Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009 Year in Review + My Eureka Moments

2009 was one of the craziest year of my life to date. Some highlights: **Warning: Long blabbing post!!**

-Books published! Two "my first graphic novel readers" published by Capstone Press: Lily's Lucky Leotard and T-Ball Trouble, Light the Menorah published by PSS, and The Great Reindeer Rebellion published by Sterling (a wonderful review of it here by fellow illustrator Kathy Weller..thank you, Kathy!)

-My baby gift card design for Target is now in stores. Had to keep this quiet till now, which was hard to do!

-Participated in Surtex. So grateful to have had the opportunity to experience doing a trade show.

-Partnership with I {heart} Papers to produce my own stamping line.

-And some how in between all of that, I got married and moved out of NYC to a completely new place in which I've never been to or know anyone.

-New place gave me my very own room as my studio = dream come true :-)

Some Eureka moments/lessons learned for this year:

Looking back at this year, I realized I was all over the place with where I wanted to take my work. I spent a good chunk of the time working on projects or portfolio pieces for industries I really have no interest in. So why was I doing it? I'm not sure. I got into the mentality that I must diversify my income and look for other industries that I can do work for. Which I still think is smart, but creatively I wasn't enjoying some of it. But I pushed on, like I needed to prove something to myself. In the end, I feel I spread myself way too thin, forgetting what I was passionate about- which is story telling and creating amazing children's books.

Perhaps the computer sometimes is way too easy to come up with quick, slick, images that can easily impress. I feel like I haven't spent a good amount of time on one amazing piece...but rather, a bunch of quick ones where I can get easy, instant gratifications. Thank goodness for some amazing illustrators out there that inspires me...I'm reminded again that what I want to do is Good Work. (thanks to Tara Lazar, I was invited to pick my top 3 picture books of 2009, check it out here. Some of my inspirations!)

Its time for me to work on more personal projects rather than come up with images which I think can be used in multiple places. Business wise it might be smart, but creatively, it is very stifling to me. The funny thing is, those personal projects of mine usually bring in work for me- work that I enjoy doing! What a concept!

So with that in mind, I'm going to come up with some fitting goals for 2010. I would love to hear some of yours. Much success and creativity to all this coming new year!

Gift Card design for Target

The wait is over! I was honored and humbled when I was contacted by Target a little over a year ago to design some baby gift cards for them. Definitely one of those "wow, really, you want me to design it?!" kind of jobs. And here is the one that finally made it into the stores.
There is a a bit of felt texture on the bear and clouds, which I didn't know about-its a nice touch. So if you are going to get a baby gift card, you'll surely pick this one, right? ;-)

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday...I was offline and took a nice break, traveling to see family and friends. Its time for reflection and think about goals for 2010. I'll be posting some of that. Cluck cluck!

Monday, December 14, 2009

My Table Display

My modest table display at a craft fair this past Saturday! I'm so glad I did the show; the best part was meeting many local artists and chat with fellow vendors. I'm slowly but surely finding my way in this new town of mine.

With the new year coming, I've been having many "Eureka!" moments in terms of what kind of direction I want to take my work for the new year. More on that later. Hope everyone is surviving in the meanwhile...I feel like I'm always super busy with work right before the holidays!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Friday, December 11, 2009

Spotted: Light the Menorah!

I got an email yesterday from fellow Illustration for Kids Paula Becker where she spotted my book, Light the Menorah, at a local Children's book store called Babar Books in Montreal! She kindly took pics for me.
There it is-do you see it? I'm happy to see how the yellow cover really stands out. I remember while working on this book that there were discussions about having the cover be really bright. It worked! ;-)
What a cute and cozy looking book store! Thanks again Paula for taking the pics...this made me so happy to see :-)

P.S.- Happy Hanukkah!!!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Crafting and Craft Show

With a light dusting of snow this morning in my new town, a 2ft Christmas tree lit, I did a little crafting- making gift tags. I bought one of these craft punch- much fun...a little addicting! And I'm a sucker for red ribbons with little stitchings on them. The penguin and the bear might look familiar, I just took it from some pre-existing art. Pretty easy.

