Monday, December 29, 2014

New Years Week Begins

"I think 'Be Us.' is my most favorite", she said.

Happy New Year to each of you ~
Looking forward to 2015,


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas Week

Cheers and Best Wishes to each of you for this Christmas Week!

Thanks so much for stopping by here throughout 2014,

Friday, December 19, 2014

Lemon Cupcake Day

Dec 15th was National Cupcake Day. Not sure why I wrote International Lemon Cupcake Day...
We had a car that was a bit of a lemon, so this was the first thing I thought of. Bon Appetit!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Sketch to finish

I'm playing with pencil, ink, and paint, to figure out the art for the picturebook I'm working on.
Here's a color version (though the values need a bit of tweaking).

Here's a black and white version (I forgot to scan the sketch before painting).

Here's another image, my two dogs.
I like how watercolor isn't 100% controllable (at least not for me) and there are little happy surprises in the paint.
I guess I've figured out how I want the art to look. Next step: 32 pages of sketches, turned to final art.
I'm excited to see how it turns out.

-- Ruth McNally Barshaw

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Sometimes characters don't wanna be dressed up in winter finery after all.

Monday, December 15, 2014

December Celebrations

Marlise's morning got off to a great start.  She is off to wish everyone she meets a very happy National Lemon Cupcake Day!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Joy- Mistletoe piggies

It's that time of year again, mistletoe to steal a kiss.

Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Picture book deadlines loom

Usually I say it takes about 100 sketches to figure out a main character. I'm illustrating a book for Sleeping Bear Press and I believe I drew about 134 lions before I figured out what I wanted Leopold to look like. 
Leopold has a friend, an elephant. I was happy with sketch #8 but then I went too far. I added pajama pants. And my resident art approver, my teen daughter, said no, the elephant is better without them. She approved the fez, but just then I remembered the elephant in Disney's Aladdin movie wore a fez. So I changed this fez to a flowerpot (which looks a bit like an upside down fez -- so now it's a square).

I decided to see what the elephant looks like with no pants.

(Yay for fast Photoshop!)

So now the question is, does the dog wear clothes? 

By the time this art is due, I will have decided. 

-- Ruth McNally Barshaw

Monday, December 8, 2014

December Days

Always such a treat to get handwritten letters in the mail ~ and sometimes the fun is in the sending!
Marsha and Pooky love writing and receiving letters to themselves, especially during this season.

Letter Writing Day was just yesterday, on December 7th.  Cheers!

Friday, December 5, 2014


12 Drummers Drumming
11 Pipers Piping
10 Lords a Leaping
9 Ladies Dancing
8 Maids a Milking
7 Swans a Swimming
6 Geese a Laying
5 Golden Rings
4 Calling Birds
3 French Hens
2 Turtle Doves
and a

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Monday, November 24, 2014

Thanksgiving Week

Little Leticia kept her promise all the way back from Halloween.

Happy Thanksgiving from her, her (now) soft and cuddly pumpkin, and us all!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Honoring Veterans

"Which Vet'ran are you going to be first, Marcie?", asked Andrew.  "I'm going to be all of them, but first I'll be in the Army because I can march really good. You should be in the Navy first, 'cuz you already took swimming lessons."

Andrew was very excited to be in their first ever, very own Veteran's Day Parade.  

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Autumn Splendor

I could spend all day doodling leaves. Here are a few a did with Sharpie markers because a big bucket of markers makes me feel like a kid again. And everyone needs to tap into that free, creative child-like play when doodling is involved! 

Happy November! 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Autumn Splendor

. . . And then sometimes the splendor is more than just about gloriously beautiful autumn colors and flavors.  

Monday, October 27, 2014

October Celebrations

"The Popcorn Fairy always hops hops hops while she pops pops pops!" shouted Amanda while waiting for the school bus.  "And, do you want to know why I'm practicing to be the Popcorn Fairy for Halloween? ~ because October is National Popcorn Popping Month, sillies!!"

