Sunday, September 30, 2012

Relaxing Sunday OFF

I decided that I needed a little break to avoid getting burned out. I have been trying to learn SO much, and improve in certain areas, and just honestly I can't... stop... drawing! But house projects are calling and our kids need a little more attention than usual, so we are taking a little break today to slow down before the rush of Monday comes.

While I was cleaning, my mind was still running 100mph trying to remember everything that needs to be done for work on Monday and going over upcoming bills in my mind, and a million other daily stresses that we all go through. Then out of the blue as I'm cleaning out the Laundry room I found these little gems that I did a few years back: Whimsi-kits by the scrapbooking company My Minds Eye.

It was my first "paying" illustration job, and usually when you look back on older work you think, "wow I've come so far", or "oh how embarrassing". Well this time I thought to myself, "I had SUCH a great time doing these!" and realized that my "style has sort of come full circle and I'm back to a similar way of drawing that I have always done for years, except now I'm mostly digital. So now I feel ready to continue forward improving on subject matter, and creating more interesting compositions with characters that have more expression. But the same style I had in high school drawing in sharpie and then painting with watercolor using a paper towels, or back before kids when I would draw for hours using a ball point pen, water color pencils and spit to blend... it's all the same!

Now I draw in my sketchbook in pencil each night after I'm done working and if I like a sketch I go over it in pen using the inkling. That transports into the computer keeping all of my sketchy pen strokes that I love, and then I color everything in using photoshop. Sometimes I'll go over it again with a pencil brush to form stronger shapes or even add more texture. It really feels organic and natural... just like it has so many times before!

Anyway, here are a few pics close up. It had a short shelf life as they decided to go all digital the following year using only graphic patterns. That's how fast industries change. I'm glad to have found an area in children's Book Illustration that allow the pen strokes to stay the same and they can grow along with trending colors, subjects and mediums. Feels like home :)

Have a wonderful weekend!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

IF-Book / Sweet Square #24

Here is another new creation. I have been drawing like crazy in my sketchBOOK in the evenings after the kids are asleep. Tonight my husband and I watched the ballgame and I decided to fine tune and color this sketch in. Here is what I came up with...

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sweet Square #23

Not a lot of free time today to do a full drawing or experiment in a new medium, but I did however try to work on more character designs. (Most of the sketches I did today are thousands of lines that formed into figures, but I thought this little character was polished enough to share) I might revisit this character again soon to turn it into a future square, but for now she lives in the land of black & white pencil lines. :) Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sweet Square #21 & 22

This was a two day drawing. (Actually drew it a couple of times in my sketchbook, and once on the computer to see if I could draw it exactly the same twice...) I watched a fabulous video last night from Will Terry on Character Design. Some things I learned back in college, plus his technique really clicked and worked for me! It was so much fun! I hope to try this again in future drawings to keep improving on them. It felt very organic & natural. If I wasn't so tired from working all day & didn't have to get dinner started, I would probably keep drawing for hours...

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fabulous Tutorials over at Folio Academy!!!!

Good Morning, I was just looking through MANY videos over at Folio Academy: and am having a hard time choosing which video to buy first. They are all wonderful!!

Whether you are a traditional artist, a digital artist, picking up a new hobby or are an aspiring Children's Book Illustrator like me there is seriously something over there for everyone! Can't wait to start putting some of these on my Christmas wishlist!!!!

I looked through several of them, and it seems that they can answer a few questions I have and also help fill a couple of holes in my work. Can't wait to get started!!!! Have a great day, Kelli

Monday, September 24, 2012

Sweet Square #20

I wanted to experiment with another idea that I keep seeing successful artists practice... warm up sketches. I should have probably drawn a character or something a little more challenging, but it's close to lunch and a fresh turkey sandwich with lettuce, tomato, onion & horseradish sounds SO yummy to me right now... so here is the first thing that came to mind...

I have used this book in the past just to stretch my brain a little, but it might be a good tool to use for "warm up sketches". I tend to be more creative when I'm winging it or not trying. It really helps you open your mind a little and draw a looser than usual.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sweet Square #19

Great weekend. Worked on a new idea of sketching out first and then going in with detail. Have not finished the entire piece, but here is the initial concept sketch.

I think I like working this way better because it helps get you to create the entire scene and out of the rut of just creating a vignette. Really takes me back to the days of creating storyboards for commercials too...

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Sweet Square #18

Sitting on the back deck over looking the golf course at my Sister in law's house. My nieces asked me to draw a picture, so I used their toy pony as a reference. Can't say that I've ever drawn from a sculpture or toy, but I like it. Lots of contrast and texture to play with.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Sweet Square #17 and IF- "Crooked"

Beautiful Friday, and what a fun word to play with!!

