Monday, October 20, 2014

#inktober Day 18: Dancing

Dance like nobody's watching. But what if they are?

Saturday, October 18, 2014

#inktober Day 17: Spooky

As a kid, nothing creeped me out more than my Grandparent's basement. I knew at the time it was just my imagination but that didn't seem to stop me from freaking out! lol

#inktober Day 16: Elf

Monday, October 13, 2014

#inktober Day 11: scratch

#inktober Day 10: balancing act

#inktober Day 9: Cranky Mammoth

2014 MN SCBWI Annual Conference

Lisa Yee
Emily Clement and Kelly Light

Carter Hasegawa

Bruce Hale
Candice Keimig and Grace Hansen

We had a great conference this past weekend with great speakers and lots of great information about writing and illustrating children's books.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

#inktober Day 6: Monster Mash

"They played the mash,
it caught on in a flash

They played the mash,
they played the monster mash..."

–Bobby Pickett

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

#inktober Day 5: Multitasking

I enjoy taking on lots of different tasks. I volunteer for SCBWI, illustrate, and write for children's books. Our 2014 MN SCBWI Annual Conference is this weekend and I am looking forward to meeting and hearing some great industry professionals talk about all things KidLit!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

2014 LA SCBWI Conference

Soon I will be heading to the 2014 SCBWI Conference in LA #LA14SCBWI to toot my own horn. It will be fun to see all your familiar faces and meet new ones. I enjoy to learn and grow as an author/illustrator. See you there!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Southwest Salsa

     I grew up in WI, and since about the time I was five,  my parents would pile the three kids, the slobbering dog, and our belongings and drive like mad in our rattletrap car down to Tucson, AZ during spring break. My Grandparents were snowbirds down there and we took the opportunity to escape (if only briefly) from the grips of the Wisconsin winter.
     We somehow managed to weave around snowstorms, rain, tornados and dust storms on our journey to the southwest.

     Despite the challenges, it's worth it considering what we were escaping from. Back in Wisconsin–still in the dead of winter, the senses are not satisfied. Trees lie dormant, flowers and shrubs are covered in a thick blanket of snow. When it's really cold even the birds and critters that remain become dormant too. There is no sound or smell outside for weeks. By spring, the persistent cold has kept the snow around for months–everything looks drab and dirty. The dim winter sun is just starting to wake up again.

     By the time we make it to Arizona our mouths are salivating for salsa, our eyes squint in the southwest sun, our nostrils drink the fragrance of sage bush from the air, and our ears fill with the sounds of local birds and creatures. The change to the southwest climate is a blast to the senses. And this is why we come back again and again.

Monday, March 10, 2014

5. Baba Yaga

Vasilisa gets moved to the front. I also gave Baba Yaga a more sinister left hand that is conjuring her shadow to go after Vasilisa.

I tinkered with the shadows for this piece to heighten the tension between the opposing characters. The white triangle of snow in the foreground points at Vasilisa. While the dark shadow cast by the house on chicken legs makes an arrow pointing towards Baba Yaga.

 Read the previous posts about the back story of how Baba Yaga and Vasilisa meet.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

4. Baba Yaga

Part Four in the series Baba Yaga. Scroll down to read more about this illustration.

Baba Yaga is different than the usual witch. She flies around in a mortar and swings the pestle behind her to cover her tracks. Are you sure you want to visit her?

3. Baba Yaga: Vasilisa the fair

Part Three in the series Baba Yaga. Scroll down to read more about this illustration.

Vasilisa the fair is a bit like Cinderella as she has the misfortune of having an evil stepmother. Despised for her natural beauty Vasilisa is sent out into the deep dark forest by her Stepmother to visit Baba Yaga. Although she is clever and brave she is apprehensive to face such a menacing creature.

2. Vasilisa finds Baba Yaga

Being that this tale's origins are from northern Russia and Finland, I thought it fitting to use the dim light of winter to depict the eeriness of the dark forbidding forest. The hut where Baba Yaga resides stands on chicken legs.

Vasilisa the fair has been brave enough to make it this far on her quest, but now seeks refuge behind the tree while she gathers her courage to face the Baba Yaga.

1. Vasilisa finds Baba Yaga

I've had an idea for awhile to explore the traditional Russian folktale, Baba Yaga. In this scene, Vasilisa the fair has come to find Baba Yaga in order to get some help. But Baba Yaga is a tricky witch and decides the fate of those who visit her. Depending on what you do and say in her presence you will either live or be eaten.

Once it is finished, I will assemble the three paintings into one.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


As Valentine's Day approaches why not post about my happy place. I suppose it's not a huge secret–but I am in love with children's books.

Here is this week's reading list. In addition to reading these books, I've added a few more:




Happy reading!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Road Trip!

I love getting feedback about my work from like-minded peers and my critique groups. I am in more than one, because it helps me grow as a children's book writer /illustrator. I know the creative process comes with lots of ups and downs, so why take the journey to publication alone? Last fall, I took a road trip with one of my groups to the 2013 IOWA-SCBWI Conference in Des Moines, IA.

We had a blast! The night before, we kept it nerdy by writing and rehearsing our one-line elevator pitch synopsis in our motel room in preparation for the "Finding Your Voice" event led by Michelle Poploff, Vice President and Executive Director of Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers. At the event, names were drawn from a hat (I was one of them) for participants to read the first page of their manuscript. 

Honestly, if it weren't for the encouragement of the three incredible gals I critique with, I would have not been as confident to deliver my synopsis and read aloud my picture book. The crowd loved the humor and the pacing of my story. Michelle Poploff reviewed everyone's first pages and even had nice to things to say about my story. I was ecstatic! I am so grateful for this experience. Thank you, Marlys, Elise, Louise, Michelle Poploff and SCBWI.