Sep 13, 2017

Sketches and Sundries

Thank you Blurb Books for sponsoring this post!

It's no secret that I love sketchbooks. A lot. And as someone who's been keeping a regular sketchbook since high school, I have stacks of the things around. A few months back, I decided to put together a book of my sketchbooks, to have handy in one volume a smattering of all those drawings. So when Blurb recently offered me a chance to create my own book through them, I immediately jumped at the opportunity to make the sketchbook idea a reality. If you're not familiar with Blurb, they're a terrific company that allows you to create and print your own books, magazines and eBooks (as well as sell the end result in the Blurb Marketplace, Ingram, or on Amazon).

Sketches and Sundries is the book I made with Blurb, a hardcover volume full of sketchbook images from the past few years. I'm over the moon with the way the book turned out — Blurb's quality is top notch. The Premium photo paper I used for the interior pages is the stuff of dreams (speaking of which, the paper swatch kit is a big help in figuring out paper stock). And the colors! I'm blown away by the vibrancy of the images and my artwork reproduced beautifully.

To design the book, I used the Adobe InDesign plug-in available from Blurb. I've never worked with a plug-in before, but it turned out to be straightforward and well worth the time. The plug-in integrated with InDesign to set up my document to spec, so there was no guesswork on my settings or about output for print. If you've got a basic, working knowledge of InDesign, you should be good to go using the Blurb InDesign plug-in (and if you need some extra help, I'd recommend the help page and video tutorial). But if InDesign isn't your cup of tea, Blurb does offer BookWright, its own layout tool that's free and easy. 

And I'll have Sketchbooks and Sundries available for sale soon! So stay tuned on that...

I had a terrific time making this book with Blurb. Having the opportunity to go through my old sketchbooks gave me the chance to think about the illustrations I've made and the things I'd still like to draw. Invariably, there have been plenty of ideas I'd forgotten about in those sketchbook pages that I'm ready to bring to fruition. And among those ideas would definitely be more books like this. I've been mulling over the idea of making a book of portraits or even a one-off magazine. I’m excited by all the possibilities and plan on diving back into those sketchbook pages, to see what future projects are waiting inside.

Sep 6, 2017

Summer Summary

Apologies for the lull in updates over the summer -- it's been a full few months. I'm in the home stretch on final book art right now and between that and other assorted work, there's been lots of drawing happening. Aside from work, I've tried to take some time over the past weeks to step back and recharge. I saw the fantastic Marguerite Zorach exhibit at the Farnsworth, scraped paint off the porch, ate fish and chips and spent the night on the Isles of Shoals. In short, it was a good summer.


* The above is a test stitch of some embroidery motifs I designed that'll be available in my Etsy shop this fall. I'm hoping come October to have some time to finish this one up.

* An inteview I did over on My Giant Strawberry about sketchbooks. Speaking of which, be sure to check out Anne's work while you're over there, as well as the treasure trove of artist profiles she includes on the site.

* In less than a month, Fort Building Time comes out! And I'm thrilled that it's made the Autumn 2017 Kids' Indie Next List.

Jul 6, 2017


It's been too long since I've done any Doctor Who fan art, so here's some Clara Oswald to fix the situation.

May 31, 2017

May is just about done and I can't quite fathom that Summer is on its way. I'm wrapping up the last bits of a 2018 picture book and just finished sketches for another book. In between that?

* If you're within driving distance, the current Andrew Wyeth drawing exhibit at the Farnsworth Museum is wonderful. It's a terrific assortment of Wyeth's studies and sketchbooks, and well-worth the visit.

* I'm thrilled that Finding Wild is included in The Best Children's Books of the Year, selected by the Children's Book Council.

* I finished reading Slow Stitch: Mindful and Contemplative Textile Art by Claire Wellesley-Smith last week and it's wonderful. I really enjoyed the portions about the need to pull back from society's relentless pace.

* I'm doing a shop update this coming Friday, June 2 with some new original pieces. I'm hoping to get back to print sales later in the summer. In the meantime, though, I do have prints available over here.

Apr 18, 2017

On Going Goings On

It's been a busy Spring so far. I wrapped up final interior art for a spring 2018 picture book (more on that later) and began working on character sketches for a new project. I've been trying to finish up a few watercolor pieces and some embroidery projects in between. And I'm very slowly working my way through a 2017 personal challenge, illustrating each of the Queens of England.

