Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Vita's sketchbook project continued

Almost done with the story! Now its the giraffe's turn to dream.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Final woodland image

Ok so replaced the bear silhouette with a dear, added in an owl and changed the fox's head. I think this thing is done!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Woodland Growth Chart - Update

I'm working on a new growth chart for a client. They only gave me a week to get this done! Yikes! Was about to work on the bear, but after showing them what I had done so far I was told to replace the bear with a buck and some how stick an owl in there. I didn't realize deers were on the hot list. Note to self, make more deers!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Mountain View

In the winter, when the leaves are off the trees, I get a pretty good view of Mt. Uncanoonuc from my studio window. Several years ago I made a scratchboard drawing of that scene.

This year, in my printmaking class, I used the original drawing to create a reduction print using an "easy-to-cut" block and Akua inks.
My next turn at posting on this blog will be after Christmas, so I'd like to wish our followers and friends a peaceful holiday season and a successful and creative New Year.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Forest animal finger puppets

Just got some samples of animal puppets that I did for Mudpuppy. You can buy them on their website for only $6, ah, the magic of printing in China.

Any who, woodland creatures are super popular at the moment, and I'm sure they will be for a while. Currently I'm working on a growth chart that has squirrels, birds and other critters, still a work in progress.


My fourth grade students loved creating Artist Trading Cards. And I had fun creating these examples!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Chris Van Allsburg - lecture

Last night at the New Hampshire Institute of Art in Manchester, fellow SLC member Ann Marie and I saw Chris Van Allsburg give an inspiring and entertaining lecture. Chris is a multiple award winning children's book author and illustrator, who's most famous books have been turned into movies (Jumanji and The Polar Express). I didn't know much about him, only that his work is very exact and precise, yet with a soft quality at the same time, and I've read the most famous books of his, and seen Jumanji (filmed in NH!). Since we were at an art school, he spoke a lot about his college experience at the University of Michigan, and later at RISD, and I learned that he started out as a sculptor, and worked as one professionally and successfully before sitting down one day to draw and then reluctantly letting his wife peddle his sketches out to publishers. When asked what he likes to do more - sculpting or books, he surprisingly answered sculpting.

He has worked in a variety of mediums for his books, and is always trying something new.

My favorite quote of the evening came when someone asked him what HIS favorite book was that he has done - not necessarily about the book's success - and he answered "The next one".... meaning that as an artist he is always hoping that the next piece of art is better than the one that came before it, and that we should strive to learn and improve with each project that we do. Smart words! You can learn more about Chris and see those sculptures of his on his website here.

All images used here came from

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Sketchbook Project continues...

I'm half way though my drawings for the Sketchbook Project (note the staples). I've sketched out a few more pages in pencil, but they're still pretty rough. Any guesses what will happen when Mouse and the Great Blue Heron meet up?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sketch I sketched for my sketchbook project sketchbook, but didn't actually sketch it in the sketchbook!
And I know I'm missing the point of a "sketchbook." I don't know why I had to sketch it elsewhere first...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Vita's Sketchbook Project

The story continues.... I'm really considering adding some color after I finish laying it all out....maybe....

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Sketchbook Project continues...

I've been carrying around my sketchbook project envelope, trying to find little pockets of time to work on the drawings. I try to do a bit each day while I eat my lunch. Hopefully it won't get christened with various food items. I'm about halfway through at this point, and I have a vague idea of where it's going, but you never know with "uncharted waters".

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sketchbook Project

Spreads 4, 5, 6 and 7. The story continues!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Poppy Painting

