Living in my Illustrations

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Being an illustrator is great fun.  Why?  Because you can use your imagination to go places you’ve never been and do things you’ve never done. For instance, I have always wanted a log cabin up in the mountains.  As a teen, I used to imagine having a studio up a flight of wooden steps to a big room. It would have rafter ceilings and a window seat for me to look out of.  It would be warm and cozy and I could sit and do my art all day long near a roaring fire in the wood stove.

When I began thinking of places for my character Burl the bear to live in, I made it just like “I” wanted it!  Warm and inviting!  When you walk through the doorway of my story, you will find a home that lives in my imagination. It will be a place that I love and I will revisit it many times as the story progresses. I must be passionate about what I draw or it becomes listless and boring. This process is what makes a story believable.

My experience tells me that children notice the tiniest of details.  I did a school visit after Peepsqueak was published by Harper Collins Publisher.  I read the book to the children and then we talked.  Through out the story there was another story going on in the book. It was a little tiny mouse who appeared on many of the pages.  The children did not miss it. They even commented on the mouse as I read to them.  I let them in on a little secret.  I named the mouse Elliot.  When I told them his name they all squealed with delight and pointed to the cutest little boy in their classroom who was named Elliot!   He was beaming.  Suddenly he became part of the story. He was so happy!

These are the things that make a story magical in the eyes of children and adults alike.  Its also why I continue creating images.  I love seeing characters develop.   I love finding their voices. .. what they are like… what they like to do.  It does not stop when I leave the studio.  I think about them all the time, until I finally know how they would react in any given situation. That way they become very believable creations and loved by all.

Stay posted,  Burl and Briley are growing on my heart daily.  I can hardly wait to illustrate the books that are in my mind!

The Master List!

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Hooray for The Master List! There is nothing like getting all your thoughts on paper…. and yes, I said paper!  Sitting right in front of me where I can doodle on it, cross it off, highlight it etc. I have tried the electronic list making but nothing quite satisfies this artist.

All my ideas are added to my The Master List.  For a creative person, this list is quite freeing!  I can stop trying to shuffle all of this around in my head.  Yes, these items and more have been yelling at me from my head!  ha!  Everything was fighting for recognition… saying things like,  “Me first!”,  “NO! Me first!”

Now I can decide who is first!  Does this sound a little scary to you?  Leslie is hearing things?  I assure you, this is the world of many of us who are visual thinkers!  The world speaks to us! Being the cartoonist that I am, I can actually imagine people as cartoons.  Many of my Facebook friends can attest to that fact.  It’s quite fun!

Okay,  Now to the next step.  Working at crossing off all these things on the list!  I will keep you posted.

So what do you have on your list?

Rocky Mountain High

I simply love Colorado, with its mountains and the W I D E open spaces. There is something about the vast blue sky that gives me a boost. I find that the breaks I take in my day are just as important as working hard in the studio. When I return to my studio I see things differently. My mind has rested and my body is more relaxed.  Yep, I am HIGH on life!!  Even my little cartoons are glad I left and have come back with a good attitude and the ideas begin to flow!

A Package At My Door.

OOOOHhhhhh!  I love the UPS man!  . . . that is . . . well . . . you know what I mean.  I don’t actually KNOW him but I love when he brings me packages!  I LOVE surprises!!! (My husband drove for UPS once and I do love HIM! :0))

Today UPS brought me a children’s book I ordered.  Oh it is so cute!  It made me so happy!!!  Some folks get happy with diamonds or vacations on cruise ships.  I would be happy with a drawing board in every room in my house and piles of children’s books and art supplies scattered about!  Ha!  … Here are a couple of images of my new book.  I wonder if I will ever meet Peter McCarty?  I think I will look for him on Facebook!

Imagine That!

I had the most wonderful day.  I went with my daughter and my grandson Henry to visit my dad and brother in Denver.  It was great to see them both and we had a nice visit.

After lunch we started for home. About 20 minutes down the road we spotted a store called “Showers of Flowers Yarn Shop”. The name was funny.  We thought perhaps it was a flower shop and yarn store but no,  just yarn… and TONS of it!  I know our eyes got BIG as we looked around at the shelves and shelves of yarn!  FAT yarn, thin yarn, baby yarn, manly yarn, WILD yarn, color color color COLOR!!!!!!!

All that color inspired me to no end!!  I wanted to scoop up as much yarn as I could and head for the cash register!!  I can’t even KNIT!  Emily, on the other hand, LOVES to knit so I bought her three small skeins of cool yarn so she could make a hat for our friend’s baby shower.  That store was a creative person’s playground!

I was still feeling that creative buzz from all that colorful yarn by the time I got home.  It is crazy how color does that to me. I guess you could say that I am a “visual” kind of person. Ha!  No kidding!

Even now I happily linger in my thoughts of our  journey to “Showers of Flowers Yarn Shop”.  I love unexpected surprises!