Art has always been my thing. As soon as I could pick up a crayon, I was drawing. Making children's books became a dream of mine when I was 8 years old and a children's book author/illustrator came to our school to read his book. I was inspired! After that, I started making little picture books of my own, determined to get them published one day.
It took me decades of practice, and by 2006, I completed my first fully illustrated picture book, Joone. With research and luck, I found my amazing literary agent and she shopped my book around for a few years. After finding an interested editor, and after much revising and re-illustrating, getting Joone published by Penguin in 2013 was a huge step for me and I was excited to see where a career in children's books could go....
With my fancy agent and big publishing house, I was hoping for smooth sailing, but Life had all sorts of other plans!! I sailed right into heavy seas: discord, death, divorce, debt, disease, hurricanes, and floods. I had to put aside my book projects for several years while I navigated some very choppy waters.
In 2019, I had an artistic breakthrough when I put a smiley face on a perfect blue ink drop. I immediately put aside another book project I had been toiling over and moved my attention to a book about water. I submitted the idea to my publishing team, worked on it for a year, and DROP was published in early 2021.
Now DROP is traveling the world and teaching children (and their parents!) all about water. She is the first in a series I will make about our marvelous planet Earth.
I love our world. I love being part of it all. And I love expressing myself through art.
Creating art is special to me. Whether it's illustrative or abstract, making art is my time to be present. It only happens in the now.
When I illustrate, I am inside my story—in the same world where the story is made—translating it into pictures. It's like magic! It feels truly awesome to picture something in my mind and then watch a whole scene come out of my hand just by moving ink and water over a paper! I love it!! I love being a storyteller and I love being able to draw. The magic of creation is real. It turns the invisible into visible, the intangible into tangible. I hope you can feel some of that magic when you look at my illustrations and step into those worlds in your own imagination.
Creating abstract art is when I get to express myself however I want, in whatever colors feel good, and then (added bonus!) I get to decorate my house with all those good vibes!! I love creating happy spaces with bold shapes and bright colors. It brings joy, beauty, and style to my spaces. I hope it can do the same for you!
I get inspired by life! Nature, stories, feelings... all sorts of things inspire me! Animals being adorable inspire me. Humor inspires me. For my illustrations, teaching big ideas through cute little characters inspires me. For decorative art, color and beauty inspire me. I draw and paint with purpose. And each piece has its own inspiration.
I come to the paper or canvas with an idea in mind. I do not stand in front of a blank slate for long. For abstract art, I may just have some colors I want to use or a mood I'm trying to convey. For illustrations, there's always a plan—and it's gotta be an inspiring one!
I really enjoy art in all its forms. Everything from theater and music, to pottery and woodwork, to gardens and architecture—the world and its people are capable of creating amazing beauty! I am inspired to be a part of that in any and every way I can.
Writing and illustrating children's books is my childhood dream come true. My two books, Joone (2013) and Drop (2021) are published by Dial Books of Penguin Random House and are currently making their way around the world. Those two book characters, Joone and Drop, are both represented here in my art shop alongside some other cute little characters of mine, like Gentleman Bug and Secret the Unicorn.
Illustration is story-telling through art. With my books, I use pictures to say what the words cannot. And the pictures can say a lot! But before the story, first comes the character. Their stories develop, and they may get their own books someday, but for now, I love that I can share them with you here. And there are always new little cuties coming!
Check out my Books page for more about my children's books!
Realism is where I started learning art, and illustrative work is the bulk of my art career, but abstract art is how I decorate my home.
I really started appreciating abstract art when I was in my twenties, living in my first home alone. I wanted art that wasn't depicting a specific person or scene—just something beautiful that I could look at over and over. But making my own abstract art was not as easy as I expected: my first pieces were muddy messes!! I had to learn that abstract art isn't just randomly pushing paint around a canvas.
My abstract art doesn't usually tell a story. Its purpose is to be beautiful, colorful, and stylish. Some of it is simple, but beauty need not be complicated. I love how abstract art feels rather than speaks. It is an elegant way to create a mood with just shape and color.
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