Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Holidays

Here's my holiday promo postcard. Wishing everyone a Happy Holiday!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Highlights Cover Art

Here's a few close-up images from the cover art I did for the December issue of Highlights Magazine!
This part of the art is covered up by the blurb banner...and the full image, Popcorn Tree!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

New Art!

Here's an illustration of my logo character, Art Hen, working in the studio. This art is on my new note cards and also sends THANKS to everyone for visiting the blog!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Illustrators' Party 2010!

A BIG highlight of my year is the Highlights Illustrators' Party. It takes place over a Fall weekend in Honesdale, Pennsylvania. Each year has a surprise theme that is introduced on the invitations. This years theme was, 'That's Silly' based on the That's Silly pages in Highlights High Five magazine.
The weekend takes a tremendous amount of planning by the Highlights staff. They truly stand behind their brand of wholesome family fun sponsoring such a wonderful party for illustrators and their families! The party started on a Friday evening with a barbecue at the Highlights founders home where the magazine was born. The event continues with a Saturday morning breakfast, speakers, portfolio sharing, and lunch. The annual costume party was held later in the afternoon at the Highlights editorial offices.
In keeping with the theme of the party, I went as a can of Silly String!
My cans of silly string were a hit with the kids.
Can you find me in the sea of wonderful costumes?
The picture book gals got together for a cover shot too!
The costume party was followed by dinner and square dancing in Beach Lake fire house. A mural of a 'That's Silly' page by illustrator Chuck Dillon was displayed at the front of the room. We had silly napkins and silly favors on the tables to add to the fun!
The weekend ends with a country brunch on Sunday morning at the Founders' home, nature walks, hayrides, and lots of time reminiscing about past Illustrators' weekends. It is a wonderful opportunity to meet the great staff at Highlights and reconnect with fellow illustrators. Thank You Highlights for your time and generous hospitality!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Goodbye Summer, Hello NEW Fall Art

I did character studies and interior sketches for a new book project this summer. My contract has a no-show clause, so I can not post the art till I get the 'OK' from the publisher, Little School House Books. Promotion for the first book should begin in the early part of 2011. Plans for DVDs of the character's adventure have begun too!

Each season we change the art images on the Picture Book Artists' website. For my fall post, I worked up a new image for an ABC book I'm writing. I don't have a title yet ... it's a book in progress. This is a sample of the 'A' page, showing a family on the Puffing Billy train. This is a historic steam train still running daily on its original mountain track near Melbourne, Australia. Now, I think I am going to redo this art... it REALLY is a book in progress.. ; )
The sketch was stitched together and colored on the Cintiq in Photoshop.
Another project underway in the studio is my costume for the annual Highlights Illustrators' Party. I am honored to be an invited guest again! Look for SILLY pictures to come...

Thanks for visiting, News from the Studio and Happy Fall!

Friday, August 27, 2010

OBX Watercolors

I spent last week at the OBX with my family (and pugs.) We had a great time together and the weather was wonderful. Here's a great photo of Duck, NC by my son, Ryan.
With my trusty traveling watercolor kit I painted every day and had a little gallery display on the windowsill of our beach house. Most of the watercolors were small quick studies, postcard or trading card size.

Here I captured the pugs on the beach. Many family members became inspired to picked up a brush and have a hand at watercolors too. Great fun! Until next year ... I have these little studies to remember our week at the beach! Now back to illustration work.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

New illustration featured in PW article, The Elephant in the Room by Elizabeth Bluemle

It was great to create art for Elizabeth Bluemle's article,
The Elephant in the Room on PW Shelf Talker.

I worked digitally for this illustration. I drew each elephant separately,
then placed them into the circle composition. I used Elizabeth's writing and collaged it into each
elephant's body for texture, value, and as an element to support the subject-matter of her article.

Then I added color in Photoshop.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

June Workshop!

Join us for two sessions: Children's Picture Books:
When Text Meets Art
Monday, June 14 & Thursday June 17 6:30-8:30 p.m.

