Friday, December 21, 2012

Illustration Friday~Glow

Playing around in Photoshop for Illustration Friday's word of the week.
It's the first snow of the season in Northeast Ohio, and I am feeling a Christmas glow!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Thanks Mark! Sometimes a good kick in the pants is all you need!

Inspiration~ It doesn't always come in the form of a little creative muse sitting on your shoulder whispering sweet encouragement and filling you with an abundance of energy. No, sometimes it comes from a fellow co-worker that gives you the push you need! He stands there, looking at you like you're kinda nuts and says "What do you mean you don't have enough time, you have 10 days!" Then he goes over to the schedule on the wall and points out all the gaps in the schedule that you aren't working and should be doing art! Encouragement comes in many forms; I can be a rather insecure artist with perfectionist tendencies, which adds up to-- I can get in my own way. So thanks Mark for the figurative "kick in the pants."
When I went on the SCBWI site at the end of November and saw the deadline for the Tomi dePaola Award for Dec.14th, I was kicking myself for not going on sooner. Yet I still figured I could pull it off. I knew that I needed to have everything complete by the 9th of December, since my schedule at work was going to be pretty full the week of the deadline. By December 2nd, I had just come up with the passage I liked, and only a quick rough to show for it. But I kept hearing Mark's voice in my head and that seemed to give me the edge I needed. When you don't always have an art director or a client that you know you must come through for, then you have to rely on your own resources, and that's not always an easy route. All and all I'm pleased with the outcome. Mark on the other hand keeps looking for the fawn..."Where's the FAWN?"..."The whole story is about the FAWN!" Oh well, you can't please everyone :)
The Unoffical Gallery of the Tomie dePaola Award

Friday, December 14, 2012

Illustration Friday~Snow

Wishing you all a Wonderful Holiday Season!!!

This week's challenge word is "Snow" and since I am a bit rushed this week with the holidays, I decided to dig out an older piece from my files. The snowman design was done especially for my uncle Ralph. He was a big supporter of my art. He and my aunt Lily, bought me my first art table, light and chair when I started out. It was quite the surprised! They stopped by one day and dropped everything off! It's moments like this in your life you just don't forget. I miss him dearly! My uncle had a large collection of hats, so this particular Christmas I thought I'd make him up is own special hat. At the time I made this design, I was working at a company where they made heat transfers. I also made tee-shirts, and sweatshirts for the rest of the clan that year. We have a BIG family dinner every Christmas Eve, there's about 25 of us in my aunt's basement. It's been going on, as of this coming Christmas, 29 years!

 The colored image above was flipped, when I scanned it into Photoshop. (these images are always reversed as part of the printing process) The black and white art was designed in Coral draw, then printed out on vellum paper, after printing them out they would then go to the screening room, where they would be burned onto the actual screen. Ink would then be applied, then transferred onto the paper stock that would be put into the heat tranfer press and applied onto the tee-shirt.

Merry Christmas Uncle Ralph!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Today I'm missing my Island...

To be silent, to sit by a lake with the morning dew sparking in the sunshine-
To explore in the woods, only to find the ruins of an old winery-
To make new friends and hope your paths cross again-
To take a bike ride and feel how great it feels to just peddle along and not feel worried-
To just live in the moment...

 October 2011 Kelleys Island, Ohio

Friday, November 16, 2012

Illustration Friday~Zoom!

 This illustration is hanging in my son's room.
 Matt loves Mustang GT's!
Done in colored pencil this is my first and so far only car illo.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Illustration Friday~Tree

~Let's get ready to Rrrrrummmmmble....

I don't remember what the class assignment was for this piece. It may have simply been to do a black and white illustration, or to choose a style or a technique. I do remember thinking that I wanted to combine my enjoyment for drawing trees along with my fondness of boxing. I remember visualizing a huge tree stump, and thinking I would like to have the two trees fighting on it, while all the other trees observed the match, maybe taking a few side bets.

Boxing is the only sport I really like and I usually get two different reactions to this. A man's reaction is--really? And somewhat amused. A women reaction is--why? And somewhat perplexed, with a hint of disgust.
Disclaimer--This is just one women's opinion on sports

Growing up in an apartment that consisted solely of my father and one of my brothers, sports were on TV constantly! I knew the season more by the sport than I did the changing of the weather. God help me all those Sundays filled with golf! Boring! And so very quiet, "Shh he's putting" How about basketball... okay, run back and forth and try to get a ball in a hoop! Boring again. Oh yes, let's not forget football. Gotta love it, sit around the TV and everyone swears--a lot! Then there's baseball-- I guess that was okay. I really only liked watching my brothers play it though. I even played for a short period of time, and I was always stuck in right field! Not too much action there. But that's a sport! There's nothing like watching a good bout! You've got technique, action, blood, and excitement! I know a lot about boxing, I know all the terms and how the judges score if it comes down to a decision, if they're being fair that is. I use to know many of the players along the way, but no so much anymore.

Memories of Dad

Now and then I'll flip through the stations and a fight will be on and I automatically stop. Sometimes I think my dad's channeling through me. Sometimes I just like watching because it reminds me of him. Memories flood me of my dad explaining things like, reach, and jab, and uppercut, or being a southpaw. He taught me what a KO meant verses a TKO. I remember when Cashis Clay changed his name. When he was stripped of his title for being a draft dodger. I remember the fights with Joe Frazier. I wanted Frazier to win, I didn't like Ali as a kid. I thought he was too much of a show off. I didn't understand that it was all a gimmick. Now I think Ali is just wonderful.

And somethings just don't change

A couple of months ago I was doing my usual flipping through stations, when I came upon Julio Chavez Jr. vs. Sergio Martinez, so Annie and I watched all the back stories on these two opponents. I wanted to see that fight so bad. Apparently Martinez was going to attempt to regain his middleweight title. I instantly fell in love with Martinez and hoped for victory on his part. Unfortunately the HBO pay-per-view price was way more than I could even justify. The first thing the next morning I went online to happily discover that Sergio had in fact won back the title! YAY! ...Anyway that's my write up on trees, hope you enjoyed it :)

Isn't he adorable!


Friday, November 2, 2012

Illustration Friday~Shy

This little guy goes along with three other illustrations and a poem. I submitted this project to Spider magazine two years ago. Still no response :) I did send an SASE, but I assume I may be in the slush pile or worse...the trash...ouch! Par for the course, never say die! At least I have a cute piece for IF on the word Shy and three other Illustrations for my website. This was done in my favorite medium, pen & ink and watercolor pencil.
To see the other pieces from this project visit here.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Illustration Friday~Sky

A favorite place of ours is Cape Cod. This is an illustration of Brant Point on Nantucket. Done in watercolor pencil.
Below are memories of our honeymoon. We are looking forward to getting back to Cape Cod this coming summer. I've always wanted to take the kids there. Matthew has never been to the ocean. Annie was on Cape Ann, Massachusetts back in 1998, when we did a road trip to Bar Harbor, Maine.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Illustration Friday~Book

Bark for Books is one of the programs that we have at our library.
Children get a chance to read to therapy dogs.
Since the word of the week is "Book" there was no way I could pass on the opportunity to write, and maybe brag a bit about where I work! Chances are if you're a creative like me, you're most likely holding down a job in the real world, one that supports your craft and pays the bills. I am grateful to have found a good one!

I'm a circulation clerk at the Willoughby Hills library. We are the smallest of the four branches within the Willoughby-Eastlake library system. We are not a full-time library and we all hold part-time hours. Housed within the Willoughby Hills Community Center,  there is always something going on within the building. Whether it's a wedding reception, a craft fair, or a program put on by the Historical Society. It's one busy place, and we are a very busy library!

The Willoughby Hills Library
There is so much that's good about working for a library, and being there to observe all the ins and outs is always interesting. As a whole, we attend to many different types of people, all with their own stories. Working the circulation desk, I'm usually the first one patrons see as they enter. It's my job to provide the best customer service I can, and for the most part that's not hard. I think about the people our library system serves. From preschool children to college students our collection ranges to meet their needs. The Senior citizens may come to our libraries for the book clubs and programs we offer. Then there are some who are physically unable to come to our buildings, for those, we have our homebound sevices, along with various outreach programs. Patrons come in to get assistance with their Kindle or Ipad, or to use the computers, knowing we might be their only resource for a job application. There are those that come in only to read the newspaper. I remember a homeless man who would come in just to rest a bit. We serve people with lots of money, and some with very little. We serve all ethnicity's. You just don't know day to day what the story might be.

I clearly remember 12 years ago, the day I walked into the Willoughby library and asked if I could fill out an application, I remember what I was wearing,  I remember how I felt.  My mindset was all about finding work that would make me happy, so the library seemed the perfect place.

The Willoughby library is set in the heart of our downtown area. It's a two story building with the non-fiction, children's and young adult areas on the second
floor. The look of it has changed from the time I was growing up, with a major redo back in the 80's. This library has always been close to my heart with memories from junior high to college. It's where I went to learn
about children's illustrators, and the different styles and techniques. I went through so many books  trying to find my own personal style, what I liked, which artists moved me. I especially enjoyed the children's magazines. I liked sitting in the kids section with all its colors and the fluffy stuffed animals. Then a few years later when my daughter Annie was born, I found myself there on a weekly basis, either taking her to storytime or just hanging out playing with puzzles and reading books.

