All posts filed under: Thoughts

My Very First…SCBWI!

Events / Thoughts

So I had been tentative, if not scared, by the idea of attending an entire conference dedicated to the world I have not yet been able to enter professionally. But hearing about other folks’ positive conference experiences (Melissa Guion and Robin to name a few). I figured this was my year to grow up, and Robin would be there!* There were preparations to make:

Reviewing, reviewed.


For the longest time, I didn’t read children’s book reviews. I used to work for Junior Library Guild, which is a K-12 collection development service, so I read pretty much everything–six months to a year before it came out. By the time a book reached the buzz circuit, I already knew what I thought about it. It was my job to be a picky reader. JLG chooses one book per month for its various age […]

Portfolio Bears

Show and Tell / Thoughts

So over the next week or so I’m trying to redo my portfolio website which is in grave need of some serious lovin’. Luckily, Robin gave us some great tips in her post about what Art Directors are looking for in a portfolio. I’m weeding through all my images trying to figure out which pieces should make varsity and which ones should be bench warmers. I came across my bears, a series I did for […]

Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby: Picture Books and Doing It

Featured Books / Thoughts

Last week, out of the blue, my 4.5 year old asked me, ” but how does the baby get IN the mommy’s belly?” In a not-my-best-parenting moment I cheerily said, “Hmmm I forget! I’ll have to look it up and get back to you.” Up until this point we had gotten by with a great book called Amazing You. It’s a perfect first book on where babies come from and I recommend it, but it does […]

sniff…sniff…a final goodbye to the Donnell


So yes, you are probably thinking: “Enough already! That library closed in 2008!” But until a few weeks ago, the platform at the 5th Ave E train stop still had the poster for the Donnell library along its wall of cultural institutions as is conveniently still explained here. So although the Donnell was closed, I still had the poster to remind me. I would stand in front of it on the platform, that was my […]

A Technique For Producing Ideas

Creativity / Process / Thoughts

My writer friends, Patrick and Cassie, have this sign hanging on the cork board of their home office. I asked Patrick where he got it, and it turns out it is an except from a classic book, A Technique for Producing Ideas, by advertising executive, James Webb Young. Young first presented the 5-step process in 1939 and he published a book about it in 1965. I love it. Especially the “Relax” part. Seriously! I find that […]

Why are all my favorite illustrators men?


Every so often, I’m asked to name my favorite illustrators: the ones who influence me, the ones whose work I hold up to my nose with my glasses off so I can study their every pen mark and brushstroke. Though it varies slightly with the seasons, the children’s book section of the list goes something like this: William Steig, Calef Brown, Quentin Blake, Roz Chast, Neal Layton, Blexbolex, Maira Kalman, Tomi Ungerer,* Jules Feiffer,* James […]

Colored Pencils

Thoughts / Tools of the Trade

Why do colored pencils get such a bum rap? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told something to the effect of: good stuff, but stay away from colored pencils. It is those same people telling me that colored pencils can be hard to reproduce–but I love using them. As a kid I always drew with colored pencils, maybe because almost every year for Christmas I was given a new set. By the […]

I just wrote a picture book. Will you illustrate it?


I get asked this question a lot by many lovely and well-meaning people. In fact, I’ve answered it so many times that I’ve thought about having a boilerplate answer. Unless your name is Arthur Yorinks or Daniel Pinkwater, here it is: Dear Friend/Cousin/Hairdresser/Friend’s cousin’s hairdresser, Thanks for thinking of me to illustrate your manuscript. Unfortunately, I have to reserve all my unpaid time for my own speculative and personal projects.* You actually don’t need to […]