Sunday, October 25, 2009


I did this piece for today's LA Times. It was one of those very rare images that popped into my head fully formed and just laid itself on the paper (well, almost). It accompanies a very fun story by Patricia Rust.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

I've gotten to do a couple of pieces for the Los Angeles Times' Kid's Reading Room. This is a sketch for an illustration that accompanied the delightful story by Donna Gephart, author of As If Being 12 1/2 Isn't Bad Enough, My Mother is Running for President (visit her at in the Oct. 4 edition. Here's the final story and picture: "Do I Have To Go To School Today?"

There's one more in the pipeline. This is a preliminary idea for the illustration accompanying a story for the Oct. 25 edition. I think all artists have particular favorite themes. I love the man in the moon - or more correctly - the men in the moon. Every opportunity to do an image with a moon conjures up a whole new personality. And they seem so happily above the fray of our little anthill on earth.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Beginnings and Destinations

Back to school! I can see the light at the end of the tunnel as I have only one semester left after this one. Among the classes I'm taking this semester is my thesis, which will focus on wordless picture books (hmmm, lots of words about no words). I'm teaching 2-dimensional design this go around. There's nothing quite like a room full of first semester freshman to get one excited and inspired! And this weekend is the opening of our 2 week show From Here to There in the Exit Gallery at Cal State Fullerton. Busy, fun week.

Monday, July 27, 2009


There's nothing more tempting than a new moleskin sketchbook, especially one with thick, rich watercolor paper. (Here's my inaugural "dip.") I love looking at others' sketchbooks so I'm enamored with Danny Gregory's An Illustrated Life. Makes you want to do nothing but play in your sketchbook all day. So maybe I won't do that all day. The SCBWI summer conference is around the corner and there's still much to do to get ready - postcards, finishing touches on the portfolio, new look for the blog (ta-da!), updating website (not yet done), practicing the elevator pitch, and of course the Saturday night outfit! All very exciting - can't wait!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Buy a Book

I am continuing to explore black and white this summer and have spent the last couple of weeks working on editorial-type projects. I developed this pencil image for use on a flyer for a certain museum group conference with a focus on bridging cultures.

On an unrelated and far more important topic, has anyone else noticed a change in the inventory in the children's book section of the larger chain bookstores? I had a chance to be in both the Barnes and Noble down the street and the wonderful independent children's book store Whale of a Tale this week. B&N has definitely reduced their offerings and seems to be stocking up on oldies but goodies at the expense of a lot of amazing new books. I hadn't realized the extent of lack of great kids' lit at B&N until I saw at W-o-a-T what I had been missing. This raises all kinds of troubling questions - most of which I have no answers for. I've always been an equal opportunity book shopper: I patronize all kinds of booksellers, and I think B&N does a great job enticing customers (a good thing for the publishing industry). But I know I've got to make a greater effort at supporting the independent stores. Without them, all these fabulous books that B&N doesn't carry will . . . disappear.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


As most artists (after they have moved past the finger painting age), I began making pictures with a pencil. When I began pursuing art as an adult, I found drawing, particularly in black and white, to be so very mesmerizing.

Having spent the past several years immersed in color, I have recently felt the need to find my black and white "roots" again. So, after a couple of weeks playing with papers and boards, charcoal and ink, I have rediscovered the method and materials I originally fell in love with: Cretacolor Nero pencils on a really soft creamy white Fabriano. It's such an enjoyable way to spend time - almost enough to make me think about giving up color altogether!

Monday, April 27, 2009


I discovered the art of Bernie Wrightson a few months ago and was immediately awestruck by his amazing illustrations (one of which is above) for the recently re-released Frankenstein. What a treat it was to have an opportunity to hear him speak for several hours today at Fullerton College. He shared many of his images, his process, and which artists have inspired him (Frank Frazetta, J.C. Cole, Charles Dana Gibson, Franklin Booth, Gustave Dore', Heinrich Kley). While his inking technique is quite remarkable, it is his preliminary approaches to a drawing I found most interesting and useful. After creating compositionally strong thumbnails of large shapes and values (and virtually no detail), he resolves all issues (including laying in most if not all of the line work in pencil) before he does the final inking. He lays in his darkest (solid black) areas first, and follows with the line work. Clearly his methodical approach works. I know I will be using it from now on.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Making art is always full of wonderful (and sometimes not so wonderful) surprises. In my dual roles of student (in the MFA program at CSUF) and teacher (of Beginning Drawing, also at CSUF) I find that the surprises are very different.

I really, really love to look at the solutions my students come up with when given an assignment. Despite the fact that it is called a beginning class, they bring incredibly sophisticated, fresh, innovative, and exciting ideas to the page. I am always inspired and get excited all over again about the limitless possibilities and emotional connections with drawing.

And then there is my other perspective: student (me!) learning to master a new skill. This time it was to create a pop-up (my attempt above). Surprise: simple name, deceivingly complex construct. Challenging hardly describes the learning process for this project. Hats off to pros Robert Sabuda, Matthew Reinhart, and David Carter. I will continue to drool over your creations but no longer feel I have to try it myself!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Tootin' my horn

I spent the weekend in fabulous Manhattan, NY, at SCBWI's annual winter conference. Friday was the Illustrators' Intensive. It WAS pretty intensive, and very thought provoking. Leo and Diane Dillon presented as well as signed books. I was in heaven. I am a huge fan of their work and to have an opportunity to hear and meet them was quite the dream come true. Illustrator William Low's tutorial on Photoshop was very much hands on. Elise Primavera's exercise in idea generation (a group process that resulted in some pretty zany stories) was definitely an I-can-take-this-home-and-use-it pearl. Ending the day was an invaluable critique of portfolio pieces by art directors Giuseppe Castellano, Scott Piehl, and Carla Weise, moderated by Cecilia Yung.

Saturday brought inspiring presentations by author/illustrator Jarrett Krosoczka, YA author Jay Asher, and editor Richard Jackson. The breakout sessions with editors and art directors was very informative with an important lesson: each really has his/her own way of doing things. Similar questions were answered very differently.

Sunday we heard the entertaining MG author Bruce Hale (he sang!); more great take-it-home advice from agents Michael Bourret, Alyssa Henking, Edward Necarsulmer, and Michael Stearns; author Jack Gantos; and the announcement of portfolio awards. And here's the horn tootin' part: I received one of two honor awards. Yay! (The piece above is part of a dummy included in my portfolio.) Kudos to weekend buddy Leeza Hernandez on her Tomie dePaola award and congrats to David Ercolini on his grand prize win.

Overall, it was a great conference. Very different from the summer L.A. conference but in good ways. But both leave me overflowing with inspiration and motivation. So, time to go. I gotta get back to work on my children's books!