Pinks!

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Today is National Pink Day, a day for celebrating all things pink! Both the color name and the verb “to pink” (to cut a saw-toothed edge, as with pinking shears) come from the dianthus flower, also commonly known as “pinks.”

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Exotic Animal Coloring Page

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Several years ago I was asked to create a sketch for a wall mural to be painted in the exotic animal exam room of a local veterinary clinic. The new owner contacted me and asked if she could have a black and white version to use for a kids’ coloring contest. It sounded like a great idea to me, and I quickly sent this outlined version of the original sketch. It might be a bit of a fun challenge, too, for kids to find all the critters lurking in this scene – I almost missed the tiny turtle peeking out from behind the tree. If you’re in need of a little art therapy yourself, feel free to print and color away!

The Bowl and the Stone

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This is a cover I illustrated for a new middle grade novel by Bish Denham. The Bowl and the Stone is a spooky tale set in the Virgin Islands in the early 60s. I was especially intrigued by a description of one of the main characters, so I knew I wanted to include his silhouette on the cover. I added the foliage to the foreground because even with the story’s haunting feel, I still wanted to give a hint of the island flavor that is so prevalent in Bish’s stories.

Look for The Bowl and the Stone if you know any kids in the 8-12 age group that love a good mystery. It’s available for pre-order on Amazon and will be available soon in both print and ebook format.

I’ve illustrated covers for two other books by Bish Denham: Anansi and Company: Retold Jamaican Tales and A Lizard’s Tail.

Treat! Cookie Box

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Here’s a last minute entry I created for a fun cookie box design contest on Where Women Create. Besides enjoying the wide range of styles and techniques that went into all the wonderful entries, I love the creativity the organizers put into styling all the photos! I would’ve loved to participate in that part, too (including sampling the treats, obviously). For some pretty art (and goodies) to drool over, check out the rest of the entries! (Photo: Where Women Create).

Dancing Lion

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Summertime is in full swing. The days are nice and long, which reminds me that the zoo will have extended hours for the next couple of months. It’s always a treat to see the animals that only begin to stir when the sun starts to set. I especially like the chance to watch big cats doing something other than flicking an ear at a bothersome gnat. You’re not likely to catch any wild kitties doing pirouettes, but they might inspire a quick character sketch or two – like this one I did of a lion cub, taking a twirl in her new grass tutu. I decided to try on a few facial expressions, too. Ballet training brings out a range of emotion, no doubt!

Sweet Treat Guinea Pig Ad

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I just updated my ad for the Illustrators for Hire section over at They Draw and Cook. The background for my sweet-toothed guinea pig illustration was originally a steely grey (see it in my SomePlum shop here), but I thought for this application, raspberry was more…well, appetizing.

If you haven’t discovered They Draw and Cook, I recommend checking it out. You’ll find plenty of art and culinary inspiration, all in one place! Warning: you may get a little hungry, but you might also feel inspired to dive into your art supplies and illustrate your favorite treat. I’m reminded that it’s been a while since I created some fun foodie illustrations – just one more thing that’s been on my to-do list.

You can check out my recipe collection on They Draw and Cook here.

Sixties Inspired

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This is a piece I created last year for a sixties style ad contest celebrating the music of the TV series Mad Men. The series is one of my all time favorites, and the song “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” also happens to be a favorite of mine. The recording date and song lyrics reminded me of the art style of the late sixties, influenced by Pop Art and Art Nouveau. I was also inspired by the limited (and sometimes unusual) color schemes used in some music posters of that era.

Colour Collective: A Quick Brown Fox

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Whenever I can I like to participate in Colour Collective, a weekly illustration challenge on Twitter (@Clr_Collective). Every Friday artists are invited to collectively post a work of art based on a predetermined color, using the hashtag #colour_collective. It’s always inspiring to see the range if ideas artists come up with. For this week’s Brown Ochre, I came across an older version of this fox illustration that I wasn’t quite satisfied with, so I took the opportunity to do a quick rework of it.

Mousse the Hedgehog

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While going through images to upload to my portfolio, I came across this fun character I created a while ago. Meet Mousse, a prickly little fellow with a decidedly un-prickly disposition. He might have a bit of a sweet tooth. Filled with joyous exuberance, Mousse greets most things with great enthusiasm. Unless you try to take his treats away.

I haven’t yet decided what I’ll be doing with him. I originally created the character for a sticker design competition, but I can imagine he might appear on a series of t-shirt or card designs. Or maybe there’s a story here. If I come up with a brilliant idea for him, I’ll take a lesson from Mousse and be careful not to spill the (jelly) beans.

A New Start

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Here it is, the first post of my brand spanking new blog. So naturally I’m afraid I’m going to mess it up. There’s a reason I have so many blank journals and canvases lying around. Putting that mark on a new surface is intimidating.

I’ll start by telling how I got here. A couple of years ago I was preparing to return to work in graphic design, after a rewarding career as a stay-home mom (and sometime floral designer). I’d been taking classes to update my skills and had just landed an internship in a design studio and a part time job tutoring on campus. The day after I started my internship, I learned I had breast cancer.

Figuring that was a few too many balls in the air, I left the internship and tutoring job behind, and turned all my attention to my recovery. And part of my recovery was to do whatever I wanted, at least creatively speaking.

That led to lots of hours experimenting with shapes and colors, joining in on illustration challenges, doing occasional freelance jobs, and creating lots of new illustrations. The illustration above is the first one I submitted to an online weekly illustration challenge. It was springtime, a good time for new beginnings.

So what comes next? Who knows. But I’ll be sure to blog about it when it happens.