I’m with her!

When I was in fifth grade back in 1984, my teacher had us design campaign posters and slogans for the upcoming election.  I was enamored with Geraldine Ferraro’s candidacy for vice-president and thrilled at the prospect of a woman positioned so close to the presidency. I was really proud of my “Go, Go, Ferraro” banner I created in class.  32 years later, I am thrilled once again at the prospect of a Hillary Clinton’s presidency and overjoyed that my daughters may witness the shattering of this particularly stubborn glass ceiling in a few weeks’ time.  That said, I’m dismayed that my daughters live in a country where the most qualified candidate running for office ever, who has devoted her life to public service, has to share the debate stage with a misogynistic, racist, homophobic, xenophobic, narcissistic man as if they were equals!  They are not equals and the choice couldn’t be more stark.  Please vote for Hillary Clinton.

“Cast off the shackles of yesterday!
Shoulder to shoulder into the fray!
Our daughters’ daughters will adore us
And they’ll sing in grateful chorus
‘Well done, Sister Suffragette!’ “

SCBWI Draw This! prompt: Swift

Wilma Rudolph was my inspiration for the SCBWI monthly Draw This! contest prompt word.  She was known as “the Tornado, the fastest woman on earth” after she won 3 gold medals in the Rome Olympics in 1960.  She contracted polio at age four and wore a leg brace and an orthopedic shoe until she was 11.  By age 16 she had won a bronze medal in the 4 X 100 m relay at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics.  The speed in which she traded her metal leg brace for an Olympic medal is as impressive as the number of races she won. Swift_Carrie_ONeill.jpg

Back to School

September is a big transition time in our house.  The shift from summer to fall is a welcome one for me.  I love buying school supplies for my girls, cooler evenings, honey colored sunlight, wool socks, and back to school nights.

During the past 11 weeks of full-time summer parenting duties, I’ve managed to make art when and where I could.  I’ve created a logo for a local school, finished up a coloring book page for a collaborative project with Sasquatch Press, finished up a book dummy and attended the SCBWI summer conference in LA.

It has been a great summer for our family (especially when compared to Agnes’ diagnosis of T1D last summer), but I’m ready to return to the school year routine.  When the girls head off to school this week, I will walk to my studio with a big smile on my face. School year 8x10

Character Study

I’m heading to the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Summer Conference in Los Angeles in a little over a week.  I’ve been working up to attending a national conference for a couple years now and feel so fortunate that I can attend this year!  I have a spiffed up portfolio, new postcards and my latest book dummy to share.  On the final day of the conference I’m participating in an all day illustration workshop taught by some of my favorite illustrators and industry professionals: Sophie Blackall Author/Illustrator; Peter Brown Author/Illustrator; Priscilla Burris Author/Illustrator; Pat Cummings Illustrator; David Diaz Illustrator; Laurent Linn Art Director, Simon & Schuster; Cecilia Yung Art Director Art Director & Vice President, Penguin BFYR; and the incredible Paul O. Zelinsky Illustrator.  (I feel faint when I read over this list of faculty!  Not to mention one of the keynote speakers for the conference is none other than Jon Klassen–one of my all-time illustration idols!)

Our assignment for the workshop is to come with 3 full-color character studies.  I drew a sketch of an otter in my sketchbook last month that I liked and decided to play around with it.  I’m excited to learn how to make her a more dynamic and compelling character in a variety of poses.  I have a story idea bubbling around in my head with her in the starring role!

Here’s the original sketch and the final:

Current Projects

I’m still plugging away at my squirrel themed picture book.  I recently finished up this double page illustration in time to include it in a SCBWI grant application.DFG 3

I also just submitted an illustration for a contest designing a metal banner for a light pole to mark the boundaries of a local neighborhood.  My banner design was inspired by the area’s Halloween festivities, coupled with the elegance of a the Lord Mansion and State Capitol Museum in the heart of the neighborhood.  Fingers crossed that these efforts will pay off!

SCBWI Draw This: Lucky

Every month the Society for Children’s Book Writer’s and Illustrator’s posts an illustration prompt.  This month the prompt was the word: Lucky.  While I was working on this image I thought a lot about growing up in the Sierra Nevada mountains, the California gold rush, and playing in streams.   Lucky_Carrie_ONeill

I drew inspiration from the book Klondike Gold (Penguin Random House) and old photos of gold miners.  Alice Provensen’s book is a heartbreaking tale of two miners punishing journey in search of gold in Canada’s Northwest Territory, told in opaque oil paints and muted color.

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Original art for Klondike Gold (Penguin Random House) by Alice Provensen.