In January of 2001, with my son Matthew, not quite a year old. I was hired at the Eastlake library. I was fortunate to work with a wonderful group of people, especially the ladies who taught me the job of being a circulation clerk. The Eastlake library is a one story building, that sits on Lakeshore Blvd. so you get a partial view of  Lake Erie; one of great features of living in Ohio. The children's department has this really great big boat structure that the kids get to play on, and have their storytime.

Through the years I've had the privilege of working at all the branches. Most recently I've been picking up a few extra hours at the Willowick branch. The Willowick library is also a two story building. The upper level is the library, and the lower level is home to the administrative offices and the various departments that keep our system running smoothly. They too have a great kids area!

This past March I was hired back to the W-E library for the third time! And it did not come without a fair bit of teasing. I pretty much heard a repeated "How long you gonna stay this time!" I did my best to take it in stride. After all I do know how lucky I am to be back! I have some regrets about leaving back in 2008, yet things happen for various reasons, and at the time my family was the priority. One thing I can say is, I've always kept my foot in the door as a substitute, and because of that I've gotten to work with so many good people along the way, and for that I have no regrets!

On a closing note--There's nothing quite like the feel of a brand new book in your hand, especially if it's a children's book! It's even better if you've meet the author or illustrator of the book here in blogland!

Check out some of these links!!/pages/Willoughby-Eastlake-Public-Library/37722405758 great video on Barks for Books at the Eastlake library. It also shows the  boat they have. It takes a minute to load!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Illustration Friday~Imagination

Tree on Red is done in gouache

Imagination has always come easy to me. I love anything with trees and rocks, happy little lands and strange creatures. Taking a walk in the woods alone stirs my imagination; trees come alive, rocks have faces and the strange little creatures scurry about. The magical fairy rings and puffy autumn clouds, yeah that's when I'm in my element. How about the feel of crunchy leaves under your feet, and crisp air! I'm so glad my season is almost here, it brings on my muse! Happy drawing everyone! I know I'm sappy, but that's me... 

I like doing these little art trading cards. They're right up my alley. They are all orignals. 
If anyone is interested I sell them for $10.00 each.

2 Trees by the pond is done in sparkly pens

Magic Mushroom is pen and ink, watercolor pencil and a touch of sparkly pens

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Illustration Friday-Carry

Lily is my main character from a children's book dummy that I created
for a contest which was held by Simon and Schuster.

Friday, June 29, 2012


 Two Tree Spirits looking very refreshed in their swamp.

Pen and Ink with a watercolor wash
This piece is called "The Lovers." Created to go along with the tree and rock illustrations that are now hanging up at the Root Cafe in Lakewood Ohio. Thanks to my cousin Marie, who is on a quest to get me noticed. She works in marketing and promotions. She has worked with a lot of artists along the way. She seems to like us quirky artist types. Marie has taken it upon herself to represent me.

Marie and I kind of have a standing joke about my "art crap." As she was growing up, here and there I would give her one of my pieces. I once drew her a picture of Jim Thome when he was with the Cleveland Indians back in the early 90's. At some point along the way I again gave her something, and she said "Oh I have a shelf with all your art crap on it" Eitherway it stuck and we still laugh about it. So here she is 20 years later promoting my "art crap!"

I just want to say a big thanks to you Marie, and Gary for getting my stuff up at the cafe~You guys are the BEST!!!  Also Happy Birthday!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Studio Pics

In the course of getting ready for my show at the Root Cafe in Lakewood Ohio, I thought I would take some pictures of my studio. I still have things I would like to finish off from the makeover last year. The walls still could use a second going over of paint. The ceiling didn't come out as gray as I wanted and I still need to paint the stairs. Then I had the bright idea of taking down the walls of the bathroom to restructure the entrance. The door to the bathroom was at the top of the stairs and when you're half asleep (since our bedroom is connected to the studio) I didn't want to go tumbling down in the middle of the night, or anytime for that matter. So I took down walls and haven't found the time to rebuild. I have some ideas I just don't know if I can pull it off. If I do I'll post more pics. If your want to see how it looked before the makeover click here.
Getting bookmarks ready for the show.

A picture of my Aunt Nina and my parents wedding.
My mom as a baby and our cat Crash.

The bathroom, in need of walls.

My gallery of art that will be showing at the Root Cafe
and then what doesn't sell will go onto the Erie Cafe in Lakewood.

Annie's lighthouse behind my computer :)

A view opposite of the bathroom.

Old printer, new printer. I still use the epson for scanning
 but I really need to find the power cord for my HP scanner!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


This fun little tree was made using sparkly-shiny gel pens. Wish you could see the sparkles :)
It's the first time I've used them. They were a lot of fun!