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Viewing Blog: Creative Whimsies, Most Recent at Top
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A Blog by Illustrator Laura Zarrin
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1. Fall Postcards 2014


It's postcard time again. I try to send them out 4-5 times a year, but was a little behind due to some big projects over the summer.

For this postcard, I took a story I'm working on and developed the character and this scene to showcase.


Here's the back.


I sent them off last week with a wish and a prayer:

"Goodbye my lovelies. Bring me great work with great people and great money :) Mwah! "




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2. Chicken Witches



Chickens really can fly, you know.

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3. Inktober Day 2, 3, 4


I've gotten a little behind with #Inktober, but that's ok. I'm doing it for fun, so no harm. 
Last night I had so many ideas! I love it when that happens.


I have a spiffy new sketchbook from my birthday that I'm using. (Thank you Tracy!)



My St. Louis is showing. Go Cards!


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4. Meeting Miss Molly and Miss Kelly


Me and Kelly Light

Me and Molly Idle

I have some great friends I've never met. Let me clarify, I've never met them in person. We Skype, Hangout, text, tweet, & message, but have never met face to face. This year has been great for finally meeting some of them in real life. The wonderful thing is, the online friendships flow right into real life seamlessly. I feel like I've known, really known, some of these friends for ages. We just click. I feel so lucky!

Tracy Bishop, Sue Rankin-Pollard, Joy Steuerwald, Me, Kelly Light

I also want to thank Hicklebees for bringing some of these friends to my area so we can spend time together. They've been acting as my social secretary this year.

I also got to meet Mary Engelbreit this summer. You can read about it here.

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5. A Sketchy Catch Up Post

If you're not following me on Instagram, you might have missed a few things.

First of all, I've decided to participate in Inktober, a daily challenge for the month of October. I've got some crazy deadlines, so I'm not sure I'll manage it each day, but I'll try.
Day 1: Meet Zelda P. Bird modeling her best cape and hat.

I really love all things Halloween, so my sketching has been centered around that.
Nibbles has a wicked sense of humor which Stubby does not appreciate.



Dance like there's no one watching.



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6. Goodbye September

I'm really looking forward to Fall. It's not here yet, weather wise, but I'm ready. I can't wait for pumpkins, colorful leaves, crisp air, and what I hope will be a very wet winter in this dried out state of mine. 

Happy Fall!

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7. Lenny's Baby picture


Sometimes a character shows up with his own story to tell. Lenny must have one, because he won't leave me alone. I think he just loves to share.

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8. Lenny the Collector

I've had this slightly twisted idea in my head for a week, so I decided to sketch it up. This is what deadlines do to me, apparently.

This is Lenny the Fly. He collects things. Lots of things. He's very excited to show you his new Human Collection. He is especially pleased with his most recent addition, The Plumber, complete with plumbers crack. You're welcome ;-)


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9. My latest Highlights Hidden Picture

Just popping into to show you my latest illustration in Highlights Hidden Pictures book.



It's in this issue with art by two of my favorite artists 
Priscilla Burris and Laura Huliska-Beith! Go check it out :)


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10. How I met Mary Engelbreit

I just got back from a wonderful vacation to my home town of St. Louis, Mo. It's my favorite vacation spot and the only one where I can completely relax. My kids love it and my husband gets to play golf on the cheap. Reconnecting with my cousins, aunts, uncles is the best part and why I keep coming back.

This year was even more special because I got to meet Mary Engelbreit!



Did you hear that?

THE MARY ENGELBREIT!!!!

I can't begin to tell you how excited I was. She's been an inspiration to me for so, so long, as well as being really kind and supportive to me on Instagram (how is this even possible?).

I've really wanted to meet her, so I used my 20 seconds of insane courage and asked if I could come by the studio and meet her while I was in town. Not only did she say yes, but she invited me to lunch.

LUNCH? With Mary Engelbreit? Um…YES!

Anyway, it was wonderful. I love her studio and the neighborhood it's in. Her staff is the best! Lunch was loads of fun. We talked and talked like two old friends. I felt like I'd known her forever. I got some career advice and I think I've gained a new friend. Thank you Mary!

Make sure to like her page on Facebook and follow her on Instagram. She shows lots of work in progress and sneak peaks of upcoming products that I'm sure you'll enjoy! She has something fun coming up that I'm not sure I can talk about yet, but I'll keep you posted.


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11. Summertime, summertime

This summer I've been writing, sketching, painting, playing, and learning.










And I've been attending Nerdy Chicks Rule Summer School 2014, Building Character. You can check it out here. This online class is chock full of goodness and it's FREE! Kami Kinard and Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen have put together a talented faculty and I'm learning so much. Thanks, Ladies :)

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12. Some ideas come fully formed and some show up on the fly

I get a lot of ideas while I'm doing something else. Most come while I'm on a deadline, of course. This painting came to me in the shower fully formed with the caption already written.



Text reads: Once there was a girl who made a wish.

It took a couple of tries to get the girl right.

Close up of the moon. I used old books in English, Italian, Japanese, and Latin.

Now this one came as an idea about collaging fish scales, but a friend thought it was a mermaid. 
I rotated the canvass and decided she was right!


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13. Painting, collaging, gardening, and sketching

I had a lot of deadlines lately, so I haven't been able to show many sketches of late. I'm also busy writing, which doesn't make for pretty pictures either. Sorry :) Here's my little dog friend as a consolation prize.



To recover my mojo, I signed up for an online painting class by Mati Rose McDonough. It's been so fun and the perfect excuse to just play. Here's one of the paintings I've been working on this week.


Small detail of a work in progress.

And here's some pics from my garden. Happy summer!



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14. The Worm

I'm sure you've all seen someone do The Worm, but have you ever wondered how worms really dance? I have solved the mystery.




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15. Spring!

Busy with lots of lovely deadlines right now. Can't wait to show you what I'm working on, but it will have to wait. Here's a quick little sketch to hold you over. Happy Spring!

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16. Sometimes you just have to dance


This piece was a doozy to work on, but I'm really happy with the result. I'll share details on SimplyMessingAbout.com soon.

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17. A girl and her pig


A new sketch of a girl and her pig.

And here she is in color. Pencil sketch colorized in Photoshop.


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18. Sweaters for Penguins in color

I just added this to my portfolio. I really loved the idea of penguins in sweaters!


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19. Olympic Sketching




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20. Horse in gouache


I got this little lady painted up over the weekend. I'm really enjoying my new gouache paints.

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21. The year of the horse


A bit of silliness to celebrate the year of the horse.

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22. Pizza Making Gone Wrong


 The Superbowl wasn't much of a game yesterday. Luckily, these three had their own festivities to entertain themselves with.

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23. Sketching bits

Sorry to be so quiet, but I've been working on some things I can't share right now. It's so difficult not to share! Here are some random bits out of my sketchbook.



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24. Procrastipainting


A quick little gouache painting.

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25. Sweaters for Penguins


The internet is all abuzz about knitting sweaters for penguins. Snopes.com first said it wasn't true, but now they're showing uncertainty. As a children's book illustrator, I can just use the story as a jumping off point for a sketch. Lucky me. What could be cuter than penguins in sweaters?

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