Tuesday, March 31, 2009


My friend and fellow writing group member Julie Fortenberry has illustrated her first trade picture book! Her artwork is already getting great reviews. Yay Julie!

(The nice folks at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast did a spotlight on Julie and her work. You can read it here.)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Monday Map: Mayflower Route

This was a map I did a while back for Weekly Reader. I think they've been around ever since I was in elementary school. Can that be?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday Fun: Funk Lifter

In a funk? Try firing up some Celia Cruz on the ol' ipod and dancing around the house. It's sure to embarrass your kids, but it never fails to help.

Celia is full of joy, and her voice... ¡es incréible!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

What I'm Working On Now

Here's a sketch for a new sample piece. I'm planning on doing this one in color.

Aside from building up a body of black & white illustration samples, I've been busy working on yet more revisions for a new picture book-- tweaking the words and pictures, back and forth. And then of course putting the story aside and letting it marinate for a time, which helps me figure out if the story in my head is truly coming across on paper. This is a new type of story for me (which is personally exciting) and with each round I'm liking it more and more. (Apologies for not posting sketches or more details-- I need to keep growing it close to home, if that makes any sense!)

Picture books are so deceptive-- the shorter they are the more difficult they are to get right. I love the challenge.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sort of Life-ish Drawing

These are sketches from a little over a week ago, drawn from a children's clothing catalog. (Though two of the kids are from my head... can you tell which?)

Someone on a list I follow suggested drawing from catalogs when you don't have access to live models. A good idea! Every little bit of practice helps.

I found pencil easier to work with for these. Sometimes the kid's faces look like aliens, after inking. I'll have to work on that!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Monday Map: Big Garden Plans

This was a piece for Woman's Day Gardening & Deck Design. I always pick up good ideas for my own garden while doing these.

This year we're ditching the containers and putting in a real vegetable garden. The hubby has cleared out a swath of land, and let's just say he's quite ambitious: it's a 30 x 40' plot. My back hurts already. (I wish I was kidding...) Who knows if we'll get the entire area planted the first season. Our soil is heavy clay and full of rocks and will need a lot of amending. Not to mention a deer fence. We've been argu... discussing how tall the fence should be. Hubby says 6 feet. No way, says I. At least 8-12. He forgets we have Deer-On-Steroids around here.

Next we have to decide whether to call it our Victory Garden, or our Michelle Garden. (If I can look that stylish while digging, Michelle's got my vote.)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Gimme Shelter

Just a little sketch for today. I'll do this one in color.

April showers are on their way!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Monday Map: Copper River Delta

This map will be running across a spread in Alaska Magazine's April issue. The printed copy arrived last week in my mailbox, so I think it's okay to post the art!

I love maps with intricate coastlines-- they feel like puzzles. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday Fun: Confuse-a-Cat

"Get out... the funny things!"

Ahh, it's Friday. I'm in need of some Monty Python. (Did you know John Cleese is on Twitter? I'm such a dork.)

Thursday, March 12, 2009


I've finally joined Twitter. (Always late to the party...)
So far it's fun! (As long as it doesn't suck all my time away...)
I'm not exactly sure why I need it, but can see how it would be useful. (Will get back to you on that...)

Want to play?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Random Cat Sketches (and the Real Thing)

I'm sure I commit the ultimate blogging cliché by posting too many pictures of my cats. (Though I try to break it up with the occasional dog or hamster shot.)

What can I say? They provide endless inspiration. (And entertainment.)

Friday, March 6, 2009

Friday Fun: Three Pretty Kitties

I adore old Sesame Street animations. Maybe it's just me getting old and reminiscent, but they still seem fresh today. Add a catchy beat and cats... what's not to love?!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Random Quotes

Uncertainty is the essential, inevitable and all-pervasive companion to your desire to make art. And tolerance for uncertainty is the pre-requisite to succeeding.
–from Art & Fear, by David Bayles and Ted Orland

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Wednesday Noir et Blanc: Sketches

Here's a rough sketch of the sisters from last week, for a new piece. I'm working on a series of the two characters.

Little by little I'm trying to build up a black and white portfolio. It's not something I'd paid enough attention to in the past. Thinking about line and tone without having to worry about color is so refreshing!

Monday, March 2, 2009