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Today! (that day)

Today! (that day)

After a wonderfully busy couple of weeks, I’m finally catching up with the blogspace! It was, gosh, about 2 weeks ago that Super Satya Saves the Day officially landed!

As a book illustrator and art director, there are times when work is about more than emails, deadlines, manuscripts and schedules. I’m so touched and honored to be part of this special project with these amazing people. Satya, RaakheeAgan, and Bharat Babies…Thanks for making me part of this. I loved drawing this story! Woo hoo!!!!
You guys! Click on the image below to catch Satya's story on the Today show!

Learn to Draw

As a kid, one of my most favorite things in the world were my learn-to-draw books. I mean, Ed Emberley! Right?!

As the Art Director for Cantata Learning, I seized and opportunity to illustrate their first series of drawing books. Not only were they Cantata's first learn-to-draw books, they were mine too. It was a little daunting, but an insanely fun project working with our Editor/Author for these books, Blake. This was not a typical book project where I could just await a manuscript with art notes. Nope. Since I was inventing the instructions that readers would use, I worked with Blake every "step" along the way. Get it? Step? Step-by-step? Forget it.

Also, since Cantata Learning books are set to music, we had to work together to make sure that the steps made for good text to make for good music. Super collaborative process...tons of fun.

A few weeks ago...samples arrived! This was such a great experience, they WON'T be my last drawing books!


Even more fun...this weekend I got to bust out a few sample for the kiddos as a party. Few things fill me with more hope and inspiration than watching future artists go for it!

The Race is On

It's sketching time for my next Cantata illustration gig! In fact, we're already moving to color. Time flies! Here are some sketches and the first color page (in progress):

March on!

I can't tell you how much fun it is to see this book I illustrated for Cantata Learning animated and read by my pal, Shannon McClintock Miller!

When you meet one of your heroes

So, there’s an old theory that you should never meet your heroes…you’ll just be let down. I’m here to tell you that this is not always the case. 

Several weeks ago (I’ve been neglecting this blog terribly), I got to meet the man that drew some of the books that excited me about drawing!

The Worcester Art Museum (in Worcester, MA) opened the “KAHBAHBLOOOM: The Art and Storytelling of Ed Emberley” exhibit. ‘What?! That’s awesome!!!! The Mary Blair exhibit at the Eric Carle Museum and THIS just a few months apart?! Whoo hoo!’ 

I marked my calendar made a mental note to REALLY TRY to get over there after work. There was gonna be a meet-and-greet with the man himself since it was opening day.  The day came and I thought, “Ya know what? The way work's been going, I’ll never get out of here at a reasonable time!” So I took a personal day. I carved out an afternoon for myself at the WAM. I’d never been there. Charming, beautiful place. I loved it from the moment I opened the front door. 

The meet-and-greet was to be at about 5:00, so I wandered around the museum…AFTER I made a beeline for the KAHBAHBLOOOM Room (as I'll call it from now on. If you know me, you know I love a good rhyme.)

I gotta say, it was insane to walk through the room and see the actual handwork of the learn-to-draw books that charmed me as a kid…and as an adult. I was flooded with inspiration and nostalgia…especially since I’m drawing learn-to-draw books myself right now! I left and revisited the room three times before 5:00 arrived. 

A quick trip to the gift shop for my Emberley swag (including an amazing coffee table book by Todd Oldham and Caleb Neelon), I returned just in time for an impromptu book signing with Ed. Signing, apparently, wasn’t planned. But this man is such a gentleman. He gladly endured us, spent time with everyone, and signed our books! And...BONUS…I have an original Emberley doodle in fresh orange ink on the title page of mine! Such a great moment!

See my face? I can't even play it cool. He's just such a swell guy and inspiration!

I’d been hitting a wall with work lately. This Fall was PRETTY challenging. It’s been a wonderfully busy time, but also a time with plenty of frustration and LOOOONG days. This was exactly the motivation and battery recharge I needed. I know, I’m gushing. But an artist (I’m ok calling myself this now. I’ve been called a lot worse!) gets inspiration from very specific places. And revisiting this insanely charming world of art, I found my happy place. 

If you can get yourself there, I HIGHLY recommend it. Not only did I get to see the books I grew up with, I was able to stand nose-to-nose with some incredible picture book art I’d never seen before. Go. Do it. It’ll be your happy place, too!

Pssst, check out my pics below from the exhibit. Photos were allowed...PROMISE!!!

Sample Day!

I'll never tire of the day that samples arrive. Not only did I get my hands on books I designed and art directed today when the UPS guy arrived, but I illustrated these books too!


Exciting News! Thanks ELLE!

Exciting News! Thanks ELLE!

It's been about 10 years since I walked (sometimes sprinted) the halls of ELLE Magazine as Promotions Art Director for ELLEgirl. It was some of the most fun work I've ever done. And it was there that I was reminded of the potency of girl power! That magazine was a really important moment for empowerment girls and young women. And I loved it.

