Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Susan Clement-Beveridge

1,) Describe yourself :
I am an aspiring Canadian artist-illustrator-author, an Ottawa native, part New Zealander with a side of Scottish decent, who has spent a good portion of my life pursuing the arts. To describe myself, I would say that I am determined, down-to-earth, (somewhat of a) perfectionist, independent, and creative

I love gardening and working outdoors, fresh air, and drives in the country. Also, discovering new eating places and local shops. I’m a big supporter of small business owners so it’s always “Buy Local” for me whenever possible!

I have always been attracted to the arts mostly drawing, painting & sculpture, but I have been involved with other forms of art or artistic expression over the years too, such as writing-poetry, theatre production, Arts & Crafts, Music – playing guitar-violin, singing & song writing, food blogs & cooking.

When I was 19 moved out to Alberta for 2 years then returned to Ottawa where I enrolled myself in a 2 year Graphic Arts Technician program at Algonquin College while working in a local Art Store. Then I moved on to work for a local printer where I worked mostly in an administrative role for a number of years.

By the mid 2000’s I was diagnosed with MS and it was after a bad relapse that I decided to get back to my artistic abilities and pursue fine arts once again and this creative artistic outlet really helped me in my recovery and have stayed on that path since as I found the more I painted the more I forgot about my illness.

2.) Tell me something about the place where you were born? I was born in Ottawa, Canada. I lived in New Zealand at a young age for almost a year then moved back to Canada and have lived here ever since. I live in a moderate city, Ottawa, the capital of Canada, where we experience all four seasons in this region. I like the spring (new growth) and the smell and color of fall the best! I never get used to the cold dampness of winters here at times. I mostly like this city I was born in because of its picturesque and green space with many parks and old architecture. Walking on sunny days and going for drives up the valley are always fun!
Sue 4yrs old on the ship to New Zealand -1964

3.) What pictures influenced you as a child?
I don’t know….let’s see…classic cartoons but I always liked the Norman Rockwell style–like biblical pictures in a book I had as a child and also the beautiful illustrations in this large heirloom family bible my mother has which always had a transparent parchment like page over each colorful picture.

4.) Did you have a favorite book as a child? I've always loved children's books and grew up with many and had so much joy reading them to my son when he was young. Some of my early children’s books I remember were Rupert, Dr Suess books, nursery rhymes but I remember well the books my son had as a child and one of my favorites was Hairy MacLary from Donaldson’s Dairy by a New Zealand author. It is such a fun and delightful book! It made me laugh and smile so I really enjoyed reading that one over and over. My favorites by Dr. Suess were the Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs & Ham and One Fish Two Fish.. to name a few!

5.) Did you like to draw as a child? Were you encouraged?
I liked doing crafts and coloring but drawing did not really surface until I started taking art classes in Grade 7 or 8. I had much encouragement in my high school days from my art instructor who was always supportive and a positive influence.
6.) What is your earliest memory of making art?
My earliest memory of making art was when my girlfriend’s mother enrolled us in a summer arts program at a local community center when we were about twelve years of age. I remember learning to sculpt with soap stone, do Indian beading and make masks, which I absolutely enjoyed!
Me at Bakervale House I grew up in1969

7.) Were you the class artist?
Not particularly. I did not exactly have the confidence I should have had-- I always seemed to have had a lower self-esteem in my earlier years. But a lot of times my artwork did get the class’s attention and my classmates always complemented on my artistic ability.

8.) Did your parents draw?


9.) Did you go to the public library as a child?
Yes, we also used a Bookmobile library trailer that came around in our neighborhood that was part of the Public library setup in the city.

10.) Did you have books at home as a child?
We had many books of all kind in our house growing up. There were children’s books, some of the classics, philosophical, biographies, fiction and of course two sets of encyclopedias as well as National Geographic.

11.) Did you have a teacher who influenced or inspired you?
Yes. I’ll never forget my high school art instructor, Mr. Karl Schutt, who had a big influence on me and inspired me through most of my high school years and still does!

12.) What did you do BEFORE you got started with children’s book illustrations?
An opportunity presented itself at the end of high school to work at the National Postal Museum assisting in ink drawings and silk screening for a Canadian stamp. In my twenties I took a 2 year Graphic Arts Technician course in college and ended up working in mostly administrative roles over the years for printing companies. Over the years, I attended the Ottawa School of Art taking sculpture and drawing while always expressing myself through some artistic form or another, mostly self-taught, such as experimenting with wood carving, paper-tole, papermaking, photography. I have always practiced my artistic skills in one form or another either drawing, painting, paper- tole, sculpting, arts & crafts and graphic design work over the years. My interests in theatre eventually led me to a place called Centrepointe Theatre. Here, I worked as one of the backstage crew on a number of productions, mostly with sound and lighting.

