Monday, October 20, 2014


Good morning, Good Afternoon and Good evening wherever you happen to be:

A BIG thank you to Patricia Keeler who tagged me for this blog tour. I know Patricia from our association CBIG-NYC or the Children's Book Illustrator Group based in New York City. Although we have never met, I feel an artistic bond with this talented artist.  Her paintings depict the most delightful aspects of all children.  You can see more of her  work on Patricia Keeler's Blog  andher Website, I LIKE BOOKS With PICTURES

This time it is my turn to tell you about a character in a picture book I am creating.   

What is the name of your character?
Lenny is a very lonely, but hungry dragon. It has been given an enchanted cookie by a little man with a rather wicked sense of humor. That little man loves to play tricks on the forest creatures.

When and where is the story set?
The story opens in the  forest but soon moves to a castle kitchen just as Catherine, the  cook, and her helpers, Trevor and Amelia are preparing a huge birthday dinner for the Queen.

What should we know about Lenny?
 Lenny is an especially lonely and hungry dragon, but the favorite food of this particular dragon has unexpectedly become something other than what you would expect.  Even the dragon doesn’t understand why its tastes are so particular.  Fine china, crystal goblets and the Queen's favorite Golden Bowl seem too tempting to resist. (I would suggest that the forest trickster has something to do with this.)

What messes up its life?
 After gobbling up most of the china in the kitchen including the Queen’s favorite Golden Bowl, the dragon is chased throughout the castle by all the staff with swords, daggers and brooms.   It can’t get away unless it makes its way into the deep caves below the castle. Hiding and hungry the dragon is lonely, afraid, and in danger.

 What is the personal goal of your character?
 This poor dragon desperately wants to be free of the caves, return to a normal life of eating what it really wants, and find one or two true friends.

But what about that Golden Bowl?

You can see more of my work on my website and once there you can find my books, and more about how I work.

and now....

I have the pleasure of passing the Meet My Character Blog Tour to  two amazing children's book illustrators: Look for their introduction to their characters next Monday, Oct. 27.

 Christine Mix Blog  and Christine Mix Website

It was just after Christine Mix graduated from the University of South Florida in 1988, with a B.A. in Fine Arts and Mass Communications, that she painted her first children’s illustration in watercolor, titled Spike & Wordo’s Magical Wish. Hence, Spike the Dragon was born and Christine realized she had found her niche in art and her future.

Her children's illustrations can be found in Stories for Children Magazine, Back- to- School- Issue, 2012, in SCBWI’s Bulletin in 2005, 2009, 2010 and so far, one children’s book, Write Out of the Oven! by Josephine M. Waltz & Illustrated by Christine Mix, published by Teacher Ideas Press / Greenwood Publishing, 2005. As a children’s author, Christine has one non-fiction short true story, Standing Up, that was published, in Chicken Soup for the Child’s Soul Character-Building Stories to Read with Kids, Ages 5-8, May 2007.
Christine is currently working on her second PB story & dummy, featuring Spike the Dragon and some ghoulish friends.

I have the pleasure of also passing this task to Amy Cullings Moreno.  This will introduce Amy Cullings Moreno's Blog...And you can find her website and portfolio here.

I have been creating children’s illustrations and art since I was a child. I have always enjoyed reading, writing and books, and creating art. The combination of these passions led me to study commercial illustration in Boston at Butera School of Art, where I specialized in children’s illustration.
I enjoy creating images that inspire and uplift, as well as sharing my faith in a Good God, and hopefully allowing that faith to shine through my art. 
My husband and I live in Northern Virginia, and we have three wonderful grown children who have been much of the inspiration for my children’s illustrations.
I am currently studying oil painting again, and finding great joy in it. I hope to add more of this style to my newer illustration work.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

How I work....

Sometimes I get emails from other artists and authors asking how I work.  I used to have this information on my website, but when I reduced the size of the site, I left that part out.  So here is a brief bit about how I work and where I work.

My studio is small.. only about 10 feet by 10 feet... and if that sounds like a lot... it isn't once you fit in two huge desks. There is one for the hardware and one for the drawing boards and paints.

In addition to those there are 8 bookshelves ( all filled) and two file cabinets, one rolling taboret, a large floor cabinet for storing paper and providing a place on top for the wide body printer, a CD cabinet (looks like a card catalog) another set of three oak flat file drawers...on top of a third table, and a dry mount machine.

Add to this the brushes, pens, sketchbooks, assorted small stuffed and ceramic animals, boxes of scraps for the children to use in creating their own masterpieces, and on and on.
In other words, the space gets used.  Since I only sit at the drawing board or the Cintiq I have room for me in there too.

But that is only the beginning... How I Work is a bit different.
I enjoy the option of drawing just about anywhere in the house or outdoors.  If I am upstairs with family I can carry a box of pencils and a sketchbook.  If I need something from those drawings I either scan or photograph them and move them to the computer.

Most of the time I use a very large drawing pad on the drawing board in the studio. I like to make BIG sketches. It seems to let the lines flow more freely.  Those can be painted or photographed for later. They are always way too big for the small scanner I have.

If I transfer work to the computer, I paint with Painter 2015 and / or Photoshop. The final results are always open to more traditional painting if I think it would make the work better.

When I am happy with the work I will print out a copy on the wide body printer and check the color and texture.  If the work is for a book I am illustrating the last step is to convert the final computer image to CMYK so that it can be printed by most printers.  Sometimes I can just submit in RGB..but always have to ask first.

For some of the authors I work with, I will also do the layout in InDesign and convert to a print ready PDF for their chosen printer.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A review for the Star Giver by Katherine Boyer.

