Saturday, December 19, 2009


I snapped these pics over by the IKEA in Atlanta, GA (near Atlantic Station, on 17th Street). That's my illustration towards the right on the hang tag!

Read all about the making of this illustration --which I did in 19 hours!-- and view it full sized here.

Little Princess

I have a character I am working on in a picture book with lots of curls--it's a boy about the age of six. Curls are such a challenge! This was a doodle of mine of a little girl that I took to the ink stage, half for fun, half to get myself accustomed to inking some locks for the boy character.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Dancing Fields Book Signing

Illustrator and author together! Me and author Ronit Elk

This afternoon I attended a signing event for the book I recently illustrated, A Surprise at Dancing Fields, at author Ronit Elk's community. The community, where her story takes place is a co-housing community. Co-housing is an interesting concept that features car-free neighborhoods and community areas. Ronit's community is a particularly beautiful place that was very inspirational to me when I was designing the images for Dancing Fields.

The event began with a reading of two chapters by author Ronit, with the help of Blaise, the girl of who the character Tali is based on. All the kids of the community sat up front to hear the story, and were captivated.

The whole community came out, it was great to see some of the Dancing Fields characters I illustrated. Some of them I felt like I knew even though we had never met!

Isn't this a great cake?! It features the book cover in yummy icing.

Here is a little bit more about A Surprise at Dancing Fields:

Who is the book for? This is a chapter book (children can read themselves) for children aged 7-12. Each chapter has a wonderful illustration (by me!)

What is the book about?
"Dancing Fields is a special place to live, where doors are never locked, toys are left outside and cars are not allowed wherever children play. All the kids who live there know each other. But even through it's a really cool place to live, things don't always go so perfectly. In A Surprise at Dancing Fields, you'll read about the adventures of four friends, Tali, Andrea, Jennifer and Sand, and a newer resident- Katarina- a shy, ten year old year old girl adopted from Russia. The friends are inseparable, even though Jennifer has a real "mean streak!" One day while playing, the girls discover a turtle laying eggs and promise to protect the eggs until they hatch. And protect they do, from the neighborhood cat to neighborhood boys to flying potatoes (you'll have to read about that!)

Over the summer, adventures turn into serious misadventure and Katarina comes to the rescue. Thanks to her bravery, she is hailed as a hero. We find out the reasons for Jennifer's meanness and watch as she changes for the better. A Surprise at Dancing Fields is all about new beginnings: of hurtful ways replaced with kindness, of acceptance, friendship, gratefulness and (of course!) of the cutest little baby turtles. Join the Dancing Fields friends in this reading adventure."

How do I order?
Copies may be obtained for a reduced rate of $9.99 (+ shipping) through the author. ($1 of this will go to a charity of your choice.) Email author Ronit Elk at


order through the AuthorHouse Bookstore

What does the book cost? The book will be available at regular bookstores and on in January. The price will be $10.49 Prices directly from the author are a DISCOUNTED $9.99 (+ shipping).

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Buy One Get One Free AND Free Shipping on Zazzle Today!

I love a good deal, and am very excited about today's great ones on Zazzle: Buy one mug, get one free, AND free shipping! (See site for coupon codes.) I am also obsessed with mugs, so this is a good one for me. If you aren't familiar with Zazzle, it's a marketplace for designers to put their images on different products on pretty reasonably priced products at low quantities. I have opened up a store, so take a look at some of my products, peruse the marketplace for other designs, or create your own!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Happiness Is... my work on the cover of Atlanta INtown!

I found out a couple weeks ago that the illustration that I completed for one of the challenges at SCAD-ATL's "Generate" event was chosen for cover of Atlanta INtown's "Best of the Holidays 2009" issue, and I have been bursting with excitement for the big reveal since! (See this post about the creation of the art). Last night was finally the day--the cover art revealing was held at Atlantic Station's Christmas Tree Lighting. The Lighting events at Atlantic Station were magical: there was snow, bubble balloons shaped as stars and snowflakes, Christmas carols sang by a choir, and Santa Claus...I am officially in the holiday spirit.

My mom, Pat, dad, me, and sister Reghan holding the framed cover

What even made the night more special was that my family surprised me and drove up from Tampa to be there at the event. I have been so looking forward to seeing them over the break and seeing them a few days earlier made me so happy!

That's my picture on the cover!! How cool is that?!

