Monday, December 10, 2007

What's Up?

I have an assignment I'm working on for an Educational publisher. When I do these it is quite different from a Picture Book. With a picture book you can be quite creative and run with your imagination. Educational assignments are very nice to have, but the work is very specific and detailed. These are mostly early readers, or grade level readers and the text and images must fit together in great detail. It is fun to work both ways, although I would imagine that most illustrators would prefer the creative Picture Book approach to the detailed instructional/educational approach.

When I work for an educational publisher I will often make lots of sketches of different elements that appear on various pages of the text. I will cut these figures or objects out and start positioning them on a separate sheets of paper like little collages. This way I can move people and things around until I get an idea of composition and scale. I know this can be done in the computer too, but I like to work with my little paper people first. I will also work on several pages at a time, just to keep the characters consistent.

So here are some elements grouped in an image of how they have been fitted together....just for now. Once this is in the computer, it may change again, but I find the whole process kind of fun and challenging. ( You might be able to see the shadow line of some of the cut outs.) There are actually several more elements that will fit into this scene, but they are still in the scanner.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Trowbridge Research trip

I guess I'll go first...

My lunchtime read-and-look over the last couple days has been James Gurney's link on his blog, Gurney Journey, to Harry Anderson's amazing work. He was one of the 20th Century's great illustrators. I admired his work as a kid. Don't just look at the the text too. It's fascinating.

I just finished a map of the Seattle area for the Union Gospel Mission. They wanted to show in a humorous way the ten different facilities that they maintain in the Seattle area. It will be posted on my Fun Maps USA web site real soon.

Just posted...I just finished a cartoon map for The Famous Radio Ranch in Los Angeles. Owner Dick Orkin is the creator and star of the renowned Chicken Man radio series ("He's everywhere! He's everywhere!"). I was a faithful Chicken Man listener on Armed Forces Radio when I was overseas in the army. Do you remember Chicken Man?

In a couple weeks I'll be leaving the Western Hemisphere with my faithful research assistant and wife, Jacquie. Our destination: a remote island in the South Seas, called Mangaia. In my Trowbridge shrew research I recently got a tip that there is strong evidence of ancient Trowbridge shrew colonization on this and other remote islands in Polynesia and Melanesia. I want to see if there is a connection between the shrew colonies in the Mongolian steppes (Shrew Khan) and those in the South Sea islands. This research will hopefully lend credibility to my theory that the Trowbridge shrews began in Asia and "leap-frogged" their way to the Americas. I'm sure the results of my research will be turning up in the Trowbridge Chronicles in the weeks ahead. Stay tuned. I'm preparing for the big trip last night, my office phone rings. "Uh-oh," I mutter, " I hope it's not a new project." It is...30 detailed Bible illustrations, due on January 3rd. Like a fool, I accepted the job. It looks like I'll be drawing on the plane to, and from the South Seas.

What's New with You?

What's up with you and your art? Have you redesigned your website? Are you working on a new project? Looking for a new project? Adding to your portfolio? Traveling? Teaching? Going to Classroom visits?

Chime in here and spread any News you have!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Best Illustration Job

It would be hard to pick one "best" illustration job after all these years. But my Great Thistledown Flood comes to mind because it was the first kids' book that I wrote and illustrated, and I was honored to have it voted a Gold Medallion Honor Book at the CBA Convention. That book was day and night seven days a week for five months. I remember getting a call from a school principal one night...he told me that his daughter read to him for the first time that day...from my Thistledown book. And another call from California late one night...someone couldn't find the ladybug that I hid on a page from Thistledown, and she was deeply distressed.

And the Where's Dan Quayle? and Where's Charles and Di? books were an unforgettable memory. Because they sold into the hundreds of thousands I was getting constant calls from newspapers and radio stations all over the country for interviews, and featured in People Magazine, Time, Newsweek, USA Today and many other major mags. I was even booked onto David Letterman because of the Dan Quayle book (but they canceled out the day I was supposed to leave for New York because they thought the book might stir up too much controversy). So it was exciting, but again both books were day and night seven days a week for five months, and allowed me to attend the ABA Convention at the publisher's expense. seems this day and night job never gets any easier. Now Mrs. Trowbridge is the cruel task mistress.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Best Illustration Job

Illustrating THE ADVENTURES OF CALI was sheer joy for me! The Publisher and author were fantastic to work with, and the story is touching without being sappy. The idea that a little boy actually carried a caterpillar all the way from California's countryside to an apartment in Flordia IN A SALAD was too much fun to pass up. To make the book even more fun the publisher had the printer make the cover illustration of the caterpillar all sparkly. A finger puppet and another toy are coming soon to partner with the book.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Best Illustration Job - Sort It Out

For me it seems that the current project I am working on is the best. Sort It Out just hit the spot for me. I have loved illustrating all the books I have had the honor to illustrate. But, so far this one has been such a great fit I can't even say how much fun I am having. Everything about it just works.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Best Illustration Job?

