Monthly Archives: February 2014

Austin assignment in the mail !!

I just recently attended a SCBWI conference in Austin. One of the assignments was to illustrate a double page spread from a manuscript that was sent to us.  This was a little difficult for me because I don’t typically paint animals .. much less with human qualities.  We submitted our work and then it was critiqued by art director, Laurent Linn.  Of mine, he said first of all that my original rooster was too scary.  hahaha.  I was going for startled at being woke up .. but, yea, it is scary.  hahaha  Another thing that he said was that my barn and things were too generic.  He talked about that alot.  About things being too generic and to make them have a personality.  I have to admit that I am struggling with that thought.  And I have to admit that now it’s in my head every day  …  trying to work that out in my head.

I have a very realistic style and although I truly enjoyed the speakers at the conference, I did come away with the idea that maybe my work just did not belong in this area.  I don’t have an issue with people critiquing my artwork.  I kinda get off on that.. haha.  It wasn’t that they didn’t like my ability …  just that it wasn’t telling a story.

A few days after the conference, I went and sat most of the day at Barnes and Noble.  Just sitting and looking at books, I studied the covers to see if my style of art was even there.  One thing that I learned at the conference was that realism fits well in history, fantasy, adventure, biography, religion.  I was also told that my work was “classic .. dated”.  Hmm .. is that a bad thing ? I bought a book “Guide to Children’s books” and I put a sticky note on each picture that was realistic.  There was a lot more than I thought.  THIS gave me hope .. not to give up.   THEN I did a google search of Caldecott and other award winning illustrations.  I looked at the New York times best illustrated book list for the past ten years and I made a list of artist who had realistic style.

What I’m going to work on is this.  I’m going to have my people with more dramatic expressions.  And, I’m going to study backgrounds like crazy.  I have never wanted to be THAT PERSON at the conferences who could not see past their work and get their little feelings hurt over things that were said… but that was me.  ugh.  I was in total despair the entire conference weekend but I am revived.  I have ideas in my head of how to make things better.  In a few months, I hope to have new and better stuff to send out.  Maybe to even Mr. Linn and others who were on the critique panel.  hmm.. now, that’s a thought.

But for now, the Rooster assignment is emailed to the person who will forward it to New York art director, Laurent Linn, who said that we could send a revision.  I think he said that he will keep things on file.  I don’t expect anything from this .. but the point is that I’M DOING !!  I’m putting myself out there.  That’s all I can do.  right ?  🙂


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February 26, 2014 · 6:31 pm

Chasing Chickens !!

Thought I would bring you all some humor this morning. lol (since we have all been working on chickens & roosters for the past few assignments) AND I’m JUST getting my revision ready to send for the Austin assignment when ………

it WAS a peaceful morning all through the house when ALL OF A SUDDEN.

COCK A DOODLE DOOOOOOO … right outside the window where I’m sitting. Dog JUMPS up and goes CRA CRA CRAZYYY !!

I put her choker collar on (because she has been chasing really bad after the bike riders for the last week and we are training her to “stop”) I take her outside and OMG. lol I run with her chasing this rooster and of course it’s cackling like mad !! I let go of the leash in an area that is somewhat confined beside the AC unit and let Mona Lisa chase the rooster for a minute or two. THEN I get the leash and tell her to stop. takes a little bit but she does. (I have treats in my hand). THEN I guide the dog to behind the rooster so that we can “push” the rooster out of the yard. Success.

Rooster RUNS down the driveway, across the street and into the neighbors yard as I tell Mona Lisa to stop and sit… which she did well. Took a little while to get her to calm down though and finally look at me. She is now collapsed on the floor after much praising…

SO .. how was YOUR day !!! (here is a QUICK 30 minute sketch of the event. lol)

And here is the star of the show…. Mona Lisa !!


February 25, 2014 · 5:51 pm

The Memory Project

If you aren’t familiar with the MEMORY PROJECT (, I would hope that you would check out this website. I would also encourage anyone who has artistic skills to participate in this. You draw portraits of children who are orphaned. The website explains this. They are always looking for art teachers to get their students involved. check it out.

Anyway, my daughter and I each drew / painted two portraits each. Here they are. I did the watercolors and Amanda did the sketches.

photo (2)Memory Project - Amanda - Kamal257

Memory Project - Amanda - Roshani256Memory Project - Felicia  - Ngawang259photo (5) copy ImageImage

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February 22, 2014 · 4:28 pm

New sketches added to my online sketchbook

I spent all day yesterday tweaking my website.  At the conference, I heard that people tend to like to see some of your sketches and that it may be a good idea to have that as a selection on your website.  I’ve added a few.  Hope you’ll maybe check them out.  

AND,  I added comment boxes.  SO, be sure and comment away !!!

I did this sketch for the “52 Week challenge” that I’m doing.

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Website Work day !

SO, I have spent this entire day working on my website and the other social media sites that I have. I want to make sure that everything is just right for when I submit stuff to the people from the Austin and Houston conference. Also, for when I send out my promo cards. If someone happens to look at my sites, I want things to be cohesive, links working, artwork updated the best that I can etc. I’m happy with the outcome so far.

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