And...I'm doing a local craft show this Saturday, 12/12! Its The Craft Circus Holiday Show. 119 E Liberty, Ann Arbor, from 4-9 pm. Hope to meet some local artists and new people there. I'll be bringing my monster cards and some books. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

No Farting Reindeers this Christmas!

Spoiler alert! This is the final spread from my latest picture book, The Great Reindeer Rebellion. Santa and the striking reindeers make up in the end...and I thought it was pretty cool that I got to draw Santa and the reindeers chillin' in the hot tub.

But there was something that had to be taken out though.
Its only a mere suggestion....can you tell what it is? I thought kids would find this funny if they found this little detail!

Surely reindeers fart too?

But the editors caught it and there was some discussion about it. In the end, it was swapped out with a reindeer blowing bubbles with a straw instead. Wahhh...noooo...not my my farting reindeer! I would love to hear your thoughts....offensive, or not? I really do not mean any harm.

So here is the inside story! If you get this book and read this to your kids, be sure to tell them about it, hee hee! Oh well, at least I got to draw a topless Santa.

I've been so incredibly happy that many people have been telling me about their sightings of the book or have bought it for their kids. Thank you so much, it really makes my day! A special thanks to Carrie-Anne for writing a great review about the book over at her blog!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Monsters Celebrate Holidays too!

My holiday cards are here!!! I've decided to switch things up and did 4 different designs this year. In my ventures into licensing, one of the things I've learned was in creating collections; images that go together, especially in a set like this. I've noticed that I only do alot of one-offs (besides doing books.) So I thought I would give myself that challenge when making holiday cards this year.

You'll notice these are the same monster from the moving monster piece I did (which by the way, I'm getting them printed as a self promo card). They were fun enough for me to crank out 4 designs very quickly.

So let me introduce to you:
Sleepy Monster
Knitting Monster
Santa Monster
Baker Monster

I'll be using these to send to friends, family & clients. Also put some up in my shop if you are interested :-)

And if I don't post before then, Happy Thanksgiving to those in the US! I will be staying here in Ann Arbor this year instead of traveling, but tickets are booked to spend Christmas with my family in PA and NY. I can't wait!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I spy my Barnes & Nobles!

I know its not even Thanksgiving yet but stores everywhere are already displaying alot of Christmas items. This weekend, I went to my local Barnes and Nobles and sure enough, they have my new book there! Its called The Great Reindeer Rebellion, written by Lisa Trumbauer and illustrated by yours truly. Its a great companion to The Haunted Ghoul Bus, with the same format and embossed pages, both published by Sterling.

What happens when the reindeers go on strike? Santas and his elves enlist other animals to pull the sleigh for him!
Some interior spreads:

There are some funny and interesting stories I would like to share while working on this book. But I will save that for another post. For now, I just want to officially announce it here that this book is released! You can get it on Amazon or at your local Barnes & Nobles.

Cluck cluck!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Birthday Wishes-Latest CGD stamp set!

Today I am celebrating the new release of Birthday Wishes.... the latest Chicken Girl Design photopolymer stamp sets! This is one of my favorites- you can find it at I {heart} Papers for only $10!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Featured at Paper crave!

My Chicken Girl Design photopolymer stamp sets are featured over at Paper Crave today! The blog features wonderful delicious paper products and related accessories for everyone to drool over. Thank you for the mention and kind words, Paper Crave!

Speaking of my stamps, there are sneak peeks right now of another set that will be coming out called Birthday Wishes, one of my favorites out of all the sets. It will be coming out on November 16th exclusively at I {heart} Papers, of course!

Check out what the Chicken Girl Design Team is up to:

In other news, I just spent my birthday weekend in Canada, (I'm actually still there right now!) but I'm heading home today. It was a lovely getaway but once I get back to my routine, I promise to have more fun posts here. Cluck cluck!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What will you be for Halloween this year?

