Friday, June 20, 2014

Siblings and Sandcastles

Perhaps it's not always the best idea to build sandcastles with your siblings! I made this illustration for a workshop in Oakland and I had a lot of fun creating the story line.

For the workshop, I also created a model sheet of the two characters to figure out their anatomy:

You might recognize the girl from my "Sisters" series. I've really enjoyed exploring the many facets of her personality and have honed the look of her features over time :).

If you want to try your hand at adding some color to this sad sandcastle scene, here's a free coloring page as well!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Results: Arbor Day Coloring Contest

Hi all,

Sorry for the long hiatus. I've been writing and illustrating up a storm :) I thought I'd share the results of the Arbor Day Coloring Contest:
First Place: Mahdy Muratov, 2nd Grade

2nd Place: Megan Tian, 2nd Grade

3rd Place: Memphis Gray, 3rd Place
I love how everyone took a unique approach to coloring the scene. I also enjoyed the creative details (sunglasses, stars, shading). As promised, I sent each winner some goodies:

The first place winner got an original drawing:

Congratulations again to all the winners and I hope everyone had a great Arbor Day :) Once again, if you'd like to try your hand at coloring your own version, here's a blank version of the coloring page:

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

GIVEAWAY + Lake Oswego Arbor Day Coloring Contest

Lake Oswego is celebrating their 25th year as a Tree City USA. In celebration of Arbor Day, they commissioned me to design a coloring page for their annual art contest.

I'd also like to leave this contest open to my readers. Print out the coloring page above, color it any way you'd like, and share your work of art in the comments below. At the end of April, I'll select a winner and send an envelope full of goodies to you :).

For inspiration, here were last year's winners:

Aren't they amazing? Here's a close up of some their wonderful coloring skills:

So get to it! Celebrate Arbor Day with some coloring and we'll see who gets the prize at the end of the month!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Silly McGilly Visits Schools!

Silly McGilly has been very busy indeed as St. Patrick's Day approaches.

He visited several schools in Bayonne, New Jersey and it's safe to say that the students and faculty embraced Silly with open arms :)
Coloring pages from the Silly McGilly website were put to good use!

Kids created their own renditions of Silly :)

This wall was jazzed up with a giant pot of gold and some very handsome construction paper dolls.
Miss DeSimone, a teacher for 40 years, received a special t-shirt from Silly at Midtown Community School.

In her class, Silly McGilly got to meet the Cat in the Hat. I'm so jealous!
These images are the main reason why I love-love-love creating picture books. You get to see your characters come to life in the hearts of little ones. You get to see them practice and embrace creative storytelling. It makes all the hard work worth it in my book :).

This is great stuff and I have to give a shout out to the publishers for spreading Silly's cheer! You can see what else Silly's been up to on his Facebook FanPage.

Remember, if you join in the Silly fun, just email me your purchase order and I will mail you a personalized sketch. Here's an example:
Also, if you have any Silly McGilly art to share, please let me know and I'll make sure to write a post. You can find worksheets and activities at for inspiration.

Until next post, Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Monday, March 3, 2014

FREE Giveaway + More Silly News!

Hi all,

Just checking in with more Silly McGilly news.

First of all, you have a chance to win your own Silly McGilly doll and book from the fabulous blogger Miss Kindergarten's giveaway contest:

There's one day left in the giveaway, so be sure to enter soon :).

Secondly, Real Simple Online has featured Silly McGilly on their website too!

I love seeing Silly's adorable spirit being shared by so many people. The publishers deserve a big shout-out for wonderful PR power!

I hope you can join me in celebrating this Patrick's Day tradition with your loved ones as well. Remember, if you email me your purchase order for a Silly McGilly book, I will mail you a personalized sketch.

Until next post, luck and laughter to all of you!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Silly McGilly: My Illustration Process

Hi all,

I thought I'd share a bit of my process in creating the illustrations for Silly McGilly.
Here is a spread where Silly celebrates St. Patrick's Day at a Leprechaun Hooley. As you can see, it takes a lot of passes to create a finished illustration. Let's start at the beginning!

First, I received the manuscript from the authors, which was basically the text of the story with suggested page breaks.

I printed out the manuscript and read it several times. The whimsical text of this story gave me a lot of inspiration, so as I read, I began doodling possible image and composition ideas for each page. Once I had at least a few ideas for each spread, I started storyboarding the book with rough sketches:
As you can see, the sketches were mostly undefined. I was mainly trying to figure out how the text and images would interact with each other. Once these sketches were approved by the publisher, I moved onto a more detailed pencil work of the Hooley scene:
The final pencil lines became a pretty accurate blueprint for the next stages of illustration work. In Photoshop, I added red lines to accommodate for cropping, bleeds, and the page gutter. When I liked where everything was placed, I moved onto hand-inking the lines.
Finally, I scanned in the inked lines and added color in Photoshop, with a pastel-like brush:

Then voila: a rousing, musical, and fun-filled Leprechaun Hooley scene!

I hope this brought some insight into how Silly McGilly was created :). St. Patrick's Day is coming soon, so click on the link to get a Silly McGilly of your very own! Remember, if you message me with your order of a book, I will send you a free Silly sketch as a thank you gift.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Silly McGilly

Hi all! I apologize for the long absence, but I promise it was for a good reason :) I was illustrating a new picture book called Silly McGilly. It's a book that introduces a leprechaun who comes to play tricks at home and in the classroom on St. Patrick's Day. Here are a few images from the book:

The book is now available for purchase here. Each purchase comes with a Silly doll that you can use to play tricks on your students or little ones! But wait . . there's more! If you message me with a copy of your order, I will also mail you a personalized sketch. 

Lastly, the website has fun coloring pages and will soon feature Silly-themed activities (including directions) that you can use at home or in your classroom. Here's a sneak peek at a Silly Scrapbook page that will be available for download soon:
The publishers were a joy to work with and I really had fun contributing towards the creation of an actual doll (a first for me). 

I hope to continue my Picture Book Process series soon when things settle down a bit. Until then, I'll see if I can post a few process pics from my Silly McGilly work.

Thanks for visiting!