In a couple weeks, I will be participating in a cool local event called Volkerfest! In preparation, I’ve updated both my shops to reflect the cards and prints I will be selling. In addition, I will be live drawing quick $5 5-minute portraits, so if you’re in the area, you should definitely stop by!
It seems like only yesterday I was celebrating the US debut of "Murder is Bad Manners." A delightful middle grade murder mystery novel written by Robin Stevens with a cover illustrated by yours truly. Actually, is was only last month, so not that long ago, really. Here we are in a new month and I have a NEW book cover to share with you! This is the second book in the Wells and Wong series titled "Poison is Not Polite."
I must emphasize, that not only did I love this project because illustrating book covers is just about my favorite thing to do, but these books are AWESOME. I really enjoyed reading them as an adult, but if I were a kid this would be exactly the type of book I'd pick up...and read over and over again. Murder? Yes please! Secret notebooks? Move over Harriet! Creepy old English mansion? Dying. I'm dead.
Unfortunately, I regret to say that you won't be able to purchase the second book here in the US until next spring. What you can do is pop over to The Midnight Garden and enter for a chance to win an advance copy. And in the mean time, if you haven't already, Buy "MURDER IS BAD MANNERS!" It's great. You won't regret it.
Of course all thanks goes to Robin, Kristin, Krista and the team at Simon and Schuster. And of course to Lucy for roping me in on this to begin with. As Lucy puts it "I love a good hedge maze!" I do too, Lucy. I do too.
It's spring, and I've been pretty obsessed.
Missouri + Alpaca = MOPACA! Did you hear (you probably did)? I went to an Alpaca show over the weekend! I planned to stay an hour or so. Pet some alpacas, but some yarn….4.5 hours later I walked out of there with a sketchbook full of goodies.
Alpacas are such a funny looking animal, but they are also sweet (albeit smelly).
Most had no problem with visitors stopping by for a pet (or a hug!).
The judging process did seem to be a little stressful for them. But it was sweet to see their handlers comfort them, hold them, and try to get them to settle down.
After having a blast spending last year inside the walls of a haunted library, I am once again teaming up with story bird to illustrate one of their long-form story formats. This time, I've been paired with writer Jodi Kendall to illustrate her story, The Wristwatch Time Machine. Here is the cover which shows the character, Tenny, in Sedona Arizona illuminated by her newfound power. The first post goes up tomorrow! You can check in every week or so for a new chapter of the story...and a new illustration!
Sometimes a place just strikes me. I love those foggy March days where everything is so grey except the tiniest buds or blades of grass just starting to peep through the earth. Spring is definitely creeping in and starting to make her presence known.
All images shown are of Potter Lake (which let's be honest is really more of a pond!) on the University of Kansas Campus.
The next segment of drawings were created on days that barely made it to the double digits up to today, where we hit a balmy 77...so in Kansas speak, over the last three weeks. Enjoy!
Looking forward to even more outdoor drawing as the weather gets even nicer! Be sure you don't miss Wednedays in Lawrence Part 1!
As many of you know, for the past two semesters, I've been teaching a class at my alma mater, The University of Kansas. This semester, I've decided to make the most of my 40 minute drive up to LFK (for the non-kansan) and start a weekly sketchbook project. Every Wednesday I'll spend an hour or two before or after class sketching on campus or somewhere around town. Typically, I'll go back to my studio and "complete" the pieces (so, no, not dragging an entire paint set around with me). Here are the results of my recent outings. I'll update here periodically, but be sure to follow my tumblr blog or for weekly updates!
I've just returned from a week-long trip to Dallas where I ate a lot of food, purchased some new cowboy boots and most importantly, had the wonderful opportunity to paint a mural!
I was so graciously hired by Chris Hartley of Dunhill Homes to create this mural for one of their knock-out model homes. He had seen my previous mural work and thought this would be an excellent addition to the already awesome interiors they create for their model homes. Below are some of our process shots.
I obviously had a blast creating this mural and I cannot wait to begin my next one! OF course, I could not have done this alone. MANY thanks to my cousin and friend Colleen Hartley for assisting me on this job. It was a week I'll never forget! And of course, I would be terribly amiss to leave you without sharing a little gif of the process:
After spending the majority of the holidays either sick and feeling utterly unmotivated to create, I was thrilled when the temps soared last Friday and I was able to get down to The Plaza to sketch! If you haven't yet been down to see one of Kansas City's favorite holiday attractions, you better hurry! Tonight is the last night. Below is my favorite painting of the the bunch. Check out my tumblr page for all my sketches!
Last year, my husband and I celebrated our first Christmas back in Kansas City with cards illustrating one of our favorite KC spots. This year, we celebrate year #2 in Union Station. Merry Christmas everyone. Hope it's magical!
Did you hear? Have you heard the news? THE Kansas City Royals are in the World Series!! I am so excited, I took a moment today to letter this little homage. I have a very big deadline looming and definitely did not have time for such matters, so I hope that speaks to how FREAKIN' EXCITED I am! Let's go boys, our work is not done yet!
During the Brush Creek Art Walk I had an epiphany. I've always been of the mindset that watercolor is somewhat of a quick medium. It's not like oil or colored pencils where you can spend hours and hours building up an image. If you paint over a watercolor too much, you just get mud. While the act of watercolor is relatively fast, the thought process behind it can be excruciatingly slow. It's a lot of testing out colors to make sure you get just the right one (there's no going back, no command-Z!) and reverse thinking on how to get the highlights and shadows just right.
After being disappointed in how far I could get during the first two-hour quick paint competition at the Art Walk, I decided to keep it small for the second. This image measures 5'x5' and took about an hour and a half.
It was a blast. So. I did some more. I think I would like to make this a regular thing. After all, I can always spare an hour and a half in the name of watercolor.
And speaking of thought process, I took some photos of my plaza painting along the way to make this litter gif. I like gifs.
Back-to-school season has officially come and gone in these parts, so you know what that means. Halloween? No. Pumpkin Spice Lattes? Gross. Thanksgiving? Don't be silly. IT'S TIME TO BUY CHRISTMAS CARDS! Really? Yes, really! The cards I designed this season for Petite Alma are up and available to purchase on TinyPrints. Here is a small sampling, but be sure to check out the whole collection. There are all kinds of different configurations, color schemes and even envelope liners if you want to be all fancy pants.
all designs © Petite Alma, 2014
I might have spent the better part of my Thursday making animated donut gifs...
My painting of the J.C. Nichols fountain at night is part of an online auction whose proceeds will help to maintain and some cases save our city's fountains. Also, half goes to me, so support the fountains or an artist. It's a win/win situation. This watercolor painting measures 15"x11" and comes matted and framed. It's also one of the lower starting bids on the site, so you may get it for a steal! Paintings are also on display at the Buttonwood Art Space at 3013 Main Street (definitely go check them out as they ALL look better in person). Bidding begins Sept. 5th so be forewarned I will probably bug you again on Friday.
I've recently returned from a fantastic, desperately needed trip to California! I'm so back logged though that I haven't even scanned half of my sketches done on my travels. Key words for the week would be: IDOLS, SUNSETS, SEAFOOD, DISNEY, DISASTER, DISNEY, MIRACLES, FAMILY, FUN. Not bad for a week's vacay, huh? I hope to post much more soon, but for now, some wise words from a childhood hero, Tomie DePaola as he delivered a closing keynote at the LA SCBWI conference:
The folks over at Storybird wanted to do something special to honor the life of Robin Williams. Since they know I dabble in the letter arts from time to time, they asked me to letter a line of his from Dead Poets Society.
Rest in peace Mr. Williams. You will be dearly missed.