Wednesday, December 31, 2014

January 2015 Desktop Calendar and Update!

Here is my January 2015 desktop calendar!
 Let me introduce you to  Little Gerbil. Her book, Gerbil, Uncurled, written by Alison Hughes (published by Fitzhenry & Whiteside) will be hitting the shelves later this Spring. We are so excited! and I can't wait to share some sneak peeks of interior art with you.
To download this calendar simply select the resolution from the list above, right click, and "save to desktop".

 Wow, the last few months have been a whirlwind of activity.

In October I headed to Ottawa for the SCBWI CanEast conference. Lisa Dalrymple and myself were presented with the 2014 SCBWI(Canada) Crystal Kite Award for our book Skink on the Brink. We are still over the moon about having Skink on the Brink, along with I Dare you not to Yawn, by Helene Boudreau, chosen by our SCBWI peers.

In November I jetted off to the tropics to take part in the second annual Rainforest of Reading Award  Literacy Festival. We traveled to Grenada and St. Lucia along with 8 other wonderful authors and illustrators, the OneWorld Schoolhouse Foundation, volunteers from the SJK IB programme and the MacLeod family. We saw approx. 6000 children over the course of 3 festival days. I can honestly say that this trip was a life-changing experience.  The amazing memories and new friendships I made will be forever cherished. Joyce Grant blogged about the trip, summing up our experiences so perfectly and eloquently. 
Here are some pics from the trip:

(Lisa and myself with classmates from a school whom hand-made the best skink 
costume ever! LOOOVE!)

(Another school in fabulous Gabby hair, holding up their passports.)

(Some smiley-girl who loved  the co-pilot seat in the 7-seater plane "hop" 
from Grenada to St. Lucia. Yes, my cheeks hurt the rest of the day...LOL)

(The entire 2014 Rainforest Of  Reading crew!)

With 2015 comes fresh ideas, new possibilities and awesome opportunities.

Wishing everyone a wonderful, happy, and healthy HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

October 2014 desktop calendar

Good bye summer, hellllooooo fall! 
Wow, September flew by, didn't it?  Yes, fall is in the air, the first colds of the season are making the rounds through our house, and the leaves are starting to change colour. There has been a flurry of activity here with the start of another hockey season for the kids, cadets for my eldest, and early morning cross-country practices. As for me, I am working away on the  final art for another picture book as well as gearing up for the SCBWI CANEAST conference in Ottawa on Oct. 17-19. It also won't be long until I head off to St Lucia and Greneda for the Rainforest of Reading Festival in November.

To download the desktop calendar please select the screen resolution from the list above then right click and "save to desktop". Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

September 2014 Desktop Calendar, and upcoming events

I meant to post my September 2014 desktop calendar yesterday but it was my 3rd son's 9th birthday, so as you can imagine we were busy celebrating. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Little Man! Today is also the first day of school for my 4 kiddos- a day filled with a mix of hope, nervousness and excitement all rolled into one, for the kids and myself.  
 I am gearing up for a wonderful whirlwind of activity coming up in the next few months.  I am working away on the final art for the latest picture book I am currently illustrating(see more on that below); on Sept. 21 I will be attending Toronto's Word On The Street Festival, signing copies of Skink on the Brink with Lisa Dalrymple at the Fitzhenry & Whiteside booth; I am prepping to attend the SCBWI CANEAST conference in October in Ottawa(such a great line-up of speakers!) where Lisa and myself will be receiving our Crystal Kite Award for Skink on the Brink; and in November, Lisa and myself,  and a great group of Canadian authors and illustrators, will be travelling to Grenada and St. Lucia with the One World Schoolhouse Foundation to take part in their 2nd annual Rainforest of Reading Festival, for which Skink on the Brink is also nominated. So many exciting things on the horizon!

 This month's desktop calendar features some sample art I mocked up for my editor( thank-you for giving me the thumbs-up to share this, Cheryl!). These little gerbil critters and I have really gotten to know each other over the past few months as I sketched them- I am quite smitten.  I am pleased to introduce you to Little Gerbil and Grandpa Gerbil, two of the myriad of adorable gerbils from the newest picture book I am currently illustrating with Fitzhenry &Whiteside entitled, Gerbil, Uncurled, written by Alison Hughes, due to the shelves this coming Spring. 
To download this desktop calendar please select the screen resolution from the list above, then right click and "Save to desktop". 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

August 2014 Desktop Calendar

Firstly, I must send a HAPPY 11th BIRTHDAY shout-out to my awesome (and second oldest) son. YAY!
With August arriving tomorrow, I'm sneaking onto the computer to quickly post my August 2014 desktop calendar, and then it will be time to " Assemble the Trifle!!" My son's favorite dessert. ( *note- this must be hollered in an "assemble the minnions!" Frau Farbissina sort of voice, LOL).