To the wonderful people I met last night from Atlanta INtown, Wendy and Elizabeth--thanks for choosing my art! They gave me a framed picture of the cover to put up in my studio, which looks really awesome!

Me holding a mini version of the billboard-- my illustration is on the right side near where my finger is pointing.

The "Best of the Holidays" issue comes out next week, so Atlantans, look out for it! The illustration is also going to be on part of a billboard advertising The Holiday Shops in Atlantic Station. It will be up starting next week over near the IKEA at Atlantic Station, so look out for it if you are driving around or through Atlanta.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Surprise at Dancing Fields is on sale!

The children's chapter book I illustrated, A Surprise at Dancing Fields is now available for sale!! The book is beautifully written by Ronit Elk-- the story follows four girls during their adventure-filled summer in a very special neighborhood.

Stay tuned for the book's listings on and coming soon.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Camera Patterns!

Which color do you like?

Well, I have decided to get in the habit of making Friday my personal challenge day. Today's challenge has been to design a photo binder using Zazzle (yup, it's for another contest!). I wanted to additionally use a pattern in the creation of the binder. I was originally going to make a couple different variations on the design, but kinda ran out of daylight hours, so a future post may hold some of my other camera pattern ideas.

Click here for my binder with all the text and customizable photos.

I went with the blue because I figure a lot of people like blue...and Pat didn't like the purple. A painting professor of mine in undergrad always said the two colors that never sell are green and orange--that has always stuck in my head, so I try to avoid those colors when creating art.

For the contest, I decided it might be a good play to have a photo as the cover OR my illustrated image. People get the opportunity to choose, whereas on some of the other designs if you don't want to put your image on the front, you are left with a gaping hole in the design. On the other hand, I guess if you are designing on Zazzle then you will want to put your photos on everything.

One thing I really wish I could have done with the design was create a custom shape cut-out for the photos to fit into, instead of them being full size square images. I know there is a way to do that using the Zazzle tools, but I could not figure it out or find the right "Help" post to guide me in doing that.

Oh, and by the way, I opened a Zazzle store a couple weeks ago. Check it out: My Zazzle Store

UPDATE: Whoa, just learned something new: PNGs have transparency capabilities! I thought only GIFs did. SO I revised my photo binder design entry. Here it is.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Birthday Her Way

This was my personal challenge of the day, to create a birthday card geared toward women. It's my entry for an online contest. I recently found out that I was finalist of sorts for the previous card contest I entered in September, so I was encouraged, and wanted to enter something again. I've become quite the contest junkie lately...

Anyways, I am still working on coming up with some clever interior text (so hard!). But it will probably be along the lines of "Relax and soak it in! Happy Birthday."

Monday, November 2, 2009

Logo Design

This is a logo design for an upstart illustration club I have recently become a part of here in Atlanta, made up of SCAD-Atlanta illustration students. The logo design is a contest, and the deadline hasn't been announced yet, so it may change--I think I could actually even make this more crazy looking-- but I am overall happy with this attempt. I had in mind the art of Ralph Steadman. I abandoned my usual inking tool of the Micron, and used a croquil to get the line quality I wanted. Making the ink splotches and scratchy letters are just so much fun, and I love the tactile line marks the croquil makes on the page.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Promo Mailer

I just dropped in the post box some promotional mailers. This one features an image from the chapter book I recently finished illustrating, A Surprise at Dancing Fields, written by Ronit Elk. The book itself isn't out quite yet--I am so anxiously awaiting its publishing!

Also, I have recently joined Linked In, and JacketFlap. If you are a part of these web communities, add me as a friend. I would love to keep up with you through them!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Halloween Memories

Seeing all the Halloween candy in the grocery store makes me nostalgic. I used to love going trick or treating in my neighborhood each year with my sister and cousins. We were so excited when we were finally old enough to go to the "Candy Man's" house (rumored to be a former Brach candy company employee)-- he'd give out the mother load of all candy stashes! My mom made such awesome costumes when I was a kid too: Minnie Mouse, a senorita. When I wanted to be a scarecrow, she even found a place to get hay for the stuffing. Ah, the good ol' days...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Writing and Illustrating for Kids (wik) Conference

Pat and I looking especially chipper in the Spain Park High cafeteria,
where the break activities for the conference occured.
There was a bookstore set up, snacks to munch on, and artwork set up.

