fun weekend in Brooklyn!

Spent the weekend with my buddy Allyn in Brooklyn this weekend. She lives in a new neighborhood-Ditmas Park-so different from Carroll Gardens where she lived for over 20 years.

We had fun exploring all the tree lined streets and big homes including Michelle Williams new mansion that was completely renovated. I need to find a pic of it... And of course, we found a fun spot called Sycamore where we shared some cocktails and laughs.

Anyway! Great fun. Always thankful for my sweet friends. 


lovely Kate

I can't express just how sad I am to hear of Kate Spade's death. I wish someone could have helped her. She was always a huge inspiration to me and I've retold her story of how she started her handbag line countless times. She was such a uniquely talented woman with tenacity and immense creativity.

We never know what is going on beneath the public facade. My heart breaks.


on process...

So much goes into the making of a picture book. As author and illustrator, I have experienced the editing on both sides, but this time around I am solely the illustrator. A lovely manuscript by Maryann Cocca Leffler was assigned to me and it has already been such a fun experience. I get to put all my energy into the look of the book. I've been experimenting with different style/mediums for months but for now it is all about the sketches!

The process of illustrating is a long one. You may think 32 pages isn't much-actually 40 in this case-but for each page you see, there were probably 4-5 sketches behind it during the dummy phase. In April I submitted my dummy to my editor and now it has come back with notes and revisions. An illustrator must be aware of continuity when drawing a character multiple times-as well as complex scenes that must make sense in the pages ahead. There are so many things to solve during the drawing phase-from style, setting, scale to all the minute details of season, time of day, expressions, body language, etc. The paper trail adds up quickly so I keep everything in a big bound sketch notebook where i use binder clips to keep all the loose papers/trial illustrations, notes, etc. Really helps to have things in one place.



The dummy/sketching phase is vital to working out every detail before moving on to final art. It's a bit like an architect's blueprint. You wouldn't just start building a structure without a plan. A book is no different. Yesterday I made notes on the dummy revisions so that I could create the second one. There are some pages that can be salvaged, save for a scaling of spots here and there, but other pages which require a complete overhaul. 

Am I excited to start final art? Oh yea! :) But it is uber important to nail everything down now.

But in between revisions, I can't help but play with gouache and watercolor to determine the tone for the final art. I created a small mood board so I could determine the look for the fall scenes. Here I can see elements i may want to keep and those i may decide to toss. Again, it's a long process. This book has a more serious tone so I will probably go with a more subdued palette. I want the author to be happy with what I choose and the more I have thought about style, the more I think I will go with watercolor. More to come! Ok, that's all for now. :)


Meeting Andre!

I remember the first time I read "The House of Sand and Fog" and aside from being completely captivated and emotional, I wanted to know how an author even came to create such a novel. I wanted to know his process and upon reading an article online, I discovered that not only did he live in the same town I did (at the time) but that he had recently written a memoir about growing up in Haverhill Massachusetts-where I spent my early childhood. 

This weekend up in Newburyport, Massachusetts where i was attending a literary festival, I not only got to hear him speak and interview Ann Hood, but I had the pleasure of attending a party at the home that he built by hand! I wasn't feeling great that evening, but I was intent on meeting him. As I was heading out, he was on the front porch and suddenly I heard his rugged voice bellow "Well who are YOU?" I introduced myself, explained that i wrote for children when he asked if i was an author (also said not to say so apologetically) I then told him what a super fan I was of his work and then went on to explain that I recognized so many places he mentioned in "Townie: A memoir". He thought I was too young, but I explained that I was a child with a strong memory. 

He was such a lively, warm man and joked about the fact that there should be a phrase for those moments leading up to a photograph (my boyfriend was taking a picture of us) where two people are waiting...cuddling? Canoodling? We laughed and he kept hugging me the whole time. I was so delighted that this man was so generous, welcoming and kind to each person that climbed those stairs to his house. A brilliant mind and also an all around great guy!