WWTS: Writing with the Stars & Thank You

It's only summer, but already this year I have a lot to be thankful for. Back in February, I was very fortunate to win a spot with a mentor in the Writing With the Stars program organized by Tara Luebbe of Becky Tara Books site and author of Shark Nate-O and I Am Famous. 

The incredibly generous and fabulous mentor that decided to take me on was Brianne Farley  (pronounced /BREE-ehn/ rhymes with 'Ian'). She'd never met me before, but took a chance on me and was my mentor earlier this year. Brianne's got a wry sense of humor and was the perfect match. If you're not familiar with her work, you can see her quirk-tastical illustrations in her author-illustrated books Secret Tree Fort, Ike's Incredible Ink and also in the Charlotte the Scientist series (by author Camille Andros).

The Goal: create a kidlit friendly portfolio to exhibit at my regional SCBWI conference in Orlando this past June. Brianne had an excellent plan which I set about executing.

This is something I know about myself - I need accountability by way of a deadline or art direction. It's hard for me to work on projects strictly for portfolio purposes. I'm very pragmatic so it feels too indulgent, so the WWTS program gave me the opportunity to have an accountability mentor.

I learned in a studio environment, and worked in studios, but these days I work from home. I miss having that rapport with other artists and designers. Getting that outside perspective is absolutely critical to getting out of my own head and so Brianne was a great guiding force to bounce ideas off of. She guided me with regularly scheduled critiques and I managed to make the most of the experience to create these portfolio pieces...


2 panel narrative

2 panel narrative


Bright & Cheery Tea Set

Project Brief: Design a cheery tea set for a Sunny client. 1x tea cup, 1x saucer, 1x napkin

The brief called for the design of a teacup, saucer, and napkin... but who could resist not designing the entire set?! Not I! I love tea!

What should it have on each piece? I'm not a big fan of the lacy, teensy, frilly flower on my tea sets as many traditional ones do.  And lately, I've been really enjoying working with traditional printmaking methods especially linocut. I made a bunch of patterns and arrangements using stamps I made on my own, and some I took into the digital realm and began testing repeats that way. I was really excited to use my recent patterns on something I'd love to own and see every day. I'm a big fan of tea and the paraphernalia that comes with drinking it.

So I set about sketching and came up with a concept that I'd love to have in my own home. The sketch gave me a general idea of how I'd present my work, and then I set about testing colors.
My first tests with pink...

Oh, I was so unhappy with this color combo! It's not me at all! I'd never buy it. After asking my fellow finches why I hated this so much, they reminded me I don't usually use pink in this way... and they're right, this is not really my shade of pink, nor do I own any pink tableware or pair it with sunshine yellow. Out went the pink!

Once the bright aqua and seafoam green went in, I was gelling. The work just came together so quickly. I knew I had to have sugar tongs and a sugar container, a little creamer, too! Finishing touches...

And lastly, I went to work balancing the tea-set. I wanted to have a nice mix and match tea set and napkins that could work in many different combinations. So the second saucer carried the more intense color, and the mugs match. The tea tray got a nice under-pattern and texture to match.

There you have it! Tea for two... a cuppa for me and one for you!