Saturday, November 18, 2017

Celebrating the season


We put up our Christmas tree today. Yes, a tad early but seeing that we'll be in California next week for Thanksgiving, and then off to the mountains a few days after we return for our wedding anniversary, it seemed fitting. (Typically, I put it up and decorate the evening of Thanksgiving Day.)

So much is going on this holiday season. We'll be traveling way more than I've traveled these last 46 years I've been living on the face of this earth! Ha! There'll be a lot of memories built this year and it's incredibly exciting. We'll be visiting Michael's family for Thanksgiving, celebrating our 4 year anniversary, heading to the cabin for a few days with the children for our annual "Christmas in the Cabin" and then off to Kentucky to spend Christmas with my family for the first time in 13+ years! In fact, Michael will be meeting my family for the very first time. Exciting....as my mother is also remarrying!

With that said, I'll be busy rolling out of bed in the wee hours of the morning and working very late the next several days in order to meet deadlines. I'm getting a bit nervous! Cross your fingers! For now, enjoy a little peek at our Christmas tree, shining brightly in the corner of our living room tonight.


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Friday, November 17, 2017

Finding JOY amidst struggles

It's been a rough week for us but we're doing our best to rise above and push through...thus where this sweet little illustration came from. It's Friday so we're doing a little dance of joy! How about you? What's your dance to overcome obstacles of life?
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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Scribble Picnic: Unwrap The Gift of Love

Yesterday was a hard day and somehow, I still managed to put together this tiny illustration to represent "unwrapping the gift of love" for this week's Scribble Picnic hosted by the fabulous Mr. Toast (aka Michael). This world is so hard lately. Heartache. Death. Tragic things happening on what seems to be a daily basis anymore. What could be more fitting than sending out a message to give the gift of love to those around you. It's so simple and goes so far.

Michael and I love to give to those struggling with homelessness here in our town. Most of the time, we're supported...sometimes, we're frowned upon. Regardless, it's one simple act of kindness that brings a much needed HOPE to people in this world.

May this little illustration brighten your day and bring to your heart any hope, love, or courage you're in need of today or in the coming days. ♥
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Oh, don't forget there's still time to order my beautiful Christmas cards created from my hand-painted watercolor illustrations. They're beautiful and perfect for sending off to those you love. You can order them via my Etsy link or on my sidebar. Right now, they're only $2.50 each (marked down from $3.50 each!)
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Sunday, November 12, 2017

English Robin Collection & Good News!

For the month of November, I've been doodling English robins every day for my "warm-ups". Here are just a few. To see my entire collection thus far, please visit my Instagram art page.
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As for the good news I've been waiting to share with you, I've 2 brand new books coming! What's extra special? The second one is with an official traditional publisher!


MEAGAN'S WISH
I've teamed up once again with the wonderful author, Charlotte J. Rains, and our next book, Meagan's Wish, is set to launch at the end of this monthIt's been a long time coming and a wonderful story about a little girl's wishes coming true.

THE RIPPLE
Last week I signed a contract with my very first "official" publisher - Clear Fork Publishing. I'll be illustrating a darling book titled, "The Ripple". This sweet children's book is set to launch Fall of 2018 and is a journey about a little boy who learns just how far the simple act of a smile can reach.

Alright then. I'm off to get to work. I've loads to do in the next few weeks. I promise to check in often.
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Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Scribble Picnic: Gingerbread Cookies & Tea

I sadly missed Scribble Picnic last week but am happy to hop back on board this week! And what's better than a cute little mouse bringing gingerbread cookies and tea to our picnic?! Yay!  There's still a lot to do on this illustration but it's a pretty good start.

The next few weeks are going to be extremely busy for me as I've several projects needing to be completed by the end of this month. So, cross your fingers they'll all get completed on time.

OK, I'm off to the picnic myself. It's been quite chilly here so a hot cuppa is in order, for sure! Hmmm....any guesses as to what snack I'll be bringing to Michael's picnic gathering this week?
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Hello, winter!

Hello, winter! A little puppy love on this chilly wintry Tuesday. I'm off to knock out work on this very cold morning....and hopefully, Scribble Picnic this week as well. I sadly missed last week due to finalizing the cover for the next children's book I'm illustrating, Meagan's Wish. It's an utterly magical story and will be available for the holidays - a perfect gift for a loved one!

Oh, and I've some more awesome news to share....so stay tuned!
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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween!!

My final INKTOBER for 2017 and super excited that I made it through the entire month without missing one! (insert big grin) It may not seem like a lot of work but it definitely is. Coming up with something new every day is incredibly challenging but worth it, as I feel my art has grown even more and....I've added a new artistic tool to my skillset!

OK, I'm off to finalize the book cover for my next children's book. Have a SPOOKY fun day!
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More Inktober illustrations...

Yep, that's me...catching up with sharing my inktober illustrations again. But here they are, each one special and cute in their own way. It's hard to believe that it's down to the last 2 days of INKTOBER. Crazy but am proud of myself for actually sketching something every single day of October! :)

With that said, since I already doodle something every day to warm up before doing actual work for clients, I'm going to do a theme for November of sketching English robins in hats/scarves. What do you think? If you have some ideas or a hat, scarf you'd like me to include in the illustration, leave me a comment and let me know.
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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Scribble Picnic: A Little Woodland....BOO!

This isn't what I'd hoped in the end but it's done and that's what matters. I pushed through this ALL day today, being quite sick. Swollen throat, ears and head hurt, sneezing my head off....alas, I made it to the picnic....but please....don't get too close or I fear you'll catch my cold! 🎃

With that said, I promise to visit everyone over the next few days - and I'll also catch up with last week's picnic events as well. It's been a longgggg week of various things.
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Monday, October 23, 2017

More inktobers and more FAB news!

Every time I illustrate hedgehogs, I fall in love with them more and more. I follow a few Instagram accounts that focus on educating and protecting these curious but adorable little woodland creatures. Is it me, or do they seem to have a sweet, innocent personality about them? Also, take a spin over to my Facebook illustration page here, and you can have a peek at me illustrating this artwork.
In other fabulous news, I've been working on illustrations to print on onesies for a local clothing shop, Kansas City Kitty, who recently launched "baby clothing" in their store. We introduced this special line over the weekend during their 15 year anniversary and it well very well! I'm super excited to be a part of this collaboration and am looking forward to our future endeavors together. If you're interested in purchasing one...(or more as I do make a profit on each one sold!), please follow the Kansas City Link and leave a message via the CONTACT tab to the owner, Christie. She'll be more than happy to ship to you.
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Sunday, October 22, 2017

UK Artist Feature with Manuscript Pen Co


As promised, here's the first write-up with the UK dip pen company, Manuscript Pen Co. It's a fabulous article and features all of my daily inktobers thus far. Check it out and leave a comment with your thoughts!

Again, thank YOU for your constant love/support of my work, as well as encouraging me through some pretty life-challenging events over the past several years. I wouldn't be here without friends like you...and my incredible husband, Michael James.
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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Scribble Picnic: Fill In the Blank

Last week our Scribble Picnic gathering was postponed but thankfully, this week, we're back and ready to roll. I'm ready for some pumpkin pie with lots of whipped cream....but first, tea! My days are not complete without a perfect cup of tea and one of my favorite magazines, such as, Breathe.  Others are Flow and Frankie....each are packed with ideas and creative inspiration to last you all month long!

Now, can you spot the various places where I "filled in the blank"?

For more picnickers and delicious food, make sure to hop on over to Michael's cozy home.
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Friday, October 13, 2017

Catching Up & Special Announcement

I'm behind posting...imagine that! But here are my latest inktobers. They're coming along quite well and it's been a great experience overall learning to sketch with a dip pen. I've been challenging myself to be more creative in detailing my illustrations and so far, I'm enjoying the results.

