Saturday, December 1, 2012

December 2012 Desktop Calendar is here!

Can you believe it is already December? We were surprised with our first dusting of snow last night, and the twinkle lights are popping up all over the neighbourhood-  sure signs the holiday season is here!!
So being in the festive spirit, I created this super festive December desktop calendar.
I thought I'd try an animal I haven't made before, surprisingly I haven't make very many dogs? Huh... strange I know. I've made lots of plasticine skinks ;), birds, raccoons, and wild animals, but hardly any pets. So this wrinkly, squishable and oh-so-huggable little doggy, with antlers and a not-too-tacky Christmas sweater to keep him toasty, is  for all you pet lovers out there. :-)
To download to your desktop, simply select a link above, then right click and select save to desktop.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Guess what is now listed on Amazon?

It has been an exciting few days. I'm super excited to let you all know that Skink on the Brink(Fitzhenry & Whiteside, Spring 2013) is now listed on Amazon!! I must have danced around the kitchen for a full 30  minutes after I saw it. Here is a screen capture of it, just "cuz" :)

And I should also mention that my friend and the author of Skink on the Brink, Lisa Dalrymple just had the launch for her first picture book If It's No Trouble... a Big Polar Bear this past weekend in NL. Way to go Lisa, I can't wait get my hands on a copy. Here is the Amazon listing for it:
 I asked my editor, Christie Harkin if I might show the proposed final artwork for the cover.
So... here it is. Ta-da!! As you can see, Stewie the skink is quite the little character.  He even likes to dance, but you will have to wait until the Spring to see for yourself :)

So lots happening behind the scenes here. All of the interior artwork is almost finished, and ready to be photographed. I hope to share some sneak peeks with you really soon! Stay tuned...

Sunday, September 30, 2012

October 2012 Desktop Calendar is here

My October 2012 desktop calendar is ready. With the fall colours beginning in the neighbourhood, and the cooler days and nights, it is truly feeling like Fall. This month's calendar is from my new Fall promotional mailer, which I just ordered from Moo. If you have never tried Moo for postcards, promo materials, or cards, I highly recommend them. Their products are simply stunning. We are eagerly awaiting next weekend to head up to the cottage for our annual Thanksgiving weekend. I just hope the fabulous colours haven't passed their peak. I'll be sure to post some pics  :)

Friday, August 31, 2012

September 2012 Desktop Calendar is here!

It's back-to-school time once again! Wow, summer sure flew by, didn't it? I have been making lots of foliage, flowers and ground cover lately.Yup, it's for some of the final art for Skink on the Brink. The illustrations are coming along nicely, and with the kids back in school next week I will have more uninterrupted time to "get in the zone"Yay!
 So in keeping with my thinking about all things leafy, I thought I'd make the quintessential Fall Canadian sugar maple leaf.   I just adore the deep crimson red, especially when the tips start to go darker... just beautiful! I also switched things up a bit this time and hand lettered the calendar in plasticine.
I hope all your kiddos have a great first day of school, and Fall brings you lots of good things. :)
To download a desktop calendar simply click on the desired resolution link under the image then right click "save to desktop". Enjoy the calender!
I'm off to bake a cake and pie. It is my 3rd son's 7th birthday tomorrow. Happy Birthday Little Man!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Canadian Wildlife Federation

Check out the new sidebar widget I put up over to the right. Yup, that's it- the Canadian Wildlife Federation widget.  One thing I cherish most about Canada is our beautifully diverse wildlife. And it is in trouble. There are already 52 endangered mammal species with many more animals at risk. I'm proud to show this sidebar widget in an effort to bring more awareness to the Canadian Wildlife Federation.

I have to give my mom a nod here because she introduced us(my sister a I) to the idea of conservation, to love and respect nature, from an early age. I remember she'd take us on nature walks and cross country ski treks through natural areas like Rattray marsh, Lake Ontario Parks and the Kortright Centre, to teach us about the wonderful wildlife around us.

I know I have said before how excited I am about my current picture book project- illustrating Skink on the Brink( Fitzhenry & Whiteside, Spring 2013) written by Lisa Dalrymple.
Stewie, the main character, has carved a special place in my heart. He is a five-lined skink.
 One of a kind.
He is the only species of lizard found in Ontario.
Well yes, he has a great personality and is so darn adorable, but he is also sadly on the Ministry of Natural Resources endangered species list. Stewie belongs to the Carolinian population of five-lined skinks that populate small areas along the shores of Lake Erie, Lake St. Clair and Lake Huron. Sadly their numbers are dwindling due, in part, to habitat loss from agricultural, recreational and urban development.

Lisa was lucky enough to meet Stewie during a recent trip to Pinery Provincial Park.

Isn't his blue tail simply fabulous? 

