My Guest Post for the "24 Carrot Writing" Blog: Creating an Oz-Inspired Illustration

I recently had the delight of contributing a guest post to the wonderful 24 Carrot Writing Blog! Visit my post there — From Start to Finish: Creating an Oz-Inspired Illustration — to get a peek behind the curtain of one of my paintings. I discuss my illustration process in preparing for an NJSCBWI illustrators' intensive with Maria Middleton, Art Director for Random House Children's Books. I hope you'll enjoy seeing some of the steps I take when approaching an assignment!

It was an honor to contribute to 24 Carrot Writing's August Illustrator Bonanza. While you're there, I recommend also reading the great posts by illustrators Milanka Reardon, Brook Gideon, and Matthew Cordell. And of course, check out 24 Carrot Writing's awesome posts on writing — you may be inspired to become a 24 Carrot Writer yourself!

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The Process Behind My "Little Pig Robinson" Painting

When I registered for NESCBWI's Illustrators' Intensive with Giuseppe Castellano (Art Director at Penguin Random House), we were challenged to illustrate a scene from a book by Beatrix Potter, in our own style. I've added my final illustration below. I put together this post on my process to share some of my steps along the way. I hope you'll enjoy getting a little look behind the scenes!

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100 Days of Sketching — White-eyed Vireo

Practicing painting, just for fun! 

I was inspired to paint this bird (a White-eyed Vireo) after my friend Tammy Hill Parks sent me a beautiful photo taken by Jerry Vanbebber (scroll down to see the photo). Tammy and Mr. Vanbebber are both members of the Oklahoma Ornithological Society, and you can view more beautiful photos at their public Facebook group.

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Here's that gorgeous photo I mentioned. It was great to have such a perfect reference photo to work from!

Photo Credit: Jerry Vanbebber

Photo Credit: Jerry Vanbebber

I really enjoy painting birds—I'm sure I'll be painting more of them at some point over the next 100 days!

Participating in The 100 Day Project — 100 Days of Sketching

For the first time, I'm participating in The 100 Day Project, hosted by Elle Luna on Instagram. I've decided to keep things open-ended by choosing to do "100 Days of Sketching."

I'll be posting to my Instagram and on this blog, among other places. I hope you'll follow along, and I also hope you might be inspired to join in the fun!

Part of what inspired me to jump in this year is the incredible projects I see posted by friends. Check out author/illustrator Sarah Lynne Reul's awesome gallery of #100daysofdrawingonphotos from the last round of this project! She's doing it again this April — you can follow Sarah Lynne's work on Instagram.

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Peter H. Reynolds' HAPPY DREAMER Release!

I'm thrilled to announce that Peter H. Reynolds' HAPPY DREAMER (Scholastic) is now released.

I was honored to be able to assist Peter during parts of this book's creation, and it was incredible to get a behind-the-scenes sneak peek. This book is one of those titles where each page looks more delightful than the last—I find it impossible to pick a favorite spread.

Here's the book trailer, which is stunning (IMHO):

Visited The Blue Bunny bookstore in Dedham MA to celebrate at the launch party. Couldn't be happier for Peter! I hope this book reaches far and wide, inspiring happy dreamers wherever they may be.

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