Monday, November 2, 2015

Screen Printing

I have been taking a screen printing class the last month or so and have been loving it! I thought it would be fun to show my process and some other projects I have been working on (besides the pizza rat in the previous post).

This is by no means a full tutorial. I know I am missing some critical and key steps and things to consider when screen printing.  This is more like a guide to help those who are unaware how screen printing works to get a general idea.

Please excuse that these photos were taken from different projects, but show the overall process.

Step one: Create a black design on see-through vellum or acetate.

My design had two colors so I was making sure my second layer lined up with the first one below it. 
I need a second screen to make the second color.
My full design also did not fit onto my screen so I did it in sections.

Step two: Create your screen, which is like a fancy stencil.
  This process includes coating a screen and exposing it to a light source with your design, 
which hardens the coating on the screen except where the design was. 
Then the screen is washed (see photo below) and the design washes out 
because it was not hardened by the light.
Also tape the edges so no ink goes through where the screen was not coated.

This photo is actually of me cleaning an empty screen, but you get the idea.

Step three: Preparing your surface.  This might be paper or fabric or any flat material.
Usually you'll need to cut the paper to be the size you want, or iron your fabric and have it stick to a board using sticky stuff (I'm not exactly sure what it is though).

Step four: Mix your color and get it to the right consistency.

Step 5 (not shown): Align and register your paper or fabric so that the prints are consistent.

Step six: Flood the screen with ink before printing.

Step Seven: Use a squeegee to pull the ink across the screen.

Step Eight: Put the print on the drying rack to dry. 
Repeat pulling the ink across the screen on paper or fabric until you are 
finished with that color or screen.
Then make sure to clean the work surface and screen thoroughly.

Step Nine: Eagerly wait until you can return to the printshop to continue printing!
(Or if you're lucky and have enough time continue printing once the ink is dry.)

The above tea towels will be available for sale in my Etsy shop soon. Stay tuned!

For a more complete guide to screen printing visit this awesome blog:

Friday, October 23, 2015

Book Cover Reveal!

I'm so excited to share the cover of my upcoming book Lorenzo, the Pizza-Loving Lobster!
The photo is of the proofs I received - it looks fantastic!
Lorenzo is excited to meet you in May 2016.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Hi Again!

Hi Blog Followers,

So much has happened since my last blog post. I plan on being more active on here.

I'm proud to say that I have finished my book Lorenzo, the Pizza-Loving Lobster.  It will be released in summer 2016 through Little Bee Books! I'm so excited! More news about Lorenzo's book release will be coming soon.

I also have been working on more children's books ideas and illustrations.
Here are two of my latest pieces.


Recently I added more cards to my Etsy shop. I had so much fun expanding my "punny" Christmas card collection. I hope they make you laugh!
To view them please visit my Etsy shop url is
Here are some of the cards:


Currently I also am taking a screen printing class, which I'm really enjoying.  I have always wanted to take screen printing.  Below is my first project - Pizza Rat!

My first color was pink

My second color was a transparent yellow.  The orange is created from the overlapping of the pink and the transparent yellow.

The final image with the third color of maroon. 
This is one happy rat!


I also have been busy with the Inktober challenge. Inktober was created by Jake Parker, as a challenge for artists to create any piece of artwork every day in October using ink.  It could be a pen, ink wash, or anything ink related.  This has been a great exercise for me since I work mostly digitally. Here are a few selected images below. To see more please visit my Facebook Page or Instagram.

More artwork and updates coming soon!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

I Have A Book Deal!

I'm so excited I can share my good news. I have my first book deal!! My debut picture book, that I also wrote, will be out summer 2016! The book is titled "Lorenzo the Pizza-Loving Lobster" and will be published through Little Bee Books.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Even More Great Tools!

Hi friends!

I wanted to share some more great information and tools that I have found helpful for my work.

The first tool I'd like to share is Cofftivity.