What else?

* I just finished A Long Way From Chicago (courtesy of my sister, who leant me her copy) and it was wonderful. And I'm just about done with Jane Jacobs's The Death and Life of Great American Cities, which is also a terrific read.

* I've been binge listening to the Creative Pep Talk Podcast. It's swell!

* Speaking of bingeing, Father Brown is top of my Netflix queue at the moment.

* And I'm sewing the Moneta dress from Colette Patterns, using one of my Spoonflower designs. Photos forthcoming! I was a bit nervous tackling this one, as I've never sewn jersey before (and don't own an overlock machine). But the pattern is so well-written and the online tutorials so good that it hasn't been the painful experience anticipated. I can't recommend the pattern enough!

Now back to drawing. And (in the interest of full disclosure) bingeing on jelly beans.

Mar 10, 2017

Red Herrings

I've been listening to mostly television and movie soundtracks lately while working. And because said playlist is 75% mystery theme songs, here's a rather mysterious lady (who looks like she knows where the arsenic is kept).

Also, if you'd like a listen, here's a link to the Spotify playlist.

Feb 15, 2017

February Findings

The past month, in a nutshell:

* I read Seven Brief Lessons on Physics and liked it (aside from the final chapter, which wandered). It's a beautifully written little volume, leaving the reader aghast at the complexity and wonder of the universe.

* If you aren't subscribed to the Small Batch List, run over and do so immediately. Claire puts together a stupendous weekly newsletter, full of all sorts of goodies. Film recommendations, recipes, artist profiles -- it's a delight to read and I look forward to it every Friday.

* I finished knitting Irina Dmitrieva's Foliage Hat and have been wearing it daily. I hadn't knit cables in years and was a bit nervous initially, but it's a well-written pattern and fits like a dream. And for yarn (if you're local) may I wholeheartedly recommend Saltwater Fabrics?

* Speaking of local, I hosted a Valentine Making Party in my studio this month and it was so much fun. I'm hoping to host more events in the studio, later on in the year.

Aside from that? I'm plugging away at final book art, shoveling out from snowstorms, working on a surface design lookbook, loving Last Tango in Halifax and in general, trudging through February. But the light lasts longer at the end of the day and the seed catalogue came in the mail, so I think it's acceptable to start daydreaming about spring. Right?

Jan 16, 2017

UPPERCASE Surface Pattern Design Guide

I'm thrilled to be included in the new UPPERCASE Magazine Surface Pattern Design Guide! A part of the most recent issue, it's packed full of delightful print and pattern and well-worth the read.

Jan 3, 2017

Twenty Seventeen

Happy New Year! Hope your holidays were splendid.

I've been mulling over the new year, making plans and resolutions, albeit slowly and with a heavy dose of realism. Professionally, I'd like to:

* Continue to explore embroidery and surface design.

* Make some sort of a zine (or if I'm really ambitious, a book) that would consist of sketchbook faces and accompanying stories.

* Get back to making comics, however sporadically that happens.

Aside from that, I'm working on final art for a 2018 picture book right now, then will shift gears to a project that I can't wait to share more about. And in the fall, Fort Building Time by Megan Wagner Lloyd comes out!


* I want to make more of my clothes, mostly because as a grown woman it's impossible to find a shirt covered in cephalopods. But also for reasons of sustainability, I'd like to knit and sew more of my wardrobe, even if it's only a handful of items.

* Reading is on my list of resolutions, but I'm not setting a number of books this year. The Brothers Karamazov and Little Dorrit have been sitting on the shelf forever. Owing to their size, I'm planning to read a couple hefty books this year, rather than a lot of shorter volumes.

And beyond all that, I think I'll just stay the course. I'm sure there'll be trips to see family, vintage shenanigans and hopefully some more camping once the weather accomodates.

And you?

Dec 22, 2016

Holiday Gift Tags

Happy holidays! Below is the link to some gift tags I made -- hope you enjoy!

:: Download ::

You'll need a PDF reader to open these. Before printing, I recommend adjusting your printer settings so that it's at its highest output quality (especially if you choose to run these on card stock). Feel free to print as many as you like for personal or educational use.