Illustration for Children’s Books

Annual Talent Search For a Children’s Book Illustrator

illustration of birds on teacup for global talent search 2016
Birds Chatter on Tea Cup, my entry for GTS2016

I’ve emerged from my cave after sleeping through the fourth annual Lilla Rogers’s Global Talent Search. I would still be in the dark about the talent search if not for artsy friends on Instagram. Fortuitously, a hash tag led me to a talented network of artist and illustrators who had entered a contest to win agency representation by Lilla Rogers Studio.

Lilla Rogers at Make Art That Sells sponsors an annual  Global Talent Search competition to find talented children’s book illustrators. The Grand Prize winner receives agency representation from Lilla Rogers Studio; career development support in illustration; and numerous product licenses. Zowie!

Stop the presses: Lilla Rogers announced the winners of the Global Talent Search 2016. Entering the finals, Five Finalists were selected! Also, Mara Penny’s menu cover for Sunny Spindler’s cafe received the People’s Choice Award! See their work!

Continue reading Illustration for Children’s Books

Philosophy of Sprinkles and Artwork

Extra, Extra Sprinkles … Please!

sprinkles on ice-cream sundae illustration
Say it with Sprinkles!

Sprinkles on ice cream at a drive-through window inspired my fancy sundae art. I was seeking ice cream, i.e., DQ Fan Food, with granddaughter Tori, and discovered the secret of life — sprinkles.

While traveling in Kentucky, we pulled into the nearest Dairy Queen.

We sailed past the menu board (memorized), rolled down the car window, and chirped out our order.

illustration of bird with plumes and pumps
Chirp-chirp

Tori ordered her favorite Blizzard, topped with sprinkles.

A nano second later, she springs forward from the car seat as if she had an emergency. She needed to add something important to her order. In her most polite voice she adds …”and extra, EXTRA, sprinkles, please!”

Add Sprinkles to Everything!

ice cream sundae art with extra, extra sprinkles
Extra, extra sprinkles, please!

What’s a few more sprinkles? I loved the delight in Tori’s eyes when she saw her Blizzard lavishly covered with sprinkles.

When I think of good getting better, I visualize extra, extra sprinkles and the enjoyment the little things in life bring.

Don’t skimp on the good stuff.

It is that practice in life to top what you are doing with something better and to want to change the ordinary into the extra ordinary that maximizes those little joys of  life. Continue reading Philosophy of Sprinkles and Artwork

Miniature Art Collection of Icons and Symbols

Icons, Art in Miniature

 

Icons and symbols are miniature pieces of art. Their swirling lines and shapes create iconic images that decorate, illustrate, and identify. These icons can become epic, i.e., the Mac Apple. (See a page of icons on my Blog and a more complete collection at Swim Yellow Duck.)

miniature "pw" monogram with calligraphy border
My “PW” monogram, underwater

I christened my PW monogram floating in the sea alongside a whale as art in miniature and on a lesser scale.

Working from a sketch, I had envisioned my initials inside a formal cartouche symbol, somewhat like a monogram found impressed on an old English manuscript. However, my mind wandered to Lollipop Land as I worked, and soon my “PW” initials were under water watching a whale swim by.

An Iconic Collection

Art from the Free Icons & Symbols Collection
Free Icons & Symbols Collection

I’ve launched a  collection of icons and symbols from my digital doodles for you to use as a resource, gratis. It’s an Iconic Collection of Free Icons and Symbols .

The zip folders include various file sizes in three formats, JPG, PNG, and SVG, that you are free to download. I’ve showcased some on my Free Icons and Symbols in a gallery on my blog. For a more complete visual reference, check out my Swim Yellow Duck gallery.

purple imperial insignia icon from the Free Icon& Symbol Collection
Imperial Insignia Icon

I tend towards elongated swirls. I think flowers. Many of my icons are flowers and scrolls. In my handwriting, much like stopping to smell the roses, I stop to twirl my letters because I love the curve of a line.

Icon for Christmas in July

Oh, Christmas Tree
Oh, Christmas Tree

If you are one of those who dream of snow on a sunny day in July, you might be a Christmas in July person. It’s a great time to buy yourself a gift because summer sales in July are door busters.

The fun thing about icons in my collection is that you can make them any size and any color.Christmas tree decorated

Cactus Icon

Flowering Cactus Icon from the Free Icon and Symbols Collection
Flowering Cactus

What comes to mind first when you see a cactus? You’re thirsty, an iguana, desert sand, sun screen, a western movie or possibly, tequila … ?

For me, it’s Cabo San Lucas, my favorite vacation spot. Although, anywhere in the tropics with sand and the ocean would suite me well.

I will post more icons from time to time. Until then, happy trails ….