There is nothing as sweet as a child who asks questions about the world around him or her.  “Why is the sky blue?”  “Where do babies come from?”  are the two that immediately come to mind.  In this case, Little Bear wants his mother to tell him where the stars come from. It gives her a chance to tell him a Native American folktale that will entertain him as well as relate a fascinating story.. 
            With beautiful l illustrations done in Native American colors, Mrs. Nielson illustrates the story, as it unfolds through the word of Mother Bear and the imagination of Little Bear. 
            The Star Giver holds the stars close until night, when it is time to release them, then waits until morning to finish his task.  You will love sharing this story with your children at bedtime, as well as any other time of the day.  And she tells you to look for the “secret on the last page of this book”.  What is it?  You need to get the book to find out.               
            From her website: “Ginger Nielson lives at the top of a hill, near the edge of a forest in semi-rural New Hampshire, USA. There is a magic wand on her desk, a dragon in her basement, and a tiny elephant in her studio. Everything else is nearly normal.”  Sounds like a great place for her imagination to run rampant through the wonderful, imaginative stories that she illustrates, whether that of her own or another writer.   

Friday, September 19, 2014

For Illustration Friday ~ NOVELTY

Of course it would be a novelty if Pigs really could fly... and someday one of them just might!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Our parents beautiful Log Home is for sale. On a hilltop in Southern Vermont it is both a hideaway, a peaceful retreat, and a place where the family and extended family can enjoy 67 acres of beauty, sports, and fun year round.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Children’s Book Review | August 26, 2014
The Star Giver: A Legend from the Far, Far North By Ginger NielsonThe Star Giver
By Ginger Nielson
Paperback: 34 pages
Age Range: 3-7
Publisher: Virginia Neilson (September 1, 2014)
What to expect: Folktale, Bears, Stars, Illustrations
Ginger Nielson tells a soothing folktale set deep in the forest. When Little Bear asks, “Where did the stars come from?” Mother Bear leans in closely to share a Native American legend from “the far, far north.” Illustrations rich in deep nighttime colors create a peaceful visual to the comforting story of a man, made of stars and the branches of pines, who forever continues to spread starlight across the night sky. This man is known as the Star Giver.
“His gifts are hidden under an enormous cloak. Yet the starlight beneath sparkles through and lights his way wherever he wanders.”
Each night, the Star Giver travels through the forest to the sea. When he reaches the shoreline he opens his cloak and allows the wind to blow his stars into the aquatic scenery.
Illustration copyright © 2014 by Ginger Nielson from “The Star Giver”
The sea tosses them with “towering waves until they escape to the sky” where they stay until morning above the slumbering animals.
The Star Giver: A Legend from the Far, Far North By Ginger Nielson
Illustration copyright © 2014 by Ginger Nielson from “The Star Giver”
The Star Giver remains quiet and still until he opens his cloak and calls for the stars to return to him.
The Star Giver: A Legend from the Far, Far North By Ginger Nielson
Illustration copyright © 2014 by Ginger Nielson from “The Star Giver”
Dramatic brush strokes swirl across double page spreads expressing emotion and providing movement to the illustrations.
The nature of the story is mystical and therefore sure to open the slumbering doors of dreamtime if chosen as a bedtime read. Recommended for children ages 3 through 7.
Add this book to your collection: The Star Giver
About the Author
Ginger Nielson lives at the top of a hill, near the edge of a forest in semi-rural New Hampshire, USA. There is a magic wand on her desk, a dragon in her basement, and a tiny elephant in her studio. Everything else is nearly normal. Coming to the world of children’s illustration a bit later in life, Ginger was an elementary school teacher and art teacher before becoming a travel agent. Both of those careers enabled her to connect deeply with many children and many different cultures. To date she has illustrated over 45 children’s books. She is busy creating illustrations for other authors and writing and illustrating her own stories as well.

Monday, August 25, 2014

From the Reader Views :  Review for the Star Giver


Ginger Nielson
Ginger Nielson Children’s Books (2014)
ISBN 9780991309337
Reviewed by Miles Cassells (age 4) and Mom for Reader Views Kids (07/14)
It’s time for bed and Little Bear looks up into the sky and asks Mother Bear where the stars come from. Little Bear must close his eyes and listen carefully as Mother Bear tells the story of the Star Giver, a man made of stars and branches of pines. 
“The Star Giver” by Ginger Nielson is a beautiful story to read to young children when it’s time for bed. Not only did Miles love reading the book, he loved the illustrations. A few pages in, Miles said that “we need one of those on Earth.” (He has quite the fascination with knowing that we live on planet Earth.) When I asked him what he loves best about the book, Miles replied that he loves the bears and the man with the stars in his coat (cloak). 
 “The Star Giver” is a brilliant take on what to tell children when they ask where the stars come from. The story is told by Mother Bear to Little Bear at bedtime and explains how the Star Giver tosses the stars into the sea and the sea tosses the stars into the sky so that creatures below can sleep peacefully.
Bedtime can be such a hassle with young children and I surely have this issue with Miles almost daily. We like to read a book before bed and I always try to select a book that is calm and that will lead Miles into understanding that we need to rest for the next day. Having such a peaceful story to read to Miles is always at the top of my list. 
“The Star Giver” by Ginger Nielson will be a go-to book for many nights to come, I can already tell as Miles has had me read the story to him more than once. Ginger Nielson is a talented author and illustrator and I hope that she has more books in store. I highly recommend this title to others as “The Star Giver” is surely a fresh new way to look at the stars.