Sunday, September 18, 2016

GRUMBLES on catalog covers!


It was a very happy mail day when I opened an unexpected package, and saw my Jack and Jill artwork from GRUMBLES FROM THE TOWN on the cover of  Boyds Mills Press's Fall 2016 catalog! Inside was this lovely 2 page spread.....


And then a few months later the publisher emailed us all this wonderful news.....
The Mountains and Plains Independent Booksellers Association chose my Mother Goose art from GRUMBLES FROM THE TOWN to feature as their 2016-2017 Winter catalog cover! The cover debuted in their newsletter with a very nice write up of our book! It's so wonderful to share this honor with Jane Yolen, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, our editor Rebecca M Davis, and Boyds Mills Press!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Little Jack Horner


In one month, GRUMBLES FROM THE TOWN: Mother-Goose Voices with a Twist will be released into the world! Here's a sneak peek of Little Jack Horner who simply could not contain his excitement. (I know how he feels!) He's celebrating early with plum pie!



GRUMBLES FROM THE TOWN: Mother-Goose Voices with a Twist is now available for Pre-order at:

Sunday, July 24, 2016

It took 94 audiobooks to illustrate 1 picture book

A glimpse at the messy studio
Illustrators are often asked what materials go into making their work. What brand of pencil is that? What paper do you use? Is that acrylic? For this post, I wanted to focus on one crucial element, at least in my own painting process, that goes unseen in the final work, and that is a constant supply of audiobooks! I say 'painting process' because during the drawing and ideas phases I need quiet, or movies I've already seen, or not-too-intrusive music. But, when it comes to painting there's nothing better to get me into the creative zone than a good audiobook!

It all started back with working on various paintings while listening to all the Harry Potter books read by Jim Dale, who does the most amazing job of bringing the characters to life. He set the bar so high though that I didn't know where to go next. After stumbling around a bit, I found His Dark Materials, (the Golden Compass series), which with its full cast and Phillip Pullman's epic storytelling rose right to the top of my list of best audiobooks ever. 

I tend to gravitate towards the fantasy/sci-fi genres in middle grade, YA, and adult, but I will wander into other genres if I hear something is especially good.

As part of my painting process, these audiobooks have an important job to do, and that is to keep me on task. This became especially important as I was illustrating my first children's picture book, GRUMBLES FROM THE TOWN: MOTHER-GOOSE VOICES WITH A TWIST by Jane Yolen and Rebecca Kai Dotlich. As this was the most illustrations I'd ever painted back-to-back I needed more audiobooks than I ever listened to in my lifetime. I devoured them one after another. Between paint strokes, I was hunting down new series; watching for publisher's tweets for recommendations.

The best audiobooks for my purposes were the ones that had me rushing back to the studio to hear more. During a long project it can be a challenge to keep the motivation going, and getting back to a story in progress was great motivation. In this regard, one series did this better than all the rest during GRUMBLES, and that was Marie Lu's Legend Trilogy. I fell in love with her characters, June and Day, so deeply that I would rush home during my lunch hour to listen and paint. 

So, I wanted to write this post as a heartfelt thank you to all the authors and narrators and publishers who created these audiobooks which kept me company during those intense months of painting. I'm already gathering a list of books for future painting sessions. Below is a list of approximately all the audiobooks I consumed while painting GRUMBLES FROM THE TOWN, mostly through my library's OverDrive.com system. I'm a bit shocked to see about 94 books on this list, and I remember listening to some of these more than once. I definitely listened to some of Neil Gaiman's works multiple times. He weaves the most wonderful tales, but he also has the most  marvelous voice which makes the paint flow just right. :)

If you happen to have similar tastes you may find this list helpful. And I'm always up for recommendations. (I know I should start a GoodReads account. I hope to soon...)

Marie Lu - Legend Trilogy (the best!)The Young Elites, The Rose Society
John Stephens - Books of Beginning Trilogy (narrated by Jim Dale - he's awesome!)
Tony DiTerlizzi - The Search for WondLa Trilogy (loved it!)
Jaleigh Johnson - The Mark of the Dragonfly (#1) (an unexpected gem!)

