Sunday, September 18, 2016
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
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
|A glimpse at the messy studio|
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)
George R.R. Martin - Feast 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 Sedaris - Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls, The Ultimate David Sedaris Box Set
Neil Patrick Harris - Choose Your Own Autobiography
Jennifer L. Holm - The 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|
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 Nimmo - Midnight 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 TimeAntoine de Saint-Exupéry - The Little Prince
|Close to the finish line - paintings piled up around the studio|
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 Foxlee - Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy
Angie Sage - PathFinder Septimus Heap: Todhunter Moon Series, Book (#1)
Michael Scott - The 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
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: