Tag Archives: picture books

Illustration Friday: Unicorn



I was drawing a blank for “unicorn” until I thought about the disgruntled birthday party guest wondering, “Why does everybody else always get a sparkly unicorn?”

Illustration Friday: Whimsical

“Whimsical” reminded me of the pink poodle in Go Dog Go with the fancy hat. I started googling Kentucky Derby hats, and got a little carried away. . . .but these pups aren’t waiting for a horse race, they are waiting for the arrival of my great-niece, due any day now!IF-whimsical

Inktober Oct 24

A quick little sketch from a new story I’m working on.



Illustration Friday: Golden

Last Friday night, our neighbors Julie and Bruce closed off our block, set up card tables and tents, blew up a jumpy-trampoline-thing, and even hired a local band–all to celebrate (belatedly) Harrison’s sixth birthday and  his last day of treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The party was Julie and Bruce’s way of thanking all the people who have supported their family on this very hard journey. It was a lovely evening full of amazing energy; the moment was indeed golden.

I created this series of illustrations several months ago, as a gift for Harrison when he finished his treatment. May we all face life’s dragons as courageously as he has.  Rock on, Harrison!!!!

Once upon a time in a forest not so far away, a young knight was on his way to the castle. The princess was having a barbecue and he was bringing her favorite treat, marshmallows for toasting.

The rest of the story is best told in pictures. . . . 


NancyMeyers-dragon-3 NancyMeyers-dragon-4 NancyMeyers-dragon-5 NancyMeyers-dragon-6

“My Writing Process” Blog Tour

I was invited by Amy Courage to join a blog tour of writers and authors describing their writing process. I had the pleasure of meeting Amy at the
New England SCBWI conference in May–please check out her blog at: thedailymermaid.blogspot.com.

What am I working on now?
An art director recently commented on this image: “Now there’s a story!”
So I’ve been busy working on a set of early readers featuring these little ladies.
I also have a couple picture book manuscripts in different stages of rewrites.IF-Shiny-r3

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I guess I’m not very trendy; I like subtle humor and I think kids appreciate it, too. When drawing, I strive to keep my linework simple, fresh and expressive. As best I can, I try to do the same with my writing. My heroes are William Steig and Arnold Lobel.

Why do I write what I do?
Many moons ago, I wrote a daily cartoon strip in college–it was my first experience with developing story and art at the same time, and the characters became very real to me–I truly missed them when the strip ended. I still find a story in every illustration I create, and each character always seems to have something to say. The hard part is determining the best way to bring the words and images together.

How does your writing process work?
As an illustrator, my stories often develop as I’m drawing. But once I get past a first draft, I find it best to put the images away so I can really concentrate on the nuances of language. It’s a tricky tango. I’ve used Mentors for Rent and SCBWI conferences for manuscript critiques, and I often refer to Cheryl Klein’s Second Sight. When I hit a roadblock, I study books I like and retype their manuscripts to analyze the pacing, cadence, and story arc. For early readers, I’ve been reading a lot, using a list of Geisel Award winners as a place to start. I have to schedule time to write (early morning or very late at night works best for me), otherwise all the time goes to illustration deadlines, marketing, and business stuff. I find writing more challenging than illustrating, so when I’m really stuck I just go back to drawing. I guess that’s what they mean by the creative cycle!IF-mask-1

Sketches from a writing roadblock–which also (conveniently) work for this week’s Illustration Friday word prompt, “Mask.” 

Thanks for visiting! I’m passing the baton to two wonderfully talented writer / illustrators I met at the NESCBWI conference:

Marty Kelley is a children’s author and illustrator but has, in the past, been a second grade teacher, a baker, a cartoonist, a newspaper art director, a drummer in a heavy metal band, a balloon delivery guy, an animator, and lots of other things. He has written and illustrated eight of his own published children’s books as well as having illustrated several books for other authors. Books he has both written and illustrated are: Fall Is Not Easy; The Rules; Winter Woes; Summer Stinks; Spring Goes Squish; The Messiest Desk; Twelve Terrible Things; and Fame, Fortune, and the Bran Muffins of Doom. You can read about his writing process on his blog, martykelley.blogspot.com.



Anneliese Juergensen is a children’s book illustrator and author who loves animals (especially whales!), terrible puns, traveling to new places, museums and bookstores, and avocado. You can see her blog and more of her artwork at AnnelieseJuergensen.com.


Illustration Friday: Protest


Another character sketch from a story I’m currently working on–seemed like a perfect fit for this week’s Illustration Friday.

I had a window of time to work on a picture book idea and knew I had to grab it, so I finally completed the first draft after three weeks of long days (and sometimes nights) and many, many pages of sketches. I’ve decided to document the progress from this point on to wherever it leads me, because I have learned so much from other artists who have shared their journeys, including the triumphs and the pitfalls. Specifically, I would like to thank both Kelly Light and Will Terry for their fantastic blogs. You have to read their earliest posts to fully appreciate their candor.

I should clarify that this story idea originated more than six months ago, and kept languishing in a journal. I would revisit it and stall, then return periodically. I finally got fed up with my procrastination and decided I wasn’t getting anywhere without putting something–anything–down on paper.

But actually this dates back further, to a SCBWI Illustration Conference in 2003. I received a business card from an editor who liked the expressiveness of my characters, and she wrote a quick note on the back: “Do you write, too?” I immediately sent a note thanking her, and replied, “Yes!” But it has taken me ten long years to finally jump off the high dive. Armed with my dog-eared copy of Uri Shulevitz’s Writing with Pictures and Molly Bang’s Picture This, I started slowly piecing the manuscript to the sketches. True to Mr. Shulevitz’s advice, it helps me to create a three-dimensional dummy so I can really experience the pacing and page turns (I’ve actually created several so far).
Drawing is easy for me; writing is much more challenging. There is always someone saying, “I can’t draw a straight line,” but there is seldom someone who isn’t champing at the bit to correct your grammar or spelling. One of my favorite quotes is from Katherine Paterson, who was interviewed by Diane Osen in The Book That Changed My Life: Interviews with National Book Award Winners and Finalists“I had a professor at graduate school who stopped me in the hall one day and said, Have you ever thought of becoming a writer? I was just flabbergasted. I said I wouldn’t want to add another mediocre writer to this world. Being a glorious failure didn’t scare me at all, but being just mediocre did. What I heard her say was, If you’re not willing to be mediocre, you’ll never be anything at all. I think that’s a very important lesson to learn, because people always want guarantees that they’re going to be wonderful. But there’s no way of knowing you’re good, if you don’t dare to be mediocre.” 

Pretty gutsy thing to admit.  Of course, it helps that she can say this with a couple of Newbery Medals and National Book Awards under her belt. All the more reason why I am so inspired  by her honesty. Unlike rough sketches, which usually have a lovely sense of spontaneity, rough drafts are awkward, humbling, and often mediocre. But you have to start somewhere or you will never get anywhere. That said, my next step is a critique from Lisa Bullard and Laura Purdie Salas. I will keep you posted!