New Book

New Book
Grandma's Purse

Saturday, August 30, 2008

IF's Word of the Week "Memories"

Jingles often has vivid memories of his hay day in the old circus. He still knows
how to juggle his schedule.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Sistah Fern and the Baconettes

Lady Fern always knew that her pigs where something special. Try as she may, she could never
sell them to the town Butcher. They had become family to her. One night she picked up her
recorder and started playing some really magical tunes. The pigs heard the wonderful sound
and could not help themselves. The had to move. They were quite entertaining! In fact
a show stopper. Fern and the pigs are now being signed to a label. They call themselves
"Sistah Fern and the Baconettes. Just a bit of nonsense to make you smile.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Handmade Dolls By Vanessa Brantley-Newton

Most folks know me as an illustrator, but I am also a crafter and doll maker. I have been making dolls for years. I love them and I enjoy the whole process of making a doll. I put my humor, love and spirit into each one. My very good friend Nancy Laboz of "The Parcel" in Montclair, NJ carries my handmade beauties. She has displayed both my paper mache dolls as well as my Soft Fairies. A woman came in to purchase one of my dolls and told Nancy," I swear these dolls have some kind of energy. You can feel it from the window." This made me smile so big because I don't want to create just any old doll, but something that makes you dream, imagine, or smile. Spiritually I need to be in a really good place when I'm crafting these dolls, because I don't know who will purchase one of them. It may be a parent with a very sick child or a crafter needing some inspiration or just someone who wants to collect something beautiful, so I want to confident that I have put the best of me into the treasure they choose. They are crafted from both new and old fabrics, notions and trims. I really love to create one right after I've read a children's book. It all helps in the creative process. I think my dolls come not just from my head, but from my pen and most of all my heart. I love to just give them away and watch the expression on peoples' faces. In the world we live in, so few people are kind and give freely. I don't give just because I'm a Christian. I give because I just love to see that look on a persons face that says, "Are you really giving this to me? For Free? Okay what's the catch?" I get the pleasure of telling them I just wanted to bless you today. In doing so, something good is released to me at the same time. More creativity comes and with that more ideas. I like to say it keeps my creative streams free. I get asked often by other crafters, "Why do you give them your resources and information? Aren't you afraid someone will copy your work?" Honestly I use to feel this way before I came to understand that there is a gift that only God can give that belongs to you. It is as unique as your finger prints. No other person before or after you will have the same. What I do as an artist is what I do. They can try to copy as much as they like, but ultimately my works of art will have my own brand of DNA. I'm not saying one should not be wise, but understand that there is only competition if you by into it. I refuse to tie myself down with other peoples thoughts. I have enough of my own as do we all. As always I leave you with this question. What is it that you do that you put your whole heart and spirit into? You know, the thing that makes other say, "I really feel this?" It only happens when we quiet the voices of the nay sayers and do our thing that we have been called to do. Have a wonderfully creative day. V

Monday, August 25, 2008

I will be a kid forever and ever. Okay, a big kid at heart at least. I love the cartoons of the 60's and 70's. Remember Saturday morning cartoons? My sister Coy and I lived for them. We loved the darn things so much that we learned the words to all of the songs. One of my favorite cartoons was the Jetsons! I loved all the futuristic things. I loved how Jane could just press a button and dinner was served. Remember the Food-A-Rack-Cycle,LOL. I love the cartoons of today as well, but there was just something so special about those Saturday morning cartoons back-in-the-day. One of my favorite Jetson's episodes is with "Jet Screamer," he was a singer. Judy Jetson was trying to write a song for a contest to go on a date with Jet. Anyway, Jet Screamer picks Judy's song written by her little brother (Elroy)the song was called, " Eep Opp Ork Ah Ah!" I still sing this song. Stop laughing. It means, "I love you." I love the graphics from the show so much that I wanted to capture it in my own way. Have a Eep Opp Ork Ah Ah kind-a day.

Friday, August 22, 2008

IF's Word of the Week "Routine"

Fip Garrett's morning routine always included a huge cup of joe and her morning happy pill. Without them
she was just no good.

Bill Brown My Mentor

Mentoring is one of the missing links for illustrators and artists. The masters had them, but some how we have missed out this great gift. I have been blessed to have a few mentors in my life. Folks that were not so much good buddies, but rather a teacher and stretcher if you will. They said the hard things and I will admit it would ruffle the feather a bit, but they gave me truth that I have benefited from in so many ways. I have also been mentored through watching others from the outside. I never got to meet some of my favorite artists, but I have had the chance to sit and drool all over their divine works and illustrations. Some that you may know and love as well are Ezra Jacks Keats, Mary Blair, Fiep Westendorp and Ludwig Bemelmans. These wonderful people have all since died, but I study their works daily. They teach me and influence my brand of artwork. There are other artists as well like Quentin Blake, Laura Childs, David Catrow, Brian Karas, Ed Fortheringham, and Bill Brown. Bill Brown is one of my favorite illustrators. I have loved his work forever! He is a very talented and humble man. I emailed him a few weeks ago and he was kind enough to get back to me. He is the illustrator of several books, Scholastic series, "Sister Magic, The Villains Guide to Better Living, and Swell" just to name a few. His agent is Bill has such a eye for beautiful, quirky and very funny things. I love this line. It is so filled with character and beauty. He is very retro which is always a hit with me. I feel like I'm looking at the Pink Panther cartoon or something. It is fun yet sophisticated as well. How am I mentored by him? Bill lives in Seattle, WA. We are to far apart for me to go into this studio or anything like that. I get mentored by finding his illustrations and not copying, but studying his work. Making note how one illustration is different from the other. I study his composition, background and color. I take a hour or two and just sit and Google the things that he has done. I am just fascinated by the work he does. He always amazes me with his brand of art. So today I give a shout out to Bill Brown. He's my hero! Bill is in the process of building his website, but you can see more of his wonderful work at Great thanks to you Bill and Art-Dept for letting me share your fabu works with everyone.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

WW "Magic Wand"

This is the illustration that I submitted for Watercolorwednesday. This was lots of fun for me. I just love the thought of a, "Magic Wand." We all need one. If I had a magic wand it would be lost somewhere in the bottom of my extra large hand bag I'm sure. I would be constantly digging around for it. I know this, because it would be just like when I am trying to find my ringing cell phone. I would hope that I would keep it in a pocket somewhere near by for crazy sister-in-laws, people who cut you off in traffic, the nasty cashier, bad hair days, traffic jams, the lady that works in the unemployment office, the other woman, really naughty children, or the bullies in schools across America. I would also like to have it around for doing good deeds. Like feeding the children around the world, helping single moms with their children, curing cancer, AIDS, unemployment, depression, foreclosures, illness, STRESS, writers block, llustration block, just to name a few. Yup, I think Magic Wands are the bomb if you can find one. If you should locate on please email me and let me know where you got it. I promise It'll be our little secret.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Dustpan Fairies

This is for all the artists out there who are so clogged up with reality that they cannot seem to tap into their imagination. Don't be afraid to breath life into that creative child within. The one that was told to grow up and put away the crayons and markers cause you're a big boy or girl now. It's sad really because we need to keep some part of our inner child alive within us. The creative wild child that would try anything just for the sake of doing something different and whimsical. That child helps us to create and imagine. I spent time with my friend Jennifer today who just started painting about three years ago. I have been drawing almost all my life. No one taught me but God. My parents didn't have money to get me art lessons and I'm okay with that now. I have forgiven them and thanked them for not sending me. My spirit has taught me what art school could never. It has caused me to tap into something so special. Something that I could not get in art school. Freedom to be me and do what it is that I do. I'm amazed when I look at Jennifer's art. It's free, loose and colorful. she is free to do her thing! There are no rules for her to follow and therefore her art is delicious and tasty with her own brand of seasonings that she brings to it. I'm proud of her. She asked me," Do you think I should take a class?' I told her I am all for the class. I love learning and the process of learning. However, don't let the rules hold you down. Use them, but always do your own thing. Remember when there was no one around and you painted and drew what made you feel good? When you were proud of what you did and you didn't care whether anyone else liked it or not? I will say to you who are reading this entry, be and do what you do best. Be true to yourself and the craft and gift that you have been given. Stop measuring yourself by others and accept your brand of expression. Don't throw out your dreams and imagination. Dig them up again. Be free to be your creative self. Make your mark and see where it takes you my friend.
Be Blessed,

Friday, August 15, 2008

If's Word of the Week "Detach"

Shelly Snailington's folks where quite shocked and amazed at her latest purchase of Detachable Legs.
She claimed they were all the rage in Paris. Shelly was always a strange snail.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Forknoir Triplets Watercolor Wednesday

Okay everyone, you had to know this was coming. The Forkners have given birth to two sporks and a shiney new spoon.
Mama Spoonita is resting well,but told me that she was pregnant once again. She doesn't recall when it happened.
The babies are doing well and enjoy their dishwasher bath time.

Just to Make You Smile

Travis always knew how to get a scream out of Nina Marie. However, Royce thought he was just to childish.
Nothing really big here. I just wanted to make you smile. Have a very nice and creative day everyone!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Mia Looper did not take to kindly to the the Woodland brothers making her the grumpy old troll in their backyard production of "Three Billy Goats Gruff."

Friday, August 8, 2008

IF's Word of the Week "SAIL"

This is my second illustration I've done for IF. I call it "Sailing off into Space" It was done in Corel X.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Clowning It Up

I have been blessed to do many different things in life. My first job was as a cashier in a local mall. Then I became a vampire or phlebotomist working in a hospital for many years. There is one job that I don't talk about much, but something that I really enjoyed doing and that was clowning. Yup, my sister and I clowned professionally for a number of years. It was wonderful, until the day I went to a kid's party and they tried to undress me. They wanted to see how far the pink makeup went. I was traumatized after that. The very last time I clowned was for my daughter's third birthday and to this day she still doesn't know it was me. Ah, the things we do for love. I'm still a clown at heart and I may be even a little bubble-gum pink too. Have a creative day.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

IF's Word of the Week POOF!

I just joined another wonderful link called," IF" (Illustration Friday) at This is a great link for illustrators. They give a word every week and you get to illustrate it! It's that simple. This weeks word was POOF! This is the piece I submitted. This is also a wonderful way to meet other illustrators and get inspired. Have a creative weekend!