Heartland MAP - a labour of LOVE

For the past couple of months, interrupted by breaks, I have been working on a big picture!

The image contains musings about a land of love and I’m sure I will want to add things in the future. Perhaps a different LAND OF LOVE image may brew?

With this image I started off doing a big pencil sketch and thought I might hand paint it. However as I tried to dive in with colour I knew that a digital approach was the only way to realize my vision and all the detail I wanted to include.

My plan is to make some printable items from the image. Who doesn't love a big colorful tea towel or maybe a tote bag? The print part I have yet to investigate.

The over riding motivation was, as a wise teacher has said many times, ‘Do the work you want to get’ so here is HEARTLAND.

Graphic Novel Page Project


As part of the Make Art That Sells 5 month Illustration Bootcamp I created a graphic novel page. Lilla Rogers provided us with some miscellaneous prompts and we could use all or none. I incorporated/interpreted the following mage prompts in my piece - a  photo of a lady and dog, vintage photo of a man, picture of a small toy car and alligator, a blue bat and a toy dollar note which I had lots of fun reinventing! 

I have included some initial sketches to see where I start and where I finish. 


Sketch to finished art

Here is a window into my process creating the Multilit reader series illustrations. Below are very rough sketches which were the starting point through to approval sketch and then full color printed image. The "very" rough pencil sketches were snapped with my iPhone and used as a guide to redraw in photoshop on a wacom cintiq. This project required a lot of illustrations over a short period of time so using a digital process was invaluable. What I love about working digitally is having the layers and being able to cut and past to move things around. It is also a lot quicker to color digitally and the process works well if you set your color palette at the start of the project and pretty much stick with it. I use the Adobe library tool to keep track of colors and graphics. 


Creating A PDF Portfolio


Here is my downloadable PDF Illustration portfolio.

It's always a challenging to decide what to put in and leave out.

If you work in more than one market I think it's a good idea to be able to quickly amend your PDF to suit a client's needs.

Heart & Soul = THIS

Here is my Round 2 Global Talent Search competition entry.

It was such an intensive delight to create. The prize is a beauty, representation by the Lilla Rogers Studio  for 2 years. An absolute dream prize!

You can VOTE HERE for me.

Or cast a vote for another very deserving and keen to be represented artist.


One artist gets through on votes and 5 others will be picked to go through to the final round by an awesome group of industry judges. The winners create another illustration in response to a brief. It's a grueling process but really my idea of heaven on earth so be prepared to see me spruiking my fingers off on social media this week!

Lilla's courses are the best. The amount you can learn and grow is out of this world! I highly recommend them to any artist aspiring to Make Art That Sells.


A wonderful gift!


I am so excited and really grateful to have made it to the semi final round of Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search Competition

See my submission in my previous blog post.

In the past couple of years I have done several of Lilla's courses and the amount I have learned is just mind-blowing! The knowledge and insight Lilla and her team bring to the process of developing your art to the goal of Making Art That Sells is awesome! The artists I have met online are so talented and truly inspiring. If you are looking to develop your portfolio and style I highly recommend doing any of Lilla's courses. I am really looking forward to Lilla's next and new course Illustrating Children's books!

Making it to the Semi Final round is a real treat for me and I am going to enjoy every minute of this next assignment. I look forward to sharing it with you when it is posted in the Top 50 voting gallery on August 31st.



Spot the difference!


Amended post submission

The last two weeks I have been working on a submission for an illustration competition. Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search. The crux of the brief was to create a design for a tea cup, saucer and paper napkin. Like I am sure all the other entrants did, I agonized over all the details and composition. I really thought I had covered all the tweaks I needed to make but... having a look post submission I had a revelation about a change I think has made a huge difference. I am sure only to my eye of course! Significant others wonder about sanity but I know all you artists understand. Here are the two options the submission and the amended version. Can you spot the difference? 

Let's get serious!


















This is an Understatement = "Planning is not my strong point at the moment".

With 2 kids, 2 cats, a puppy, a fish and a husband (not in order of preference :)) and add to that a ripened age count, my brain is somewhat scrambled like a carton of eggs headed for a jumbo omelette.

