Thursday, December 27, 2007

Happy New Year ATC "tiny tags" giveaway!

©Kathleen Rietz 2007
I'm having another giveaway! I created these "tiny tags" to ring in 2008. The first 5 people who leave me a comment will receive a set of 3 tags which I will choose from this assortment. Tags measure 1 3/4" X 1 1/8" each. Happy New Year!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Random Fact #8: I have a Christmas Eve Birthday

Today is my 40th birthday. You may remember Random Fact #1 from back in August "I Am A Twin". So it is my twin brother's birthday also. For those of you 20-Somethings out there who think that 40 is old, it's not. I still love hip-hop and dance music and I shop in the Junior's dept for most of my clothes and stay up until all hours of the night making my art. I love the stupid "reality" shows on MTV and I text my friends when I don't feel like calling. But I also have to tell you that my 30's were way better than my 20's, and I am looking forward to what my 40's will bring. 40 years has made me wiser, more empathetic, standing firm in who I am and what I believe, but more accepting of others and their differences. My world view is different than it was even 5 years ago, now that I think about it, and it's been shaped by my years on this earth. Am I where I thought I would be at 40? No. But I am my mother's daughter, and I know she would be proud of me if she were here. This is an amazing time we live in. We have so many choices to shape our lives and live our dreams right at our virtual fingertips. We can touch others' lives and share our thoughts and our art right here at our computers. I am grateful for every one of you who has ever stopped by my blog and commented on my posts; I feel like I "know" so many of you and you brighten my days, every day! Thanks for an awesome year of art blogging and I cannot wait to share the next one with you all! Cheers! (Red scarf courtesy of my friend Joan in Hawaii, who began knitting it months ago and sent it this week as a birthday gift, along with some other goodies. Thanks Joan!)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Illustration Friday - "Horizon"

This was an illustration (above) I did for Abbey Press a year and a half ago...but it fits the theme.
And here is an illustration I painted in 1995, for my very first children's picture-book. I almost didn't post this one, but I had to prove to myself that I still have a sense of humor. There is nothing horribly "wrong" with it, I would just do it so differently almost 13 years later.....which is a GOOD thing! It shows I've grown as an illustrator.
Click both images for a closer look.
Meanwhile.....I am still working on the 113 illustrations (the editor added 5 more!) for the textbooks due in January. AND, I found out earlier this week that I have been awarded a new picture-book! I am not even sure about the subject matter yet; all I know is that it is a Spanish language book and that the publisher wants it done in my "whimsical" style (which you can see in the 2 posts immediately below this one). Hmmmm... I also know that delivery of the final art is expected in 3 or 4 weeks....this should make for some abbreviated celebrating during the holidays. But, how cool is that?? I say, pretty darn cool. : )

Monday, December 17, 2007

ATC Holiday Giveaway!

I won an Artist Trading Card in blogger Joan Yoshioka's (Drawing on Nature) contest. Her only request was that I carry on the spirit of holiday giving and give away 3 of my own. So here is your chance to own one of 3 original ATCs by ME! I only ask that you be willing to also carry on the giving spirit and give away 3 items of your own in a contest on your blog. The first 3 people to leave me a comment on this post win one of these ATCs! Happy Holidays!
Each card is 2.5" X 3.5" and is mixed media (dyes, pen, paper and glitter).

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Illustration Friday - "Backwards"

©Kathleen Rietz
It's hard to feel any sense of dignity when you're wearing a hospital gown.

Friday, December 14, 2007

I've been Featured on Illustrophile!

© McGraw-Hill
I have been featured on Illustrophile, a blog which showcases illustrators and commercial artists of all kinds and styles! The blog was created and is authored by Charlene Chua, a very talented illustrator herself. Thanks Charlene!

This illustration was commissioned last January for a text book published by McGraw-Hill. I also was commissioned to create this illustration of Martin Luther King, Jr for the same book.

BTW, PLEASE participate in my "Puff The Magic Dragon" post below. I am loving everyone's answers! - kate : )

Thursday, December 13, 2007

"Puff, The Magic Dragon"

© Kathleen Rietz, drawn in May 1972, at age 4 1/2
I loved this story when I was a child, and my mother used to sing the song to me. It aways ended so sadly though....Poor Puff.
I love to remember the wholesome entertainment we enjoyed from that era - Sesame Street and The Electric Company with their original casts (Rita Moreno and Morgan Freeman still look incredible and have gone on to be such gifted actors!! Who knew??), Burl Ives records for children, the wonderfully animated Christmas specials before everything became so gosh darn p.c., staying up to watch The Wizard of Oz on network t.v. every summer and being frightened by the original Willy Wonka movie (please get those Oompa-Loompas out of my head!).
What television and music did you enjoy as a child? What do you miss most?

