Hosting a winner!

I had the marvelous opportunity of hosting Caldecott Award winner, Eric Rohmann this weekend at a conference. He wrote and illustrated My Friend Rabbit, Time Flies, The Cinder-Eyed Cats, Pumpkinhead, and Clara and Asha. His work is inspiring, creative, dynamic, beautifully crafted and ever-evolving. As a person, he is very friendly, kind, charismatic and generous. He was always ready to give advice when solicited, offer insights and any help to aspiring illustrators and writers alike. Below is my little sketch of him as he answered questions in a breakout session and a picture of him and I in our writer friend's (Rick Walton's) office. I learned so much from him from the moment I picked him up from the airport, to clicking the button on his slideshow presentation, to chatting at Starbucks, to saying goodbye to him and his wonderful writer friend,Candace Flemming at the airport. Thank you, Eric. By the way, if any of you meet him, be sure have him tell you about the pussy willow incident.

I did get to meet, but didn't get to quite rub shoulders with another WONDERFUL writer you all should know...Katherine Patterson (Newbery Award winner). Her keynote speech at the conference was inspiring. She spoke of beauty being achieved through truth. She said beauty has 3 elements...Simplicity, Harmony, and Brilliance. You could just feel her wonderful spirit emanate from her as she spoke. What a wonderful lady...friendly, kind and full of life.
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Illustration Friday: Cats

Everyday, my 2 year old comes to me with her mini-Magna Doodle and wants me to draw her a kitty. Here's today's kitty. Give me a break...the drawing surface is about 3 inches or so wide so there isn't much detail.

The painted illustration is from a post I posted a week ago...I guess I should've waited for the topic. Anyway, I'm reposting it under illustration Friday. Sorry for the repeat to anyone who's been here before. (That's why I added the Magna Doodle)

Here is the final page of the "Already Asleep" book, the words of which say, "goodnight." All that cat and mouse game playing and look where they end up.
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When I grow up

I just thought I'd share this with all of you.

My mother was going through old boxes and found a newspaper article she'd saved about me (when I was in fourth grade). I had been nominated to be the Evansville Courier (local paper) "All-Star Student." I can't believe that when I was only nine years old I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up...and I'm doing it. How lucky am I? Just in case you can't read the text in the article, this is what it says.

Julie (blanked out maiden name) is a cooperative and dependable student who excels in all subjects. Julie, who will be a fifth-grader next fall at Highland Elementary School, does especially well in art. "I would like to be an artist when I grow up," she said. "I like to spend a lot of time drawing pitures." Julie's teachers say she also is a talented writer who enjoys working with her classmates. She is a member of the school choir and plays the flute. [it was actually one of those Recorder Flute things] One of Julie's favorite pastimes is catching lightning bugs in the backyard. Julie is the sixth of nine children of Karen and James [blanked out last name]. "I like being in a big family," Julie said, "but sometimes I don't like having so many brothers (six)."
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Belly in the Mud

Here's the double page spread for "my pig Lynn" from the Already Asleep book. Any critiques? I think we need more of those honest critiques on these blogs. So how about it?
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Illustration Friday: "E" is for...

"E" is for Entomologist. My cousin's husband is an entomologist. So in tribute to him...maybe little John here will grow up to be one too. Although, which of us didn't put a few bugs in jars. (This is another illustration completed for "Already Asleep.")
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Finding the time

So there was a comment posted to my cat picture below asking how I find the time to illustrate and raise 3 kids (7 and under). Let me tell you...this week it's been hard. 2 of the 3 came down with colds and ear infections and ultimately RSV. On top of that, my husband has been at a conference for 3 days during this. I usually work during naps and at night after 8pm. I'm up late and up early. I also find time when they are playing happily. My 4 year old and 7 year old play pretty well by themselves, with friends or together. But my youngest just turned 2 and is getting into that notorious terrible 2 stage. She likes to get into things. Most of the time she's in my "office" (currently my bedroom while the basement is being finished) while I'm working...even on my lap at times. I give her a dry brush and an old painting and she thinks she's painting. It's definitely not easy, but somehow I find time and keep it all going. I think I have a little help from above most days and luckily my husband isn't gone ALL the time. He's a big help at times too. So, for all those illustrators with kids at their heels...kudos. And go read them a book (but don't forget to point out the pictures).
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Double Page Spreads

After completing all the spots for the Already Asleep book, I've been working on the double page spreads. On every one I've put a cat and mouse playing "cat and mouse." In this one, I've put things from the preceeding spot illos in the double page spread b/c that is what little John has done all day to make him so tired...balls, bugs, trucks and trees. In each double page spread I've also put the mom (who is never mentioned in the story) working and cleaning up after the busy day everyone has had...but you never see her face. Isn't that how motherhood is...the silent partner in all the busy goings on of the day? Moms do so much and it's just expected. But it's all worth it. I hate the mundane tasks of being COO (cheif operating officer) of the household, but I'm proud of the way my family turns out as a result of it.
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Illustration Friday: Sea (of people)

I was trying to think of a non-traditional way to look at the word "sea." The only thing I could come up with was the phrase "sea of people." Being a somewhat vertically challenged person myself (only 5'1"), I've always had a slight phobia of being in large pushing crowds. (I had a little crushing incident in 5th grade when I went to see the US President speak at a stadium and they let the balloons go...everyone just HAD to get one...beginning of my phobia?) So, this is just illustrates that slight fear. Um, I'll shut up now b/c that's probably more than you all needed to know. Just look at the picture instead. :-)
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I'm a freelance illustrator working in the children's book industry. I love kids and raising my own 4 children. They are the inspiration and the passion behind all I do in art and in life. See my website at

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