13.) When did you realize you were interested in illustrating for children?
I wrote poetry several years ago in hopes of actually publishing them one day as children’s books. But then other priorities of home, life and motherhood demanded more of my attention at that time. A few years ago, I was unfortunately diagnosed with a potentially debilitating disease. So it was my friend’s paintings that I saw at his showing and my son who was taking visual arts at university in Toronto over the last 4 years, that inspired me to start drawing and painting again-- this time using acrylics. Not soon after that, my husband wrote a series of children’s stories about these bears he had purchased to help cheer me up through a rough time. After that, I decided to use illustrating as a creative outlet to develop pictures for his book’s and the poems I had written years ago.

14.) When did you become an illustrator?
Only in the last three years or so did I decide to jump into the world of illustrating. Well specifically children’s illustrating, after being inspired from my husband’s story writing about the bear adventures. This prompted me to take on illustrating the pictures and I have not looked back since!

15.) How did you get started in picture book illustration?
Because of my love of children’s picture books I decided to dive into the world of children’s illustrating this past 2 years. I had started drawing illustrations for the Bears of Biggleton book my husband wrote and I was not happy with the way they were turning out. So, I did some research online and discovered two children’s illustrating courses– several online video courses by Will Terry & another amazing course by Mark Mitchell on “How to Be A Children’s Book Illustrator”. I was so inspired and enthused to illustrate after receiving much knowledge and instruction from both of these wonderful award winning artists! A good portion of my time this past year has been spent taking these courses while working on illustrations for several new children’s books.

16.) What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given as an illustrator?
Probably, I would have to say from Will Terry, because of his awesome attitude –Always have fun with your illustrating…Never give up on your art, always keep at it and keep trying, you are always learning and you never stop learning from those around you. ” We learn by doing!” he says.

17.) Of the six fundamentals of 2D design (line, shape, volume, perspective, shading, and color):

a. Which is your greatest strength? Shading

b. Which poses your greatest challenge?

18.) Tell us about the book that you have written?
My Shiny Light is a poem I wrote among several others a number of years ago when I was inspired to write something a little more philosophical at the time for children. Something that had a message in it… that most children might be able to understand at a young age. And this past year I decided to dig up those poems I wrote then try and do illustrations for them…. thus My Shiny Light book was created! I have four others that I would like to illustrate as well.

19.) What inspired you to write this story?
My own reading of books on life, philosophy, situations, people and the universe in general! I thought-- is there anything out there for young children that touches on these areas I was reading about?

20.) Did you self publish or go through the other publishing routes?
Yes I decided to self-publish.

21.) Is your book available for purchase?
Yes, it is available now in paperback on Amazon and Kindle and through the Biggleton Books Online bookstore as well.

22.) Describe a typical day in your life.
A typical day in my life is to get up with my husband in the mornings and have breakfast before he goes off to work. Then I usually go to the computer to check email and so forth. I check my calendar daily to see what I have marked to do, appointments etc. and plan my day of illustrating and doing some design work, preparation. Break for lunch and do my physio after lunch and then it’s back to drawing or sometimes painting for the remainder of the day until my husband returns home from work.

23.) When you are creating, what music is playing?
I usually play a variety of music at times anywhere from an assortment of acoustic guitar. I love a Spanish ensemble called RASA who play an Indian-Jazz fusion influenced type of music, to psychedelic, jazz and blues.

24.) If you had to describe your work in terms of your artistic influences, you would say it is...
It probably has a bold sometimes outlined look or style about it. I guess some of this influence comes from artists such as Emily Carr, The Group of Seven & my son Matt Clement over the years.

25.) Who are your favorite artists ? Illustrators ? Authors ? Artists:
I have always loved Dali, The Group of Seven, Robert Batman, Bill Saunders and my son Matt Clement as artists but there are so many more it’s hard to name them all---

Illustrators: Will Terry, Ian Jeans, Michael Dante DiMartino, ---

Authors: Lynley Dodd, Terry Pratchett, VC Andrews, Deepak Chopra, Barbara Hand Clow & Margaret Atwood again to name a few. There are so many excellent authors and artists! Also, I have always been a huge fan of all animation-especially children’s animation & Claymation since I was in grade school. I will always and forever be inspired by other artists and their endless talent for creativity and imagination...

26.) Favorite Quote: "O great creator of being grant us one more hour to perform our art and perfect our lives". ::: Jim Morrison :::

27.) What new projects have you got coming down the pike?
As of the last ten years, I am expressing myself through traditional art with drawing again, using colored pencil and graphite. Currently I am working with acrylic paint on stretched canvas creating an array of paintings of many portraits (including local musicians), landscapes, abstracts and still life.

Right now I am starting the illustrations for a new project, which will be a series of 5 books called “The Bears of Biggleton” books, written by my husband Dave Faught. The first one is sub-titled Fuzzmo The-Magnificent. So, that will keep me busy for a while I suppose. I am hoping to continue working on a few more smaller books which were written at the time I wrote My Shiny Light and hope to publish them in the future as well!