What was the best illustration job you ever got, and why was it the best? Did it challenge you? Did it pay well? Was the client really great to work with? Did it come at a time in your life when you needed it the most? Was it an answer to a prayer? If it was a long time ago, are you still proud of the job you did? I am curious to read your stories...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Most Challenging Project

Amy sounds like she had quite an experience with that mural project! My most challenging project was quite the opposite actually - it was very small! Over the years I've done a number of local and state level assignments for various magazines and organizations. About 8 years ago, I had an assignment for a campaign for veterinarians which sounded like a blast! I was to illustrate a scene for their "Vets to the Future 2000" campaign and show a couple of vets with a couple of vets taking off in a Jetson-like spaceship. Sounds like fun, right? Well, it was and I loved my initial drawing. But the client decided that they wanted more pets...OK, so I added a few more pets. Then they wanted more vets...getting crowded now but fine, I added more vets. Now, keep in mind this was not for a poster or anything like that. This image was to be used on things like stationary, meaning it would be reproduced very small!Then they decided they wanted to see the inside of the "spaceship" including knobs and buttons while showing several vets, many pets, and everyone's faces even though now they would be taking off away from the viewer... ?! I tried to explain that by having soooo much detail in this drawing that it would look cluttered, busy, and confusing after being printed so very small. Needless to say they did not care, they wanted what they wanted and so I finally was able to come up with something that they loved... but I hated!! So my solution for future issues that come up like this? Make sure you know exactly what the client is looking for before you begin and before you get yourself into something that will drive you nuts! :)


The Most Challenging....

One of the most challenging jobs I ever had was one that was outside of the field of my normal illustrations. (Above is one pic of it in the middle of the process, without the players and with some blue tape on it)...I don't know where on earth the finished pics are at the moment) It was to do a huge wall sized mural of the Fed-Ex Football field, (Washington Redskins home field in DC) It was approximately 6.5' tall by about 16' long, complete with tiny football players, In correct field positions, numbered with the correct uniforms and skin tone, etc.....argh....there was also a huge crowd of fans and guys on the sidelines...(refs, umps, players) a scoreboard with the score the client's son had decided, and logos that are at the FedEx field. I even made parts of the crowd glow in the dark when the lights would be turned off. The lines and numbers of the field had to be done well enough not to look wrong..and the goal posts etc.

I think what helped most was that I just decided I would tackle it bit by bit and that there had to be a way to figure it out. That was the most valuable thing I learned..that it is possible to learn nearly anything if you are determined to do it. The mural is on my blog somewhere back in the archives. It was commissioned by a friend of mine for their first home, and the teen-age son of course was a fan of the Redskins.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The most challenging...???

What was the most difficult or challenging thing, object, scene, collage that you ever illustrated? At least up to now.
How did you approach it? How long did it take to complete? It would be really interesting to see how different artists approach a difficult subject. Is there a particular thought process or preliminary type of sketching that has to be done?

Friday, October 12, 2007

WHOOEEE!!!!!! Two Books for ZONDERKIDZ

Okay as I type this I am thinking I am crazy!! But. . .over the course of the next 8 months I will be doing 3 books!!!!!!! I cant' believe it!

A few days ago I was approached by Zonderkidz to do 2 books for them!!!! Yes 2 not just 1 but 2!! Can you tell I am jumping up and down!

I am just so darned excited I can't sit still. I have been dying to announce it and I just got permission today.

Zonderkidz is a Christian Publisher owned by Harper Collins Publishers!!!

My goal since I started this career was to work with a mainstream Christian Publisher! When I first started illustrating for kids five years ago I went into our local Bible Bookstore and looked at the children's books to see which books I liked and the names of the publishers who published them. Then I started including them on my list of promos mailers. I walked out the store that day with a book titled Who Made God? And of course it was published by non other than ZonderKidz! So working with them was definitely at the top of the list and a dream come true!!!!!!

Pardon my celebrating. . .but Wahoo!!!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

What Inspires Me

Better late than never. When the drain field alarm went off in our garage yesterday, I went "ouch!" I was INSPIRED to avoid paying a costly septic bill, so I sold the owner of the septic company on the idea of a septic cartoon for the wall of his office. Just like that I erased a $400 septic bill. I've done lots of trade outs over the years. This is perhaps the most unusual one.

Is Your Website a Closet or a Display Case?

Which is it? Does your website behave like a closet or a display case? Our closets are the places with the doors that need to be opened to gain access to the things inside. We shield the unfolded sweaters on the shelves, the untamed sneakers strewn on the floor and the garments we no longer wear from all eyes. But, a display case invites all to see the treasures laid out before them.

What would be the point in going to an art gallery or museum if all the treasures were hidden behind closed doors and panels. Aren't display cases more inviting? Now, apply the same thinking to your website. Do you really want that art editor or agent to have to wait tap, tap, taping his or her foot while the doors open, the flash script runs, the gears twirl or the "LOADING" sign warns of a long wait for the viewing of your illustrations.

Why not give those editors and agents and art directors direct access to your open display case. When you send out a postcard or promotional piece with your website address you ask for a visit to your gallery. Keep the door open. Let the visitor see what is inside without having to unlock doors, open cabinets and stand on the doorstep waiting to gain access.

All those animations, bells, whistles, gears and toggles may be great if you want to play a game, or solve a mystery. But art editors are coming to that site listed on your promotional material to SEE your work and you may have only a minute or two to get their full attention.

