Sunday, December 26, 2010


Another holiday far away. Once again I found the celebration in unexpected places. It wasn't in the tree- though we had one. It wasn't in Santa- but he did come. Happy content kids. Family love- near and far. A very warm space heater and the very best sausage stuffing ever.

Merry Christmas to everyone.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Usually my side projects don't make it past the drawing out and making a huge mess stage. Case in Point: Juniper, my daughter, and I had a great idea to make a giant tree out of cardboard and put it up against the wall of our kitchen. We were going to make it big and beautiful and hang cards and ornaments and snowflakes and birds and owls and leaves all over it. It was all we could think about and we drew pictures and dreamed dreams. We got out all the cardboard scraps which covered the kitchen floor. We drew it all out and started cutting. Within a couple of minutes both of us lost complete interest at the exact time and went and played dolls.

THis time though I finished what I started. When I was little my Grandma painted a pillow with Rapunzel on it like this one with yarn for hair so that I could learn to braid. I loved it! Anyway this one is for Juniper. Merry Christmas little girl that I love!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Look what I found in the Sugar Bowl!!

I went down stairs in the middle of the night and this is what I found. ELVES. They are now literally all over the place. Apparently here to stay. Clearly they have a nose for Sugar- not that they’ll find any in Our house. (That is if I beat them too it).








Years ago my Grandpa made some elves out of wood that he hangs up every Christmas. Numbered One to Twleve, they hide all over the downstairs. Our job would be to find them all. There are only ten at our house, my son sternly reminded me. Maybe there are a couple we still haven't found?

They seem friendly enough, but they had better keep there hands off my dark chocolate Kit-Kats, which are already disappearing right and left.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What is Thanksgiving without turkey...pilgrims...

Thanksgiving is not a holiday in Japan. Which makes sense. It would be weird if it was, but maybe not surprising- America has a unique ability to make people want what they do not need. However, we decided we needed a Thanksgiving Feast. A smaller theme to the holiday is the eating of food native to America, right?. So there isn't turkey here- at least you have to go to extreme lengths and many Yen to get one, and frankly I am just not that big of a Turkey fan. Besides which our oven is the size of a small Microwave. It is in fact both an oven and a microwave. Possibly also a T.V. A Turkey simply would not fit inside it. (see exhibit A)

In other words we needed to improvise.
List of things we didn't have for Thanksgiving:
1. Turkey
2. Pilgrims
3. Pumpkin
4. Large Oven or Stove
5. Spices (though we found most in the end)
6. Extended Family
7. An actual holiday day

Here is a list of things we did have:
1. Chestnuts!!! lots of them Big Ones. For the best tasty, smoky, savory Chestnut stuffing.
2. Kabocha -a Japanese squash
(like acorn squash) which made the best pumpkin pie I've ever had. A more complex flavor. yum
click here for our recipes
3. Many strange and delicious vegtables which we ate without knowing exactly what they were.
4. Our little family, and honestly it was a great day with my husband an little ones around me. Laughing playing warm and cozy.
5. Butter, without which there is no point. To food.
6. Gratitude. There is an old Japanese coin that says on it something like "I have learned the value of contentment"
contentment . nice.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


A bit of fun this week. LOTs of sketching, so here are a few from my sketch book:

Geisha or actually Maiko

In the land that is Japan, I had a chance (rare) to draw a Geisha or Maiko- an apprentice Geisha. They are sort of like the Pork in the Pork n' Beans, because you just don't see them very often. Sometimes Foreigners have a little stereotype of being what you might call Geisha-obsessed. (whatever-like everyone isn't). I'm just saying I am not one of those people. :0

Tricky- to draw someone in full makeup
-to draw someone in such a rigid stagnant pose
-to draw all the fabulous textiles- which I gave up on in the end
Fun- to draw Geisha!!!

I can't say much about some of the other things in my sketchbook, legally speaking. Well, I'll speak very quietly so don't tell. fairies. and pirates.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Last week was the Original Art Show Opening at the Society of Illustrators. It was a fabulous evening, and I met Eric Carle. He was receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society. Lots of other people that I knew by name -both illustrators and designers, publishers, art directors.

Lots of beautiful artwork. Get out and go see it all for yourself- if you are in New York.

Since I was without my little ones, I had loads of free time to sketch like mad. Here are some folks on the subway.

Is one of them you? I was the person trying to pretend she wasn't sketching anyone.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Original Art Show

Well here it is folks! The Original Art Show at the Society of Illustrators. I haven't been before, but I know it will be amazing. I am Assitant Chair this year (which means that I cheated and already know what is in the show). Two of my books made it in the show, Bear in the Air and the Brother's Kennedy ( I didn't cheat for that-it was all fair and square).

I happen to think that the Original Art show is an interesting concept with regards to Picture Books. A book in its mass produced form next to the only one true original art work. I CANT WAIT.

I ♥ illustration.

here is a link to the society of illustrators:

Friday, October 8, 2010


It seems a little behind to post this mid- October. BUT I love the word October. There is a lovely sound to it that speaks to the heart of fall and something very old. If there is something a little green and rotten - but not quite dead yet, that is okay too. Probably the true pessimist would enjoy November more; all the leaves are gone, winter is on its way. For sure it would take a bleak outlook to truly revel in February, the beauty of winter on the wane, only greyness left, but Spring is still too far away to look for it. Spring it can definitely be said is only for the optimists. But this was supposed to be all about October.
IT is in the air.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


This Friday I am talking to Evan's school about illustration. No sweat, right? Well other than it is a Japanese public school and I don't speak Japanese... My drawings will just have to do the talking.

They have been reading "My Father's Dragon" written by Ruth Stiles Gannett and expertly illustrated by her daughter-in-law Ruth Chrisman Gannett. So, we will be using this book as a place to start. Now I have to say first of all that I love the illustrations in this book and since it is one of the oldest books in my memory they have for me a sort of elemental "truth" to them. SO it feels weird to rethink the wheel a bit.

I used to think that every text had a "platonic" ideal-the perfect interpretation. I don't think that anymore. There are so many thousands of ways to visualize something, reinterpret, add on to. None of which are 100% right or wrong. Even if you are both the author and illustrator. Once you send your story out into the ether anyone can visualize it in their own unique way.

Besides, I like drawing dragons.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sky and Spy

Have you ever had the experience of having an incredible idea and getting so excited about it only to find out later that either it wasn't original or that someone had already done it regardless. Well anyway its a bummer not to mention confusing. Like when George Harrison got sued for unintentionally using the the tune of "He's so Fine" (which I don't buy anyway). Not that anything like that has happened! I just had to was the slate clean on a little idea I had in the back of my mind. These are a couple of characters that ARE mine. I love designing characters. love, love, love...

Friday, September 17, 2010

What a summer...

Many of you know that we are living in Japan for a year. If not, now you do, I guess. Before we made it to Japan we were at my Sister-in-law's wedding. Happy Day! Before that we drove across the country from New York to Utah. Before that I was in New York City as assitant chair to the Society of Illustrators Original Art Show. I met a load of great fellow illustrators and had a generally amazing time. I also got a look at the archives which included stacks of Dulac(love Him), Dean Cornwell, Charles Dana Gibson. On and on.

I am not sure why I told that story in reverse.

Somewhere in the middle of all that, about South Dakota to be precise, we accidentally hit more motorcycles than I will ever see in my life. Sturgis, South Dakota is a mid-summer Mecca to 70,000 motorcycling crazy people. I am the only one in the universe who did not already know about this. Well I love people-watching. So, here are a few lovelies: