Monday, September 21, 2015


  It's the time of year to watch the monarchs on their journeys. Unfortunately we see less because their numbers are dwindling and it's a dire situation. This  illustration was created for Ranger Rick a few months ago to accompany an article on monarch-friendly plants. Here are a few links to provide information for your kids to help save the monarchs, by adopting a monarch or growing a butterfly garden.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Penguins and Pancakes

    Continuing on my current theme of premature winter images, I illustrated this Reader Riddles for Ranger Rick magazine. (Alliteration accidental).  They are a  great award-winning magazine for kids of all ages who love animals published by the National Wildlife Federation.  I learn so much myself with each issue. And this time I learned something while researching for the art. Did you know penguins are only found in the Antarctic, and polar bears are only found in the Arctic?  They can never hang out together. I also  learned I could get very hungry for pancakes.
  The lettering is by Jim Paillot.
  This is for their December issue, but it could also provide inspiration on one of the hottest nights of the summer, like tonight.  I 'll take my pancakes cold, thank you, with a scoop of vanilla ice.


Monday, August 31, 2015

On with the Snow!


 Snow comes very early here. But that's a normal climate change in Illustrationville. Last week it was really good packing snow. I was fortunate again to illustrate a cover for Hal Leonard's music students' magazine. For this piece I used traditional media: pastels and colored pencil on mi-tientes paper, with only a small bit of photoshop for cleaning and color adjustments. White pastel works well to capture the effect of snow as long one is lucky in choosing the color of the paper.  I have a drawer full of unused and partially used pastel paper and often go through it several times, testing the pastels on small swatches before settling on a color. The title was hand lettered on a separate layer. The sketch took part of a day, the finished art another day (and some of the night).  "There's no business like snow business....."



Monday, August 24, 2015

The Secret Files of a Presidential Illustration Liaison

What??!! OH NO!!!

  Rarely have I fallen behind in my blogging this long! The time lapse is due to lots of work.   
This summer was largely devoted to illustrating a reader for Penguin Random House.  I had some other projects during that time which I have yet to post as well, so I'll be hoping to catch up on some blogging this week. 

   I had previously illustrated two others books for this publisher featuring the same characters for their Step into Reading imprint. 
This book, How NOT to run for Class President, is for kids who can read paragraphs.  It will be released next spring. 
   A brief synopsis: 
  Will is reluctantly running for class president against his more qualified classmate Chelsea.  He is unexpectedly embarrassed by the enthusiastic but unsolicited campaign advice of  Steve, his younger brother, who enlists the grass-roots support of his kindergarten friends.  Hijinks and mayhem ensue, pets invade, and ultimately Chelsea wins. Will learns some lessons in the process yet Steve remains irrepressible. 

  Despite the chaos, I am confident that all of these characters, including the animals, are more qualified than some of the current candidates for president of this country (which will remain unnamed) .

  Here are some of my favorites from the 29 illustrations.


 "Why don't you run, Will?"

Chelsea is  running on a platform of reading to the kindergarteners.

Will thinks that's a bad idea.

Professional campaign posters, courtesy of Steve.

  Steve promises: " If you vote for Will, you can bring your pets to school!"


Principal Smiley fails at crowd control.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Follow your Smart Little Nose

  I almost forgot to post this cover illustration from a few months back. There's often a lag between the time I create the work and get a sample of the printed piece.  Sometimes it's like a surprise in the mail. It's so nice to get a physical sample of the work; especially when there are real mazes inside.. lots of them! Everyone wants  to wander around and try to find their way back home sometimes.  I want to be the prairie dog with the hot tub. I want to be him really, really bad. You have no idea how much.  I also want a baby grand, and I'd like more time to read. I guess I've given these dogs the chance to live the life I've always wanted.  They'll have to work for it, but they'll thank me someday.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Chaos Revisited

   It's like going back in time! I get to illustrate another reader for Random House featuring this kinder-terrorist and his mortified, long-suffering third grade brother. This was one of two that I illustrated around 8 years ago. They're picking up the crazy thread again. This time around it will be "How NOT to Run for Class President".  Elections are messy things by nature.
 I'm pleased to say the incumbent is a girl and (spoiler alert) wins the election. Of course.
 Here's a sampling of illustrations from the last book. It's available here.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Table for Two

Fancy clothes and high class establishments with cheese tables. That's what mice deserve. 
A recently completed spot for a cracker recipe page in High Five magazine. 
 Watercolor, pastel, colored pencil and photoshop. Kelley Cunningham, art director.