Monday, November 30, 2009

Chronicle Books sale

This is a REALLY great deal from Chronicle Books. Shop their web site before December 4th and get 35% off and free shipping. I love the design of their art books, stationary, crafty goodies, and of course children's books. Just look at this this great journal:

Adorable book of prints:

Not to mention this lovely stationary set:

(hint, hint)

What can you do with an old tin can?

In What Can You Do with an Old Red Shoe? I included an activity that reuses a tin can to make a lantern... but when I saw this lovely and inventive use of a tin can it made me gasp in awe! It was made by Anna Johansson, fellow RISD alum, and artist with a table next to mine at this fall's RISD art sale. She was generous enough to trade with me so that I could take it home and hang it in my studio window.

She also makes roosters:


And earrings punched out of tin cans:

Inspiring, no?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Furball Friday

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Please forgive my lack of posting this week as I'm travelling for the holiday. I hope you all have a lovely meal and even lovelier company on Thanksgiving.

Today is the official one year anniversary of this blog. My deepest gratitude for all the readers who visit, comment, and make blogging so much fun! I have much to be grateful for.

Back soon!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Radio interview tomorrow

Today I'm posting from St. Louis, where I'm visiting family for the week of Thanksgiving. Hope you are all gearing up for a great holiday!

Just a note to say tomorrow between 12:00 and 1:00 pm I will be interviewed on Public Thinktank Radio during their Lets Talk About Education show. It will be a live call-in show where I talk about recent projects and my new books. The station broadcasts in the Brooklyn College area, but you can also listen online (there is a link at their web site) or check the archives in a few days.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Furball Friday

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Yesterday I did my first Skype classroom visit with a kindergarten class in Colorado, so fun! I'm new to Skype, but started getting requests for "virtual visits" so I got an account and am trying it out.

Things I liked:

I did not have to get on a plane.
The kids were all super excited.
The asked adorable questions like "how do you stay in the lines?"

Things that were confusing:

Where to look. I kept moving between looking at my computer camera, the screen where I could see the kids, and the picture of me so that I could make sure the book I was reading was in the frame. Strange.

Cute moment:

The kids filed one by one to the computer to ask me a question after I read Abigail Spells. But they didn't know to look at the camera, so they stood with their bellies at camera height. It was hard to keep from giggling as one belly after another moseyed up to the camera. Kids are so cute.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


The art for Disappearing Desmond is officially signed, sealed, and delivered. Yippee! The last bunny has been painted and the last thumbnail crossed off. I made a quick trip down to NY yesterday to drop it off (I am loving that Northampton is so much closer to the city than Boston) and am officially in the post-deadline afterglow. This means time to catch up on my non-work to do list, thank my fella for dutifully cooking dinner every night, and clean my apartment.

While I do all these things I will leave you with some of the finishes from the book. Stay tuned for updates as it is designed, printed, and makes its way into the world!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Furball Friday

Once upon a time I had a lovely standing lamp made of rice paper and bamboo. Wilbur loved the lamp. He loved to sniff it, pat it, and stick his head inside of it. Then one day he climbed completely inside, shredded it to pieces, and chewed on the shreds.

So I thought, lets get a lantern that does not sit on the floor, but hangs from the ceiling. Surely then it will be out of Wilbur's reach.

For a long time the Wilbur did not notice it. Then one day I came in the room and saw this:

They were staring at the lamp when I came in the room, and staring when I left. Clearly Wilbur has enlisted help in his lamp eating endeavors and I fear it is just a matter of time...


I really like taking pictures of my palette when I'm painting. I like to see the patterns and color combinations that are made by accident.

This is what my palette looks like when I'm doing touch-ups, little details. Lots of little blobs of paint...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What can you do with an old BLUE shoe?

I had the pleasure of doing a school visit at the Bolton Center School last week, where I presented to the kids about my green craft book, What Can You Do with an Old Red Shoe?

