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Viewing Blog: Art, Words, Life, Most Recent at Top
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I am a children's book author and illustrator who wishes there were more hours in the day to read the ever-growing piles of books in my house... I also create illustrated maps for magazines, publishers, and various other clients. That's my day job!
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1. Good News!




















CHARLES DARWIN'S AROUND-THE-WORLD ADVENTURE is on the 2017 list of Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12! The list is put out every year by the National Science Teachers Association in conjunction with The Children's Book Council, and it's an honor to be included with so many great books. Congratulations to all!

Here's the link to the full list: http://www.nsta.org/docs/2017OSTB.pdf

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2. Darwin on The Undies Case Cover Awards Shortlist




























Fun stuff... The Undies Case Cover Awards were created to honor the art of the cover beneath a book's dust jacket. Charles Darwin's Around-the-World Adventure is on the shortlist in the category of "Best Sneak Peek at the Setting!"

Many thanks to Carter Higgens and Travis Jonker-– the two awesome librarians who dreamed up this idea!

The ballots are open until Monday, November 28th at 5:00pm EST, and you can vote for your favorites here.

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3. Amazon's Best Children's Books of the Year

Great news... Charles Darwin's Around-the-World Adventure is on Amazon's list of Best Children's Books of the Year for 2016 in the Nonfiction category!





















(And, as always, it's available through your local independent bookseller!)

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4. Yet More Darwin at The Little Crooked Cottage
















Head on over to The Little Crooked Cottage for some more art and talk about the inspiration and process behind Charles Darwin's Around-the-World Adventure! (And check out the rest of the blog. Those ladies know how to rock the kids books!)

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5. Darwin And More on 7-Imp
















Julie Danielson has done a lovely roundup of art and early sketches from DARWIN and a few other cool picture books over at her blog, Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. Check it out! ♡

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6. And Then, This Happened!

















Link...

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7. Charles Darwin ~ Book Birthday!

























Charles Darwin's Around-the-World Adventure is officially out today!

I'm so thankful for friends, colleagues— and funny Darwin gifts— along this journey!

(I wonder what kind of cake Charles liked?) ♡

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8. Darwin ~ Publishers Weekly Review
















"Letting her background in map illustration shine, Thermes (Little Author in the Big Woods) follows the travels of Charles Darwin while concisely explaining the influence they had on his growing understanding of the interconnectedness of nature..."

Read the full review here...

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9. Great Kirkus Review for Darwin!




































I'm thrilled to share that Kirkus calls my forthcoming book, CHARLES DARWIN'S AROUND-THE-WORLD ADVENTURE, "A notable choice for both STEM curricula and family sharing." Thank you, Kirkus! (October will be here in no time!)

Read the full review here.

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10. Read A Book!


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11. Collide


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12. Messages


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13. Morning Sketch

























... and a quick color study.

Just keep drawing.

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14. Charles Darwin's Around-the-World Adventure ~ Advance Copy!

























An advance copy of my next book arrived yesterday, to my total surprise! I am absolutely thrilled with the way it turned out. (Hard to see in the photo, but there's a spot varnish on the butterflies, Charles, and the title. I totally wasn't expecting such a wonderful detail. The design geek in me is very, very happy!)

I'm feeling truly fortunate and thankful to be working with such an amazing Editor, Art Director, and the whole team at Abrams!

The book will be out in October... stay tuned for some behind-the-scenes book posts in the weeks leading up to release!

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15. My Website Got a Facelift...



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16. Illustration and Poetry (With Cats!)

"Love is the mystery of water and a star." –Pablo Neruda 

April is National Poetry Month. Below is a new piece of art inspired by this
snippet of a poem, step-by-step, working backwards. Enjoy!

After much fussing over details... the final art!

















Building up the color.




















Another view from the drawing table.
























First pencil layer.



















Rough color thoughts and a few tweaks on a printout of the sketch.


















The original pencil sketch.


















Sketchbook thumbnails. (No wonder I can't read my own handwriting!)
















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17. A Mappish Show-and-Tell Process Post

I was recently commissioned to do a few maps for an upcoming book* due out later this year. A few people asked to see the final art after I posted some work-in-progress details over on Instagram, so here it is, along with some process show-and-tell.

Since I'm usually asked to illustrate places that exist in reality, this project was super interesting, because these were more fantasy-based maps.

In this case, the art director sent over detailed notes about the story, along with a rough sketch of how the author visualized the world in her head. This was all extremely helpful, and gave me a great starting point, yet still left a lot of creative freedom...


























Below is the first sketch sent to the publisher. (I swear I had some tiny rough thumbnails, but they were lost in the flurry-of-paper that is my studio.)...

























Close up inking details and adding a tone wash...



























Coffee meditation break. (No worries! None was spilled! Don't try this at home, kids!!)...






















And voilá, one of the finished pieces...






































*The book is called THORNGHOST (Dial 2016), by Tone Almhjell, coming in August. Check it out!

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18. Happy Birthday, Charles Darwin!

























"... There are several other sources of enjoyment in a long voyage... the map of the world ceases to be a blank; it becomes a picture full of the most varied and animated pictures." –from THE VOYAGE OF THE BEAGLE

Charles Darwin was born 207 years ago today, on February 12, 1809. Today is also Darwin Day– a celebration of Darwin's life and amazing contributions to the world of science. Cake for everyone!

*Art detail from CHARLES DARWIN'S AROUND-THE-WORLD ADVENTURE (Abrams 2016), coming in October!

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19. #TBT in B&W






































Maggie meets her grandmother, and Oliver gets a scolding. (From MAGGIE & OLIVER OR A BONE OF ONE'S OWN.)

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20. New Map ~ After the Ashes

























I love getting snail mail, especially when it's a shiny new book with a map that I worked on earlier this year!

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21. Monday Map ~ Laura Ingalls Wilder



From LITTLE AUTHOR IN THE BIG WOODS, A BIOGRAPHY OF LAURA INGALLS WILDER.

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22. Sketchy Squares

Sometimes in the middle of a deadline, along with the joy of making art for a book that you are completely over-the-top excited about*, there's an urge to break out and try something new.

A few months ago I cracked open a sketchbook, new ink, a tiny set of travel paints, and a bunch of watercolor pencils I'd been meaning to play with for a long time. The goal was only to make small, quick drawings of whatever was floating around in my head at the time, and to keep it loose. (Must squash that perfectionist beast that makes you tighten up and question every mark on the page!) Each is only about 3" square.

This exercise has turned into relaxing little breaks that fit in the crevices of my day between other projects. Also, it's FUN! You might want to try it sometime.

Here are some of the drawings. I also post them over on Instagram...




































*The book is CHARLES DARWIN'S AROUND-THE-WORLD ADVENTURE (Abrams, 2016), coming out in October! Woohoo! (More about this, soon!)

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23. Publishers Weekly Fall 2016 Children's Sneak Previews!

A is for Abrams! (Also, "Awesome!" And "Aw yeah!")


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24. Dept. of Fun Stuff: Miss Marple's Musings

I've been interviewed by the lovely Joanna Marple over at her blog, Miss Marple's Musings. Check it out!

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25. New Map ~ The Turn of the Tide

























It's always fun to get copies of a new book with a map I've worked on inside.
This is from THE TURN OF THE TIDE, by Rosanne Parry (Random House BYR, 2016).

Yay!

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