Monday, July 30, 2012

August 2012 Desktop Calendar

Tada!! I have my August desktop calendar ready early! Ya Baby!- can you tell we have been watching Austin Powers around here?
I hope you have all been enjoying the summer so far. It's hard to believe it is already half over. My second oldest son has his 9th birthday tomorrow *sniff* my, they grow up so very fast.
 I few days ago I sent out a little request on FB asking which images come to mind when you think of summertime, and I was really pleased with your great responses. Thanks everyone.:) Lisa Dalrymple, the author of the picture book Skink on the Brink which I am currently illustrating, suggested I include some people, since I have been in "animal mode" lately. Great idea! So here is a boy doing a super-humongous leap into the lake- "KOWABUNGA!"
Nothing says summer more than kids having a fun time,  finding creative ways to beat the heat.:)

On the picture book front, my final artwork is coming along wonderfully. But unfortunately I can't share any sneak-peeks just yet. When I get more completed perhaps I can show a few close-ups or something, after I get the OK. And I can't wait to show you all!! I'm so proud of this project.

Enjoy the desktop calendar! To download simply click on the resolution you require, then right click on "save to desktop"- Cheers!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Guess what time it is? It's final artwork time!!

Yup, that's right, it is final artwork time!!! I'm so excited to get started on the plasticine art. Can you tell? It has been so quiet on the blog lately and I didn't even even get a chance to make a July desktop calendar- so sorry everyone, but we made a last minute dash to the cottage.

So this is what is going on over here. I've been mixing and kneading lots of plasticine. It's a great way to keep the arms toned ;) I also keep track of my ratios on a sheet of paper, a sort of mixing chart, so if I run out of a colour I can refer back to it and make it again.

I'm SOOO excited to get cracking on the plasticine art...I think I already said that, oh well. I still feel like I need to pinch myself most mornings because I feel so incredibly lucky and honoured to be working on this picture book project. The story is such a perfect fit. And I have had such a wonderful time bringing Stewie the skink to life in my sketches from Lisa Dalrymple's fab manuscript. I still have a few revisions awaiting approval, that might need further tweaking. It has been a great learning experience to go through my sketches with my editor, Christie Harkin. She gives great constructive feedback, and our brainstorming sessions always leave me feeling energized with tons of great ideas. She totally rocks!!
For those of you who follow me on FB, you may have noticed a bunch of Stewie(the real Stewie) pics that I shared yesterday from Lisa's recent trip to Pinery Park. She shot some fabulous photos of him. And it turns out, after lots of searching with the naturalist outdoors, Stewie surprised them all by hiding under a desk in their office. Stewie found Lisa! That silly Stewie :)

Thursday, May 31, 2012

June 2012 Desktop Calendar

I thought I'd try something a little bit different and include part of the initial sketch concept for this recent plasticine illustration. You might recognize the mouse hanging off the plant, he was featured in May's desktop calendar. If you would like to download this calendar to your desktop, simply click on the required screen resolution size above, then right click and "save to desktop".
Have a great June everyone. I'm excited to see our little garden start to sprout ;) Ahhh, the beginning of summer...

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Proud Auntie moment! Skink on the Brink colouring pages

My brother-in-law sent me a cute FB comment today to tell me that my 2 yr old niece really liked the collages I made the other day, and he wondered if he might print them off for her to colour. Well, of course! How wonderful. :) Look at those expressive strokes, such confidence and flair! Here are her masterpieces below:

When her 6 year old big brother got home from school, he wanted to colour some too. After an hour of intense concentration he finally finished his great works of art. What can I say, I am one proud Auntie Suz at this present moment!*gush* I just love to see my nephew and niece(and my kiddos) being artsy- so good for the soul. I love his great use of colour and the attention to detail.  Here is his fantaaabulous creation below:

Aren't these great! Hmmm....I think perhaps a companion colouring book to go along with the picture book I am illustrating, Skink on the Brink(Fitzhenry &Whiteside) written by Lisa Dalrymple, might be a fun idea?! What do you think?

If anyone else would like to print the collages off as colouring pages, please feel free. Just click on the link and right click on the image then save/print.  If you do wish to print them off, I would love it if  you could take a pic of the completed masterpieces and share them with me, my email can be found on the right sidebar! I'd love to show them on my blog. :)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Some Collages of my rough sketches for "Skink on the Brink"

I know it has been rather quite on my blog lately, but believe me there's lots going on behind the scenes. As many of you know, I am in the process of illustrating my first picture, Skink on the Brink (Fitzhenry & Whiteside) written by Lisa Dalrymple, and it's due out in Spring 2013. It has been a very amazing experience so far! I am loving every second of it.
I have been wanting to share with you some of the sketches I have been working on during the rough sketch revision process thus far. So with the thumbs-up from my wonderful editor, Christie Harkin, I have created some collages from tidbits of my sketches, to give you a sneak peek of Stewie the skink, some of his adorable friends and other interesting characters. Keep in mind these are rough sketches, so there will be changes/tweaks during the revision process. ;)

Here we have a  collage of  some close-ups of the our little skink, Stewie. Isn't he a character? He is a fun loving, toe-tapping charmer, with loads of energy and perseverance.