I know, there is no chicken suit! I did these illos for Kindermusik. What's everyone going to be this Halloween? I thought I was going to be staying home passing out candy, but it looks like I will be going to a party, but a costume is neither required or suggested. Hmm. Perfect since I'm always too cheap to get a costume together!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Blogs and their influences

I recently received this lovely award from Deborah Mori of Life without Novacaine. Deborah was one of those blog friends I got to meet in person a while back. She shares her work and personal life there- I know she's been going through a rough year and am amazed at her strength; with each post she writes what she is grateful for that day. So, Deborah- I have to give this award right back to you-your blog definitely inspires me too.

I want to take this opportunity to thank all the readers and friends I've made through blogs. Its been about 2 months now living in my new town (for those who don't know, I just moved from New York to Ann Arbor, MI). I've been meaning to write a post about how things are going, but honestly, its all still too fresh- I have a different feeling each day. No, it has not been easy. But I do like this town alot, and I've surrendered that it may take me a while to really "settle in." I want to write more about my experiences as I can gather my thoughts better. But the friendships I've made through blogs helped with my transition alot. It keeps me going and inspires me every single day. So thank you :-)

The rules upon accepting this award:
1.) Only one rule. Pass this award along to someone who motivated you, inspired you or enriched your artistic life with their creative gift. If you feel so inclined, you can create a short list of the things you love, your favorite muse, or your favorite childhood memories. The most important thing though is to award someone who has made your life better.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


A sneak peek at one of my drawers filled with my promos and greeting cards. I'm slowly organizing my new-ish studio!

Monday, October 19, 2009

New Book: Light the Menorah

Hello! I have a new book that just came out called Light the Menorah, published by Price Stern Sloan. I just got a bunch of samples last week. Its an interactive board book in which there are tabs on top to light the candles.
It was a bit tricky because of the tabs; the menorah needed to be in a specific place on each page. But I'm pretty happy in the end with this. I think this is my first interactive board book!
It is available now on Amazon, and should be out in the bookstores around the holidays. I'll be on the lookout for it for sure :-)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Winter Stamp Releases over at I {heart} Papers

Winter is on my mind already because it is cold here in Michigan! No, I'm not a fan of the cold, but I think it keeps me alert and actually get some work done. So sometimes its a good thing.

Today I'm celebrating two new winter stamp set releases over at I {heart} Papers:
It's a Snow Day!
Just Skating By
They are $10 for each set over at I {heart} Papers.

The fine ladies over at The Chicken Girl Design Team is doing fun things with them- they are filled with fabulous ideas. Dare I say, get a head start on holiday crafting?!? Check them out:


Cluck cluck, and stay warm, everyone. I also have two new book releases this fall (yay!), so stay tuned!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

lllustration Friday- Flying

I haven't participated in Illustration Friday in ages but this week's topic-"Flying" really inspired me. A mixture of the topic and my desire to do something Halloween-ish made this illo. So happy since I did it for fun-without thinking how it can be used as a portfolio piece or some other purpose. I think us illustrators fall into that trap sometimes and become stuck. I know I do.

Although I think it looks sort of like a greeting card. (Hey Hallmark! Hey American Greetings, are you out there?!) I would love to do a whole line of wacky cards like this. :-)

Friday, October 02, 2009

Sprucing Up

There's been alot of sprucing up lately! Over at Ilustration for Kids, we got an updated logo and look (thanks, Holli!), with images used for our recent fall mailer. We are also at Facebook and twitter. Come follow us!

Our individual profile pages were also updated, with a fun Q & A section. Find out stuff like what kind of animal I want to be (no, its not a chicken) or some of my favorite artists. There is a "real" picture of me, I think I kind of look evil. Should I swap it out with a stock photo of a chicken instead?

A much needed update also went on over at my personal site. Happy to be using my moving monster as my welcome page. Oddly, the colors match exactly with the tabs above. And here I was thinking I've been making an effort in using different color palettes.

Please go visit and let me know what you think. Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Spooky Pick of the Month!