I am guilty of "closet" mentality when it comes to my current website. So, for the next few hours, days, however long it takes I will be doing my best create a display case that invites, delights, and "works" for me.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Gingers Post. . .Inspired me!

Ginger I just got home from coffee with a friend. . .actually I had coffee with my friend and then I stopped by the post office to mail some things. When I was standing in line, there was a woman pregnant with child and her small maybe 6 year old daughter. I was so taken by the child's beauty that I could hardly keep my eyes off of her. I actually thought "This child is so beautiful she needs a picture book about her." The child was so very patient as I tried to study what it was about her that just made her glow. I loved her hair, her outfit, her shoes, her eyes could never have anyone do them justice. . .they were incredible. I am sure she is just as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. How could I tell? She was loving on her mother as they stood at the counter.

Anyway I told myself I should go home and draw her. . .knowing that I wouldn't as I am in a crunch for a deadline. But your post Ginger inspired me to do just that. . .come home and do a really quick sketch of what touched me today. . .I could never do her justice but here she is. . .thank you Ginger for doing what you always do. . .inspire me!!


What touched you today?

What is there that today or yesterday or maybe last week, touched you so much when you saw it that you HAD to find a pencil and start sketching?

When the sun sets? Is it a butterfly taking off in the sky for a 3000 mile journey? Is it a single leaf twirling in the breeze just before it floats to the ground?

Is it your child, or mother or father? Is is a homeless man begging on the street? Is it so bright a moon that the forest is lit up like the day?

Is it firefiles, caterpillars, children's toys, a woman at the supermarket with an army of her own little ones?

Is that mountain in the distance, or the one you are climbing?

Is it the flowers that faithfully give their blossoms late into the fall? Birds? Bees? Your neighbor working in their garden?

What touched you today?

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Song for A Giraffe

At long last the day is almost here. SONG FOR A GIRAFFE the book that took me a year to illustrated is due out this fall/winter. It changed my style a bit, expanded my view of illustration for children, and I learned a lot along the way.

©Ginger Nielson2007

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Doodle Caper

Here is my interpretation..The Doodle Duckies.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Picture Book Junkies Challenge - Doodle Game

The Picture Book Junkies invited the Picture-Bookies to a Doodle Game. I think this is really fun. . .so I am posting it here on their blog as well as My blog.

Here's the challenge. They gave us a doodle and we are suppose to make something out of it.

Here is the doodle they gave us:

And. . .here is what I came up with:

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

My Favorite Illustrators

So many amazing illustrators to choose from as favorites. My tops are
Howard Pyle ...the master illustrator.
Bernie amazing illustrator. There aren't many good samples of his children's illustrations online, but I have nearly every children's book with them in it.
Helen Ward is another genius at illustrating. My favorite book of hers isn't listed here. It's a Christmas story with all of the animals in the stable.
Leo and Dianne incredibly gifted and versatile team (once again, not much of their gorgeous work shows up online. It seems that all of my favorites shy away from being shown online. I guess they don't need to advertize their work)
Kinuko Craft rich, luminious gorgeous paintings...incredibly detailed with such a sense of atmosphere.
Gennady Spirin..absolutely amazing work.
More include Jerry Pinkney and David Diaz

Favorite Illustrators ~ AHhhhhhhh

Where to begin. My life has always been influenced by pictures, artwork, illustrations, books of all kinds. Here are a few illustrators that I admire, not only for the artwork but for the vision they must have to create such fantastic worlds.
Mary GrandPre has a huge body of exciting work that goes far beyond Harry Potter.
Marla Frazee is another favorite whose humor and attention to detail always conveys a laugh or a tear.
Tomi Ungerer is a bit on the dark side, but I loved his sense of humor and his wonderful use of line and watercolor. Zeralda's Ogre is such a book.
Tomie dePaola has a wonderfully simple way of showing emotion, action and delight with his line and color. One of my favorites of his is, Simple Pictures are the Best. That is one funny romping book!
Jan Brett will always have a place of honor on my children's bookshelf.

My Favorite Children's Illustrator/s

Since starting my career in children's illustration I have acquired quit the collection of children's books. I love children's books. I not only have picture books, but I also have a few first chapter books for kids.

I have several illustrators that I love and I won't list them all in the post. . .I'll just concentrate on one who has replaced all my other favorites and is in position number one! And when you see his work you will know why!

Tony DiTerlizzi - I can't even say enough about this guy. Check out his website he is sooo fun and his work is just wonderful!! He has so much energy in the videos of him on his site. I think it is just that energy that makes his art as fun and lively as it is.

Here are a list of his books:

Ted - This is my very favorite of his books! Looks as if it is done in acrylic or oils

G Is for One Gzonk!: An Alpha-number-bet Book - This has the flavor of a Dr Suess illustrated book. . .but very refined Dr Suess.

Jimmy Zangwow's Out-of-This-World Moon-Pie Adventure - Very fun story. Looks like it might be oils.

