Archive for April, 2010

SCBWI:Iowa Spring 2010 Conference

April 26, 2010

The 2010 SCBWI: Iowa conference managed to top last year’s event! Guest speakers included illustrator and 2 time Caldecott Honor winner Marla Frazee, editor of Beachlane Books Allyn Johnston, author Mike Shoulders, author and former Farrar, Straus, and Giroux editor Lisa Graff, literary agent Ammi-Joan Paquette, Harper Collins editor Laura Arnold and author Carol Gorman. There was also a wealth of information from fellow Iowa published illustrators, authors and aspiring illustrators and authors. It is always nice to know that you aren’t alone going through the struggles of breaking into publishing. (well, you are, but you aren’t the only one feeling all the feelings that go along with it.)
My portfolio review with Marla was fabulous. She has a very authentic way of reviewing work. She gave me tangible things to work on while reassuring me that I was “very talented”. (ok, really? Marla called me…me?! talented. What a wonderful compliment!)

Author Mike Shoulders’ presentations really resonated within me too. He does over 100 school visits each year and as a former educator and principal, he REALLY has it together! He gave wonderful tips on enhancing school visits. Mike is a positive person to the core and is clearly doing what he excels at! Mike rapped one of his books, and he TOTALLY pulled it off. A little humor and humility go a really long way! Overall, it was wonderful to meet new people in the field and reconnect with people from last year.

Who Stole The Cookies From The Cookie Jar?

April 17, 2010

My submission for Illustration Friday’s prompt  “Detective.”

A Mouse in the House

Promo stuff

April 16, 2010

Finally putting my money where my mouth is (whatever that means) and am diligently knocking out some promo materials. Here is what I’ve come up with so far for my business card… a real live “illustrator” business card. Imagine.

I’m also, almost done with my first ever promo postcard. I’ll post that soon, see what y’all think. Oh, and I am also feverishly trying to update my portfolio… pant pant pant.

Be gentle… I’m new.

Meet Orin

April 6, 2010

In a dimly lighted room,     In a scruffy beat up chair,
Orin sat amongst the memories…. and wished that she was there…

stay tuned…..

An Eggsellent Easter to y’all!

April 4, 2010

Happy Easter

April 4, 2010

Vroom-Vroom Easter Bunny

Hoppity Easter!

April 3, 2010

Tanja says hi!

April 2, 2010

This is Tanja and I am so excited to be part of “The Doodle Diner”. Here is a little info about me:

If you could only use one colour to draw or paint with forever and ever, which colour would you use?

One color? That’s it? I don’t I could live with using only one color. I love color and have a hard time restraining myself when it comes to color. I guess the questions might be which medium are we talking about. I do love pen and ink and have used a sepia colored ink which has a nice soft effect. So I guess that color would be something I could live with for a long time. However, if we are talking about full paintings, then I don’t think I could stick to just one color. Every color has a different feel, says something completely different, tells a different story.

Your studio is…

…not big enough. But I guess, no matter how big my studio will get in the future, it would never be big enough because I will always manage to spread out. I have my drawing table in front of my window which looks over the park in front of our house. It’s fun to look out at humming birds drinking nectar from the flowers in front of my window. There a built-in shelves on three of the walls which are all filled with supplies and books on art and illustration. My computer is in the corner and I have two monitors that I absolutely love. Especially my 28” flat screen. I love having two screens. Don’t know how I managed with only one before I got the new one.  I generally operate on practically no desk space. My 2 year old and my Kindergartener think that the studio is simply an extension of their playroom. I usually have a six foot stuffed dog on the floor that they use as a pillow or to throw at each other. Any remaining desk space is usually hogged by one of my 4 cats. When the girls aren’t in the studio, then usually one or both of my Golden Retrievers lie on the floor and act as speed bumps for my rolling desk chair.

Other than your personal style what illustration style are you drawn to and would you ever consider trying it?

At this point I have not yet played with it much but I would love to experiment with some more tactile and dimensional art, essentially playing with collage and mixed media. At some point I will get to play with this a little more, but right now I am working on a number of projects that call for my current style. Lack of spare time is my constant party-pooper.

What forms of marketing your work do you employ?

