Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Fiery Potential

Living in a small city is okay. Most of the time I'm just concerned with how it functions: public transportation, shops in walking distance, schools, work... This isn't a grand city that people can't believe I live in like when I lived in New York or Versailles. It's got bridges, ports and a tramway but it was rebuilt quickly after it got blasted to bits during World War II and it shows. 

On occasion,  it doesn't look half bad. Sometimes there's a beautiful sunset or a murmuration of starlings outside my window. I want to take a photo but there's always an eyesore like the roadworks depot, a stray crane or an old TV antenna poking into my frame. I either crop them out or contort myself to get an angle where they don't show. Or I just don't take the picture.

Sunday morning, I woke up and looked out my bedroom window. I saw a flaming arrow midair over the zinc roofs of nearby row houses. I ran downstairs to get the camera and looked out the studio window. No more flaming arrow. I ran back upstairs. And there it was.

I had to look from that spot, at that angle to see this serendipitous message in the sky. An arrow. 

Pointing at what? Maybe it wasn't pointing at anything; maybe it was pointing out something. Point of view is essential. I could only see this from here. I had to know where and when to look to know that things can be more than they seem. When the sun rose higher in the sky, it was gone. The old TV antenna was back but it's potential to blaze in a fiery form was still there.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Latest post over at the Sub It Club

I just posted The Monthly Goalpost for November at the Sub It Club. This month features time management and my hunt for the perfect kitchen timer to use in the studio to help me complete ongoing work. This Holy Grail got me thinking... then sketching.

Here's the link to the complete blog post: http://bit.ly/1ggXaR1

And here are my ideas for possible motivational (or not) kitchen timers to use for timed periods of concentrated activity.

What do you do when procrastination sets in and you need to get stuff done? Ever try a kitchen timer to encourage focused work periods? For me at times, getting started is hardest so this idea of working for a set number of minutes works. No pressure to keep working but once I've begun, I usually keep going.

Friday, October 4, 2013


My entry to Doodle Day for Friday.
I like this kitty and want to draw him/her so more to get to know him/her better.
A cat that dresses up for the weekend is OK by me.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A whole lot of links

I wrote a post over at the Sub It Club:
"The Monthly Goalpost for October: Science + Wisdom (yup, that's right)"
I love the 3 minute video at the end.
Here's the link: bit.ly/1bo1EUu

While you're over there, you can check out the latest Postcard Post featuring illustrator, Hazel Mitchell:
Link: http://bit.ly/18GNV3j
And why not peruse the archives?
Link for the Postcard Post archives:http://bit.ly/10oEFy
and the Monthly Goalpost archives too: http://bit.ly/1eX9UeI
I made a doodle for Doodler's Anonymous' theme: Draw Your Dream Class. 
Fun stuff. I'm almost ready to go public on an event I'm planning for SCBWI France. Can't wait!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Heads Shapes and Characters

To get in the spirit of doodling every day, I went to Alison Kipnis Hertz's blog and copied the character head shapes from a page from Christopher Hart's HUMUNGOUS BOOK OF CARTOONING. Not sure I followed the directions faithfully but I had fun. I tried to draw as fast as possible and go with whatever the shape brought to mind first. Here's what I came up with:
 I see some characters emerging. This just may feed into my writing.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Sunday is Market Day in Brest

These are some random sketches and photos from Sunday when I took the tram into town to pick up this and that for lunch.

This is pain au cacao. OUi! Chocolate bread. Not cake or pastry but organic bread made with cocoa powder and a few chocolate chips. It is divine which is fitting since I did buy this on a Sunday. The little loaf behind it is pain au conté et noix (cheese and walnuts). It's good too but it's hard not to take second billing to cAcaO!

After buying fresh turkey breast and a beautiful stainless steel pot and lid (opportunity knocks and you've got to answer), I headed over to the little square where parents take kids to play. I sketched.


