author & illustrator


how to make a picture book

I made a flow chart for an author event this weekend at Planet Rainbow explaining the very basics of what it takes to actually make a book before it's submitted to an agent or editor. I must point out that my funny author & illustrator friends reminded me of the things I forgot to add to the chart like the impulsive coffee drinking, chocolate eating, laying on the floor in a fetal position crying and all the procrastinating, wait did I just say procrastinating?! Er, um, I meant research! Yes, all the research on the internet that goes on to check your facts. Anyhow, I also had on display paintings, sketches, manuscript & a dummy. And that was only about 1/1o of all the stuff I create for a submission... I had the best time talking to fellow authors & artists!

rough take...

original music for the Daddy Longlegs animated video, composed by Chris Larralde.

thank you ogden!

I am one of eight recipients of the Ogden Mayor's Awards in the Arts this year. If you knew me, you'd know that I'd rather be in the background working and not in the limelight...but I am really honored to be recognized for all the work I have done in the background. I've been doing volunteer work since the age of 15 and it continues to be the hardest and most rewarding job I have ever had (next to being a mom of course!). And it would never be as enjoyable if it weren't for the like minded fun people that work along side me. On that note, I share this award with all those who work really hard bringing and maintaining the arts in the community. Every picture hung, every costume danced in, every piece of scenery, every short local film made most likely has a volunteer or two in the background simply doing it for the love of art...

dear gabrielle,

When your dad asked me to write you a letter I was very excited. I spent time sorting through all the lessons I'd learned in life, and tried to pick just one that I could wholeheartedly share with you. All of a sudden writing a simple letter became the most difficult thing in the world. I wanted to say something really meaningful. It was difficult to not simply give you a bunch of advice. It's even harder to share one lesson and just let it be.

In any case, here I am a year later and finally finished writing you that letter. And though the lesson I ultimately chose to share is unavoidably cliché, it is timeless. I am grateful for every day I'm here and I can look back and say "Whew, made it!". So whether you are six or sixteen I hope it's those three words that inspire you to keep going in, through and forward in life.

I'm still excited about the letter and I thank you & your dad for reminding me of that very lesson.

Your friend always,

bidding for good fundraising auction

If you ever wanted to own an original (collectible) painting, an actual panel from a published picture book, now is your chance! Up for bid is an autographed book and one of my paintings from The Daddy Longlegs Blues. The fundraiser supports our local pre-professional ballet company here in Ogden UT.
If you are the winning bidder, and you mention you saw this on my blog, I will personally add three more copies of the book for you to donate to your favorite local school, library or charity.

Spread the word, spread the love, thanks!

Bidding has now closed. Congratulations to everyone on a successful auction, and my heartfelt thanks to the patrons who purchased my piece!

on my desk

Auction is over but the inspiration from it still lingers (thanks Dan and all!). It's a reminder to turn off those editors in my head and just have fun with my projects. I was working on a series of art for the Bologna Children's Book Fair recently and noticed a creeping resentment towards my art table. I successfully avoided it on a daily basis. One painting done, I just couldn't bring myself to do the remaining four. It was a case of avoiding something I felt like I SHOULD be doing.

So my point to the story is: I'm not doing the series for Bologna this year, I'm doing it just because I want to. It's a series called "The Paper Boy" and I'm excited again. And if you know me this is a big break through! Ahh, the zen of art....

Stay tuned for more.

it's on!!!

The Eyewitness Art Auction benefiting 826LA has officially begun. My art piece is up for bid now, along with a bunch of really great illustrators. Go to Ebay to view the art & place your bid now! More information can be found on the auction website. Thank you for your support!

In the mean time, watch the video below to learn about the tutors...

pass it along!

eyewitness reports: auction 1 begins next week!

EYEWITNESS REPORTS: EYEWITNESS REPORTS: AUCTION 1 BEGINS NEXT WEEK: "Starting Monday August 23rd you can begin bidding online for the artwork created by a whole slew of amazing picture book artists who have cr..."

My piece will be available in the first auction. Please follow the link above for more information.

Spread the word! Spread the love!

eye witness reports!

