a true story

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Weekly Inspiration: my kid’s artwork

There is so much to be inspired about out there. This is a spot to record and share my favorite things… for this week at least!

This is pretty much true every week, but Lucy and Aki’s artwork blows me away. All kids artwork does- the hilarious logic and the unexpected perspectives… I guess there’s a reason I started down the path of art education 20 years ago 🙂

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Anyhow, Lucy and I collaborated on this tree house series almost a year ago and I just came across them again. She was especially interested in telling stories as she was drawing- not so interested in what the end result would look like. But of course I think they’re all the more interesting because of that.

Lucy's treehouse 3 jpg.jpg

Lucy's treehouse jpg.jpg


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a snail of very few words

Dreaming up new worlds and characters again.

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a few new paintings

Getting lost in this new nighttime world…

Rainy Night.jpgGrandma Turtle.jpg

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Weekly Inspiration: mouse sized art

There is so much to be inspired about out there. This is a spot to record and share my favorite things… for this week at least!

Yes, things suck in the world right now. But teeny tiny guerrilla art in Sweden makes me feel a little bit better.




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Weekly Inspiration: Train Puzzle

There is so much to be inspired about out there. This is a spot to record and share my favorite things… for this week at least!

I love this puzzle! It’s the All Aboard Train Puzzle by Marc Boutavant and Chronical Books, and each piece is a fantastic little  illustrated world.

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I think that this kind of project might be my dream assignment. And of course it’s a big visual inspiration for my new story, Mari and the Library Train.

Chris’s cousin Sarah gave this to Lucy a few years back- she always gives the best gifts, most of which have the cool kitchy sensibility of classic golden books. So maybe this is a gift to consider for any small puzzle aficionados in your life.


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Crowds of Characters

My current obsession is crowds of characters. Is there anything that can draw you in like a mass of characters full of fun details? Did anyone else examine every inch of Where’s Waldo as a kid?

Here is the illustration I’ve been working on for the past few days:

mouse crowd.jpeg

Recently my illustration group pointed out the crowds in my new story and I realized that they are there as contrast to the main character, a book loving, timid, mousey… mouse. But aside from that they’re just fun to draw.

Here are a few more crowds that have caught my eye recently:

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I just posted about this book the other day- Julia Kuo’s The Sound of Silence.

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One of Ben Clanton‘s swarms of delightful characters.

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Sophie Blackall‘s subway riding crowd.

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Gyo Fujikawa‘s fairies from Come Follow Me.

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Voldemort elected in 2016

Well, the worst happened. About a week ago He Who Must Not Be Named was voted into the White House running on a platform of fear, racism, xenophobia, sexism, homophobia, ignorance, and the list goes on. It feels a bit like a fantasy-based young adult novel, but sadly it’s real.


I admit that I’m a Harry Potter nerd and I’ve read the series several times. I’m actually taking a break from re-reading them again until Lucy and Aki are old enough for us to read them together. So I was excited to read the play that was published recently, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and that is currently running in London. But reading this book as the election was happening made clear the unfortunate parallel between the Dark Lord and Donald Trump. Apparently I’m not the only one- the internet is full of side by side images of the two of them.

Anyhow, one thing that made me happy in this week full of unhappiness was learning that in the play Hermione Granger is played by a black woman. It made me think of this fan art and this Huffington Post article from a few years back.







Maybe it seems like a leap, but reimagining the popular narrative is hugely meaningful to me as an artist, as a person of color, and as a parent. Maybe it’s imagination that can help us SEE the water we’re swimming in… in other words, the white supremacist patriarchal culture that surrounds us so completely that most Americans don’t even recognize that it’s there.



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Weekly Inspiration: Mister Cloud

There is so much to be inspired about out there. This is a spot to record and share my favorite things… for this week at least!

I end up listening to a lot of kids music- whichever three or four favorite albums or songs the kids happen to be obsessed with at the moment.

Right now one of those songs is Mister Cloud by Caspar Babypants. Love these lyrics!  Especially “a rainy rainstorm fell out of your bottom; and into rivers running rampant in autumn…” So genius. It always gets a laugh from the kids.

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Weekly Inspiration: The Sound of Silence

There is so much to be inspired about out there. This is a spot to record and share my favorite things… for this week at least!

Have you read, The Sound of Silence, by Katrina Goldsaito and illustrated by Julia Kuo? My friend Meg sent it to Aki, all the way from DC, because he loves music so much. Hopefully, like Yoshio in the story, he’ll learn to love the silence between the notes too.

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Although most of the story is made up of full-bleed spreads (images that extend all the way to the edges of the page), I love the white space in this first image when Yoshio is walking out the door.


julia kuo illustration 3.jpg

Such an interesting perspective!

Check out more of the illustrations from this book and more of Julia Kuo’s work here. Have a great week!


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