  I have been experimenting with adding mixed media to my Plasticine illustrations, and this month's desktop calendar features an illo that has a fun Steampunk-y flavour. I used a mix of antique-y map papers, watch gears, burlap, metallic paints and polymer clay. Ever since I created the Steampunk-y Infinity Coil medallions for the covers of Marty Chan's YA novel,  The Ehrich Weisz Chronicles, Demon Gate, my head has been swirling with Steampunk inspired ideas. I have been working away on a picture book manuscript, featuring this little guy and his mechanical wings.  It's not quite there yet, but it will be one day...

I've also been working away on the pencil sketches for Gerbil, Uncurled(Fitzhenry & Whiteside, Spring 2015), written by Alison Hughes. I love this stage. Well,  I guess I love every stage of illustration :)  The studio is a flurry of papers. I like to hang up the sketches all around me, for easy reference- I am getting very excited to translate these into plasticine. Here's a pic of one wall of my studio at the moment:

(Yes, I've blurred out the images, 
we aren't quite ready to give any sneak peeks just yet. SOON!)

My day was made even more awesome when I saw that the first picture book I illustrated, Skink on the Brink( Fitzhenry & Whiteside, Spring 2013, written by Lisa Dalrymple) received a lovely review in The Deakin Review of Children's Literature. 

 I hope you are all having a wonderful summer so far. To download the desktop calendar simply select a screen resolution and right click " Save to desktop". Enjoy!

Monday, June 30, 2014

July 2014 Desktop

Summer is here! To all of my Canadian friends and family, Happy Canada Day tomorrow! The kiddos and my hubby are now on summer vacation, and we are getting high 30C temps all week. I think it's time to hit the water park, or the cottage- adventure and fun times await.  I thought this new illo of a boy on his own adventure(with his fun-loving elephant, of course!) was the perfect desktop to welcome July.  
To download, simply click on a screen resolution above(*note that I have included a new size for those super-sized monitors) then right click and "save to desktop".

Sunday, June 1, 2014

June 2014 Desktop Calendar

Hello June! 
Now that the warmer temps are finally here and the days are getting longer, I thought this new illo would be a fun choice for this month's desktop calendar. Colourful, gorgeous sunsets always remind me of summer. 
In just a few short weeks and the kiddos and hubby( who is a high school VP) will be off for summer holidays.  :) I will be busy working away on artwork for an upcoming picture book, in between our usual summer activities- swimming lessons, soccer games, 3x3 hockey and a few cottage trips(hopefully). Wishing everyone a safe and happy summer. 
To download a copy of the desktop please click on a screen resolution  above then right click and "save to desktop". Enjoy! 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

May 2014 desktop calendar and some exciting news

Hello May! 
I have been experimenting with some new techniques with plasticine and polymer clay over the last few weeks. Here is one example of my playing..erm experimentation. I created this  illo to explore colour and movement- together. What better way to capture those  then to depict a flowing stream in Fall. I will definitely be returning to this technique. It was created by using my fingers and some clay tools, sort of like finger painting with think paint-such fun. I hope you like it.  It is somewhat of a departure from my usual work.
To download this desktop, simply click on the required screen resolution above, and right click then "save to desktop".  Enjoy!

By the way, right now over on Goodreads there is a giveaway going on until May 22, to win a free copy of Skink on the Brink. Fitzhenry and Whiteside will be giving away 10 free copies. If you haven't had a chance to enter yet, there is still time.

 And I wanted to share 2 bits of exciting, peel-me-off-the-ceiling, great news!

Lisa Dalrymple and myself are thrilled to have been nominated for the the 2014 SCBWI Canada Crystal Kite Award.We are honoured to have made the shortlist alongside such amazing Canadian talent.

I also wanted to take a moment to congratulate Marty Chan, author of The Ehrich Weisz Chronicles: Demon Gate. He has has been nominated for the 2014 Aurora Award  in the category of Best English YA novel, presented by the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association. Also, Tanya Montini was nominated in the Best Artist category. This is especially exciting for me as Tanya designed the beautifully cohesive and stunning cover, which includes my polymer clay-mixed media Infinity Coil medallion illustrations. I am so excited for them both! 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April 2014 Desktop Calendar and some BIG news.

Hello Spring!
I don't know about you, but  here in Ontario we are most definitely ready for Spring. We've collectively "had it" with polar vortices,  never ending snow shovelling, and the ritual morning kiddo snow-pant battle. But, even after just a few days of above zero temps the snow is quickly melting away. I think I even heard some chirping birds this morning. Yay!
So, to welcome Spring, I decided to create this month's desktop calendar from one of my all-time favorite illustrations from Skink on the Brink(Fitzhenry & Whiteside 2013). Yes, there it is up in my header- I do LOVE this illo. To download a copy please select the required screen resolution above, then right click and "save to desktop". Enjoy!

