Thursday, October 6, 2011

a thousand sheets of paper

This summer I was busy with three new children's book projects, one for Highlights and two for duopress. I can't share any of the art yet, but I do have something to show for myself: over a thousand sheets of printer paper, full of pencil sketches, charcoal smudges, and ink marks. Most of these sheets were scanned several times. (Thank you, trusty scanner!) In the end I compiled them into 24 beautiful full-color images, and 120 black and white ink drawings, all of which will be available for viewing in 2012.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

zach and sara

My friends Zach and Sara are moving soon; made this painting for their new digs in Columbus, Ohio.

Feisty, doe-eyed Nurse Sara exudes a passion for living rivaled by the likes of John the Baptist. She taught me to CHOOSE JOY. Don't let her sweet exterior fool you though; the girl is packing heat. She is one tough cookie. A warrior. As for the amazingly talented Zach, where should I begin? A natural leader with a razor-sharp mind, Zach tempers his mischievous sense of humor with transparency, sensitive to fellow humans in need of encouragement. He is both wise and humble: a highly excellent combo. Oh, how I will miss them.

Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. ~ Psalm 127:4-5

God, bless Zach and Sara!

~ v

Friday, June 10, 2011

Honfest, for The Baltimore Sun

This cover image ran in today's Baltimore Sun. Honfest is a big party in honor of John Water's cult classic, Hairspray. Thanks to Jay Judge & Anthony Conroy for the job and art direction. Great guys, both.

~ v

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Special Guests

At long last, Jamie Pierce of Resurrection Ink spoke to my Portfolio Class last Thursday morning. 'St. Jamie', a tattoo artist known for precision and delicacy, amazed my students with his portfolio and his stories—colorful, both! We had a great time visiting with Jamie and his adorable wife of ten years, Samantha. It's great for the students to hear success stories, and Jamie's was no exception. We all learned a lot.

Many guest speakers visit the classes I teach at SCAD, usually via Skype: my agent Anna Goodson, illustrators Kim Rosen and Natalie Dion, author/publisher Mauricio Velázquez de León of DuoPress, and Darren DiLieto (The Little Chimp Society, Hire an Illustrator!), for example. I've had a few local professionals drop in over the years as well, which is always wonderful—author, Marsha Marks; professional blogger, Tina Bonifacio; Lisa Stone, CPA—all offered tons of insight concerning everything to do with illustration as a business, from style to self promotion to keeping track of receipts. None of these amazing people get paid for taking time out of their busy schedules to share their thoughts with us. I am eternally grateful, and countless students are as well.

Many thanks to all of you, for making my classes infinitely more interesting!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


I scan a lot of black line work which ends up never being seen... this is a template for colorizing an illustration I'm currently working on. Scraps like this usually go directly to the recycle bin. It's a shame though; sometimes in their own weird way, they are (I think) uniquely beautiful. Thought I'd rescue this one to share with you today.
~ v

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My Foodie ABC products, via

Together with DuoPress, the publisher of My Foodie ABC: A Little Gourmet's Guide, I've started designing products featuring artwork from the book. Several will post today, with more to follow soon. And yes, I take requests (the designs are quite easy to make and upload).


~ v

Monday, April 4, 2011

Fred at 50: Happy Birthday, Honey!

Today is my husband's fiftieth birthday. Amazing, how time flies.

At an absolute loss in the "gift ideas" department, I remembered Freddy's recent lament over some paintings I made to hang in my studio: "These are not paintings; they are illustrations." My response: "Well, that makes sense. I'm an illustrator, not a painter." "Next time," he suggested, "try using your left hand."

That's an old art-teacher's trick, making students work with their weak hands, to loosen them up. I am right-handed, and Fred is right: I am TIGHT. Years of training in technical architectural drawing sealed that deal years ago. So, in an effort to loosen up, for you, my dear, here is my rendition of your beautiful self, painted with my left hand.

Much love to you,

~ v

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

love and joy :-)

Designed a few T-shirts today, for my Zazzle store; cards, too. Enjoy!


~ v

Friday, March 25, 2011

Ash Wednesday / Easter Sunday

A few weeks ago as I was driving through Savannah's beautiful city squares after class, I couldn't help but notice the ashes: almost every pedestrian I saw had a gray smudge right in the center of his or her forehead. Ash Wednesday... mid-day mass at the Cathedral must have just let out.