The Writers' Center of Indiana!
Rebecca Kai Dotlich & Sharon Vargo

When text meets art, it creates a new world on the page—an expressive balance where each complements the other. Join poet/author Rebecca Kai Dotlich, and illustrator Sharon Vargo for a hands-on workshop in which participants will experience writing from an illustration, and sketching an illustration from a poem or prose quick-write. This is a great workshop for both writers and illustrators. No previous drawing experience is needed.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Hello Baby Goose

Back in 1996 a parent from Open Fields School, a small non-graded private school in Thetford Hill, Vermont, offered the school 100+ blown goose eggs. She thought the children could use the eggs for projects. But the late Trina Schart Hyman, (April 8, 1939–November 19, 2004), an American Illustrator of children's books and friend of the school, suggested that the eggs be used for a fundraiser instead. Her idea hatched a bi-annual fundraiser where artists decorate the eggs and send them back to the school for an online auction.

Various types of eggs – goose, quail, hen and emu – are sent to artists all over the world. They return transformed with paint, ink, pencil, gilded, sculpted, cut, collaged and otherwise incredible eggs. Trina's "eggstraordinary" art event has become the school’s biggest fundraiser - The Great Goose Egg Auction.

Despite skepticism at first, the eggs returned were great "Egg Art", and raised over $5,000 that first year. Since then, the school has held the auction every other year, and has raised as much
as $21,500 (2006 auction, honoring Trina's memory). Over the years, the eggs have been donated by a dozen Caldecott Medal & honor recipients and four Macarthur Fellows. Other contributions have come from alumni of the school, local artists, and volunteers from around the world.

I am excited to be a part of this great fundraiser that Trina Schart Hyman began. My goose egg arrived, neatly bubble wrapped in a brown box, back in November 2009. I unwrapped it and left it positioned on my drawing table for inspiration. It didn't take long and an image came right to mind of a baby goose sleeping. I did a sketch with a baby goose in a stroller. I pictured the baby goose on either side of the egg, in a night and day version. By night, sleeping. By day strolling

Here is a step-by- step diary of how I painted, "Hello Baby Goose".

Friday, March 12, 2010

Smiles & Friends - line art to a finished painting

There are two stages in my art process - line art and full color painting.
Line art is done first and sent to the client.
Once the Line Art is approved, I can begin painting.
Currently I'm working in a traditional manner and also on a Cintiq.
I use the Photoshop software on the Cintiq. I may do a little color testing in pencil, but I usually have the colors in mind before I begin painting. I'm hoping to load Corel Painter soon and start using (learning) that progam also. Here's a closer look at the art...
"Hopping" to another example of a work in progress. Here shows
the line art and painting on the same piece.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Baby Bear on the Cintiq

It's cold and snowy outside ... but warm and cuddly
in the studio creating new sketches using the Cintiq!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

**#@! Take Me To Your New Art Page !@#**

I'm redoing parts of my website.
I've updated my art page and I'm now working
on the book page. I found a robot I illustrated in
1999 for Make Yourself A Monster
A Book of Creepy Crafts written by Kathy Ross.
The original robot is holding the craft supplies
needed to make the Alien Necklace and the
other illustration was transported into
the future with a little Photoshop.

Monday, January 4, 2010

The New Year Starts With A Workshop

Happy New Year!

Twenty ten is the year of the tiger and things are starting
with a roaring
workshop at the ...

The Writers' Center of Indiana!

Children's Picture Books:

When Text Meets Art

Rebecca Kai Dotlich & Sharon Vargo

2 Wednesdays:

January 20 & 27
6:30-9:30 p.m.

When text meets art, it creates a new world on the page-an expressive balance where each complements the other. Join poet/author Rebecca Kai Dotlich, and illustrator Sharon Vargo for a hands-on workshop in which participants will experience writing from an illustration, and sketching an illustration from a poem or prose quick-write. This is a great workshop for both writers and illustrators. No previous drawing experience is needed. Please bring your own art supplies.

Hope you can join us!
All the best for 2010!