Showing posts with label Christina Forshay. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christina Forshay. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Working outside the studio

As you can see from a complete lack of posts for months, we've all been pretty busy. While this is really good news for us, it also has a down side as you'll see in this post. It's led to some pretty odd working conditions. Sometimes deadlines and vacations and life clash. This is a post about how we work around that issue.

I recently agreed to take on a project while I was on vacation in my hometown of St. Louis. I ended up working in a variety of places, starting with sketching on the plane, sketching at my cousin's before the other dinner guests arrived, then painting on a road trip, and later ordering postcards from Starbucks. 

Backseat painting on a road trip

Working on a postcard at Starbucks

Recently, Renee was in Boston working on some black and white art for The Owls of Blossom Wood series (written by Catherine Coe, Scholastic UK). This photo was taken at a place called District Hall where she sometimes spends her days overhearing business-y conversations and drawing on her husband's Cintiq Companion.

And since summer around Christina's house inevitably means kids running around, she's been known to take her work station outside! Not sure how much work she's able to get done lately!

I think Tracy gets the grand prize for managing to work while on vacation. Here she is in line for a ride at Disneyland of all places!!!

Sketching for a project while in line at Disneyland!!!! 

More sketching at the Starbucks in Disneyland

More sketching at the airport

There you have it. The glamorous life of an illustrator. You're jealous right now, admit it.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Simply Messing About...with Watercolor!

Since I'm not yet able to post images from the current book I'm working on (A Morning with Gong Gong, Lee & Low), here are a couple little paintings I've been doing for fun. I've had this Windsor & Newton travel watercolor set for a couple years, but I've hardly used it. I decided to pull it out and simply mess about! Though watercolor isn't as forgiving as my computer, it's been fun to make marks on paper and delight in happy accidents. I'm hoping these little exercises in watercolor will spill over and help me with some spontaneity in the digital world of painting. Here's to having fun with real paint!


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

What I'm Working On...

The last half of 2014 had me super busy with a bunch of projects, most of which cannot be spoken about yet. However, I do have some exciting news that I can share!

I'm currently in the beginning stages of illustrating an adorable book called "A Morning with Gong Gong" by the 2013 New Voices Award winner Sylvia Liu. The story is about a spunky little girl and her grandfather who spend some time together and end up teaching each other about yoga and tai chi.

I'm having a great time working with an amazing team at Lee & Low Books--a publisher I admire and have hoped to work with for a long time!

And since I can't show any work from my current projects, I'll leave you with this little bunny. ;)


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Happy Holidays!!!

We want to start off with a huge thank you to all of you who have embraced and spread the word about our little blog. It's become something so much bigger than we ever expected. Thank you and hugs!!!

As you might have noticed, we've been a bit MIA lately. It's all good. Everyone is busy illustrating. We hope to be back with a bang in the New Year. For now, here are some holiday illustrations for you.

Tracy Bishop

Laura Zarrin

Renee Kurilla

Thursday, November 21, 2013

On the Importance of Attending SCBWI Events

Becoming a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators might be the second most important thing I've done for my illustration career besides getting an art degree.  Last week I attended SCBWI Los Angeles’ Art Director’s Day (scroll down the linked page to see the details).  It was probably the sixth or so Illustrator’s Day I’ve attended. Yep, that’s a lot of events, but I can’t stress how important it is to try and attend local SCBWI events at least once a year if you can.

No matter which level you are in your illustration career, these local events are helpful, fun and so informative that they really shouldn’t be passed up if at all possible.

Last week, for example, I had the good fortune of being able to listen and speak to well-respected art director Lauren Rille of Simon and Schuster, Isabel Warren-Lynch of Random House, Kelly Sonnack of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency and Cliff Cramp, an awesome illustrator and instructor at California State University Fullerton.

They all shared really, really tangible information that is relevant to attendees at any level of their career. Lauren Rille, for example gave a very detailed presentation on the working relationship between the art director, the illustrator, and the editors. Isabel Warren-Lynch discussed the emotional connection between the art and the reader and Cliff Cramp gave a very inspirational talk on how the fundamental role of an illustrator is to tell stories. And Kelly Sonnack really broke a barrier and gave some straight-talk on the topic of money and the illustrator.

Here is a really bad (dark and far-away) picture of agent Kelly Sonnack showing an example of a great illustration website. Whattya know?! It's a page from our very own Renee Kurilla's website!

Not only do attendees get to hear invaluable information from the esteemed speakers, but they also get the chance to display their work for all to see. Yes, that sounds like a daunting task to some, but getting your work out into the world and in front of the right eyes is a necessary part of being an illustrator. Be brave! Having your work up there with everyone else’s gives you a chance to see how you can improve your craft and get ideas for portfolio presentation.

Yes, the informative aspects of an event take up most of the day, but the other HUGE plus is getting to connect with other illustrators. Sometimes (or most of the time), illustration is such a solitary activity and getting to hang out with other illustrators is so important! I’ve made so many friends over the years and we’re all at various stages of our career at this point. It’s great to be able to learn from my friends and share stories as well as help others out! I spent so much time chatting with friends such as Eliza Wheeler, Kimberly Gee, Ken Min, Mary Peterson and many others! It’s also super cool to meet online friends for the first time in 3-D. Hi Bob McMahon

So here's a few pointers to consider when planning to attend a local event:
  • Research all of the speakers in attendance
  • Be brave and show your work and enter any contests that might be held. These are the places where you can put a face to a name and the presenters can too. I met Lauren Rille at this year's big SCBWI summer conference and she remembered me this time around. It's so important to build and maintain relationships
  • Be brave and connect with as many fellow attendees as possible (this is the hardest for me, by far! I'm pretty shy)
  • Take photos so you can have them when you blog about your experience (I really need to work on this too...haha!)
  • Take copious notes. I have a journal that contains notes of the past three SCBWI events I've attended. They are great to refer back to
  • Try and introduce yourself to at least one presenter
  • Send a courteous thank you note to any presenter you thought made an impact on your experience
  •  Here is a calendar of all the local and regional events you can try to attend in your area

By the end of the event, exhaustion has usually set in, but it’s such a great type of exhaustion! A long day of learning, sharing and hanging out with friends will get you tired, but it’s so worth it in the long run! Leaving for the drive home with a mind and soul full of inspiration is worth so much more than the price of admission!!!

Just do it!

What are your tips or things you try to accomplish when attending local illustration events?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Pushing a New Style: Photoshop Process GIF

When it comes to creating art for deadlines, my current weapon of choice is my Wacom Cintiq. But last week, I had a serious urge to grab a (real) pencil and put it to (real) paper beyond a simple sketch.

I decided to do a piece that will hopefully become one in a series of paintings based on classic fairy tales. 

I cracked open my sketchbook, cranked up some Henry Jackman music for some dramatic ambience, and got to sketching!

I got the drawing pretty far along and completed in my sketchbook, then scanned it into photoshop for some minimal refining. My goal was to remind myself that I can draw and that I don't have to rely on the Undo button to create my art. I'm really focusing on trying to create portfolio pieces that incorporate more traditional media.

So, a quick rundown of how I did it (it's very basic):

The cleaned up drawing was set to a multiply layer on the top of the others and the coloring was done using flat blocks of color on subsequent layers. Being that I tried to get all the darks and lights figured out in the pencil drawing itself, only minimal highlights were added to the color. After that, some glows were added on top of all the layers, and that’s it!

I had amazing fun doing this and can’t wait to sink my teeth into more!

Until later!


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

On Being an Illustrator with Kids or, OMG what did I get myself into??? Part 2

In my last post, I discussed how being an illustrator with kids is hectic. Heck, being anyone with kids is hectic. But we illustrators come with our own set of issues such as looming deadlines, no "real" weekend and being alone in our studios with just Facebook to keep us company.

In my previous post I promised some methods for how I try to keep it together and make the most out of my sometimes short working periods. So, here are a few tips and tricks I've employed:

1. Warm up drawings
We all learned in art school that warm-up sketching is important. I learned that too. But somewhere along the line, I totally forgot about how important it really is. Up until very recently, my mindset was, "I don't have much time, I just have to sit down and dig into this deadline." So I would just sit and start working on my assignment. Sometimes though, my lines just felt wonky and the drawing didn't turn out right. Then it would be time to pick up my son from school and I would leave, frustrated and waiting for the next chunk of work time so I could fix what I previously attempted to draw.

But recently, I decided that every single time I sat down to work, I would spend at least 15 minutes warming up. Doodling, sketching and hopefully, getting the "uglies" out up front.  It has actually really been helping. Fifteen minutes of getting my muscle memory going and my hand-eye coordination ready really has saved me time in the long run because I'm not wasting time futzing on bad drawings.  My post warm-up drawings are more relaxed and flow much easier. See?

Before warming up...

A warm up...

After warming up...

2. Neatly organize working files
90% of the time these days, I work digitally using many layers (oh how I miss my oil paint though). A habit which I've really found super helpful is to make sure I clearly label my Photoshop layers AS I CREATE THEM. Also, I make sure I create and label groups of files as I go. It saves a lot of time both as I'm working and when it's time to send the files off to the client.  Clicking through 20 unnamed layers to find that little thing I need to adjust the color of is a total waste of time. Now, with my specifically-named layers, I can go straight to the item I need without much fuss.

Also, when a client comes back and tells me they need a revision, having  labeled layers and groups of layers makes it quicker for me when I have to revisit a file days later to make corrections.

Another thing that correctly labeling your layers does for me is shorten the time it takes to get my files ready for delivery to the client.  In the past, I have spent hours the night before a project is due labeling and grouping layers so it was clear for the client. I finally figured out I could save so much more time if I do the labeling as I go.

3. Tune out
We all know that social media is the like the office water cooler for us illustrators. Because illustration is often a very solitary activity, things like Facebook and Twitter keeps us looped in with fellow illustrating friends. However, when it's time to get down to the nitty gritty, to really hit that deadline, social media can really provide too much of a distraction. It can become a means to procrastination and really get in the way of getting work done. DUH! We all know this, it's nothing new. 

But, did you know there are apps that exist which will keep you off the internet for a predetermined amount of time? I mean they REALLY keep you off the internet? Like in a kind of scary (but good way)? I've used one of these apps before, called Self Control and it's pretty amazing. Obviously, it's not going to keep you off your iPad or phone, but it does it' job for keeping you from trolling around on your computer when you're supposed to be WORKING. There's another one you can try called Freedom that is pretty popular too.

Another way I tune out and keep the distractions away from my workspace is to either shut down my email application or change the settings so new email only comes in every hour or so. Also--turn off the distracting "you've got mail" sound in your email preferences so you're not tempted to check to see if that three-book deal came through.

So, these are a few things I've employed which really help me to streamline work and get it done in those small chunks of time I have. I know it sounds like doing simple things such as layering your files aren't important, but time spent doing these things as you go really shave off wasted time down the road. 

I'd love to hear what your time-saving tips and tricks are! What do you do to make the most of your precious work time?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

On Being an Illustrator with Kids or, OMG what did I get myself into??? Part 1

So as I type this, my three year old is lounging on the couch watching Madagascar 3.  I always told myself I was never going to be THAT mom.  But as an illustrator with deadlines, sometimes I gotta do what I gotta do.

A little background here: my kids are now ages three and six and my husband is a firefighter (with a sometimes unpredictable schedule). I don’t have a babysitter to help with the kids just because that’s a choice we have made as a family. Luckily, being an illustrator allows me to work from home and my parents live close by to help me when they can. And when my husband IS home, he is super good about taking the kids out and about to give me some time to work.

And when it comes to work, as the old saying goes: when it rains, it pours. I currently have two illustration jobs going and will be adding a third soon. Yay for work!

But also: oh crap! How am I going to get everything done?! When am I going to get everything done between chauffeuring the kids around and feeding them???

I spent the better part of last year really fishing around for answers on how to be a better multi-tasker. I thought that other people were doing this way better than me. I constantly asked myself and other illustrator moms, “How can I be the domestic goddess, illustrator and healthy (sane) mom I want to be?” Isn’t there a better way??? I got really down on myself because I felt taking on my career as an illustrator was an uphill battle. I didn't get enough sleep, I felt that I didn't spend enough time on my work and that basically, I felt like I was doing it all wrong.

But over the past couple of months, I had some realizations that really helped my outlook. In a nutshell, a big game-changer for me really has to do with BEING ADAPTABLE on both a small and large scale.  

Here are some of the major epiphanies and rules I’ve made for myself which help me cope when I need to GET IT ALL DONE.
  1. I will not compare myself to other moms in real life nor on Facebook
    I spent too much time comparing myself a lot to Facebook friends who seemed to be doing everything like a pro. I’m trying to eliminate self-talk that goes like this: “You mean she baked cookies from scratch, rearranged the house, mowed the lawn, spit-shined their husband’s shoes AND storyboarded a feature length film all in one day?!?!? I'm a slacker.” Comparing myself just creates negative self-talk and that’s not good for my self-esteem.
  2. I realize I will probably never be a domestic goddess. My family’s health and happiness is obviously number one on the priority list.  The state of my house is the thing that usually gives. I’m giving myself permission to say that it’s OK for these house to be in a state of disarray if need be.  Yep. I’m admitting here that there are usually toys, shoes and laundry everywhere (and probably dishes in the sink). My husband is really good about helping out with the cleaning when he’s home though!
  3. It is a MUST to enlist close family and/or friends.
    Heck, bribe them with money if need be! (But don't forget to pay them. Sorry, mom.) I am the worst when it comes to reaching out and asking for help with my kids, but I am getting better at it. Knowing that someone else has my kids for a few hours and that I have a finite amount of time to get work done, helps me to stay focused.

    Also, if someone offers to help me out with the kids, I need to TAKE THE HELP! (I’m working on this one still...)
  4. Gone are the days of marathon painting sessions.
    This was my latest epiphany and maybe one of the most important. As an artist, it’s so easy to sit and paint for hours on end; to get in The Zone. With small kids, there are less opportunities for this. Unless someone has my children for more than a few hours, I'm still trying to train myself to realize that my work sessions might be 15 minutes here, thirty minutes there, etc.  Having to illustrate in smaller bursts of time is not fun and not easy to do. This might make sketching during my son's soccer practice easier though! Can you say, "droooooool"???

  5. Just count on NO SLEEP the couple of days before a deadline.As a creative, all-nighters are just bound to happen. But I think most of us kinda love hours upon hours of drawing and painting, right? And think of all the Starbucks you get to drink the next day! ;)
  6. Hello, kids...mommy is working!!!
    There are those desperate moments when my husband gets unexpectedly called in to work (you mean you have to go save lives TODAY?!?), my parents are out of town and my mother-in-law is working. That's when the good 'ol Disney movie and popcorn trick come in handy. This doesn't happen too often, but hey, it buys me a good hour and 45 minutes! I used to feel horribly guilty about this. But, they are getting old enough for me to explain that I need to work for a bit.

    They are becoming slightly more understanding about this:

So, obviously, these are things that work for MY family (or rather I'm trying to make work for my family). The scales are constantly tipping in different directions and learning to be ADAPTABLE is really helping me. Since I’ve learned that fitting in work when I can is how it has to be for now, I’m actually getting better at being more productive when I have the time to work.

In part two of this article I'll discuss how my methods and tools for creating artwork have changed and adapted to now that I have small kids running around here! 

Friday, June 28, 2013

A Beginner's Guide to Twitter for Illustrators

I joined Twitter about four years ago when it was still rather new. I’ll admit that back then I had no idea how to use it! But now, four years later, I find it to be one of the most helpful  ways to socialize, learn and network with others in the children’s publishing world. Along the way, I've met some really great friends. I met my fellow bloggers here on Simply Messing About on Twitter! Here are some very basic steps to navigating your way through Twitter to get the most from it.

1.  Set up your account so it is most beneficial for you:
Make sure your twitter account name is the same as your working name. When I first signed up, I used a fake username because I wasn’t sure how I’d be using Twitter and to be honest, I was a little scared of the new platform. Problem is, nobody knew it was me! Now, however, I use my real name--it helps with visibility when it comes to networking and creating a consistent online presence.

If you are an illustrator, why not use an illustrated self-portrait as your avatar (profile picture)? Or crop a fun picture of one of your illustrations to use as your profile photo. Hands down, you will get more followers if you have a fun, illustration that represents you as well as your work!
Along those same lines, try to use your artwork as your Twitter banner and background! You can get really creative here and used them both in a fun way to show off your illustration and design skills.

2.  Connect with those in your Industry:
Twitter feels less personally intrusive than Facebook. With Facebook, people have to “accept” you as a friend before you can interact with them. With Twitter, you can follow people, read others’ Twitter statuses and write back to them freely (unless their profile is locked, which is pretty rare these days). That doesn’t however, mean that they will respond back to you! P.S. Don’t get your feelings hurt if you don’t always get a response! ;)

Following people is easy! Just search for a friends name and click “Follow”. When you find a friend, check out who they follow to find a whole gaggle of friends!

3.  Find topics you are interested in (i.e. HASHTAGS!)
It seems like so many people make fun of the very useful hashtag. Why??? They are invaluable and can be used in many different ways. The most useful way to use a hashtag is basically as a keyword to find people talking about one topic. Type the keyword with a hashtag (#) in front of it into the Twitter search bar and you will find everyone who used that keyword in a Twitter update. Try typing the broad term #illustration into the Twitter search bar and see what comes up!

Hashtags can also be used during a chat hour that groups of people hold to discuss particular topics. For example, every Thursday night, (mostly) illustrators from the children’s publishing world get together at 9pm (EST) to discuss a topic much like a meeting, using the hashtag #kidlitart. Type that into the Twitter search bar and you’ll find yourself in the middle of a children’s illustrator “meeting” hosted by our very own @ReneeKurilla as well as the wonderful @SmilingOtis and @DiandraMae! #fun!
Here are some popular hashtags for those of us in the children’s publishing world:


You can also use twitter hashtags to be silly and punctuate your tweet: “I am so happy! I just signed a contract with a major publisher! #millionaire" ;)

4. What Twitter is NOT good for:

Twitter is a great tool for promoting yourself, but over-promoting your latest book or project is a turn-off for your follwers. You’ll soon become the  “Telemarketer of Twitter” and that will quickly earn you a lot of unfollows. 

Twitter is NOT a place to badmouth former clients, previous clients, publishers, bosses, colleagues or anyone else, really! Twitter makes the world a lot smaller...word gets around!


Now that we’ve gone over some of the reasons I love twitter, here is a starter list of some of the people on Twitter who make it so great! These are all people to follow who are well-versed in the children’s publishing world and who consistently tweet lots of great info:

(There really are WAY too many to name, so here are a few of the original gang I started to follow.)


Art Directors:


All of this is really just the absolute tip of the Twitter iceberg. Go join Twitter and have fun! I’ve met tons of really great friends through Twitter and have gained valuable knowledge...go forth and tweet! It’s the best water cooler around for us creative types!

Until next time!


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Quick Photoshop Painting Demo (with music)!

There are many different ways I paint in Photoshop, but this video demonstrates the technique I've used to paint FAST. I recently finished a project on a super tight deadline and I knew I had to figure out a way to paint faster in order to get everything done on time. So, I went back to basics: employing line, value and local color!

The video below started with a random sketch on a random piece of paper floating around on my desk. In real time, the painting took about 15 minutes but it's been condensed down to about four minutes here!

