Relaunch || I’m back!

It has been a hard couple of years. When the world feels like it’s imploding with a global pandemic and life as we know it changing almost overnight, I shut down. My family became my Number One Priority.

My husband, a teacher, took over my drafting table to use as his desk for remotely teaching his students, and my youngest took over my work table for his studies. I was bouncing around, helping all three kids stay on top of their lessons and work, keeping the house running, trying to not panic and just be a support for my family.

And after awhile, it happend: I no longer saw oil paintings when I looked at the clouds. I didn’t see watercolors when a bird landed on one of my veggie plants. Our resident backyard bunny no longer made me want to draw. After an amazing start to 2020, I was devastated. My world was upside down, and to lose my passion for art? I couldn’t process that.

I mean, it got to be so bad that I almost got rid of all of my supplies and converted my studio over to an office and workspace for the family. I couldn’t even look at my work or a tube of paint.

Fast forward to the summer of 2021. I was outside doing something, and I looked at the sky and thought to myself, “I wonder how I would paint that cloud.” I stopped dead in my tracks. I couldn’t believe it, it HAD to be a fluke. I brushed it off and kept going about whatever I was doing.

A few days later, it happened again. And then again. And again. After two weeks of feeling inspired, I decided that I was going to slowly start working again: planning out supplies I needed, making a list of pieces I wanted to create, laying down some boundaries because if this was really happening, I wanted to do things different. I spent six weeks working tirelessly behind the scenes, planning, purchasing…up until my relaunch date.

October 1st, 2021 I relaunched my art business, and I am SO EXCITED!

This month I have *finally* finished book four of the Boathouse Mouse series…

…I’ve done an original watercolor painting…

…and an original oil painting…

…and finished a drawing I started before I walked away.

All of those will be launching or being revealed soon, so I hope you enjoyed the teasers 🙂

I cannot wait for what’s to come, after almost two years away, there is so much in my brain just wanting to come out on paper and canvas! Stay tuned for some hopefully awesome pieces!

Thank you so much for sticking around!

Brockport Arts Festival 2018

This past weekend I participated in the Brockport Arts Festival! It was my third year being a vendor at this show.

I didn’t know how to mentally prepare for the festival this year, partly because I haven’t really worked on my art business lately, but mostly because I was so uncertain about how it was going to go because this show was going to be so different: I wasn’t bringing my jewelry, which is hands down my top seller. Instead, I was bringing only originals and prints. I’ve only ever sold a few prints at any festival, even the two day ones. I was taking a big risk, and with this being one of the more expensive shows that I do, I was really nervous that it was going to be a big flop.

Little did I know how unprepared for the weekend I actually was…

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The Wrong Direction Easter Eggs

This blog post is extremely overdue. However, it’s Easter weekend, so I thought it might be appropriate to finally post now!

The Wrong Direction is the 3rd installment of the children’s book series The Adventures of Boathouse Mouse, and I have the honor and privilege of illustrating them. This book came out in April 2017, almost a year ago!!!!

While I was illustrating this book, I had some fun with it and included Easter Eggs, just like I did with The Cat and the River Thames. If you’re unfamiliar with Easter Eggs, they’re fun little details included in movies, whether it be hidden details or references to other movies (Disney and Pixar are well known for these!). One thing I’m trying to add in each book now is a cameo of the person I’m dedicating it to. I didn’t do it for Book 1, and Book 2 was my parents.

Book 3 was originally going to be dedicated to my daughter. I was going to go in age order for the kiddos, but once I read the book, there was one scene that changed my mind:

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Hey There Little Buddy!

Look whooooo’s heeeeeeerrreeee!!!!

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For those of you who are new to the blog, when I’m not doing crazy drawing challenges, I have the priviledge of illustrating a children’s book series called The Adventures of Boathouse Mouse. I work on them with the amazingly talented author RV Hodge, and after a very long break (aka the illustrator, aka me, took almost a year off for moving), we’re back at it! Book 4 is IN MY HANDS!

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Drawing a Day Challenge: DAY 25!!!!

Guys! I did it!!!! I was able to do 25 5×7 drawings in 25 days!

I’m a little shocked I was able to get to it some days. Like today. My husband had meetings all day, so it was just me and the three kiddos….and two of them were having a little bit of a rough time if they were together.

It was an “Is it bedtime yet?” kind of day.

But as I had been looking forward to this drawing ALL CHALLENGE, nothing was going to get in the way of my drawing!

It’s a good thing the playroom is the other half of my office, huh? Referee while I work!

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Title: If Boathouse Mouse Was Real

Medium: Graphite pencil and ink on acid free paper

Size: 5×7

This was the very first drawing to go on my list of things to do over this challenge! I’m not sure what exactly sparked the idea; I think I had gone through my binder that holds the text for whichever book I’m working on illustrating, and at the back I have my reference drawings for Boathouse as well as other design ideas. I have little sketches of realistic mice from when I was designing him, and I think that was what gave me this idea.

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Sick Day Painting

My youngest was home for a couple days this past week with a fever. After what felt like his thousandth movie, he decided he was bored and was looking for a change of scenery. He loves to paint, and as I was behind in Boathouse illustrating, I suggested breaking out our watercolors. He jumped at the chance, and we got to work.

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Sick day snuggles

It was so much fun watching him be creative! He puts colors together that I wouldn’t think of, puts more detail and thought into each painting than I would imagine, and even watching him try to work through his struggles inspires me.

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Coming Soon: Boathouse Products!

Remember how I had three people ask me about Boathouse prints at the AppleUmpkin Festival? Well, now I can say that I have two designs available with more on their way soon!

For RV’s birthday, I worked on designing a couple prints for him as part of his gift. It wasn’t as easy as I had hoped; trying to get a wonderful composition from pictures that aren’t always the correct proportion for prints is fairly tricky!

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5×7 print; love this frame with the illustration!

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Our First Book Signing

Life is a funny thing.

We make choices every day, but we never know what the outcome will be later in life, what relationships will be made, or where we will be living or working.

RV and I were discussing this briefly this past weekend after our book signing. If his daughter had never met her husband, they never would have moved to New York, would never have gone to our church, would have never met me. RV and I may not have ever met, and if I hadn’t opened my business, Boathouse may still just be an idea in his head.

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RV’s daughter, Vanessa, and I

A world without Boathouse is a sad world that I don’t want to live in.

But on to the book signing!

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Character Design: Commodore Thomas

Designing characters for the Boathouse series is challenging. Not only do you have to figure out what exactly they’re going to look like, but you have to design all the expressions, physical movements and limitations, and then take all of that information and be able to reproduce that look for consistency throughout the whole book.

I think it’s my favorite part of illustrating!

The Cat and the River Thames introduces a new location and various new characters, including some pirate rats and another boat builder. These were fairly easy to design; okay, so the rats gave me a little trouble, but it only took me a day or so to really get them where I wanted them.

But the book also introduces a bigger character, and let me just say, it was not easy designing him.

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Behind the Scenes: Illustration Steps

In honor of the release of The Cat and the River Thames, I’m going to let you in on a little secret.

You ready for it?

Okay. Here it is: illustrating, although fun, is very time consuming.

There are so many steps for each illustration, and if I were to rush them or skip them, the picture would look…well…awful.

As many people have asked me questions on how much work really goes into an illustration, I thought I’d break it down visually for you all by sharing a step by step process of part of a final illustration. I say part only because the book just came out, and if I shared the whole picture I’d give away some things 🙂

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