And here we have a collage of some of the animals that Stewie encounters in the story. Some are friendly, and some most definitely are not...

I hope to be able to share more as I go:) Especially once I get going with the final plasticine art....I can't wait!! I'd love  to do some process posts, to show some of the illustrations from concept sketch to final art. What fun! Heeheee ;)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May 2012 Desktop Calendar is here!

Happy May Everyone!,
I couldn't resist using one of the fun mice from a recent illustration I created for my children's nursery school annual fundraising gala. There have been quite a few "mice in boots" desktop calendars lately...hmmm, maybe I should change it up a bit for next month? This little guy was begging for a close-up. Their fun, exuberant personalities do bring a smile to my face, and I hope they do to you as well :)
To download please click on the required scene resolution above, then right click on"set as background". Easy peasy!
Lots going on behind the scenes, I hope to share some of it really soon.
Bye for now

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What I have been up to...

I taught a plasticine workshop in late February for the Nursery School CO-OP  organization in my area. My children had attended one of these schools, and I still keep in touch with the lovely ladies that teach and run the school. I had gone into their classroom to do a workshop with the JK kiddos, and they were kind enough to welcome me back to give a workshop to all the teachers in the organization. Turns out I am WAY more nervous talking to a group of adults then a bunch of kids-ekk!
Anyway, while I was there, I was asked if I might be interested in designing and donating a plasticine illustration to their annual fundraising Gala. Well, I was honoured and excited to get started. This nursery school is simply outstanding. Not only are the  teachers phenomenal, they're so patient, caring and nurturing.  I was continually amazed at the imaginative and interactive ways they would introduce new curriculum to the students- BRAVO!!!

So my illustration idea began when I saw this adorable photo posted on Facebook by Alma Fullerton, a CANSCAIP and SCBWI CanEast friend. Oh my gosh, how scrumptious is this little mousy?!! Well lots of us thought so, by the comments left on her page. But my editor, Christie Harkin, tagged me and said she thought this would look great in plasticine. " Ooooh yes, it most certainly would!! I love a challenge" I said to myself- yes I do talk to myself aloud quite often ;)

So I got sketching, and I  tried not to copy, but rather be inspired by this gleeful expression:

And of course, my little mousy has boots! Surprise, surprise, I love boots ;)
I composed a scene around this little fella, and once I was satisfied, after playing around with the composition, I got to work on rendering the sketch in plasticine. The really fun part. Here are some WIP pics with my iphone:

Did I tell you I love making boots?! LOL I even put some tread on the boot! Hee hee, too fun. I also decided to add a mouse pilot flying a hummingbird:

And here is the final illustration. I think it just might be a new favorite! I an just loving the expressions of the mice, and their little cricket friends too.

I delivered it to the school yesterday, and they loved it! YAY!!! I can't wait to see it once it is matted and framed. I sure hope it gets lots of bids- fingers crossed. It would look great in some "little one's" bedroom, don't ya think?
 I feel honoured to have been asked to create this illustration. It feels pretty nice to be able to give a little something back after having had such a wonderful experience with their school. My kiddos learned so much and it helped shape them into the kids that they are today!  

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April Desktop Calendar

Here is my April desktop calendar.  Isn't Miss Mousy a fun character to sum up all things Spring- rubber boots and all? It will be a very short post today, as I have little ones very "under the weather"...stomach bug :( and unfortunately, that isn't an April Fool's joke).  I hope Miss Mousy brings a smile to your day and finds a lovely home as your desktop calendar.
Keep well my friends!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

March Break

We had a relaxing March Break, which considering our usual hectic schedule, was a very nice change. My oldest had a hockey tourny the first two days with Daddy, but apart from that it was wonderful to just stay close to home, bike ride, and spend time together enjoying the unseasonably warm weather.   We also took our annual March Break day trip to the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum. My boys(hubby included) love, LOVE anything to do with aviation, or military history etc. If you have never been to the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, I highly recommend it! The kids can sit inside some of the planes and they also have simulators-very cool! We hope to go back in June to watch their annual air-show, we'd love to see the old Lancaster in action.
I also got a little work done too. Here is a little peek at my table top, I like to spread out all of my many reference photos when I sketch. Then I can quickly glance back and forth between them to get a better feel for the animal, yet continue to sketch organically. These are some rough thumbnail sketches for the book I am currently illustrating, "Skink on the Brink" by Lisa Dalrymple. I hope to share snippets from time to time, to share the process with you.