Pre the circus menagerie that is now my life I was rather organized. I kept lists, was scrupulous with my time management but now, "meh" (I do love that word). Most primary care givers of human and/or animal varieties will probably get where I'm coming from. The planet of so many excuses not to get Sweet Honey Instant Tarts done -  for yourself!

I think you can tell my brain is not in a great state let alone being in the remote town of being a productive, financially compensated, working artist.

So it's time for that line in the sand, the leaf to be over and my head to return from the nether regions of planet excuses.

It's monthly calendar time, no not just a jumble of digital diarizing but a hard copy of a calendar. I made one in Adobe Illustrator. That's a good start, right?

Month Calendar template > DOWNLOAD and  Get your AUGUST on!

Please feel free to download this PDF. Scribble all over it and reprint it at will. That's what I'm going to do. I made it at 17 x 11 in for my big printer but it will print nicely at US Letter or A4 for the rest of the world.

Thoughts and comments are very welcome.

Line art to finished art

Here is my latest Make Art That Sells project to design a note book cover featuring the JONQUIL flower. Each student had a different flower theme depending on their birth month. My last post was the initial line art version and here is the developed image. It is always an inspiring process doing the MATS projects. It is wonderful to see all the other artists work.

For the Love of Line Art

The process for most of my illustration has been the same for years, start with a line art drawing. I envy illustrators who draw with a brush and create beautiful color work with watercolor and gouache. I keep telling myself to try this approach. The truth is I love pencil and being able to erase and I love the look of line art.

This featured work is a Make Art That Sells  project - a notebook cover with lettering and flowers. My flower name - Jonquil. I scanned the line art into Photoshop amd gave it a gradient background. I may print it out on watercolor paper and paint it or maybe paint digitally.

Myth 1 - Social Media Marketing is Easy for Artists

Marketing mastery for the success chasing artist is all a finger tap away. All the tools are there. Evidently so easy to utilize. 

Hands up how many artists find all this stuff not only time consuming but eternally baffling. Here is me posting some stuff to try and work out how I can efficiently connect my Squarespace site with the social media sites I use.

Trying to implement the technical side of social media integration is like doing battle with a mythical creature!

Summer of No art puppy love

In a slightly crazy move we have adopted a rescue puppy. Honey is a gorgeous handful! I am trying to be ok with the fact that between my 9 and 11 year old and a 4 month old puppy this summer will be a tad lacking in the creation of art.

I think my productivity will be challenged for a few months to come. I know it will be worth it because dogs are very inspiring creatures.

Honey is a rescue from homeforgooddogs.org



Coloring Book Mania!

You may have noticed that adult coloring books are everywhere these days. A recent Make Art That Sells project I did was to design a cover for a coloring book with the theme of 1920s ladies, hair and/or head gear. You may also have noticed from my mixed media work I am very partial to a head dress. Here is an illustration that I have refined for the Studio Montclair postcard design competition. Wish me luck!

KATHLEEN PLATE - Art Business Success

Last night, I had the exceptional pleasure of meeting and listening to the talented, wonderfully successful and gracious glass artist Kathleen Plate http://www.kathleenplate.com. It was part of artist Gayle Mahoney’s (also amazingly talented and successful!) Business Bootcamp for Artists class in Orange, NJ. http://www.gaylemahoney.com

Kathleen has supported herself as an artist for over 20 years. Whilst Kathleen has had some wildly successful times with clients such as Aveda and Coca Cola like every business it has had it’s ups and downs and challenges such as burn out and a sense of plateauing as a business.  It was really encouraging to listen to Kathleen talk fondly about the beginning phase of her business and that it's truly an exciting time.

Even though I have been a visual artist in one form or another for my, reasonably long, adult life I am now at the start of a new chapter in regards to developing a viable art business. Listening to Kathleen gave me a well timed boost of motivation and clear picture of what is possible with art business success.

Find out more about Kathleen: 






My "Make Believe" animation won a Lilla Rogers Studio video competition! I am so thrilled to be receiving a 1 on 1 portfolio review with Fairy Art Mother Lilla. I could not have wished for anything better for my art business wish list. Very happy indeed !

Click here to See IT!
Or scroll down my blog posts and it is also on this page.