The Spiderwick Chronicles - This is a chapter series, but I bought it just because he illustrated it. It has lots of black and white illustrations. The series started out a bit slow for me. . .but of course it's a kids book. But I am currently on the 4th in the series and it's getting pretty book. There is a movie on the series coming out this next Spring! I am excited!!!

Care and Feeding of Sprites - This is a companion book to the Spiderwick Chronicles and has incredible art.

Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You - This is also a companion book the the Spriderwick Chronicles. It is actually a copy of a book that is referenced and used in the series.

The Beloved Dearly - This is a 192 page chapter book of which I haven't read yet.

The Spider and the Fly - This is a black and white picture book, which I just recently learned about through a post by Gina on this blog.

I own all of his books, but the last two and they are on the way to me in the mail as I write this!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Todd Harris - Hog Heaven

I guess I'll get the ball rolling. There are so many illustrators out there that I like, it would be hard to narrow it down to one. But there is one who stands out. To me this guy is the painter's painter. His forest scenes that are used as backgrounds are mind-boggling to me. His name is Todd Harris. He works for Disney in the gaming business. This is his blog. No words, just pictures: You'll find more work like his at his web ring: Avalanche Software:

I hope you're as inspired looking at his work as I am.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

I'm Excited!

I just ordered copies of this book I illustrated, "My New Pet", which I will have for sale at the SCBWI-IL gallery show in October. Click the link to my blog to find out more details.

Also, my illustration, "Symphony In The Pond", was chosen by the SCBWI-IL to be used on all of the gallery show's promotional materials! I am so excited I could probably implode! You can click to the SCBWI link from the post on my blog, and see a sampling of works by other amazing children's book illustrators.
©Kathleen Rietz

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Favorite Childhood Picturebook...

Honestly, my very favorite picture book was The Giving Tree. It still is one of my favorites. I remember having it read to my class in 3rd grade, and it really moved me. It still does, because it reminds me of both Leon and my mother. Some people give without definition of boundaries, really in a way that I admire. This book was my first idea of how God gives to us, and we rarely see it for what it is or appreciate His humility and generosity because we focus on ourselves. I wish I could be more like The Giving Tree.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

My Favorite Picture Books

I have to agree with Bron here in that I really am not sure what my favorite picture books were as a child. I do have memories of a few but as much as I tried I could not figure out the names of them (one was about a witch and hat and a cake contest? and another was about gnomes) so I thought I would also share my current favorite books. Oddly, I was more into making picture books as a child then reading them anyway so I have many more favorites now then I did back then! So here I would say are my top 5 of the moment:

1. The Spider and the Fly - illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi. I just love every single thing about this book, it's just beautiful!

2. The Little Engine that Could - illustrated by Loren Long. I love the colors he uses here and I think he really jazzed up a simple story.

3.The Remarkable Farkle McBride - illustrated by C.F. Payne. I'm such a huge C.F. Payne fan and I don't care those snobby "we're too good for C.F. Payne" critics have to say about him. He's just amazing!

4. The Z was Zapped - illustrated by Chris van Allsburg. Everyone also goes right for the Polar Express but I love this book even more. I have a thing for black and white illustrations anyway and what he's able to do with simple values here just blows me away.

5. Russell the Sheep - illustrated by Rob Scotton. I just love how sweet and simple this book is! And that sheep is just so darn cute!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

My Favorite Kids' Books

I have no memory of my favorite kids' books as a child, none. Except anything Walt Disney, of course. So I'll give you a list of the best from my grownup bookshelf. Of all the books in my collection, this seems to be the one that amazes me most.

To me, one of the signs of superlative artwork is when you can't figure out how they did it. This was the case with The Nutcracker, illustrated by Carter Goodrich. For years I wondered what media he used to create the illustrations. Colored pencils, of course, you say. But the illustrations were too smooth and perfect for colored pencils. The work didn't have that telltale colored pencil look. The edges of his illustrations were as soft and smooth as airbrush.

When I finally spoke to him I learned that the book WAS illustrated with Prisma Color pencils, underlayed with a watercolor washes. He is that good. The book is absolutely exquisite... among the finest examples of children's book art that I have seen. I don't know if it's still available, but if you like this style of art, I would suggest that you add it to your kids' book collection. He told me that he didn't do well financially on this title, by the way. That's a no brainer...the budget would have to be enormous to cover the time involved in these illustrations.

You would expect that someone this good would finally be discovered by the animation industry. That's what happened. He also told me that he never made much money in kids books (no surprise there). He had to get into character development in the animation industry to start making serious money. You'll see his character designs in: Finding Nemo, Monsters, Inc., and Prince of Egypt.

I have so many titles on my shelf that I really like. I'll narrow it down to my Top Five list:

1. The Nutcracker, illustrated by Carter Goodrich
2. The Christmas Carol, illustrated by Carter Goodrich
3. The Frog Prince, Continued, illustrated by Steve Johnson
4. This is the Star, illustrated by Gary Blythe
5. Melisande, illustrated by P. J. Lynch

My Favorites ~ Those wonderful Picture Books

My childhood was filled with all kinds of books. My first experiences led my sister to ban me from her bookshelf, because at under 2 years old I liked some of the pictures so much I would tear them out and carry them around with me.