It is a balmy 19 C today so I think I will get a fresh mug of tea and take everything outside to the deck, to enjoy this warm won't last, I think we are due for frost in 2 days?? Crazy Canadian weather, eh? LOL ;)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

March Desktop Calendar

Happy Leap Day!
Here is my desktop calendar for March 2012. My Leap Day gift from me to you :)
I couldn't resist using my Stewie the skink illustration for a calendar. He is the main character of the first picture book  I will be illustrating!Lalalalaaaaaa, I love the sound of that! It's called "Skink on the Brink" written by Lisa Dalrymple, published by Fitzhenry & Whiteside, it is due out in Spring 2013.  I am so excited!
To download this desktop calender just click on your screen resolution above, then right click and select "save to desktop". Easy peesy.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Look at my cute, custom iphone case!

Yes, I got an iphone! I have been using a Blackberry for a few years, and loved it. Hubby and I decided to make the switch to an iphone after our BB contract was up after researching/ learning about all the cool stuff(holy cow there is an app for EVERYTHING!) that the new iphone had to offer. The picture quality is pretty amazing too!
I thought I'd jazz mine up with a cool, custom case. I ordered this one from Case-mate, it is a "Barely there" iphone 4 case. It was super easy to upload my design and order.
I decided to use my adventurous mice illustration, as I do love their infectious energy.
Don't you just love it?
I think I might have to order a special one of Stewie the adorable skink in "Skink on the Brink", the first picture book I am delighted to be illustrating, written by the fabulous Lisa Dalrymple, due to be launched in the Spring of 2013 by Fitzhenry and Whiteside. Maybe I can bulk order a few? I hope Lisa and Christie my editor, have iphones by then?? LOL. I am getting way ahead of myself with excitement...

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

February 2012 Desktop Calendar is here!

I don't know about you, but the first month of 2012 flew by like a whirlwind. Maybe it was the combination of crazy hockey schedules(for my 3 oldest boys), plus landing my first picture book contract, in conjunction with the daily hustle and bustle of having 4 busy kids. But I don't mind, the busier I am the more I seem to get accomplished.
I thought for this month's desktop calendar I would use a new favorite image that I created for this year's SCBWI Tomie dePaula award submission. I had a blast creating this illustration. Who knew fowl and feathers would be so much fun to create in plasticine? I thought my lovey-dovey couple, Cocky Locky "cool-man" rooster and his swooning hen, Miss Henny Penny would be the perfect couple to feature.

To download this calendar simply click on your screen resolution link under the above image, then right click and select "set as desktop background". Easy peasy.
Cheers to a Happy Valentine's Day!
I hope you all have a fun, productive, and happy February. :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Featured on Miss Marple's Musings Blog by Joanna Marple

I was asked by my new 12x12 FB challenge friend Joanna Marple, if I'd like to be interviewed for her blog feature "Interview Wednesday"  featuring up-and-coming illustrators.
Joanna's blog features book reviews and reflections from across the cultures, interviews, and resources for parents and educators.  Well of course I jumped at the chance, answering with a big resounding SURE!! I was very honoured to have been asked and  I had a blast answering Joanna's great interview questions. Please visit her blog and check out my interview at Miss Marple's Musings.
Thanks so much Joanna for the interview, and I look forward to getting to know you  through the 12x12 challenge. :)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

BIG NEWS!!! I will be illustrating my first Picture Book!

 I can now officially announce my BIG news! I am going to be illustrating my first Picture Book, "Skink on the Brink" by Lisa Dalrymple, published by Fitzhenry & Whiteside, due out Spring 2013. Holy Moly, can you believe it, every time I say it I start doing my happy dance again! I feel like I am going the burst, I am so incredibly excited! I had the pleasure of visiting Christie Harkin and Cathy Sandusky at Fitzhenry & Whiteside yesterday. My editor(ok how fun is that to say?!!) Christie Harkin gave me the o.k to give you all a sneak peek of one of the preliminary illustrations.  I used plasticine of course and tried painting Stewy with acrylic gloss to give his skin a glisten.
So let me introduce you to.....drum roll please.....Stewy the skink. He might be teeny tiny, but he has a larger than life personality that I an so excited to illustrate and share with the world. Lisa wrote an amazing manuscript, that immediately pulls you in. I know you will  fall totally in love with this little guy just as I did. So mark you calendars  for "Skink on the Brink's" release date for the Spring of 2013.
Lisa also has another book in the works called " If It's No Trouble...A Big Polar Bear" coming out with Tuckamore Books in Sept. 2012.

I hope to post a bit about the process of illustrating a picture book as I go(after the ok of course) to document the whole wonderful journey.
Maybe there will be the occasional photo of Stewy too- another sneak peek from time to time. ;)

 Back to my happy dance :)...Have a great weekend everyone!


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