Its that time again when The Haunted Ghoul Bus is popping up everywhere! Here it is in this month's Scholastic Firefly book club. Being in the book club catalog means alot to me, since I use to work there years ago, designing the pages, and hoping one day I will have my own book in it.

Thank you for those of you who have bought the book, emailed me about seeing it in stores, and the many kind words about it!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Moving Monster-Revised

I decided to redo my moving monster piece, you can find the first attempt here. Thanks to all the feedback here and over on flickr, I was able to see what was missing. Here's what I came up with now:

Here was the "before":
Now that I look at it, The "before" looks more like a sketch. I'm glad I was willing to push it a little further, thanks to all the encouragement. I feel alot better. Whew! :-)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sketches at The Apple and The Egg

Some of my random doodles and sketches are featured over at The Apple & The Egg! Thanks to Nikalas Catlow for the invitation. Funny how I just mentioned this children's book illlustration and design blog in a recent post...really love all visual goodness going on over there (and not just because I'm in it now.)
I've really taken to using Molskines now as sketch books ever since I received one as a gift. I think I'm on my third or fourth one now.

To see more sketches, go here. Happy Monday!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

New Chickengirl Design Stamps: Monsters and Halloween!

Halloween is just around the corner and I'm celebrating another 2 set releases from the Chicken Girl Design stamp line over at I {heart} Papers!

Let me introduce to you Silly Monsters:

and Happy Halloween:
They are wonderful polymer stamps made in the USA:
I would love to show some fun projects using these stamps some time. For now, I have a fabulous design team whipping up some wonderful things, check them out:


I'm quite excited about Halloween this year because I just might get some trick or treaters!! When I lived in New York, I was quite fascinated by the fact that kids went to the stores to go trick or treating instead. I never had anyone knock on my door (or was it because I was out and about?) Now that I live in a house in a small town, I'm looking forward to the kiddies. Signs of old age, maybe!?!

Have a good week, everyone! And oh yeah, hope over and check out my stamp line, ok?

Friday, September 11, 2009

How Long Does It Take You to Make an Illustration?

How long do you think it took me to do this sketch?

How long do you think it took me to color it?
(spread from The Haunted Ghoul Bus)

Over at Illustration for Kids, we talk about how long it takes us to make an illustration at our blog. Join us!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Moving Postcard-Another Idea

I ended up going with another idea for my moving postcard. This is what I came up with (and printed). But after a few days of thinking about my previous idea though, I want to give the "moving monster" another shot. I received some great feedback to make it better. But since I really should be getting a promo out, this will be mailed out.
Alot of promotion and marketing plans are floating in my mind lately. Personal projects are brewing too. Perhaps my muse did move with me to Ann Arbor...she was just on another flight! :-)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Moving Postcard-1st Attempt

Trying to get back in the swing of things with an attempt to come up with a moving announcement postcard. I'm finding that I'm struggling a little bit, did I leave my muse behind? This is my first attempt- fun to post here but I don't like it enough to use as a postcard. Back to the drawing board.

Fun things I'm enjoying:
*Fellow illustrator Gina Perry with a pic of her baby Miles reading The Haunted Ghoul Bus! Totally adorable facial expression while flipping through the book! Its priceless to me, thanks, Gina!

*Recently found this awesome blog about children's book design and illustration:
The Apple and the Egg

Cluck cluck!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Quick Paintings using iphone's Brushes App

The latest fun I've been having is playing around with the Brushes App for the iphone. It is a simple app with basic tools that took the fear out of digital painting for me. A nice break from vector art.

This kitty is one of the first pieces I was finally happy with after playing around with the app for a bit. I'm too embarrassed to show anything before this one!Too bad his little kitty back leg was cropped though!

Then I sort of got the hang of it and did this piece:

Highly recommended app for those who wants to learn digital painting without the pressure. Plus, if its good enough for the New Yorker cover, its good enough for me!

**In moving news**-I'm officially in Ann Arbor, MI! I'm currently without any furniture at the moment; just exploring the town, and getting settled. I can't wait to decorate my new studio space!

More soon and thanks for stopping by!