Thursday, October 1, 2015

We have a WINNER!!

Congratulations, Bella Sinclair!

Thank you all SO very much for participating in this giveaway!

Thank you all for participating in this giveaway and for sharing your thoughts and stories! I do hope this book is a comfort for many who've lost someone they've loved, and wish Kathleen the best with her series of books for kids in crisis.

Happy October everyone! ~ Shirley

Saturday, September 26, 2015

2) Lighting: using a simple still-life to cast shadows

I decided to try a pencil sketch today focused on lighting and shadows. I haven't researched proper techniques or methods in capturing shade and lighting but thought I would resort to creating a simple mock-up for practice. It's been a long time since I've had life drawing, which I loved in school, and realize now that I really need to get out and focus on light and shadow as it's occuring in nature!

For today's practice, I set up a simple still life:

I then found a wonderful mouse image on the internet from this site:

and here is my combined little sketch:
I decided to cast the light from my desklamp and see how the shadows fell..the thimble is a treasure from my grandmother by the way. :) Oh, and little woodstock is brand new..a little something I picked up at Target the other day. I think the Snoopy movie is on it's way. Anyway, Woodstock was my mother's absolute favorite. I just had to pick him up.

I found the shadow to be pretty sharp, and quite fascinating to see the little bit of shadow that is cast by the upturn of the thread. I decided to do the same for my sketched-in-mouse's tail.

I am heading outside now to sketch a little something in nature.

Thanks so much for visiting!

An update! Here's a quick pencil sketch of the sunset this evening. It's very quick, but I wanted to capture the clouds...what beautiful shades to try to capture!

and in researching online for some good books about lighting, I stumbled upon this wonderful blog by Alan Carroll, who specializes in decorative finishes and murals in New York City.
This post describes "how to draw shadows on the Acanthus", a very beautiful decoration. Alan posts images of George Smith, "Furniture Draughtsman to His Majesty", who produced an incredible volume of Plates in 1826 "comprising instructions in the elementary principles of Ornamental Foliage enabling the student to draw with facility and correctness in this so generally useful branch of the Art." I found this fascinating as it described step by step the artist's method in creating the shadows, but more specifically doing it in a methodical way so as not to get caught up on each tiny shadow's detail. The overall effect, is impressive! I extrapolate this find by thinking about surface area and how light hits and how there are shallow shadows, overall mid-toned shadows, and then deep and distinctive shadows. Please visit this link, it's incredible!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

A New Personal Challenge: 1) Perspective/Viewpoint, and sketch-to-color-final

Hi everyone, I hope you've been well!

This year has been incredibly busy and wonderful in terms of the kinds of projects I've been able to work on. More specifically, I've been working on children's books...a dream come true. My youngest recently told me to stop and enjoy the fact that I've achieved my goal! Well, that simply brought me to tears, as you can imagine. It's something that I now reflect upon and smile at when I think about it because life can be hectic and if you don't stop to enjoy those incredible moments of setting goals and hitting one or two, well, you're just missing out on the celebration of life! I've realized that I set goals to keep me moving forward. I like being busy and productive and I do enjoy seeing progress. I also now realize more and more that I simply love to draw. It's my "therapy" on a busy day and I'm so grateful that I've found something I love to do. I hope you all have many "loves" and passions. I truly believe that by determining what they are and embracing them are gifts we give to ourselves.

And so this is why I'm writing tonight, to set to writing a new personal goal:

The goal for me is to learn more about the following: perspective, color, lighting, composition and storytelling. There is SO much to investigate, practice and learn and instead of determining an end-point, I'm going to start off by declaring the beginning and will hope to post my progress along the way.

Your constructive criticism, thoughts, suggestions and sources of more inspiration and guidebooks on those topics are greatly appreciated along the way!

Here is my first post's challenge:
1) come up with a different/new kind of perspective or viewpoint
2) go straight from sketch to "final" color

Here's my quick 5-min. sketch for a concept:
and here's the "final" color:

Friday, September 18, 2015

Win a copy of Kathleen Fucci's Emily Lost Someone She Loved!

It is with great pleasure that I'm hosting a book giveaway
for Kathleen Fucci's beautiful and heartfelt debut book,

Emily Lost Someone She Loved

At the beginning of the year, I received a phone call from Kathleen who inquired about working together on her first book in a series of books titled Hope for Kids in Crisis. Kathleen Fucci, of Kathleen Fucci Ministries, presented her story which spoke of loss, specifically of a child's grief from a loss of a parent. Her personal story combined with her heartfelt and hope-filled words, as well as my personal desire to share compassion to those who've experienced or are going through loss compelled me to illustrate this wonderful book. It is an honor to be a part of this project, and I'm truly hopeful that this book and the series will help a lot of children through difficult times.

Kathleen explains: “Losing a loved one, at any age, is devastating. But for a child, it can lead to fears, insecurities, bitterness, loneliness, isolationism and estrangement from God – scars that can last a lifetime. I hope this book will be a resource for both the grieving child and surviving parent or caregiver. It’s a book that can be read over and over again, restoring faith in God and hope for the future.”

Here are the details to win a copy of this lovely book:

1) Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult things we have gone or will go through. In the spirit of compassion and hope for those who continue to or are grieving still, please take a moment to honor someone you or someone else has lost by taking a moment of silence for them. Then, please comment at this blog or on my facebook post here , and if you'd like to post a name, a story, or a wish, that would be wonderful, too!

2) Take a moment to visit Kathleen and if you wish to purchase a copy, you can at this link:  
(it's a bit cheaper than via Amazon) : )

3) You have 'til 9/30 midnight PST to enter. I will post the random winner on 10/1/2015.

Thanks friends, and I'm cheering for Kathleen and her series of books to help so many people through her compassionate stories of hope.

Facebook: (Kathleen Fucci Ministries)
Twitter:  (KF_Ministries)
Instagram: (KF_Ministries)

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Time sure is flying, and so I've been really doing a lot of this...

hope you all have a super rest of August. I'll be incredibly busy until the end of September if all of my plans go right, and I'll share some posts as I go along. Thanks for poppin' in!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Wow, it's August and it's about that time...

Whew, just wrapped up a wonderful family trip to Disneyland. It's a super 60th birthday celebration going on this year and wow, do they do it up right! Last night, after watching Fantasmic, we stayed to watch the firework show, which also showcased water effects and falling snow from the lampposts! It was amazing! :) I am glad we had time to enjoy a little R&R before school starts in 8 days. I can't believe it! Which brings me to...

Back-to-School! It's a back-to-school theme over at, and for my entry, I decided to offer up some FREE back-to-school stickers for download. Swing on by to see the ladies' wonderful work, and grab a free download there, or here at the link below.

I wish you a wonderful August ahead and hope you've all been well! What's new? I'd love to hear from you! Thank you again, dear readers, for visiting..I appreciate it very much! ~ Shirley

Monday, June 29, 2015

Goodbye June....hello July!

This little porcupine, from a snippet of a recent project, sends a fond farewell to June, and welcomes in July! Hope you all have been well!