Art Trade Part 4: Corgi

Jillian Altmeyer, or Squidbrains, asked if folks would give her drawings of her corgi, Banjo. Banjo is ADORABLE, so I said “Sure!” In return Jillian will send me some arty goodness and I will share it and the other art trades I receive with you when it arrives!

Banjo with Butterflies

And I couldn’t resist scanning it in and painting over it using a multiply layer. Fun fun fun! :-D

Banjo and the Butterflies PS

Art Trades part 3: Betta Fish for Tara

Time to show another art trade! This one I drew for Tara Santoro. She’s always rescuing underwater creatures, and I thought I’d draw a grateful betta fish for her. I used colored pencils and Micron Pens for this piece. (the giant copyright is not on Tara’s card :D )betta-fish

After I sent the fish to his new owner, I thought about what else I could do with Mr. Betta (male betta fish have the beautiful huge fins. My cousin taught me that) So I put Mr. Betta into Photoshop, set a layer above him on Multiply and painted away to give him a little extra “oomph”. Then I set a layer behind him, and painted the water and shadows. I initially thought to put him in a beautiful aquarium like the ones Tara sets up, but I liked the idea that maybe this fish was swimming somewhere free.I have a soft spot for betta fish  :)


I had such a nice time working on these art trades, and I’m very glad I got to share them with you! I hope you’ve enjoyed them as well.

Art Trades

Recently I participated in an art trade with some artists. All the envelopes are waiting to go to the post office tomorrow morning, and I’m excited to share some of the art with you after the mail goes out!

This one I sent earlier to illustrator and friend Emily Wayne.  Inspired by Emily herself and her hedgie, I wanted to capture the sense of wonder and joy that Emily seems to bring wherever she goes. I used  colored pencils and ink with a smidgen of a Copic Blending marker to get some of the colors to well.. blend.  I hope you enjoy it!Emily and Hedgie

Back to work and a Robot.

Time flies!

I was out of work for most of May. I had some injuries that made it difficult to sit at my computer and draw for any length of time. I admittedly spent a good week feeling sorry for myself. But now I’m mostly recovered, and back to work! YAY! (muppet flail)

Here is a robot! He’s looking at his tablet, wonder what’s on the screen?


Work in Progress-Smug

I kept looking at this dragon and thinking “What is this face?” and it hit me. Smug. She’s very satisfied with herself.

But I see some room for improvement (just don’t tell her I said that!)  I think she needs some STUFF around her. Maybe piles of jewels, gold and pizza.

What do you think of as your “treasures”? Let me know in the comments and you might see it in the dragon’s cache next week!

Confident Dragon

Illustrator Day and WIP

My friend J.K. mentioned “You haven’t posted anything in a while!”  and I realized how rude I was being. :)

Over the last couple weeks, I was working on an illustration for an WPA SCBWI event called “Illustrator Day”. Our fearless Illustrator Coordinator Nora Thompson worked with Simon and Schuster Art Director Laurent Linn, to give the participating illustrators a great experience to get feedback on an assignment. Laurent would share a manuscript and we needed to sketch a 2 page spread. He’d give us notes on our sketches and then we’d finish them up using his notes for feedback.  On the day of the even each artist got a 20 minute critique with the group. We all learned a lot from each other and the day as a whole was a positive experience.

Here is my sketch and “final” piece.


Over the last year, I’ve been fortunate enough to receive notes from 3 art directors. Giuseppe Castellano from Penguin occasionally offers a tweet critique an invites illustrators to submit work. Imagine getting a critique in less than 140 characters! It’s surprisingly effective!  I signed up for a portfolio review last november at the WPA SCBWI annual conference with Kristen Nobles from Candlewick, when she looked at my whole portfolio and gave me notes. And finally, this Illustrator Day gave me a chance to hear what Laurent Linn thought of my work, which was exciting because he saw not just the final, but the sketch.

Looking at the feedback from all three, I noticed some themes in regards to linework, staging and color application. It may sound like “Autumn, that’s the whole drawing!” but it’s not. There’s a lot in my work that is good, and I found that in each case, I agreed with their comments. It was just a case that I knew there was something I wasn’t happy with, and they had the experience and knowledge to say “THIS is the thing that is keeping you from leveling up.”  Now I’m excited to go back and take another try at some pieces I’m not 100% happy about.

If you are interested in becoming a children’s book illustrator, I really do recommend joining SCBWI. The national conferences are expensive, but there are a LOT of really great regional events, like the one I was at Saturday! You’re not limited to your region either, if there’s a great event going on in a different region, you can go there too! I’m not saying that you’re going to get a job at an event, but there is a LOT of a great learning opportunities and a chance to leap forward in your artistic journey :)

#ThinkSpringArt Final Week

This is the last week for #ThinkSpringArt creative challenge. I want to thank J.K. Riki, Nancy Colle, Bruce H., and Emily Wayne for contributing beautiful art! Between my schedule and lack of interest now the the weather is nicer (bring that nice weather here!), it makes sense to end it early.

Next year we will do the #ThinkSpringArt creative challenge in February with the last post going up March 4. I’ll post reminders and guidelines in January!

Now, for some think spring!

This week we have a painted egg by JK Riki. Isn’t that beautiful?


And look at this beautiful photograph Bruce took of his orchid. You can see more beautiful photos by Bruce as well as read about his travels on his blog “Homer’s Travels


Thank you again to everyone who participated!

#ThinkSpringArt Week 4

My apologies for being late. This week in #ThinkSpringArt was a lean week. I think most of us were out enjoying the sunshine before the cold came back :)

I spend some time this week taking care of non-arty things. I’m glad to be back to a regular schedule, and am excited to work on new things to share with you next Friday :)


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