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1. Editorial Submission :: Ola Volo

Post by James

Editorial Submission :: Ola Volo

Editorial Submission :: Ola Volo

Editorial Submission :: Ola Volo

Editorial Submission :: Ola Volo

Meet Ola Volo, a Canadian illustrator from Kazakhstan with a love of nature and folklore. Ola’s illustrations are a complex, whimsical merger of animals, people, history and nature, executed in traditional and digital mediums. As well as doing commissions for a range of international clients, Ola also tries to find time to do gallery artwork, book projects and murals.
See more of Ola Volo’s work at here.


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2. #BookADay: ALONG A LONG ROAD by Frank Viva (Little, Brown Books For Young Readers)

#bookaday: ALONG A LONG ROAD by fellow Canadian Frank Viva (Little, Brown). Love the simple palette and gorgeous retro-style art as well as the glossy yellow road (you can't help but want to touch the pages) that runs throughout.

More about Frank Viva on his website and you can also find him on Twitter at @VIVAandCO.

More info about ALONG A LONG ROAD on the Little, Brown Books for Young Readers website.


Find out more about Donalyn Miller's Book-A-Day Challenge on the Nerdy Book Club site, and you can read archives of my #BookADay posts.

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3. Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays!

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4. Illustration Friday~Sea

So here we are just 8 days before Christmas with a full work schedule ahead and barely a present to be had, and my creative juices decide to kick in full steam ahead! 

I have to say this last year I’ve had my doubts if art was still a part of my life. I have not had an ounce of desire to create anything, from pen to paper to tossing paint around, NOTHING! Not even a quick sketch on a napkin!  I’ve never had this long of a dry spell.

And then I took a moment to look back...

Dream come true
It's been a long busy year with movement and change and maybe even some growth? I've been pulled in many different directions and most of the changes have been good. Much of my creativity went into house and yard projects. And then there’s always extra hours at my library. Also my daughter got her drivers licence! Yay! Add in more house projects. Worked on losing lots of debt! Another Yay! My husband got his classic car he's always wanted So we cruised, him more than I.
And lot’s of time spent with friends…"Life stuff"

Container garden--and they got red!


I also took on a second job last April working for Saint Ann's Shrine. Although I no longer have that job it was a blessing to work there for the short time I did. Again looking back I believe it helped me to cope with the loss of my brother who just recently passed away. Mickey was diagnosed with colon cancer a little over a year ago. I was fortunate to have been able to spend a good amount of time with him this past year, whether it was just hanging out with him or taking him to his treatments, it was special to be able to have had that time. It also warmed my heart to see how many people were touched by his life. I can’t help but think that part of my muse kicking in has been a way of coping with this loss, or maybe it’s Mick giving me a little push. I think I’d like to believe that.

I guess I’ve been a binge artist long enough to not question the creative process, or lack of it too much. I’m just happy it’s back!

For Illustration Friday’s word of the week “Sea” let’s kick back to the days of the Yellow Submarine!

Hope the fish like it!
This piece is a background for my fish tank. I do hope my fish appreciate the effort :)

Here is the process along with the whole image below.



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5. Christmas Fun

Another Christmas fun - Idea by Coconuts  - Titled: Coconuts and her per monkeys (AKA  Us - her humans)print available @ http://goo.gl/8TYkHS
Cute doggy paw print Christmas ornaments  made by Coconuts, I help with decoration

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6. XMAS 2014 - cath kidston

In this last week before Christmas I wanted to bring you as many Christmas snaps as I could and we start today with Cath Kidston. Their Christmas collection this year centres around this seasons 'Townhouses' print mixed with an earlier stars pattern which is recoloured to bring the whole scheme together. In the range are cards, roll wrap, sticky labels, ribbons, gift boxes, kitchenware and much

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7. My Answers To Illustration Questions From Other Artists

I get a lot of questions from fellow artists. Sometimes I answer them with a short message. Sometimes I send them a link to a video I already made covering the topic they asked about - And sometimes I save their questions in a word doc and answer them in video form - like this one... Read the rest of this post

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8. DESIGNER - hannah sessions

Hannah Sessions has just finished the MATS (Make art that sells) course by Lilla Rogers and is now setting herself up as a full time freelance designer. Based in St.Albans UK Hannah studied Textile Design at Central Saint Martins and worked for design agencies where she created work for clients such as Marks & Spencer.  Here are some examples from Hannah's design portfolio and she is very keen

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9. Last Sale of the Year

I didn’t want to join the Spammy crowd of emails we get this time of year of prolonged Cyber Sales, but I did want to cut a break for my readers and students. So, I give you the

Last Sale of the Year

Sale on my Healing Fairy Alphabet Deck, which is receiving rave reviews. Get your deck for yourself or a fab-u-lous gift for a friend HERE, who will totally dig it. Thank you for those rave reviews, by the way. (I’ve also been developing curriculum to go with the deck for Nature Education purposes.) If you have a deck, consider signing up for the Healing Fairy Alphabet Deck course over here to learn tips and the dress cards’ secrets.


