Monday, January 28, 2008

Firefly Chocolates

I just finished putting together a simple Web site for some nice people I know from Ohiopyle. They have a couple restaurants down there (The Firefly Grill and Highwaters Grill) that are open through the summer, and then they make chocolate goodies through the winter season. They just opened a shop at Seven Springs Mountain Resort a few weeks ago, and I've been working on their graphics for it.

The image above is what I designed for the sign that hangs outside the shop in the hallway of the ski lodge at Seven Springs.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Getting my act together

I'm trying to get my act together for the SCBWI Children's Book Illustrator's Conference in New York coming up in April. The set-up sounds interesting: Illustrators bring their portfolios and set them up and then leave them there to listen to speakers all day. The magic part happens after we leave the room; art buyers spend the day perusing the portfolios, taking the promotional leave-behind material and leaving comments and advice for the illustrators. What a great opportunity.

I'm kinda torn between what I think I should show there though. I've got two very distinct styles, and I definitely want to expose the style that is very much me, and which also has gotten a lot of positive feedback. With the other style, though, I have a book out that I can show along with my portfolio. We're allowed 15 pieces, so I have to edit down to what I think is my very, very best. I think what I'll do is edit to 15, no matter what the style, and then see how many of each I have left, and that can be Option 1. Options 2 and 3 could be all of one style or the other. Then, I can run all three past some people I trust to see if they see the same things I'm seeing.

Thankfully, there's still time...

Friday, January 25, 2008

Punxsutawney Phil

In honor of the most famous groundhog in the world, and the people who like to celebrate his Feb. 2 predictions.

If you don't know who he is, look him up. He's quite a holiday for some of us in the area.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Stu's birthday today. He didn't want anything special, just to stay at home and enjoy the evening.

The cake was marble.


Started working on my 2007 taxes today...This is the first time I'm not using software, so pulling out all the receipts and separating what's what is taking a little time. But once I get a system down, I think things will go a little quicker.

The good news is, last year was the first year I've netted in the black! I've been spending so much money on promotional stuff--two Web sites (soon to be three), postcards, postage, conferences, membership dues, directories--and this year I cleared two year's worth of redness! Here's to black!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Hand Lettering

Here's a preview of a new area I'll be uploading to my site: Hand lettering. I copied the "Kids Pix" to my other site (, and as soon as I'm comfortable that the word has gotten around that it has moved, I'll post samples of some hand lettering that I've done on my graphx site.

I won't be making fonts from these, at least not anytime soon. I just like the way hand lettering allows letters to hug each other. It feels more live, and more personal than an un-manipulated font. Not that fonts are bad -- no way, I love them. These ones are just...different. But I'm not a calligrapher. They're way better than I could ever be. I'm just a hand-letterer.


What a long day! But productive!

I moved all my kids illustrations over to just one site: I had to re-save all the images and thumbnails, and create new rollover links for two portfolios. (Not to mention changing all the templates for every page on the site to include the new portfolio.) The preliminary work always takes so long, but once it gets done, putting the pages together is so rewarding.

I had originally thought I should keep my "traditional" kinds of kids illustrations on a separate site from my "twisted" kids illustrations. Somehow, all this time it has never felt quite "right." So I've copied over the twisted kids. The only things I'm going to keep on my site will be my editorial illustrations, graphic design and hand lettering work. I haven't taken down the twisted kids from the graphx site yet--and I won't for a while--but only until I can get the word out. I need the space for my new hand lettering images.

Now I have to work on re-branding my twisted kids to conform to the branding I already have started with my traditional kids. More work, but definitely worth it.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


Met with my friend, Rose, this afternoon to talk about the direction of our illustration careers and what our next step(s) would be. Of course, we met at Panera. What a productive afternoon! My friend Alice even popped in unexpectedly, neither of us knowing the other would be there. Anyway, Rose and I talked about studying, drawing, blogging, taking museum and gallery field trips, and our April Illustrator's Conference field trip to New York.

I guess you could say I got a little over-stimulated.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Cold cold cold

Pretty cold here tonight. Only 16 degrees and snowy. I'm sure you folks in Anchorage would probably think that would be a heat wave, but for those of us in southwestern PA, that's a wee bit chilly.

We built a fire.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New Year's

Here's my idea of a new year with the potential for lots and lots of drawing and painting and illustrating.

Yikes! Wow! Yuck!

Our new book is out!

The Yikes! book became official today (even though it's been available on the Internet for a few weeks now). It's written by Elizabeth Snoke Harris, and illustrated by Yours Truly. It was great fun to work on. The Art and Creative Directors over at Lark (Robin and Celia) are so easy to work with, it didn't feel like work at all.