How-to: Add Color To Digital Art in a Click or Two or Three

The art in my folders is, for the most part, saved in three formats, JPG, PNG, and SVG.

Inverted icon in JPEG format and framed withwith green border
JPEG: inverted black & white and added a green border to the bounding box

A JPG image is compressed and set in a white bounding box. There is little you can do to affect a JPG  in two or three clicks. In art programs like Adobe Photoshop, you can invert the colors, i.e., change the white to black and black to white.  And, you can frame the bounding box.

The PNG and SVG formats lend themselves more simply to editing.

PNG image of a cactus icon colorized and embossed in Photoshop
PNG: colorized and embossed in Photoshop – retained the transparent background

In art programs like Adobe Photoshop, you can lock the transparent background on a PNG, and paint away to change the color. As well, you can do anything to a PNG that you can do with a JPG and still retain the image transparency when you save it as a PNG.

You can totally edit an SVG image in vector art programs like Adobe Illustrator etc. The sky is the limit. Add a pattern background to the image, animate the image, or completely re-make the image, make it huge or make it tiny,  all without loosing image quality, thanks to the nature of the beloved vector format.

Original cactus icon
Original SVG Cactus Icon
Changed the flower to a bird and replaced the black and white with color
SVG: original image edited in Illustrator: changed the flower to a bird and replaced the black and white with color, all with a few simple clicks!

Happy Campers Own Trailers

Home on Wheels

I  prefer camping in a hotel room. However, the steady stream of tourists in motor homes has sparked my curiosity for life aboard an RV.

I picture myself in a teardrop camper or other glam buggy, parked at a nearby lake, full of art supplies, and living the dream.

poster with nine campers
Campers on Parade

Camper Art

As artist Timree declares, If I can’t buy it, I paint it. In like fashion, I painted campers with my digital pen. [Download art for personal use at my  Free Image Gallery.]

Camper RV with patriotic trunks
Dory’s Camper

My cousin inspired Dory’s Camper. Her RV is huge and modern, unlike the compact version I drew, but she prompted the red, white, and blue trunks waving on top.

When I think of traveling in an RV, Dory at the family reunion pops into mind.

Dory had arrived at the campsite driving her mobile home, loaded with food and fun. At a strategic lull in the conversation, Dory ducked into her RV and pulled out a carefully chosen selection of huge undies, which she clipped to the clothesline. Conversation took an upturn when we saw a line full of panties waving at us.

I always smile when I think back on the fun time with family in Nashville and those panties waving in the breeze.

Cousin Dory hanging large undies on a clothesline at the campsite
Undies for the clothesline

IMG_0064

Live gracefully. Make Home wherever you are!

Flip Flops in my Digital Art Gallery

I Love Flip Flops

Flip Flops with a black and white check pattern
Flip flops with a Checkered Past

There is nothing that puts me in a vacation state of mind more quickly than slipping on a pair of flip flops.

In May, I was in my perpetual vacation-state-of-mind, and drew lots of flip flops, which I added to my Free Art Gallery.

Also, I modeled them together with some sandals for a poster and added it to my Art Gallery.

 

Flip Flops Take My Mind Off Politics

icon for free digital art
Wide Eyed Me

Wide Eyed rather describes my state of mind this political season. I am in a dizzying state of whazzup.

First, Jeb bowed out of the 2016 Race for the  White House 2018, more accurately described as the demolition derby. He and the clan are dissing the National Republican Convention, even.

Pretty bummed. I like principled governors like Jeb Busch and John Kasich, who accomplish reforms and know how to navigate the system. I want to see in my lifetime an immigration policy for Hispanics in particular that institutes a pathway to citizenship for a people who have enriched our culture and who have been welcomed through our back door for some 50 years. Continue reading Flip Flops in my Digital Art Gallery

Cubic Self-Portrait in My Dreams

cubic art portrait in my dreams
Cubic me fantasy

Cubic Me is an empirical fantasy of a splendid day.

I was drawing portraits and saw a photograph of Lady Gaga. Soon I was blurring reality in juxtaposition.

I was studying Cubism. My first attempt at Cubism was a self-portrait,  titled Modular Me.

digital art self portrait. wistful of cubism
Modular Me, digital art to the power of three

Since I enjoy geometric prints and adored geometry in high school,  Cubism promises to be a natural for me, but I have some work to do.

It’s fun to re-composite an image in geometric shapes, but more challenging is to imagine a flat object from different viewpoints and to create that final image with differing viewpoints and on different planes, which is pure Cubism. Continue reading Cubic Self-Portrait in My Dreams

An Easter Dinner Invitation for Twelve

Invitation to The Last Supper … for the first Easter

Scripture reference, the Gospel of Luke, verses 22: 7-20

Dinner Invitation for Twelve

First, invitations for twelve to an upper room
A guest of honor, ceremony, singing,
Communion, a remembrance of His promise to come again,
I will not eat of this bread or drink of this cup until … you and I become one
His farewell shook the earth, blackened the sky.
Friends mourned His leaving not knowing
The Father above was planning the first Easter surprise.
The Lord’s day –a resurrection – a coming again.

