Wednesday, August 30, 2017


At the beginning of August I started painting the third version (dummy book) of my story, "The First Pearl".  My goal was to have all the pages laid out by August 31. Unfortunately, there are three page spreads I have yet to do (the most challenging ones), but I have taken the rest of the book so much further than I had planned that I consider it a win. My new goal is to be completely finished with this dummy by September 15. And then on to the next!!!

When I did the first dummy, a few years ago, it was miniature with each 2 page spread measuring 6" tall x 9" wide.
Here's an example from that first dummy:

And here's what it has become:

The newest version is an 8 1/2" x 22" oil painting. It shows more clearly what I hope the finished book might look like, giving any art director, agent, or editor a better idea of my capabilities.

Here's one more before and after spread:



So there you have a look, and probably the last look, at this project before it hits bookshelves, nationwide in 20__? (Fingers crossed) :)

Since I want to concentrate on this story and don't want to give away any more peeks inside, I may not be posting again for a few weeks.  I may do something random for fun but please check back, I'll have something new by September 20th, maybe a peek into my next story "Serenity" as I begin a 
re-do of that dummy.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Illustration Friday - MAIL

     Remember when the mail used to bring more than flyers and ads?
     Email is great. It's efficient. It doesn't waste paper. But, I remember how exciting it was to wait for my college acceptance envelope (they mostly come via email these days), for birthday cards (which have become a short happy-birthday-post on Facebook), for letters (yes, actual letters because it was too expensive to call long distance) from friends and family. Those days aren't totally gone but the joy of mail has diminished somewhat. This illustration is a shout out to all those loyal, and faithful mailboxes (and of course the mailmen and mailwomen) who carry on.

     Here is a sketch that I did about 5 and a half years ago, when the Illustration Friday prompt word of the week was FORWARD. The idea is along the same lines.

     I feel like my illustration skills have improved.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Dr. Dolittle and the Horse

This piece is for a notecard contest for the SCBWI of Central/Southern Ohio. 

In this scene, Dr. Dolittle's parrot, Polynesia, has already taught him how to speak to animals and this horse was able to explain that he simply needed glasses. It is done in oils but I went in afterwards (side note: afterward and afterwards are both correct as far as Webster dictionary is concerned, in case you wondered about that, which I did) and made a few adjustments digitally. I made the dog a little bigger, the parrot a little smaller, added the light beam pouring out of the lamp, and a few other minor, nit-picky things 'cause that's how I am - nit-picky. 

I have to share a moment of shock I experienced as I was reading "The Story of Dr. Dolittle." There is a scene where the doctor and several of his animal companions are crossing the ocean to Africa where a terrible illness has befallen the monkeys living there. One of his companions, Dub-Dub the duck to be exact, dives into the water, behind the ship, in search of herrings for food so that there BEEF supply will last longer. WHAT!?!? Does Dr. Dolittle eat animals he can talk to?!?! I am a vegan, so, of course these words are going to jump out at me and freak me out. I just wonder what the rest of the population thinks. 

And then there's Prince Bumpo - an African prince who wishes he was white to gain the affections of Sleeping Beauty. What!?!? I'm imagining this book would not make it to print in this century .(Thank goodness). To the doctor's credit, he felt that Prince Bumpo looked fine just the way he was, but . . . wow. 

The Dr. Dolittle I've painted is a vegetarian. He loves and respects all animals and people and doesn't eat or bother any of them.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

A peek into my studio

     I don't have a completed piece to share with you this week but I have been hard at work on a couple of projects.
     The upper piece-in-progress is a scene from "The Story of Dr. Dolittle." I'm doing it for a notecard contest for the Central and Southern Ohio SCBWI. I think I'm going to work on two or three more compositions for the same book as portfolio pieces.
     The bottom piece-in-progress is page 11 of "The First Pearl". With the exception of the Dr. Dolittle side project I have done a good job of staying focused on this dummy book.
     Below is the view from my art table with the pages I've done so far. This is keeping me motivated. I want to see the whole thing come together!!!

    Have a great week!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017


     Here's a close up of what will eventually be page 10 of my picture book. Originally his name was Quin. It was suggested to me that the names be dropped out of the manuscript so now he's just Seahorse. Poor guy. In my heart he'll always be Quin.
     Last week my husband put up an 8'x4'  styrofoam wall so that I could pin up the story pages as I go. I now have a chance to study them at once, look for inconsistencies and come up with more ideas and improvements. It made all the difference in the world. Also, seeing my page spreads go up one by one is motivating. My goal is to have all the layouts and first coats of paint done by the end of August. We'll see. There are some pages coming up that are going to be a challenge.
     I hope to have another detail to share next Wednesday. Have a good week!