I grew up Catholic but haven't practiced in several decades (am currently non-denominational Christian)... couldn't remember the symbolism behind the ashes, so I looked it up. As far as I can tell, wearing ashes is an ancient practice associated with repentance.

Seeing all of those faithful Catholics, foreheads smudged, was rather lovely... it inspired me to create the above image as a Spring mailer. Rather than settling on a simple portrait, I set the ash-wearing woman next to a young girl in an Easter bonnet, to show the span of lent (from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday), and to symbolize the hope of Easter, which follows the sorrow of the cross. Easter, after all, equals hope: new life, abundant life, eternal life. Joy!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Globe and Mail

I made this image Tuesday afternoon on a very quick turn-around for Jason Chiu a the Globe and Mail. The illustration, in today's issue, accompanies a Facts and Arguments essay written by a woman whose father recovered from a brain aneurysm. She likens him to a cat with nine lives; no matter how many times he falls, he always seems to land on his feet.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

hello, old friend!

It may seem like a small thing, but in the past month, I have re-introduced black to my palette. For years I shunned it, color and value alike; not sure why, anymore. In an effort to be BOLDER, allow me to say, Hello, Black—it's nice to have you back.

I saw this adorable student pedaling through one of Savannah's beautiful squares on my way to a coffee date the other day. Whoever you are, dear, thank you for the inspiration.

More to follow...

~ v

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

ipad cover

I am building my zazzle store; decided to use my repeat pattern demo (see below) as a designer ipad cover. So cute! Makes me wish I had an ipad; or, that zazzle would sell a case for my MacBook!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

repeat pattern

Following the advice of illustrator / pattern designer Julia Rothman, guest writer at design sponge, I did a repeat-pattern demo in Portfolio Class at SCAD today. The resulting image (above) is more of a sketch than anything, but to be sure, the exercise was inspirational! I mean to try again soon.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

help me decide

I just made this image (the violet bus) for the home page of my website.

Last Friday I posted a call for help in deciding between these two illustrations. Thanks to all of you for your comments here and on facebook—what a gigantic help! Thanks to your input, I decided to go with the bus image, with a few modifications, and repositioned the little girl (also modified) so that she is well-represented in my portfolio. Change is a good thing, I guess.

Have a look:


~ v

Friday, February 18, 2011


I saved this grocery list doodle a few months ago, thinking it would make a sweet little illustration; today I finally got around to making the art. Thought I'd take the opportunity to show how my work progresses, from beginning to end.

Once I have scanned the sketch, I make adjustments in Photoshop, and then, I print the file. Using a light table, I trace over the print on a fresh sheet of paper with my ink brush. First, I create an actual ink drawing that will become the top layer of the file. Next, I trace around shapes which will become templates for applying color. Before scanning, using a charcoal stick, I add cheeks, and, in this case, a shadow.
After the inking is finished and scanned, I colorize in Photoshop. The final step is to add texture, to give the image a screen-printing kind of look.


Monday, February 14, 2011

stupid cupid

My nine-year-old son (who thinks he is hilarious) was cracking up last night over the rhyme, "Stupid Cupid." Laughing along with him I realized, I have drawn the classic heart-pierced-by-cupid's-dart a thousand times, without giving much thought to the meaning behind the symbol. Love really is an arrow. Oh, how it hurts! And yet, how grateful I am for it.

Thank you, Freddy, for sixteen amazing years. Cupid, stupid? Not so much. I love you, dear.

~ v

Monday, January 31, 2011

zazzle shot

Here's a photo (generated by showing how my design will translate. For more views and better details, read the entry below this one, and use this link:

Sunday, January 30, 2011

city shoes

I just designed a pair of high-tops, available for purchase at; the above city street scene is a portion of the black and white art, which wraps around both sides of the shoes. The tongue is aquamarine, for a touch of color, with an unexpected violet stripe at the back. Ladies, yes, pro-Keds high-tops are traditionally a man's style. I like them, however, and thought you might, too. There's a size conversion chart on the site. Once my first pair arrives, I'll post a photo.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Chicago, Chicago!

Me and Gray, on a recent whirlwind visit to Chicago. Oh wow, did we have fun! Makes me think of the theme from Green Acres. ("You are my wife... Good-bye, city life!") I love Savannah, but it was thoroughly refreshing spending a few hours in a big beautiful city with my family. Photographer Fred had a blast as well.