Tag Archives: drawing

Directions and Side Trips


New York, New York!

I visited Grand Central Station/Terminal, the New York Public Library and attended the winter conference for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators(SCBWI). What a GREAT experience; to be surrounded by so many other creative minds!! Check out the website http://www.scbwi.org for more information about the conference. 


There have been so many things to think about upon returning home; plans for future projects, works in progress. Yet, I decided I needed to re-examine some of my ideas, but THIS time, with a different focus. 

I picked up a wonderful picture book at the conference by speaker Kate Messner, with artwork by Christopher Silas Neal called UP IN THE GARDEN AND DOWN IN THE DIRT. It will be a wonderful gift for my granddaughter, and I’ll give it to her–right after I finish using it. See, as I began to review some of my own manuscripts, I felt as though I wanted to know if they could move along in a story line, too. The sketches above are my interpretation of the layout for Ms. Messner’s and M Neal’s book. 

I’ve worked this week on sketching at least six other picture books, by other authors/illustrators. It has been a most rewarding creative learning experience. 

From there, I can use my own words to do rough sketches for possible picture book projects. The next steps, at least for me, will be to get professional opinions about the manuscripts. 

Happy Creating, today and every day. 

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Rolling Up My Sleeves To Get To Work


Fall is in the air and along with this cooler weather come even more creative distractions. Festivals and celebrations abound, and with leaves changing colors in the higher elevations–you know when those mountains call, I feel as though I must go. 

I. Am. Driven. To. Distraction. 

To celebrate October and to rein my creative self IN, I am making myself a creative promise:

I will Write. I will Draw. I will Create. I will read and make music, attend writing conferences or take classes, and make an extra effort to keep my You-Know-What in this seat working on my current Work In Progress. 


There are lots of writers, illustrators, agents and editors who have tips and tricks on how to work through some of the pitfalls of “procrastination,” and I’ve heard many of them speak to this at conferences. 

Here’s what I know: I’ve gotta write my book. It won’t write itself. I’m the only one who can tell the story I want to tell. And I really REALLY want to tell this story! 

So I’m rolling up my sleeves to get busy. 

Happy Creating to you, too!


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Not too scary, anyway…


We DID have at least one visitor to the garden..I can tell by a track left in the ground after the rain. I’m guessing it was a deer and perhaps it didn’t want to eat these greens, because they remained mostly untouched. Although it is past the end of the summer growing season, there are still a few reminders of warmer weather and summer veggies. This is a flower from an okra plant.


I’ll gather firewood today. The weather reports a warning of colder conditions coming, and I can think of nothing better to do today than to sit by a cozy fire with a warm beverage, writing or drawing supplies close by, and to let my creative imagination SOAR!


I wonder….if that little scarecrow DID scare something out of the garden or if it just found a warmer place to be?

Happy creating!

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I think I’ll always find something new to learn.

The more I continue down this creative life path, the more things I discover. I look for new ways to stretch and grow from each experience. I think I know something about a few things and a little bit more about a few more. There are things that I’ve forgotten and have been relearning, and there’s nothing that I know everything about. And there’s a great deal of which I know nothing!

Maybe I’m a work in progress, too.

Watercolor sketches with a touch of colored pencils added.

Watercolor sketches with a touch of colored pencils added.

I like to sketch and paint. After a bit of a *layoff*, I’ve taken up the paintbrush again. Watercolors are fun and not at all easy. (Understatement, truly, especially if you’re a watercolorist.) I enjoy using acrylics and colored pencils, too. Mixed media, collages, photography, and… WAIT!! I’m getting distracted from the topic.

The *layoff* came about because I submitted a piece of artwork to be evaluated. I’d worked hard on that piece. I’d erased, rethought, listened to suggestions for revisions, revised, reworked, and wondered. It didn’t look like what I thought my original vision was by the time I completed. I sent it in anyway.

“Your style is not suited for our publication,” they replied. (Sigh)thought I.

I began to work on other creative things and lay my drawing supplies aside for some time. Of course, I still thought about what the reviewer had said, and as time passed, a new thought began to develop: What WAS my drawing/painting style?? The time away from my drawing gave me the opportunity to look at the artwork I’d submitted with new understanding. It really wouldn’t work for them the way it was presented at all. I can see that now.

I pick up my paintbrush with a new determination and the focus will be on FACES for now. They’re not realistic, they have character, they have nothing AT ALL to do with the suggestions made by the reviewer of my work. These are just for me. You may see something that you like, or maybe not. I may do a hundred of them before I’m satisfied. Some of them I like. Others, not so much.

When I complete a new illustration, I’ll send it to the reviewer, and should they not “like” it, to another publication, too.

Happy Creating!


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(New) Beginnings


When I say, “I want to be a writer and/or illustrator,”

the advice I often hear is to:

A. “Write/draw what you know about.” B. “Write/draw what you’re passionate about.” C. “Write/draw what you want to learn about.” D. “Write/draw to please yourself first.” E. “Follow the Markets”/”Don’t follow the markets.”

What to do?

Attending writer’s conferences and taking classes in the craft of writing and illustrating have played a large part in my creative development. Having a strong group of creatives around me who critique my work and can give constructive suggestions for improvement has been priceless. I will remain forever grateful for lessons I have learned, even the ones which were difficult to accept. Thank you especially for those.

Here are a few thoughts I’ll pass along if you might be on your road to creative discovery:

Be Still. Listen. Ask questions. Try. Stop. Try again. Don’t Stop. Believe in and be honest with yourself. Take chances. Repeat as often as necessary. Make choices. Surround yourself with like-minded creative individuals. Somewhere during all that time you might discover what you really want to do as well as what you’re good at doing. You could also discover things that you don’t do as well as you thought, and that’s important to learn, too.

The illustration pictured above is called “Flower For A Friend,” and over the spread of many years has been published in two different magazine/newsletters. This drawing was originally done in colored pencil, then in b/w line art, then as a pencil sketch. It’s a simple little drawing, really, and what I see in it tells me something different about my work than it did when I first made the illustration.

It’s good to take a look at where you are in your journey every once in a while.  You can see where you’ve been and where you might want to go.


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