Sunday, October 14, 2018

Riley the Retriever Wants a New Job - by Jill Mangel Weisfeld & Deborah Mangel

Happy Book Birthday 


Riley the Retriever Wants a New Job 

by Jill Mangel Weisfeld & Deborah Mangel

published by Peek-a-bear Press

I am honored to share this sweet new book by Jill and her dear mother, may she rest in peace, Deborah, who co-authored this book. It was a joy to bring Riley’s story to life, which tells of her quest for “the perfect job”! Thanks Jill, for the wonderful opportunity to celebrate Riley, and thanks to my super agent, Nicole at!

Follow Riley’s adventures on Instagram @workingdogtales 
and head on over to to order a copy!

 Thanks for stopping by! It was quite a summer, tending to a broken bone, fractures, infections, etc..but thankfully we're over the hurdle! I hope you've all been well and I wish you a peaceful Fall. This is my most favorite time of year, and I wish you all good food and beverages (there are so many comfort foods at this time), fun with friends and family, and a hopefully no stress month or two leading up to the holidays. ~ Shirley

Friday, June 1, 2018

The Secret Garden - sketch to final color cover book mockup

Cover mockup created in Photoshop, with linen image, and blank book photo
Hi folks! Happy Friday..hope you've got some restful plans for the weekend! I'm currently dealing with pain from a shingles vaccination (what a wollop!), but hopefully I'm over the fever part. Back in my early 30's I came down with shingles (too much stress from work, my immune system was completely low), and now that I'm able to get the shot, I decided why not. In 6 months I'll get a booster, and hopefully all will be well.

So I wanted to share the process to "The Secret Garden" book cover as this was a prompt from my agent, Nicole Tugeau for her artists for this month. If you follow her @t2_illustrators.and.authors you'll see fellow agency-mates' book covers and interiors.

It started with a sketch I did for a personal project, which I remember having fun with..just adding more foliage and leaves, hidden animals, etc.
I look at this sketch now and think I will try painting it again : )
Anyway, here are snippets of the book cover and process. Lots of gouache/watercolor, colored pencil and photoshop to create the book mockup and pages.

pencil on copy paper, just doodling....

So much fun to paint this. I kept adding and adding bits and pieces..would love to add more animals!

bw sketch on copy paper, layed out and duotone tinted in Photoshop

raw scan of painting (watercolor/gouache on smooth Bristol) - do you see the "key"?

Mockup of the color chapter header in Photoshop

Boy this was fun to paint..birds are hard, but so interesting to paint close up!

I hope to do more of these book cover mockups - I really had a great time painting..and I have next up, The Wind in the Willows in my head. But, work calls, so hopefully I can attempt this this summer.
Happy June everyone! Have a lovely weekend! ~ Shirley

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Here's to new adventures!

Hi everyone -
Hope you've been well! Things are changing, and I've decided to delete my Facebook account, so I will hopefully be here more often, and on Instagram and Twitter (@shirleysillos).
There were many reasons why I've decided to leave FB, and yesterday seemed the right day to do so...just had a birthday and my husband and I celebrated our big 25th, so I guess I'm reflecting on all of the years that I've been so grateful for. I truly have been so blessed with family, friends, amazing daughters and a wonderful husband, as well as opportunities in my career that don't even feel like work. That truly is amazing to me.

I endeavor to work on my projects with more clarity and focus, and in the off-work times, I'll be spending working on my writing. I'm currently working on manuscripts and revising, revising,'s the name of the game. I am SO excited about this new chapter.

I'll leave this here and hope to reconnect with all of you in the blog world. My very best to you and here's to new adventures to you all! ~ Shirley

Monday, March 19, 2018

Happy publication day! I'm grateful to have had the wonderful opportunities to work on these two great books!

I'm happy to share two new books published by Magination Press/American Psychological Association out in the world today! Scroll down for a chance to win a copy of "A Feel Better Book for Little Tempers". And now, presenting:

Baxter and Danny Stand Up to Bullying
by James M. Foley

With the help of Queen Beth of the Bees, Baxter and Danny learn how to start feeling better, and help the other animals in the forest feel better too. Together, they are able to stand up to Buford's bullying!  Find out who Buford is and how the friends of the forest stand up to the bullying. This book includes a Note to Parents and Other Caregivers with more information about bullying and strategies for building self-esteem and resilience in children. It is an honor to have illustrated this third book for the wonderful team at Magination Press, and Dr. James Foley. Thank you so much for the opportunity, and thank you to my wonderful agent, Nicole!
Available Now


A Feel Better Book for Little Worriers
by Holly Brochmann and Leah Bowen
published by Magination Press/American Psychological Association

Happy pub day to “A Feel Better Book for Little Tempers” by Holly Brochmann and Leah Bowen published by Magination Press/American Psychological Association! 
This is the second in the “A Feel Better Book for Little Kids” series. 

