Friday, May 3, 2013

"                                        You only fail if you stop writing."     

                                                                                                          Ray Bradbury

Thursday, May 2, 2013


I'm busy working on my dream of speaking French to the French when I return to France.

The next time I'm doing a school visit at a French school and a child asks me if I speak French, I want to be able to say, "Oui."

I'm a true beginner...starting with the alphabet, numbers, colors, etc.

Soon, I'll be enrolling in a French class. Until then, I'm listening to French every, podcasts, and movies.

Two of my favorite French learning tools are:

Product Details
Bilingual Songs: English-French Vol. 1 

by Sara Jordan
A great CD of bilingual songs that are helping me learn how to say the alphabet, numbers, months, food, animals, weather, how I feel, plus so much more, in French.

and the
Learn French by Podcast
Real Life French for Everyday Conversation
This is a great podcast that is supported by printed educational information available on their website.

This all reminds me of college. On the first day of new class, I would wonder, "how am I ever going to learn all this?" And then on the last day, I felt completely comfortable with the subject. After this past week of listening to French every day, some words are starting to take hold.

In French, I can now count to 10, tell you to touch your eyes, ears, or mouth, and say that I prefer orange jelly beans.

C'est tout bon. (It's all good.)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Pen Pals - Linking Generations

Me with Some of the Pen Pals
Last fall, I linked the friends I made in Mr. Braverman's 2nd class through Behind the Book with my senior citizen friends as Pen Pals.

Over these past months, they've written letters back and forth, created gifts and cards for each other and enjoyed knowing that someone out in the world is thinking about them.

This past week the Pen Pals met. It was a truly beautiful sight.

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Next Big Thing (blog tour)

It’s a global blog tour that started Down Under and has tagged numerous, FABULOUS illustrators and author/illustrators along the way. And now The Next Big Thing is here! Rules: answer the same ten questions about your work, then tag up to five wonderful artists whose work you want to champion. I’ve been tagged by Vicky Rubin. 

A New Illustration by Vicky Rubin
You can see more of her work at her blog: 

More Tags to come!

Following are the questions that I answered about one of my current projects:
1) What is the working title of your next book?
"Snails Only Slide" 
2) Where did the idea come from for the book? 
Color Sample of Cover 
I work with writers and artists of all ages.  I see how almost everyone struggles with feeling that they aren't doing 'it' right. Whatever 'it' is. They are hestitant to try things and to take chances...when trying things and taking chances is the secret to getting better and succeeding at whatever it is that you are wanting to do...whether painting a picture or running a race.
3) What genre does your book fall under?
humor, picture book
4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Hilarious thought!
A young Justin Bieber as Simon, the Snail
Nathan Lane as Drake, the Duck
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Simon, the Snail, proves to Drake, the Duck, that he can do everything Drake can do.
 6) Who is publishing your book?
It's under consideration at one house...when it's accepted...You'll all find out!! 
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
I wrote the first rought draft in less than an hour. Since then, I've rewritten and rewritten and rewritten...and then fine tuned it through several dummies.
 8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss and There's No Such Thing as a Dragon by Jack Kent
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
My belief that each of us can do amazing things....and that we need to have faith in ourselves and take chances.
10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
The fact that Simon almost gets eaten multiple's pretty funny.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Guest Speaker - School of Visual Arts

This month, I was honored to be a guest speaker for Monica Wellington's Creating Children's Books at the School of Visual Arts, NYC.

It was a nice full circle experience. Monica Wellington was my first teacher in Children's Illustration and now she had invited me to share with her students my experience over the years in illustration and children's publishing.

I shared what I have found the most valuable over the years...

* That quantity produces quality...the more you write and rewrite...the more you draw and redraw...paint and repaint...the better you get.

* The more ideas you record on paper, the more ideas come to you.  I have found this to be true...the writing and drawing of ideas seems to open channels that trigger more ideas to flow.

* If you're feeling discouraged, watch or read a biography about a famous author, illustrator, artist, etc. Careers are full of ups and downs. You are not alone. Find comfort in knowing it can be done. Also, find comfort in knowing that even those who are successful have rough moments, and learn from how they work through them.

In addition to these inspiring gems and more, I shared my portfolio and a stack of book dummies and manuscripts that are searching for homes in the published world. I wanted students to see that I work on a large number of projects. That it's important to grow and change.

Of course, my most important advice:

* Paint, draw and write because you love to do it. If you don't love it...find something else that you love to do. This is a business of love...because very few creative people make much money. 

And in rough patches...and there are plenty of need to be able to say to yourself..."I get to the paper every write or draw...without any future expectations. I'm here because I love to write and draw and paint." 

At least that's why I do it. 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Book Signing Party - Behind the Book

Reading the Story that we all wrote together.
Supporting the Young Author as She Reads Her Story.
Last month, I enjoyed participating in a book signing party with my student friends from Mr. Braverman's second grade class.

Through Behind the Book, I worked with these young people in the fall on writing and illustrating their own stories.

When the book of their stories came off the press last month, we scheduled a book signing party to celebrate.

Each author / illustrator read their story to the group, then we followed with a discussion of the process and some delicious, nutritious party snacks.

It was so wonderful to watch the students read their stories from a published book while at the same time being able to view the text and illustration projected onto a screen.

Monday, March 25, 2013

New Pieces

This past week, I did these illustrations just for fun. 
Not to worry, the green guy is alright.  : )