Words to Live By

Putting crayons in the dryer is an ineffective way of dying fabrics.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

What's Up Wednesday October 29

I wanted to have a battle plan for my blog today. I ended up really sick Monday, and feeling not so great the past couple of days either. I didn't get a chance to get things figured out. I've talked to some Writers and Illustrators who have agreed to interviews. I've also talked to Kate Tilton (@K8Tilton on Twitter) about some possible book people I can talk about. 

I haven't started reading it yet, but I just picked up the first issue of Bone!

I have inked 3 final illustrations for my picture book. I will go right into colouring them tomorrow. I wont finish them, but I hope to get quite far. I'm also hoping there will be some time to do some plotting for a second dummy.

Every Day Possible
Working on finished artwork and new dummy work.

Wed 10/29 
What's Up Wednesday Post. Done!

Thursday 10/30 - Work on Final Illustrations.

Friday 10/31 - Halloween Fun!

Saturday 11/01 - More Artwork Stuff Things Almost a Sentence Here

Sunday 11/02 - Going to a clothing swap.

Monday 11/03 - Preying to the coffee gods. 

Tuesday 11/04 - There will be screaming! 

Wednesday 11/05 - What's Up Wednesday!

Purple. It really is my colour. No, that's not how this question should be answered.


Toddler Minding 
The screaming, the screaming. 

I just finished a workout! YAY!!!

*What's up Wednesday is part of Jamie Morrow's summer writing intensive: "Ready. Set. WRITE!" There are other host blogs including: Erin L. FunkAlison MillerKaty Upperman, and Elodie Nowodazkij.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

May the Picture Book Idea Getting Commence!

My blogging this month has taken a turn for the worst. I need to turn this around, so I'm going to take some time and work out an action plan. I've already started by asking new people to be my interview guinea pigs. I've gotten a good response. I also want to try out some new things with my blog and start posting more artwork. I'll share what I have together Wednesday.

Enough about me. This post is about YOU and your children's book ideas. You don't have enough. No person could ever have enough! Whether you are an artist or illustrator you'll learn a lot by joining Picture Book Idea Month. Even if you write for older children I challenge you to take part in PiBoIdMo! I got over 30 ideas last year, and several of them will work better for older readers. It doesn't take much time every day. Don't think, just do. If you miss a day you can catch up. Join me and a kajillion other people.

No Excuses!

No Complaints!

No Backing Down!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Preview of Things to Come

I'm contributing to a free colouring book with some other artists. This colouring book will be absolutely free and I will share the link as soon as it's put together. I still haven't figured out all the details to my new scanner. for some reason it likes to scan several areas of a drawing. Lucky for you that means a preview of my colouring page!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Fairy with Ribbons

Here is one of my favorite paintings from my current art show. I have been working on this for some time, but until recently I haven't had a successful final painting. I don't know if I really have any process drawings to show for this, because it's been so long since I did them!

Friday, October 17, 2014

A Couple Finished Illustrations

Sorry, no interview this week! I will start lighting more fires so people know I'm doing interviews on Fridays. I hope to get a lot of people on here soon. I will also be doing other promotional/fun things for writers and illustrators out there. If you have a book you want me to promote, then let me know! I am not doing book reviews, and am not asking for pay (ever!)

You may recognize these paintings from last year. I thought I was finished with these then. I pulled them out to put them in my VCON art display and wasn't happy with how they looked. I went back into both these illustrations to try to bring them closer to the quality of the other illustrations I had in my show. I hope you like the results!
Mermaid Holiday

Goddess of the Ice and Snow

Monday, October 13, 2014

"The Gift" - Process to Final

Figure 1`- I wasn't happy with the inks on this
 drawing, so I used it to make changes
I've been meaning to post my current artwork here. If you haven't read my previous posts, I'll give you a quick background. I participated in VCON this year and had to do a bunch of artwork for this. VCON is basically a Sci Fi and Fantasy Convention. I had about five pieces of fantasy art when I started out and about a month and a half - two months to come up with enough fantasy art to fill up two 4' x 4' gallery boards. I was able to have 18 pieces in all in my gallery. If you want to know more about what happened. See my post about VCON here.