Everything Neil Gaiman writes is brilliant!- 
Neil Gaiman - American Gods, Anansi Boys, InterWorld (#1, #2)Odd and the Frost Giants, Trigger Warning, The Neil Gaiman Audio Collection, The Sleeper and the Spindle, Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders, M is for Magic, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, The Graveyard Book 

Sabaa Tahir - An Ember in the Ashes (This one left me craving more, but at the time book 2 wasn't out yet. A Torch Against the Night is out now, and I look forward to revisiting this series!)


Victoria Aveyard - Red Queen (#1) (I know enjoyed this one, but the cover doesn't represent the flavor of the book, so it gives me a weird case of amnesia. I'll have to refresh my memory before starting #2 and #3)


Ransom Riggs - Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children #1 (This was perfect to listen to on Halloween)

George R.R. MartinFeast for Crows, A Dance with Dragons, Rogues: Short Stories


Process pics of THERE WAS AN OLD WOMAN WHO LIVED IN A SHOE spread

The funny- (Much needed after all the Game of Thrones):
Adam Rex - The True Meaning of Smekday, Smek for President, Cold Cereal
Mindy Kaling Why Not Me?, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)
Felicia Day - You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)
B.J. Novak One More Thing
David SedarisLet's Explore Diabetes with Owls, The Ultimate David Sedaris Box Set
Neil Patrick Harris - Choose Your Own Autobiography
Jennifer L. HolmThe Fourteenth Goldfish

The map books (I seem to have a thing for map books):
S.E. Grove - The Glass Sentence #1 (I'm looking forward to books 2 and 3 of this fun trilogy)
Carrie Ryan The Map to Everywhere (#1) 

Michael Scott - The Alchemyst (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel #1), The Magician (#2)

Maile Meloy - The Apothecary (#1), The Apprentices (#2)
Naomi Novik - His Majesty's Dragon(Temeraire #1), Throne of Jade(#2)Black Powder War(#3)
Laini Taylor - Daughter of Smoke and Bone (#1)
Holly Black - The Darkest Part of the Forest, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, Doll Bones


Process pics of the GRUMBLES FROM THE TOWN cover
As a Hunger Games fan, these were obvious choices:
Veronica Roth - Divergent Trilogy
James Dashner - The Maze Runner Trilogy

Blue Balliett - Chasing Vermeer (#1)

Cassie Beasley - Circus Mirandus (narrated by Jim Dale - he's awesome!)
Lauren Oliver - Liesl and Po
Jenny NimmoMidnight for Charlie Bone (#1)
Lemony Snicket - The Lump of Coal (short story)
Bruce Hale - Nate Macavoy, Monster Hunter (short story)
Various Authors - Infinity Ring Series, (#1-5)
Brandon Mull - Wild Born (Spirit Animals #1)
Terry Pratchett - The Wee Free Men, Dodger, Snuff - Discworld Series, Book 39
Colin Meloy - Wildwood
Patrick Rothfuss - The Slow Regard of Silent Things (Since I was already a fan of The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear this shorter story was quite enjoyable.)

Jacqueline Woodson - Brown Girl Dreaming (read by Jacqueline Woodson - a glorious way to experience her Newbery Honor Book!)

David Arnold - Mosquitoland 
Markus Zusak - The Book Thief (Loved it, but later discovered painting and balling my eyes out don't go together. Still really amazing though)
Chris Howard - Rootless
Dean Koontz - Odd Thomas 
Matthew Reilly - 7 Deadly Wonders (Like an action-adventure movie)
Lois Lowry - The Giver 
Madeleine L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry - The Little Prince


Close to the finish line - paintings piled up around the studio
Eoin Colfer - Airman
Lev Grossman - The Magicians (#1)
Charlie Fletcher - Stoneheart (#1)
Orson Scott Card - The Lost Gate (#1)
Trenton Lee Stewart - The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict
Karen FoxleeOphelia and the Marvelous Boy 
Angie SagePathFinder Septimus Heap: Todhunter Moon Series, Book (#1) 
Michael ScottThe Thirteen Hallows     

Oh, I also listened to many wonderful podcasts. Some of my favorites can be found at: All the Wonders 


GRUMBLES FROM THE TOWN: Mother-Goose Voices with a Twist is available for Pre-order from:

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Official picture book announcing news!



