Monday, December 10, 2012

Holiday Postcard

Happy Holidays!  My holiday art this year illustrates the poem “Little Village” written by my talented friend Terry Webb Harshman. It was first published in The Poetry Friday Anthology compiled by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong. Terry is a published poet, children’s book author, and the editor of Turtle Magazine for Preschool Kids and Humpty Dumpty Magazine.

The illustration for “Little Village” was drawn on Strathmore 400 Series Drawing Paper
and subsequently painted in Photoshop.
 It's great fun for me to feature real pets in my illustrations. Bailey Jean Devansky is a local beagle who visits my studio while on a perpetual quest for a treat. I thought of her while sketching a dog peeking in the window.

The tiny cat in the village (standing in the alley next to the bakery) was inspired by the real life Mac Vargo. Mac and his sister, Tosh Vargo, are regularly featured in my art.

Currently the elves in my studio are busy putting the final touches on my annual holiday postcard and hope to get them delivered before Valentine's Day. Thanks for stopping by to see my new holiday art!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Baby Letter N

One of the many hidden picture master artists for Highlights Magazine, Tim Davis, recently celebrated the birth of his grandson. To join in the celebration, a group of Highlights for Children Magazine illustrators each depicted a letter of the baby's name with a hidden picture drawing. My letter was N, so I decided to feature a young artist (like his Grandpa) sporting three sticks of chalk to form the letter N and a chalk board background.

Like my other work, I started with a simple thumbnail sketch...

and then did line drawings of the images to scale. In the sketching process, my ideas always evolve and the original idea grows into something new. The pencil sometimes leads me in an entirely different direction than my starting point. For example, my original idea was to hide the words (that begin with N) on the baby’s shirt, but after finishing a thumbnail sketch, I decided a chalkboard would be best for the hidden words.

After sketching, my next step is to scan the drawings individually and place them in a Photoshop document. This becomes my final sketch which is then painted in Photoshop using the Cintiq. The fun part of this project was to paint and play with new brushes in Photoshop, trying to create the 'look' of chalk dust on the blackboard.

Congratulations to Tim and the Davis family on your new grandchild!
I hope you like the letter N.

Monday, August 27, 2012

New Gallery Art

My travel sketches are becoming a new series of paintings titled "Sketch Boxes". The art featured in this blog post is one of the painting I created after visiting the Italian Market in Philadelphia.

My 'Sketch Boxes' are wooden boxes with images rendered in acrylic paint.
I'm looking forward to posting more of my newest artwork and information about the gallery, where all the pieces will be displayed. Stay tuned! 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

New Storybook

Recently I illustrated a new book titled "What We'll Do, Just Me and You!" by Diane Ohanesian. It embraces meaningful moments between parent and child that happen through simple, everyday experiences. "What We'll Do, Just Me and You!" brings these endearing and universal images and feelings into focus, and wraps them up as a sweet love letter from parent to child. You can share special moments with your young boy or girl in this personalized storybook available now at You are able to have the book feature either a boy or girl throughout the book along with their name on each page.
I started with character sketches. Then illustrations for the book were drawn to scale on Strathmore 400 Series Drawing paper. The art was painted in Photoshop.  Below are a few sketches for
What We'll Do, Just Me & You in the process. The typography for the book What We'll Do, Just Me and You!  was done by A. Vargo Design. Thank you Abby for your inspiring graphic design!

Friday, July 6, 2012

YEE-HAW Logo Winner!

What a thrill to have my logo chosen as the winning design for the 2013 SCBWI Multi-State Conference!  Look for it on items promoting the conference to be held in Fort Wayne Indiana May 3-5, 2013.

Old western vignette designs inspired my Wild, Wild, Midwest logo. The design started with a thumbnail, then a simple line drawing and color was added in Photoshop.  The project was complete when text was added by A.Vargo Design. Thanks Abby for branding the logo with cowboy text!


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Conference Weekend

Life is always taking me on new adventures, and a few weeks ago the path lead me to the Canyon Inn in McCormick's Creek State Park for the SCBWI Indiana Conference, aptly named Trails to Sweet Success. We had an amazing array of faculty for the conference that included Andrew Harwell, Associate Editor, HarperCollins; Eve Adler, Editor, Grosset & Dunlap; Jessica Garrison, Editor, Dial Books for Young Readers and Joann Hill, Art Director, Disney•Hyperion Books. Prior to spending a jam-packed weekend dedicated to children's books in the Inn, we managed to hike along the path to a waterfall with our NY editors. An interesting aspect of the weekend included a one-on-one portfolio review and a workshop titled The Illustrator/Art Director Relationship, with Joann Hill.  Here's a new image from the workshop with Joann.  It was an eventful weekend with outstanding faculty as well as artist and author friends! 

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Great Goose Egg Auction 2012

I am excited to be a part of The Great Goose Egg Auction 2012 for Open Fields School. Open Fields is a small non-graded private school in Thetford Hill, Vermont.

Back in 1996, a parent donated more than 100 blown goose eggs for use in the school. A friend of the school and illustrator of children's books, the late Trina Schart Hyman (April 8, 1939–November 19, 2004), suggested that the eggs, if decorated and sold as unique works of fine art, could benefit all of the Open Fields students. Her idea hatched into an annual online auction that supports the school with the sale of artist-decorated eggs. Each year, goose, quail, hen and emu eggs are sent to artists all over the world and returned to Open Fields School as works of art!

Trina's "eggstraordinary" art event, The Great Goose Egg Auction, has become the school’s biggest fundraiser.   This year they will start with a brief viewing and auction on Friday, May 11, 2012 and at AVA Gallery in Lebanon, NH.

If you’re on Facebook, you can join the Open Fields School group:
The auction itself:


The exhibit opens at 5:30, and eggs can be viewed from 5:30 to 7. The auction starts promptly at 7PM.

In January I started sketches for the upcoming children's book, What We'll Do, Just Me and You! by Diane Ohanesian, debuting this summer. When my goose egg arrived carefully wrapped in a brown box just a few months ago, I thought the beach spread from the book would be a great image for the egg. I LOVE the beach, and am happy the egg captures a fun day at the beach!

Here is a step-by-step diary of how I painted the egg, titled: Me and You!


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy Spring!

This illustration is for the upcoming children's book, What We'll Do, Just Me and You!
by Diane Ohanesian, debuting this summer.