Taking Back Ground

I seriously misjudged how I would feel the last month of pregnancy. I only remember working almost 9 hour days the last month of my last pregnancy so, I didn’t see it coming that I would not be able to keep up with my own work this time. However, chasing a kid all day and trying to finish all my client work before baby’s arrival is a different set of circumstances.

I’m going to try to get myself set up this week to ensure that there aren’t more big gaps in blog posts. We just have to see if labor cooperates, I think it will.

I finished the hippo piece that I was having a lot of fun with. It has been delivered and now I can share it. Of course, you know my pregnant brain forgot to scan it! So, we have to wait for the person who received it to send me a photo. However, I do have my pastel color comp for you first.



I loved drawing these sassy dancing ladies.

Trick Fox


Sometimes a piece can just not come together. This skateboarding fox has been frustrating me since last week when “skateboard” and “fox” came up as twoodle words. I couldn’t get the motion and shape of the fox right. Pages of sketches went by. I tried shifting to other pieces, reading a book, taking breaks. It was messing with all of my drawing mojo. Finally getting this to a place I am excited about is freeing.

Looking forward to finishing up other pieces tomorrow since I’m back in the flow of illustrating. I was working on a couple pieces all week along with these sketches but, now I feel I can finish them with flourish.

Moo Cow

My time has still been absorbed by the piece that can not yet be shared. So, here is something a little old, the cow from my son’s word/image game that I made for him.

I made this while he and I were doodling at our shared art desk. I reused some paper that had been partly drawn on, hence the random blue lines. I liked the activity feel they added to it. We had a lovely afternoon that day.

Opossum wants to play with Tiger

A little risky fellow has tangled himself up on this tiger’s tail. We will have to see if this tiger’s interested expression is based on hunger or playful curiosity.

This is the color comp for my twoodle from last week.

Ah! I did it again didn’t I? I got behind on posts, this should have been out yesterday morning. Two things lent themselves to this delay. One, I am working on something I can’t share yet. So, my pastels that were actually done Monday, is under wraps until the finish gets into the hands of the recipient. Then, I have gotten back into the habit of visiting our library. With a new treasure trove of books on loan I have been reading a little obsessively. We found some really great books! I couldn’t help myself but, sit and read for a few endless hours.

If you want to keep up with what I’m reading I am using Goodreads to keep track.

My favorites from this past visit are R.L. LaFevers Nathaniel Fludd Beastologist series. They are perfect middle grade adventure reads. Nathaniel is adorable and easy to relate to. The illustrations by Kelly Murphy are just right for the feel of the book.

the Fun Part

“getting there is half the fun; come share it with me” – Kermit

As I work my way back into an illustrating routine which, is guaranteed to be interrupted again in just 8 weeks, I have changed up my color comp stage. Instead of using the computer or watercolors, I am working with wet pastels. I do a color wash over my whole page then dip my pastel in water before I draw. This medium is very forgiving and lets me push color on top of color as I find the color balance I am looking for in my illustration.

Also, drawing like this is a ton of fun!


This is the horse I drew for a word-to-image match game for my son. In this instance the pastels are the final but, this is the image that made me realize I should be using this for every illustration. The pastels take me out of my desired highly controlled zone that is colored pencils. They give me room for error and quickly show me where I should push color that I wouldn’t otherwise test with pencils.

It’s easy to neglect process on an illustration especially when you are strapped for time, as most working moms are. However, it’s necessary to get to know the illustration you want to create, in whatever way is comfortable for you, to end up with the best finish possible. My path to final was make a sketch, think about color, then head to final. I kept feeling let down by my finishes, seeing them get overworked as I tried out directions and then had to double back to cover up the failures. Drawing a piece a few times, applying color a few times, means once at my final everything comes together and I don’t end with the question is this finished. It is clear to me when I’m done.

In digital illustration you see this done through the undo button and layers that can be removed. (Many people choose to work this way because in general it can accomplish a finished illustration faster.) If, you are still working traditionally you have to find other ways to apply the undo tool. Generally it comes down to, do it again. When you are working with watercolors especially, they are unforgiving when you have over worked them. It is almost always better to start over but, don’t fret on this taking more time. Every minute you are drawing, you are practicing, growing into to the best you you can be. Eventually you won’t notice how long something took because, you know it took as long as it needed to take.

Enjoy the process. We draw because we love it, if you aren’t having a good time, you’re doing it wrong.