Sunday, December 16, 2012

My Response to Sandy Hook. Warning, it's not for the squeamish

The day after The Dark Knight Rises opened wasn't the day.

Monday morning in Wisconsin wasn't the day.

It's no secret in my family that I am fanatically opposed to violence. The loud protestations of personal safety via a concealed accessory make me cringe. I shun violent movies, games and books. While I nod politely in conversation where people rave about the action packed explosion effects in some blockbuster, I generally think the enjoyment of such things is suspect. In small doses, even arsenic looks like sugar. Earlier this year after the Aurora, CO headlines, I commented  to Jim Dear that this was going to keep going until it happened somewhere so heinous that in revulsion society finally started to turn away from the celebration of power through violence. The question was how heinous would it have to be? Are we there yet??

Thursday, November 29, 2012

On the anniversary of our last full nights sleep: a short illustrated trip to the movies

The same phrase describes my marriage and my breasts: Before the kids, they used to be such a cute couple ~ Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Seven years ago tonight, Jim Dear and I did not go to the movies. We went to eat at Tin Angel, I remember being shocked that at 9 months pregnant I could still eat a whole steak. Little did we know some few hours later as Small Fry entered our lives, how much our tiny marriage would be pushed and pulled and remodeled into a family.

Although we did not go to the movies that night, trips to the theater figure very prominently into our family's history. Most of our friends know how Jim Dear proposed on the stage of the Belcourt Theater. As newlyweds we went to the theater 2 and 3 times a week, sometimes dashing out at midnight. Then after kids, these became less frequent - and much earlier - treasured nights to ourselves. I vividly remember our first date night after baby to see Chronicles of Narnia, as it turns out watching an opening scene where the mother puts her kids on the train during a war is not the best idea for a new mom's fragile hormonal emotional state.

We eagerly anticipated taking Small Fry and Baby Sprout to their first movies. What fun to watch them in the darkness as their saucer eyes followed the screen! The glow of Buzz and Lightening McQueen and Princess Tiana on screen is barely a match for the movie magic glow in their eyes afterwards.

Somedays I muse about years into the future in which Jim Dear and I might once again be able to go to the movies on a moment's notice, with no babysitter or booster seat involved.

So tonight while the birthday presents for Small Fry wait downstairs to be wrapped, I'm posting this short history of our life at the movies - so far. Happy Birthday to Small Fry and happy anniversary to us.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A recent romp at the playground

These kids need to get out of my sketchbook. A recent trip to the playground proved to be fertile ground for inspiration:

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Thirty Ideas in Thirty Days

Today's the last day to sign up for PiBoIdMo 2012! Whats that strange word? It's a month-long challenge to come up with a picture book idea each day, all through November. Head over to to join the challenge, the deadline was slightly extended because of Sandy. Even if you don't sign up, there will be (and already are) great info and interviews to inspire your picture books writing.

Monday, November 5, 2012

My Cartoon for Election Day

Recently I read this story about a woman attempting to get the proper ID to vote. It seems such a shame that while we are sending our troops overseas to protect one population's right to democratic self rule, we are subtly blocking the same road over here. Thus my cartoon:
vote, voting rights, voter ID

Friday, October 26, 2012

Illustration Friday - Haunt

Even monsters like dressing up for Halloween but this jack-o-lantern looks a little less enthusiastic.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Little Ballerina Runs Out Of Batteries

Sometimes it's very tiring to wear a tutu and be entertaining.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Little Robot Nursery Dude and Dog

I did the illustration below for our friend and the kids' babysitter who is known on this blog as Babysitter Becky. I've always changed names to protect the innocent and even though Becky is no longer our sitter I'll keep up the tradition. She's no longer our sitter because next month, she and her husband will welcome their first child! Becky took care of Small Fry and Baby Sprout before they grew teeth, had hair, or could sit up straight. Over the days and years we had many conversations about art, kids, pets, marriage, and life in general. During endless days of baby babble and hush-hush-hushing she was my go-to for grownup conversation. So when I found out their super cool robot nursery theme I knew I had to do a little boy robot! Before Becky and her hubs became parents their children were some rambunctious dogs. While Becky has yet to see if baby and dogs become buddies, in this illustration they are the best of friends.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Once Upon a Sketch Guest Post

All illustrators out there should get to know the blog Once Upon A Sketch. Created by my fellow Ringling alum, Wilson Williams, it has some great bits and info about the business of illustrating and some pretty cool artwork to thumb through. I had been aware of Wilson's blog for a while and was quite flattered this week when he asked me to write about my process for creating fabulous trade book art. You can read my Once Upon A Sketch post here. It's based on my earlier Fabulous Illustrator posts here and here.

Monday, October 1, 2012

What if Business Ran Your School Like This?

Lately there's a lot of commotion in Music City about having a private entity run our public schools. Of course our district has its problems but having spent countless hours on the phone with customer service when various businesses failed to meet my expectations, I find the idea of a private business being a better option flummoxing. For all those parents who seems to be missing this distinction I say be careful what you wish for. What if private business ran your child's school like this:

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Study in Character and Emotion

Do you feel empathy for our heroine below?

How will her kite flying adventure turn out I wonder. A character study is supposed to reveal an illustrator's ability to carry a character across several pages and emotional states.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Surfing for Treasure on Etsy

So I've been invited to a few teams on Etsy and since I've recently finished a deluge of deadlines, I decided to take a crack at learning how to do some of this stuff. Behold my first treasury! Apparently making a treasury is all about spreading the love. You're not allowed to include your own art. I think this is pretty cool actually - it's quite freeing to only focus on giving snaps to someone else without thinking about how your own work stacks up. I might try to do one of these each week.... ideas for themes anyone?

'Fabulous Fall Flavor' by merimages

I created this treasury for the PPT Treasury Team Challenge. Fall means colors, food, Halloween, spooky stuff, and more food! It's my favorite time of the year. It's also my first treasury ever! What fun to surf amongst shops looking at cool artwo

Primitive Halloween Postcard...

Vintage Halloween Postcards ...

Halloween in July. Yes, it&...

Snow White (print)

Tawny Owl

Sugar Tattoo Skulls Day of t...

1904 Seed Catalog page, Hug...

Blank photo greeting cards, ...

Pumpkin Fall Autumn Harvest ...

Golden Mums flower autumn fa...

solid oak leaf hand-carved r...

Pumpkin Halloween Birthday P...

Set of 4, Hand Painted Greet...

Fall Leaves, Scrapbook Sheet...

Digital Scrapbook Papers - H...

Funny Vegetables Greeting Ca...