I have also launched my own children's book soon called "My Shiny Light". Visit the Biggleton Books website for more information!

28.) To enjoy more of a good thing you can visit...
or my blogspot:

contact information:

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Mark Mitchell

Mark is the author-illustrator of the Spur Award winning book Raising ‘La Belle’: The Story of the ‘La Salle Shipwreck and two other books for upper elementary and middle grade readers, Seeing Stars and The Mustang Professor. His articles have appeared in American Artist and its family of magazines Watercolor, Drawing and Workshop. He’s a former contributing editor of Watercolor.
His illustrations have appeared in his own and others’ books and the children’s magazines Appleseeds, Cobblestone, Faces and Footsteps and CricketMark teaches classes in children’s book illustration at the Art School at Laguna Gloria, Austin Museum of Art-Arthouse and through his online course Make Your Splashes – Make Your Marks!
 I met Mark Mitchell when I began taking his online course to learn about illustrating children's books.  I did a google search on the subject and found him.  Since then, I have been a part of his critique group online where I have gained so much valuable information.  Mark really trys to help everyone in every way that he can.  I haven't met him in person.  However, I plan on attending the SCBWI conference in Austin soon.  I am very excited about the opportunity to attend my first conference but also about meeting him. 

1,) Describe yourself in five words:Verbal, artsy, slight, stubborn, creative

2.) Who did you get your sense of humor from ? Your mother or father ?
My father could be exceptionally funny. And my two brothers have exquisite senses of humor.

Scott (younger brother) and Mark together at Syracuse Zoo
3.) Tell me something about the place where you were born ?Syracuse NY. I remember spectacular beautiful Autumns and crazy cold winters with lots of snow. Also, I can still smell the apples, the interiors of great woods with fallen leaves. My mother went into labor with me while she was ice-fishing with my Dad on a frozen lake near where she'd grown up. We moved from upstate New York to California when I was 9. We then lived in Sunnyvale (before the days of Silicon Valley) but after a few months, my Dad changed jobs and we moved again, this time to Sitka, Alaska. My dad took a job as a comptroller (chief accountant) with a lumber and pulp mill.

The house in Sitka, Alaska where Mark lived as a child

4.) What pictures influenced you as a child ?
B&W engravings in books, by people like Tenniel, Rembrandt, Daumier, Goya
I think I was fascinated by these depictions of times different than my own.

5.) Did you have a favorite book as a child ?
I was quite taken by a little picture book "the Little Horse Bus" written by Graham Greene. The one I had was illustrated by someone other than Edward Ardizzone, but I don't remember who. I told everyone it as my favorite picture book. Later I came to really love "The Wind in the Willows" by Kenneth Grahame. Of course it's more of a novel. I had a beautiful version illustrated by Arthur Rackham, I also loved the edition illustrated by E.H. Shepard.
6.) Did you like to draw as a child and were you encouraged ?
Yes.  By both parents.

7.) What is your earliest memory of making art?
I remember being stumped when trying to draw certain things, like trying to draw someone sitting on a chair, or on a horse, for example. I also found drawing cars very troublesome.

8.) Where you the class artist ?

9.) Did your parents draw ?
My mother painted. Today at age 83 she still paints little personal cards with her watercolors that she sends to people as Thank Yous and events like birthdays and Halloweens

10.) Did you go to the public library as a child ?
Oh yes. Regularly.

11.) Did you have books at home as a child? It was mostly big anthologies of nursery rhymes and bits of stories, "The Bumper Book"
Not the kinds of children's picture books you see in the trade stores today. Also some illustrated books my mother had had as a child, like that large beautifully illustrated book of Bible stories. I especially remember the colored plates in a book of Bible stories that my mother had owned as a child. I don't know who the artists were. I think there were several artists who worked on this book. The pictures fascinated me. They were so dramatic and emotional.

12.) Did you have a teacher who influenced or inspired you?
Yes, but it was a teacher I found after my years of formal schooling. Her name was Ruth Chatfield and she had studied life drawing for four years under Kimon Nicolaides. (You might recognize Nicolaides' name from the book "The Natural Way to Draw.") When I came to know her she was in her late sixties, imparting the "Nicolaides method" that she had learned from him nearly 50 years before as a student at a women's fashion and design college in New York. He'd been teaching there as well as at the Art Students League. I had grown up with Nicolaides' book. It had even been one of my college texts. But it was Ruth's personal instruction of his method led me to finally "get" what Nicolaides was conveying. And when I did, it up-ended my thinking about drawing and art.

13.) What did you do BEFORE you got started with children’s book illustrations? I worked as a newspaper reporter and later as a freelance writer.

14.) When did you realize you were interested in illustrating for children?
When I was about 23 or 24 while out Christmas shopping, I wandered into a bookstore in a mall I think I got bit by the bug that afternoon.