Since the video goes by at lightning speed, here are some useful tips for the basic layer setup I used:

  • The final line layer is set to MULTIPLY and is on top of everything else
  • The value layer comes next and is also set to MULTIPLY. It is important that you work out your values here in order to eliminate worrying about that in your color layer
  • The next layer is your local color layer set to NORMAL. Since your values are worked out in the above layer, all you have to do here is paint your flat (or local) colors in. Your values already show through!
  • Lastly, you can do a layer above everything else with your highlights.
  • I left my line visible, but if you push your value layer and really work out your lights and darks, you can completely get rid of the line layer.

That's it! Set it and forget it! Here's a piece I did using this technique. Until next time! :)

From "Goodnight Baseball" (Capstone, 2013)

Monday, May 6, 2013

What I'm Reading...

I've spent the last ten years focusing so much on the craft of illustration that the thought of actually WRITING my own stories seemed totally, utterly daunting. I always felt that since writing is a skill which must be honed for many years, I had no business even attempting it. I mean, hello, I was still trying to master my first passion of choice: illustration. 

However, over the past year or so I got the itch to tell my own stories.  The problem was, I didn't know where to begin. But wait! [**insert trumpet cadence here**] An email from my local SCBWI Listserv landed in my inbox announcing a nearby picture book writing workshop. I signed up (I secured the last spot--yes! ) and attended the wonderful workshop run by author/illustrator Laurie Knowlton. It was super inspiring and I left with tons of notes I will forever use as reference.  One of the best gems  she gave us was the recommendation of the book "Writing Picture Books" by Ann Whitford Paul

I'm currently halfway through reading it and it really is perfect for helping me figure out the direction and format I would like for my stories. The book is written in an instructional manner and Paul discusses all the stages of writing a story from beginning to end. After every chapter, there are exercises to complete: character studies, point of view studies and other tasks which help flesh out the different components a picture book story needs. 

Although there is SO much great info, the book is light and moves along quickly. It's not overwhelming and full of jargon; I look forward to the time I get to spend with this book! Paul has also included examples of lots of relevant picture books used to illustrate her points. I've got a loooong list of picture books to check out during my next library visit!

As I said, I'm still in the midst of reading "Writing Picture Books", but it's already helped me make strides and discover new directions for my characters and plots. I would recommend this book to ANYONE interested in learning how to craft stories that will hopefully go on to entertain lots of future readers!

Onward and upward! :-)


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Nuts and Bolts: My Photoshop and Wacom Setup

Lately I've been doing a lot of experimenting with actual paints and brushes, but for the past six or so years, I've been completing all my projects using Photoshop CS4.

Over the years, I've figured out a system using Wacom's programmable ExpressKeys, Touch Strip and Radial Menu that helps me paint quickly and efficiently.  Using these programmable keys along with a specific Photoshop window arrangement allows for faster painting...get those deadlines done!

First things first, I'm working on a two or three year old iMac 23" and a Wacom Cintiq 12wx (the ExpressKeys are also available on the Wacom Intuos 3's, 4's and 5's too). Below the video, I've included diagrams of how I've set my Wacom Cintiq's programmable options. Remember, the programmable keys come on the Intuos tablets as well, so if you don't have a Cintiq, all is not lost!

Wacom's ExpressKeys
The Cintiq and Intuos tablets come with programmable keys located on both sides of the tablet. I've disabled the ExpressKeys on the left of my tablet being that I'm left-handed and it's just too much of an inconvenience to use while I'm trying to paint! There is a slight difference in how the keys are set up depending on how old your tablet is, and here is how mine are set up. The letters/symbols in parenthesis are the keyboard shortcuts I used to program the functions into the HotKeys in my Wacom preferences.

