Wednesday, November 16, 2011

New Highlights Cover Art

The December Highlights for Children is out!
The original art, titled Season's Greetings, is posted here for you to enjoy.
It's great fun for me to feature real pets in my Illustrations. Bailey Thomas, a happy, tail-wagging West Highland White Terrier is one of two real pet friends drawn in this piece.
The cat in the window, (who gets covered up with the banner) was inspired by the real life Mac Vargo.
Thanks for stopping by to see my new December Highlights cover!

Friday, November 11, 2011

November is Picture Book Month, encouraging everyone to celebrate literacy with picture
books. (Click on the logo) Every day this month, there will be a new post from a picture book champion explaining why he/she thinks picture books are important.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Shhh... lets tiptoe inside the spooky old house...
~Terry Webb Harshman

Monday, May 2, 2011

New Digital Art

Throughout my career as a children’s book illustrator, I have worked in a traditional style with acrylics on Strathmore Bristol Board. Over the last five years I’ve been mixing mediums by enhancing traditionally painted art with Photoshop techniques. Recently I completed a number of projects that were painted entirely in Photoshop.

After reading about a great digital painting class on Marion Eldridge’s blog NEW ART NEWS, I signed up to take an online class that would help me with a new sketch for Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

In the spring, I took Will Terry’s Digital Painting and Photoshop Course. After completing his class I was able to get more of my traditional painting style into digital artwork . Will demonstrates his process for painting with layers and the use of textured brushes you create. I learned how to use layers and much more from Will’s series. Below is the first illustration I finished after the class. The possibilities with digital media are endless!

©2011sharonvargo -Goldilocks with Papa Bear's Bowl
Regardless of the painting technique, my creative process has remained the same and my first step is to begin with thumbnail sketches. Thumbnail sketches are reduced versions of the images. I use these little 'chicken-scratches' to work out everything from composition, character, colors and even text placement.
From the thumbnails, I selected the two spreads to illustrate and then move to a full size sketches.

I scanned the drawing and painted it in Photoshop using a Wacom Cintiq. The Cintiq is a tablet/screen that allows me to draw directly on the display surface.

On this spread Goldilocks is testing the hot porridge in Papa's bowl and tasting the cold porridge in Mama bears bowl. With Photoshop the art is still workable in the final stages. I added a larger chair and Papa bears glasses (not in the sketch) to illustrate the difference in size between Papa bear and Goldilocks. I connected the two single page illustrations by showing the table from the same vantage point. This perspective also allows me to feature the difference in size from Papa and Mama bear's chairs.

©2011sharonvargo Goldilocks with Papa and Mama Bear bowl
Here is pages 30 and 31 ... Goldilocks ran down the stairs, opened the door, and ran away into the forest.
©2011sharonvargo Goldilocks and the Three Bears

I'm starting sketches for another project today and will post more of my adventures in
Photoshop soon!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

It is always a treat to collaborate with my author/poet friend, Rebecca Kai Dotlich.
Almost 20 years ago I moved to Indiana and met Rebecca in a small critique group. We only live a few blocks apart and have been good friends since our first meeting. Her poem Mom's Lunchbox Love, was originally published in the Lee Bennett Hopkins anthology Valentine Hearts Holiday Poetry. Take a look at her website,, I know you, too, will fall in love with her poems and books!