Here is my piece for the Eye Witness Reports fundraiser that benefits 826LA, inspired by the book "Oh No!" by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Dan Santat. The artwork will be on exhibit at the Nucleus Art Gallery and will run August 14, 2010 - August 17, 2010. Stay tuned for more information about the auction (as soon as I receive it, Dan, hint hint!)....

go oscar!

Macmillan/McGraw-Hill just purchased the rights to reprint Super Oscar for their Treasures Reading Program for both the California and Texas school systems. This is one of those books, I resigned to being a sleeper, so to have this happen is very exhilarating, in fact, I cried. It's on my dream list of "things I'd like to see happen to my books" --- just below "selling the movie rights" and one notch above "finding a copy of my book face out in the store, not by me". Looking at the contract, the number of reprints is staggering. We're talking over 275,000 copies in print alone, not to mention the digital and transparency media. Granted, they will be educational re-prints, but still!!! I may see a royalty yet.

So my humble advice to all my fellow author/illustrator friends: Don't ever give up. Hey, I think that will be my letter to Gabrielle (another post on that coming soon)....

scarletta: the not-so-famous pig opera

I feel like I've been talking about this project since forever- it's actually been about 8 years. I committed myself to it when I was interviewed for the "Something About the Author" series. It was listed as a work in progress. Just now, I finished the last sketch. Don't get too excited though, it's only just made it to my agent's desk. She's been waiting patiently for about a year for me to revise it and put together a partial dummy. It feels really good to finally have it off my desk so I can move on to my other projects, and bonus, you won't hear another peep from me about pigs & least until I have news to share. Good night Scarletta!

cool stuff

In honor of National Bring Your Child to Work Day, I am the guest blogger today.
Here's what happened this morning: I got to skip school this morning (which made me really happy) and my Mom and I worked on her manuscript for her new book that she's writing. I helped her edit out all the passive writing. We also took out most of the adjectives she put in there because mostly everything had adjectives by it. Then at the end of the day, we drew the picture above. We took turns drawing different parts of the sea monster. I drew the sea monster's eyes, mouth and that weird poptart in a boat. Those of you lucky enough to participate in National Bring Your Child to Work Day probably had a great day like me
Peace Out! :P
Claire M
(P.S. My mom really gets mad when I post Owl City on my Facebook so I'm posting it here instead... ;) she also gets mad when i listen to it anywhere near her)

study in sea monsters #1

While researching sea monsters for my opera (yes, still working on it), I decided that I really wanted to draw a giant octopus, mostly because of the lines. The delicate dangerous curves of the Kraken it turns out. Funny how stuff works it's way into your head. I have to laugh when I hear the clip from the new Clash of the Titans, "Release the Kraken!". That Kraken is really horrifying. My sea monster research took me all over the place from Norse mythology to Celtic folktales. I think I'm enjoying the research a little too much. Now I just have to figure out how to fit my sea monster into the drama...

nice reviews

Sometimes I forget. I forget that people actually have nice things to say and that they "get it". You know, get what I was trying to accomplish. I try not to read too many reviews, because despite all the good stuff, once in awhile someone will post something fairly insensitive. Mean, even. They don't really understand what we've gone through to sell a book idea, make the book or even what's going on in our personal lives at the time we are actually working on the books. Honestly, we are all truly trying to make a product someone will love. So when I stumble upon a good review, it really makes my day. Thank you "Lisa Reviews"! Um, no relation to me, I swear.


Wrapping up a project today for a company called Vergo Marketing. I made a bunch of nurse avatars for their website. With minimal input and few changes it was probably the best project I've worked on in awhile. They were a pleasure to work for and the idea that they wanted "my" style was refreshing, the best kind of WFH an artist can hope for, though it was still a challenge shutting out my internal editor. While in the midst of the project I had an absolute explosion of ideas for some of my own personal works. Can't wait get my hands on my sketch pad...

bear logo

Here is the final Panda Bear logo for X K San Diego. I had to brush up on my Adobe Illustrator skills, but it's been really fun. I used the Illustrator CS3 edition of the "Visual Quickstart Guides" by Elaine Weinmann & Peter Lourekas. I highly recommend it. Five more bears to go...!


Working on a cool project for a small start up company. This little panda guy will become a logo! I'm having fun doing research and discovering not only how many varieties of bears there actually are, but bears within each breed have very distinctive personalities...