Friday, June 15, 2018

mixed media squirrels for illustration friday and colour collective

A quick mixed media piece for Colour Collective (Mint Cream) and Illustration Friday (squirrel). Haven't done an art challenge for a while. This was fun! Plus, I couldn't resist painting the squirrels (there's always a third squirrel)!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

twelve part picture book process for authors and/or illustrators

Everyone has a different way they create picture books. I've been working on new picture book ideas lately and decided to outline my process below.

(Note: If you're looking for help on how to write picture books, or want a more detailed post with tips, check out this previous post: How To Write A Picture Book In Twelve Easy Steps.)

This is an outline of my current process:
(subject to change depending on the book or if I find a better way)

Twelve Part Picture Book Process:

1. PB idea (either an idea by itself or from drawing/doodling a character or scene)

2. research*

3. decide that I can NOT draw and/or write it, or DON'T want to

4. write idea down in case I learn how to draw and/or write it later, or I change my mind

5. new PB idea

6. research*

7. decide that I CAN and/or WANT TO draw / write it! Yay!

8. write and revise
(Sometimes I add: 8b. send to agent for feedback before step 9, and then revise again and repeat until it works.)

9. create and revise sketches and PB dummy**
(Sometimes I add: 9b. send to agent for feedback before step 10, and then revise again and repeat until it works.)

10. make 2-3 pgs of final art

11. send out
(Send to agent first, revise until it works, then submit to publishers when it's ready.)

12. rinse and repeat

What's your process?

Happy Picture Book Making!

* Research Note: Research includes (but is not limited to), finding information on the subject of the book you're writing, finding out whether or not there are other books on your topic (+ thinking about how yours will be different if there are lots of them, or how yours will introduce topic if there aren't any), and reading mentor picture books. Mentor books are books that are similar to the one you are trying to write, whether it's the subject of the book, the story, the style written, age group, etc. Also, research can and usually does happen again during the writing / drawing stages.

** Dummy Note: Authors can benefit from making simple dummies to see where page turns might fall and whether or not they have enough content for a picture book. You can do this even if you can't draw. You don't even have to include drawings, you can just put the words on the page. Or if you want, you can draw stick figures. These mock ups are for personal use in the writing process and not to send to publishers, unless you're also an illustrator.

If you're interested in becoming a picture book illustrator and/or writer, here are some of my past posts that might help:

How To Write A Picture Book In Twelve Easy Steps

The Path Illustrators Take To Get Their Work Noticed And Advance Their Careers

Five Tips For Illustrators  

The Importance Of Making Art For Fun

Three Ways To Make A Picture Book Dummy 

Ten Tips For Choosing What To Draw For Your Portfolio, And Ten Ways To Find Inspiration

If You Just Want To Illustrate And Not Write   

Friday, March 30, 2018

let's continue celebrating diverse kidlit women and nonbinary people after March

All month, there’s been a focus on women in kidlit. There have been articles, book recommendations, illustrator spotlights, and more. People have been talking about kidlit women a lot more than usual this month. Unfortunately, the month is almost over. What will happen when the next month starts? Will we go back to business as usual? I sure hope not.

Today might be the last day of March, but it doesn’t have to be the last day that we lift up women in kidlit. We can celebrate the writing and illustrating of women creating books for kids all year long. And that celebration will be even better if it’s inclusive of all women, including, but not limited to, women of color, women of all religions, women from different economic backgrounds, disabled women, neurodiverse women, LGBTIQA women, and nonbinary people too.

Here are a few ways that we can continue this momentum:

* Follow the hashtags #KidlitWomen, #WomenInIllustration, and #KidlitEquality (which includes nonbinary people, and which is starting to be used already) on Twitter, and use them to continue the conversation.

* Read #KidlitWomen articles from March you missed, and tell others about them too. Post a link or reblog/retweet/retumbl/repost it for people who follow you on social media in case they haven’t read the article yet, or they did, but want to reread.

* Check out the Women Children’s Book Illustrators Pinterest board (, made by Joyce Wan and Theresa Kietlinski, and use it as a springboard to find new favorite illustrators, or to find new illustrated books to read. Share your favorites on social media, at the library or bookstore, at schools, or with family and friends as gifts.

* Look for books written and/or illustrated by diverse women and nonbinary people when you go to the library or bookstore. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, or need a recommendation, ask the librarian or bookseller. Maybe you’ll introduce them to an author and/or illustrator they hadn’t discovered yet.

* If you do book reviews, or book giveaways, include books by diverse women and nonbinary people.

* Read and recommend books with diverse girls and nonbinary characters, especially if their authors and/or illustrators are diverse women or nonbinary too.

This might seem like a lot to do, but the good thing is that you don’t have to do it all. Start small, by adding books by diverse women and nonbinary people to what you are already doing. If you have time, do one more thing. If you aren’t doing anything yet, start small. Talk about the books by diverse women and nonbinary people that you’re reading and loving. You can review them if you want, or just post or tweet that you loved the book. If you have time, post the picture of the cover to go along with your tweet. Or you can start a list on Twitter of your favorite diverse women and nonbinary illustrators of children’s books. Or make one for writers, or author/illustrators, or all three. You don’t have to do it all at once (that would be a daunting task). You can add names when you find them. And then if people are looking for illustrators, or writers, or author/illustrators, you’ll have a list to point them to.

If we all continue to celebrate and include women and nonbinary people who create books when we’re reading, talking, reviewing, and recommending books, hopefully the gender balance in kidlit of who is getting promoted, recognized, and awarded will be more equal to who is creating the books.

Any other ideas for continuing this after the month ends, or anything I forgot? If so, please leave a note in the comments!
This post is part of celebrating Women’s History month with 31 days of posts focused on improving the climate for social and gender equality in the children’s and teens’ literature community. Join in the conversation on Twitter with the hashtags #KidlitWomen, #WomenInIllustration, and #KidlitEquality, or on Facebook at

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

octopus mail for illustration friday

Even sea creatures wait for the mail to arrive! The prompt for Illustration Friday this week is: mail. And the Colour Collective color for tomorrow is Buttercup (which incidentally is also the name of the yellow fish in this picture):

Hope you get something fun in the mail this week!

Friday, August 11, 2017

cows celebrate world lion day, international cat day, and a beehive hairdo for illustration friday

It's another art filled week around here, and also a holiday week. What holidays you ask? Today is World Lion Day! The cows are celebrating (or at least one of them is). Did you celebrate or practice your ROAR?

Yesterday was Book Lovers Day, and the prompt for Illustration Friday this week was hair, so I combined the two to create a girl and her teddy bear, both with beehive hairdos that are actually beehives! Added a few bees and bears too:

International Cat Day was celebrated on Monday this week. We don't have cats to help us celebrate, so I drew some kitties. (If you have cats, please give them a scratch behind the ears for me!)

Today's holiday is Play In The Sand Day and the color for Colour Collective is
Vert Réséda, a very bright sea green. (Hard to recreate that color in watercolor, but I think I got close.)

This little girl's sandcastle looks a little bit like a cake. Maybe she'll grow up to be a baker or cake decorator, or maybe it's her birthday, or possibly she just wants a piece of cake.

And last but not least, the new prompt for Illustration Friday was just announced, and it's PIZZA! It's not officially a holiday this week, but any day with pizza is a holiday ;) So here is a chicken celebrating with pizza!

Happy weekend! Hope you all have a art filled holiday full of celebrations, whether they are official holidays or not (have some pizza and celebrate).