Wacom's Radial Menu
In Wacom's preferences menu (under Apple's System Preferences), you can find the options for customizing your Radial Menu. Here's a close-up version of how mine are programmed:

Screen Setup:
The most thing for me here is to have a smaller version of my current painting file open so that I can see  the image as a whole. To do this, go to 'Window' on the menu bar, drop down to 'Arrange' and then select 'New window for ....". Having this smaller window open is a huge help and is very similar to stepping away from your canvas or squinting so that you can see how your painting is coming together in terms of warms/cools, lights/darks, etc.

I hope you enjoyed! By the way, I'm sure we'd all love to hear some cool tips and tricks that you've put into place regarding your tablet and Photoshop! Let us know your favorites!


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Moving Outside the Box

Much like Renee previously wrote about in her blog entry, I too, spent a long time painting in oils. I discovered oils in my last year of college and fell in love with their rich, buttery color and texture. By the way, if you're looking for the most scrumptious (figuratively, NOT literally of course) oil paints ever, I suggest you go and pick up some tubes of M. Graham walnut-based oils...the best!

But then...along came my first child in 2006, and given my tendency towards being a messy painter, I decided that having toxic paints around small children was probably not a good move. So, I went completely digital.

For the past seven years, my art has been completely created using Photoshop. And while there are definitely benefits of going totally digital, I've reached the point that I am feeling completely "boxed" in by creating on my Wacom--essentially a 12" square of plastic. So, out have come the pencils, pens, brushes and...PAINTS! 

It's been wonderful to get back into creating art the old fashioned way: there's no Command-Z to rely on anymore!  For me, no "undo" button means happy accidents, which I hope will lead to an energy in my art that I feel gets watered down when I paint with Photoshop. Eventually, I would like to figure out a successful way to merge both digital with traditional methods to create illustrations that match my style.

I can't wait to rediscover art in the traditional sense and share my discoveries here with you all! I'm looking forward to getting my fingers dirty and simply...messing about!


Monday, April 1, 2013


Welcome to our new blog! We're four children's illustrators that are simply– messing about! Collectively, we are all on the same page, always experimenting and trying new things with our art. We've decided to come together on this blog to share these new experiences and techniques with you. With this blog we hope to not only document our progress, but encourage conversation. Think of it like an interactive art journal and please feel free to comment! Without further adieu...allow us to introduce ourselves:

Hi! I'm Tracy Bishop and I'm a children's illustrator in San Jose, CA. For the most part I do my illustrations digitally but there is a lot of experimentation and influences outside the computer. I always like to try to combine the best of traditional and digital art but the process can get quite messy! In this blog I'm hoping to show all the behind-the-scenes thoughts and experiments as I try to constantly improve as an artist.

Hello! I'm Christina Forshay, an illustrator specializing in creating art for kids. I'm coming to you from sunny southern California where I live with my husband and two kids. My art is usually super colorful and I love to create worlds of wonder for the viewer. My absolute favorite medium when painting is oils, but lately I've been working digitally to create my finished pieces. However, I've been getting a serious itch to use more paint, pens and collage in my work and I'm looking forward to sharing my artistic explorations here with you!

Hi there! My name is Renee Kurilla and I'm an illustrator / animator living in Boston, MA. I'm currently one of the Lead Artists at FableVision Studios where I spend my days creating art for all kinds of digital children's media including: books, games, and apps, to name a few. I devote all of my free time to making picture books and art for children, because I love what I do and the ideas never stop. After spending almost ten years as a digital painter, I have an undying urge to relearn the painting skills I once practiced in depth. I'll be sharing the entire process of getting back into painting, including all the hiccups and the mess-ups, on this blog!

Hello! I'm Laura Zarrin. I'm an illustrator living in San Jose, CA. I used to paint with color pencils and though I love the control of this medium, not to mention the sound of the the pencil on the paper, deep down I craved getting looser with my work. I left control behind and spent the last couple of years experimenting with all sorts of media. Now I'm working with acrylic paints, collage, digital, and sometimes color pencils. I've left my comfort zone far behind while I sail through uncharted (for me) waters. Here I'll be sharing all kinds of bumps, triumphs, messes of my creative life.