Many of the paintings I did were not from scratch. Most of them I had some sketches for already, but for one reason or another I hadn't finished said paintings. "The Gift" was a drawing I had started a year ago (see Figure 1). I had almost finished this illustration, but wasn't happy with the way it was turning out. I threw it in a drawer and forgot about it for a year.

Figure 2 - Transfer on Tracing Paper
For me the pencil drawing is the most important. It takes me longer I felt that I had to give this drawing more of a Fantasy feel so I decided to move from a flower to a Phoenix. I mean who wouldn't want to receive a Phoenix as a gift? Also I wanted to make the male a bit more awkward than he had been previously. The main reason I scratched this piece to begin with was it didn't feel like a believable moment to me. 


I start my drawings on inexpensive paper. I look up reference for poses. Even when doing animal characters I try to take the the poses from real life people. For the Phoenix I used pictures of both real photos and fantasy drawings.

I feel it's important to say that I never use a single photo (that I haven't taken myself) as my sole means of creating a drawing. If you are using a photo for reference then be sure to use 3 or more photos so you can understand your subject rather than drawing from the piece directly. If you take something directly from someone else's photo (even if it's just a small part of their photo) you run the risk of copyright infringement. Professional photographers are very protective of their work and are likely to sue or charge you for use of their work.

Figure 3 - Inked Drawing
I tend to transfer my drawings one of two ways. The first is using a light board and tracing over my taped down sketch. This can be difficult because my final images are on thick watercolour paper and sometimes it's hard to see the drawings. This way allows for more changes to be made in the drawing as I work. If you don't have a light board a window can be used as an alternative. It's not easy, but it's definitely cost effective!

The second way is to trace the drawing directly onto tracing paper (see Figure 2). I try to get my drawing as finalized as possible before I trace it onto tracing paper. After the drawing is traced I use a paintbrush to put Burnt Umber pigment on the back of the sketch (being sure to put the loose bits of pigments back in the jar). Another way to do this is to use a piece of pastel or graphite on the back of the tracing paper instead. Graphite is cheap, but be careful with this. It's easy to make the back so dark that you can't see your lines well when transferring. 

My favorite brush pen. Pentel Pocket Brush Pen.
I like using my new brush pen for my drawings at this point so I'm almost always using this. The fun thing about this pen is it has actual bristles and is refillable with cartridges. I've had too much trouble with brush and ink so this is the perfect alternative for me. The only problem is that there is only one size and type of pen like this available in Canadian stores (that I've seen). There are also watercolour pens that are similar to this, but they aren't quite the same (plus I haven't tried them). Also I have to say I'm sorry the inked drawing is a colouring page (which you are free to download and colour). It's to deter people from using it on their colouring webpages without permission. 

Figure 4 - Final Illustration for "The Gift"
Here is the final painting (Figure 4). I used a limited amount of colours for this. I believe the pallet was Alizarin crimson, burnt sienna, Prussian blue, and Cadmium yellow. I may have also used some Mauve in this painting. If you are using paints of any kind I would suggest limiting your palate as much as possible. Choose a brown, yellow, red and blue. Other secondary colours can be added to this, but start with those base colours and build on that. There are a wide range of colours that can be made with those four simple colours. In Watercolor painting white paint isn't used to make lighter colours. It's the paper itself that is used for this. Chinese white can be used for accents on top of the painting, but is generally not mixed. Zinc white is a popular choice for both Acrylics and Oils.

For this drawing I started by mixing brown and blue to make a black. I then used that to do some shading in the picture. It helped a lot for making the painting to go faster overall. 

Well there it is, my process from beginning to end. I will be showing more process fantasy illustrations in the coming weeks, but will not need to go into as much detail as I do here. I hope you enjoyed hearing about my process!