15.) When did you become an illustrator ?
Quite some time after that day at the book store. In college I'd taken a lot of art classes but had not majored in art. But I always had the feeling that I might be using the drawing somehow, someday. I graduated from the College of Communication, which eventually got me on the path of journalism.

16.) How did you get started in picture book illustration? Illustrating a book written by my brother, Scott, which was about how to get good grades in high school. (He got very good grades.) Then I illustrated a couple of Texas themed children's books for Eakin Press, a regional publisher (located near Austin, then) that had an "in" with school and public librarians and bookstores around the state. These led to a few assignments from some children's magazines, then more Eakin books, and finally to writing and illustrating my own nonfiction stories that had Texas settings and these were also published by Eakin.

17.) What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given as an illustrator?
 I remember I was given career advice by Charles Shaw, who was a well regarded Texas illustrator and one of the kindest artists I've ever met (and I've met a lot of them!) He was looking through one of my published books one day and he asked me if I wanted some advice. I said yes, and he told me I needed to work on my value patterns -- and be more conscious of organizing values in my pictures. So it was more craft advice than career advice. But I think any good craft advice
is good career advice for an illustrator.

18.) Of the six fundamentals of 2D design (line, shape, volume, perspective,shading, and
a. Which is your greatest strength?Color maybe. Shape I also feel comfortable with.
b. Which poses your greatest challenge? Maybe shading. (I still find values and value patterns a challenge.)

19.) When did you write your books ? How many have you written ?
"The Mustang Professor," a kids biography of Texas's first nationally prominent author, J. Frank Dobie, who wrote about the folklore of the American Southwest and Mexico was published in 1993. "Seeing Stars" about how astronomy is done at the McDonald Observatory in West Texas was first published in 1997 and got a second edition reprinting in 2002. "Raising La Belle" about the recovery of a shipwreck that had belonged to the explorer La Salle came out at the end of of 2002.

20.) Did you self publish or go through the other publishing routes ?
All three books were published by Eakin Press.

21.) What inspired you to write those stories ?
They were subjects with Texas themes or settings that interested me, so I knew they would also interest Eakin Press. In college I'd taken an awesome astronomy class taught by the director of the McDonald Observatory. So after "The Mustang Professor" I decided that the observatory, which is owned by the University of Texas and is located on two mountaintops in remote southwest Texas, was a good vehicle for explaining how stars create matter -- all the building blocks of the physical universe we know -- and how astronomers are extremely interested in that. So that resulted in "Seeing Stars." My last book, "Raising La Belle" came about because someone at the Texas Historical Commission saw "Seeing Stars" -- and wanted a book like that to tell the story of a shipwreck that the Commission had just pulled up from a Texas bay, costing the state more than $5 million. The Commission approached me through my publisher to do a book for young people about their excavation -- a book for upper elementary grades. So Texas school children would go home and tell their parents about this. The ship was important, historically. The Belle had been given to the great French explorer of North America Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle by King Louis XIV as a personal gift. So my books have involved a lot of research.

22.) Are your books still available for purchase? Yes. But I recommend you go for the softcover edition of "Raising La Belle.". The hardcover edition goes for $1,079 on Amazon and it's been that way for several years. I guess it's some kind of a collector's item now.

23.) Do did you receive lots of letters from childrenYes, I've received letters (often illustrated ones) after my school visits. Precious.

24.) When did you begin teaching? What do you teach ? Elaborate ?
 Around 1998 I was invited to teach a class in children's book illustration at the Austin Museum of Art school (Now called the AMOA-Arthouse School.) At the time I was interviewing a lot of children's book illustrators -- including several Caldecott medal winners -- for American Artist Watercolor magazine. I was illustrating regularly for the Cobblestone Magazine Group, in watercolor -- and also illustrating my own and others' books. I had taught a few writing workshops and classes before but never an art class. So when I was offered a chance to teach a studio style art class, I thought I could bring together my own experience and the knowledge I'd learned from years of interviewing artists -- especially watercolor painters -- for the American Artist magazines. I've been teaching at AMOA ever since -- about two classes per semester.

One of Mark's classes at the Austin Museum of Art-Arthouse school at Laguna Gloria

25.) When did you begin your course " how to illustrate children's books" ?
You mean the online "Make Your Splashes - Make Your Marks!" course? I started commercially with it in the summer of 2009.

A module cover from "Make Your Splashes - Make Your Marks!"

26.) What inspired you to start that course?I was looking at the Web as a new way to ply my trade as a journalist and a writer -- a new place to sell my writing. I was also seeing how the Web would democratize learning in a way the world has never before seen. It's the great leveler of education.
So I was asking myself, what can I share. What can I teach? In 2008 it hit me -- that I already had a curriculum in the can, so to speak -- the lessons I'd been fine-tuning for years at the AMOA Art School. I knew that my children's book illustration class "worked" -- that people enjoyed it and learned a lot in there. So I decided to re-develop them in some kind of written format. I wanted to get words around the ideas I'd been sharing with people for ten years. That's the writer's compulsion, I suppose. Gradually I began adding things on -- like the video versions of the lessons, then monthly live critiques, then the Wiggio group (which began as a suggestion from Scott and another student and has now taken on a life of its own -- I can barely keep up with everything going on there) and more recently, the video interviews with working children's book artists.