Make Way for Ducklings was my first take home library book, and it is still one of my favorites. I remember how fascinated I was that all the images had been created on a stone with a special crayon. Those lithographs carried such warmth and texture.
As children our parents gave us a set of books called MY BOOKHOUSE. Edited by Olive Beaupre Miller, there were 12 anthologies in the series plus three huge picture books with myths, legends, and tales from Japan, France and Europe.

That same set is now out of print but there are some used and fairly new copies available from time to time on Amazon or EBay. The newer printing in 1971 changed the cover but the gorgeous illustrations by Maud and Miska Petersham were captivating and led me to drawing and illustrating my own stories.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Favorite Picture Books as a Child

Hmm. . .there were so many but here are a few. . .

I Can't Said the Ant by Polly Cameron ( I always wanted to re-illustrate this book. . .even as a child)

The Little Fish that Got Away by Bernadine Cook, illustrated by Crockett Johnson (first picture book I read by myself)

Curious George

Anything Dr Suess ( I had a love hate relationship with the Cat in the Hat. I loved to read the book because he was so naughty. . .but I hated thinking about the kids Mom coming home with the mess,)

“The Beezus and Ramona Series, by Beverly Cleary, illustrated by Tracy Dockray (which is not technically a picture book. . .but does have lots of fun black and whites)

The Henry Huggins Series, by Beverly Cleary, illustrated by Tracy Dockray (also not technically a picture book but. . .

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Favorite Picture Books as a Child

We're starting a new topic about what our favorite picture books were as kids.

Here is a list of some of mine:

The Little Engine that Could

Make Way for Ducklings

Winnie the Pooh Series (OK..I know they aren't actually Picture books, but know)

Raggedy Ann Series (same as above)

Joan Walsh Anglund books (A Friend is Someone Who Loves You)

Where the Wild Things Are

Frog and Toad Together

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

A Moment of Fame....

Okay, okay, you asked for it. I am posting the photo that was used on the box cover for a product (the snowman) sold at Michael's 2 Christmases ago. I was going to wait and post this on my blog because I got tagged by 2 people recently, but I see there is another request here.

It's funny, what I remember most about this day was that it was the first hot day of the spring and the studio turned up the air conditioning really high for us because the boy and I were so hot! The shot was supposed to be outside, but thankfully the forecast was for rain. It did not rain, but it was very breezy, and I'll bet it would have been difficult to keep the fake snow in place. And...we would have been even hotter!

I also remember that Leon had appeared in a photoshoot for Lifetime Fitness a month before, so we went out and had dinner that night and pretended we were both "somebodies". Leon's photo is still used on Lifetime Fitness posters and brochures.

Oh, one final thing I thought was sort of funny...I went to Michael's that holiday season and bought the box. When I took it up to the cash register, the girl had to do a price check. She stood there staring at the box and never realized it was me on the front.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Rush Limbaugh book proposal

I lost count long ago on the number of book proposals that I've done that never saw the light of day. This was one of them, but it was a very close call. I worked with noted New York editor, Judith Regan. I did the proposal in the mid nineties, at the height of Rush Limbaugh's popularity. Judith was Rush's book editor. She said, "I have a dozen Rush Limbaugh proposals on my desk...this is the most interesting." So she took Rush to lunch and showed the book idea to him. For whatever reason, the idea tanked. So now it's taking up space in my book proposal file.

One odd thing that I remember about Judith. For some reason we were talking about Mickey Mouse Club on the phone, and we suddenly burst into song and sang a duet of the Mickey Mouse Club theme.

One thing that strikes me about these images is that they were done way back when I was working on watercolor paper with colored inks. At the time I would've never imagined that I would be working in Photoshop. I haven't bought a sheet of watercolor paper in a long time.

Perhaps from time to time I'll share with you some of my other failed attempts. Maybe I'll even share the story of how I lost the audition for the weathercaster spot at NBC. I almost got the job... I got a "call back" for a second audition, but it went to a guy named Pat Sajak. I wonder what happened to him.

I remember in the studio that night Tom Brokaw was anchoring the news. I called the sportscaster, Bryant Gumble, at home for some reason, and I woke him up from a nap.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Zubie ~ the little Bug that could!

Ready for it's second printing, Zubie the Lightning Bug received a warm review from the Midwest Book Review for their Children's Book Shelf.

"Zubie The Lightning Bug
Candace Coleman
The Parent Brigade Company
530 New Los Angeles Avenue, #115-332, Moorpark, CA 93021
0977499804 -

Zubie The Lightning Bug: I Want To Remember Your Thoughts by Candace Coleman and with colorful illustrations from Ginger Nielson, is the colorful tale of Zubie the little lightning bug and his loving mother. Following the little bug through his adventurous life, Zubie The Lightning Bug offers parents and children a wealth of fun and interactive questions about their own life as a way of preserving those memories to look back upon in the years ahead. Original, entertaining, "kid friendly", and a lot of fun, Zubie The Lightning Bug is very highly recommended for parents and their children ages 5 to 9 for its approach to remembering the adventures of childhood and the accomplishments associated with growing up."

With the second printing just around the corner I will be helping the publisher to make some simple changes that will create an even better experience for parents and children.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Over the Moon!