With that, some very exciting news to share! You'll notice in some of pictures I take, I share the Manuscript Co. dip pen and Winsor & Newton India ink I'm using. A few days ago, I was approached from the Marketing Director at Manuscript Company located in the UK as they love the work I've been posting and want to feature me and my art! Eek! I'll share more in the coming weeks in regards to my collaboration with them. Until then, happy drawing!!
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Sunday, October 08, 2017

Inktober Days 7 & 8


I've had to really push through these last few days of Inktober. Today was especially challenging, trying to figure out how to illustrate a tree/grass/dirt/roots above and through my fox hole. In the end, both illustrations were finished and off we go to day 9!

Speaking of day 9, we've had lovely weather the past two days but tomorrow, we're expecting a foot of snow! Uh huh My thoughts exactly! :)
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Friday, October 06, 2017

Inktober Day 6: Bear Hugs

Here's a little bear hug for anyone who may need it today or in the future. I struggled with this one for a bit. I sketched my initial idea out first and then used my manuscript dip pen to draw it out on watercolor paper.

Mr. Puggles' sweater alone took me almost an hour to illustrate but am very pleased with it. And who wouldn't want a hug from a great big, fuzzy bear?
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Thursday, October 05, 2017

More Inktober Illos

It's crazy how quickly this week has flown by. Tomorrow is Friday and I'm just now catching up with posting my day 3, 4, and 5 for Inktober. It's fun to see where each day takes me. Most of the time, I've no idea what I'm going to do for a particular day until after I've had my early morning walk, taking in the fresh Autumn air and playful little creatures along the way.

My goal in doing this is to (hopefully) grow in the area of detailing a bit better than what I currently do. When reflecting back on my work to just last year during this time, I can already see an incredible difference with my wok - style and painting. It excites me to think where I'll be when the end of October arrives.

I really hope to share my 2017 inktobers daily, as it seems utterly overwhelming to post multiple illustrations all at once. What do you think? :)
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Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Scribble Picnic: Sleep Tight

Shhhh.....it's late here at Scribble Picnic and I fear little Thomas has already fallen asleep. He had his piece of pumpkin pie that Wanda brought and a cup of tea. He's now curled up in bed under the blankets with his stuffed teddy, sleeping away and dreaming of his favorite Autumn days at his grandma's house.

Here's to hoping each of you had a wonderful afternoon at Michael's picnic this week. I'm hoping next week, I can join everyone a bit earlier than today. 
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Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Inktober & New Artistic Tools

Michael and I are giving our hand to Inktober 2017 this year. Each of us have our own personal themes and goals. For me, I'm challenging myself to use a new artistic tool while creating more detail with my woodland creatures. It's slowly coming along....ink smudges, bleeds, and all! Of course, it's only day 2. Ha!

Above are my first two manuscript dip pen sketches. I'm looking forward to seeing how I grow within my illustrations by the end of October as that's when Inktober ends, for those of you who aren't familiar with it.
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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Scribble Picnic - Simon's Birthday Radio

It's a little birthday celebration this week for Scribble Picnic. Uh huh. Everyone is gathering at Simon's house on Cabbage Lane to celebrate his birthday...including his brother, George. And what did he get his Simon?.... a radio! Fancy that! I think I'm a bit jealous. Hee.

With the beautiful Autumnal weather, it will make for a perfect picnic as well. What did you bring this week for Michael's lil' gathering? Me? Hot, homemade apple cider. Mmmm It is sure to warm you up in no time!
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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Scribble Picnic - Watch Out! Snowstorm!


Yes, yes, just a wee bit early for snow as Autumn is just beginning but I couldn't help resist the urge to illustrate my idea of a woodland snowstorm for this week's Scribble Picnic theme - watch out! I've tucked in several little goodies for you to find here, including the snowstorm warning on the front of the newspaper Oliver is carrying around Thickleberry Village to warn everyone. Even Mr. Nuttleberry is ready with his shovel! Hee

Well, it's extremely late here. I'm tired and haven't felt well most of the day today. There are some things I'd like to rework in this design but wanted to get something up before I ran out of time. Leave me your thoughts and I promise to reply tomorrow. Until then, I'm off to bed with my hot water bottle.

For more wonderful contributions, make sure to visit Michael over at his cozy cottage...

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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Autumn is coming...