27.) Can you tell about this course It's first and foremost an art course -- the basic stuff in drawing, painting, color and design that we all forget sometimes. I 've found over the years that many of my students are talented drawers, They often have prior training. Some even have MFA's. But they tend not to be not confident as draftsmen or painters and they're scared to death of watercolor.
I've been there, too. So I know what it's like. So that's what "Marks and Splashes" focuses on -- these trouble areas -- the things that if you don't know them, you're sunk with your portfolio showing or book dummy submission. So we really go over designing your picture space, linear perspective, simple figure construction, and how to apply paint and handle values and understand color. So this is the heart of the course -- lessons that I think would well serve any artist who wants to get a handle on painting and illustration.

Then we add in some ideas specific to illustrating stories for children -- simplicity, readability, clarity, consistency and originality of characters, composing multiple figures in action, layout, narrative flow, suspenseful page turns, inviting the viewer to complete your picture, to articipate. Sourcing and using the pictorial reference out there..
Again I believe these to be vital to know for any artist making pictures for any age audience. We're also looking at marketing your work to the children's publishing marketplace. So many of these 'rules' have changed as our society has moved to the Web. I should say that the course focuses on traditional art-making materials -- because that's where my personal experience lies.

We don't go deeply into digital illustration -- except to point you to other references, resources and teachers. I do feel it's important for illustrators to stay alert to and conversant with emerging technologies -- and to begin learning some of these.A number of our students are already working in digital mediums and they share information with the group. Still in the end it comes down to producing a simple image that captures a viewer's eye and heart. You can do this with a few pencil marks and (if you want to get fancy) a few splashes of paint. It's called an economy of means -- and that's a cornerstone of art. It's also the grammar of the classic children's picture book.

28.) When you are creating, what music is playing ?
I try not to play music when I'm art-making or writing. Otherwise I'll stop and listen to it.

Mark's painting table
29.) Who are your favorite artists ? Illustrators ? Authors ?I have too many favorites to mention. I love the work of my Austin SCBWI friends
I have a special fondness for anything by Peggy Rathman, James Stevenson and an early 20th century English illustrator, Edward Ardizzone.I like the work some of my students are doing right now. I love the work of many animators, especially Alexander Petrov -- but I worry that he might be poisoning himself by painting oils with his fingertips.
As for writers for adults, I love the novels of Leo Tolstoy, the magical short stories by Anton Chekhov and the novel "True Grit" which is the only novel I've read by Charles Portis, though I hope to read more.

Mark with Newbery honor author Kirby Larson at an Austin SCBWI conference

Mark with illustrator Terry Widener (photo by children's picture book author Laura Purdie Salas)
30.) What new projects have you got coming down the pike? (I would like to plug anything that you are doing or trying to promote)
Right now it's finishing new lessons in the course and scheduling new video interviews with working children's book artists. In the coming year, we'll pay some more attention to digital publishing. because I feel that's the revolution that's underway now. I'm also also working on a picture book.

31.) To enjoy more of a good thing you can visit...

The secret to better drawing (videos):

Facebook page for the "Marks and Splashes" course:

Mark Mitchell lives in Austin, Texas and he can be reached at
mobile (512) 656-9217


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Craig Lew


“It was a dark and stormy night” and “Once upon a junk yard heap” were Craig’s favorite openings to the stories he told as a child.

An award winning screenwriter, director and producer, Craig honed his skills consulting to Dreamworks SKG, Deluxe Labs and KCET at that time the nation’s largest PBS station.

Craig’s Lil Emo’s HalloweEmo screened at Comic Con, Wonder Con, The Children’s International Film Festivals in San Diego, San Francisco, New Orleans and Santa Monica.

Rock Jocks, Craig’s current Sci Fi comedy stars Felicia Day, Jason Mewes, Robert Picardo and Gerry Bednob releases 2012.

Craig has just released The Goths, a trans-media, graphic novel, motion comic, ebook and web series.

Craig is a graduate of the prestigious Nevada SCBWI Mentorship and is currently a blogger with the infamous Turbo Monkeys at

-Is this what you always dreamed of doing?
I have always dreamed of writing children’s books and animation. Always. But I took a long logical business Executive approach to getting here.

-What animation programs do you use to create the cinematic sequences?
There are so many.  Smith Micro’s POSER and ANIME Studio, Adobe After Effects, Premiere Pro, Photoshop.  Are the main ones
But also Maya, Studio Max.  There’s a ton of file conversion going on. 

