Friday, February 26, 2010

Bright lights, big city, NYC here I come!

BREAKING NEWS! I will be flying all the way from Seattle to NYC from March 22nd-25th for a week of portfolio reviews. It's been two years since my last such trip and I have lots of new work and books to share. If I am lucky enough to have an art director, editor or designer in NYC stumble on my blog please send me an email to to schedule an appointment!

Looking forward to what lies ahead!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Order your signed copy today!

Just a quick update to let you know I received a big stack of "The Can Man". It looks great! If you would like to purchase a signed copy from me send me an email to I charge $20 which includes shipping and taxes! I will have some events coming up this spring in the Puget Sound area so return back here in the future to learn more.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Fresh off the easel

Today I mailed off the final paintings for my 17th children's book. That is always a nice feeling. I have to keep the story behind the images under wraps for now but I wanted to share some of the paintings. Enjoy!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Research, research, research

This past Monday I made the finishing touches to the paintings for my recent book for Millbrook Press. On Monday I will be mailing the paintings off. That is always a good feeling! Work on my latest project began the next day when I made a trip to the library. It always helps having another project to jump into to dull the bittersweet feeling of finishing my latest book. In what has become a bit of a tradition for me, I made the journey to my favorite library in downtown Bellevue. When I moved to the Seattle area almost 16 years ago, before starting art school I was living in Bellevue and remember spending some lonely hours visiting the cavernous library. Where I grew up in rural California we had nothing like this. Now when I visit the Bellevue library I sometimes stumble across one of my previous book projects now on display on the children's book shelves. This is always a nice full circle feeling.

So the Bellevue library is where a new project is born for me. As you can see it is a treasure trove of research materials! As much as I try to limit myself to the amount of books I will check out I always end with a pile about two feet high. As the illustrator working on a historical project images will come to mind when reading the manuscript but there are many gaps that my research helps to fill. My new book is about a girl and her family traveling across the Oregon Trail in the 1860's. It is a fictional family but based on the experiences of thousands of pioneers that made the real journey. The story takes place in northeastern Nebraska and Wyoming. Reading a story raises more questions for an illustrator than it answers. What does the landscape look like? How do I depict Fort Laramie? How do I accurately paint a Sioux Chief of that era? So many questions but luckily existing non-fiction children's books are a treasure trove of old photographs and paintings. I get a little jolt of excitement when I finally stumble across that elusive image I was looking for. If I can I will travel to the area the story takes place as I did for my book "Survival in the Snow" set at Donner Lake California, but that's not always possible. I also have lots of existing photos I have taken of places like Boston or Philadelphia that have helped me illustrate stories set during the American Revolution. For my current project though I will have to satisfy myself with what's discovered through arm chair travel.

The next step for me is to go through the books at home and scan the images that will be most helpful to me, then print out the pages and pages of images so I can begin sketching. I am always a bit nervous, is that illegal, scanning from books? But I figure it just serves the greater purpose of making my paintings more historically accurate. If there are still any holes to fill after all this research there is always Google images. Time to start scanning!