The guest of honor has gone to prepare a dwelling place
with streets of gold in heavenly places.
We’re invited, too, but He led the way.
Because He lives, we too shall live evermore.
If these things were not so, surely He would have told us.
Peace be unto you

Continue reading An Easter Dinner Invitation for Twelve

Trinket Giveaway 2016 Flops

Trinket Giveaway from Estate Trinkets & Treasures Ends

Retro napkin holder, mouse and mushroom trinket giveaway
Trinket Giveaway, a retro mushroom-and-mouse napkin holder

Trinket Giveaway sounded good at the time. Why not give away little thingamabobs collected through the years that I no longer treasure to fellow collectors who visit our website?

So, in 2016, I held a monthly drawing. It was fun for the first nine months mailing away little treasures, but the idea fizzled in October.

After not receiving one entry for the giveaway vintage, mushroom-and-mouse napkin holder after running a drawing I extended three months, I ended the drawings in Dec. 2016.

Read all about the successful, premier eight months of giveaways at our companion website that celebrates antiques and collectors, Estate Trinkets & Treasures.

Trinket GiveAway Pin-Up Gallery

2016 Trinket Giveaway Winners

  • Jan: porcelain half doll, made in Germany: winner, Shellie from Virginia
  • Feb: Banjo Betty, a vintage figurine in the Hummel style: winner, Peg from Ohio
  • March: collectible tin can, miniature chair: winner, Melissa from California
  • April: vintage, gold doll purse, with gold metal strap and clasp: winner, Jody from CA
  • May: vintage tortoise shell comb with rhinestones: winner, Cynthia from MS.
  • June/July: antique tin doll mug, with storybook themed art: lithograph – no entries.
  • Aug: twin, celluloid Frozen Charlie dolls: winner, Nancy from WA
  • Sept: classic, vintage, carnival-style doll, Betty Boop: winner from Germany: did not
  • Oct/Nov/Dec: No entries. Sad face. Due to the lack of interest, we have put our Trinket Giveaway idea in the bottom drawer, where you put your least favorite sweaters, and will not continue it New Year 2017.

Tin Can Dollhouse Chair, March GiveAway

Our Trinket GiveAway at Estate Trinkets & Treasures is a monthly deal.

White, tin can dollhouse chair
Retro, white, tin can dollhouse or miniature chair – March GiveAway

Each month we giveaway a vintage or antique trinket or treasure at our companion website, Estate Trinkets & treasures.

In January we gave away an antique half doll from Germany. In February, we gave away a figurine in the Hummel style, Made in Japan, and known as Banjo Betty. Our March GiveAway is a miniature tin can chair.

April 1 update: March Trinket GiveAway winner is Melissa in California – congratulations!

Gallery of Monthly, GiveAway Trinkets

Gallery of the current and upcoming monthly GiveAway Trinkets.

Click to visit Estate Trinkets & Treasures
Visit Estate Trinkets & Treasures, our companion website on antiques.

Tin Can Miniature Chair, Perfect for a Doll House or Collector’s Shelf

White, tin can dollhouse chair
Retro, white, tin can dollhouse or miniature chair – March GiveAway
White, tin can doll house chair
Retro, white, tin can doll house chair

Enter our March Trinket GiveAway! for a tin can chair, a retro collectible, made by hand.

Made by a creative craftsman of the past, this tin can chair miniature features a woven back and curlicue arms and chair lets. A perfect addition to your collector’s shelf or doll house.

Banjo Betty Trinket GiveAway, Made in Japan

Our Adventure to Giveaway Vintage and Antique Trinkets from our Collection

 Banjo Betty, Made in Japan, a copycat of Joyful, a Hummel and the February Trinket Giveaway
“Angel with Lute,” a Hummel candle holder in the “Joyful” design

In 2016, we sponsored a monthly giveaway drawing for antique and vintage keepsakes at our companion website, Estate Trinkets & Treasures.

We chose to give away Banjo Betty in February during our Trinket GiveAway.

Banjo Betty is a copycat of an early Hummel by W. Goebel, from the art of Sister Innocentia Hummel titled Joyful (number 53).

When I first discovered Banjo Betty in our estate items,  I was curious. Who made this piece of porcelain, and what is it worth? … need-to-know info to determine its value. I searched through my books  on antique, porcelain companies to identify the manufacturer’s mark.

Our library is filled with books and magazines on antiques

My search was fruitless. The smudged manufacturer’s mark on the bottom of my mystery figurine was nowhere to be found. And even though the figurine itself had the appearance of a Hummel, I knew the mark was not one of the famous Bee marks.