-What inspired you for this project? Or what continues to be your inspiration as you do different episodes?
The Goths was originally a screenplay for a movie.  I wanted to create the next vampire and the Goths is what i dreamed up.  Instead of biting a blood I wanted something more a kiss that sucks out life essence is how The Goths feed on humans.

Episode wise, I tend to build a very complete world, with rules and laws, backstory and history.  With a film, the story would be action based. With a YA novel it would be a bit more romance based.  But with trans-media,   I can give the audience a more complete experience.  So I get inspired to tell fans more and more and more.

-What is your favorite medium to use when drawing the graphic part of it?
I am a pencil and charcoal guy first.  I really enjoy smudging stuff.

-Did you have to draw it different for each media (books, video etc) or did you just use the same drawings ?
Because our goal was to give the audience the ability to walk through the world, we started with digital 3D characters first.  The renders were the basis for the illustrations.  But I wanted a seamless visual when we moved into the animations.

-How many years have you been doing this?
I started consulting to the entertainment industry in 1994, working with Dreamworks SKG in 1995. I produced my first animated film in 1996.  I began writing kid lit since 2009.  The Goths will be my first graphic novel.

-What are your favorite authors/tv shows/artist?
J. R. R. Tolkien, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle,
Alfred Hitchcock - for his Macguffin
Steven Spielberg taught me so much about story and how things get done.
I admire Tim Burton’s look and feel to his works.
Salvador Dali, M.C. Escher, Edvard Munch and Frazetta.

-What is the next big project you want to work on?
I have a YA novel/screenplay that I am hot to finish.  It’s “Kick Ass” meets “Leon the Professional”

- How do you choose your color palette ?
I seem to be drawn to cloudy days, to the maudlin and blue.  So night colors are always present in everything i do. 

- What music do you listen to while you create ?
Oh Lacuna coil for The Goths....the lead singer Christina Scabbia was the inspiration for Desdemona. Also Evanescence. But for creative in general I listen to music sound tracks...Thomas Newman, James Newton Howard

I would love to have a picture of your studio or desk area… where you create. 

Filmography:Rock Jocks 2012
Lil Emo's Halloweemo 2010
Barking Mad 2010
Mementos 2004
Though Destiny's Lens 2004
The Fish 2000
Little Indiscretions 1999

Numerous screenplays:
The 13th Reflection (Script Magazine Award)
Death Town Cinehyte Productions
The Lord of Shanghai Hus Entertainment

SO,  I just read on my facebook about this SkaDaMo challenge.  You just draw a sketch a day !!  I may be taking on a lot these days because I am completely redoing my portfolio to get ready for SCBWI conferences in Februrary and two in April.  AND I am also doing the PiBoIdMo challege (picture book idea a day for a month)  BUT, what is this going to hurt... right ?
I mean, what is the worst that can happen...  I don't get my sketch or my idea done.  Right ?  (Well, I could fall behind on my portfolio .. but we won't think that way)

Sketch a Day a Month

Friday, November 2, 2012

I was just recently nominated for the "Beautiful Blogger Award" by Mary Livingston.    I have only known this person for a short time and I only know her online. BUT, this person has had a major impact on my life personally and creatively. I thank God for sending her my way.  

1. Thank the person who nominated you
        Thank you Mary Livingston.

2. Post the award image to your page (see above)

3. Tell 7 facts about yourself

  • 1. I had my first date with my husband 30 years ago this past October 12 and have been married to him for 26 years.
  • 2. We have two incredibly beautiful & talented daughters who are the smartest people that I know.
  • 3. Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior
  • 4. I love to watch cartoons and animated movies
  • 5. I love scary movies
  • 6. I keep a jar of M&Ms by my drafting table. When I create something, I get ONE !!
  • 7. I have Pink, Aerosmith, Bonnie Rait, Hank Williams Jr. Dolly Parton, Jerry Jeff Walker, Fats Domino, Classical & Ozzy Osborn on my Ipod

4. Nominate 15 other bloggers, and let them know about the nomination

I have chosen the following bloggers because they have had an influence on my life in a very positive way. I hope whomever reads this will take a moment to check out their blogs.


Loni Lilley
Susan Clement-Beveridge

Flynn's Fine Art

Hazel G. Mitchell

Illustration Junky - Charlie Eve Ryan

Laura Miller

Space City Illustrators

How To Be a Children's Book Illustrator

Diandra Mae

Nan Nan Kennedy

My dog-eared sketchbook - Lisa Thompson

Will Terry Illustration

Urban Sketchers - Texas

Hidden Hobbies - Pooja Sriniva

Turbo Monkey Tales


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

I wanted to mention Will Terry in my blog today.  I had gotten his name from a fellow illustrator friend who said that they had taken his online course about drawing digitally.  SO, I checked it out.  Now, I have always drawn "manually"... you know, with my hands and typical drawing tools.  ie - pencils, brushes, pastels and more.  BUT, for the past few months, I have been having MAJOR eye problems and have not been able to see at all.

