Class with E. B. Lewis today

I have my meeting with E. B. Lewis today. We are working on my picture book dummy. After we get that going then we will work on my portfolio for the upcoming conferences.

I’m excited about this picture book dummy. I’m not so concerned about getting it published as much as I am just excited to be going through the “process” with him. There is so much to discuss and so much to learn.

If you have followed me (a while back) then you’ve seen what I HAD for my picture book dummy. We have scraped all of that. Haha. I have a storyboard prepared to show him today using his comments from last week.

Also, the children that I was working on …. It’s not over. Still working on those things. He is helping me get those from being a portrait to an illustration that is narrative. SO … Hopefully that will end up in the portfolio. Stay tuned. ūüėÉ



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When I met E. B. Lewis

I met Mr. Lewis a year ago this past month at the Austin SCBWI¬†Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators) conference. ¬†This was my first SCBWI conference EVER. Before I joined SCBWI, I had taken an online class ¬† through Mark G Mitchell who at this time was the Illustrator Coordinator of the Austin SCBWI.

When I started the class, the first thing that was said was we were going to illustrate a book that we had been working on. ¬†WELL !!! ¬†I’m not a writer and I thought this course was about ILLUSTRATING !!! ¬†This really had me in a panic because I had nothing to paint. ¬†I was told by the Mark that I could paint classic stories or a cook book. ¬†BUT, I felt that having my own story was a challenge. ¬†However, I was still panicked with NO idea of a story.

My daughter mentioned an incident that had happened when she and her sister were young. ¬†SO, I went with that. ¬†To this day, I haven’t actually finished illustrating that. ¬†One reason is this. ¬†When I started the class, for some reason, I felt that I had to change my art to a more simple style because I thought that is what was wanted in children’s books. ¬†SO … the point is this. ¬†THIS simple style is what I took to this conference. ¬†I was never really happy with this stuff that I created either. ¬†I hope to one day finish this little project in my true realistic style.

To continue with the conference part of this story and meeting Mr. Lewis – ¬†There was an event at the conference where you could submit a piece of work to be critqued by a panel of professionals. ¬†I had turned in one of the new simple styles of artwork that I had recently done. ¬†To be honest, it didn’t FEEL like me. ¬†I had even told my family what I expected to hear. ¬†AND I heard it.

Mr. Lewis said that my anatomy was bad and that wasn’t either “stylized” nor “real”. ¬†It was on the fence. ¬†He said much more. He .. TORE … ¬†ME … UP !!! ¬†It was pretty rough and at first I gasped out loud but then I just started smiling and even giggled a little. ¬†I was sitting by my friend Joel Cook (I think he even gasped. ¬†haha) ¬†What went through my head was all the things that Mr. Lewis was saying and I was thinking that I needed to go home and fix them. ¬†Later, Mark Mitchell came straight up to me at the evening social and me if I was ok and said “OHHH that was harsh” and I looked at him kinda funny and then I said “OHH, well, I guess it was”. ¬†Then I proceeded to tell him what I HEARD Mr. Lewis say and how I could fix it. ¬†I personally found it very exciting. ¬†I used to tell my daughter when she was in dance and would get “picked on” by the teacher that if that teacher didn’t think you had potential that he wouldn’t take so much time in critiquing you. ¬†SO .. the way that I saw it was that YES, he was rough but I felt that he saw potential.


Later, I went up to Mr. Lewis, introduced myself as the one from that critique that he tore up so bad.. haha.  And I shook his hand.  I’m sure I babbled on like some idiot. But, I told him how much it meant to me that he said what he did and that I would go home and work on the things that he has said.

On the five hour drive back home after the conference, all I could talk about to my husband was Mr. Lewis. ¬†Such as the things he had said during his presentations at the conference.¬† I googled him and read everything that I could about him and looked him up on ‚Äúimage search‚ÄĚ.¬† When I got home, I printed out some thumbnails of his books and put them beside my drafting table to study and dream of being like him.¬† I never in a million years thought back then that I would have this awesome opportunity now.¬† Mr. Lewis only CHOOSES a certain few to work with and I am so grateful to him for that. ¬†Also, God has totally blessed me with this opportunity.¬† I truly thank God and give Him the glory and praise for this.¬† I can‚Äôt wait to see the plans that He has in store for me.


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Visual Mentor – E. B. Lewis

I recently started a Visual Mentor Program with E. B. Lewis.
Check out his website!!

I met Mr. Lewis a year ago this past month at the Austin SCBWI Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators) conference. ¬†I will tell that story later.

This program is just an incredible experience. ¬†I’ve only had 5 classes with him so far but I feel like I have learned so much. ¬†I have to paint TONS just to show all the things that I’ve learned. ¬†

He only works with a limited amount of people so I am truly honored to be part of this experience.  For MANY years, I have prayed that God would let me use my art to honor him.  Because of that prayer, I believe that he put Mr. Lewis in my life and I can not wait to learn even more from him.  I told him when we started this that I would make him proud.  AND I know that I will.

My sincere thanks and appreciation to Mr. Earl Lewis for seeing something in me and taking me under his wing. ¬†Look out world, because good things are happening and you don’t want to miss them.

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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 ? ¬†ūüôā


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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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