Sunday, December 22, 2013

White Elephant

I was in a rush trying to figure out what I would bring to a white elephant gift exchange, and this happy white elephant flew onto the page. Drawn and painted in 20 minutes! I wish I could always be so inspired!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Name Bearers at Minted!

Minted is offering my print, "Name Bearers" just in time for Christmas! This print is meant to be customized with a child's name. If you have a special kid in your life, consider getting them this personal gift : )

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Swift Fox at Minted! has launched my "Swift Fox" in their art collection! He looks quite dashing! You can see him here. Foxes are in right now, he would make a great Christmas gift.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Naturalist's Collection: Minted State of the Art Challenge

This is what I came up with the for next two illustrations. Fish found on the African coasts, and the African Rhinoceros Beetle.

As I was getting ready to spend time drawing scales I came up with a great way to make uniform scales. Maybe fish artists already do this, but I was pretty happy to figure it out! I made quick cross hatches and drew the scales in.


Here are the fish finished and the completed collection.

African Gazelle: Minted Design Challenge

I am entering this illustration into the "State of the Art" Minted design challenge. My colored pencils got quite stubby, so I was really hanging on!

The due date for submission was extended a couple days, so I am going to try to paint two more pieces to create a naturalist collection. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

South American Boy

This is my 6th and final illustration for the Sunday school curriculum. It has been a growing experience trying to capture these 6 children.
When I painted my African boy, I had trouble with the granulation of my sienna watercolor. Later, my illustrator friend told me that all of her browns have granulation (making the paint look gritty.) For my South American boy I mixed cadmium red, colbalt blue and serpentine genuine green to get his soft brown skin color. I added a little bit of purple for my darker shades.
When I look back at my first Asian girl, I realize how much I have learned. I learned how to see shapes in the skin to create movement and depth, Unlike the tedious painting of fur, with skin I have to move quickly with out stopping to create smooth tones that flow.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Nordic Boy

This is my 5th of 6 illustrations depicting children from 6 continents. I love the softness of the boys face and the snow against the high detail of his clothing and the reindeer's fur and antlers. I wasn't sure if the purple trees would work in the background, but I am really happy with them. It might sound surprising, but I usually don't struggle with the high detail, its the atmosphere that challenges me most: letting a couple shades and lines tell the story of the landscape.

Monday, October 21, 2013


This is our new home, and the big pumpkin that my husband grew : )

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Pass the Biscuits

Now it is time for an English tea party! With plenty of cream, sugar and biscuits. This squirrel is the beginning of a series of paintings. The owl will be pouring tea, the skunk will be there and the badger might make an appearance. I am not sure if the chipmunks will be invited because they tend to be a little too cheeky for a proper tea party.

These paintings would be perfect for a round room. So if you live in the oval office, or a windmill, stay tuned.

Changing of the Guard

I met a family from England and now my paintings are coming out all English! I am quite excited to begin a series of English paintings, inspired by the Jay and Rosemary Nunn family.

Art at West Elm!

It was quite surreal to see my art in the West Elm catalog! Thank you Minted for such a fun experience! My Swift Fox has been popping up all over the nation in West Elm stores. My sister-in-law in Indianapolis texted me a pic from her store, and my sister and new brother-in-law texted me a picture from the Boston store where there were honeymooning.

While in Portland for my sister's wedding I visited the West Elm store down town, but, alas, my print had already sold out.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Chalk Stock 2013

I participated in A Piece of Work Inc.'s 4th annual Chalk Stock event in Spirit Lake this last weekend. I was honored to receive first place this year! We all worked away and as soon as the judging was over it rained and all washed away! How wonderful that it held off until we were all finished.

I chalked one of my watercolor illustrations, after slightly changing the composition in a sketch.

Here are my neighbor's pieces! My friend's abstract piece (She is currently featured at A Piece of Work and has really nice stuff, Jellyfish done on a very large scale, and the shadow of a bird with a surprising (and quite shocking) finish!

We all had a great time : )

Native American Girl

This one is my favorite so far. My friend helped me by posing her daughter for a reference picture. It was so nice to work from a strong reference. I dressed her in traditional Navajo attire and bound up her doll to resemble a cradle board. Petroglyphs are in the background.

