IF - Messenger

Have a Happy, Joyful, Merry Christmas!
And Happy Hanukkah to my Jewish friends!
digital and pastel on paper
7.5 x 7.5


IF - Sink

The Illustration Friday topic for this week is Sink.

Don't you wish kids were always this happy about helping out around the house?
From Wash the Dishes by Geneus English, LLC
This illustration started out as a  pencil sketch. I scanned it, cleaned up the sketch and painted the color in photoshop.


IF - Separate

This week the subject for Illustration Friday is Separate

Pastel on PastelMat   12 x 9.5
 I've been having fun with this stout little girl and her tall timid friend. I had been working many long hours digitally painting illustrations and I was ready to revisit my beloved pastels, pencil and paper when I started this piece.

I was happy with the original drawing layout, but I wanted the giraffe to have more character, so he got a redo.
I traced my original drawing onto PastelMat using a light box (which doubles as my sliding glass door). I like PastelMat for illustration, because it takes a lot of layers of pastel like sanded papers, but it is much smoother, so it's easier to do a small illlustration with details.  

Next, I blocked in the main color with PanPastels using the large oval sponge applicator at first, then the small wands. The Pan Pastels cover a large area and blend easily. You can see their painterly effect in the clouds. Last, I finished off the details with colored pencil, though I have to admit that I'm feeling the urge to go back and define some edges a little more, since some of the detail was lost when it was photographed. 

I'm having so much fun with these two characters, that I'm sure they'll pop up in another illustration soon!


Remember Your Local Merchants this Season and in the New Year

Can they say it 
any plainer than this?

This is a hand written sign posted in front of my favorite local toy store, Kazoodles, in Vancouver, Washington.
They give so much back to the community, like many small brick and mortar businesses. Activities for children, support for local charities, friendly smiles and personal help for everyone who walks in. Why, they even have %10 off for all grandparents on Tuesdays. Participants are required to pull out their brag books (cellphone photos will do) for all to admire!

Wouldn't we really miss our favorite small businesses if they were gone?

The 3/50 project is all about reminding us what a difference it makes for us to patronize these brick and mortar businesses, even if it's only $50 a month.

So, please remember to SHOP LOCAL during the holidays and throghout 2012!

IF - Brigade

This is my vision for the Illustration Friday subject this week - a brigade of peace makers, starting with one...

6.5 x 6.5
pastel on paper

This is another illustration that I used the process of scanning the original sketch. I then edited it in Photoshop, changing the pencil lines to black and blue. I also filled in the darkest areas with blue to avoid white paper showing through (below). I printed the photoshopped image on Canson paper and finished it with soft pastels and pastel pencils (above).

Finally, I scanned the completed illustration, printed it and tore the paper right to the edges of the image. Here's the finished product as a Christmas greeting card.


IF - Round

My Illustration Friday entry for this week...

Elf with Hammer
pastel on paper

This little elf has so much to do to get ready for Christmas. If he only new where he left his nails!

I've been experimenting with scanned pencil drawings. This sketch was scanned, edited to darken the lines and clean it up a bit. Then I printed it on art paper and added the color with pan pastels, soft pastels and pastel pencils.


We Eat Food That's Fresh! at New Seasons Market!

 New cafe dining area at New Seasons Market
Illustrations from We Eat Food That's Fresh!

My original illustrations from the book, We Eat Food That's Fresh! have been chosen to be on exhibit  New Seasons Market in Vancouver, Washington for the grand opening celebrations. There are 11 New Seasons Markets in Portland and this will be the first to open in Vancouver. They will be on display in the cafe dining area through the end of December.
New Seasons Market is all about quality, fresh, local products and community.  Danielle Halstead, the store manager, put it this way, "New Seasons Market represents everything I love about the Northwest — good people, good food and good intentions." For that reason, I'm thrilled that  We Eat Food That's Fresh! will be available at all twelve of the New Seasons Markets!During the summer I had the pleasure of doing  some pastel painting of local scenes en plein air. They will also be on exhibit in the cafe dining area (pictured top/right).

Hope you can stop by, see this beautiful new market, and have a taste. As the chef in We Eat Food That's Fresh! would say, "try something new!"

Click to see the video of the Grand Opening Celebration


IF - Fuel

Illustration Friday

The chef say's, "Fresh fruits & veggies are good fuel for your body."

I think he's right!
9 x 19 Pastel

Right now my chef is all dressed up in his best black frame to be on display in the dining area of New Seasons Market, Vancouver WA for their grand opening in November.

This illustration was made for the children's book,
We Eat Food That's Fresh!, by Angela Russ-Ayon, Our Rainbow Press.


