Category Archives: illustration

Happy New Year!

"A Silent Night. All is Calm"

“A Silent Night. All is Calm”

With the kiddos now back at school, I’m back at work and I wanted to wish everyone a very Happy New Year!!

This piece was done for my holiday card entitled “A Silent Night. All is Calm”. I wanted to use past years’ characters (Old Man Winter and Mrs. Old Man Winter) and develop their personalities and interaction. I figure that after so many years of creating winters together, their love and commitment toward one another must be so grand. As I find affection and kindness in gifting food, I played off that with a simple act of kindness by the Mrs., warming their hearts and bellies over hot cocoa, while enjoying a quiet moment together at a most amazing spot possible, on top of a mountain.

May you find much kindness from those around you, and pay it forward in 2014!


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Filed under holiday card, illustration, people

Tomie dePaola contest

As a member of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), I entered the Tomie dePaola contest – due last Friday. It is a long shot, but the winner gets admission paid to the NY conference in Feb 2014 and lunch with Tomie!! (Wouldn’t that be cool?!) The assignment was to illustrate the “Sneeze” poem below with an audience of 2 mos-2 yrs. Here is what I came up with:


A sneeze
is a breeze

Sneeze in Your Nose

Sneeze in Your Nose

Fingers and toes crossed! 🙂


Filed under animals, illustration, Tomie dePaola

Children’s Hospital paintings finished!

It has already been a week an a half, but I officially finished the Children’s Hospital commission that began in 2010! I was actually brainstorming and sketching when we were on our way to Korea to bring our Benjamin home. “Great timing!” I remember saying. It was a bit of a roller coaster with deadlines, but what an honor for me to create art that heals.

Attached is the final piece that was specifically commissioned as a dedication piece. It hangs in the Mpls Children’s neo natal unit near a plaque. Moose, duck, sheep and frog are my original characters in the 22-painting series on that floor. This series depicts a story of these characters traveling to my favorite MN places doing outdoor activities together. This piece needed to match the others but be reflective of the neo natal unit, with only two specifications: include the moose and a rocking chair. I felt as a finalĂ©, it wouldn’t be complete unless I included moose’s friends.

Like most of my work, it has underlying meaning–holding a baby in the rocker singing “Twinkle, Twinkle.” Once again, when I developed these characters we were on our way to meet Benjamin. He didn’t know English and we knew very little Korean, so one way to show him that I was his new mommy, that he would always be safe and loved was to hold him close and sing to him. I sang “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” (over and over and over…).

I guess in a way, it also represents my saying, “good night” to this job and quietly tucking it away.

Twinkle Little Star

Twinkle Little Star


Filed under animals, illustration, Mpls Children's Hospital, paintings

SkADaMo Days 10 & 11

So I’m continuing the concept with the lady blowing in the wind and started playing with other characters in this story. Here’s what I came up with for yesterday:

Morning breeze

Morning breeze

And today. I needed an unexpected character. Why a dog in a trench coat, of course:

Fly-away dog

Fly-away dog

And your guess is as good as mine as to what the dog is holding and why. Stay tuned!

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Filed under animals, illustration, sketch of the day

SkADaMo-Day 8

It feels a little windy today.

Feeling windy

Feeling windy

Happy Friday!


Filed under illustration, people, sketch of the day

SkADaMo-Day 7

So I set out to do a quick self portrait since I need one for my new website (that I’m currently building!) and I just have to laugh at myself for what it evolved into. I started with some questions to myself, “what really represents who I am? What do I really LOVE to do?” and here is how the conversation went on in my head…

“What I’d really love to do right now is drink hot cocoa!”

“Okay, Sara… this is deep! Give me something that you like to do.”

“Run – don’t want to draw. Paint – nah. Hmmm. What would I LOVE right now? Nothing… that’s it! I would LOVE NOTHING. Just quiet, calm and warmth.”

“Okay, I’ll run with it.” So I put me in some stripy tights and slippers and a cozy warm sweater. Tucked me in a super comfy, engulfing chair. Surrounded me with just me and my cocoa (actually now was teetering between cocoa and coffee). “Ahhhh, this is what I like, especially on a soon-to-be winter day in Minnesota!”

Then I thought, “I should maybe try to add some element of realism, so I can identify it as me. I sort-of created my hairstyle. No that doesn’t do it. (I’ll work on the face later.) What else?

Oh, I KNOW… so I added a little boy lurking behind the chair and TOOK AWAY the silence and serenity because this is how my self portrait is daily with my dear, dear  pre-school son at home!”

Self portrait SOLVED.

Self portrait idea

Self portrait idea


Filed under illustration, people, sketch of the day

SkADaMo day 6 – creating personality

So I missed yesterday…oh, well! These sketches were actually intended for yesterday’s post, but I ran out of steam last night. I loved the monkey character from Monday and wanted to develop different sides of him… particularly his profile and his butt! 🙂  Also beginning to unwrap his personality. It’s a start with this little fellow.

Happy sketching, all you sketch-a-dayers!

developing monkey's personality

developing monkey’s personality


Filed under illustration, monkey, sketch of the day