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Folktale week

I think it might be every illustrator’s dream to draw a children’s picture book. Although it is a bit outside my usual range of work, I love magical illustrations, folktales and fairytales. This year I dipped a toe in by participating in Folktale Week, a yearly instagram challenge that attracts a ton of awesome artists and a huge range of work. The creators release a list of prompts for each day of the week, and illustrators interpret them in any way they like. The prompt for the image above was “home” and I envisioned a coyote in her den.

The prompt for day two was “secret.” Here the owl is a being who can see the hidden things.

This prompt was “path.” These twin trees I saw on my morning walk reminded me of when I was a kid and the path between two trees in my yard was a portal to another world… one that was populated by talking horses and ladybugs!

The promt for this drawing was “smoke,” and all I could think of was the horrifying wildfires all around the world… five times more than last year, made so much worse by climate change. This drawing is based on a story I read about endangered baby California condors, and one that escaped the wildfires with singed wings. Some scientists are calling the current age the pyrocene, age of fire, created by humans. Time for a new human story, I think.

This was for the prompt “darkness.” I saw this as a healing space after the violence of the wildfire image, floating under the full moon, suspended like the hanged man in tarot. I’d love to turn these drawings into a story about climate change and how people can change our culture to one that is not only sustainable but regenerative and resilient.

Check out the rest of the Folktale Week entries here!

Rewilding — restoring human connection to nature with art and garden

In the wake of the devastating report from the UN on the state of biodiversity on the planet—one million species at risk of extinction because of human activity—I stumbled on the term rewilding. Rewilding is restoring human connection to nature. After all WE ARE NATURE! (as I can often be heard yelling at news reporters, nature documentary narrators and other well meaning people, who still seem to think nature is something OUT THERE that we maybe can save, maybe not, as if it had nothing to do with human life!) Rewilding could be eating wild foods, allowing part of your property to grow wild, restoring an ecosystem, creating environmental art, spending time immersed in the environment. Seeing the beautiful work people are doing to rewild their small corner of earth is helping me get through the grief for our hurting planet. For me, working on drawing plants for my 100 day project feels like little earth meditations every day. I love taking the time to observe the plants so closely. And, of course, working on our small homestead, adding more food plants, native gardens, and incorporating more permaculture practices, is the best therapy—for us and I hope for the planet.

Fridays for future — designers join the climate strikes

I have been following the student climate strikes started by Greta Thunberg in Sweden and now spread around the globe, including here in Massachusetts. I have been thinking about the role designers and artists can play in supporting this movement. A group of children’s book illustrators have been holding virtual protests in support of the kids in the #kidlit4climate campaign. Makes me wish I was a kid lit illustrator! Some great discussions are also happening on instagram under the hashtags #designersforfuture.

100 day project

I joined the 100 day project this year on instagram. It was a bit scary to jump in, but it has been a great experience so far. Lots of great people doing cool work and a very supportive community. I am attempting to draw plants for 100 days. The topic is not a stretch for me :O but I am hoping this challenge will keep me drawing through the spring and summer months. It gets very busy around the homestead and drawing usually gets abandoned pretty fast. We’ll see how it goes! Here are a few days. I have been having fun experimenting with different styles and techniques. Feel free to follow along on instagram!

illustration mockups

I have mixed feelings about putting my pattern designs into mockups. On the one hard, photoshop magic is pretty awesome! And it is a good way to get an idea of how the scale and colors of a pattern might look in real life. On the other hand, they always seem very slick and fake for my taste. So I started these as a way to create a mockup illustrations… and now they are just super fun! The cat drawing is based on my kitty Linus who loves sleeping in the sun.

polypody pattern

I’ve become obsessed lately with pattern design, especially botanicals. This illustration is based on the rock ferns that grow in the woods near my house in central Massachusetts. It’s the New England version of all the beautiful tropical designs around right now. I would love to see this as wallpaper!