Wednesday, July 31, 2013


(what peace & quiet results in)

My parents, who live a couple states away, had their 44th wedding anniversary last Friday. They were pretty shocked when I walked into their house just before lunch!

It's been almost four years since I went "back home" (using the term loosely, since as of this summer, I've lived out here as long as I've lived anywhere else). Lots of changes: my parents moved, my brother and his wife bought a house and had a baby, everyone bought new cars and acquired new hobbies (growing hops, building sheds). It was time for a trip.

(I actually had photos printed!)

I left the kids, husband, and pets home alone. To the outside observer (me) when I returned home, they survived quite well.

I had almost three full days of peace and quiet. I drew in my sketchbook and got out my old watercolor kit. I slept late. I showered every day. I didn't have to cook, get drinks for anyone, walk anyone, clean up after anyone, scoop any litter boxes, feed any pets, break up any fights, mediate any disagreements, soothe cranky toddlers, entertain bored preschoolers, pay attention to demanding almost-first graders. It was lovely.

More than that, I got to meet my niece (a combination of her parents' personalities, the outgoing nature of my eldest and ability to stay out of trouble of my middle child), got to see everyone's new house (so much familiar stuff in new settings), and completely surprised my parents -- my dad, brushing his teeth and mom, folding laundry; neither who had any inking I was in town -- that was the best!

Monday, July 22, 2013

All done but only 85% happy

I guess it's no surprise that I'm not totally thrilled with the end result. I never am, at least immediately after finishing the project. Weeks or months later I'll look back and realize its not half bad, or even that it's pretty good. This morning it looks like a big pile of blargh.

My eyes are blurry after my weekend of marathon point tweaking! I finished up late last night, like almost 2AM, and thought I messed up while uploading. My clicky finger *may* have gotten a bit impatient. So I sent an email to them; turns out they got SOMEthing. Hopefully it's the whole jpg. I really need to chill out sometimes.

Working on this brought back memories -- of that half-sphere climbing thing at the park by the Buffalo Zoo (need to dig out the photo of 4 year old me and friend on one with my giant sideburned dad standing alongside), the rocket slide (we had one outside our kindergarten classroom), those merry go round things that made me sick to my stomach, that pedal car that scrawny me never could quite pedal.

We had a tire swing tied to the cherry tree in front of our house and an old metal swingset in the back that had regular swings and a sky scooter. Swinging was one of my favorite thing to do as a kid. I have flashes of memories: standing on and falling off the sky scooter and ending up with a mouthful of sand, watching the combine work the field next to the house and feeling so proud to be five and able to swing as high as I could, the wren that would nest in the open end of the swingset every spring, poison ivy growing over the old stone wall that we were forbidden to climb on for just that reason... Good memories.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Panicking & Illustrating

That's what I always do. I think of all these great ideas, then wait until almost the last minute to start, then get almost immediately discouraged and panicky because the vision I had in my head is *not* what's happening in my sketchbook / on my computer.

Somehow in the end it always works out. Why is it that in the meantime it must always be such torture???

I'm a little more stressed out than normal because this is an ultra-important illustration. It's for Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search, and the winner gets all sorts of really fantastic stuff like a 2-year contract with Lilla Rogers (whose artists and clients I have admired hugely for years... heck, even her website is fun to look at!) and a bundle of amazing licensing deals.

The competition is going to be stiff. I think all the "real" illustrators (those with years of experience and a long list of clients) are participating, too, so I'm feeling a little bit inadequate. I have no idea how many. I don't think I stand a chance. But then why did I enter, you ask??

Because with three little kids, a geriatric cat, three cockatiels, a puppy, and no babysitter, I need something like this to motivate me to make something amazing. I know I can do it -- and I love drawing wacky little vintage-inspired characters -- I just need the proverbial kick in the rear to ignore the dirty dishes, laundry, constant interruptions for more entertainment, more ice, more crackers, more drink, the perpetual household to-do list, and focus (ha, focus, what's that??) on my drawing.

Anyway, this is what I wrestled into being last night at about 12:30 AM. It's a decent start. It's only due Monday by 11 AM. Ha.