Early Bird Rates especially for new class, Wild Worlds Within, that start in January. Reserve your space now with cool lower rates. Head over to the catalog to peruse. Sale is only until end of Thursday, the 17th!


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10. XMAS 2014 - clinton cards

And a few more interesting card designs spotted in Clinton. The baubles (above and below) are part of the Collage range UK greetings, and there are lots of cards from the USA (Clintons is now part of American Greetings), as well as great value cards in the Simply Clinton range.

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11. Last minute gift...no shipping required!

Dear Friends,

The holidays can be so wonderful but I know that there are also those who struggle at this time of year with poor health or loneliness so I hope you will join me and remember to reach out to those in need not only at Christmastime but all year round.

For those of you that still have those last minute gifts to buy, I am offering gift cards for a limited time in my shop. These come in a number of different price variants to choose from. No shipping required on these because they come to your email box with a special code that can be used to purchase anything in the shop so even if it is the day before Christmas and you still haven't gotten a gift for that special someone, no worries...this gift is available as soon as you place the order and with Phyllis Harris Designs gift cards
, customers purchase gift cards the same way they purchase any other product. And unlike a gift certificate, the shopper can spread the gift card balance over multiple visits.

I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and healthy and Happy New Year! Thank you for making my year so successful and happy. I couldn't do what I do without ALL of you!


Gifts that give back
Phyllis Harris Designs & You – Giving the gift of love and healing
Every purchase of a heart-warming Phyllis Harris Designs illustration print donates 5 percent of every illustration print sold from our website to Children's Mercy Hospital.  

Be sure and follow my social media networks to keep up with all that is going on. Here are the links:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PhyllisHarrisDesigns
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PhyllisHarris
Instagram: http://instagram.com/phyllisharrisdesigns
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/phyllisha/

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12. Seventeenth day of Advent - Ruffed Grouse

Seventeenth day of Advent

One last bird from Woodland Christmas, the Ruffed Grouse with a nice Elizabethan ruff collar.

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13. Harts Pass No. 231

There is, of course, a biological argument to be made for hibernation, but winter IS pretty great. Wolverines don't worry about this at all, but a quick question, do south American animals hibernate on the same seasonal cycle? I suspect that they do, but I'm going find out for sure. And as my daughter reminds me each recent morning, "only single digit days 'til Christmas!"

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14. Moonbeam Gold Medal - literally!

I am not even believing what arrived in the mail Monday! An actual MEDAL - my Gold Moonbeam Children's Book Award MEDAL. It was forwarded to me along with a lovely free-trade bracelet, stickers to put on my books, and a note from fellow pickle, Audrey Litner – the one who came up with the great tag line for A BIRD ON WATER STREET: "When the birds return to Water Street, will anyone be left to hear them sing?"
     Never at a loss for words, she also included the lovely quote:

"La reconnaissance set la memoirs du coeur." by Jean Baptiste Massieu
     I think it translates into "Recognition is the heart of memories" or some such. Does anybody have a clearer translation? Audrey?
Answer! Marcy says it means "Gratitude is the memory of the heart!
     At any rate, as if I wasn't feeing special enough!
     Having never won a medal before, I had to wear it around the house. Let me tell you, that sucker is heavy and it kept hitting my tummy. ("Heavy medal" - Ha!) I don't know how the important people do it!! It certainly won't let you forget it's there. Wowsa - what a hoot!
     THANK YOU to my fellow pickles at Little Pickle Press!!!

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15. Happy Holidays!

I have been so swamped but there are still a couple more Romania posts to go. I will get to them soon. I am also doing a travelogue.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday! Here are some pictures from our trip to NYC to celebrate my mom's birthday. I got a bit of sketching in and this picture of Grand Central Station seemed to capture the spirit of the season.

Location shot!
Mom had her birthday dinner at the Breslin where we had a whole pig. It was amazing!
I cannot remember a time when the city was more crowded with tourists. The holiday season is the time to be in the city I guess.

We had a lot of wonderful food, drink and company.

Sketching at the Lucky Cat
Troy and I at the Rockefeller Center tree

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16. Live Like Disney/Pixar Chief Ed Catmull For Just $20 Million

Disney Animation and Pixar president Ed Catmull is listing one of his compounds in Kailua, Hawaii, just two years after building it.

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17. Disney at Christmas Part 1

Recently I mentioned that we spent Thanksgiving in Orlando and while there, we visited most of the Disney hotels to see how they decorated for Christmas. Here's a couple of photos that I took during that trip. I just love how they decorate!

Aren't their decorative soaps so cute?!!


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dowpostcard holiday feast kathy

Filed under: Uncategorized

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19. Selfie in graphite

I realize I posted quite a few grumpy selfies lately. To make up for it, here's one with some more effort and time - I totally enjoyed doing this.

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20. Moonbot Reveals Trailer for Annie-Nominated Short ‘The Raven’

Moonbot has released a trailer for its new short "The Raven."

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21. Clifford The Big Red Dog Creator Norman Bridwell, RIP

Norman Bridwell, creator of Clifford the Big Red Dog, died last Friday at the age of 86.