Well, another reminder happened a few days ago, and I'm over the moon about it! I could not be more proud to announce that ELLE just published the article "How to Build a Feminist Library For Your Baby". The article was a short list of recommended books that contributor Raakhee Mirchandani thinks make the perfect library of "powerful titles about powerful ladies that pack a big punch"!

One of the featured books is Padmini is Powerful by Amy Maranville (and illustrated by...ME)!!!!! Hooray! It was really incredible to see this. It's been such a labor of love making books with my friends at Bharat Babies. And to be recognized this way is so incredibly wonderful! Thanks, ELLE!

Sketchy Little Kids

A little Friday night sketching for a spooky new book project.

One of the great joys in the life of a book illustrator

One of the great joys in the life of a book illustrator

An illustration career can be challenging, a ton of long hours, frustrating, full of long nights, and the most rewarding job you could ever ever ever want. Sure, we get paid (usually). But there are moments like this that mean the most. I'd been Art Directing for Cantata Learning for a couple of seasons before I started illustrating a few titles, too. Lots of work and a ton of fun. From time to time, I'd post sketches and images on social media throughout the process. A few weeks ago, a long-time friend of mine that I'd not seen in a hundred years wrote to me on Facebook that she'd seen my illos on Facebook and had gone and purchased a couple of the books I drew for Cantata. She sent me this heart-swelling video of her little ones with Little Billy Bison and Bear Went Over the Mountain. If I illustrate a thousand picture books for kids, I'll never stop being so moved and so happy to see kids leafing through my pages. Thank you, Kerry! This video means the world to me!

Just a warning

Let it be known that If you mention Clara Bow on a conference call, this is what I'll be doing for the next 10 minutes.


Created this while listening into a conference call this week (yes, it actually helps me focus to draw). It was a loose, fun sketch...that resulted in a direction I'm exploring for style. Continuing my self-imposed education in "loosening up". Remember, Palin, not EVERYTHING has to be PERFECT!

Monkey around, folks! Have a swell weekend.

I gotta hand it to ya

When I did this sketch a few weeks ago, I knew it was gonna be one of my favorite color pieces when I got to it. This spread for an upcoming Bharat Babies project is making me so happyI I'm having a ball with this style.

A handful af sanjeevani

Who Lives in a Tree?!

I'm not gonna lie. Whether I art directed, designed, produced, or illustrated a book, I am always super excited about that day that my samples arrive! Days like today are extra special. As the Art Director for Cantata Learning, I art direct, design and produce anywhere from 35 to 50 books per pub season....twice a year! Today, the entire Cantata Learning Fall 2016 set of books landed at my doorstep...50 books! There's so much to be excited about here. But, I'll confess, I'm most excited to see 4 books in particular. This season, I also illustrated a 4-book series of books about where animals live...hee hee, and where they don't! Who Lives in a Tree? Who Lives by a Pond? Who Lives in a Cave? Who Lives Underground? Squeeee!!!!!


They're here!

Ah, the Queen Bee.

Watch those antlers, dude.

Moving Pictures

One of the best parts of sketching my book projects on the iPad...the movies! 

Here's a little video of a spread I sketched for Bharat Babies last week. Meet Miss Janani, your new favorite Yoga instructor!

Shiny Apple Tuesday

Putting some finishing touches on a project for Cantata Learning. Illustrating this book is super-duper fun!



I was interviewed by my client, Sparkhouse, for their blog. This week they're devoting their posts to the launch of the new product line "Frolic" which I designed and art directed. Check it out!


To draw or not to draw

One of my favorite things about drawing with Procreate on the iPad...the videos!


Hey guys! This past year, I've been working with Sparkhouse Family as the Art Director for their newest line of books. Already in production with the second season and some wonderful surprises, Sparkhouse is announcing season one of Frolic board books (4 titles), picture books (4 titles), and a bursting-with-cuteness 40-page board book Bible!

This has been so much fun working with the great folks at Sparkhouse. What a wonderful bunch of people coming together to bring kids and families these very special books! And I couldn't have had more fun working with artists Natasha Rimmington and Mike Garton (and of course their superstar agent Lucie Luddington) from Bright. So happy to be making these books alongside this team.

Check out the Sparkhouse Family Blog post and keep an eye out for more stuff!


Hey Monster, loosen up!

I have a tendency to overthink things … to look too closely and be overly critical of my own work. Last night i was reminded of a very valuable lesson. Sometimes, you gotta let the (Cintiq) pen do the thinking. I was on the phone with my parents and doodling in Photoshop. (I can never do just one thing at time … terrible habit, I know.) When I hung up, I realized I’d just polished off a quick illustration … one that I truly love. How did I get there? I turned of my illustration production engines and just let the creativity happen. I stopped worrying about “the right shape” and “does this jive with my other work?” and “would a different brush be better?” I love this little monster. And he came so naturally to me. In fact, he’s inspired a very special project I already have in the works. 



Ever wonder what Sia looked like as a little girl? I did the other day. 

Ever wonder what Sia looked like as a little girl? I did the other day.