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This is the place for news, illustration friday and other miscellaneous stuff.
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1. iPad Warm-up Painting

This is my cat, Flubby.  He doesn't move for days at a time.  That is, unless, I'm trying to paint him.

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2. Amazon Bestseller List

I made it to the Amazon bestseller list for Children's Literature & Fiction today!  There I am! I'm right there WAY down at the bottom, right after Dr. Seuss.  I took a screen shot before it disappeared. :)

"May I Please Have a Cookie?" is also the number one best seller in Children's Books (hyphen)  Animals (hyphen) Alligators & Crocodiles AND number one in Children's Books (hyphen) Growing Up & Facts of Life (hyphen) Friends, Social Skills & School Life (hyphen) Manners

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3. Painting on the iPad

This morning's warm up on the iPad.

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4. Painting on the iPad

Today's warm-up done with #procreateapp on the iPad. The view out my window, snow and all! I'm not too smooth painting with the iPad yet, but I hope I'll get used to it eventually.

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5. Cardinal #6 with Video

I felt like I had to do at least one more cardinal.  And since yesterday's cardinal was biking, I thought we should go old-school and have a cardinal flying today. I think this guy is enjoying the last of the warm weather before the snow moved in tomorrow. :(

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6. Cardinal #5

What better warm up for a Monday morning than drawing a bird on a bicycle?

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7. Steve and Wessley - Kid Art

I gave a copy of my latest book, "The Ice Cream Shop: A Steve and Wessley Reader" to the first grade boy that lives on my street.  He sent me a lovely letter saying he and his sister both love the book, plus he made me this awesome plaque.  I think it's so adorable, I'm going to hang it up in my studio this weekend.

Here's a page from the book.  I don't know why but all of my stories seem to revolve around food. 

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8. Cardinal #4

Today's cardinal is a sketch from life.  Well actually it's not from "life" because the bird was a dead. This is from a trip today to the Harvard Museum of Natural History where I went on a drawing field trip with some awesome kit lit peeps; Samantha Grenier, Eloise Narrigan, Jason Hart and Marcela Staudenmaier. Thanks everyone for a lovely day! 

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9. Cardinal #3

Today's cardinal is taking advantage of his natural Mohawk.  Sorry, I didn't have time to do a video today.

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10. Drawing Video - Cardinal #2

Ok so I've made a couple of improvements over yesterday's video attempt.  For one thing, I cleaned the grunge off the camera lens!

I thought I'd stick with cardinals for a little while longer and see what sorts of characters start to develop.  This guy is much more happy-go-lucky than the guy yesterday.

I was also able to get the screen recorder to behave itself today.  So I was able to show the Photoshop piece.

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11. Drawing Video - Cardinal

I love watching other people draw.  So this morning I've been playing around with the camera and trying to video tape myself drawing.  Here's a little bird that I did just for the fun on it.  (I also need to consciously start doing a warmup drawing every morning to get myself going.)

I scanned in the drawing and colored it in Photoshop which I wanted to include in the video but, alas, the video capture software I was using refused to cooperate. Grrr!

There are definitely some things I'll do differently next time.  For one things, I'll use a darker pencil. And I'll make sure to clean the camera lens!  But I hope you find it interesting.

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12. Speed Painting a Cartoon Opossum in Photoshop

I created a little speed painting demo of Steve, one of the main characters from my new easy reader book, The Ice Cream Shop.  Hope you like it.

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13. Tomie dePaola Award Entry

I did an entry for the Tomie dePaola award this year.  This year's challenge was to illustrate the following poem for a baby/toddler book....
A sneeze
Is a breeze

My challenge to myself was to illustrate the various stages of a toddler's sneeze.

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14. Tips for Drawing Child Characters

I think we've all seen illustration where the children or babies look like miniature adults? Of course sometimes, like in this medieval painting, that can be a stylistic choice but other times it can just look downright creepy.

I have definitely had times where I have had characters look 10 when they needed to be look 5.  Sometimes it can be hard to figure out why a character looks the wrong age and even harder to fix it.  Here are some pointers and things to keep in mind when changing the age of your child characters.

