Illustrations

Sometimes, I draw.

These are in-progress illustrations for children’s book manuscripts I’ve written. Drawing helps me think out what’s happening in the text. Even if I’m not ultimately the one who illustrates the books, sketching gives me a way to make sure that what I’m writing will have a good visual presence on the page.

PICTURE BOOKS (Manuscripts, that is)

BIG PETE & LITTLE PETE

Big Pete and Little Pete live on a colorful mountain in the middle of the sea. Everything is cheery and bright—the sea glass, the shore birds, even the Petes’ cherry red knee socks! But when a mysterious storm blows through, everything turns stone gray. Now it’s up to this grandpa and grandson—and their tandem bicycle—to bring the color back.

I just finished revising this manuscript and am beginning to work on the images. I love, love, love using cut paper, and I’m working on making a stop-motion animation trailer for this book. The sketch of Little Pete came out essentially right the first time. He needs a little finessing—like, why are his femurs so long? And why is the flesh pooling at his knees?—but he looks pretty much how I envisioned he would. Big Pete, on the other hand. Man, it took 84 tries to get him right. Yes, 84. For real.

Here’s the tandem bike.

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And here’s Little Pete, with his soon-to-be-fixed, abnormally long femurs.

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And here’s Big Pete. His head looks sharp as a cactus, but you can tell he’s a softy.

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And, finally, Humperdink! He’s the first colorful thing Little Pete finds after the big storm, and he gets to ride around in the bicycle basket. He’s kind of a composite of all of my kitties (see below). I have a thing for redheads.

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DELILAH & THE DESPERATELY DULL DAY

Delilah is having a totally rotten day on the ranch—the sky is gray, the horses are glum…even Delilah’s pigtails droop. Everything’s dull without Granddaddy. But when Delilah finds his old lasso, she discovers that she can rope the clouds…and, maybe, the gloomy day away. 

pictures coming soon eventually 

BRISTLE

Bristle’s wool is scratchy and stiff. You can’t spin it. You can’t knit it. You certainly can’t make a sweater with it. It isn’t good for anything. So he thinks.

Bristle: The Steel Wool Sheep Cover Mockup

Bristle: The Steel Wool Sheep, cover mockup

The Carnival

“The Carnival,” a scene from Bristle the Steel Wool Sheep. 

The Beekeeper's House

The Beekeeper’s House, from Bristle

The Beekeeper
The Shepherd, from Bristle

The Barn, from Bristle                                                                                                     I named Bristle's farm after my grandmother, Agnes Glenn Nance. She grew up on a farm in Colbert, GA, and apparently hated feeding the chickens because they'd peck at her legs. Someday it would be nice to have an actual farm named after her. I don’t think she’d mind that at all. Sheep and lavender. Make cheese and soap. And sweaters. Lots of sweaters and mittens.

The Barn, from Bristle                                                                                                    
I named Bristle’s farm after my grandmother, Agnes Glenn Nance. She grew up on a farm in Colbert, GA, and apparently hated feeding the chickens because they’d peck at her legs. Someday it would be nice to have an actual farm named after her. I don’t think she’d mind that at all. Sheep and lavender. Make cheese and soap. And sweaters. Lots of sweaters and mittens.

I actually own all of these clothes. Everything is factually correct, except my gloves have more holes in them. But I don't have her red hair. Alas. I have two red cats and a redheaded husband. I hairdo vicariously.

The Beekeeper. (color version)                   I actually own all of these clothes. Everything is factually correct, except my gloves have more holes in them. Alas, I don’t have her red hair. I have two red cats and a redheaded husband. I hairdo vicariously.

Bristle tries to find a more suitable occupation for a sheep with scratchy wool. Making cotton candy isn't it.

Bristle tries to find a more suitable occupation for a sheep with scratchy wool. Making cotton candy isn’t it.

FOGGY

Foggy is a very big bear with even bigger dreams: to be a famous roller skater! He has just one problem: he farts when he’s nervous. And thing biggest thing that makes Foggy nervous is his tiny boss, the circus ringmaster. 

Foggy Bottom: The Gassy Grizzly Cover Mockup

Foggy Bottom: The Gassy Grizzly, cover mockup

OTHER FUN THINGS (Or, CATS)

Lots of people are crazy about their animals, but my sister and I are the only ones I know of who have developed full-blown personalities—complete with voices!—for our pets. I realize that this behavior would probably be deemed questionable by mental health professionals, but I honestly don’t care. It’s fun, and it sure beats talking to yourself. I mean, if my cats existed as muppets, it would almost be normal. For the record, immediate family members and close friends have feigned worry over this, but they totally talk to the animals. I haven’t figured out a way to turn these characters into a book yet, so they mainly exist as a series of one-offs. Like personalized cartoons. Sometimes Seppe and Monkie write lunch notes to my husband. Sometimes, they text my friends. Seppe has a twangy, lispy voice and is incredibly outgoing. Like if Big Bird and Sponge Bob and an auction barker had a cat together, it would sound like Seppe. Monk has a soothing, Midwestern, high-pitched style that is somewhere between a mourning dove coo and my Grandpa Schlaifer. They’re both dead now, but that doesn’t stop them from communicating! Puh-lease. Our two living cats, Gus and Roman, also speak. Gus rolls his Rs perpetually, even if he’s not saying an R, so its like he’s speaking through an old fan at all times. Roman’s still a kitten, so all he says is MEEP! He’s like the Road Runner crossed with a cheese biscuit. We call him Fluffy Butter Feet.

Seppe & Monkie

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Gus & Roman

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A Passover lunch note to Arny.

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One time, my friend’s three-year-old, who loves cats (and saying the names of funny body parts at full volume) was preternaturally bored and giving his mother a hard time. I thought an imaginary trip to the swimming pool with two cats might help. This solved all of his mother’s problems. For exactly two minutes.

Naturally, Monkie wanted to join Seppe & Thomas at the pool. More robustly sized than his younger brother, Monk sports a classically modest, old-fashioned one-piece suit.

Naturally, Monkie wanted to join Seppe & Thomas at the pool. More robustly sized than his younger brother, Monk sports a classically modest, old-fashioned one-piece suit.