As part of the decorating step for our living room I decided to refurbish a painting my husband had picked out for our last house.  It was a 48" x 48" red rose, close up.  I liked the concept of the painting, but the artist used just out-of-the-bottle red and black to create depth.  So, although one might think black would do the trick, the painting always bugged me and seemed flat and lacking.  As not to upset the hubby TOO much I dove into a roll of primed canvas I still had hanging around from college and did a little "coverage".  I stretched the canvas, primed side down, OVER the existing painting, just in case...
I had never painted on this raw canvas side before so I wasn't sure how it would react.  While I was a scenic painter at NSMT I painted nearly every surface you can imagine, and stretched muslin was one of them.  This ended up being a lot like that, so soon after I anxiously began putting acrylic to canvas I forgot my nerves and went to town.  Most of the piece is in acrylic, but the black detailing is in charcoal.  I painted it in a watercolor style over the course of three days for the sheer need for dry time.  Once it is dry I've got to seal this puppy and it'll be ready to hang!  Personally, I think it's way better than the red rose.  Let's just hope the hubby agrees.  (Plus, since it's of my favorite flower, the poppy, it pays homage to A) my favorite flower...duh, B) Veterans - a la the VFW and the great little memory poppies my grandmother used to help give away, and C) a running theme from my wedding three years ago.)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Me on HGTV (finally)!

As most of you (well, Smells Like Crayons members, anyway) already know, four years ago I was contacted by the folks at HGTV’s contemporary craft show, That’s Clever. They had spotted my Etsy shop, were going to be visiting New Hampshire, and were interested in having me appear on their show! Of course I agreed immediately. That summer, they paid me a visit here in my home studio, where we spent the entire day taping me for two segments. In one segment, I showed them how to make one of my plush characters and in the other I demonstrated how to make one of my bumble bee ornaments. I had a blast!

I was told that the show would be aired in Season 5 and my episode number was HCLVR-560. It took Season 5 four whole years to air completely, and for a long portion of that, my episode wasn’t even listed. However, it looks like my time has finally come. At long last, my episode is posted on HGTV’s website! It seems as though an air date has finally been set for my episode of That’s Clever! Get up early, grab a cup of coffee, and sit down to watch me on HGTV November 14th at 7:00 a.m. before you head into work. Or, sleep in and set your DVR. It’s all the same to me, as long as you watch! Warning: the show is a bit on the silly side so if you’re expecting a serious craft lesson, you’re going to be met with goofy puns and me running around like a manic. Informative, yet a little nutty. Which pretty much describes me, so I suppose that’s fine.

One of the items I made for the show was the Plush Diva Pig (posted above). However, the one I made for HGTV was sans cleavage. TV is surprisingly anti-cleavage...even on stuffed animals. (Who knew?)

The timing is great because I (and several other members of our group) will also be participating in Not Your Grandmother's Craft Fair at McDonough School in Manchester NH on November 12. I'll definitely have a chance to get the word out about the show there. Come visit us! (o:

Monday, October 17, 2011

New fabrics

I just got a bunch of samples from my new line with Moda called "Ten little things". I'm really liking what they did, lots of different color versions!

Back to square one

Ah thumbnail sketches, don't look too closely, I am just planning my pages. I am taking a great class with Teri Weidner (Illustrating Children's Books) that is helping me get the cart back behind the horse. It is like taking a baking class when you discuss a different ingredient each week and find out what it does to make the cake taste so good. My brain gets ahead of my actions and this class is just what I need to make a mock-up, step by step.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

More of the Sketchbook Project

Here's one of the latest pages I've been sketching for the Sketchbook Project. Only 20 more pages to go before the deadline (or 10 full spreads)!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

More Sketchbook Project 2012

I'm working on a page in my sketchbook. Dharma is meeting her ka.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sketchbook Project

I've been so busy lately with graphic design work, that I am grateful for the sketchbook project to keep me drawing. Here is the 2nd and 3rd pages from mine.

Friday, September 30, 2011


Hi all! I've been a "busy bee" in the past few weeks. I have an art fair coming up in November and need to start cranking out some work. Some of the items I make are bumble bee ornaments with celebrity faces. I thought I'd share a few images of the ones I've completed so far. They're minus wings and ribbon at the moment. You can see other completed bees (with side-views) in my online shop.

First up (L to R): artist Sal-bee-dor Dali (Salvador Dali), Beeopatra (Cleopatra), and actress Bee Arthur (Bea Arthur)

Next up: pop singer and tween heartthrob Justin Beeber (Justin Bieber) and writer Neil Stamen (Neil Gaiman)

And last but not least, host of Prairie Home Companion host Garrison Beelor (Garrison Keillor) and President Bee-rack Obama:

Happy Friday!