Coffivitity brings the sounds and ambience of a local coffee shop wherever you are.  It is a quiet hum of changing noise that makes you feel like you're in a coffee shop.  This is great to listen to while you work because it gives you some background noise without being distracting.

This small amount of ambient noise is great because ambient noise has been scientifically proven to help with the creative process.  You can read more on the New York Times Blog.

Another great tool I use is Tweetdeck.

Tweetdeck is an downloadable application for your computer that helps organize everything on Twitter.  You can make your own columns based on your feed, specific hashtags, your notifications, activity, messages, and more.  The application is customizable and makes using Twitter feel less overwhelming.

One reason I use Tweetdeck is for the weekly #kidlitart chats.  They occur every Thursday at 9PM EST with a new topic every week.  More information about the history of the chats can be found here.

To join in the chat check out the official Twitter account for the weekly topic.  Just use the hashtag #kidlitart in all your posts to join in on the conversation.  I have found these chats very useful.  Topics have included promotional materials, websites, conferences, color, and more!  It's a great way to connect with other people in the Kid Lit industry.

The last tool I want to share today is called f.lux.  While it is not necessarily for art and design, I can see how this tool would be especially helpful for writers.

f.lux has your computer follow a more natural light pattern.  During the times when the sun is down, or partially down, the program changes your computer to emit less blue light.  This is to replicate the natural light pattern of the sun and regulate your melatonin levels, which is supposed to help with sleep.

Some of you might be wondering if you create digital art that this will mess up your color.  While this can be the case, you can turn off the program for any specific application.  If I am working in Photoshop late at night I can turn f.lux off for just Photoshop so my color is true.  Whenever I click on any other application the orange glow will return.

I have found using f.lux has helped me feel less awake and have less strain on my eyes late at night.  While I can't say it will work for you it's worth a try.

I hope you find these tools helpful!  If you have any great tools to share please feel free to leave a comment.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

SCBWI New York Conference 2015 Recap

This past weekend I attended the SCBWI (Society of Children's Books Writers and Illustrators) New York 2015 conference.  It was a great experience and I want to share some highlights.

My portfolio, postcards, and notebook ready for the conference!

My name tag. I added my Twitter picture and name to help people recognize me.

Let's get this conference started!

I started my conference with the optional Illustrator Intensive on Friday.  It was an informative day filled with lectures, an in-class assignment, panels with publishers and editors, and meeting other fellow illustrators. This also was when illustrators dropped off portfolios for the SCBWI Portfolio Award. Art directors, agents, and publishers to looked at our work too.

At the end of the Illustrator Intensive there was a raffle and I won 'Louise Loves Art' by Kelly Light. I had been wanting this book for a while. I tweeted the author/illustrator that I won and she happened to be in the hotel. We met up and she signed my book. I couldn't be happier!

The industry portfolio review ended Friday evening. 
Most people stayed around to look at other portfolios before leaving with their work.
It was so great to see such a wide range of techniques and incredible talent.

My awesome SCBWI folder. It had important handouts and my schedule.

Saturday the conference really began.  It was a mixture of inspiring lectures from authors and illustrators, panels with agents, publishers and editors, workshops, and more!

Some of the topics of the workshops I went to were "Creating Picture Book Art" and "Developing Your Illustration Style and Career Path."I took many notes and learned much that will help me.

I also met some wonderful writers and illustrators.  There was an informal art browse where illustrators could show their portfolio again. The evening ended with a social that included a mashed potato bar in martini glasses with various toppings!

The above photo shows the largest conference room with 1200 attendees listening to one of the lectures.

Sunday started with the announcement of awards. 
I'm so happy that my talented friend Mika Song won the SCBWI Portfolio Award!  
Check out her wonderful website here.

Sunday also included more panels, lectures, and keynotes. The final keynote was from Kwame Alexander who had just won the Newbery Award. His speech and all the others were incredible and were each so unique!