This weekend has been incredible so far. The weather has been cloudy with a light rain and temperatures hovering around the low 60's. We've had a lovely time so far, embracing the notion that Autumn is coming! From the smell of fading leaves to the crisp, morning smell of fresh rain - Can you smell/feel it?

Most of you know, we loveeeeee this time of year. Parts of it remind me of my childhood and the time spent at grandma's house. I have such fond memories with her and most of them were during the Fall. This time of year also seems to bring a sense of renewal to my spirit - creatively and emotionally. I'm not really sure why but knowing this, I do my best to soak it all in as much as possible. Thus all of the days spent cozied up on the sofa in my favorite baggy sweatshirt with a perfect hot cuppa in hand.

How about you? Do you like Autumn? What are some of the things you treasure about this time of year?
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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Scribble Picnic's Ewan the Lumberjack

Ewan....Ewan, the Lumberjack....he's here and ready to help you cut down and build whatever you want during this picnic round. Uh huh. Well, except maybe an entire house! Yes, I found him a few days ago while checking in on Mr. Fish-n-Chips.

BLACK & WHITE is this week's Scribble Picnic theme. I had fun bringing this guy to life.  He gave me some issues at first - like when I initially gave him an axe two-times too small for him! Oh dear me. But hey, that's what these weekly art challenges are all about, yes? Every week, I feel like I'm learning and growing....sure hope you feel the same way. Thank you to, Michael, who keeps us all going in that creative direction.

Now, I'm not sure about you but I'm ready for a slice of some meaty, pot pie he's bringing to the picnic this week. For dessert? I'm bringing a delicious chocolate cream pie! Are you ready? Well, come on over, you don't want to miss what everyone else is bringing to the table!
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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

2017 Holiday Cards


Hello my lovely friends and family! I can't believe it's almost the middle of September. And you know what that means...the holidays are just around the corner! With that said, I'd like to share with you my 2017 Holiday cards that are now ready to pre-order so they can be printed/shipped to YOU in time to write and send off to those your care about.

About The Cards
  • Only $3.50 each!
  • There are 6 adorable designs to choose from.
  • Square cards and each with their own special "cut-out" edge.
  • They are printed on high-quality Fuji Crystal Archival Paper that is 120 lb. card-stock.

How To Order
Simply visit my Etsy shop and order as many as you'd like! If you have any questions at all, feel free to email me at a_macvean1@yahoo.com.

Oh, and YES - I do ship internationally! Thank you for your constant love and support! 
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Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Scribble Picnic (Tie It Up, Sailor)

Who would of thought a sailor man would make it's way into my creative heart this week?! After visiting everyone's Scribble Picnic from last week, yesterday (terribly sorry!), I was utterly amazed at how many peeps really thought outside of the box! Seeing everyone's fabulous ideas challenged me to push myself with this week's theme - tie it up.

When starting my sketch, I had no idea where I was going to go with it other than imagining his beard "tied up". As I began to paint it, one of Michael's plaid lumberjack shirts came to mind. Considering he is a London boy, he wears these shirts quite well....almost too good! Ha Ha Anyway, I really enjoyed adding the various details from his beard, to his hat...down to his plaid shirt.

Now, I'm not sure he's up for picnicking but is willing to give it a shot. For me, I'm bringing some cherry tartlets. Him? Oh, he thinks some fish-n-chips will win everyone over...
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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Scribble Picnic (How To Straighten Curls)

This week's Scribble Picnic theme, CURLS, took me back to my more preferred illustration style and I love it! Yesterday, Louise wasn't too thrilled with her wonky, curly hair. Ha! Ha! Today, she's discovered the perfect book to help her get a more straightened look. As you can see, her woodland friends have happily picked out their favorite "how to" books as well. (wink)

So, off they go, books in hand, to join us this week at Michael's picnic! Save us some apple pie, please!
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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Scribble Picnic (Boston Flower Bed)


This week's Scribble Picnic's theme was flower bed. My idea this week derived from a photographer who I follow in Instagram who captures his home town, Boston. As you can see, once again, I wasn't able to finish painting it in but at least you can get a feel for what I was "dreaming up" on paper. Once it's completed, I'll post again for everyone to see.

