Sunday, October 15, 2017

Packy Derm

  Elephants never forget ... to blog. September was an incredibly busy month with work, and I'm playing catch up. Recently I finished illustrating two readers for Scholastic, one immediately after another. ( Phew!) This one features an elephant who is getting dressed and carrying his stuff to an unknown destination. He does not forget his mittens! I call him Packy Derm, but the actual title is "Packing Up".
  Each of the 16 pages says "I have my ______." ( hat, jacket, iguana, etc.)  To expedite the process I copied and pasted many of the background elements, such as the house, trees, stepping stones, flowers and leaves, changing their sizes, shapes and positions as needed.  I  had a library of leaves from previous work which I could recycle.
   It is not until the final page that the reader realizes he is loading his car with his belongings
(although the title is a clue to  that). The cat co-stars as she watches his every move from a different vantage point each time. 

 first step
I began by drawing each pose traditionally with pencil on grey pastel paper which made it easy to  establish highlights, values and details. I added the pinks and a few colors, then went on to silhouette the figure, copied and pasted the ties and hats, and added the rest of the color in Photoshop. I placed the isolated figures in their scenery, adjusting each environment as I went along, based on the layouts of  my initial sketches.

I have my vest.

I have my jacket.

I have my bicycle.

I have my jam.

I have my iguana.

I have my cat.

 I have my car.
Vroom.....Bye bye for now!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Garden Party


My latest illustration assignment, Garden Party, was for Pearson Education's reading program. This family covers some ground recruiting their neighbors to start a community garden, and young Jamal discovers that people are more than willing to help.

These illustrations began as traditional media: monochromatic colored pencil drawings with a bit of pastel overlaid to add depth.  They were then scanned and became the base layer for color added in Photoshop.

gearing up

 joining in


"You were right, Dad!"

Illustrations © 2017 Pearson Education, Inc.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Dig In

Groundhogs Day is coming early this year, and it's followed closely by spring planting.  My latest cover for High Five's June issue provided me with some good clean colorful fun in the dirt. If you can find the hidden H, you win a nasturtium. Can you dig it?


Thursday, November 3, 2016

Gettin' Down with Mama Goose

   Cover for a school music book with classic rhymes, including This Old Man, Humpty Dumpty, Jack and Jill, and Little Bo  Peep.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

A New Period

  An important book for girls growing up, The Period Book, is getting a much needed update and redesign from Bloomsbury.  This book has sustained its popularity since its first printing in 1996. It was probably the second actual book I illustrated, and I could be a grandma to the girls it is reaching now, but that's cool.  I  recently completed the cover illustration, and  I'll be working on some new interior illustrations next.

First cover and  a few interior illustrations

new cover


alternate sketch

alternate sketch


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Halloween is Hiding


  A short wandering today led me into my favorite indie bookstore, Mac's Backs... and BOO!-- I was surprised by a solitary copy of Hidden Pictures smack dab among the magazines.  It was spooky fun doing this illustration a few months ago. Look for it at your local bookstore if you know some kids that are fans of puzzles. Tell them not to be afraid as they look for the scary hidden objects:
   A cane, a drumstick, a fan, a comb, a bowling pin, a zipper, an envelope, a wristwatch, and a bone.   Just kidding, there's no bone.

Monday, June 6, 2016

This Candidate is Such a Loser!

What??!! OH NO!!!
      It's true, this story tells of a disastrous campaign. But despite the all-too popular notion, winning isn't everything. (It's NOT?)
   I was pleasantly surprised to get this boxful of books from Penguin Random House a few days ago.
It was just released and available for purchase here.


   I had previously illustrated two others books for this publisher, featuring the same characters, for their Step into Reading imprint. 
This book, How NOT to Run for Class President, is for kids who are old enough to vote in their  school elections, and can read paragraphs and simple sentences.  Sentences like: "Don't forget to promise pizza and a movie every  Thursday, " Steve whispered.
   A brief synopsis: 
  Will is reluctantly running for class president against his more qualified classmate Chelsea.  He is unexpectedly embarrassed by the enthusiastic but unsolicited campaign advice of  Steve, his younger brother, who enlists the grass-roots support of his kindergarten friends.  Hijinks and mayhem ensue, pets invade, and ultimately Chelsea wins. Will learns some lessons in the process yet Steve remains irrepressible.
  Here are some of my favorites from the 29 illustrations.


 "Why don't you run, Will?"

Chelsea is  running on a platform of reading to the kindergarteners.

Will thinks that's a bad idea.

Professional campaign posters, courtesy of Steve.

  Steve promises: " If you vote for Will, you can bring your pets to school!"


Principal Smiley fails at crowd control. Amazingly, nobody gets injured.

  One of Chelsea's most passionate supporters.

Behind the scenes.