Sketchbook Project 2012: Tour Mail

These little birds are the first things I draw when I sit down and think 'draw something'. Always. So they flew off to Texas for the Sketchbook Project's Tour Mail.

Followed by these underwater sillies. I totally forgot where I sent them. I rarely pick up a marker as a sketch tool, but it was fun - and no erasing! If you're close enough to the tour this year, go check it out!



Sketchbook Project 2012 Tour: Portland, Maine

Last Friday I was lucky enough to spend the afternoon at the Sketchbook Project tour stop in Portland, Maine. The exhibit was at Space Gallery, and they did a great job of making it a fun, welcoming, and very cool place to spend a few hours.

I went with Vita Mechachonis, so of course I checked her book out first. I love that she made a full-circle story with her theme of 'In 10 minutes'. The monkey and elephant characters are super-cute. I love how Vita splashed color throughout the book. Check her whole book out here.

My friend Jane Grant-Tentas' book was another example of storytelling. You can see more of her book on her amazing blog (Jane rarely misses an IF!)

James Cornell tweeted me about who to check out at the show. You did not disappoint, James. This book was captivating from start to finish. And well-drawn. And so unique. Don't miss it. See it HERE.

Fran Meneley's beautiful book was next to Vita's. On the Sketchbook tour, you get to check out the book next to the one you've selected as a bonus. Awesome, right?



Angel Szafranko's book had this gorgeous, fully painted cover. And her wolf was my favorite from the inside.

Julie Jurrjens' book was lovely. Her 'Hong Kong cigarette' portrait floored me.

You have to see Rosemary Hollings' dimensional sandwich book in person. Or digitized, here, if you can't make it to the tour. Beyond clever and fun.

Another one of my favorite books: Anne van den Berg

Bernadette Moke's take on 'Along the Line' was so beautifully rendered. And smart.

Such gorgeous brushwork from Iwona Suchanska-Himik

I totally lucked out by picking Miranda Pang's tour mail card. I did a few of my own. Maybe I'll share those another day. This is my longest post in ages. If you get the chance, definitely check out the show. And it's a lot more fun if you've done a book too. Go sign up for 2013 here.

p.s. I did my best to link back to the artists' Arthouse pages. Some people drew blanks. If you are one of them, leave a comment with any link to your art and I'll happily update.

And away they go!


It was finally time to send these little monsters off into the world. I submitted my first dummy this week. I know it's the first of many. It'll be hard to switch gears and get those next projects in motion. I had to take a little moment here to celebrate their departure. I've put three years of love and time into this, and I am proud of finishing a task that seemed to insurmountable at times. Is this the end of the road for them? Of course not. I'm well versed in rewriting, resketching, and repainting by now. But it's a big step.

Other things are going on too. I'm waiting on a manuscript for an ed book to illustrate. That'll eat up much of the summer. I'll be taking a fun road trip up to Portland, Maine next week to see The Sketchbook Project. I'll keep writing for the 12 x 12 in 2012 challenge - I'll be halfway there once I get through the kinks in June's first draft. I'll be starting a new dummy. I'm not sure which one to switch to next. I think it'll be a little novelty board book that I wrote at the very beginning of the year. Not that I think it'll be ANY less challenging than my picture book dummy, but a very different feel to it.

So farewell my little monsters. I hope the world is kind to you.

Mystery Project - Missing!


Awhile back I signed up for a free Arthouse Co-op project (You know them, the Sketchbook Project people?). The Mystery Project! Ooooooh. Make art. Display it publicly. Photograph it.

Well, they sent me a 'french toast' Prismacolor marker and a prompt that said something like 'What if tomorrow came yesterday'. Um. Double downer for me. I'm SO not a marker person, and the prompt just gave me a headache. I overanalyzed and overplanned. I procrastinated.

The night before the deadline I joked with my husband about leaving art in the potato bin at my coffeehouse (aka natural grocery store, near me). He suggested a Missing! sign. Ten minutes later I was done.

I put him with the organic Yukon Golds (mmmm). Two hours later he was still there. We'll see if he's there on my next visit. Or if you recognize his location, go take him home with you. Or better yet - put him in another store's potato bin.

Sketchbook Project 2012: Yarn House and final pages

This was my final spread (not by order, just by completion) for The Sketchbook Project 2012, Treehouse. I knew I wanted to show the little 'treehouses' I made as a child somewhere in the book. I used yarn and twigs. It was always a production to have to clean up at the end of the day! A neighbor used to make them with me and 'conveniently' have to run home when it was time to unravel it all. Isn't that always the way?

I also included a few pages of my thumbnail sketches on a few pages:



I wanted to show that I don't just put pencil to paper without a little pre-planning. At least not for this sketchbook. Many of them evolved quite a bit, so I did have a little spontaneous fun!


I had to include a little goodbye note as well. I was a little sad to mail it off, but really just proud that I had made the leap and stuck with it. This little book got me back to drawing for fun, and for that I will forever be grateful! I can't wait to visit it on tour. Please leave a comment if you've done the 2012 project also - I'd love to add my readers to a list for when I get to see the whole physical collection.

Back to the dummy...

I'm taking a little break from the Sketchbook Project - not long since it's due by the 31st of January. Yikes! I'm trying to get my long-suffering picture book dummy ready to send off for a critique at the NESCBWI conference. I've shared this with lots of fellow illustrators, but never had an editor, agent, or AD look at it. It's really about time. And with that, I'm off to sketch, revise, and sketch some more!