Until then, happy picnicking!...I'm grabbing my picnic blanket and am off to take a nap. Hee
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Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Scribble Picnic (Thimble Hill Cottage)

It took me ages to come up with an idea for this week's Scribble Picnic theme - buttoned up - but I did it and Ella and her Thimble Hill Cottage turned out wonderfully! Come on in and take a peek as there are so many things to discover....including her buttoned up dress and fresh laundry hanging from the clothesline. I honestly can't decide what parts I like best. How about you?

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to finish painting my illustration in time to post. However, if you visit my Instagram you can view the work-in-process, including the start of my painting (3rd image).

Miss Ella and I will finish gathering items from her garden and then off to the picnic we go! We're looking forward to visiting with everyone over at Michael's cozy place. Happy Scribble Picnic!
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Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Caring For Your Creative Soul

Since my last post of opening up with how I've been feeling these past several months, I've been able to focus a bit more clearly on what my daily intentions are for my life (...and those around me). On top it, writing that post helped me realize it's only been 8 months since months since we've been home in states and how we lived in 4 different homes in the span of just one year! Goodness! No wonder I've been feeling a bit wonky and off-balance with life.

Taking a bit more time out for me has been key, I think. Meaning, re-figuring out the work-life balance all over again. One might think I should already know this but what I'm learning is that when one goes through life changes, whatever it might be, often requires figuring some of those things out again. It also means, being OK with it and giving yourself permission to do so.

One of the things I've added to my "new" daily routine is reading more, and it's been refreshing. There are some fairly new magazines out addressing some good topics such as well-being and refreshing one's creative soul. Here are a few I enjoy - Breathe, Flow, and Frankie. Many times, I stumble upon articles discussing how important it is to care for ourselves, not just physically but emotionally as well. I mean, seriously, how often do you think about caring for yourself emotionally? It's not the very first thing crossing my mind when pondering about life and the list of things I hope to accomplish. However, it's important to keep this in mind as a deteriorating mental health eventually impacts one's physical well being. Sobering, huh?

I personally believe this is crucial for those who spend most of their time creating. Being a full-time illustrator takes a lot out of one both physically and emotionally. Coming up with a new piece of artwork on a regular basis takes quite a bit of time, not to mention, painting it. It may seem easy-peasy but there are some weeks I spend an entire day in the studio, only to walk away empty-handed. It can be quite discouraging, let me tell you. But, I remind myself it's OK and that tomorrow is a new day! Caring for your creative soul leads to a healthy, balanced life. Isn't that what we all want?
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Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Scribble Picnic (Goodnight sweet 'Ele')

Baby Lyndon....that's his name. Born July 2nd of this year and his room is already filling up with elephants. (Hence the title, "ele".) Several weeks ago, a long-time follower on my Facebook art page messaged me to request a custom illustration for her brand new grand-baby. The only requirement? - including a stuffed elephant.

My goal with this illustration was to create a long-lasting story to follow Lyndon growing up as a little boy. I'm very pleased with the results and my client is as well! In fact, she's head over heals with it!

Up until last week, I wasn't sure how I was going to capture Michael's latest Scribble Picnic theme, curtain. But, here we are...this sweet picture captures it quite well. In fact, I'm wishing I had a magical room like his! How about you? Can you spot all of Lyndon's favorite things in his room?
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Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Sea is calling...

It's been a really long time since I've sat with a cup of tea in hand and written any sort of heart-to-heart post. In the past, it was a regular thing for me....opening up and sharing my heart with all of you. Let me tell you just how much I've missed it. The lack of connecting with friends here and around me is beginning to tug at my heart. In fact, I'm reminded of how much I loved being by the sea when living in England last year. The sea is calling me......yet, how do I make that much needed connection inside when being so incredibly far away now?

Life has had so many significant changes since July of last year that honestly, it's been a struggle figuring out any sort of routine with my work and life. Nothing truly "feels" right inside, leaving me feeling unsettled and disconnected. Maybe it's because I/we have been on-the-go for the past year with various life circumstances that it's preventing the much needed re-connection with life?

