Dec 24, 2009

Merry Christmas to All

Wishing all of you a very peaceful and Merry Christmas and prosperous New Year! 

Dec 8, 2009

IF: Crunchy

I was playing around and decided to make this seasonal piece.  I thought it fitting for the most current IF topic, "crunchy," and in this case, the sound of snow underfoot.

Nov 19, 2009

More Great Work on Display

Hargis Art Services Studios and Gallery is presenting a year long children's exhibit in Greenville, SC!  If you're in the area, please stop in and peruse.  You'll see art by many children's illustrators working today including myself.  I'm presenting four illustrations created for Highlights High Five Magazine, which won the 2008 AEP Award for Best Illustration in the K-5 category. 

 Look familiar?  One of my pieces on display.

Some of the pieces are also for sale.  An Author World, comprised of Pam Zollman, Tim Davis and Jim Hargis, organized the exhibit, so if you can't make it to Greenville, check out their site! 

Nov 14, 2009

My Latest Promo...

...shows off a spiffy gold pin which recognizes my latest publication due out this December as a Fall 2009 selection by the Junior Library Guild!  As if that wasn't enough, Groundhog Weather School is also a buyers pick by Ingram.  So expect a hefty push for this book come December and particularly right around February 2. 

Oct 5, 2009


The iPhone has an "app" by Autodesk called SketchBook that works wonders with the use of your fingertips.  Call it advanced finger painting 101.

A Panel about Blogging and a Nostalgic Visit

Pratt Institute's Career Services hosted a panel on “Blogging as Branding,” and I had the privilege of being a part of this two hour presentation which included a feature on this very blog, as well as an opportunity to be back on Pratt's campus since wearing my cap and gown.

Attendance was high and the panelists included a broad range of disciplines from Architecture to Fashion, Illustration to Industrial Design. Aside from myself, panelists included Emily Baltz, editor and contributor of Core 77, a blog originally started by two Pratt I.D. students in 1995, Richard Sarrach from Pratt's own Architecture faculty and co-founder of core.form-ula, Chei Wei, also a Pratt a alum and Architecture faculty for his blog, Nathan Hartswick for, and fashion designer, Eric Gaskins, for

Each had his and her own view and purpose about "Why a blog?" and "What's next?"  I discussed its marketing potential and ways in which clients can see my creative process. Others use it as a way to voice their opinions in their respective industries as well as a forum for students to find an outlet of resources. In general, I believe we put ourselves out there in the the blog-o-sphere because in some sense, it's a way to challenge ourselves to grow, and in the process, be open to feedback, positive or negative.  As far as what the future holds, time can only tell where this format can lead with the lightning fast pace that is information technology.  I hope to continue to interest and enthrall consistent, quality content.

A really big thrill for me was a chance to tour the campus for the first time in many years. It's changed considerably since I graduated, particularly in its landscape of beautiful sculptures and brick pathways. I had a slice of pizza at the P.I. Shop, my old hangout, which looked shiny and new and even served Starbucks coffee.  I was a bit envious of the students and their precious time there.  I only remember it fondly.  It was a nostalgic rush which I hope to revisit again soon. Thank you to Pratt's Career Services for the opportunity and privilege!

Sep 28, 2009

My Amazing Encounter with Cathrene Valente Youngquist

This past June I was shopping and strolling through Westport, CT with my husband.  We walked into a bath and body store where we were greeted by a very pretty and friendly salesperson.  Needless to say, we decided to buy a few bars of soap and shaving lotion.  After our sales lady rang up the purchases I handed her my card.  She took a look at my name, longer than one normally would and asked, "You wouldn't happen to be an illustrator would you?"

My heart skipped a beat.  Perhaps she had seen my work before, was a big fan and recognized my name.  The possibility did come to mind for a split second.  Then she said something like, "Cathrene Youngquist, who wrote the Three Billygoats Gruff and Mean Calypso Joe, is my mom.  You illustrated that right?"  I answered with a resounding squeak, "Yes!"

Well, the encounter brought me even greater delight in this astonishing coincidence!  When I worked on the book, I never had any contact with Ms. Youngquist.  Children's book publishing works this way, in that each creator works directly with the editor, not with each other, except in rare circumstances.  Apparently, Cathrene, had written a sequel to the story and this chance encounter seemed the perfect impetus in trying to get it published. 

The Billygoats Gruff and Mean Calypso Joe

That very evening, I had a chance to speak to Ms. Youngquist.  She told me about the many young audiences she has entertained by reading the Billygoats Gruff story aloud and using stuffed animal goats complete with beanie and scarf, and a stuffed Mean Calypso Joe with "seaweed hair flying" to reenact the scenes!  She then read to me the sequel, Mean Calypso Joe and the Pirates of the Caribbee, and so beautifully she told it, this time in rhyme.  I told her I'd be happy to illustrate the story and even contribute a piece to help sell it.