While I was strolling around, Gemma was running a 5K with her friends from lycée to benefit breast cancer research. Bravo les filles!

This café sketch is from Friday when I had a day on the town with my friend, Sue. We hit the art supply store and I tried out my new colored pencils right away. Sue tried out her new pencil called "The Shaker" and a crisp new pad of drawing paper.

Sunday, August 25, 2013


These drawings are all from a sketch book wherein I decided to use marker only and ban erasing. That's right, no erasing allowed. I just wanted to have fun feeling the ink slide on the paper while I drew anything that came to mind. I love black and white, contrast and texture, so I played with them.

When I was a kid, we used to do what we called "designs" all the time. We'd fill the space with a freeform shape and use every crayola in the box to color it. Here's a grown up black & white revisitation.

It was fun so I did another.

Oops! Color! I had a set of color ballpoints that I'd always wanted to use and this ban on the eraser
proved the perfect moment to break them in.

Lace, buttons... I love them.

Guess I had candy on my mind. No surprise there!

Bowties! Noeud papillons here in France which means butterfly knots.

Neckties. Cravates.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Picture Book University

Pam Calvert, author of Princess Peepers, is taking us through the ins and outs of picture book writing this summer. Whether you're a beginner writer or experienced, this free picture book mini-workshop is too good to miss. Storyboards, character driven picture books, analysis of successful books and more... great topics! I'm revising some of my manuscripts right now and these point-by-point blog posts are reinforcing what I know, reminding me of things I've forgotten and enlightening me with Pam's insight. Just click on over to her blog. You can catch up on past posts at your own pace. No pressure!

 You can click on this logo or the PBU Participant badge in the sidebar to get going. See you there!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Over at the Sub It Club

 I've been busy over at the Sub It Club. Here are the links to my two monthly columns there:
The Monthly Goalpost for June at the Sub It Club

The Postcard Post for May with illustrator Jennifer Thermes

The Monthly Goalpost is where I keep myself motivated and try to motivate others. Whatever your goals are, there's something there for you too.

The Postcard Post features an illustrator each month. It's an inside peek at an artist's self-promotional tools and how they made them. Worth a detour just for the artwork alone.

Friday, April 5, 2013

The March Dip-- Explained

I wrote a blog post over at the Sub It Club on goals and motivation. Even if you aren't submitting work at the moment, you may have experienced a dip in motivation in March. Back when I studied for my teaching certificate, we'd discuss this sagging of the spirit felt by our students (and ourselves) around the month of March. This year, lots of people have endured a tough, prolonged winter which aggravates this condition. Pop on over -- find out that there is hope for you in April! Click here.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Out of the Attic Lately!

I've been getting out of the attic lately and posting over at the Sub It Club with Heather Ayris Burnell and Lisha Cauthen. It's a group for writers and illustrators. There is a nice exchange of information and support for people who are trying to get there work out into the world through the submission process.

Here's a look at some of the artwork I've created for the blog and facebook pages.

The logo.

A button that links to a private chatroom.

The blog banner and facebook cover.  Click here for the facebook page and here to join the facebook group.

This art accompanies the "Monthly Goalpost," a blog I write each month about setting goals and staying on course. Click here here for February post and here for March.

This illustration accompanies a post I wrote for illustrators on postcard mailings. Click here to read the post.
This art accompanies a series of posts by Heather Ayris Burnell called "Show Your Manuscripts Some Love." Click here to read.
Stop by the Sub It Club sometime. I'd love to see you there!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sweet Squares 22 and 23

I haven't been here in a while. The death of my Dad took me away. I miss him. The winter here has been very gray. Overcast and windy or raining and windy. Bleak. Sun deprivation is not fun so I made a square to stare at and think warm, bright thoughts.

I made another square because I'm revising a picture book text and I need to play with the images in my mind's eye in order to figure out how I'll illustrate the text.

Lots of projects going on in 2013. More on that soon.