Save the Date

Man oh man, planning a wedding is serious business. I'm marrying Andrew Olson in like 2 weeks. Pretty crazy!

It occurred to me that I hadn't posted any of my wedding stuff online though, so hey, here's the Save the Date I designed for our wedding! I designed our invitations too, but those are another post for another day.

We printed these using GotPrint, since they had more interesting shapes to choose from. It helped them to feel slightly more custom, while not having to actually die cut anything.

Here's the final product-

There are many more illustrated materials to come. Pretty sure I spent more time illustrating stuff for the wedding than I did picking out my dress, but I'm not surprised.

Hope all are well.


A quick extra post for this week- a valentine for Drew.

Time of the Fireflies

Time of the Fireflies

Time of the Fireflies wraparound
Here is another cover for the wonderful Kimberley Griffiths Little and her new book, The Time of the Fireflies. I previously did covers for two of her other books- When the Butterflies Came, and Circle of Secrets. Her stories always have so much lovely material to work with! This new one is out in the summer.

And some sketchbook work-

And oh yeah, I got my studio set up! Can you spot both of the cats investigating it? I love working in here.

It's been a busy winter, but I wouldn't have it any other way. Hope all are well. Take care!


Nancy Drew + Sketchbook

Hey, look at that. It's 2014! Here's some new Nancy Drew Diaries, my 6th cover for the series. Painting a moonlit camping scene was a treat though. And without type-

Also, I scanned the last batch of sketches from the past few weeks. Many of these are on Instagram as little snippets too. My sketchbook has become a very relaxing outlet for me.

Here's to another year of making art, illustrating books, and all that other good stuff. Take care!

The Real Boy Interiors

 Much of the interior art for THE REAL BOY has been floating around the internet already, in blog posts and reviews, but I wanted to go ahead and put it all in one place. These are some of my favorite pieces from the book, most of which are graphite and chalk on toned paper, with some Photoshop love at the end. It was such a fun world to live in for the length of the project, full of magical shop items, cats, and fancy dresses. And I've always wanted to draw a fantasy map.

Additionally, I'm very happy that Anne Ursu had a lovely review in The New York Times, which graciously included some of my art as well.

Thanks as always, and take care!

Inktober Roundup

Phew. October is over. And with it, Inktober, Jake Parker's yearly drawing challenge.

On a whim, I decided to give Inktober a try and it was a lot of fun.  I ended up with 23 drawings, short of the 31 I was hoping for, but October turned out to be a crazy month full of weddings and deadlines, so I'm happy to even have done that. I don't work in ink much professionally, so this was a refreshing change of pace. Here are a few of my favorites from the month-

And now, back to the business at hand. Take care!

Handmaid's Tale Redux

Sometimes past work pops up again in unexpected ways. I did this illustration for Margaret Atwood's Handmaid's Tale back when I was still a student, as part of my senior year thesis. Then after five years of bouncing around the internet, Ms. Atwood's Portuguese publisher, Bertrand Editora, bought the foreign rights for the cover. Funny how things happen, but I'm pretty happy that it's an actual book now. Felicidades!

Nancy Drew Diaries #5

Nancy Drew Diaries - Sabotage at Willow Woods

My fifth Nancy Drew cover, with art direction by Lissi Erwin. Always fun to draw a spooky forest!

I know summer is coming to an end, but you wouldn't know it in Texas. One hundred degree weather mixed with pumpkin spice everything just feels wrong. I'm ready for fall, and all the tights and tea that go with it.

Along with the Nancy Drew cover, here are a few more sketchbook pages. Many of these have floated around my Instagram as cropped pieces, but I like to archive the full pages as well.

Astral Girl


The Field

Polite Sisters

 Thanks, and take care.

The Good, the Bad, the photo reference

Over the years I've collected a lot of photo reference for various projects, and much of it hasn't seen the light of day. It's fun to look at all the behind the scenes junk that goes into an illustration, so I hope you get a kick out of seeing me pretend to be a tween girl (and sometimes tween boy).

Now, my work isn't as realistic as some illustrators, but I still need good reference for most assignments. I'm not so hardcore that I need to hire a model and professionally shoot them, but sometimes Googling reference just doesn't cut it. Even my mediocre photos help with checking proportions, lighting, clothing folds, etc. For my purposes, I just need pretty good reference pretty quickly.

More often than not, I use what I have on hand, which is myself, my old camera, and my grandpa's old tripod. I definitely don't have a kid's body, but it's easy to make myself pose at all hours of the day, and I know the pose I need. Also, I've used the Photo Booth application on my Mac in a pinch, for quick photos when I don't want to set up my tripod.

 As you can see, for this photo I hung from the ceiling to get the lighting just right. I definitely didn't just flip it in Photoshop.

Nancy Drew covers almost always need reference, because the covers have a bit more action, plus tricky angles!

 I put the tripod a few steps down my stairs, set the timer, and would run up the stairs and strike a pose to get the low angle right. I did this about 12 times and it was a good workout.

 For this angle, I set the tripod up high on my dining table while I crouched in the corner. My neighbors must think I'm crazy.

Maybe me posing in a cocktail dress put their suspicions at ease! I shot these in Photo Booth in quick succession to get many angles for the pose. Often I convert the photos to grayscale so I'm not distracted by the color.

 Even my personal work benefits from shooting reference. The photos I shot for this illustration were super under-exposed, but I levels'd them up until I had something passable to draw from. It's very much "perfect is the enemy of good" in this case.

Also, our cats LOVE to photobomb our reference.

Particularly in this case, when I helped Drew shoot reference for his own assignment. Our cat Loki just jumped up on the table and struck the same pose. Looking good, Loki!

So that's about it. It's a fun process, even when it's ridiculous. And it is often ridiculous.

YARR! (for a future Nancy Drew cover ;) )
Til next time, take care.

Summer Sketchbook

Happy Summer! I haven't posted much sketchbook work in a while. Often some of these will end up on Instagram, but I like having nicely scanned versions as well. Sketching is fun, I need to do more of it. I've had a busy summer, but it's nice to reflect back on some less finished work.

This is the tree directly outside my studio (complete with hay bales, thanks Texas). It's much more fun to landscape paint from inside an air conditioned room! This is gouache on toned paper.

And some assorted kids-

So enjoy, and til next time, take care!