Thursday, May 26, 2016

Illustrator Intensive With Jim Hoover

SCBWI organizes many events throughout the year. I especially like attending regional events, for they are smaller and a great way to meet other amazing writers and illustrators who live nearby. It is also less intimidating for meeting the special guests who speak at these events and a great way to get your foot in the door for future submissions.

This last Saturday I had the privilege of attending a SCBWI Illustrator Intensive event with Art Director Jim Hoover. My fellow illustrators and I all squeezed into a room to hear him speak and critique the assignment we had been given in December. For me, it was an exciting event that I had been looking forward to for months!

Mr. Hoover has had a rich career so far having worked as a designer for Puffin Books and Simon & Schuster. He advanced to Art Director, working for SCBWI before working for the magnificent Viking Children's Books! I am sure that you can imagine with such a big reputation, I was nervous to meet him (not to mention receive a professional critique (YIKES!)). 

After preparing illustrations for months, the day arrived and I must tell you that it was a wonderful relief to actually meet Jim. He was a charming, insightful professional who kept the entire room entertained for over 8 hours. That is quite a feat for any speaker!

Here are a few things that I took away from the event that I had not taken into consideration before:

·       When creating a portfolio, it doesn’t matter what style you choose. The most important thing that you can show is confidence in your work. If an editor or an art director can see your confidence through your work you have got it made!

·       Costuming your characters is a really important step that often gets overlooked. The costume(s) that you choose for your characters should reflect their personality as well as the time. Don’t be afraid to use clashing patterns or bright colors so long as it fits your story and character.

·       Showing movement in a still drawing is an impressive way to capture your audience. Practice this!

I learned these things and more from this event. I would highly recommend it to anyone who gets the opportunity, for it is a great way to get insight into the publishing business as well as feedback on your art. 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Lost and Found

I just finished working on these 3 fun pieces for an author who wrote this super cute story about a family's adventure through San Francisco. I can't talk too much about it because it isn't published yet!  Fingers crossed that there will be more of these soon.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Importance of Breaks

Like every child before the holiday season, I found that I was counting down the days before break! One of the great perks of being an art teacher is that I get the holidays off...just like my students :). My imagination was bursting with ideas of things that I could finally knock off of the running "To Do" list that sits open on my computer consistently.

However, after my last class ended (on a Sunday evening) I came home and completely abandoned the list for the first time  in over two years! Here's what followed:

It all started with a sketch on a small, yellow piece of paper

I spent two wonderful days working out all of the kinks to create something that I had wanted for over two years! When it was finished, it looked like this:

Satisfied with the result, I moved on to this:

(I apologize for the huge color difference. The first photo was taken when I started that morning and the final was taken that night after I had finished.)

During this process I learned some valuable lessons and had a great time! So here is the motto for the holiday season: Sometimes you just have to let your hair down, tell your portfolio to "hang on a second" and do something fun!

What fun things have you done this season?

Monday, September 28, 2015

SCBWI Illustrator Day

This post is a bit belated, but earlier this month I attended SCBWI's annual Illustrator Day in the city of San Francisco. What a treat! Molly Idle and Kelly Light stood spotlight with a fun, informative Character Building Workshop that had everyone laughing and drawing the afternoon away. It came at such a perfect time for me and I felt that I took away some precious gems of information. 

Here are a few sketches from the event:

For the first time, Illustator Day presented 3 Portfolio Awards. I won 3rd place for my portfolio! Congratulations to Diana Toledano won 1st place and Laura Zarrin who won 2nd place! We were all awarded bottles of water (Diana's was sparkling :D) and I will get free admission to Illustrator Day 2016. I wouldn't miss it!!

Thank you Molly Idle and Kelly Light for an inspiring workshop this year! They were both wonderful speakers who entertained and educated in equal measure. Listening to the two of them together was a real treat :). Thank you also, Lea Lyon for organizing such a memorable event. Great work!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Travel Sketches

Hi everyone!! I just got home from an amazing trip to the Midwest. My Grandmomma lives there and we had so much fun. Here are some sketches that I did while I was there. Enjoy!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Kid Lit Artists Blog

Hello everyone! I just had the honor of posting for the first time ever on the blog. If you are interested in taking a peek, here is the link:


Sunday, April 5, 2015

Character Study

Hi Everyone! I have been working on multiple projects for a few months now and I am now ready to start thinking about what's next! It has been a whirlwind few months with the amazing clients that I have been privileged to work with, teaching, and creating. Really exciting start to spring 2015. :)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Monday, November 10, 2014

Christmas Angel

I have started working on Christmas projects (despite the craziness of PiBoIdMo) and I am excited to show you the first design of the season! This Christmas angel card is 5x7" and will be available for purchase in my Etsy shop today! Please stay tuned for more :)

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Fox and Fireflies

Happy PiBoIdMo everyone!! Here is an illustration sparked by one of my "ideas of the day" for PiBoIdMo.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Sneak Peek - Sketches

Here is a sneak peek of a project that I have just started working on. I am already in love with this little guy and cannot wait to start printing him!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Friday, August 29, 2014

Hello Fog

Hi everyone! I have been working on these illustrations for a little while now. :) Wrapping up the project and wanted to share a few of the final images! There will be more soon. Enjoy and happy Friday to you.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Aaron Becker is one of my favorite illustrators. I really love his whimsical style and the way that he has mastered the art of the wordless picture book. His first book, "Journey" has a prominent place on my bookshelf and I look through it for inspiration all of the time. Imagine my excitement when I discovered that "Journey" is actually a TRILOGY!!! The second book in the series is "Quest" and I have been anxiously awaiting its release, especially after viewing the awesome trailer that he created:

The waiting is now over! Today is the day!! It is officially on the shelves :). I can't wait to own a copy!!

Monday, August 4, 2014

LA SCBWI Conference 2014

I just returned home from the LA SCBWI annual conference. It was the most exciting, awe inspiring event that I have ever attended. I was surrounded by a community of peers that feels like a family to me and I had the experience of meeting artists and authors that I admire (including Aaron Becker whose next book, Quest is coming out at the end of this month). I also had the honor of being awarded the Mentorship Award for my portfolio along with 5 other brilliant artists Dorothia Rohner, Kahryn Ault Noble, Suzanne Kaufmann, Robin Rosenthal, and Ana Aranda Balgazar! I am absolutely on Cloud 9!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Lemonade Stand - Process

Hi everyone! I am working on another new print and I wanted to share a little bit about my process :). I have started the "Lemonade Stand" in honor of summer. It just cannot be helped.

Today, I finished printing the second color on this piece. You can see, in the top picture, that the print is already beginning to emerge in just two colors! The second image (below) shows my palette. It took me three tries to mix the color that I was looking for this time. After I found it, I used the palette knife to smear a line of ink across that palette that would be just as long as the brayer (the rolling pin-looking tool above the mixed ink) so that I could roll the brayer up and down through the line. This created a nice patch of ink that I could then roll onto the woodblock (on the left). After  my woodblock had been covered in yellow, I took each piece of paper (there are 15!) and pressed it down on top of the wet ink. Using another tool called a barren (it is a small, circular tool that has a handle to fit my hand) and my arm strength, I pushed the two pieces together as hard as I could so that the ink would transfer onto the paper to create the image in the top photo.