We talked for over a half hour on the phone.  Finally, just this past Sunday I had the pleasure of meeting her in person over lunch and a tour of my studio.  We talked about our work, she gave me valuable advice with my own manuscripts and I had the pleasure of reading several of her works that I hope to see in print one day.

Cathrene and I behind the starring characters of the book
I hope a talent like hers does not continue to go unnoticed especially since Billygoats is now out of print and going for an astounding $95-$200 a copy!  I dare you to pay dah toll and pick up a copy!  Moreover, the sequel is worth taking a look at, publishers, if you dare to take a chance on talent.

I'm Blogging About Blogging at Pratt Institute!

I've been invited to be on a panel of bloggers at my Alma mater, Pratt Institute.  This means, I have to gear up and know what the heck I'm talking about.  I've been taking the day to prepare so I'll sound like a competent panelist tomorrow.  It doesn't guarantee Pratt students will get their money's worth...oh wait, they're going to read this tomorrow.

Here's a link to the panel.  See you there and I'll tell you all about it when I get back!

Sep 23, 2009

The Art of Providence

Aside from the privilege of being a part of the University of Rhode Island's children's illustration exhibit, it was an opportunity to finally explore Providence, a city that I've always been curious about visiting.  After all, RISD was the school I was almost going to go to, but at the time I had my heart set on being a successful fashion designer, and Pratt, being in New York, well, the rest is history.  Now, as a working illustrator and, ahem, aspiring writer, I found a concentration of creativity in the small, pristine city of Providence, RI.

One interesting way to explore the city is to take a walking tour inspired by the works and life of H.P. Lovecraft, who was once a resident of the city.  I was accompanied by my husband and friends and we walked for hours around College Hill, strolling up and down some pretty steep hills and narrow streets. The tour lead us to uncover many wonderful things about the city, including its really old cemeteries (some headstones dated back Pre-Revolutionary War), graceful American architecture, beautiful libraries, and of course, the institutions of Brown University and Rhode Island School of Design. We also stopped at the beautiful RISD Museum which housed an impressive collection of historical pieces and modern masterpieces in art and design.  I also highly recommend shopping at the museum's gallery, which includes works by RISD's alumnae and faculty. 

Imagination! The World of Children's Book Illustrators

All month long, the University of Rhode Island Providence Campus is showcasing a wonderful exhibit that I am proud to be a part of. It includes 15 published illustrators and work from RISD's Children's Illustration Certificate Program. It was also an opportunity to show off my latest published work, Groundhog Weather School (Putnam).

Last week was reception night and my first time in Providence. However, being the responsible blogger that I am (actually I didn't have the forethought to photograph the actual exhibit), I thought I'd marvel you with a few interior pieces from the show as well as the character sketches and layouts that are on display (the collection shows the creative progression of the book).

I also had the pleasure of chatting it up with fellow llustrators at the show, a few of whom I had met before and will be seeing again at the upcoming Annual Highlights Illustrator's Party, including Sharon Lane Holm, Nancy Cote, Jamison Odone and Mary Jane Begin.


Sep 1, 2009

Happy September!

What a nice way to kick off the month! Starting today, the University of Rhode Island will be hosting an exhibit entitled: Imagination! The World of Children's Book Illustrators. Sounds so sparkly doesn't it? Well of course, because yours truly will be one of the guest artists and I'll be bringing along some of my books to sign and, ahem, sell. I'll be showing off my latest book, Groundhog Weather School (G.P. Putnam's Sons), which will be previewed at the exhibit throughout the month of September (the actual release date isn't until December of this year). Lucky for you, you can be the first to see it! Check out the link to see the other talented artists in exhibit.

Aug 23, 2009

Latest Work in Storyworks!

My newest published illustrations can be found in the September 2009 publication of Scholastic's Storyworks Magazine. You can find my work illustrating the featured story entitled "Dad, the Disco King." Check it out!

Jul 31, 2009

Life After Black Exhibit/Sketchbooks of Barron Storey

Unfortunately, today is the last day to see the exhibit Life After Black: The Visual Journals of Barron Storey at the Society of Illustrators in New York. Barron Storey is a master illustrator and brilliant art educator. If you had a chance to go see it, you're one of the lucky ones. If you just found this write-up today and are in the NYC area, run and go see it!

I happened to be attending the exhibit the same day my husband was on the opposite coast attending the San Diego Comic Con where he spoke to Barron in person, who said, "there's not going to be any other show (of his work) like it." I found it to be an overwhelming experience of one man's unabashed, unedited, courageous display of his inner thoughts and brilliant sketches contained in volumes and volumes (2 floors!) of sketchbooks (over 140 books), each filled with beautiful compositions of drawing and text, complete with loose pages.