My husband had bought me and Ipad for my birthday about a month before the eye problems.  I used it to play games and to check my facebook while I sat in the living room with him and watched t.v. in the evenings.  I had been getting up during an occassional commercial to do it.  haha.  He kept saying that he bought it for me to draw on but I really didn't know what to do.

I had downloaded some free drawing apps and purchased a few.  SO, then I started playing around and kind of liked it.  A little bit after getting the apps is when I happened on to Will Terry and FolioAcademy. 

I purchased the online video "Painting on the iPad".  It has been really great.  I don't actually have the same app that Will Terry used in the video but I still found it extremely helpful and when I get a chance will be getting the app that he used.  I am still dealing with eye problems so I'm not getting things done as quick as I would like.

Anyway, just wanted to say that for all of you out there who want to learn how to draw or paint, you really need to check out the FolioAcademy.  There is TONS of videos !!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

SO,  I have just signed up for PiBoIdMo.  Picture Book Idea Month!

As the website says:
"The concept is to create 30 picture book ideas in 30 days. You don’t have to write a manuscript (but you can if the mood strikes). You don’t need potential best-seller ideas.
You might think of a clever title. Or a name for a character. Or just a silly thing like “purple polka-dot pony.” The object is to heighten your picture-book-idea-generating senses. Ideas may build upon other ideas and your list of potential stories will grow stronger as the days pass."

I can't wait... this is going to be exciting !!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

I attended my first sketchcrawl last Saturday.  A small group from the Houston SCBWI and the Urban Sketchers group met at the Discovery Green.   Urban Sketchers posted the group photo here on their blog .

I was a little rusty as I hadn't actually "manually" drawn in a while due to eye problems for the last two months.  Warped Corneas !!  Long story but I have not been able to see to even walk through the house much less draw.  For a month, I was basically confined to the couch in the dark.  The light made things harder on me.  I couldn't see the t.v. , computer or distinguish from things to be able to walk through the house.

I did discover my new IPad which my husband had bought me the month before.  All I had been using it for was games.  On the IPad, I could make things bigger to see.  And I was able to see if things had "outlines" .. such as games !!!  That kept me busy for a few weeks.  Then, bored, I started looking at apps in the app store.  Found a few art apps and downloaded them.  I discovered that I could draw on my IPad.  So, that kept me busy for a while.

After two months of not being able to see, I can proudly say that things are better.  I can see now !!  The doctor still wants to "tweak" a few things, but I think I am back in the game now !!

Check out the photos from the sketchcrawl !!

Friday, October 19, 2012

SO, I've spent the last few hours cutting and pasting my facebook "likes" from my personal facebook into a message to my artist facebook. There were 45 likes. Doesn't seem like that much until you've had to go through and "unlike" them, click on them to get the link to copy / paste to a message to send to the other facebook page. THEN click on those likes, go back to the message and like another. Yep, was a job .... seemed like more than 45. BUT, the job is done. Professional facebook profile created. Just wished I could have used my art name "Artistic Expressions" because this facebook name is too close to my other name. Oh well !! No world is perfect !!


Here is the link to my facebook if anyone wants to "friend me".!/expressionsbyfelicia

Thursday, October 18, 2012

ok...  two posts in one day ??  This just HAS to be a good day.  Well, it is !!

GREAT NEWS !!! I CAN SEE !!! The doctor still has to tweak things a bit, but I can see WITH contacts and WITHOUT reader glasses to go with my contacts (which I still couldn't see clearly with)

Today's contact was only suppossed to be for distance. Put it in and it was blurry and I'm thinking....... geez !! BUT, as I sat in the chair waiting and looking around. I discovered ...... THAT I COULD SEE !! It took me a few minutes to figure this out though. haha.

Currently, my left is close up vision and my right is distance. He said that I would do better with right as close up and left as distance. BUT, before he does that, he is going to try me with BIO FOCAL contacts. So, he ordered those. Said it would take some adjustment to get used to wearing them .. about a week. I asked what the advantage was. He said IF I these worked for me that my vision would be a lot crisper. So, I said...... heck yea !! BUT, as of now, I can see to read, see the computer.

I celebrated by buying me some clay at Hobby Lobby. I'm going to do some sculptures of a new little character that I've been working on with my IPad. The boy is in leg braces and I need him sitting in a wagon so.. figured sculpting him would help to draw him. :)

I AM PRAISING GOD TODAY !! Not only the news with my eyes, but my daughter's car hydroplaned on the exit ramp last night. She stayed clear headed enough to steer away from the signs and the edge so she wouldn't go over the edge and come to a stop out of the road.. then to wait until cars passed to get back in the traffic. My life is good !!
Ok....  so I go get the hard contact for my left eye today.  Hopefully, this is the final stages of a two month ordeal.  My doctor is hoping that this will fit so he can get my distance vision corrected.  THEN in a few weeks, he can deal with my up close vision. 

