Highlights of Fall

What is it about fall that brings human beings back to life? Is it the cool weather? The fear of winter? Years of "back to school" conditioning?

At any rate, I've been wildly busy, and wanting to share some of it here. I want to post about an interesting historical structure I recently visited, and toot my own horn about being interviewed for Illustration Saturday, a feature on Kathy Teaman's blog, Writing and Illustrating.


The logo I created for "Brush Master"

But I'll begin with the Highlights for Children Illustrator's party.

I've had the honor of getting together with wildly talented and creative folks in the mountains of the Poconos for fifteen years now. Begun by Kent Brown, the party invites Highlights illustrators and their families to gather for a weekend of "Fun with a Purpose" each fall. We are feted with food, seminars, family activities, a square dance, a themed costume party, and more food. Every year we get to reconnect with old friends, and meet new illustrators. What a blast!

This year, the theme was "Superheros" and we were encouraged to dress as people who were heros to us (teacher, famous artist, dad, firefighters) or a Superhero with our own unique skills. I went as "Brush Master"!

My totally goofy Brush Master costume, and hubby as Clark Kent.

It's SO much fun to meet with these folks in such a great atmosphere. The staff is warm and welcoming. Highlights really is a family business, and they really do care about children.

The illustrators convene from far-flung places like Arizona, California, Texas, and more, and I go green with envy when we share our portfolios. 

I love all the events, but I'm always in awe at the costume ideas folks come up with.  

David Helton as Super Vincent, and Lyn Martin as Super Frida.

David Galchutt as... you guessed it! (thanks to a Facebook contributor for photo)

Robert and Jessica Squire... The Pink Pearl rubs out Evil Doers, and Duct Tape Girl saves citizens from Sticky Situations!

My friends Ruth Flanigan as "Pantonia" and Judith Moffatt as Frieda Khalo.

The Valiant family, of course, with Graphite Girl!

Three powerful SUPER women. Terry Taylor, Rebecca Thornburg and Sharon Vargo.

Super Girl, StarMan and Pantonia 

Don't know who. Justice, I guess. Isn't this a great costume?

Let's not forget Anni Matsick as "Wonder where-I-put-that? Woman" and her hubby as "Retired Super Hero". (thanks to Annie for the picture, and the one of PBAA below.)

Below is a very small sampling of the artists who attended. This group belongs to a listserve with about 150 members, all of whom have illustrated three of more children's books. It's called Picture Book Artists Association, and displays art of all it's members, which changes quarterly.


Back row, l-r: Anni Matsick, Jennifer Emery, 

Judith Moffatt

, Terry Taylor, Laura


, Cheryl Kirk Noll, Sharon Vargo.

Front row, l-r: Maggie Swanson, Sharon Holm, Sue Miller, Barry Gott, Laura Jacobsen, Sherry Neidigh, Layne Johnson, Paige Billin-Frye, Len Ebert.

The very Front:

Rebecca Thornburgh

 And here is the bucolic scene that awaited us each morning. Thanks to Highlights for Children, for caring about children, AND illustrators.

Children's Book Events in and Around Rhode Island and Southern New England thisFall 2012

There are several wonderful events happening in or near Rhode Island this fall that are geared towards those who love children's books, including teachers, parents, families, librarians, authors and illustrators, and young readers themselves.

Rhode Island Festival of Children's Books and Authors, Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Lincoln School is having it's (mostly) annual

Rhode Island Festival of Children's Books and Authors

on Saturday,

October 13,

2012 from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM.

This is an amazing celebration of children's books. It's perfect for kids. You will find music and activities, books to buy and authors and illustrators available to sign them. (It's a great place for families to get signed copies of books for holiday presents for kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews)

All of this costs $5.00! What a bargain!

World-famous authors and illustrators also give presentations, which run all day. It's always fascinating stuff. Speakers this year range from prolific illustrator

Lynn Munsinger

(Tacky the Penguin) to award-winning author

Pam Munoz Ryan

(Esperanza Rising)  to Newberry medalist young adult author

Gary Schmidt

. And don't forget, Polar Express author/illustrator

Chris Van Allsburg

, whose art graces the poster, will also be there. And MANY more!

For directions and a schedule of events,

click here


  • Connecticut Children's Book Fair November 10-11, 2012 

I've never attended, but the

Connecticut Children's Book Fair

is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday,

November 10-11, 2012

, 10:00 am until 5:00 pm. It looks amazing, too!

Click here for more information.

  • Children's Illustration Exhibit, November 11th, 2012 

The 23rd Annual

Children's Illustration Exhibit

is scheduled for Sunday,

November 11th

, 2012 from 4-6pm at R. Michelson Galleries in Northampton, MA. Mo Willems is the featured illustrator this year, with lots of other favorites.

Click here for more info


Last years participants.

Brian Lies visits Illustration III at RISD ce

What a treat I had last night.  RISD CE instructor, Emilie Boon, invited New York Times best-selling author/illustrator Brian Lies to her Illustration III class. Intelligent, well-spoken, down-to-earth, and incredibly talented, his "just us artist's sitting around" presentation was informative and inspiring.

Here, Brian is showing us one of his originals for Bats at the Beach, meticulously painted in acrylics.

Brian was generous enough to share his process, from idea to hand-written text, through multiple revisions, sketches, studies and tracing paper drawings, to color studies and painting. Here he lays a classic acrylic underpainting. 

 Brian also told us about his latest project, More, which he illustrated. It looks AMAZING!! It will be coming out in March.

Here, students from Illustration III and instructor Emilie Boon get a close up and personal look at Brian's amazing originals. Thank-you so much for your generosity, Brian. Let's hope "More" is a best-seller, too!