As a new SCBWI member, and one who was anxious to learn all I can for a career in childrens' illustration, I decided to attend SCBWI Southern Breeze region's annual fall conference, wik (Writing and Illustrating for Kids) in Birmingham, AL this past Saturday. The conference was only one day long, but packed with workshops, time to network with other artists and writers, get critiques, and meet publishers.

The conference was held at Spain Park High School. Upon arriving at about 7:45am, I signed in, got a name badge and set out my portfolio and promo materials on a long table with other artists, and dashed over to the auditorium to hear the Keynote speaker, Diane Z. Shore.

Diane told about her trials and tribulations of becoming a published children's book writer. She stressed the importance of continual learning about the craft: She read countless books on writing and rhyme, particiapated in SCBWI critique groups, all the while receiveing those early rejection letters. All her hard work and determination paid off, as she's written for several children's publications such as Highlights and Cricket, as well as written several picture books, such as Bus-a-Saurus Bop (below). Her speech was full of funny antedotes, some her beautiful early poetry, and some motivational advice for emerging professionals in the industry, such as this quote from Thomas Edison: "Many of life's failures are men who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up." The speech was outstanding and I think it really got everyone motivated for the long day of learning ahead.

Click image to view page.

The conference had small workshops set up, in which speakers led lectures on different topics as pertaining to the industry. The first one I attended was "Publishing with Eerdmans," led by Art Director Gayle Brown. She gave an overview about the company, and talked about the submission process and what they would like to see. She also had a collection of recently published books spread out of the floor, which we all looked through. The picture below doesn't do them justice, but the books were all so colorful, they looked like little jewels! Eerdman's publishes a beautiful variety of children's books, not sticking with one particular illustration style.

My eye kept on being drawn to this book. Eerdmans has done several biographies on artists for children. The illustrations in this book, I Am Marc Chagall by Bimba Landmann were particularly stunning, in my opinion.
Click image to view page.

Next I attended "Picture Books in a Challenging Market," with Lynne Polvino, Editor of Clarion Books. She broke down some of their sucesses, and descibed the elements that made the books a sucess. She stressed the importance of knowing the market, and what's out there.

Another book with exceptional illustrations, Two at the Zoo, by Danna Smith, illustrations by Valeria Petrone. Published February 2009 by Clarion. Click image to view page.

Diane Z. Shore's "A Picture Books is Worth 100 Words or Less" lecture had me frantically writing down notes the entire time! So much useful information! She described some pitfalls of unsuccessful childrens genre writing, and sent us on our way with tremendous resources. I aspire to someday write as well as illustrate picture books. She said that illustrators have a leg up because of their visual thinking, which was encouraging to hear!

Pat got a lot out of the conference as well. He met Calista Brill, Editor at First Second Books, which publishes graphic novels for children (and all ages too), and learned a little more through her workshops about what kind of submissions they would like to see. I am sure he will be blogging about his experiences at the conference too, so, I won't take up too much room here.

In summary it was a great day. It ended at about 5:30pm, and, boy, was I wiped! I enjoyed meeting a variety of people, and learning. Attending seems to have just been the beginning step--I have a lot of notes to look over, and websites and blog resources to check out. I have a clearer understanding of the marketplace, and how to promote my work, as well as insights on several publishers. I had a wonderful time, the conference met all my expectations. I am looking forward to attending the annual spring conference, Springmingle, in Atlanta in February!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Southern Breeze Portfolio Workshop

Eager to network and learn more about the industry, I joined the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators a few weeks ago. I thought that by joining it would help in my research I had begun on my thesis project, a 32-page picture book that I am illustrating for a client. I just wanted to write and mention how pleased I am with the resources thus far through SCBWI. I am looking forward to participating in some upcoming conferences put on by the local chapter, Southern Breeze too. After joining, I received in the mail a "Publication Guide" with information about publishers and the submission process, as well as a copy of SCBWI's super informative newsletter. I definitely recommend to anyone interested in the children's illustration market to join.

On a high from my new membership, I went, toting my portfolio, to the portfolio workshop last weekend, hosted by Southern Breeze. They had two great speakers, Donna German of Sylvan Dell Publishing and Mark Braught, freelance illustrator. Sylvan Dell is a company that produces children's books with a focus in math and science. Donna spoke about submissions she receives, things she likes to see in a potential illustrator for her books, and necessities about starting out (importance of a website, other professionalisms, etc.). Mark, who gave a super pastel demo at SCAD a couple quarters ago, gave insight on promoting one's work, pricing, and the importance of a good portfolio. The actual portfolio review portion of the event was short, but I felt like the information from the speakers and networking were very beneficial.

