Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sunday respite

Hey everyone
I'm in the midst of moving, but I really needed a break and wanted to work up a piece I have been kicking around based up on my trip to Camp Wandawega last month. I thought I would share it with you!

This is inspired by a row boating adventure my husband and I went on while at camp and it was the most picturesque moment in time. This captures that part of the trip and is a nice way for me to hold onto that memory.

Back to packing...

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Busy Summer: Part 2 (aka art Camp at Wandawega!)

Okay folks! Onto part 2 of my busy summer blog!

So where did I leave off? Chicago.

Well my art updates don't end at the last post. To bring you fully up to speed I'll explain a bit more about this recent trip I took. I have been dropping hints here and there about a freelance project that I was primarily working on the past 6-8 months. It was for the lovely and awesome creative director Tereasa Surratt based out of Chicago.  Tereasa is basically real life Wonder Woman. She has an amazing design eye, is a super thrifter, is insanely creative and is some sort of Jedi Master of getting a prolific amount of AMAZING stuff done with other AMAZING people. Pretty much one of the most creative and TCB people I've ever met.

So the short of the long is that Tereasa found me via my portfolio on SCBWI and contacted me to do a freelance project for her. I still can't really say too much about it, but it involves me illustrating some of my favorite things in the world to draw: anthropomorphic woodland critters doing awesome stuff in the woods. The premise of the book though is based in a real life wonderland that Tereasa and her husband David Hernandez own called Camp Wandawega. This place is a dream come true. If you've ever fantasized about going to a picturesque summer camp in the 1950's ( a la The Parent Trap or Dirty Dancing) this place is exactly that but real and full of more charm and authenticity than even the gorgeous pictures can capture. I'm pretty sure Wes Anderson might have invented this place in a lab and placed it in the woods of Wisconsin as some sort of Truman Show type experiment.

Anyhoo, while working on the project Tereasa mentioned that once a year they have an adult art camp where they invite people to come out for a long weekend of making art, eating amazing food, and playing like kids in this wooded wonderland. So you can guess I was hooked from the very second she mentioned it. So Aaron and I decided to take a trip out to Chicago and Wisconsin (where the camp is located) and see it first hand! And boy it did not disappoint. It was even more magical than in the pictures! DID YOU SEE THE TREEHOUSE??? Yeah. It was pretty unreal. I had to convince myself I hadn't gone mad and made this place up while I was in an insane asylum somewhere. Everything was just gorgeous and thoughtful. Literally every piece of a ephemera has a back story that Tereasa and David know about and its placement is so effortlessly intentional.

Aaron and I did a bit of everything. Swinging, rowing, walking, exploring, picture taking, archery, eating -pardon my french-fucking awesome food, and a ton of drawing. I was so completely inspired by actually going to the camp that I plan on doing a series of drawings based upon what we did. I can't wait. Here are some fun sketches that I did documenting some of the collections of the treasures at Wandawega.

I am so excited to make a bunch more art based off of my experiences at Wandawega. I could post about a million pictures of our trip there, I really could.  But I guess that would be me trying to capture that magic in pictures that is darn near impossible.

Tereasa did a blog post of more images from camp here.  Oh and I didn't even get to go into how many truly fun and inspirational people we met at camp. It was just a weekend of amazing overload in all capacities. But I don't really know the last time I had the great opportunity to meet such a great group of creatives. So astounding. To name just a few: Design guru Angela Finney of Post27, was the resident Camp Counselor and who orchestrated the most everything including the art projects, awesome photographer Bob Coscarelli and his super rad wife Karen documented the weekend in pictures in some impromptu photo shoots. Here are some of the lovely photographs Bob took as well as the outtakes of the big shoot.

Here are a few links to the blogs of some of the great great folks we met over the weekend. If you are looking for some inspiration, recipes, or overall radness check them out:

So that in a small glimpse was my trip to Chicago and Wisconsin. I could write about it for hours. But the busy summer continues so I must be off! Hopefully I'll be able to keep up more soon but Aaron and I are about to move, so things will be totally insane for the next two weeks so I doubt I'll be able to post much. But here's hoping! Thanks for checking in! More to come.

Busy summer: Part 1

Hey everyone!
Oh wow! I realized I haven't posted in a month and a half! Goodness me. Time flies is an understatement of the century for me over the past two months. I feel like I've been SO busy I really can honestly say I haven't had time enough to do a good post. I am not sure where to begin!

Well to catch you up to what I've been up to in the art department are a couple of fun things. I've still been refining my sketches for my picture book Boats For Papa (due out Spring/summer of 2015). It's been such a fun and incredible process to be learning as I go. I've been asked several times what the process entails so I thought I'd share it (so far). Basically I've been revising my sketches and then sending them off in book dummy form to my editor (the AMAZING Neal Porter at Roaring Brook Press) and book designer/art director (the also AMAZING Jennifer Browne). They then talk about the changes they'd like to see and we have a conference call and go through the book page by page on the phone (since we all aren't in the same city). Then I make the changes and send it back and we talk again about those changes. That process happens a few times until they fully approve the dummy. Once that is approved, I'll start making the paintings. From them, we'll see, since I haven't been through that part of the process yet.

I was recently in Chicago on vacation and through an act of serendipity, got to meet Neal in person which was something I didn't know if/when that would get to happen. He was there for ALA and we got to meet and have lunch.

It was incredible! He was so sweet and kind and SOOOO smart about books. It was a pure joy and I felt so lucky to get to work with someone of such a personal and professional caliber. It was one of the highlights of my trip for sure!

Also while in Chicago, there was a celebration of 75 years of the Caldecott at the Art Institute of Chicago. They had some original and digital prints of some of the winners and honorees from the last three years.

There were pieces from A Sick Day For Amos McGee Illustrated by Erin Stead, One Cool Friend illustrated by David Small, Grandpa Green illustrated by Lane Smith, pieces from Extra Yarn and This is Not My Hat illustrated by Jon Klassen, and an illustration from The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkey, just to name a few. It was so cool to get to see some of the work up close and to be in the presence of artists I admire. It was such a great bonus to get to see the exhibit while I was there! It was very inspirational.

More on the topic of art, as I've been working on my picture book, I also took a wee bit of time to finally print up some little mini-comic/art homage books I've been making for a while. I think I had posted that I'd been working on some Twin Peaks related books.

Well I finally finished the first two volumes and started selling them at a few places. Currently you can find them at Scarecrow Video and soon Sonic Boom Records in Seattle. Also while I was in Chicago my husband and I traveled to comic book Mecca, Quimbys. We brought a bunch of our mini comics and they are currently for sale there as well! Call it nerdy, but it was a bit of a dream to get to go there and sell comics. It was overwhelming almost in the quantity of comics and zines that they had, I wish we had more time to spend there, but we left with a pretty nice heap of comics so it was a pretty good success.

I am thinking of adding a way to purchase drawings and my comics on my website or perhaps set up an Etsy shop. Until then though if you are interested in my mini comics or what have you, you can always just shoot me an email at:

As for other art related items, as if I'm not busy already, my husband Aaron and I are starting work for a joint show that we are going to have in September at Joe Bar. It will be comics related but also have original art from the comics on display. More on that to come, so stay tuned!

Okay, that is good for Part 1. Part 2 coming next!