Friday, December 07, 2007

Illustration Friday - "Little Things"

© Kathleen Rietz
Sometimes great things come in small packages. This is actually an older illustration I did for a story I had floating around in my head about a boy who is given this beautiful little box, and contained in the box are magical powers. I loved the imagery I had envisioned for the story, and decided to paint the cover illustration as a promo piece last year.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Winter's Garden Snowcone

©Kathleen Rietz
I emailed this photo to my friend and fellow blogger Joan Yoshioka in Hawaii, who commented that it looks like a snowcone. I thought the same thing when I photographed it this morning. This bush reminded me of something from a fairy tale - like the garden Dorothy discoveres in The Wizard of Oz - a shrub sprouting forth sparkly snowcones or sugar covered marshmallows. It is worth clicking on the image to see it full-size. Of course, it was even better in person.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Illustration Friday - "Excess"

©Kathleen Rietz
Little girls are so funny...the more they accessorize, the prettier they feel, even if the rest of the family sees it as excess!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A Plethora of Pugs!

©Kathleen Rietz
Yesterday I was contacted by a publisher who saw my work and is interested in possibly having me illustrate a children's picture book about pugs. Because I did not have any pugs in my portfolio, I did a few sketches last night to email to the publisher. I sketched so many pugs I thought I might turn into one. These dogs are so ugly, they're CUTE! I think that is why they are so popular now. They always look to me like someone hit them in the face with a hot iron skillet. In an adorable sort of way...of course.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Feast or Famine

© Kathleen Rietz
LOL...I have 36 sketches due on Monday. They are for a text book assignment I am working on. There are actually 3 batches of 36 illustrations (108 in all), which I will be taking from concept to finished pen & ink from now through mid January. Seems like a long time, right? No, not really. If you freelence, you know how much waiting you have to do in this business....waiting for assignments, waiting for approvals, waiting. And people will of course be celebrating the holidays and coming and of my deadlines is the Wedensday of Thanksgiving week; another is January 2nd, whether anyone is in the office to give approvals or receive my work or not. But you know what? I love it. When I have projects, I am happy. Maybe sleep deprived. Maybe a little stinky. But ultimately...HAPPY. So if I miss a couple of Illustration Fridays or seem to disappear now and then, you'll know I am just finally....busy again. : ) By the way, you can see my Illustration Friday entry "scales" if you scroll down the page a little...I actually completed it last week, but it seems to fit the topic nicely. Have a good weekend, fellow bloggers! - kate : )

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Illustration Friday - "Hats"

© Kathleen Rietz
A preliminary line drawing is all I have time for this week. I do hope to develop the composition and turn it into a painting when I find time to illustrate again. It is a grandmother and baby going for a train ride, both wearing their hats. I have to think about what she will be looking at outside the train window...

Monday, November 05, 2007

Illustration Friday -"Scales"

© Kathleen Rietz
A new sample piece for my portfolio. And it happened to fit Friday's topic rather nicely.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Hey, visit my new blog!

Joan Yoshioka and I now have a collaborative blog called Potluck Sunday, where we share our creative odds and ends that did not make it onto our personal blogs, but we feel deserve a spotlight in cyberspace. We plan on sharing our photos, stories, artwork....a little of this, a little of that. Check it out.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Random Fact #7: "Yikes!"

For some reason, when I was 4 years of age, I had an awareness of animals with big snapping teeth, and I had a need to work out this issue on paper. I believe it may have been because our daschund, Hilda, did not like children and had to make her point clear to me and my tiny probing fingers using her teeth. I think the picture drawn in green crayon accurately illustrates what Hilda's demeanor was like most of the time. I also believe the creature chasing the person up a tree is a dinosaur, and the picture of the fish with big teeth is a shark. I remember being very impressed with these animals as a girl. Click the pictures to get a better view.

Monday, October 29, 2007

How Cool!

I should have posted these earlier, but are some digital candy bar wrappers I designed for You can download all 3 instantly for $2.75. Just click the link.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Illustrartion Friday - "Extreme"

©Kathleen Rietz
It really wasn't too long ago in America that these girls would not have been allowed to play together based solely on the color of their skin. Sometimes it takes the friendships of children to teach adults right from wrong.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

SCBWI-IL Gallery Show

Here is a photo from the exhibit today at the Chesterton Art Center in Chesterton, IN. I wish my sister could have been there....tomorrow is her birthday, and I wanted to surprise her by presenting to her my original painting, "Symphony In The Pond" (on the right). She loves the painting, but was pretty convinced I would never part with it. She thinks she is getting a print. : ) I wanted to see the look on her face. We are having lunch tomorrow...I will have to wait until then to tell her.
One highlight from the show was seeing so many wonderful original children's book illustrations along with their illustrators in one room.
Another highlight was hearing Larry Day speak about his book "Not Afraid of Dogs", which was awarded the SCBWI's Golden Kite Award in 2007. His illustrations are great, and I loved hearing about the entire process.
But most important to me was having my friends there to support me. They enjoyed the show, maybe more than I did, and it meant a lot to me.