First of all, you need to consider the size of the face.  Look at photos of babies or, even better, draw babies from life (you'd better be quick - they are squirmy little suckers!)  But you will soon notice, that compared to adults, their chins and noses are quite small.

So, one of the easiest things you can do is move the face lower on the head.  Even a smiley face can look younger when you shift the eyes down and make the chin and mouth smaller.

The smaller you make the chin, the pudgier the cheeks will appear. If you look at the profile of a real baby sometimes you can't see their mouth or chin because their cheeks are so round.

Another thing you can do to make your characters younger is change the size of the head compared to the body.  A real adult is approximately 7 1/2 heads tall, a real 5 year old is about 6 heads tall and a real infant is about 4 heads tall, but depending on your drawing style those proportions might not look right.  When I draw kindergartners they are usually about 4 heads tall, the same proportions as a real life infant!

In the above diagram, all the figures have the same head placed on the same body.  The body is just smaller each time (I also made the neck a little shorter each time.)  By the 3rd figure, the body was getting too narrow, so I widened it a bit. But you can see by just changing the head/body proportions you can go a long way to changing the age of a character.

When you pair that with the facial changes discussed above, you can really alter the age of characters. I hope this helps.

Good luck and happy drawing!

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15. A Gluten-Free Birthday For Me - Website

There is now a companion website for the new picture book, A Gluten-Free Birthday for Me! written by Sue Fliess and illustrated by me. Check it out for free downloadable coloring and activity pages, gluten-free resources, and information about author appearances and other events.

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16. Art at the Library - Progression

My gazebo image moved along a lot quicker than I expected today.  This is the piece I'm submitting to the "Art at the Library" show at the Lunenburg MA public library.

Here it is with the colors roughly blocked in...

And here is the final image.  This is the gazebo in the center of Lunenburg, they host band concerts there on Monday nights during the summer.

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17. Art at the Library Show - Piece Progression #1

Starting my piece for the "Art at the Library" show at the Lunenburg public library. This is the first time I've ever submitted a juried show.  I've only exhibited in 2 other shows (not counting high school!) I was pleased that they were receptive to having digitally painted art.

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18. A Gluten-Free Birthday for Me! Trailer

A Gluten-Free Birthday for Me! is officially out as of today!

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19. The Lion Tamer

More stuff I did just because.

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20. First Day Jitters

The first day of school is always a little scary, especially if it's a new school.

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21. Illustration Friday - Rescue

I'm using this image for rescue because this is a portrait of a little kitty named Beverly that it at the rescue shelter right now waiting for a home.  I'd take her home myself but she doesn't get along with other cats.  I just love the expression on her face.

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22. Drawing From Life

It's a little hard to drag the Cintiq around to paint things so I sometimes end up doing little warm-up paintings of stuff that is laying around on my desk. This is a portrait of one of my Breyer horse that I've had since I was a kid. 

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23. A Gluten-Free Birthday for Me! is now available!

Having dietary restrictions are never fun and it can be especially hard for children.  Which is why I'm so excited about this new book. A Gluten-Free Birthday for Me! is written by Sue Fleiss, illustrated by yours truly and published by Albert Whitman & Company.  The book deals specifically with gluten intolerance but will resonate with anyone that has an allergy or food intolerance.  It's currently available for order from most online book sellers including IndieBound.org, Amazon and Barnes and Noble

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24. Illustration Friday - Fresh

Fresh breeze, fresh flowers, fresh faces...

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25. iPad and Procreate for sketching

Been trying to do some sketching with my iPad this summer. So far I've found it pretty useless to use outside in the sun as you can imagine. I may experiment with making some sort of hood for the thing.  But I really like it for sketching in the evening where using regular paints really would be difficult. I've downloaded a bunch of different apps and have been bouncing back and forth between then but so far my fav is Procreate.  I also am really liking the nomad brush stylus when I sketch. I just can't just used to using my finger to draw and the rubber tipped stylus is OK but it tend to grab onto the glass.  I like the fluidity of the brush better.

It's also fun to take on a long car trip. Just make sure someone else is driving!  These were done on the highway some where near Albany, NY.  I get car sick if I try to read in the car but luckily doodling doesn't bother me.

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