Friday, December 26, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop 2014

Happy Holidays!

Hope everyone is having a nice little break from work to enjoy good food & good company. I was recently asked by my friend Alice Ratterree to participate in the Around the World Blog Hop which is an ongoing list of creative artists & writers around the world who share their stories of what they are working on and a little peek into their creative world. I have always been inspired by Alice’s work and had the pleasure of meeting her at the Advanced Illustrator Workshop at Highlights in 2013.

You can learn more about Alice and enjoy her gorgeous illustrations by visiting (Alice was invited by the talented Susan Sorrell Hill:

Everyone who participates answers these 4 questions:

1. What are you working on?
For the past 4 months or so I have been developing characters for a story that I wrote about a couple of years ago. It is still a seed that continues to develop every time I re-tell the story to our children.

The story is about a curious grandfather who decides to secretly take his grandson’s scooter for a ride while he is inside having lunch one day. The adventures are comical and their relationship is very dear. I had taken quite some time off to “step away” from the project, like I would do with a painting, to see it through fresh eyes. I have been spending a lot of my free time sketching for personal enjoyment (without sharing on social media like I used to), catching up on homework assignments from The Oatley Academy ( and reading a lot of helpful books on Children’s Books and Illustration.

2. How does your work differ from others in its genre?
I don’t know if my work necessarily differs from others because there are so many different personalities and mediums used by different artists. I continue to create art that I enjoy & feels most natural to me. I love exaggerated line work, textures and more muted colors. A lot of children’s illustrations are saturated with bright colors, but I have personally always been drawn to earth tones and organic materials like wood and stone.

3. Why do you write / create what you do?
We have younger children and every night before bed we tell stories and as they have aged they now tell us stories too. I have always enjoyed drawing since I was a child and developed a love for storytelling when our children were born. I am inspired by their expressions and interpretations of our stories. Words can be played out with Illustrations a thousand different ways. When I’m working on a new piece I try to look at it from different angles and find the best angle to tell the story with images.

4. How does your writing / creating process work?
This sort of plays off the last question. I start off with a lot of doodles and sometimes they turn into something and sometimes they just stay in my sketchbook. I get to know the characters and watch them grow over the coming months or years.
Once in a while there is a character that has a story that needs to be told like the first book that I wrote called Gilbert’s Grocery Run. It was another bedtime story that took on a life of his own.
It still needs work, but I have read it to the children’s classes a couple of times and made adjustments over the past two years. When I first joined SCBWI I was so eager to grow my portfolio and grow as an artist. Now I find such enjoyment in the small things and let them develop at their own pace.

I now pass along the torch to a very talented artist that I met at the SCBWI New York Conference in 2012. Rob is an illustrator and author whose imagination is fueled by a healthy dose of Saturday morning cartoons and Sunday funnies. Rob’s first children’s book “Aw, Nuts!” was released in late Aug 2014 To see more of Rob’s work, visit and follow him on Twitter (@rmcclurkan). Make sure to check out Rob's blog next week!