Hello everyone! Sorry I've been so m.i.a lately, we've been traveling a lot this summer and I've hardly had time to do much of anything really! But I thought I would share something I completed earlier this summer for a local event, the Keuka Lake Palettes put on by the Keuka Lake Association. Local artists were selected from the area, including yours truly, to paint a giant 5' tall palette with the scene of their choice to be displayed in various locations around Keuka Lake for the summer. Mine was selected to be displayed on a giant easel in the Hammondsport Library and so, fittingly, I went with a children's theme which is entitled "Over the Moon!" This is of course a photo I took before they took it away for display. Someone from the Association actually called me just the other day to say that it's been a big hit with the little ones who have been coming down to the library with family members specifically to get their pictures taken with their faces in the moon! Anyway, thought I'd share!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Smart Writers......WIN for 2007

I am pretty happy tonight. The results of the Smart Writers WIN for 2007 are in. Congratulations are in order for Elizabeth Dulemba ( grand Prize winner) and Paige Keiser second place illustration, (both of whom I am sure you least their wonderful illustration work.)
I am honored to be among the top three illustration entrants for the second year in a row. Wow! I think I posted parts of this image before, but just the same here is my third place entry.

Illustration - Judged by Scott Piehl and Lauren Rille, Sterling Publishing

1st Place (tie) - Elizabeth Dulemba's "Lula's Brew"
1st Place (tie) - Michael A. Tyson's "Little Detective_Messy Monster"
2nd Place - Paige Kaiser's "Beach Day"
3rd Place - Ginger Nielson's "Fishing"

Thursday, June 28, 2007

A New Chapter

Over the past 15 + years, I have been illustrating pretty much on my own. This has included newspapers, magazines, educational assignments, books and posters. Making a living in this field hasn't been easy. Most of my adult life has been devoted to rasing our family, teaching elementary school and art or working as a travel agent, contributing graphics to the former Family Channel on AOL, serving on AOL as a graphic arts host, and keeping my art life alive each day with whatever materials were at hand. Once, when I had no other materials to paint with, I created an entire 22 foot mural for our library with brown craft paper and food colors for paint. Challenge was pretty much the song I sang each day.

Today I am finishing the artwork for a sixth book, looking forward to the release later this summer of the fifth, and have happily become part of the group of artists represented by an AGENT!

Life moves us forward in amazing ways.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Trowbridge Storyline

I thought I would put something out to you all. I'm looking for any opinions that anyone in the group might have. It looks like the current story thread for Trowbridge might be coming to and end soon, tho I never know for sure. It seems to mysteriously reveal itself to me from week to week.

I'm wondering if anyone has an opinion if you would prefer for the story to end here (for now) and return to the rainforest where it started, following the IF word, or to continue on with the Khan Chronicles. I'm not strongly opinionated...I could go either way. That's why I thought I might get some feedback from the group. Any thoughts?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

8 Things You May Not Know About Sherry Rogers

Well I am coming in here late. . .but I hope not to late.

1) I have been in all the states this side of the Mississippi, but not one State east of it.

2) If I could, I would love to have lots of dogs, cats, birds, hamsters etc. . .I just love animals. The only part I wouldn't like is the poo. . .

3) Until I illustrated "If You Were A Parrot" I was really afraid of birds. But something happened during the time I illustrated the book and did all the studying. . . and now I love birds!

4) I didn't go to college right after High School. I worked at U.S Bank in Oregon until the birth of my kids and then I went back to school at the age of 35.

5)I have always loved to draw and paint. And always read books on how to draw and paint, but never took a formal drawing or painting class till I went back to college at 35.

6) I am afraid of public speaking. . .really afraid, and highly respect those who are not. I will do it but suffer greatly before if I have to speak in public.

7) I love hiking and nature

8) I really love people and talk to all kinds of strangers in the stores, gas stations, hardware stores etc. . . but hate being the center of attention at a party.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

8 Things You May Not Know About Kathleen Rietz

1. When I was little, I wanted to be a "Solid Gold" dancer.
2. My sister and I used to catch flies and feed them to the spiders that had built webs in our garage window wells. Maybe this is why I include insects in a lot of my illustrations and photos. I still am fascinated by their little world.
3. My favorite ice cream is mint chocolate chip. Mmmmmmm....
4. I have done some modeling, and once appeared on a box for an item which sold at Michael's stores. I went to buy the item so I could have the box, and cashier did not even recognize that it was my photo on the box.
5. I began my art career painting murals for a local business. I loved working on large surfaces. Ironically, now most of the work I do is very small and detailed.
6. I do not care for meat very much. I think I could live on whole grain bread, fruit, vegetables, nuts and cheeses. My diet consists mostly of these items.
7. I buy children's flip flops for myself in the summer because my feet are very small and adult sizes are often too big.
8. I am a night owl. Always have been.

Eight Things You May Not Know About Bron Smith

Here's the final art for the USA RV map. I posted the pencil sketch and the ink line a few days ago. If you'd like to see the map in its entirety, you'll find it at my cartoon map web site:

While I'm here I'll post my Eight Things That You Don't (Need to) Know About Me. I'm an EXTREMELY out-of-the-ordinary person, so I had no trouble at all coming up with this list.
1) Since I was a child I've been interested in unusual creatures. For many years I owned a pair of anacondas, the world's largest snake. Hercules, my male anaconda, was HUGE, big enough to take down and eat a human, if the opportunity presented itself. Hercules and Montezuma made great impromptu guests on my TV show, if a regular human guest failed to show up.
2) I also once had a pet black widow spider, when I lived in Los Angeles. Her name was Wilma. She did very nicely on a fly a day. I kept her in a peanut butter jar on my kitchen window until the day she died. Then she lie in state on my bedroom dresser for several days. I propped her legs up and she looked just like she was alive. Then I buried her in a widow's grave. (You probably thought I was kidding when I said I was out of the ordinary.) Wait...there's more...
3) I hate to see things go to waste. Example: Literally tons of perfectly good napkins are thrown away each day across America from coffee shops and fast food restaurants. I'm a one-man napkin conservation army, doing what little I can to counter this wasteful national trend. (You're welcome to join my army, but I'm sure you won't) Since I draw and write in coffee shops all the time, I bring home stacks of unused napkins from restaurant tables that would have otherwise been thrown in the trash. I always look around to make sure that the coast is clear before I snatch them. I don't want people to think I'm some kind of a homeless nut bag. To my surprise, Jacquie doesn't mind my unusual conservation habit...she uses the restaurant napkins at home just as I do. Maybe I should start a "Save-the-Napkins" campaign.
4) I also save the tea bag envelopes, yes, tea bag envelopes (not the bags) from the coffee shops that I frequent, IF the tea is an aromatic flavor, like Stash Lemon and White Tea...that's the one I'm packing now. I carry the envelope in my pocket and savor the essence from time to time through the day. It's like cheap aroma therapy.
5) I do voice impressions and funny mouth sounds. They're a part of my act in my programs. After watching a Pink Panther movie, I'm Clouseau for several days.
6) I don't put milk and sweetener on my whole bowl of oatmeal all at once. I put a little of both on a small section at a time and work my way across the bowl till it's empty. I'm the slowest eater you'll ever meet. By the time I'm done with my oatmeal, it's time for lunch.
7) When our female anaconda, Montezuma, died, I didn't bury her in the back yard. Jacquie coiled her up like a garden hose and put her in a big plastic bag, then stuffed her in the freezer in the garage. Montezuma has been in a cryogenic state for many years. Someday I would like to make a special belt from her hide, if she hasn't suffered from freezer burn by then. In the meantime, when it's "S" day at the elementary school where Jacquie works, she takes Montezuma to school, puts her in the freezer in the school kitchen until the appropriate time, then takes her out of the freezer and carries her to the classroom to show the kids that "S" is for "snake". The kids love it...the other teachers don't. Ask Jacquie to tell you about the lunch room lady who opened the fridge door one morning only to find a frozen anaconda staring out at her. That was a day the lunch lady will never forget.
8) I gave up Sunday School about seven years ago. Not church, just Sunday school. Instead, I drop Jacquie off at the church, then go by myself to a nursing home and visit lonely people whose relatives have abandoned them. Then I return to church in time for the morning service. I've even taken nursing home friends to lunch or dinner, to holiday events like Fourth of July at our church, blackberry picking, even a movie. I've felt the last heartbeat of "old friends" before they died, with the nurse on one side of the bed and me the other. Some of the most deeply rewarding experiences I've ever had have been at the nursing home. All this resulted from watching a movie many years ago, called Brother Sun, Sister Moon. Everyone should see that film. The world would be a better place if they did. In Bible times it was it's nursing home residents.

8 More things you may not need to know about Ginger*:)

I am so ordinary, that I always hesitate to answer these challenges, but here goes:
1. I can hear , yes HEAR a wasp from across a room. As a child I was badly stung, and to this day I can actually hear that certain sound they make when they are near. I usually freeze right in my tracks until I can spot it and cautiously leave the area.
2. Although I am a digital artist, I love to paint with real paint. This is usually by the bucket load as I do the summer scenery for our local children's theater camp.
3. I am a recovering chocoholic.
4. I will never recover.
5. I cannot stand sweet drinks. I never put sugar in tea or coffee and won't drink sodas.
6. I love those old black and white movie mysteries and if they ever have a marathon on TV I will get my popcorn and be gone for the duration.
7. I was a travel agent for over 15 years and spent time in Brazil, Alaska, Hawaii, London and all of the Caribbean Islands, and I hate to fly.
8.Last but not least is something I tell the children on all my school visits: I have a dragon in my basement and a magic wand on my desk.

Friday, June 15, 2007

8 things you may not know about Gina Pfleegor

This is really neat! I've never been "tagged" before, not even completely sure what that means but it sounds fun so I'll give it a shot! OK, 8 things you may not know about me, hmm...

1. I've been a vegetarian since I was 16.
2. I'm an artist AND I'm super neat and organized...two things that usually don't go together (my favorite subjects were always art and math)!
3. I've had every color hair there is naturally! Yes, sounds strange: born with reddish hair which turned blonde which turned brown which turned black over the course of my first 14 years!
4. I met Bono, in Ireland! He's as great as he seems!
5. My husband does all of the cooking.
6. I have two bachelor degrees I've done nothing with (communications and graphic design - I'm a high school art teacher by day (masters in art ed))
7. When reading for fun, I prefer non-fiction (strange considering the field I'm in!).
8. A decade later, I'm still best friends with the 8 girls I went to college with. Every one of us still talk regularly and get together every chance we get even though some live on the other side of the country now.

Did I do that right? Hope so!


We've Been TAGGED

We've been tagged as a group by Janee Trasler from the Picture Book Junkies. Here is Janee's challenge:

On our PBJ blog this week, we did the 8 Things You May Not Know About Me
tag, so I tagged the Picture Bookies to do it on y'all's blog if you have
time. :-)

Hope to learn all sorts of fun things about you guys.


Monday, May 28, 2007


I thought I would share one of my map projects with you. This is a map that I'm doing for Northwest Recreational Vehicles. They make the Alpine Coaches and other RVs that you see on the roads of America. This is a detail from a USA map that shows their RVs on the highways across America. First, the pencil was approved, then I inked it, and this week I'll be coloring it in Photoshop. So I'll post that in a few days, as soon as the color is finished. Soon it will be posted at my cartoon map web site:

I'm happy to have finally gotten up to speed over at Jacketflap. I replaced the default avatar last night and got my bio text written. It was a relief to get that done.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Adventures of Winston the Wonderhound

The newest chapter of the Adventures of Winston the Wonderhound are now showing on my alternate blog. The story is a kid friendly weekly series for the young and young at heart.

Monday, April 16, 2007


Celebrate just being together!

"I Like Gum" made the paper!

Hey everyone! Just sharing some good news here! We have a local "celebrity" author and illustrator, Tedd Arnold, who recently released one of his numerous wonderful books and so our local paper, The Leader, did quite a large article on him in yesterday's Sunday paper. And as part of the article, they also included a rather large side bar on my upcoming book as well! Woo hoo! The Leader also promised me a nice, large article on my book when it's released this fall as well. Anyway, just thought I would share! :) -Gina

Friday, April 13, 2007

The "Bunnie Papers"

I have begun to gather some "bunnie papers" for kids to color. There is a link on my webiste at: The Bunnie Papers

Monday, April 9, 2007

Go Green

Yes- I know this was actually the theme for March and it is nine days into April- but I finally got it done!!! yeah!
So stuck it up here for all to see.
The scene is showing the Flat Irons, rock outcrops above Boulder Colorado, near where I grew up.
It is very "earthy" and "granola-ish"-the new hippy- couldn't resist- but we all need to "go green" and recycle. We only have one planet and so much room and make way too much trash!

Sunday, April 8, 2007


With song and dance we celebrate. Sometimes the music doesn't quite match the mood.

Thursday, April 5, 2007


Celebrating God's provision...from my first picture book titled "Prayers For Children".
Happy Easter everyone!


Great suggestion, Kathleen! As soon as I read that, this illo came to mind. This was one of the very first illustrations I'd ever done, way back when I was wondering and learning all about this business and hoping someday I might have some kind of CLUE what it's all about! I call it "Toy Parade" and it's entirely colored pencil. On a side note, I am now *celebrating* not only because I'm one hour into my 10 day long spring break (woo hoo!), but because I'm mailing out my 20+ paintings for my book to the publisher TONIGHT! Yup, she's done! 7 months of long hours and hard work but every single brush stroke was beyond worth it! So April is most certainly the month to CELEBRATE!! :) -Gina


The PICTURE BOOKIE GROUP monthly challenge for APRIL is

"CELEBRATE" suggested by Kathleen Rietz.

So let's get our characters ready to make each other happy!

Thursday, March 29, 2007


Here's my post for Green. I also posted this as an Illustration Friday theme this week.

I painted this in gouache several years ago for an e-book.

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Picture Bookies ShowCase ~ worth a visit!

Worth your time, is a visit to the Picture Bookies Showcase. If you love picture books and want to see some of the best work around, hop on over and have a look at the amazing
  • Gallery
  • of artwork.

    Sunday, March 25, 2007

    I'm in the Bulletin!

    Image in "The Bulletin"

    Hey everyone! Just thought I'd share, after sending in a few images about 2 YEARS ago to the SCBWI Bulletin and having them accepted (and paid for way back when!), one of my images is FINALLY in the Bulletin this month! It's only on-line right now since they had some delays in publication for some reason, but should be arriving in our mailboxes mid-April. Woo hoo! I've been checking every month waiting to see if I'd EVER get in! Hey, every little bit of exposure counts! :)


    Friday, March 23, 2007

    Review for If You Were a Parrot

    I haven't posted in a while. . .really really really busy. . .and I have company. I just wanted to share a wonderful review of If You Were A Parrot. A book published by Sylvan Dell Publishing, written by Katherine Rawson, and illustrated by Me!

    The review is done by Just One More Book! I love that website and I am proud and honored! They said the illustrations are beautiful and the book hilarious and they loved the format of the illustrations! YEAH!

    If you have time check it out! Just One More Book!