At the conference there was a bookstore where books from presenting authors and illustrators could be bought. There was an autograph party as well, where these books could be signed.

My postcard collection from the various illustrators! Such talent!

The overall conference was great and I left feeling very inspired! I'm so happy to have connected with so many other writers and illustrators and have the opportunity to show my work. I also learned much from the various events.

Top Takeaways and Tips:
  • If you can afford it and have the time take the Illustrator Intensive. It's a great way to hone your skills and get your work in front of so many people in the industry (through the Friday portfolio review).
  • Talk to the people next to you while waiting for a lecture to start.  It's a good way to connect with people and make new friends. 
  • Ask questions during the workshops. It is helpful to think of with questions before the workshop starts too.
  • Have a business card or postcard ready to share.  Also make sure you order and carry enough! I ran out of postcards during the Saturday art browse.
  • Dress in layers! The hallways were really warm, but the conference rooms were very cold.
  • If you are participating in the Saturday art browse stand next to your portfolio. People love talking to the artist and you never know who you'll meet.
  • There is a food court in Grand Central and you don't even have to leave the building.  It's great for those cold New York City days! They also have a great variety of options.
  • Bring cash to buy books.  The bookstore offered a discount if you bought your items with cash instead of a credit card.
  • Connect and use social media.  I met some of my social media friends in real life and people recognized me and my work from Tweeting, Instagramming, etc...

SCBWI did a great job of putting together a streamlined and informative conference. Bravo!

A more detailed list of events, workshops, panels, photos, and more can be found on the Official SCBWI Conference Blog.

I hope I can go to more SCBWI conferences in the future.  I really enjoyed the New Jersey conference last June. Maybe I'll try the Los Angeles conference?

Did you attend the conference? What was your favorite part?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Review of Moleskine's Smart Notebook

For Christmas I received a wonderful gift!  I received a special Moleskine called Moleskine's Smart Notebook.  It is connected with Adobe Creative Cloud and turns your sketches into editable SVG files! I had no idea that such a product existed! All you need is your notebook, a smartphone with the Moleskine Creative Cloud Connected app, and an Adobe account.

The process is pretty simple.

I decided to make some Valentine's designs with my first test of this cool notebook.

The beautiful notebook has a fun cover with wavy lines and the Adobe Creative Cloud logo.
The paper inside is nice and not too thick, which is my usual complaint with Moleskines.

You start with a sketch within the squares in the journal 
(black and white line art works best, no shading).  
The next step in the process is to take the picture in some good light.

The app then notices the squares on the notebook paper and crops the image accordingly.

Unfortunately, even though all my designs were in that box the image was cropped even more.

The image is then converted to black and white.

Then you can send it to the Creative Cloud.

Here are my designs on the Creative Cloud website.  It saves the original photo and the SVG file. 
From here you can download the files.

I was worried this page wouldn't convert to a SVG due to the smudges/pencil lines 
(I was experimenting with different pens), but it converted just fine! It ignored the smudges.

A complaint I have of the process is that it converts my sketches not as smooth as I'd like it. 
I should probably also work on making my linework more smooth, now that I know it accentuates jagged lines.
The Original Sketch
The converted SVG file.

I took the pencil smoothing tool in Illustrator and fixed it though.

Here I am working on a Valentine's design using graphics from this process.

Overall, I think the Moleskine Smart Notebook is a great product.  

The pros are: 
  • Great way to bring my sketches into more of my designs.  
  • Makes my designs look less "digital". 
  • Overall smooth process
  • I can edit my sketches
  • A great way to design on the go 

The cons are: 
  • Some of the shape conversions are a bit jagged and not as smooth as I'd like. 
  • The image is cropped too much.  Staying inside the squares isn't enough. This makes the drawing area in the notebook even smaller.
I'm really excited to use this notebook! I think it will help me make some great patterns and hand lettering that I can edit in Illustrator.

Do you have a Moleskine Smart Notebook? What do you think of it? Let me know in the comments.