Thursday, July 31, 2008


Have you ever seen these before? They are called Moonflowers. A friend gave me some seeds a few years ago and I planted them to see what would happen. What happened was they went crazy.

They bloom in the evening, and stay open until early morning. If you're patient, you can actually watch the petals unfold over the course of a few minutes. They have an exquisite smell, but are extremely poisonous. So don't eat them!

I've let them grow wild along part of the fence by the road, where I have my sorely neglected "cottage garden." My futile attempt to make it so beautiful that cars would have to slow down. Ha, good luck, Jen! I'm not sure what will slow people down these days...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Wednesday Wonderings: Creative Habits

Between being on vacation and returning to a mountain of assignments, I slacked off on doing my 15 minute-a-day exercise. This is not good thing. For me, at least.

I think it's true that you lose your train of thought, your connection to the creative stream, if you don't dip in to it every day. And what's amazing is that it only takes a small amount of time! But you need to make that time. It's so much harder to start again once you've stopped. I wonder how it works for others.

The funny thing is, my "day" job-- making illustrated maps-- is a creative one. And then there are assorted other projects I'm plugging away at. So it's not as if I'm not doing anything creative all day.

I guess it's the time to let my mind ramble-- to play, practice, toss out new ideas-- that I crave. Ooh, do I get crabby without it! It keeps me moving forward. Any thoughts?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Who, Me?

Wow, I feel a bout of shyness about to kick in, but first I want to say many thanks to the lovely Kelly Light for the Brillante Weblog Award! I actually met Kelly at the Northeast SCBWI Conference this past spring in Nashua. She is an extremely talented artist. (And I'm not just saying that, because her art won in a few categories of the poster competition.) Check out her work!

Now, to pass it along, I get to choose some of my favorite blogs. (I suspect a few might have already received this and for good reason.) Here's the story, if they'd like to participate:

1) Put the logo on your blog.
2) Add a link to the person who awarded you.
3) Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
4) Add links to those blogs on yours.
5) Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs.

My choices:
Julie, Barbara, Frank, Sara, Elizabeth, Alicia, Christine

Oh, and YOU! Because you're out here reading and sharing and participating in the artistic community. I love that.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Wednesday Workload

Were we really on vacation less than two weeks ago? Usually summers are fairly quiet workwise, but not this year. Here's what I've been working on since I returned last week:

4 small illustrations for Weekly Reader... a full page map for a non-fiction picture book that will be a follow-up to this one... one map for a new client... and 7 other small maps for another new client... a small map for TimeOut Chicago... a sketch due next week for another regular client... whew! Can I take another vacation now? I'll post more about all of these once the issues come out, okays are gotten from editors, etc.

It's just the ebb and flow of freelance life...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Gem in the Catch-Up Pile

"’s important to keep in mind that in publishing, just as in love, you can’t correctly interpret silence and reticence." –David Small

While catching up on post-vacation blog reading I was thrilled to come across this interview with David Small over at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. One of my favorite illustrators.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Gratuitous Beach Shot

I planned to have my foot in there as a compositional element, ha! Surreal, no?

It seems quiet in blogland these days, what with vacations and shifting summer routines. I'll get back into posting more sketches and art soon. But for now, think I'll just go with the flow...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

R & R, and R

Yep-- that's what vacation was all about. Good R & R with favorite, far-flung relatives; beach time, bike rides, long walks, and lots of time to read. (Confession: I did have to bring a bit of work. But only a little. It's hard to schedule a vacation when you freelance. And hard to say "no" to work. Make hay while the sun is shining, as they say.)

For some reason I find it easy to read at the beach. Just plop myself down under an umbrella and off I go. With occasional breaks to jump in the water. (Though even with 30spf sunscreen I still managed to burn. Ouch!)

My intention was to do tons of drawing and writing. But books always manage to take precedence at the shore. Maybe it has something to do with the lazy rhythm of the waves.

This is what I read, if anyone's interested:

- Castles in the Air by Judy Corbett
- A Dog's Life by Ann M. Martin
- Prom by Laurie Halse Anderson
- 89 pages of The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett but I just couldn't get into it. (I know it's really popular but there was too much lusty girding of the loins stuff for my taste. Seemed kinda silly...)
- Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
- Write Away by Elizabeth George (Still reading.)

So many more on my to-read list, and it's only July!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Monday Map: I'm Back and My Garden is a Jungle

How did everything grow so fast? Where did all those weeds come from? Why is my head still at the beach?

Oh! But little zucchinis and tomatoes and peppers have appeared!