Sweet relief after the #NESCBWI18 conference

I always get all worked up before going to a conference but as usual, it went great. This was the second time I went to the NESCBWI conference. I wouldn’t have been quite as panicked if I hadn’t had to spend far too much time working on an illustration challenge (because I stupidly signed up for it). The theme was Fairy Tale Mash-up, and I combined The Little (Asian) Mermaid and The Steadfast Tin Soldier.


A long-time friend and critique partner went with me this time. It’s always fun to travel with someone. We got to listen to terrific speakers like my mentor, Jane Yolen:


Rita Williams-Garcia:


and Matthew Winner:


And I also won some swag:


and got to hang out with my tribe…people who are as happy to talk books as I am! But it is nice to be back home in peace and quiet, with only the birds to keep me company.


The subject line of this post also refers to the fact that I’ve decided to give up on pursuing illustrations for a while. It takes time away from the writing and things are going the way of digital art these days (I’m not about to drop big money on a Cintiq or Photoshop program). I’ll just do art for my own enjoyment, but the pressure to get noticed or to get work in that area is off.

I’ll share some other of my recent illustrations that I did for NESCBWI in later posts.

Hope your week is off to a great start!


You can’t always get what you want #illustration

Mac should not be chasing birds anyway.


No leaf left unpainted #art

More practice on painting leaves. I want to perfect the technique my dad taught me to load the brush in such a way that a leaf or a bamboo stalk have a gradation of saturation, lending a rounded, 3-dimensional look to whatever I’m painting. Not quite there yet.IMG_6493



Shiny things, captain

The title is a nod to Firefly, the short-lived cult-favorite tv series. 🙂

On Saturday, I hung out with my neighbor-friend (our wonderful chicken-sitter) to make jewelry together. I was in a warm, earthy-tones kind of mood, I guess. I made 5 good things instead of “One Good Thing.”

I officially have more jewelry than I’ll ever wear and need to sell a bunch.

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Doodle Day 6 #poem and #illustration

Because my buddy Russell wants more bears…the dark brown one is writing down the Boltzmann Equation for entropy, in case anyone was wondering.

Today’s idiom is “back to the drawing board.”

Back to the Drawing Board


you’d think as the only remaining
species in the genus,
they would come together
as kin,

but, no!

They’d rather fight
against and amongst each other,
bashing brains instead of using them
to make life longer
and brighter.

Maybe the next experiment
will be better stewards
of the planet
and each other.

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Doodle Day 5 #poem and #illustration

“At the drop of a hat” was the idiom for today.

Is Chivalry All Wet?

A drop of rain
was what provoked
Walter to act
so she wouldn’t get soaked.

He dropped to his knees,
undid his cravat,
dropping his cloak
at the drop of a hat.

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Doodle Day 4 #illustration and #poem

The idiom today is “add insult to injury.” Here are my poem (thanks to my sister for a bit of inspiration) and drawing.

Recipe for the Annihilation of the Human Species – from the cookbook “To Serve Man”

  • 1 cup blind conservatism
  • 5 tablespoons fanaticism
  • a handful of weapons
  • a dearth of brains
  • a pinch of salt (social media may be substituted)

Stir all together.
Add insult to injury.
Cook in a small-minded pot.
Best served hot.

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Back to Doodle Day (day 3) #illustration + #poem

I’m going to try to participate in this month’s Doodle Day because the prompts are idioms (I love idioms so much that I had written a picture book manuscript based on it a few months ago…but apparently no one else loves it like I do…hah).

Feeling ambitious, I had also written a poem to go with the illustration. I suppose this makes up for the fact that the illustration is really merely a highly unfinished sketch.

Actions speak louder than words.

Says one thing; does another.
Points to you, but means your mother.
The shiny gems are really
glitter-covered turds.
Listen but also watch closely because
actions speak louder than words.

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Are you my mother? #kidlitillustration

I’m channeling my favorite P.D. Eastman book, “Are You My Mother?” here. Now, before my awesome critique group buddies reprimand me for not working hard on my young adult novel that won at the #NESCBWI17 Pitchapalooza, I want to clarify that I did this drawing before I left for the conference so I’m not spending time drawing…just spending time POSTING drawings. I love my critique group buddies!

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