Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Woodland Surprise

Hmm, will be doing this one again in a looser style. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Forest Friends

Inspired by yesterday's nature walk.  Hello.

The heat is a welcomed change to the air conditioned world I have been existing in for the last few weeks.  I'm spoiled by Michigan's cool nights and sleep with the window open, but during the day the humidity wins out.  There is a dryness here that is strange compared to the lush spring that graced the land. 

Michigan has a simple beauty in the forests and along the lake shore.  It makes you slow down and stop to see what's really there.  There are breath-taking areas, but it's the small things that catch my eye the most.  The paper-thin periwinkle petals of the chicory, the playful bounce of Queen Anne's lace as the wind rustles across the field, the fiery day lilies that pop up everywhere - both wild and cultivated, the stark and graphic patterns of the birch trees - I could spend days and days drawing and studying those four elements. 

I feel like my quality of life greatly increases when I stop to take notice of the world through sketching and my camera.  I read this other day and it rang like a bell though my life:

"Many begin (keeping a journal) when they feel their lives accelerating and slipping away; they have a vague sadness that so much seems lost.  They sense that they aren't deeply affected by things, and don't remember enough.  The want a deeper connection to the world." - Hannah Hinchman (A life in Hand)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Nature and Painting

We enjoyed a lovely walk in the woods on a nature trail today. We listened as the breeze rustled through the leaves above our head. The soft mulch of the trail cushioned our feet as explored the well worn path. Queen Anne's Lace littered the edge of the forest with other tiny purple flowers.  We spotted a monarch butterfly fluttering near the little white puffs.  It was quiet like we haven't experienced in a long time. 

My daughters and I spotted a doe with two fawn, they were unafraid as they stopped and watched us for several minutes through the trees.  We were two mothers with our children wondering in awe of each other.

I've recently downloaded a few watercolor/journaling books to my Kindle and just had to take my little sketchbook and watercolor set outside today. I've been so busy lately, I was thankful for a day to slow down and soak in the beauty around me.

My favorite so far:

A Life In Hand by Hannah Hinchman - this is only available as a digital download as it's out of print.  It's a beautiful written book, simple and poetic.  Encouraging and succinct.  I keep going back to it again and again.  The charming black and white line drawings leave room for you to focus on the words and assignments in the book.  It's very inspiring and I highly recommend it.  I may try to find it in print I've enjoyed it so much.
Hinchman on starting an art journal:
"Just begin. Any day, any moment.  There need be no occasion, no noteworthy event.  Think of your beginning as the point where a tossed pebble hits the surface of a pond.  Changes and discoveries will widen out endlessly from just such a small point."

I love that quote and can't help be think how it could apply to anything in life that we have been putting off starting.

Two other books I've been enjoying:
Water Paper Paint - by far my favorite watercolor book to date! 

What are you reading this summer? 

Monday, April 30, 2012

May Flowers Sketch

It's been a slow warm up here in Michigan.  I'm looking forward to warmer days and have been enjoy the blooms that have already braved the chilly temperatures and late freezes. 

This is just a little sketch.  I think there needs to be a little more action in this scene before I would pull out the watercolors. 

This little girl reminds me of my youngest, who is now a teenager. I aways loved her little bob and crazy tights.  Their childhood sped by so quickly, it makes me sorta sad. But they are amazing, so I've done my job well! 

It's funny when I first started illustrating for children, I think there was a part of me that wanted to capture something from my childhood and now I see myself trying to capture parts of their childhood.  While times may change, the universal of discovering the world and how we fit in it stays the same.

When you pick picture books, do they appeal to you because they remind me of your children or your childhood?  I'm a little of both.  Either way, I'm definitely more pulled toward the nostalgic.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2012 Plan

An illustrated business plan for 2012.

Now that I have one book under my belt as an author, I want more.

Why wait for elusive assignments?  Create the books you want to illustrate.

That's my message to myself this year!

Also, you can't have an illustration career without some systems in place. 
Wonderfully practical things like a set schedule, a marketing plan, new work and some concrete goals.