Oodles of Fun at Kazoodles!

Come join me for OODLES of fun at
Kazoodles, the kid powered toy store!

It all starts here...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011
3:00-4:30 pm

13503 SE Mill Plain Blvd. #B-3
Vancouver, WA 98684
Call to sign up 360-823-0123. Age 4+. Free!

Reading (and sing along): We Eat Food That's Fresh! a book and music CD about a fun chef and lots of kids having a blast while going places tasting all kinds of new fruits & veggies.
Exhibit: I'll have my original illustrations on display and I'll talk about how they were made.
Kid Craft: You'll get a chance to color and wear your own paper chef's hat!

Once you're crowned with your very own chef's hat, we'll take a stroll, just a few doors away, to Chuck's Produce where expert cooks will show you how to make your own fresh and healthy treat!

See you there!


IF - Shadows

This is my Illustration Friday entry for this week:

Two Strange Beings | 9x12 | pastel

"One evening, while he was lying there alone... he saw two strange beings creep out of the tall bracken near him."

This illustration is the result of a fun SCBWI Westside Illustrators project. I was assigned the above quote from a children's book without knowing the origin.

Would anyone care to guess what childrens book this came from?


IF - Toy

Here's my Illustration Friday entry for this week.
For a child, it only takes a few toys to spark a world of imagination.

pastel on paper

In the spirit of March being Art & Music in the Schools Month, I'm compiling a list of the people/organizations that work behind the scenes to make it happen. If you have a group in your area that brings art, music, drama lessons to the public schools, please comment on my blog. I'd love to see this list grow!



Art in Our Schools - Hat's Off to the People Who Make it Happen!

I know I'm not the only one who has wonderful memories of art & music lessons in school. They always brought a bright spot to the week breaking up the routine. But, lessons in the arts do so much more than foster good feelings about school or just keep kids occupied. Studies have repeatedly shown how important art education is to improving a child's performance in all subjects.

I'd like to praise the people who are working tirelessly to bring art into the classroom even in these difficult economic times. The efforts of dedicated teachers, parents, artists, and community minded people are improving the education of children that might not have had the opportunity to be exposed to the arts, otherwise.

All the Arts for all the Kids Foundation of Fullerton, California is an excellent example. The Arts LAB, a transformed surplus school bus, brings a digital art studio to schools in Fullerton. They also fund the World Harmony Music Bus, filled with musical instruments from around the world. They're not only talented teachers, but this amazing group of people has channeled their creative energies towards raising funds through art auctions, concerts and events. One such fundraiser was the Giant Hearts auction. Each giant heart was custom painted by a local artist. They were then displayed throughout the city and sold at auction. All the Arts for all the Kids also uses innovative online resources to raise funds without costing supporters a penny. When you use sites such as GoodSearch.com, iGive, GoodShop.com to search the web or shop online a donation is given to the charity of your choice! (I've been web searching and shopping with iGive and it's really easy to use.) Also, MissionFish allows eBay sellers to donate a portion sales to a chosen charity. CLICK HERE for more details about how the people behind all the Arts for all the Kids finds creative ways to support art in our schools.

Below is a list of organizations who are dedicated to making the arts happen in the schools. I would love to see this list grow. Do you know of a group or individual who provides art, music, dance, or theater to public school children? If so, please comment and provide any information that you have and I'll add them to the list.
  • Name, city and state
  • Which arts - visual, music, dance or theater?
  • Link to website, or contact person
  • Lessons during school hours or an after school art program?
  • Lessons at no charge to the student or is there a fee?
Lets give these organizations and individuals the recognition & support they deserve! This list can also serve as a resource where people can be inspired, learn from each other, and find new ways to bring art to our schools.

People Who Make it Happen!

Programs in Public Schools During School Hours
no cost to students

Adventures in Art, Torrance, CA
A parent run art program for public school children.
Tip from George McMullen
All the Arts for all the Kids Foundation, Fullerton, CA
All volunteer program bringing art, music,
dance, and theater to public schools

Art for Progress, New York, NY
Nonprofit provides art workshops for underserved youth.
Allied Arts, Chattanooga, TN
Non-profit provides impressive grants to local schools.
Tustin Area Council of Fine Arts, Tustin, CA
Supports the Art Masters Program for Tustin Schools.
Tip from Marsha Lindsey

After School Programs
no cost to students

The Wooden Floor, Santa Ana, CA
Providing hope and opportunity for at risk youth
through dance, academic, and family programs.