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Frog

(Note: This drawing is actually of a toad)

The Frog

Be kind and tender to the Frog, 
   And do not call him names, 
As ‘Slimy skin,’ or ‘Polly-wog,’ 
   Or likewise ‘Ugly James,’ 
Or ‘Gape-a-grin,’ or ‘Toad-gone-wrong,’   
   Or ‘Billy Bandy-knees’: 
The Frog is justly sensitive 
   To epithets like these. 
No animal will more repay 
   A treatment kind and fair; 
At least so lonely people say 
Who keep a frog (and, by the way,   
They are extremely rare).

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Happy Rejection Day!

We all experience rejection at some point.
The goal is not to get all worked up about it.
Here are some of my latest rejected sketches.
New point of view wanted, to include the driver.

Rejected scene. (I know those parents on the right aren't well done. I liked the rest, though.)

Just nope.

Eh. Keep moving. Do better. It takes a stack of paper a few inches high to create the art (and writing, when I'm doing the writing) for one book. Lots of ideas never make it into a finished book. Maybe all those ideas go play someplace... (Actually that little fantasy was part of a novel I started writing, a few years back. It was... rejected.)
-- Ruth McNally Barshaw

Monday, October 20, 2014

Hello New October Week

Samantha was celebrating Babbling Day, and she didn't even know it! ~ 

Happy Babbling Day on October 21st.  =D

~ Priscilla 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Happy Sweetest Day!

My scanner was giving me problems this morning and I didn't want to miss my post this week, so I tried to take a clear photo, even though it was a bit dark! We don't really celebrate Sweetest Day with, well, sweets, but who can say no to flowers? Flowers are fab every day!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Mr.Pumpkin Loves Fall!

Mr. Pumpkin loves a crisp Fall day!

I'm doing an inktober crossover today :o)

Have a lovely Fall weekend!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Monday, October 13, 2014

New Week of Fall Holidays

"Oops", she thought to herself. "Silly, happy me. 'Wear Something Gaudy Day' isn't until October 17th!"

Happy Columbus Day today!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Quick Like A Bunny

Busy as a bee over here, so I thought I'd share a little bunny love!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

World Teacher Day

Sunday, October 5, was World Teacher Day.
Thank a teacher.
Here's a rare moment from me: I'm sharing work that isn't very good. This sequence is the thought process I went through in trying to illustrate one spread for a picturebook that comes out next fall.
My art mentor, SCBWI great E.B. Lewis, has been pushing me to see things differently, and now, after about 2 months of working with him I *finally* understand what he meant when he said I wasn't putting myself into the story enough.
I totally understand now that illustration is the same as writing.
I get it.
Because he's a good teacher.

 Wrong. All wrong.

A little better. But still no.

A little better but the reader isn't IN the story yet.



This is just the rough pencil sketch -- the designer, art director, and various editors at the publisher will have their own opinions. But this is a lot better than I'd have done before taking art lessons. 
Thank you, E.B.!
-- Ruth McNally Barshaw

Monday, October 6, 2014

World Teacher Day

Cheers to you awesome Teachers out there!  World Teacher's Day is Oct 5th, and what better way to celebrate than with a made-with-love-and-admiration paper crown?

~ Priscilla

Friday, October 3, 2014

the joy of Fall leaves!

Anyone can enjoy a fun leap in the Fall leaf pile!! In CA, I'll be happy if we get the rain!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Monday, September 29, 2014

Leaves Will Fall

She loves reassuring her leaf friends.  Later, she'll love seeing them flutter here and there down to the ground, and she will sing her Happy Fall Song to them.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Saturday Sketch

This is most definitely in my future... Happy Weekend!  a : )

Friday, September 26, 2014

Wild Card

Wishing you a lovely rainbow fox lightning bolt rain cloud fish weekend 
with hearts and flowers on the side!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

'Tis Fall

It's fall already. In a few minutes it will be winter (at least in my neck of the woods).
I didn't mean for this little bird to look melancholy. 
And I didn't mean to feel that way myself. 
I suppose more drawing will fix my mood...

Wheeeee! That's better.

-- Ruth McNally Barshaw