Changes and Resolutions

I’ve made some changes to the site:

  1. If you type, you will be directed to this site. will also still take you here.
  2. There will be no more advertisements when you read my blog. They were very annoying to me, and I rarely had to see them as the site administrator. 


With each new year, I think about what I’ve accomplished and what I’d like to improve on. Then I write a list of New Year’s Resolutions, forget about them, and then find them in July and feel overwhelmed by a list of items that realistically would take more than one year to accomplish. When I feel overwhelmed, I have trouble being productive.

So with the fresh start of 2016, I realized that I still wanted some direction, but I wanted also to be realistic so I didn’t feel overwhelmed, and I didn’t feel like I failed. I needed something that simple.

“I’m going to get something done every day.”

Not “I’m going to have an agent.” not “I’m going to become fluent in Spanish” or “I’m going to lose ALL my extra weight and become Wonder Woman!” I just want to get something done every day. Something that moves me closer to my goals. But I still needed some direction.

I made a Spider Diagram. This is an example of what mine is structured like, but it isn’t my actual diagram. But you can see, I started with 2016 as the main bubble and then found main themes of areas to explore and grow in: Work, Learning, Finances, Health…and there are others too. Some of the main bubbles don’t need sub-bubbles and some do. Some of the bubbles are connected to other hubs. It’s kinda all spread out where I can see how everything is connected. Seeing the big picture like this keeps me motivated, because I can see why it’s so important for me to pay attention to that area. I don’t just see it as something I should do, but something I really want to do because it will benefit me later.



Second, I deleted all the productivity apps from my phone. All those to-do lists, and daily schedules and plans. Gone. Instead, I use a planner that I can write in pencil all my appointments, deadlines and notes. And, instead of writing a to-do list, I have a Did That! list I write in my planner. That way I end the day feeling accomplished, but instead of wondering “Did I forget to check that off last Wednesday?” I know it’s done because I’m writing down actions, not intentions.

Do you have New Year’s Resolutions? How do you like to organize your goals? Do you use an organizational tool to keep you on track? Leave a comment below! :D


Getting Out of the Drawing Slump


The last few days I’ve held my pencil and paper and ..


It’s not that I don’t have anything to draw, I have a few projects I’m working on. It’s not like I don’t WANT to draw, I certainly do. But there’s a lack of connection there.

There are lots of reasons for getting into a drawing slump. Overthinking the process, maybe feeling sad, overwhelmed or maybe you’re just too busy right now. Whatever the reason, the pencil won’t move on the paper, and the longer the slump lasts, the harder it is to get drawing again.

The only cure I know for a drawing slump is to draw something. Seems stupid-simple right? But it’s the only thing that works for me. I just let go of all the thoughts and expectations, and I draw my feelings. This time, I don’t know why I was in a drawing slump so I decided to draw my slump! Messy, frustrated, blank page.   I finished the sketch, feeling a little better, but still slumpy. Just then, a teddy bear popped up on the page to see what I was working on and discovered nothing on the page. slumpyslumpneeds-more-bearsThat's-Better!

Great suggestion, little bear! Now the slumps have been shaken off, and I’m back to drawing!

Little Red Riding Hood Meets the Wolf

Thanksgiving was just last week! If you were celebrating, I hope you had a happy thanksgiving!

I completely lost track of time for the last few weeks getting lost in my artwork. I made an entry for the Tomie DePaola award. This year the prompt was based on an excerpt from Little Red Riding Hood. I like working on the classics. It’s a little different from some of my other work, but it still feels like me. :)

I’m going to be taking some time off  from December 23 to January 6.  In the meantime, I’ve been drawing some happy winter sketches that I’ll be sharing with you until the 23rd.  But first, here’s  my entry of Red meeting the Wolf

“When Little Red Riding Hood had only been walking a few minutes, a wolf came up to her. She didn’t know what a wicked animal he was, so she wasn’t afraid of him.”


How was the Regional Conference?

This past weekend was the Western Pennsylvania SCBWI conference. It was a really nice weekend and I got to spend time with friends and make new ones!

Friday night I attended an illustrator intensive that was all about illustrating book covers. Maria Middleton led the workshop and it was a good exercise in not over thinking your drawing, and finding the joy in creating that I felt as a kid. Instead of focusing on what wasn’t working, the general attitude of the evening was “What if we did THIS?!” Exploration instead of criticism.

Conference day, there were four workshop sessions and attendees had several options for each session, giving the conference a “Choose Your Own Adventure” feel. We had a really nice group of guest faculty for the conference:


  • Kelly Delaney , Assistant Editor at Alfred. A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
  • Susan Hawk, Agent at The Bent Agency
  • Deirdre Jones, Associate Editor at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Maria Middleton, Associate Art Director at Abrams Kids
  • Rotem Moscovich, Senior Editor at Disney-Hyperion
  • Ammi-Joan Paquette, Senior Agent at Erin Murphy Literary
  • Alexandra Penfold, Agent at Upstart Crow Literary
  • Ariel Richardson, Associate Editor at Chronicle Books

At lunchtime, winners for the bookmark challenge were announced. Pat Lewis and I won! Here is my bookmark design. You’ve seen it :) It’s also now my website header! bookmark-2inx8in-h-round-front

I can’t go into too many details about the sessions I attended because the presenters worked really hard to develop them, and I can’t steal their work and give it away. Some of the sessions I attended were about what an agent does, the process of a book dummy becoming a published book, and embracing creative ideas for a book.  I can tell you that if you want to learn more about the ins and outs of children’s book publishing and getting to know some great people, attending a conference is a great idea. If you are looking for work, this isn’t that sort of event.  Sometimes people can get work from conferences, but it’s very rare.

If you are thinking about attending a conference, I have some points of etiquette to share:

  • Don’t try to start a lengthy conversation with someone who is walking into the restroom.
  • Do introduce yourself before and after the workshop/presentations to the presenter.
  • Don’t interrupt someone constantly. Everyone accidentally does this, especially when nervous, but there’s a difference between once or twice and never letting the person finish a sentence.
  • Do ask questions that are relevant to the presentation.
  • Don’t play games on your phone or laptop while someone is presenting. If you are that bored, then politely excuse yourself and leave the session.
  • Do turn your ringer off on your cell phone while at the conference. You can leave it on vibrate if you are expecting an important call.

Thanks for reading! Next week, I’ll share some peeks at my picture book dummy in progress, and some sketches too. :) Have a great week!