African Boy

I can see progress in my ability to paint children, although this guy was pretty difficult as I used 4 different references and tried to put them all together. This is number 3 in my six international children that I am illustrating for a Sunday school curriculum.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Name Bearers

Have you heard of Its one of my favorite places to check out what designers are up to. Minted is currently holding a design challenge for Customizable Children's Art! I had quite a struggle entering, as I am unfamiliar with the language of adobe illustrator and other design tools, but everyone at Minted made me feel quite at home and cheerfully helped me through the submission process.

You can vote for my illustration by clicking on this voting badge! You can also check out and vote for other entries by several talented artists
and designers.
Vote for my
design on minted.
Name Bearers
see more from Meadow to Grove
vote for me!
Check out my competition in Christmas cards and wedding invitations at Minted.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Good for You Children's Art Contest

This piece is in process for the "Good for You" Children's Art contest hosted by Yes, art is good for you! Here is a look at the contest guidelines and category prizes! The flag will be set up with customizable text so that it can "bear" the name of a child.
I am looking forward to seeing all the entries that will be coming in the next couple weeks. Make sure you vote for your favorite illustration, and enter the contest yourself if you can! Anyone can enter by following the rules on the design challenge page.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Grandpa Guido

My Grandpa Guido left a wonderful gift before he passed away in April. An illustrator's dream really:

No one was aware that he took these pictures! We laughed and laughed when we found them. And now I feel like laughing and crying.... but I am in a coffee shop, so I won't.

At the SCBWI conference, Little, Brown's Senior Art Director, Patti Ann told us that when Jerry Pinkney was illustrating the Loin and the Mouse, that he would make faces in the mirror to use as a reference for the lion's expressions.

Can you see it? I wish I could find a picture of Mr. Pinkney making this face!

Thank you Grandpa, now I will always have facial expressions for all my lions, Santa Clause's, and any kind hearted old man : )

SCBWI Illustrator's Intensive

I thoroughly enjoyed my 2nd SCBWI Conference last April! I especially loved participating in the Illustrator's Intensive led by Patti Ann Harris from Little Brown, books for young readers. It was a honor to meet with a Senior Art director who has worked on books with illustrators like Jerry Pinkney!

I chose to illustrate this text from the book, If all of the Animals came Inside:
"When all of the Animals wanted to play, they'd grab all my toys, they'd take them away. Wibble, Scribble! Wipe, Swipe! Upstairs and downstairs and out in the hall, the chipmunks would draw with my paint on the wall."

This was my first quick sketch that I submitted to Patti Ann. I received the email late, so I jotted a quick sketch on paper. I knew that I wanted a kangaroo and badger running down the hall with all the toys, and I knew that I wanted the chipmunks standing on books, painting some of the text on the wall.

Patti Ann advised that the text was too overpowering and that the animals were squished into the corners. Yes, I totally agreed! She suggested that I make the animals larger and bring the kangaroo's head up into the top corner.

In revising my work I chose to make the kangaroo and badger occupy the whole left page and incorporated less of the text. I changed the "wibble scribble" into soft cursive to make it less abrasive. I also moved the wall and stairs back and to an angle to create depth and dimension.

I think one of the greatest challenges illustrators face is working around the "gutter" which is the crease where the book opens, and leaving room for text. I took these things into consideration as I put my final drawing on watercolor paper.

After I masked off "wibble scribble" I realized that my wall color could make or break the piece. That was when I learned about a "comp sketch" or as I like to call it, a "color sketch." This color sketch gave me confidence as I painted the wall a light blue grey.

After scanning in both pieces, I realized that I could have gone darker with the wall color. I think painting by dim lamp light was to blame. Here is my final art. I added the text and crease to make it look like a real book spread.

I loved working on this and imagine that working on a real book some day would be a blast! I love the deadlines and feedback! My friend Candace also participated in the intensive. You can she her amazing work here.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Catch the Wild Foxes

 I had the privilege of entering and winning a place in the West Elm wall art competition, hosted by You can see the winner's page here. Great art was submitted and I am sure it was a very difficult to select winners. I am grateful for my tech savvy friends who helped me enter : ) Look for this print coming soon to

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Here is Australia!
I recently learned what a color comp is. I think "comp" stands for "composition." But I prefer to call it a "color sketch" because that is exactly what it is! Color sketching was a useful tool for this illustration, and I am looking forward to making it a regular practice.
I made these 2 color sketches to determine the color of the sky. I originally wanted to paint a pink sky, but the color sketch revealed that the pink sky would wash out the colors. The color sketch with the blue sky gave a wonderful contrast with her red hair and added depth to the composition.

I also learned that Koalas have two thumbs! Maybe you just did too : )