“Glorious, stirring sight! The poetry of motion! The real way to travel! The only way to travel! Here today–in next week tomorrow! Villages skipped, towns and cities jumped–always somebody else’s horizon! O bliss! O poop-poop! O my! O my!”
– Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows
It seems that those who hire love the speed of digital rendering, but want the look of traditional work. So, in an ever continuing effort to make my digital look more traditional, I’ve been working on some new techniques. I’ve been leaving in the pencil lines, and in fact, adding a lot more of it…..more detail and hatching before coloring them in Photoshop. I also use Kyle T Webster brushes. They’re fantastic! I highly recommend them!
I like the look. You can see the person behind it. This will be my winter promotional postcard.
“Dear Mrs. Doubtfire,
Two months ago, my mom and dad decided to separate. Now they live in different houses. My brother Andrew says that we aren’t to be a family anymore. Is this true? Did I lose my family? Is there anything I can do to get my parents back together? Sincerely, Katie McCormick.”
Oh, my dear Katie. You know, some parents, when they’re angry, they get along much better when they don’t live together. They don’t fight all the time, and they can become better people, and much better mummies and daddies for you. And sometimes they get back together. And sometimes they don’t, dear. And if they don’t, don’t blame yourself. Just because they don’t love each other anymore, doesn’t mean that they don’t love you. There are all sorts of different families, Katie. Some families have one mommy, some families have one daddy, or two families. And some children live with their uncle or aunt. Some live with their grandparents, and some children live with foster parents. And some live in separate homes, in separate neighborhoods, in different areas of the country – and they may not see each other for days, or weeks, months… even years at a time. But if there’s love, dear… those are the ties that bind, and you’ll have a family in your heart, forever. All my love to you, poppet, you’re going to be all right… bye-bye. ~Mrs. Dountfire
Remembering Robin Williams.
This is my entry for the Tomie de paola Award contest. This year we were to develop a character through a series of panels to show character development. Mine is more of a storyline, I guess. It was fun creating it though.
Good luck to the ten finalists who are moving on to the next round. Especially our Houston illustrator, Cheryl Pilgrim. Loved her entry… so clever!
How strange that Nature does not knock, and yet does not intrude! ~ Emily Dickinson
I’ve been working on a Halloween book for Pelican Publishing so I’ve been a little absent from the blog. I just popped in to say hello! Hello!
Long time no see!
Actually… I’ve been busy working on a new Halloween book that will be released in 2015.
But Sometimes you just have to stop and say hello to old friends.
Like Fairy Mary here. She’s one that has gone through several designs.
Where liberty dwells, there is my country. ~Benjamin Franklin
Happy 4th of July!
The Swamp Where Gator Hides written by Marianne Berkes and illustrated by me, Roberta Baird is now an app!! Click here to download it at 20% off! Dawn Publications Book App
Preview it now!
Saturday, April 27 I attended the Houston SCBWI annual conference.
I started out early. Houston is a pretty big city and it takes a while to get across town.
Our keynote speaker was Gary D. Schmidt, the author of the Newberry Award winning book, The Wednesday Wars, and many other wonderful books. His talk was brilliant and his depth of feeling was so inspiring. “Our stories are complicated ones…they are never one dimensional.” His bio reads, ” He lives with his family on a 150-year-old farm in Alto, Michigan, where he splits wood, plants gardens, writes, and feeds the wild cats that drop by.” I know… pretty cool all around guy, right!
Next….”Qualities of a writer: humility, good humor, grace, patience and gratitude” says Stephen Fraser, literary agent with the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency. That’s good advice you can apply to all aspects of life!
He’s been voted the top agent for both picture books and Middle grade fiction. …and he rocked and awesome bow tie!
Other speakers included Kendra Levin, Senior Editor at Viking Books, “Don’t save anything for the next book, you may get hit by a bus tomorrow” Lol!
Julie Ham, spoke about The Elements of Award Winning Non-fiction.
Jim Hoover, Associate Art Director at Viking books, walked us through the process of making picture books and how the direction of a book can change. Then he lead a very informative illustrator break out session about what makes a good promotional postcard. The following morning he presented a story boarding workshop.
What a fun guy, great personality, and he dances too!
These are some of the postcards I picked up at the conference.
But the best part about the conference…and something I didn’t see coming at all … I was the 2014 Grand Prize winner of the illustrator showcase!! So thank you Jim Hoover, I’m so grateful! And thank you to the SCBWI conference staff, it was one of the best!
For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver. ~Martin Luther
Strawberry fields …. forever.
Under the algae that carpets the swamp, near the duck who paddles in ooze, close to the turtle who takes a snooze . . . hides a gator! Still as a log, only his watchful eyes can be seen. But when gator moves, he really moves! What happens to the duck, the turtle, the egret, the deer, and the many other critters of the swamp when gator makes his move!
A great time was had with the kids at The Lighthouse! We learned about the plants and the animals that inhabit the Everglades and studied the layers of swamp water that enables gators and other animals the ability to hide. What a great time we had!
“Here’s a fun tale that introduces young readers to concepts of camouflage and predator-prey interactions. And kids will love searching for the hidden alligator in the beautiful illustrations.”
–Annie Oxarart, Board Member, League of Environmental Educators in Florida Available HERE
Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!
Once a year the eyes of the nation turn to this tiny hamlet in western Pennsylvania, to watch a master at work. The master, Punxsutawney Phil, the world’s most famous weatherman, the groundhog. Who, as legend has it, can predict the coming of an early spring. So I guess the question we have to ask ourselves today is, does Phil feel lucky?
~Ground Hog Day
The spider’s touch, how exquisitely fine!
Feels at each thread, and lives along the line.
The Great Gitana will tell your Yuletide fortune for but a few shillings.
He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree. ~Roy L. Smith
“A sneeze is a breeze in your nose.”
This is my everty for the Tomie de Paola award entry.
The door bell rings. The dogs of course, bark incessantly, as I make my way to the door. Hmmm….I’m not expecting any packages, and yet she hands me a box, a padded manila envelope and a few ads or bills or…. whatever. But inside the box was an assortment products from The Legend of Ranger the Reindeer Who Couldn’t Fly book that I completed this year. What a joy to see how much this project has grown!
To purchase these Ranger goodies just click on the link.So…If that wasn’t enough, I also received a preview of the other book I illustrated this year. The Swamp Where Gator Hides written by Marianne Berkes. This one is available for pre order on Amazon.
I ‘m so very thankful to be able to work in the children’s book market. It’s been my passion for as long as I can remember.
Today, Christmas came early!
A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.
The Great Gitana… in color.
I’m learning to live with the lines and imperfections in an illustration, and trying some new techniques. There’s always something to learn.
There is a young cowboy, he lives on the range,
His horse and his cattle are his only companions.
He works in the saddle and sleeps in the canyons,
Waiting for summer, his pastures to change.
~ James Taylor
I’ve been experimenting with technique, texture and palette lately. This feller came out of my experimenting…. and who doesn’t love a cowboy! :)