Other Art Programs for School Children
free or low cost

Annual Children's Festival with free or low cost activities for children.
Anaheim Artmobile, Anaheim, CA
Bus travels to city parks and kids learn about famous artist, try different art techniques. FREE. A bus full of art in the park must be magical to a kid! Tip from Dawn Olsgaard


IF - Reverse

... if she would just row that boat in reverse and take him back to solid ground!

No Turning Back Now
digital illustration

I've been enjoying this little girl and giraffe team since they appeared in my Sketchbook Project 2011. This illustration was a little bit of an experiment exploring the use of Photoshop to fill in the color of a hand drawn sketch.


IF - Surrender

A giraffe in a boat,
and a stubborn little girl with plans...
guess who surrenders?

Tea Party

This is one entry in my sketchbook for
The Sketchbook Project: 2011

To see my complete sketchbook CLICK HERE.


The Sketchbook Project: 2011 "Inside/Outside"

This is my contribution to The Sketchbook Project: 2011 with Art House Coop. My chosen theme is "Inside/Outside", which is great since I've been exploring dwellings in my illustrations as well as my fine art paintings. That seems to be my thing lately - tree houses, playhouses, windows, doors, interiors, etc, so it was a fun project for me. Of course, I had a gazillion more ideas that never made it to the sketchbook, but at least some of them are on paper.

The sketchbooks will be on tour around the country throughout 2011, ending as part of the permanent collection at the Brooklyn Art Library.


To find out if The Sketchbook Project: 2011
is touring in your area CLICK HERE


Book Cover Illustration and Design

I recently worked on a project for a book cover, so I thought I'd share a little of the process with you.

First I met with the author of the book and discussed the core message which I'll do my best to summarize:

Trumping the Red Queen
by Ralph Frid, Ph.D., is a heavily researched book that takes a serious look at innovation and creativity in today's times. The Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland is used as a metaphor. She represents business structures and systems born in the industrial revolution which no longer work efficiently in our fast paced, changing world. In the book the author explains a unique form of learning called Hyperstruction, increasing innovation and creativity without running everyone into the ground.

The client wanted the character of the queen to be the focal point of the cover.
She is dictatorial, mythological, rigid, feared and living in the past. She is satisfied with her reality as she explained it to Alice, "Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!"
It was also important that the cover expressed an element of hope, innovation, and new beginnings.

At first, all I could think about was, "Fifteen years of the author's life has been devoted to the the research and writing of this book and I only have a few weeks illustrate the cover. I'd better make this illustration count!" Then I got to work reading the Trumping the Red Queen, and researching the characters in the original stories of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass to refresh my memory.

The next step was brainstorming with lots of rough sketches: Different types of crowns, ways to illustrate the old crumbling system... and how do you illustrate creativity or hope, anyway? Should I use symbols of the red queen or an outright portrait?

Then I pulled together elements from the rough sketches and came up with the portraits above. The last one was just for fun... couldn't resist!

I also explored other approaches using symbols for the queen rather than a character. On the left, gears & smoke stacks to represent the industrial revolution, and figures struggling to stay ahead the old way. On the right I went for a more techie feel to represent our times, the instability of change and movement into the future.

The client loved the center portrait of the Queen of Hearts.
I used angular features and a downcast gaze to project the queen's character. I used gears and smokestacks as symbols of the industrial revolution. I chose Black, white, red, yellow, the traditional colors of playing card, and mimicked the typical Queen of Hearts pose. Factory smokestacks, industrial gears, fast moving freeways represent our fast paced world today and echo the queen's words to Alice.

Below are some different ideas about placement on the cover to dramatize the deterioration of the old way.

The client chose the middle image because it is bold and straight forward. The only element missing in the design was an element of hope which I added later on the computer.

I created the portrait of the Queen of Hearts using soft pastels and pastel pencils on white PastelMat, which was the perfect surface. It's velvety texture took layers of rich color easily and it was easy to get a smooth thin line as well for the details. I used PanPastels to block in color of the main elements and shadows, applying rich solid color quickly. The variety shapes of the small Sofftool Knives, were very easy to use for filling in colors and blocking in square or triangular shapes. I then added details with pastel pencils.

The above left image was scanned on my home computer which just didn't cut it, even with editing. So, I had the illustration scanned professionally, enhanced the color in Photoshop to match the color of the original, cleaned it up a bit and added the pawns, which were drawn and scanned separately (right). At this point it was ready incorporate into the cover design.

I used Adobe Illustrator to add bold red and yellow color creating a glow and a swirl design to give the impression of movement. I put the layout together in InDesign. Here is the final cover design of the book submitted to the publisher.

Read more about
Trumping the Red Queen by Ralph Frid, Ph. D on the. Official Blog