The impetus for the portfolio workshop was to prepare for wik09 (Writing and Illustrating for Kids '09), their annual Fall conference in Birmingham, AL. Pat and I registered to go. I think I got him eager to find out about graphic novels in the children's market, which is going to be a workshop at the conference, given by Calista Brill, Editor of FirstSecond Books. I am going to some workshops, which I hope will help with not only insight ino the industry and meeting some children's illustrators and writers (and maybe some publishers too!), but also will aid in my thesis. I also signed up for a portfolio review, and look forward to the feedback I'll recieve on my work at the conference.

I'll follow up this blog with some notes and photos from the Birmingham conference in case it might interest some of my fellow illustrator friends!

Speaking of other illustrator friends, you all might like this:
I heard through this event last weekend of a great resource new to Southern Breeze illustrators, the Illustrators' Corner. It is a place to post works for critque, to both give and get feedback. I look forward to posting something in the near future.

P.s. I won my category at the Generate event! I got a copy of Adobe CS4 for my Christmas cover design for Atlanta Intown! Yay! I saw the other entries, and they were all AWESOME. I have no idea how I won, I was just happy to finish.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

24 Hours....(well...close enough!)

I had a great time at SCAD-Atlanta's annual event, Generate, a 24 straight hour art challenge. It was wonderful to have the opportunity to work AND socialize with fellow students, and even those outside my department of Illustration.

I accepted the challenge of creating a holiday 2009 cover for the paper, Atlanta Intown. Below was what I did with about 19 hours. I stuck it out until 5am, but I had to catch some shut eye, as I was going to a children's book portfolio workshop at 1pm. I am pretty happy with how it came out. It was gratifying to finish (which I didn't do last year)!

There were so many great pieces that came out of the event. The most exciting challenge for me to see come to fruition was the character designs for a non-profit's children's book. Wish I could have done that challenge too!! For more artwork (animation, maquette design, comics, graphic design, etc.), check out the blog: Generate!

Saturday, September 19, 2009


I was determined not to let another contest I wanted to participate in pass me by! So, I carved out a chunk of time to create a greeting card image geared towards men (thanks for sending me the link, Katie!). The contest stated that they wanted the card to be clever inside and out: the inside of the card reads "IT LOOKS GOOD!! Happy Birthday." It was fun to get back into practice inking and digitally coloring, after a long summer of painting exclusively with watercolors.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Surprise at Dancing Fields

Yay! I just finished illustrating my first children's book! It's a wonderful chapter book called A Surprise at Dancing Fields by Ronit Elk that follows five girls' summer and takes place in a very special neighborhood. I illustrated a little over 11 images, and below is a sampling of a couple of the images that will be in it.

I will update soon on when the book will come out, and where it can be purchased!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Alaska! The Cruise

Some of my favorite "Kodak moments" from a recent cruise with the family to Alaska and Canada.

Friday, May 29, 2009

My Young Blood Gallery and Boutique Young Bunny T-Shirt and Packaging

For the final project in my Retail Markets class, we were assigned to do a screen printed T-shirt, and packaging for the client of Young Blood Gallery and Boutique here in Atlanta (Note: The gallery was not actually involved in the project, it was named as a fictitious client).

I had a couple different ideas, but none of them seemed right for the market. My mind kept drifting back to this vectorized bunny doodle (above) that i did almost a year ago, and had no idea what to do with. I had always wanted to make it into a pattern, but just didn't know how. Professor Mike Lowery taught us how in class to use Photoshop to create patterns as part of one of his lectures. He himself makes incredible, really cute patterns, and they get bought by various companies and applied to different products such as journals, cards, etc. I was very inspired not only by his pattern work, but also by Julia Rothman, an artist Mike introduced us students to during the trip we took this quarter to the Surtex (surface design/pattern convention) in New York (more about this trip later in another post!).

I had a lot of initial trouble creating the right feel for this project, I felt like it kept going in too much of a cutesy direction, and Young Blood has a definite urban, edgy feel. So I did some things, like half-tones, and combined the pink pattern with black, and that definitely helped to reign it in. It still took a lot of tweaking, and many pages of more badly drawn bunnies to create the total project.