Sometimes the LITTLEST kids have the BIGGEST tempers. This Feel Better book helps little ones who are just beginning to recognize and identify their emotions to understand how anger feels and affects them. Told in rhyme, the gentle and calming narration broaches the subject delicately and simply, offering explanations, reassurances, and tools to try and help manage tempers and tantrums (whether justified or not!). Includes a Note to Parents and Caregivers that expands on the cognitive-behavioral science behind the strategies and tools presented in the book, with more information on how you can help your little one manage their anger.
It’s an honor to have worked on this important book and I want to thank Holly, Leah, Katie, Magination Press, and my wonderful agent, Nicole.
For a chance to win a copy, leave a comment by Sunday, March 25, midnight PST.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Happy Birthday Mr. A. A. Milne! #winniethepoohday

Happy birthday Mr. A. A. Milne! Thank you and Mr. E. H. Shepard for Pooh, Piglet and the whole gang at the '100 Akre Wood'! 


Bob & Billie Bear's Bakery: a place for warm hellos, baked treats, and cups o' cheer!

Sending warm hellos your way!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Thoughts about this journey; and How Do You Say I Love You? By Hannah Eliot, Little Simon - and a giveaway!

Hello everyone!
Warning, this is a bit of a long post..thank you for your patience! Or scroll to the bottom for a chance to win at this giveaway...
My thoughts and wishes for swift containment of all the Southern California fires are top of mind today, with my eldest nearby in Santa Barbara, I am anxious. She is thankfully safe, but I continue to worry about friends and family. It's awful to see so much devastation first in Northern CA (Sonoma), and now Southern Cal. 
With so much going on in the world and right down south, it seems strange to post happy news today, but I wanted to share a story to those in the kidlit community and beyond about keeping at it (your craft), staying strong, working hard, and staying true to yourself. The journey of an artist is long & winding, frustrating, and tough. It's something that most choose as a second option, or third, or fourth. I found this to be true in my career, choosing graphic design with a concentration in illustration, over straight illustration. I feared how I could make a living in this industry. With many years in the design industry, with a partnership through the many years of marriage and now two big kids (one's 18!), and a community that has supported my work throughout the blog days of, to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, I found the courage to work on my art..and through the years, I have aged (definitely!), but have also grown and have become more comfortable and patient with myself. I've been able to work on some pretty darned awesome projects thanks to many people who I have admired for so long; advice from close friends; people willing to take a chance on me, and agents who have shared my work with others. I am grateful more than you know (and you all know who you are :) )THANK YOU!

One day, back in July, 2016, I was taken aback with sadness from the shooting of police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana..I painted..for that was what I needed to do, and the piece, 'Grow Peace', came about. 
I wrote: So many very tragic and sad things have occurred all over the planet and today, I again, woke up to another shooting, this time of police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It's time for peace. It's time for a change to the light. It's time for humanity, compassion, rational and open dialog, and our ability to think beyond what we feel is not fixable, but work towards a better tomorrow. I'm worried about the future our children and their children will inherit.

If we could all in our own way, move towards the positive, and share our love and light, we can keep the darkness short, grow peace. Wishing you all well, my friends!

It seems timely still today, perhaps even more. I share this because this little illustration, borne out of hope, was shared by my wonderful agent, Nicole Tugeau, on a trip back east to publishers, and a year and a half later, the illo sparked the possibility of illustrating this sweet board book, How Do You Say I Love You?, by Hannah Eliot, published by Little Simon (Simon & Schuster). 
Our very well-loved Snowman. : )
In Japan, we say "Daisuki desu"...

Inspiration can be found everywhere.
My littlest would love sneaking into Zsöfi's sleeping bag when she was young.
In Spain, it's "Te Amo"
In Germany, it's "Ich Liebe Dich"...
Zsöfi approved. ; )
How Do You Say I Love You? By Hannah Eliot
I am honored to have illustrated such a lovely book, celebrating the diverse languages of love while learning how to say, "I Love You" in ten new ways. Gratefully, I'm posting this post to say thank you to all of you who have been on this journey with me. For those who are on their creative journeys, keep going and ENJOY what you do each day. We're lucky to be able to create something that might resonate with others and it truly is a gift that I appreciate whenver I see work from all of you. I am constantly inspired by so many and am glad that there is art in the world, thank goodness. (sending best wishes to the Getty Museum!).

To celebrate the journey, I'm giving away a copy of this sweet board book, so if you'd like a chance, please leave a comment below by midnight 12/11 PST.
Happiest of holidays to all! Shirley
If you'd like to order a copy, please visit: