Monday, March 31, 2008


I thought I might share a few lines from some recent letters from kids at a school that I recently visited. Kids' letters are always precious. I included the misspellings, or course:

Dear Mr. Smith:
I like the banan slug it is cool I wud like to have your autograph. I like the funny weird animel it was weird and I mene it.

Dear Mr. Smith:
Thanks for teaching us to draw a banana slug. I really wanted to get my picture autographed by you, but I didn't have enough time. And I took my pictures home, and my mom really liked my picture of my banana slug. I really liked the talk about your new book Washington for Kids. I'm looking forward to reading it. And one more thing, I really like your outfit. The badges were really cool. The hat was funny because when you wore it it looked kind tall. I like you a lot.

Dear Mr. Smith:
Than you for coming to our school My favirite thing at the acimble is the monster game. And when my class came to the jim and drew the banana slug.

Dear Mr. Smith:
I like you pichers. they are cool. I wish you colde drow spong bob. I like you. I bet you wer a slef maniger, to.

Dare Mr Smith
I am so happy to meat you! I think you are cool And a gerate other and ilstratr. I like you Olot. you are Osum. I want to be a Oather and a ilstrater like you.

Monday, March 24, 2008


I recently returned to my alma mater elementary school for a week-long series of assemblies and workshops. The newspaper interviewed me while I was there. I posted the article here and it was up for about five minutes, but I thought it took up too much space, so I deleted it.

If anyone has questions about making seven hundred dollars (or even more) per day just for making a presentation at a school, I'll be glad to answer your questions. Schools pay a LOT more than can take that to the bank. Bruce Degan gets four grand a day, last time I checked.

So here's a picture of me with one of the classes at the sign in front of my alma mater elementary school.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Happy Easter Everyone!

©Kathleen Rietz
Any of you who know me well know that Easter has a much deeper meaning to me than bunnies and coloring eggs. But I do enjoy the images of spring this time of year. Here in Chicago there is a winter storm warning today. I could use a little springtime festivities right now! Happy Easter everyone!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Read my first article for the SCBWI-IL!

Read my first attempt at writing for The Prairie Wind, the e-newsletter for the SCBWI-Illinois chapter. I love to draw and paint, but writing was a whole new venture for me! It was actually kind of fun, and I would definitely do it again if asked. The topic and article length were totally up to me. I chose to write about the history of my career as an artist, and why I now blog.

What do you think? What do you like most about blogging? Do you use it as a marketing tool? Networking? Creative support?

All About the Books and Beyond! ~ What about YOURS!

Have you illustrated ( or written and illustrated) some books you would like to share? Created a map, greeting card, or received a sensational review?
My Bookpage has grown over the past four years. I have been fortunate to work with some wonderful authors and small press publishers as well as some fantastic educational publishers.

Since most of the marketing and press is done by the publishers I need to check in once in a while to see what is happening with the books. Some have received awards, good reviews and wonderful articles in newspapers. But what I am most proud of is the way children react to them. I love seeing their faces as they look at my illustrations and read the charming stories or listen to me read the stories.

It must be the same for so many illustrators that are devoted to creating for children. Do you have a story to tell? Do children inspire and encourage your art? Post your response, and let others know how your illustrations can bring a smile or a tear to those who view them.

If you are a blogger, the link to your name will bring people to your site so they can view your work. Once there they can follow other links you may have to your personal website and beyond.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Where I Love To Be - In My Studio

What would a studio tour be without a picture of the "boys." These are my dogs Luke (Yellow Lab) and Billy (Tibetan Terrier.) They are not only my studio buddies but great friends.

Here is the area of my studio where the creative work gets done. . .and a lot of emailing to my friends too!

I have two work areas. The area closest to you is where I sketch. You can see my light table. The area right across from that is where my computer is and where I do the painting part of my art.

One of the most important parts of my studio beside my computer. . .is my five cork boards. As I sketch the pages I pin them up and see how the whole book looks and it's a great way to see if the book flows. I couldn't live without them.

Sorry for the crazy angle. . .but this is they only way I could get them all in.
Amy if your looking. . .see the parrot eye in this picture?

And last but not least is my couch area. This is an area where I can read, sketch or where my family and visitors sit.

Well that's it. . .if you're ever in the area. . .stop by.

Monday, March 10, 2008


This will undoubtedly be the dullest of the studio tours. You've all seen my studio if you've been to McDonald's or a cafe. If I showed you my home studio, that would be even bookshelf isn't that exciting to look at, nor is my computer. It looks a lot like yours. Hopefully, the text will spice up the photos a bit.

This is one of my window seats at a nearby cafe. I get much more done here than at my home studio. It seems strange, even to me, that my Trowbridges, my comic strip, and all of the rest of my work is hatched in little places like this. As long I'm careful about who gets my cell phone number, I can work relatively undisturbed much, but not all of the time. At home I'm constantly plagued with phone calls from people who want to take a chit-chat chunk out of my workday. It has become so annoying that I flee my studio to hide away and find some quality work time.

This is my corner window table at a nearby McDonald's, one of my afternoon studios. I broke my priceless McDonald's mug the other day, so now I'm actually having to PAY 75 cents for my ice tea until they replace my mug. I used to travel all over the area to different wharfs, parks and beaches to work, but now I seem to prefer just a handful of nearby eateries. Wendy's has the best ice tea, but it's free at McDonald's. Plus, here you don't have to ask for can get your own, so that makes it handier.

This is the art for the front and back cover of my most recent book, Washington for Kids. Though the ink is still wet, it's already selling like donuts at a cops' convention. If anyone wants to know how to write, illustrate, and sell your books as fast as you can sign them, by way of "infomercials" as I do, I'll be glad to give you some tips on how you can do it too. It works like a charm. This book will be just as hot next year as this year. Every elementary and middle school in Washington state would want this book in their library because every child needs to learn about their own state, and why not make it fun? Dr. Seuss did quite well with that philosophy.

If you happen to know a writer who would like to collaborate with me on a Florida for Kids, or whatever state in which they live, I'm starting to look for collaborators. I wrote this over the course of three or four months of late nights, early mornings and weekends. If Trowbridge has slowed down a bit over the last few months, this is one reason.