In today’s market having an electronic presence is not only recommended, it’s a must. That is why I have a website that I try to maintain regularly. My illustrations are also posted on various portfolio sites such as and The website of our local Arizona chapter of the SCBWI has a gallery section that features links to our local illustrators’ websites. All these avenues have offered good exposure and have yielded some successful contracts. In addition I also have a blog where I like to post industry specific news and updates of my illustration projects. From time to time I will also send out mailings to Art Directors to keep the up to date on what I’m working on.

Do you have an agent…if not would you like to work with one?

I don’t have an agent but would love to one day have one represent me. In addition to my illustrations I have also written a couple of manuscripts that I would love to illustrate as well. Having an agent would make the task of finding a home for these stories much easier. The idea that someone is out there finding me work, negotiating for me and dealing with the contracts amongst other things, sounds so appealing. All those things take up so much time, that it would be nice to have someone do this so that I focus solely on producing my art.

Lisa at the Doodle Diner

April 2, 2010

Woohoo!! Lisa Graves is in da house!! We are so glad to have her as one of our new doodlers!

A little about Lisa:

Q:If you could only use one colour to draw or paint with forever and ever, which colour would you use
A. Stone.

Your studio is…
Fantastic and clean- has great natural light, exposed beams, its own staircase, 150-year-old wide board pine floors, etc. But I can NEVER use it, so for now I work out of my dining room so that I can work and watch the kids at the same time. Someday, I will be allowed to retreat to my Laura Ingalls-esque Studio Room and focus on my work, but for now- I have to doodle around the greasy fingerprints my children keep leaving on my pad of vellum.

Q. What forms of marketing your work do you employ?
A. I’m on guru- which can be good and bad. Good because I’ve found some great long term clients on there- but bad because I can’t help but get offended when someone posts a job to have a 42 page picture book illustrated for less than $250. (wth?)
I also do a postcard mailing 2 to 3 times/year. I have a blog, and a website.

Q. Do you have an agent…if not would you like to work with one?
A. I do not have an agent. I wouldn’t mind working with one, I’d like to get into licensing.

Q. What is the first thing you remember drawing?
A. profiles- my dad always doodled the same profile of a man with a big square nose, so I had to draw a girl’s profile with a soft round nose. To this day, girls profiles are what I draw whenever there’s a pen and a scrap of paper.

Lisa Graves

Hi, I’m Shawna

April 2, 2010

Hi I’m Shawna JC Tenney.  I’m excited to be part of the Doodle Diner!

Your studio is…

In an average sized bedroom in our new house…we purchased it last September. Before that it was in a crammed room in our little condo. I share a studio with my husband Warren a graphic designer. So we have two computers/computer desks, plus my drawing desk, filing cabinets, a big bookshelf and a cd tower. It’s a bit cramped, but still a great place. Warren used to do free-lance graphic design and used to be home all day in the studio with me. Funny enough I love being with my husband, so I miss those days. Now I share my studio with my kids during the days since they are constantly in there. Sometimes I help my kindergartener with her homework or online reading while I draw a few lines here and there. Often my kids like to draw while I draw. They’re both great little artists!

Do you have an agent?

Yes, Janet at Story Book Arts. I love working with an agent. Like all things it has it’s challenges, but overall it’s been a positive experience. She does most all of my job finding and I get to do all of the drawing. This is really nice since I have a family to take care of. She also does all of the contracts and she will communicate with the clients if I need a deadline extension or if the price is too low. I’m really grateful for all she does for me and my illustration career.

What is the first thing you remember drawing?

My doll, Strawberry Shortcake. 🙂

Do you have a favorite memory from an art class?

At BYU, for Halloween, I wore a big gorilla costume to figure drawing class. When my teacher, Robert Barrett called roll, instead of saying “here” I grunted like an ape. He really wasn’t impressed.

Is there a certain person from your childhood that especially encouraged you to pursue your love for art?

My parents could see I had a love of art and encouraged me. My mom read my children’s books every night which really gave me my love of children’s books. My parents and grandparents always told me about my great grandma who was a painter. I used to look at her paintings in awe and try to copy them with crayons. I wish I had the chance to meet her.

Shawna Tenney