This blog is long overdue for an update, so it's with great pleasure I'm able to share news of my biggest dream-come-true project, illustrating my first picture book, GRUMBLES FROM THE TOWN: Mother-Goose Voices with a Twist by the absolutely marvelous writers, Jane Yolen and Rebecca Kai Dotlich! I'm so grateful to Senior Editor, Rebecca M Davis of Boyds Mills Press for approaching my agent, Marcia Wernick and myself with such a wonderful opportunity. I've truly been pinching myself everyday. Being a part of Team Grumbles, and working with the most supportive editor has been an incredible experience.


Available for Pre-order from:


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Happy Year of the Sheep!

'Year of the Sheep' - acrylic on wood
 Oh, this poor neglected blog! What happened to 2014? Last year was a bit of a restructuring year for me. My apartment became intolerable after some noisy neighbors moved in above me, and next to my art room. I felt like I lost my creative space to think and work. For months, I hoped it would get better, and I sketched at parks and libraries. I househunted for months. Then, I was hit by an outrageously high rent increase, and I realized the universe was insisting I move immediately, and in a few weeks I was in a new townhouse with no one above me, and peace was restored! 

It was all so important because I'm working on a great project I love. It started to come together so much better after I moved and eliminated the noise and chaos. I'll be sharing more soon.

Angela on a cliff - May 2014

Anyway, here we are.... a new year, a new place, a new painting! I've faced so many new years with uncertainty. Full of hopes, and knowing I'm going to keep moving forward, but not sure how that will all play out. But, this year I begin 2015 with my mission already laid out. I know I'll have a fulfilling sense of accomplishment (about mid-year), and then I'll be exhausted, and then I'll make it a point to take in more stop-and-smell-the-roses moments like above.

I recently heard the term 'friluftsliv', "a Norwegian word loosely translated as “open air life,” which characterizes Norwegian culture. Norwegians embrace nature and enjoy the outdoors as a way of life. Ultimately, friluftsliv offers the possibility of recreation, rejuvenation and restoring balance among living things." This really resonated with me as a walk through the woods always grounds me, and I'm part Norwegian.



Kung Hei Fat Choy!
The Sheep (Goat) is a Yin energy, a symbol of Peace, Harmonious co-existence and Tranquility. The Sheep is the symbol of the Arts. For those who trust in goodness, happiness and success will follow. (Read more at astrologyclub.org

Thursday, February 06, 2014

'Be My Valentine' Group Exhibition

'My Complicated Valentine' - acrylic on wood  
Here's my piece entitled, 'My Complicated Valentine' for the 'Be My Valentine' Group Exhibition hosted by Rivet Gallery this month of February. We were asked to put a modern-day twist on the little Valentine squares from our elementary school days

This original painting is available for purchase at Rivet->> here 

See the entire exhibition->> here 

Process pics->>










 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Holiday Sweet


I was pleased as punch and snickerdoodles that my illustrated recipe, Rudolph's Cinnamon Mango Frappé, was included in Holiday Sweet, a new cookbook from They Draw & Cook.

Thanks Nate and Salli!


Holiday Sweet contains illustrated recipes from many of my favorite artists.

Art from Salli Swindell, Tamara Henderson, Laura Mayes, and Sarah Ward

A sweet gift for your foodie friends!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Special Announcement!

Mad Hatter from Laurent Linn's Character Workshop
I'm very excited to announce I am now represented by Marcia Wernick of Wernick & Pratt Literary Agency! This was the happy result of attending the SCBWI Wild Wild Midwest Conference, which for the first time, organized 5 chapters from 4 midwestern states. It was an event I couldn't pass up. Before heading to the conference, family and friends had wished for good things to happen, but I quickly told them I was going primarily for inspiration, and to learn more about writing for picture books. Little did I know it would be the best conference ever! I feel very fortunate for the opportunity to work with the fabulous Marcia Wernick, and I'm so grateful for all of her guidance in navigating through the children's book world. I'm looking forward to where this adventure might lead us.......

Monday, October 07, 2013

All things autumnal...