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22. Origami, Paper Sculpture, and More

Violet and Victor Write the Best-Ever Bookworm Book was released earlier this month, and in its honor, I made a video about creating the images. Prior to V&V, I used pen and ink and watercolor on paper for my illustrations—a style that I adore, but one that also comes with many limitations. V&V used a wide range of traditional and not-so-traditional media, all combined in Photoshop. With this new style, I had almost no limitations. It was both exhilarating and panic inducing, but mostly, it taught me to trust in the process; I spent months working on the individual bits and pieces that would eventually come together to make the images.

To learn more, please check out the (3-minute) video. As usual, I am indebted to my brother for his music.

Artist's statement from the book
"The illustrations in this book began with graphite pencil sketches on paper. Because this story is, in many ways, an homage to the printed page, we wanted to include a variety of books and library materials in the images. I've always loved a good scavenger hunt, and this one proved to be quite gratifying as I hunted down the building blocks for each spread—books with embossed covers, antique maps, and well-worn library cards to name a few. I learned origami, I painted over old book covers, and I made cut paper sculptures. I took photos of the three dimensional elements. I even wrangled my six year old daughter into doing some of the lettering. All of these ingredients were assembled in Adobe Photoshop to create the final illustrations." 

Finally, I leave you with the following news that made me (born in Canada) smile this week—V&V on the Canadian Indies Bestseller list. Happy Holidays!

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23. Free Fall Friday – Sad and Happy – Tummy Growling


These reindeers created by Christine Brallier are getting ready to take off on their Christmas Eve trip to help Santa deliver his gifts. It is from her children’s book, The Night Before Christmas.  The illustrations were created by Christine using stained glass mosaics. http://www.cbmosaics.com/book/

Creator of Clifford the Big Red Dog Norman Bridwell, 86, died last Friday at a hospital on Martha’s Vineyard. Scholastic says his over 150 titles have 129 million copies in print worldwide. Scholastic CEO Dick Robinson said, “Norman personified the values that we as parents and educators hope to communicate to our children – kindness, compassion, helpfulness, gratitude – through the Clifford stories which have been loved for more than fifty years.”

catchthecookie8b1a562c-48a0-4bfc-901c-64adfdf13395_zps49ace1cc Jama Kim Rattigan on her blog, Jama’s Alphabet Soup, featured H CATCH THAT COOKIE. I feature the book written by Hallie Drand (A.K.A Holly McGhee) and illustrated by David Small in August. You can click their names to view those posts. But Jama’s post are so much fun. She always ties books in with recipes.

I think I am going to try the recipe for the cookies in the post and show them off like she did with the book during Christmas.

Below is a list of the Ingredients, click the Directions at the bottom to jump back over to Jama’s blog to read the rest and see her fun display of her cookies and the book.


Total Time: Prep: 30 minutes + chilling. Bake: 10 minutes/batch + cooling.

Yield: 60 cookies


  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Vanilla frosting of your choice
  • Red and green paste food coloring


4_AB_ALetterto_ReinharzChildren’s writer Jennifer Reinharz reported a few months ago that she became a contributing writer at Mamalode. Her second article, A Letter to my Palestinian-American Muslim Friend has been posted. They track the number of unique views, likes, comments, and shares and they base her success on this, so if you get a chance take a minute to read her new article.

Jennifer says, “My path to Kidlit author has yet to be a straight line, but I can’t help but think that getting a chance to connect and share one of my stories with the Mommies, etc. is an example of heading right direction.”

This is a goods lesson for all of us. You just never know where your next success will come from and how one little thing can lead to another.

Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: inspiration, Kudos, News Tagged: Christine Brallier, Clifford the Big Red Dog, David Small, Hallie Durand, Jama's Alphabet Soup, Jennifer Reinharz, Norman Bridwell

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24. Dinotopia Episode 6

Today we continue with Episode Six of the serialized podcast of Dinotopia: A Land Apart from Time. To listen, click the orange play button below, or follow the link to the Soundcloud file.

Are there meateaters in Dinotopia? You bet! And in this episode we see what happens when you encounter them.

Arthur learns about the sabertooth cats that once lived in Waterfall City.

They outfit a convoy for a journey across the Rainy Basin, where tyrannosaurs present a constant threat.

And we witness Bix bravely face off against a T. rex.

The Podcast Series
This acoustic adventure was produced by Tom Lopez, mastermind of the ZBS Foundation, with an original music track by composer Tim Clark.

Episode 7 arrives in a week. Each short episode will only be live online for one week, and then it will disappear.

If you'd like to purchase the full two-hour Dinotopia podcast right now and hear all twelve episodes back to back in a feature-length production, check out Dinotopia at ZBS Foundation website for the MP3 download.
You can also order the original book from my web store and I'll sign it for you. It's the ultimate holiday gift for the imaginative person in your life. (Ships via Media Mail within 24 hours of your order, so it may or may not arrive in time for Christmas. US orders only for the book, please). The Dinotopia book is also available from Amazon.
There will be an exhibit of Dinotopia originals at the Stamford Museum and Nature Center in Connecticut from February 14 - May 25, 2015. I'll be giving an illustrated lecture there on Sunday, February 22.

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25. Tree decorations

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