Artists Around the World Blog Hop

I was recruited to the Artists Around the World Blog Hop by Nancy McKenzie of Edinburgh, Scotland. Thanks Nancy! I’ve read so many great contributions to this blog hop so far and I’m excited to take part. If you haven’t read Nancy’s post you can do so here and you can view her surface pattern design and illustration work here.

Why do I create what I do?
If I don’t I’ll be haunted by little line drawings of imps or animals begging to be put down on paper.

I had a previous life as a gallery artist but everyone was so boring and full of themselves and it wasn’t really about creativity. Picture books were my first love so I’m happily finding my way back to that realm.  I learned from Lilla Rogers the importance of keeping my experience of my work joyful. I like drawing little creatures that amuse me.

How does my creative process work?
I spend a portion of each day clearing my head by just drawing what ever comes to mind. I have so many ideas and images in my head it helps to get some of them out before I settle in to work on a more time consuming piece. A lot of these sketches will end up having a life of their own or being the inspiration for a more finished illustration down the road.

I usually go from a rough sketch(es) to a more detailed sketch.  Often I will make a composite of my sketches the old fashioned way- with tracing paper and tape then I use a lightbox to draw the final version onto a new piece of paper. Next I paint with watercolor and gouache. I’ll scan in the final and sometimes add design elements or adjust composition, etc digitally. Here is an example of something I am working on right now...

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
What a challenging question! I much prefer using traditional, tactile media. The way I see it if I have to sit at a computer all day I would have just kept my more lucrative day job. I have a fine arts background and did a very short stint in scientific illustration I think those influences are a difference for better or worse. I’m interested in line work and a concise use of line. I feel like my characters are not generic. I have a general ambivalence to background details that I’m working to improve.

What am I presently working on?
I’m currently working on adding to my children’s book illustration portfolio. I am attending a regional Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators conference in a few months and focused on preparations for that.

Most days I draw a contribution to my daily drawing project on Instagram #365CreatureFeature. You can follow along and see all the creatures here.

I just finished a guest blog post for the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum blog, my side project, The Endangered Species Print Project, is currently on view at the museum.
Vancouver Island Marmots, a print I created for The Endangered Species Print Project

Who inspires Me To Create?
Hmm, a blank piece of paper- those are simply screaming to be drawn on! Sunshine streaming in my studio window. Anything with a lovely silhouette. Animals, plants, nature walks, my son. Funny stories and songs my husband and I make up to amuse each other. A nice sharp pointed brush and a tube of gris payne paint.

Two blogs or artists that inspire me:

I love author illustrator Jon Klassen's hat books. I was so excited to see a whole book of weird animals just sort of standing around. That's my favorite thing to draw! If you don't know his art or picture books like "I Want My Hat Back." you should check them out. This is his tumblr.

Illustration by Jon Klassen

Tory Wright. Tory is my art friend foreverever. We recently both became mothers and I am super into her new zine based collage style work with subversive mom related imagery. Cindy Sherman with a tweetybird baby bandaid covering her face? Yes thank you; amazing! Here is one of my favorite images:

A page from a zine by Tory Wright

An inspiring quote:
I'm going to share a long one by Ursula LeGuin, awesome lady and writer. You should read her books if you haven't. 
 Ursula LeGuin. Photo by Marian Wood Kolisch.

"On every act the balance of the whole depends. The winds and seas, the powers of water and earth and light, all that these do, all that the beasts and green things do, is well done and rightly done. All these act within the Equilibrium. From the hurricane and the great whale's sounding to the fall of a dry leaf and a gnat's flight, all they do is done within the balance of the whole. But we, insofar as we have power over the world and over one another, we must learn to do what the leaf and the whale and the wind do of their own nature. We must learn to keep the balance. Having intelligence, we must not act in ignorance. Having choice, we must not act without responsibility."

-Ursula K. LeGuin from "The Farthest Shore"

Up Next
I'm passing the blog hop baton onto my internet friend Adrienne Vita who I met through a mutual friend and Lilla Rogers Bootcamp. You can see Adrienne's lovely hand drawn work on her website and watch for her Artists Around the World blog hop contribution next Monday on her blog.