and offset in photoshop}

I probably experiment digitally more than I do with paints and other 'real' media but have never found a style that makes me want to drop the paintbrush. I spent a lot of time thinking I'd have all my licensing pursuits be digital but never found one style that worked out. I guess I'll just have to keep experimenting!


{scanned ink drawing, live traced and colored with offset in Illustrator}

Oh, and this little logo belongs to my new blog that just launched last week. Pop by Smells like Crayons and see what's going on there!

And YES, my little guy is turning 1 in just a few weeks. I can hardly believe it!

Birthday Monkeys from the Past


I was looking for an old illustration to share for today, and since my birthday is next week this seemed like a good choice.

My husband and I usually like to make cards for each other. This was a card for him a few years back. It's always fun to dig through old work and reflect, and get inspiration! Through all my evolutions of media and styles I can find value in certain ideas and layouts. I probably could rework this piece in gouache, but I'm trying to not get too distracted! Lately though I've been focusing on my book dummy. I've tried to work on it a little bit each day, just jotting down notes, ideas, and quick sketches. More to come soon!

Oh, and I was partly inspired to dig through my archives while reading all the great posts over at Illustration for Kids Blog. Fun reads, go check it out!