Thursday, July 31, 2008

Anthropomorphic Romance Watercolor Wednesday

Monsieur Forknoir could wait no longer. He had to express his undying love to Spoonita before it was to late.
Though a little tarnished, Spoonita looked past his outer appearance and saw love his eyes. The two have since married and live very happily in my kitchen draw. When I last saw the two a week ago, Spoonita told me that she was expecting.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

To Many Styles

I hear thiis quite a lot. "You have so many styles. Too many" I have about 5 styles really. It's how I am wired and made. It can be frustrating for some people I guess. I watch and learn. It's very important for me to stay teachable. My parents could not afford to indulge my art fetish as a child. I am self taught. Maybe that's the reason. I find I am learning something everyday. I have been drawing since I was three. Being Dyslexic, this was my way to express myself. It developed over time, many different styles of illustration. I love exploring new things, new media, new ways of saying the same thing over and over again. Some of us are so afraid to put our stuff online because someone will copy or steal. That really makes me mad, but you can't stop them. A mentor that I had long ago, told me that when someone is copying you it is the highest form of flattery. I couldn't see it then. I just felt like they where trying to take something away from me. Then I really got it one day. What I do is what I do. What comes out of me through pen and ink, gouache, charcoal, digtal, watercolor, collage, or paint is from me and my creative process. I promised myself that I would not get upset any longer. It only blocks my creative flow. When I stay open I get more ideas. These styles have developed over 30 years. I didn't sit down to pen and paper yesterday. It's been a long time coming. I have no degree from Art and Design school. I am taking classes now. Whether or not I get one will not hold me back from experimenting with new media or techniques. I am ever learning. When you stop learning you stop growing. I've got lots more growing to do. Stay up and keep pressing forward to your artisic goal.
Have a very creative day friends.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Family is so very important to me and too lots of you out there in blogger land. My family is made up of so many people. Some of which are not connected by blood or marriage, but rather by spirit and friendship. I share so much with these people. Vacations, advice, joy, happiness, food, encouragement, prayer and lots of tears and laughter. I think often about people who don't have a family or think less of themselves because they only have one parent or no parents or maybe have been adopted. I never felt so lonely as when I lost my mom to colon cancer. My sister and I got even closer after her death, but we also found comfort in the arms of extended family and friends who loved us through one of our most painful losses. I can say, that family is not just the people who share your genes and last name, but rather those who are connected through life and deep friendship. I am working on stories about blended families. This illustration is for the cover of a book that I'm working on called, "A Family for Dear Mr.Tibbles. A Christmas story." Mr. Tibbles' Christmas wish is not to spend Christmas alone again. He meets Mai and Sue Lee and the three become a family, but not without some hilarious craziness and mayhem.

I am always asked can I do animals? I focus on people so much that sometimes I do forget that there are other things to illustrate as well. Animals have character and personality too. I plan to put more animal illustrations in my portfolio to show. Honestly, it is something that has to be worked on. I have done fashion and children books that feature people, but now there is a request for something different. In children's book illustration, it is very important to have figures that convey emotions, settings, and most of all movement. I have learned that you have to have something going on in the picture. Not just have figures standing there. Something to draw the eye in. Standing figures whether animal or human is not a bad thing so much, but you want to see some action within the picture. I work in many different artist media. It's just me. I love to play around with pastels, watercolors, paper, pencils, acrylics and crayons. I will try out some animals in these different media to see what works for me. I will post it so you can see the good, bad, and the very ugly of the process. Remember to make your mark and see where it takes you. Have a creative day.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Just Playing around Friday

Let's see, what can I play with next? I like to use what I have around my studio and see what I can come up with. I love my lined sketch pad, so I used a sheet as a background for these characters that I drummed up. I had the cat for something, the children from another piece that I was working on, and just placed them all on that buttery yellow sketch paper. I have a thing for cutouts. I like to leave a little of the white around the edges to make them stand out. Waste not want not. I was thinking about throwing these pieces out until I placed them together on a page. How do you play in your art space? Make your mark and see where it takes you!
Have a creative day.