Skier Hummel figurine number 59
“Skier’ Hummel by W. Goebel: TMK-2/Full Bee

We have a Hummel collection, and the markings are all quite legible, such as on Skier.

Charts abound in books and online to help collectors date a Hummel. Thanks to Hummel’s fine catalog system, the date, place of origin, and name of the Hummel can be determined by the marks on the bottom of a figurine – whether it’s Bee, Full Bee, etc.

Skier Hummel with Full Bee trademark on bottom of figurine
Hummel Full Bee trademark of W. Goebel

My famous process-of-elimination theory led me to error

Unable to find a porcelain maker identified with the figurine’s mark,  I defaulted to Beswick because not all early Beswick was marked by the manufacturer.

Convinced the figurine was pristine, English Beswick porcelain, I posted it for sale on eBay as $valuable AND antique.

Within days, a Hummel collector e-mailed to say the figurine was NEITHER Beswick NOR antique but rather a copycat Hummel by Japanese importer Akiyama, and dates from the 50s. (Reference: Hummel Copycats; Author, Lawrence L. Wonsch, pg. 43; 1987).

I should have known the figurine was porcelain from Japan as they are master craftsmen at creating copycat products of popular items in trade.
Continue reading Banjo Betty Trinket GiveAway, Made in Japan

Happy Valentine’s Day

I Made a Pretty Valentine for You

Victorian Bonnet Girl Valentine
Victorian Bonnet Girl

Card verse –
Dear little friend,
I send you here
With heart sincere,
A loving line;
And it will be
A joy to me,
To get from you
A Valentine
Be My Valentine!

A Victorian Valentine’s Day card  inspired my Bonnet Girl art. Thanks to the iPad, I no longer feel like a couch potato because I can draw and paint with my apps, anywhere. I completed this illustration on the sofa with the inkPad app, watching the Iowa Caucus [Feb. 1, 2016].

This card’s sentimental verse celebrates the beloved tradition of giving and receiving a valentine.

If you like vintage postcards, see a collection on my companion website Estate Trinkets & Treasures. Click the thumbnail, and it opens to a larger image with details about the card.

Pull out your scissors, colored paper, and glue and mail someone you love a valentine! Put a stamp on it!

Love Poetry for Mom

Inspired by the classic verse,  “Roses are Red, Violets are Blue …”  grandson Eric made a Valentine’s Day card for his mom during his frogs and snails stage, inscribed:

Roses are red, violets are blue. If you were a flower, I would pick you! -Love, Eric

Continue reading Happy Valentine’s Day

Which came first, the duck or the egg?

Birds of a feather, Swim Yellow Duck and Estate Trinkets & Treasures

We have two companion websites: (1) Estate Trinkets & Treasures, where we catalog and showcase antiques, and (2) Swim Yellow Duck, a website to celebrate the art of antiques.

First came Estate  Trinkets & Treasures – next came its feathered friend,  Swim Yellow Duck!

Estate Trinkets & Treasures dot com

montage of antiques from Estate Trinkets and Treasures
Antiques on Estate Trinkets & Treasures

Estates is an online reference guide for antiques and collectibles. The website came about because we wanted to post our research and photos of antiques. After years of selling online, we had a boatload of photos and a ton of sticky notes, all about the thingamabobs we were selling.

Darrell came up with the snappy name for the website, Estate Trinkets And Treasures, thinking it was descriptive. Although, we cannot boast about the name name being memorable or easy to type in a search bar.

Swim Yellow Duck dot com

Blonde china head doll
Blonde china head doll

To begin selling antiques on eBay, I needed to register a unique User ID to identify me from the other millions of Buyers and Sellers already on eBay.

I typed in every combination of letters and numbers I wanted for my User ID, but they were all taken. Finally, in desperation, SwimYellowDuck popped into mind. I typed it  in- success. No one else was using it. Gleefully, I registered SwimYellowDuck for my Selling and Buying name on eBay.

I found after being SwimYellowDuck online for years, I wanted to connect with collectors I had met selling on eBay to share the information I had gained about antiques and antique dolls, thus Estate Trinkets and Treasures.

Further, I fell in love with the art of the antiques and the hand-painting that embellished china and porcelain, the gloss and matte glazes on pottery, the art of blown and molded glass and especially, antique dolls. So it followed that I added the  SwimYellowDuck, website and blog, inspired by the art of antiques we were selling on eBay and Etsy.

Darrell’s natural-light photography of our antiques elevate our antiques to art status. When I paint and create digital doodles on my iPad, I am inspired by his  photographs. I publish his photos and my art of antiques on my  SwimYellowDuck website and blog. Continue reading Which came first, the duck or the egg?