First up

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What I'm working on today ...Rolly Pollys

Our youngest kiddo loves bugs.  All kinds.  But she is especially found of rolly polly bugs.  She even made a little rolly polly house out of cinder blocks (I'm not sure just how effective it is with those big ole holes in the blocks  :)  ).

That's what I was thinking of when I sketched this little girl and her little buggy friends.

Friday, September 23, 2011

A New Sign

I just finished a sign for kids' old school. The school is great, energetic, creative, and keeps up with educational standards of children of a preschool age. Every time I would pull into the parking lot I would look at the over 20 year old sign and thought it didn't match what was going on inside so I was able to get a bigger sign and brighten up an old design just like the school brightened up my kids' preschool years.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Sketchbook Project revisited

Trying to make steady progress on my drawings for the Sketchbook Project. January will be here before we know it, and I hope not to be rushing to finish at the last minute. Here Mouse has received a message that will start him on his journey on "uncharted waters". I wonder how it will all unfold...

Monday, September 19, 2011

I finally started my sketchbook for the Sketchbook Project 2012. My theme is "monochromatic."

My daughter and I were reading about the elaborate process the ancient Egyptians followed in mummifying their dead. They even mummified animals! My daughter said, "We should have mummified Dharma (our now deceased dog)." It made me think of a sub-theme for my sketchbook project: "doggie in the afterlife." I don't know where this will lead. Maybe Dharma's ba will guide me.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Magnet Open Art Project

Labor Day weekend there was some fun art stuff going on in Concord, NH. The Magnet Open Art Project had a call to artists to submit a piece to be turned into a magnet, and left in the big wide world for one night for anyone to take and enjoy (the artist got a copy of their work as well). So I submitted my work..... and heard nothing. Labor Day came and went and imagine my surprise when a thank you mass-email was sent out from the MOAP, thanking everyone for participating and including a link to photos from the evening. I clicked on the link and started perusing the photos, trying to see if I could find mine. The magnets in the photos were so many together, it was hard to tell what was what....then I scrolled down to the bottom and BAM! There's my Robot Love magnet, all by itself, in what I'd like to think is a place of honor :) See for yourself here. A Robot Love magnet of my very own now hangs proudly on my fridge. What a great idea this was, and next time I want to make sure to see it in person! I wonder who got my magnet....

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Halloween ideas

Halloween ideas I'm playing with.  I'm playing with some technique ideas.
I think I'm a little bored of digital color at the moment.  I might just do these in collage or watercolor... not too sure yet.  Hmmmm.....

Friday, September 9, 2011

New Header

What have I been working on lately? Look above this post! It's the autumn Smells Like Crayon blog header, of course! Nothing says fall quite like crisp days, apples, and little critters preparing for the winter ahead. So, of course I had to paint a squirrel acorn-hunting in best his fall scarf!

My other big news is that I am the winner of the New Hampshire Public Radio art mug contest! My painting will be featured on the mugs which serve as thank-you gifts during the fall pledge drive. I was notified last month that my painting was selected. I went into the NHPR studios to turn in my artwork, get a tour, and do an interview for the week of the pledge drive. I was super excited (especially since I'm a huge NPR fan and supporter). So, if you are a listener, keep an ear out for me on the radio the week of the pledge drive in October. I'll keep the winning artwork secret until then.

This is the first September in 4 years that I'm not going back to college. (All graduated!) So, of course I signed up for weekend web workshops instead. Yep, I must be crazy. Other than that, I've been revamping the look of my Etsy shop and brainstorming my next illustrations. In the meantime, I hope you're all enjoying your September. Wishing you cool days and warm cider!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

What's on my drawing board today

Hi everyone!

The kiddos are at school, errands/cleaning are done, and here I sit with my cuppa.  A little sketch that captures the kind of quiet I'm feeling right now.

Friday, September 2, 2011

IF Mysterious

These big friends find the little flying creature very mysterious.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Sketchbook Project continues....

My main character has arrived on pages 4 and 5. It's time for him to begin his adventures on "uncharted waters!"

In other news, I've finally opened an Etsy shop! It's still a work-in-progress as I post more items for sale. The shop's name is JGTentas. Stop by and take a look!