I'm so anxious because I'm so behind on my artwork.  I'm not sure if I can catch up on this self impossed deadline that I have set for myself. 

At a SCBWI meeting, I found out that although my artwork is very nice that it doesn't fit the qualifications for an "illustrator's portfolio".  SO, I need to redo my portfolio from scratch.  My goal is to have this done by the Houston's SCBWI conference in April.  I need a minimum of 10 pieces.  I have NONE ready !!! 

Anyway ...  the goal that I have for my blog is to add other artist's blogs. IF YOU ARE READING THIS and have a blog, please let me know.  I don't know how to add them just yet, but that's what I want to do.  What is the protocol for adding someone's blog ?  Do you need their permission ??  Just wondering how all that works.  :)


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

SO much has happened since I started this blog.  My husband's brother, my brother and my aunt died.  Found out that my corneas in both eyes are warped.  It took a month to just be able to see to walk across the floor.  Then another more months to heal.  At this point, I am maybe nearing the end of this struggle.  Since this happened, I haven't been able to draw by hand.  Although, I've been working on my Ipad.  At least that keeps me creative, but has derailed me from my previous goals.  Which is to have a great portfolio for a children's illustrator's conference in April 2013.  I am really WAY behind.  AND I'm starting to stress.

To add to the mix, my husband had an accident with his hand which resulted in surgery.  From that, he had to have his blood work done and found out that he is diabetic with really high cholesterol.  And he is having another surgery in a few weeks for a large cyst on his neck.  There have been other stressful things that have happened on top of these things but just too complicated to go into here.

On a positive note.  I just attended my first "sketchcrawl".  This is a world wide event where people just meet up with each other and go draw for the day.  I had a lot of fun and met the "Urban Sketchers" which is another awesome group that is all over.  I just joined their group and can now proudly say that I am an URBAN SKETCHER.  !!
Although there have been a lot of bad things happening within my life, I need to take this time to praise God for keeping me sane through this and giving me strength.  ALSO for being with my daughter last night as she hydroplaned going down an exit ramp.  She was able to stay clear headed and make good decisions to enable her to come away safely.  God was with her in that car .. put his hands over hers on that wheel and kept her clear headed.  PRAISE GOD !!!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Well, gonna try to have a productive day. I've been alternating working on a children's book and this "sketchbook project". The project's theme is "secrets and how to tell them". I'm using my grandparents in this project. Telling things about them that made me who I am today. Gotta have it postmarked by April sometime. :)

 Still gotta do the writing  !!

Friday, February 17, 2012

This is for a book that I'm working on.  I have always done very realistic drawings but I'm trying to simplify my style so that it is more appropriate for children's books.  I forgot to scan in the other one that I have done.

 trying a different technique other than watercolor --- Had to stop and take a step back. Overworked some areas. Loosing contrast !!

It really helps to scan it and see it on the computer screen. lol I have no idea why. I see things so differently here. Top of the chair is way overworked for one thing. I was trying to get different line weights. I didn't achieve that. I've always used a certain type of pens but .... after really looking at it .. not sure I'm liking the pens like I used to. May try quill pens next. hmmm

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

So, I'm working on this "sketchbook project".  I've never done this before so, we'll see how it goes. 

The theme that I've chosen is ---  The Secret & How to tell it.  My daughters have helped me with coming up with ideas for this theme.  My oldest daughter suggested something like .. secret to childhood, memories, tell it by passing it down to generations.  Secret to a happy life .. tell the memories.  My youngest daughter suggested that I tell how people in my life affected me and how I "taught" my kids things from what I learned from them.

My girls have been telling me for a while to illustrate the stories that I tell them about when I was growing up.  SO, this is the perfect opportunity to kind of "jump start" their request.  Once, I fill up my sketchbook for this project, I will be able to add more stories and maybe get it self published for them to have.

What I've started with is My Grandpaw and Grandpaw Meeks.  They were my grandpaw's parents.

The rough sketch shown is just ideas coming together.  It will have vintage things around the pages.  A photo of them holding me will be attached to the page with a "frame" drawn around it.  I will have an old letter basically telling the information.  I have yet to figure out exactly what I'm going to say.  I have ideas but too much to put in this project.  BUT, again .. this is just the beginning.  :)

2-15-2012  Not sure if this is really productive but have been spending lots of time looking at different artists links and blogs.  I have found a few that really go into detail about how they work or how they get their inspiration.

BUT, I really need to get physically productive and DRAW ..  haha

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My paints !!!
Valentines Day 2010 -  My first time blogging EVER.  This should be interesting.  haha. 

So, the reason for this is that I am trying to rediscover myself in my artwork.  Redefining may be a better word.  Lately, I've been taking a course to learn how to illustrate children's books.  I've been drawing and painting all my life.  BUT, this is different.  I have always drawn realistically.  So, I'm learning a new style.. trying to simplify things to make it look more children and book friendly.  This is a new adventure in my life...............................  let's see how it goes !!!