I also wanted to share some BIG news. I now am represented by Patricia Ocampo  at Transatlantic Agency. I am honoured and SUPER excited to be working with Patricia. We are already working on some of my manuscript WIPs ( yes, I am writing now too!).  We got together last week for coffee to get to know each other better. Gosh, my cheeks were sore from smiling so much, it was a fabulous first meeting!  I love the collaborative process and I truly believe that the best ideas often come from a great brainstorming session- it's where the magic happens. :)  I think we will make a great team.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

March Desktop Calendar

This month's calendar features some groundhog pirate characters and a stowaway orangutan (but of course!).  I was sketching on Groundhog Day and these cute little guys ( and a few others) popped into my head. My kiddos have been watching Pirates of the Caribbean on Netflix, so I have had pirates on the brain lately too. 
Sorry to keep this short and sweet today but with it being Saturday, all 4 kiddos have hockey games and/or practices, which translates into 8 hockey rinks/weekend- BRRRR! Yes, I'm usually a little hoarse on Mondays, form all my cheering. ;)
To download this desktop calendar simply click on the desired screen resolution above and right click on "Save to desktop".
 Have a great March everyone. 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

February 2014 Desktop Calendar and OLA Superconference highlights

This months desktop was my submission for the HarperCollins Canada 40th Anniversary Alligator Pie Contest. The winner of the contest was the very talented Sandy Nicols. Congratulations Sandy!  This contest gave me the great opportunity to brainstorm and stretch my imagination to put together a proposal for a true "dream project". It  provided the chance to have my proposal (consisting of  2 sketches, one final art, and my written vision for the project) considered by the HarperCollins Canada executives- an amazing opportunity I did not want to miss. So, even though I didn't win the contest, I did get my work seen, and who knows, maybe sometime in the future another project will come across their desk, and my work will be the right fit.  I am proud of my proposal and now I have a new portfolio piece that  reflects a fresh and interesting twist on Dennis Lee's iconic poem. Plus, it gave me the chance to incorporate my favorite purple Converse sneakers into an illo! LOL :) Can you guess which verse inspired this illustration?

To download this desktop calendar, please select the screen resolution you require above, and right click, then "Save to Desktop". Enjoy!

I had the opportunity to attend the OLA Superconference this week.  Lisa Dalrymple and myself, signed free give-away copies of Skink on the Brink at the Fitzhenry & Whiteside booth this past Thursday. Then on the Friday we both took part in the CANSCAIP mass book launch. It was the first time I had attended this conference, and I can't wait to go again next year. Not only did I meet up with many  kidlit friends and a few I had only previously met online, but I was super thrilled to lay my hands on some of the newest titles I'd been waiting to read. Canada has some truly remarkable kidlit talent!   It was a fun two days. I will try to post some pictures once I get them. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Hello 2014!!!

Happy New Year!!! 

It's been a whirlwind of a year, both personally and  professionally. The kids are growing up so fast, with all the hockey/sports and activities sometimes I feel like, in the blink of an eye, another year has passed. It's times like these that I want to take a moment to reflect on all the awesome that I am blessed with - a wonderful hubby, 4 adorable kiddos, loving and supportive extended family, fantastic friends, and health and happiness.Yes, I guess I am feeling a little sappy and reflective, but due to recent events,  like the sudden and tremendously sad loss of my cousin, in a freak car accident, just days before Christmas, it really puts things into perspective, you know?  I am very thankful, and plan to live  in the moment even more, hug more, snuggle my kiddos more, and just "make more time" for the important  little things. 

 On the professional side things are moving forward in great directions. I illustrated my first picture book, Skink on the Brink, and had a fantastically fun Summer and Fall with Lisa Dalrymple travelling all over southern Ontario doing our  "Stewie and the Plasticine road show" to promote our book. We had a blast presenting at Word on the Street, Pinery Park's Savannah Festival, and Lisa and her husband Marc even drove down from Fergus to join me at the opening reception of CANSCAIP's PYI Gallery Show at Humber's L Space Gallery, where a few of my original illustrations from our book were on display.   I illustrated cover art for Marty Chan's awesome steampunk novel The Ehrich Weisz Chronicles, Demon Gate. I have an illustration contract for another picture book, and some awesome stuff going on behind the scenes that I can't share yet, so cross your fingers for me please ;).

 I feel so lucky to be able to work from home in my little studio, so I am available if a kiddo needs homework assistance or just wants to chat and hangout on the floor while I work. 

So, overall it's been a great year, thank you 2013!
2014, Bring it!!

To download a copy of this desktop calendar, simply click on the screen resolution you require then right click and "save to desktop". Enjoy! 
Wishing everyone a great 2014. 


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