Monday, January 2, 2023

2023. Hello!

Day 1: Rabbit (Let's go 2023!)

Hello! It's been too long. Truth be told, I'm out of practice sharing my thoughts these days. So much has transpired in the world, and for me personally during the pandemic...wildfires, personal health issues, and family. 2022 was a true roller coaster of highs and lows...the incredibly profound loss of my father being the hardest. I'm thankful for my brothers, my family and friends, and for the feeling of peace as I think about my father finally reuniting with mom as he'd missed her for so long (we lost her in 2011). Thinking of their smiles and laughter comforts me. 

Incredible opportunities and highlights of my career both in lettering and writing/illustrating happened in 2022 including my first story being sold to Quill Tree/HarperCollins, designing the new EMLA logo for the Erin Murphy Literary Agency, and having my lettering appear in Letter Arts Review. I presented on faculty at the SCBWI Golden Gate Asilomar conference in Pacific Grove, which was my very first presentation and time as part of faculty. It was incredibly fun and rewarding. I also had the great pleasure of being a part of faculty for the online SCBWI JambaLAya conference (Louisiana). 

Back in March during a very sad time in my life, I received the incredible gift of an invitation to attend a Quiet Writing Retreat in Quebec City thanks to a dear friend, Myrna Foster. Reconnecting and traveling with Ava Chinn, a dear, dear childhood friend, was the tip-top during four wonderful days discovering yoga, meditation, sound baths, quiet writing, and being a part of a group of incredibly lovely creative and talented new friends. I'm grateful for Melissa Manlove, the co-host of the retreat to share this special place with all of us, it was truly life-changing. So many of the lessons there I still think about and try to practice daily...gratitude, breathing, taking in each moment and looking at life through all perspectives. I also had a "kaboom" writing moment for a new story I'm working on. 

All in all, I am SO incredibly grateful for so many blessings in my life. So incredibly grateful. 

I'm continuing to work on myself, help others, and be a better human sharing time on this planet with all of it's creatures.

This year, I'll be focusing on craft, both in art and writing, and digging deeper so that the work I create is both a daily practice of learning and growing, and ultimately becomes something that resonates. I'm hopeful it will touch a heart, or cause a smile or two..and I really need to work on amping up laughter as well. So, we'll see how this goes. I've created a "gouache-a-day" challenge for myself. A small little painting to focus on light, shadow, shape, character, and opacity. I've found it challenging already, so I think it's a good prompt so far. I hope I can make one a day. 

I'm sending my best wishes to you and yours for balance, peace, good health, and laughter now and throughout the new year. May rewarding and 

Day 2: Dragon

~ Shirley


  1. So lovely to pop over from IG to soak up your blog, Shirley! I love this little rabbit (Happy Lunar New Year!) and dragon friend. You have such a delightful way of capturing motion and personality in your illustrations. and cheers to you on your book being picked up by Quill Tree/HarperCollins (lucky them). The idea of a Quiet Writing retreat sounds like such a gently rejuvenating experience, and it sounds like it was a meaningful one. I so appreciate you sharing all that 2022 held, and relate to it being a tumultuous one with both sorrow and joy intermingling. I'm so incredibly sorry to hear about the loss of your dear dad. I hope that the loveliest memories you shared rise up when you're missing him most. Thanks for sharing your art and words with us.

  2. Your blog is very creative and interesting. Don't stop there ❤️️

  3. Nice post thank you Paul


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