The Novelist

Posted on Nov 4, 2013 in Blog, Picture Book Illustration


Rumor has it that November is “National Novel Writing Month,” also known as “NaNoWriMo.” According to Wikipedia, the goal of NaNoWriMo is “to get people writing, no matter how bad the writing is, through the end of a first draft.”

The NaNoWriMo goal is certainly one that could be applied to any sort of creative project. Even in illustration, I find that just getting started on a project can often be the hardest part. The success of NaNoWriMo has fueled numerous spinoffs–like “PiBoIdMo” (Picture Book Idea Month), “NaPlWriMo” (National Play Writing Month) and “NaNoFiMo” (National Novel Finishing Month)–just to name a few.

I am not planning to write a novel this year. (I’ll stick with reading them.) But in celebration, here’s an illustration to put you all in the mood.

Will you be participating in any sort of writing challenge this month?

Making a Painting — Part 2

Posted on May 10, 2012 in Blog, Process and Technique

When we left off the last post, I had just taped my soaking-wet watercolor paper to a sturdy piece of board and left it to dry. Here’s what happens next in my process.

(If you missed Part 1, you can read it here.)

The studio set-upAt this point the paper will stay totally flat, no matter how much water or paint I put on the surface, which will keep the watercolor from pooling in the valleys of warped paper.  I keep a variety of brush sizes available but will often paint an entire painting with only two brushes. My favorite is my trusty Winsor and Newton Series 7 (size 8.) I know these are awfully expensive, but adore this brush. I can paint incredibly fine lines or nice broad strokes with it, and it holds a ton of water. If I ever forget how great it is, I need only use a different brush for a few minutes and I’m quickly reminded. The other brush I’ll commonly use is a sable square wash for covering large areas with washes or gradients.

Sometimes I will pre-mix some color in little glass bowls if I need a lot. The three dishes below have the three main colors I used for the painting: French Ultramarine, Quinacridone Red, and a warm yellow that was a mixture of New Gamboge and Quinacridone Red. I will spend a lot of time testing out different color combinations on small scraps of paper to make sure I have the gamut right. I still keep my full palette handy for extra touches if needed and for color mixing.

Materials and paletteOkay, ready for some painting already? Here we go!


Pictures from the Sun Gallery

Posted on Mar 9, 2012 in Blog, News and Events
Pictures from the Sun Gallery

The Sun Gallery has posted some great photographs from the Children’s Book Illustrator exhibition that my work is a part of (currently showing in California.) Click the image below to visit the Sun Gallery blog for the whole post! Also, if you’re in the area, be sure to come for the artist reception and book signing next Saturday, March 17 from 1-4 pm. Unfortunately I have obligations that prevent me from making it to California next weekend, but I’m sure it will be a good time! Click here to find out more about the event.

Photo of the children's book illustration exhibition at the Sun Gallery in Hayward, CA (Photo courtesy of the Sun Gallery)


Good News for “Good Fortune”

Posted on Jan 24, 2012 in Blog, News and Events

This just in… “Good Fortune” has been chosen as a 2012 NCSS-CBC Notable Social Studies book! I hope this means that it will end up in even more school libraries for kids to read (like me in the Loma Linda Elementary School library, back in the day.) Congrats to Renee and Joan and everyone else who made this book happen! It has been such fun watching the project come to life.

In other news, I’m excited to be exhibiting some of the paintings from Good Fortune in the 2012 Children’s Book Illustrators Exhibit at the Sun Gallery in Hayward, CA from February 15-April 7. Here’s the cool postcard they put together for the show:

Sun Gallery - 2012 Children's Book Illustrators Exhibit (more…)

A Show and a Signing

Posted on Nov 7, 2011 in Blog, News and Events

Hi there! I’ve been a negligent blogger lately, but in my absence I did manage to pull together a show of originals, prints, and books, which opened on Sunday. It will be up all November! And without further ado, some pictures:

November 2011 show at the Longmont UCC


I’m on my Own Bookshelf

Posted on Jun 15, 2011 in Blog, News and Events

On my own bookshelf... how did this happen?

I’ll have to admit, I was pretty excited when I opened the package from Shen’s containing 20 copies of the book. It’s been the better part of a year since the project began, and the final product is the culmination of many hours of thinking, researching, doodling, sketching, and of course painting. I spent most of my work day today just showing it off to co-workers, which was probably not the best use of my employer’s time, but hey, how often do you publish a book? I nestled it in with my other books on my bookshelf. I took photos of it. I put it on my desk. I read it about sixteen times. Good thing it’s only 32 pages.

Illustration Friday: “Journey”

Posted on Apr 21, 2011 in Archive, Blog

This is page 31 from the upcoming book, Good Fortune in a Wrapping Cloth (to be released in May.) I thought it was appropriate for this week’s Illustration Friday theme of “Journey.” Read more about the book at! Here’s an excerpt from the publisher’s website:

“Ji-su’s mother has been chosen by the Korean king to be a seamstress at the palace and sew bojagi, or wrapping cloths, for the royal household. It is a great honor, but to Ji-su it means saying good-bye to her mother. The only way for them to be reunited, Ji-su realizes, is for her to become a seamstress just as talented and be chosen to serve the king.

Through the changing seasons, Ji-su sews, learning the craft from her great-aunt and practicing her stitches tirelessly. One day, she finally has the chance to show her work to the palace Sanguiwon master, who has the power to bring her to her mother or to dash her hopes of being reunited. Is her sewing fine enough for the king?

Joan Schoettler’s warm text brings the landscape and culture ancient Korea and to life. Together with illustrator Jessica Lanan’s breathtaking depictions of Korea through the seasons, Ji-su’s story of longing and determination will capture the hearts of readers of all ages.”

The book is also available for pre-order on Amazon. (Click here!)

Page 31 from Good Fortune in a Wrapping Cloth.

The book… a Sneak Preview

Posted on Mar 6, 2011 in Blog, News and Events, Picture Book Illustration

Hi everyone! As you may have noticed, I took a long hiatus from blogging after finishing some large projects. Now I’m back, and ready to catch you up on everything I’ve been doing.  Perhaps most exciting is the completion of illustrations for “Good Fortune in a Wrapping Cloth,” a project I have been working on for Shen’s Books. It’s a sweet story about a little girl growing up in Korea during the Chosŏn Dynasty. The book will be coming out soon (I’ll keep you posted as I know more) but in the meantime, here’s a little preview! I hope you enjoy it.

Pages 8 and 9

pages 12 and 13
Pages 14 and 15

Pages 16 and 17

Costumery from Korea

Posted on Oct 15, 2010 in Blog, Process and Technique

In the name of research I’ve begun watching the Korean drama “A Jewel in the Palace,” a.k.a. “Dae Jang Geum.” This is strictly research, I swear…

I am managing to get some nice references to Chosun dynasty attire:

watercolor of a Korean woman in Chosun dynasty attire, yeah!

The best part, aside from the interesting hairstyles, are the wacky hats worn by the men. These deserve an entire post of their own. To be continued…