Sunday, October 12, 2014


My display at a craft show last year.
Last October I had never heard of VCON. I had done a ton of artwork and some stuffies and tried to do some craft shows and swap meets. I sold almost nothing at any of these events. I was pretty discouraged when Rose Wilson came across my table (I believe I was set up at Herbert Spencer). It sounded like a good idea. I mean I pay for set up, set up my stuff and just leave everything for someone else to manage throughout the show. What's not to love? I quickly wrote down the web address and thanked her for her time. Unfortunately, I didn't write it down correctly and had a hard time finding it later. This lead to a mad rush to get my artwork done when I found the information in August.

My son had my phone and took a photo
 as I was rushing to hang my work!
I am so glad I did participate in this event. It was hard getting a large amount of artwork done in a month in a half. Of course I had a lot of the work done. A lot of the paper was laid out already and a lot of my work for this show was from old drawings. This is not to say that I didn't do a lot of work for the show, but I was glad I didn't have to do everything from scratch!

It wasn't enough that I set up my things at VCON, but I also wanted to enjoy the show. I was able to earn ticket for Saturday by doing some volunteer work. I also got a book as a reward for helping out!

Display at the front of the art gallery.
Unfortunately Peter worked the weekend and didn't get to come and have fun with David and I at VCON (other than to view the Art Show). As a family we did look around Friday night. There was a lot to look at that didn't require a membership. We got cookies in the gallery and some appetizers upstairs where they were doing the Book Launch Party. All the displays along the way were a lot of fun to look at. David got Hulk mask at one of the tables. He was more than pleased with this! 

Unexpectedly my Mother In Law took David Saturday (after a trip to the gallery) so I could have fun at VCON on my own. Of course I went right to the Writing Sessions here. I attended Perspectives on Self-Publishing and Hybrid PublishingBennett Coles • Linda Demeulemeester • Jane Ann McLachlan • Katrina Archer • Kristene Perron Afterward I went to get my badge printed. I didn't think there was another session at the time. I looked back through my phone and decided on: Doctor Your Story with Randy McCharles. I admit, I had a headache all day and it took me 15 minutes into the event to realize that this was about editing stories. I'm so glad I attended because I learned so much! 

I started feeling ill after attending just the two writing events so I missed a lot of events. I stayed home a couple of hours, and returned around 7 to see the art show and the costume contest.

Saturday evening we took pictures at the Police Box. David and I weren't quite coordinated enough to pull it off. The ones with Grandma were better, but I forgot to ask her permission to post them here!

My In-Laws met David and I at the show on Saturday night. My Father-In-Law missed the Gallery Friday, so we had fun going back through the art show. I discovered right away that one of my prints had sold. I think the lady that talked to me while setting up bought this print. So thank you so much for buying my work! I also found out that day that none of my work won any awards. Don't cry for me, though! The judges didn't think I fit into any of the categories, but wanted to give me something for all my work. Rose presented me with a lovely sketch book from them! I was so touched.

After this my In-Laws went home and I went with David to see the Costume Contest. We had a lot of fun watching everyone. David got a picture with the Transformer Ratchet, but I forgot to ask permission to post the photos here! We didn't get to stay to see the winners, but we did get to see most of the great costumes. Head over to their facebook page here to see the winners.

I took pictures of individual pictures of my artwork early in the event, but it wasn't until the end (Sunday) that I photoed the whole display. This was a mistake, because I had David with me and had to rush too much taking these photos. Don't worry though. I will be posting all of these on my blog in the coming weeks. I just haven't had time to get everything in order yet. I am really glad I attended this event.

Next year I will do a few things differently. I will try to get a lot of my hours in for the show in before hand. I'm also tempted to work on some sci-fi artwork for next year (and no I wont wait until the last couple of months). Next year's theme is Time Travel, so I'm stoked. I can't wait to attend.

I'm going to leave you with this image. This piece went at auction, so I no longer have the original. I hope the person who bought it loves it as much as I do. I still have prints so if you are interested please let me know. My etsy shop is down, but I hope to get it working again soon!