After my trusty Sony H10 died, I went looking for a smallish personal camera to carry along to take shots of reference and inspiration, and to capture the marvelous wonders of the world and stuff. After much research I decided on a Fujifilm F850EXR. On a beautiful warm October day, an orange mum and a little spotted bug inspired me to start testing it out. I'm quite happy with it.


See his quizzical antennae? After several shots he was beginning to wonder why I was going all paparazzi on him.






A waterfall of purple berries! Taste the wave!
Oh wait, don't. They might be poisonous.
2 busy bees on a passion flower..... Ooo la la!
Yes, I do believe I am quite happy with this camera. In an attempt to treat it better than the last one I bought it a SwissGear camera case, and an across body neck strap sling thingy, which isn't as nerdy as it sounds....ok, maybe it is, but it's handy and cool in my book. Now, I'm back in business! :D

Thursday, September 12, 2013

cake for Bee

8" x 8" acrylic painting on wood
I completed this piece earlier this year, but both the scanner and my camera weren't picking up the colors properly, so I was reluctant to post it. Last week, my 8 year old Sony Cybershot H10 died on me, so I picked up a new bridge camera for work. Cameras sure have come a long way in 8 years! The Panasonic Lumix FZ200 is incredible, but it's going to take time to figure out all the settings.


Testing out the macro. It's crazy how close this camera can focus in Intelligent Auto mode. (hand held- no additional photoshop sharpening here)


Now to experiment with the Manual, Aperture, White Balance, Shutter Speeds, and all that other stuff.....

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

End of summer wrap-up....

Wow, I can't believe summer is slipping away already. Even when it's a little too hot I still love this time of year when everything is all green and alive. It makes me feel more alive.

But on the bright side, September always feels like a time to begin anew. I guess I still get that new school year feeling, and it feels like a time to get back to business. For me, it feels like a much better time to set new goals than January, in the dead of winter.

So, to move on, here's some pics of the last few weeks. Above is a wrap-up of the 5 weeks of Lilla's Make Art That Sells e-course. I stumbled on week 4. I was originally excited about it since it was all about having fun, and following where the paint takes you. It sounded like a great idea, but my 'illustrate with a purpose' brain began to have a lot of anxiety over the loss of direction. So, after the course I picked up some books on intuitive painting, and did some experimenting. Well, that is, after I painted this old bookcase.

Since there was already tarp all over my living room, I turned the area into a temporary work space to help loosen me up. Big strokes need a big space, right? I had fun playing with some various materials.

Then I tried some smaller scale experiments...

In the meantime, my tiny garden filled in nicely this year....
and I had some nice visitors.

I hiked some woods, and found some inner peace and stuff. :)

After rearranging my studio, I discovered with the addition of some bamboo utensil holders, my old Ikea computer desk is a great place to store paints.

Now, I'm happy with my studio space again. :)

So, back to the sketchbooks........
 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Make Art That Sells - Week 3: Children's Books

Week 3 - Children's Books Assignment

For Week 3 of Lilla Roger's class, Make Art That Sells, it was especially great to be focusing on picture books! On Monday, we received our mini-exercise, and I have to admit I was a bit thrown when our subject was snails. I explored some character options, mostly of the happy variety.

mini-exercise -snail character sketches
Then on Wednesday we received the details of the main assignment. We were to do a cover with hand drawn type, or a double page spread for the Hans Christian Andersen tale, The Snail and the Rose Tree. It turns out the story was not happy at all. This snail is ornery, grumpy, and quite judgmental of the frilly rose. He says, “The world is nothing to me. What have I to do with the world? I have enough to do with myself, and enough in myself". The snail says he spits on the world, and future snails crept into their houses and spat at the world. This sounds like some slugs I have known, who invaded my home, and left slime trails on my shoes. I've had to put epson salt along the baseboards. I hadn't seen one inside for over a year. And then, I kid you not, the day I read the assignment, I see a slug halfway up my closet door! So, after that drama, back to the drawing board......


In my version, since this snail thinks he is above everyone, he wears a little crown, (although he has no royal blood). I call him Joffery.


I was determined to get back to my acrylics this week, and sketched this onto wood board. But, as I was still figuring out colors I knew there was no way I'd finish in time, so I scanned it in, and colored it digitally.