Hi All,
I love to blog. It's like going shopping. I feel the same rush when I go bloggin'. A couple of days ago, I had the awesome pleasure of joining a wonderful group of illustrators and artists on It's wonderful! I'm so honored to be a part. This is the very first piece that was posted just yesterday. Enjoy and of course, have a creative day!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Remembering The Circus

I will always be a lover of the circus! I remember the first time I went on a school trip to the circus. It's a picture in time that I hold very close and dear to my heart. I wanted to join the circus, but alas I became an illustrator. So while I can't join the circus in real life, I can dream though my characters. Here is Marie at the Circus.
Have a creative day!

Monday, July 21, 2008

An Afternoon with Cozbi Cabrera

I enjoy daydreaming. One of my dreams is to go across the pond and end up at a few flea markets in England and Paris. I think some of the most talented children's book illustrators and crafters come from there. Here in the USA we have talent as well. I had the pleasure of visiting a very wonderful shop in Brooklyn, New York. It is owned by a beautiful, fantastically talented doll maker and artist named Cozbi. Cozbi has been making dolls since 1997 when she sold her first one for $65.00. She has since expanded her product line and opened a yummy little shop displaying her handmade clothing line, quilts and children's apparel. And if this isn't enough, she is a wonderful children's book illustrator as well. She has never taken a sewing class, however her mom sewed and crocheted. Both of her parents had remarkable hand skills. She says ,"They planted the seeds of her skills." I think what really made this visit very special for me was her easy, sweet personality, her willingness to share and humble spirit. She has a great sense of self. She loves what she does and it shows up in everything this woman touches. Cozbi's store was like a little sanctuary for this artist. The quiet was refreshing and the company uplifting. I will long remember my visit to Cozbi's. I wanted to share these pictures to inspire you. Cozbi, thanks so much for your wonderful smile and sharing your world with me and others. I am so grateful that I got the chance to come and meet you. Keep creating your one of a kind wholesome goodness.
Here are some pictures from my visit.
Here are a few of Cozbi's yummy treats. She is so talented and very humble.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

What a Character

The characters from "James and the Giant Peach", will always stay with me. Tim Burton's version will always be my most favorite.
He made me see grasshoppers in such a different, fresh and whimsical way. I really liked the outfit that the grasshopper wore. Very much a gentleman and very English. Pip, pip and all the sort of jazz. Have a very whimsical and creative day!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I love Humpty Dumpty. He is one of my favorite Mother Goose characters. Humpty has been illustrated in so many ways.
Here's something I just worked on.

What if

Hello, If someone told you that you could only have the joy of using two colors, which ones would you choose? I love color, but I like to push myself and give myself, some "What if's", if you will. What if you only had one color or two? How could you effectively get your point across on paper? I picked , of course, something retro because I am a retro chick from the 60's. I'm using a buttery yellow and dark red to illustrate my point. I would love to do the whole narrative like this. What colors would you choose?
Have a creative day!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

It's the sketch of the day. I really do enjoy creating characters like this one here. Children are my heart. I could sit and draw them all day. This is one that I will be working on. I'll put her in some scenes and see where it takes me. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

This is my very good friend Lucy. She is a very talented illustrator and one of the sweetest people I know. We spend lots of time encouraging each other. She knows just how to lift my spirits with her laughter and old wisdom. We exchange ideas and other creative information. Lucy is really very funny and I did this piece to celebrate her playful and colorful personality. I love you Lucy a thousand half eaten jellybeans!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Which Came First

When you start to write a picture book, do you start with the pictures first or the story? My Friend Sergio Ruzzier says he most always starts with the illustration first. He and I both agree that the illustration must tell a story without words. In essences we should create word pictures. Here is a little narrative that I did. It was really fun. I just kept doing picture after picture to create a short story. I'm still working on it.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Playing with Corel X

