Sunday, February 22, 2015


At the beginning of February, my family and I went on a little trip down south to Arizona. It was the first real trip that we've taken since moving back to Canada from Europe four years ago. Arizona wasn't even a place I was very interested in visiting, but there was a conference there that my husband wanted to attend so we decided to turn it into our first family vacation as a threesome. It also coincided with the ten year anniversary of when my husband and I started dating.

It had been quite cold in Calgary before we left so the break from that alone was welcomed. The weather was actually perfect down there. Hot, but not so hot that we were always sweaty and tired. We spent most of our time just walking around Phoenix and Scottsdale exploring the neighbourhoods and enjoying south-western cuisine.

While my husband was at the conference, FĂ©lix and I went swimming (his first time), checked out some galleries, went for walks and hung out in parks. I drew in my sketchbook while he napped in the stroller. It wasn't the most exciting vacation, but it was so enjoyable and relaxing to just get away and be with my family without thinking about all the stuff on my to-do list.

I hadn't anticipated that our plane would fly right over the Grand Canyon, but it did and I got the most perfect arial view. Such an unexpected treat. It's so cool how the desert just splits open. From the sky, it looked like a wound in the earth, and it was so much bigger and more amazing than I imagined. I was really impressed. It was also really neat to see how the landscapes changed. We flew over several terrains that were all really different from one another. I even saw the line where the snow started once we got closer to home.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

two great interviews

I wanted to share these 2 illustrator interviews that I recently read and enjoyed.

The first one was with Carson Ellis on the blog, Picturebook Makers. Her first picture book that she's both written and illustrated, Home, is coming out this month. The entire post was really inspiring, but I especially found myself relating to what she said about "contributing something worthwhile to an already massive heap of brilliant books." As someone who aspires to one day write my own books, I think about that a lot.

The other interview was with Chris Silas Neal on Inky Goodness. Again, I really enjoyed the entire post, but it's what he said about his upcoming picture book, Everyone, that really inspired me:

"Everyone is a book about a boy and his feelings. Through visual metaphors I describe how expressing our feelings affects our surroundings and how the world reflects those feelings back at us. When you are sad, it may feel like you’re the only one who has ever been sad, but we learn that you are not alone. The world feels it too. So when you are happy, it makes the world happy."

What a great and unique idea! I can't wait to read it and see how he turned a concept like that into a book for children.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

the good stuff from 2014

I'm a little late on this post. I initially wasn't going to bother with it because I couldn't think of a lot of things to include. I usually focus my energy on building my illustration business, but in 2014 most of my energy went into growing a baby and then caring for him. Although extremely satisfying, it made for a short list :)

I have been thinking about this for the past month and a half though, and this is what I've come up with. The good stuff from 2014:

• illustrated my second trade picture book

• celebrated 7 years of marriage to my husband

• went on one little vacation to the Rocky mountains

• painted our house dark grey with creamy white trim

• planted an awesome vegetable garden

• had at least 6 visits with my mom who lives 9 hours away

• helped my husband start his own business

• learned how to be a bookkeeper

• perfected my thai red curry

• experienced being pregnant

• experienced giving birth

• became a mother - definitely the big highlight from this year and along with it came good stuff like baby snuggles, baby smiles and baby laughter

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Behind the Scenes of Charlie's Dirt Day - PART 6 - final art

A final sneak peek inside the finished pages of Charlie's Dirt Day...
This image is one of my favourites. It was really fun to work on and until it was completely finished I wasn't sure how it was going to turn out.

I hope you've enjoyed the preview of the book as well as some of my process over the last few weeks. If you want to see more, you'll have to buy the book :)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Behind the Scenes of Charlie's Dirt Day - PART 6 - sketch

This is the last sketch that I'll be sharing from my new children's book, Charlie's Dirt Day. Stay tuned to see how the final art turned out; I'll be sharing that illustration tomorrow.

If you've missed any of my previous process posts from this book, you can find them all under the hashtag #CharliesDirtDay.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Behind the Scenes of Charlie's Dirt Day - PART 5 - final art

Here's another finished spread from my upcoming picture book.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Behind the Scenes of Charlie's Dirt Day - PART 5 - sketch

This scene takes place a year after the rest of the story as the characters are heading to the next annual Dirt Day. The same characters who attended the previous year have decided to come back, but because so much time has passed, I included some small changes in their appearance, such as the hair on their heads and facial hair. The two little girls who met at Dirt Day last year became friends and are going together this year.

You can see from my sketches below that I had to alter my original layout in order to be able to fit in everything I wanted to include plus have enough room for all the text. The final sketch features some of the things that Charlie wants to grow in his garden.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Behind the Scenes of Charlie's Dirt Day - PART 4 - final art

Another look at a finished spread from my new children's book.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Behind the Scenes of Charlie's Dirt Day - PART 4 - sketch

For this sketch, I tried to make the composition more interesting by playing with the foreground. I liked the idea of bringing the viewer into the scene on the left side of the spread with a close up of a bowl of freshly picked tomatoes while Charlie and Mr. Martino made a sauce in the background on the right side. Whenever possible, I like to integrate the text with the image and the bowl provided the perfect opportunity for that.

Because Charlie is so short, my initial plan had been to have him standing on a stool, stirring the pot of sauce. However, my publisher pointed out that it wasn't the safest place to put a little boy, something I hadn't considered when I was coming up with ideas for the spread. I reworked the drawing to instead show Charlie offering Mr. Martino tomatoes from the bowl.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Behind The Scenes of Charlie's Dirt Day - PART 3 - final art

Here's another peek at some of the final art from my next book.

The Character of Charlie was based on a sketch I had done when I was traveling through Europe. At one point, my husband and I were living in Paris and I was drawing more than I ever have in all my life. I did a lot of sketches of children at that time and there was one in particular that I really liked but had never been able to use in a project. When I read the manuscript for Bye, Bye, Butterflies! a few years ago, that sketch immediately came to mind for the character of Charlie.

Both of the Charlie books that I've illustrated were written by Andrew Larsen and his stories were based on experiences that he had with his son. Knowing this, when I designed the character of Charlie's dad for Bye, Bye, Butterflies! I based it on a photo that I had seen of Andrew.

The older man in this illustration is Mr. Martino and he comes entirely from my imagination.  For that character, I liked the idea of an older man with an eclectic sense of style.