The very creative librarian made her own shoe planter:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Planning for a deadline

Since the art for Disappearing Desmond is due in a week (final stretch!), I thought I'd talk about how I pace myself with a picture book deadline. This book is 40 pages with self ends and has many, many illustrations in it... I laid it out with a lot of spots and vignettes and square-ups of all sizes. So to keep it all straight, as soon as the sketches got approved, I printed out thumbnails of all the pages that look like this:

I wrote the date I planned to do each painting above its thumbnail. I don't always follow this plan, but it helps to have an idea of how much I need to accomplish each week to make the deadline. Of course sometimes paintings take more or less time than expected... there are several with this book I've repainted entirely. But again having an overview helps make such an immense amount of painting seem less overwhelming.

So I go along, beginning each painting on the planned week. Once I've begun an image I put a check on top of its thumbnail. I say begun because I don't usually finish all the paintings til the very end. I'll usually go as far as I can until I reach a point where I am not sure what to do next. Usually at some point I will get stumped by which color or pattern to choose. So to keep myself from ruining or overworking the painting, I put it aside and move on to the next one. I like to hang these half finished paintings around my studio, so I can keep them on the creative back burner.

Then once all the paintings are on their way, I go back and finish them all off. This is where I am now, I've planned these last couple weeks to fill in all the details left in each piece. Finishing them all around the same time helps me be consistent; when I've worked in sequence sometimes by the end I end up with a style that has shifted somewhat. When a piece is finished I turn the check above each thumbnail into an x. I know, I'm ocd that way.

I'd be really curious to know how other people plan, or don't plan, this all out- how do YOU do it?

Monday, November 09, 2009

One week to go

I'll be handing in all the art for Disappearing Desmond one week from today! I'm in that final stretch where I go back over each painting and make sure all the details are there, the characters are consistent, the colors all work together.

Here is a sneak peek of one of my favorite little spots in the book:

Saturday, November 07, 2009


The Michelson Gallery in Northampton is opening its 20th annual children's illustration exhibit, tomorrow from 4-6 pm! Its a fabulous show with art by Tomie dePaola, Dr. Suess, Maurice Sendak, Mordicai Gerstein, Mo Willems, Barry Moser, Trina Schart Hyman, the list goes on and on...

I have heard that there will be original sketches for Where the Wild Things Are!

I'll be taking a break from painting to head over to the opening, see you there if you can make it. If not, the show runs until the end of January, definitely worth the trip if you love kids books.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Furball Friday

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

This month's SLJ

School Library Journal has two fabulous articles this month, definitely worth checkiinig out. Betsy Bird of A Fuse #8 Production talks all about the world of kidlit blogs. There is also a very touching, beautifully written article about Grace, read it here.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Disappearing Desmond continued

Today I spent the morning in Connecticut at a school visit, and the afternoon at a book talk given by the lovely Alison Morris at the Smith College Campus school- a follow up to the book fair yesterday where Grace and I presented and signed with a bunch of local author/illustrators. It was a busy day considering I usually sit at my drafting table all by my lonesome (with the possible company of my cats), and a needed break before the final stretch to my deadline.

Anyhow, here is the conclusion to last week's post about one of the Disappearing Desmond paintings. Just a few more to go, all the art will be done less than two weeks- eek!

When we left off I had just started to repaint the figures over the background layers:

Next I filled in the snowman and Desmond, dressed in blue to blend into the shadows:

Then I worked on the two figures behind him, beginning patterns on their clothing:

More layers, on the trees especially:

And the finished painting:

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Best Book Blogs from Online School

Online School has just named Painting Bunnies one of the 100 best book blogs for kids!


Thanks guys!

I had fun reading the list and finding some new blogs I hadn't heard of yet... worth checking out. I also learned that Kermit the from has an honorary Doctorate of Amphibious Letters from Southampton College. I wonder if there are any children's book characters with honorary degrees. Who would you nominate?