I really like trying new media to create illustrations. This illustration was done with Corel X. You can go to and download the free trial version of the software. I find it very easy to work with and it gives me lots of tools to try. There are also tutorials that will help you get started. They are excellent. I really enjoy working with patterns and textures. Corel gives you so many to choose from. There are paper textures, pens, ink, crayons, pastels, charcoal and even gouche media to work with. And no, Corel is not paying me to say so. Just wanted to share and put it out there for other artist and illustrators. I use Corel X for lots of work that I do. It's a great tool to have. Have a great creative day!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Inspired to Hope and Dream

Hi All: Its been a minute since I posted anything, but life happens, you know? There is so much going on with all of us. Some of us stay at home Moms are with our children all day and trying to find those moments when we can create something is challenging at times. To put a doodle down on paper in between the, "mommy I want, Mommy I need, mommy, mommy, mommy" or sometimes just managing to talk to another grownup who will understand our plight takes patience, skill and almost perfect timing. I have learned to get my daughter in on the creative process. When she sees me doing my thing, she wants to come along for the creative ride which brings me to a wonderful artist named Holli Conger. I visit her site often for inspiration. We all need to nourish that little ray of hope that maybe some day we will be published illustrators or writers and Holli does that for me. With great inspiration, who knows, we may even end up on the Martha Stewart show doing some kind of crafty thing. Holli has this wonderful blog called Woogie Wednesday. I think it's the best thing since sliced bread. It's the day in the week that her daughter gets in on some art projects. It really gave me a lift. If you get the chance visit It's so much fun!
For me personally my blog Ooh La La Design Studio has been a long time coming and the new book series I just illustrated for Scholastic, "Ruby and the Booker Boys", was some of the hardest work I ever loved. It just didn't come over night for me. At 45 years of age I have been wanting to express myself through the arts for a long, long, long time, but something always got in the way. I put it to the side so many times I can't even count. I have experienced so much loss in my life. I have had so many things that could have stopped me from creating altogether. I've had 3 miscarriages, buried a stillborn and finally gave birth to my beautiful baby girl seven years ago. I have watched my Mom at 56 years of age go from a strong go getter to 85 pounds of almost not knowing who I was when she died of colon cancer. I have broken my ankle in half and had to learn to walk again. I don't feel sorry for myself. That wasn't the lesson I needed to learn. What I have learned is that, what doesn't kill us makes us fat and I can make it on broken bits and pieces called the collage of my life. I understand that I can take the lemons that life hands me and make very tasty lemonade and serve it to the woman who feels as if what she is doing is all in vain. I have learned to encourage other artists like myself who feel like they will never be discovered, published or heard, that timing is everything. I think if Scholastic had come to early I would not have been prepared for the tremendous challenge of meeting deadlines and being consistent in character development. There is a season for everything under the heavens. I will encourage you with this. Keep drawing, sewing, telling stories, doodling, hoping, dreaming, praying and don't always share what you have in your heart to do until you are filled to the brim and overflow with it's possibilities in your own mind. Hold it and nurture it in a safe place inside you. Put good thoughts to it. Think positive things about it. Speak life to your dreams and don't let anyone tell you what you can or can't do at what age or stage of life. We are a promise and we are possibility all wrapped up in flesh and blood and we can do anything if we put our minds and hearts to it.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Today I will take a trip down the rabbit hole of creativity. When I get there, I will drink deeply from the bottle of whimsy, humor, and freshness. I will try new forms of expression. I may even go through the magical door way of discovery and find new ideas or try something that I've never tried before. I could paint a purply cow with pink and orange polka dots or how about a tea cup filled with children swimming in it. Oh, I know, people raining from a pink and yellow sky. All I know is that this is beginning to get curious and more curious of this I am sure.

So please excuse yourself from this silliness and proceed to the nearest rabbit hole. Make sure you've packed your imagination, and everything that inspires you. You'll need a few tools. Like coffee, tea and paper. Any kind of the paper you find will do. Some crayons, watercolor, pen and ink, wire, fabric, etc. Music helps the journey to move along. So load up your ipod or mp3 with classical, rock, pop and of course R&B! Make your mark and see where it takes you my friend, and when you come back please tell me where you've been.