Tag Archives: illustration

a few new paintings

Getting lost in this new nighttime world…

Rainy Night.jpgGrandma Turtle.jpg


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where’s mouse girl?

can you find her in the crowd?mouse girl and crew

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little mouse girl

I’ve been scheming over a new book idea that involves this little creature. She’s been popping up in my work for years and maybe it’s time for her to finally have her own story.

Happy Sunday to all!

mouse girl.jpg

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red riding hood

I’ve been working on this assignment for the SCBWI Tomie dePaola award, which is due December 1, and I think I’m just about done. The prompt is to choose a passage from the opening passages of Philip Pullman’s retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. After reading his version of the story (isn’t he the most amazing storyteller by the way?), I noticed how long winded the mother is when she’s instructing Little Red Riding Hood where to go and what to do. I imagined that, like most young people, Little Red might be distracted and pay less than close attention to her mother.

Here’s my final piece:


One day her mother said to her: ‘Little Red Riding Hood, I’ve got a job for you. Your grandmother isn’t very well, and I want you to take her this cake and a bottle of wine. They’ll make her feel a lot better. You be polite when you go into her house, and give her a kiss from me. Be careful on the way there, and don’t step off the path or you might trip over and break the bottle and drop the cake, and then there’d be nothing for her. When you go into her parlour don’t forget to say, “Good morning, Granny,” and don’t go peering in all the corners.’

And I couldn’t help but make her Japanese. I know that this probably won’t win me any accuracy points toward this award, but like many people of color and of mixed race, I had the experience of not seeing myself reflected in stories when I was growing up. (Although when I did, I was obsessed. Claudia Kishi? She was the coolest!) So I went with my first instinct, which was to create a character who breaks out of the usual blonde, blue-eyed red riding hood tradition. It was a fun assignment- I’ve been happy to have an excuse to paint again!


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accordion books in progress

Camping was a sweet change of pace- a whole week outside with the kiddos, not to mention a whole week sleeping in a tent with the kiddos. All in all it was wonderful, but not the boon of extra illustration time I was hoping for.

I managed to work on my tiny accordion books here and there so I’ll include a few pictures of the work in progress. We’re headed out of town again tomorrow for a weekend in a cabin in Mazama, so maybe I’ll magically get some time there to keep working on this.

I’ll let you know 🙂

photo 1

photo 2

photo 3

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Ada at Night

My new project! A story about a girl who overcomes her fear of the night with the help of some oddball friends. These are just some preliminary dummy pages but I’m excited to see it coming together.

AAN  AAN 2  AAN 3  AAN 4

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a conference round up

The SCBWI Western Washington conference last weekend was inspiring and exhausting as always. And after about a week to let my head stop spinning, I’m ready to pinpoint a few of my favorite takeaways.

Books I’m excited to check out ASAP:

HERE by Richard McGuire

RAIN by Peter Spier

LIES, KNIVES, AND GIRLS IN RED DRESSES (dark, dark poetry with gruesome cut paper style illustrations!)

lies, knives and girls in red dresses  home  the farmer and the clown


HOME by Carson Ellis (actually I bought a copy at the conference and I’ve been reading it every night before bed :))

And yes, three of those books are wordless picture books. That’s because one of the sessions I attended was with David Wiesner on the topic of wordless storytelling. It was fun to see how excited he was about the books, comics and movies he was sharing with us- practically jumping up and down. After hearing him use it half a dozen times, I wrote the word “astonishing” in my notes. Here are my notes, by the way.

conference notes

I also attended a session with the art director Kristen Nobles who talked about the 8 things she (and Candlewick) looks for in an illustrator. I especially loved what she said about exploring a variety of perspectives and view points: “I don’t like it when you’re always in the perfect seat as the reader.” It’s a great reminder, especially when you are drawing lots of dummy sketches in a short period of time as I currently am.

And there were so many beautiful portfolios to flip through! Have you seen the work of these illustrators?

Liz Wong

Corinna Luyken

Michaele Razi




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old friends

I’ve been working on this painting all weekend for my portfolio. I’d been missing this motley crew from HERE WE GO!

through the snow

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what’s up in my studio?

A new image! Specifically for the portfolio I’m creating for the upcoming SCBWI western washington conference. Anyone else out there going?

MP night room final copy

As you can see, I’ve been into using gouache lately in lamp black. As you might not be able to see, there are also some silhouettes hidden in the dark. Hopefully they’re not too subtle.

For those of you familiar with my process, I only have two drafts for this one and I’ll post them below. But who knows, I could be inspired to redo it yet again some time in the future.

MP nightroom draft 1 MP nightroom draft 2

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Mo’s Wide World… in which Mo is brave

mww.woah  mww.bebrave

To view the series from the beginning, check out Mo’s Wide World.

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