It's hard to believe it was just a year ago we sold most of our belongings and relocated to another country to live for 4 months. As of today, it's only been 7 months since we packed up and returned to Colorado to begin life yet again in another new home. That's a lot of change in itself! I remember struggling last Autumn and blogging about the desire in finding my place and a routine in Scarborough. So, why I am feeling surprised that I'm in the same predicament now?

Since we've been back, Michael's mother passed away, my oldest step-son graduated from college (and is now serving a 2-year commitment in Botswana with the Peace Corps), and my brother and sister whom I had never met, found us! What an incredible miracle that has changed my life forever. My heart is overjoyed to finally have them in my life! Add to that, the ongoing journey of still trying to locate my younger brother in California who's been struggling with homelessness for quite some time now.

With all that said, I'm longing for that certain peace I've not felt in quite awhile. My heart aches and I feel it wouldn't take much for the tears to begin flowing down these pale, flush cheeks of mine. Despite this restlessness, though, I'm certainly thankful for everyone in my life and all we've been blessed with. I'm sure once things settle down that "missing link" will fall right into place and my creative soul will be at peace once again.
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Friday, July 28, 2017

Summer Days, Old & New

It's so nice to be up and on my feet again after being so horribly sick this week. Most of you know I've a liver condition and have already had one large tumor removed and have yet another small one being monitored. I'm not actually supposed to have anything with seeds as my body cannot process it. Somehow, I missed seeds in a teriyaki salmon burger we had for dinner the night before. Not good but happy to report I'm feeling much better now.

With that said, although it's been extremely hot here in Colorado this summer we're blessed to be in a cosy, little cottage surrounded by large trees providing that much needed shade. It takes me back to those wonderful summer days playing in my grandma's big, shady yard, filled with maple trees. Ahh, to be that little girl stomping around in her yard again and later sipping on iced tea while eating some of her yummy banana wafer pudding...
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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Scribble Picnic (Bug Catcher)

Raise your hand if you like to collect bugs...well, pretty ones at least! I'm raising my hand for ladybugs and fireflies. :) I loved this week's Scribble Picnic theme - ladybugs. So perfect for me since I've already illustrated a children's poetry book about ladybugs and it has won 2 book awards and is now up for another one next month. Cross your fingers!

Anyway, I started the illustration of this little guy a few weeks ago and paused as I wasn't sure what direction to go with it. At least not until Michael announced this week's theme. Say....ladybugs are perfect for picnics. Ohhhh...I'm off to catch a few more so there's enough for everyone this week!
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Saturday, July 15, 2017

New Styles and GIVEAWAY WINNER announced!

As mentioned in a post written last weekend, so many changes have been happening in my life over the past 6-8 months. All good but because of them, I've also been feeling this tug to branch out into some new artistic endeavors. So, this past week I dived in to some ideas that have been floating around in my head for awhile now. What do you think? I feel the floral illustration girls above express a part of the "grown-up woman" side of my heart that has been begging to be known.

Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy creating whimsical children's illustrations! Children have always been close to my heart and I love working alongside them in any way I can. However, I've been feeling as if I've been blocking my creative spirit from doing so much more. Like, limiting my abilities and skills. Does that make sense? While continue to work on illustrating children's books, I've made the decision to take on a few projects that will allow me to delve more into this style above and am seriously looking forward to it. I hope you'll follow along, sharing your thoughts and my journey as well.

With that said, let's dive into the exciting news of the final Sunday Sketches GIVEAWAY WINNER announcement. Yay! Again, thank you to everyone who has made the past 9+ years of Sunday Sketches fantastic!! I've loved every moment of it and have been blessed you've tagged along this entire time...and what a better way to celebrate than having a big, final giveaway. Here's a peak at what will be inside the box. (I'm leaving some things as an element of surprise for the winner!)


...and speaking of the winner...... the final Sunday Sketches giveaway winner is Claudia of Images by CW! Please email me your shipping address so I can send of your lovely parcel filled with various art supplies and tea goodies. Again, THANK YOU to each of you! I'm really looking forward to our new, creative journey together.
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