Decided to use today's Illustration Friday word for my Sweet Square for Diandra Mae's fun 30 day exercise:

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Sweet Square #16

Looking for some new casserole recipes and keep finding recipes that use a lot of Carrots. For some reason I LOVE to draw fruits and veggies. Could be because I've studied their curves and textures for so many years or that I'm avoiding working on drawing hands & feet or anything else that I need to work on. Regardless I still like to draw carrots. :)

Drawn with inkling pen and brought into Photoshop for color

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sweet Square #15

In honor of "Talk Like a Pirate Day" I had an image of a treasure chest in my mind and wanted to play around with hand lettering today. For some reason I keep getting drawn to natural fibers and colors. Maybe tomorrow something a little brighter might pop up...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sweet Square #14

Picked up a good ole fashioned pencil again and then brought this into photoshop to add a wash to it. Our son took a shot at drawing today too, so I wanted to document it.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Sweet Square #13/Illustration Friday "Burst"

I've been working on this idea in my head ever since I saw this little kid get smashed in the face by his big brother's ball. I have been studying the face and how it morphs what something elastic smashes into it. You see some pretty funny faces!!!

So this idea transformed into a quick sketch for the Illustration word burst. I my try to use this concept in more detailed future sketch, and try to fine tune it a little more. In the meantime this was a really fun to study...

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sweet Square #12

Lovely day filled with Church, Family Grocery Trip, Hazelnut Coffee, Football, AND Baseball! I promised our daughter we would start "Scribble Sundays" so we have have a set time each week to paint or draw together. Today we both sketched out our square, and then held it up to the window and traced it with a sharpie onto our watercolor paper.

After that, it was time to mix colors and paint! My inspiration was looking through the vera bradley catalog earlier and all of the lovely colors... Our 5 year old wanted to create a unicorn... I actually think her square turned out better than mine today! Regardless we had a great time.

Now off to make Nachos for the 2nd half of the football game, toss some laundry in the wash, and get ready for the baseball game. Gotta love relaxing Sundays!!

Our 5 year old's beautiful rendition of a unicorn:

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Sweet Square #11

I tried out some charcoal today. It's a little different than watercolor because I feel like I personally can't get as much detail, but it was fun playing anyway :)

Sweet Square #10

Love this crisp fall air. Makes me think of camping in October. Here is my 3X3 Sweet Square for today

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Sweet Square #9

Didn't have any free time today to play today other than while I had coffee this morning. I doodled on my iPhone in the Sketch Club app.

(I couldn't find my stylus either, so I used my finger instead. It was difficult to get much detail but it kind of had a nice loose effect.)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sweet Square #8/ Illustration Friday-Imagination

I will probably not have time to whip up another 3X3 tomorrow so I made another one tonight. Experimenting with tones and highlights along with watercolors and textures. Pretty happy with it so far, but it still needs some work.

Sweet Square #7

I have truly enjoyed experimenting in Painter with the Watercolor Brush. This was a quick painting I did this morning... without the mess! It's not my usual style but I like it.

Sweet Square #2 - #6

I needed to catch up so last night & this morning I drew a couple of things...

Pen & Water Color Pencil

Pencil Character sketch

Breakfast this morning

Duck sketch in Brushes on the iPhone

Quick Not so great sketch of my Husband & our daughter watching the football game last night... thought they would be still but they were busy cheering, and so was I!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sweet Square #1...

Just came across this fabulous idea on Diandra Mae's Blog called "A Month of Experimentation". She was inspired by Melissa Sweet at the SCBWI conference to create every day.

I just had this same conversation at the Highlights workshop last weekend with a couple of other Illustrators. It was so inspiring creating for 5 straight days, we all wondered how we could stay focused when we had to go back to the "everyday world". So even though I'm a few days late I figured I would give it a go...

This is our kitten Baxter who happened to be passed out next to me while I was testing out my trial version of Painter 12. He's much easier to draw than our non-stop running kiddos... Although I think they'll show up here a couple of times since I'm 6 days behind :)

Friday, September 7, 2012


Just got back from the Advanced Illustrator Workshop at Highlights this past weekend and one of the things I learned is that in order to really speak to the children you have to open your imagination and play more!

Melissa Sweet has a great explanation in the back of her book Balloons Over Broadway and we got to learn how to play 1st hand with stuffed animals during an exercise with Ruth Sanderson. Lots of people can draw, but in Children's Book Illustration we need to push our imagination a little further... and have fun!

I created this Illustration in 2010 when I designed the Logo for the Eastern PA SCBWI Pocono Retreat. They went with the owl logo, but this picture represented children's imagination in the world of books.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Highlights Founation :: Advanced Illustrator Workshop 2012

What an amazing weekend. I attended the Advanced Illustrator workshop at the Highlights Foundation. Met so many wonderful inspiring people and learned a lot more about the Children's Book industry. I also left with a wealth of knowledge on new techniques in painting and printmaking... oh and some great recipes too!!

We also had portfolio reviews and an Illustrator art show and I learned throughout the weekend about things that I have created that are working, some that are not and how I can improve in some areas.

So thankful to all of the generous people who shared their time with us this weekend to help us grow and learn along this amazing journey. Here are a couple of pictures form the weekend. I'll upload more in a few days...