Author Archive

Frog Princess

February 27, 2011

In honor of National Tell a Fairy Tale Day, I thought I would post this canvas of Phoebe opening the door to see her suitors lined up to see her. I have been working on new sketches and characters based on this painting. Phoebe has had a makeover, and the story is really coming along. I am putting together a dummy for this fairy tale. My version’s working title is called Phoebe’e Big Day.

I even dusted off my printing press and am working on a collage style for this story that incorporates monoprints…so far so good, but not ready to show you! 🙂 I am including a small sketch of the “new Phoebe,” (the one without text) and I will show more very soon.

Shiny, Happy People

January 20, 2011

Merry Christmas to me! I just look at them and get all giddy–almost as much as when I smell crayons or sniff freshly-sharpened pencils!

I have been reading and re-reading HOOKED by Les Edgerton. A must-read, indeed! The subtitle is “write fiction that grabs readers at page one and never lets them go”…He teaches about the inciting incident and how to make it WORK. This has been an issue for me for quite some time on a couple of my manuscripts, and I am excited to finally have this valuable information such as: being able to better differentiate between an inciting incident and a situation, using inciting incident as a trigger, recognizing the character’s awareness of his/her story-worthy problem to name just a few of the points he illuminates ever-so-poignantly.

Incidentally, (pardon the segue pun) Jim Henson’s Doodle Dreams: Inspiration for Living Life Outside the Lines features the simple phrase “Beginning is the hardest thing.” This little book was a special find. An exchange of 50 cents at the Habitat for Humanity Restore and it was all mine for the taking and the sharing. It also says: “An artist gives people back a part of themselves-the stories and sounds, the feeling of what it’s like to be alive. That’s a pretty powerful gift.”


“If you find a place where

people look happy, stick around…

and invite some friends.”

Hey! The Doodle Diner is FULL of happy, happy doodlers! So, stick around…

Lastly, The 2011 Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market is just begging to have its shiny new spine cracked. And cracking it is a good idea. According to Henson’s book “We’re all like eggs-fragile and full of possibilities. But unless we come out of our shells, we just stay eggs.”

Calling All Pipers…

December 23, 2010

11 pipers piping

This piece is quite long and I do not have an oversized scanner, so my camera is doing its best to show all eleven pipers. I may have to photograph each piper individually so you can see the characters and lines and details. But here is this to give you the general idea! Note that there is always one SYLVIA in every crowd. (See day SEVEN). 🙂

Six Geese A-Laying…..zzzzzzzzz

December 19, 2010

So Mama and Papa Goose had a long night. They tried everything, but with four babies, at least one of them kept them up into the wee hours. It’s no wonder Mama hit snooze. Must be why they missed their cue this morning. Thank goodness the milkmaid clued them in (on the next page), or they might have just slept through Christmas entirely!

This is a work in progress…just playing around with some collage.

Ok, all together now, in your best Miss Piggy voice: FIVE go-old rings…..!

Featured Character: SIMON!!!

November 24, 2010

I am so excited that this video is on youtube. What better guest could there possibly be at the Doodle Diner?

Seriously, this theme song has been in my head since about 1975. The best episodes of Captain Kangaroo were hands down the ones that had SIMON in them. I loved watching this before school, and then being able to daydream all day of a world where the things I draw come true.

So….doodling minds need to know: what character or characters from your past have stayed with you into your adulthood? And if you really want some brownie points, tell us why!

p.s. And for you youngsters who have never heard Simon before, I dare you to listen to this theme song and just TRY to get it out of your head. I will check back with you in about 2045.

Dummies~and Inspiration in All Shapes and Sizes

November 22, 2010

SIMMS TABACK interview link
This interview and the following videos are packed with inspiration. What part or parts speak to you? Let us know in the comment section.

Here is Brian Selznick explaining his inspiration for Hugo Cabret:

And for Maira Kalman, it’s all about DISconnect! Love this:

More from Maira, in case you would like to see more about just daydreaming and letting go of your fears:

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

BIG NEWS in the Diner, NO FOOLIN’!!

April 1, 2010

We have THREE NEW MEMBERS. Keep your eggs I mean, eyes, peeled for revealing posts! (Sorry, Easter eggs on the brain!)

“Publish This”

March 24, 2010

Anyone know anything about this? :

This information was shared in illia today. Illia is the list-serve for all the SCBWI Illustration Coordinators.

+***~~CHARMED, for sure~~*~+~~

March 17, 2010

Roberta and I were discussing possible themes for March, and we decided on CHARMED. Check here to see more of the charm inside our doodler studios. Woohoo! I love seeing how and where other artists work!

Here is a peek of the ol’ princesstomato studio. (please excuse mess…artist at work).

My favorite “studio charm” at the moment is the TOFUFU kitty and mouse jar. I bought it at an airport and have always wished I had room in my bag to get the matching green dog on that trip. Sigh. 🙂