So once I had the art done, I did a mock up of the shirt (above). I had never screen printed before, and with the help of Mike, and the rest of the class, I learned how to make a screen, and print in registration for each color. I used five screens, four colors. I decided to wrap part of the text around the shirt, which I did by using two screens, and it worked beautifully to make my hand-made font a cool graphic element. So, here is photos of the finished product:

Finished shirt and box
I made an iron-on label for the inside neck part of the shirt, which included washing information and size.
I attached the hang tags with a pretty prink Kate's Paperie ribbon which I tied in a bow

a view with the stickers I made and included in the hang tag as an "bonus extra" for the buyer of the product

The inside of the box was lined with the pattern i created:
I don't have any shots of the different angles of the box, but here is kind of a lay-out of the box and shirt's different elements:
I learned a lot and took a lot of risks with this project: I had never on such a large scale done lettering by hand to include in my work, which i really enjoyed doing; also, I had never done any screen printing, and had always wanted to, and glad I got the opportunity to learn before leaving school. What I really loved about this class, was the opportunity to create every part of the project: the product, the packaging, right down to the every last detail, for instance, the tags. It combined graphic deisgn sensibilities, as well as illustration. This was something i really enjoyed doing.

Monday, May 25, 2009


I launched my website! Check out to view my web gallery, etc.
Special thanks to Pat, aka "Tech Support"

Sunday, May 3, 2009

My Web Home: some comps

I am working on creating a website, and spent the last couple days making some comps for the pages, and wanted to post those for some feedback. I need to research if a Lightbox-type program (I really want to use Fancy Zoom, which is a Lightbox clone) will work with an image map, otherwise my gallery will not work, and have to be redesigned. I think everything else will work fine as an HTML site.

Home Page

Home Page (Rollovers)

Gallery #1: Children's Illustration (inside frames will be thumbs)

Gallery #2

About Me (page) - image is a placeholder, text will be hand-written

Animals in Space, Part II: The Box

The Russian nesting dolls were a two part project, the second part was making a box for the dolls. I finished it last week, and i didn't take a picture of the box before turning it in for grading, but i have the box art file, and thought i would post that until i get a picture of the actual product.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Animals in Space: My Russian Nesting Doll set

I have a couple more tweaks i want to make (which include sealing this set with a Gloss sealant), but i am pretty much done with my Russian nesting doll set, which was the first assignment in my Retail Markets class. I have to admit i wasn't initially psyched about doing a project geared to the market of Kid Robot, i didn't think that was really my market, but i really got excited about this once i got started, and i think turned out a fairly successful project, in which i learned a lot about working on something 3-dimensionally.

My process for this set started with a series of six thumbnails. Really rough stuff, just brainstorming concept of what i could do with my blank Russian dolls. I came up with six different ideas, inclusing a crazy candy monster kids set, and a murderous Geishas set. I got the class's input, and the general consensus liked this idea best, so i went with it.

Originally, when i came up with the concept, I started doing research on what kind of animals had really been in space. I knew a chimp had gone up, and i read that things like fish, insects, cats, dogs, etc. had all been in space. But, then i just started thinking about what kind of animals did i want to draw/paint, and i soon just started going from there. I just tried to make it fun for myself. Then I started giving the animals personalities. I came up with an angry elephant, aloof mandrill, scared turtle, time-concerned octopus, and nauseous fish.

When i think of Kid Robot, i think of very simplified, flat, vector toys, so i wanted to reflect that in my animals. I worked in Adobe Illustrator to do my color comps, and get a look at what some of the bigger and more complicated animals would look like. I then stretched out my vector art and traced it using some graphite paper, right onto the nesting dolls (as best i could). I decided against the orange you see below, feeling like the animal-nauts should be in their white suits for space.
After getting as far as time would allow on the Illustrator mock-ups, I started drawing the bodies onto the nesting dolls, and painting with acrylic. I used super sculpy for the tiny fish and the ears on the elephant. I epoxied the elephant ears onto the figure.

I was trying to think out of the box, especially with the littlest nesting figure. I remember opening some of these sets when i was younger and marvel at the littlest one, wondering how the artist got the details on such a small tiny object. So, it was really important for that one to be a surprise. I have always been mystified with using resin, and it was actually Pat's idea to suspend the fish in something clear, like he was in water, but i took it and went with it! Using resin wasn't as hard as i thought it would be. But it was really toxic smelling. I wish i would have read the warning on the canister beforehand, and worked outside. I had to breath the fumes while i was working all night.

Now, onto the next project: creating a box design for my nesting dolls...