His influence in the world of modern illustration resonates with at least 2 generations of illustrators working today. As a student, I was one of those influenced, and to some degree, still am to this day. One can't help be but inspired if not by his drawing but his ability to create profound, detailed and complex weaving of pictures and text in a most beautiful poetic way, or by his uncensored look at the business of illustration and storytelling and the thoughts and questions surrounding it.
I'm an artist trying to make sense of what I saw in words, and honestly, it's not my strong suit. It was simply overwhelming. But I've posted some pictures, a taste of what I experienced here, so perhaps if you've never heard of the man, then go explore his work. You're bound to find something in it that will make you think differently about approaching a blank page.

Jul 2, 2009


Happy Birthday to me! I thought at least I would post this little tidbit of news since I've neglected to post much of anything in the past month thus far. My header is also due for an update (it's summer by goodness). So I promise, folks, more to come soon.

Jun 17, 2009

Florida SuperCon Interview!

Video courtesy of

I had the pleasure of being a guest at the South Florida SuperCon, thanks to an invitation given to my husband by the guys that run the show. I've attended many conventions before, and this one sticks out because of the fabulous Florida backdrop, the friendly guys that run the show, the lovely accommodations, an appearance by Bruce Campbell, and Comigirl. Yes, that's right, Comigirl is a comic book fan that reports about comics from the female perspective! I had the pleasure of meeting her by way of my husband, and it turns out she's done some research on me and decided to do a "quick" (because it's a relative term here) little interview for her site. I'm a bit shy about posting this, because let's face it, who doesn't cringe when they watch themselves on video. Comigirl runs a great site, so if you're big into the genre, her's is a nice place to stop. Enjoy!

Jun 7, 2009

Horror Inspired

My husband and I took a recent day trip to New Paltz, NY where we visited the Mohonk Mountain Resort and made a day of hiking, canoeing and eating a gourmet buffet. The resort is gorgeous and...unusual. There's a mystical appeal about the place, haunting and enchanting. The views of New York and beyond are breathtaking. The architecture of the hotel is a Victorian marvel, like something out of the old west, with it's rickety floors, wrap-around porches and Spanish-tiled clay roofs. And it's enormous.

So word is Stephen King was inspired by the hotel to write "The Shining." One can see why it's easy to speculate this little tidbit. While we sat in one of the lounges, I came across a wonderful, little, framed illustration on the wall by none other than Edward Gorey. This hotel inspires some great artists of the macabre and it inspired me to want to return again.

May 14, 2009

Pretty Princess

Galison makes wonderfully designed paper products that you'd want to display in your home, pieces of art, if you will. So when I got a call from Galison's art director for an illustration assignment, I was thrilled!

I was told the product was for their Mudpuppy block puzzle line, specifically made for 2-3 year olds, so I quickly hopped onto their site, clicked on the product, and noticed that great illustrators and classic characters like Eric Carle, Maurice Sendak, and Curious George, respectively were represented.
Then, when the art director told me I was to illustrate princesses of different times and places, I was doubly excited to take on the job! It took me back to the time I was three, drawing princesses with skirts.

I'm pleased to show you one of the pieces here (there are 6 total), a classic 1950's princess, her lovely skirt, appropriately large and poofy. It won't be on the market until June 1, 2010, but I couldn't wait that long to share even a taste, plus the art director was kind enough to let me!

May 6, 2009

GAGA Arts Festival 2009

I finally found some time to write about my first open studio this past weekend at the Garnerville Arts and Industrial Center. It was a big success thanks to the local community and despite the scattered showers and cooler milder temperatures.

Since I've yet to build up a collection of large paintings, I decided to show the original art from my published work, some of which have not seen the light of day in years. I finally had an excuse to pull them out and hang them, rather casually on clips and string, for all to appreciate, including myself. It was cool to see them all up in one space.

I had a table set with crayons and pencils, prepared an activity book called "The Best Day," where the kids could write about their best day and illustrate it. I also brought my button maker for kids and "big kids" to make buttons. It was a hit! I also created a display on "How a Book is Published: an artist's perspective."

I sold a few books, and while most of the art was also for sale, with the sluggish economy, the pieces were admired from afar.

I most enjoyed talking to the attendees and all the kids. I met many bright children, some who wanted to be illustrators, others who were fascinated by the process and still others who just liked taking the time to create a story. I met a young girl who suffered from Hodgkins Lymphoma and was nearing the end of her treament with a good prognosis. As a survivor of childhood leukemia, we bonded over our "war stories," and before she left she showed me the story of her "Best Day," which she dedicated to me...excuse me...having a moment.

For many it was a big learning process, an eye-opener for local teachers and the regular art appreciator. So indeed it was a success even if I sold not a one painting.