Illustration Friday "Open"

© Kathleen Rietz
This illustration is originially titled "In The Morning Mist". I wanted to convey the freedom and openness that the horse feels taking a morning gallop around the stable in the warm morning sunlight.

Thursday, October 04, 2007


The time is approaching soon...the opening reception for SCBWI-IL art show at the Chesteron Art Center in Chesterton, IN is this Sunday from 1-4pm. I illustrated this letter "M" as part of the alphabet which will be auctioned off the entire month of October. So many talented Chicago area children's illustrators have contributed their time and talents to this show, and I am so excited. To view the entire illustrated alphabet click here.
© Kathleen Rietz
I will also be exhibiting these 2 illustrations in the gallery for the entire month of October.
© Kathleen Rietz
© Kathleen Rietz
For more information on the SCBWI-IL and the Chesterton Gallery Show, click here.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Random Fact #6: Hold The Meat

©Kathleen Rietz
I've never been a fan of meat, hated milk even as a child, and am very happy with what Leon referred to today as my "Jesus Diet". It is the same diet my mom referred to as "Sticks & Stones". Ha ha, you people are all so very funny. Sure, I crave a plate of technicolor sushi creations from Daruma in Schaumburg, IL, at times. And Ashby's Sterling Ice Cream in Arlington Heights, IL, is the best REAL ice cream in the world. But on a daily basis, a normal dinner for me consists of what you see in the picture above: barley, steamed edamame, a splash of soy sauce and a tomato wedge. For lunch I may get on a kick where I make black bean tacos on soft corn tortillas with a sprinkle of cheddar cheese and fresh salsa. Breakfast is almost always a piece of fruit, oatmeal sprinkled with some dried fruit, coconut, nuts or seeds, and, of course, a cup or 2 of tea! Apple slices smeared with natural peanut butter and a cup of tea are a favorite snack at work this week. I fill my weekly shopping cart with fresh fruits & veggies, whole grain breads and legume pastas, beans, seeds, nuts and dried fruit. The dog rarely ever fights to lick my plate.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Random Fact #5: I Am A Lifelong Artist

©Kathleen Rietz
My first attempt at collage. (year unknown)
© Kathleen Rietz
For Daddy. 1973 (age 5)
It wasn't easy deciding what to post for this Random Fact #5. But I decided to post drawings of my dad. You can see more childhood drawings by clicking the heading "Artwork From My Childhood" to the right of this blog.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Illustration Friday "Wedding"

© Kathleen Rietz
These little guys started out as characters I was developing for a client, but it never went anywhere.
You can find the boy bee, "Barney Bee", on baby clothes at my cafepress shop.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Random Fact #4: I Love Tea

© Kathleen Rietz
I'm quite content when I find myself absorbed in a cup of tea. It offers just enough caffiene for a little pick-me-up, but not so much that I get the jitters and crash later like I may with a cup of coffee. Tea contains chemicals which naturally neutralize odors in the mouth, unlike coffee. I collect teas like some people collect books or music or coins. For me, it is the perfect gift to recieve because chances are, I will invite you to have a cup with me! I can spend hours in a tea shop smelling and sampling teas and walk away completely happy with the experience. Three of my favorites are Japanese Sencha, Jasmine and (in the evening) Mint.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Random Fact #3: I'm Green

My philosophy is that when you stay as a guest in someone's home, you clean up after yourself and try to leave their place as it was (or better than it was) before you arrived. I also feel that way about the world we live in. I recycle, reuse, repair....and I bring my own shopping bags to the store whenever I can. This reusable canvas shopping bag is available at my cafepress store, and features artwork I created for this week's Illustration Friday theme "Momentum".

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Illustration Friday "Momentum" #2

©Kathleen Rietz
I thought I'd post another design piece for "Momentum". I guess I like to post abstract pieces for this theme because momentum is truly an abstract concept, and the word conjures up such images in my mind. This painting represents the momentum I feel in September, as summer slips into autumn.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Lazy Afternoon

©Kathleen Rietz

Illustration Friday "Momentum"

©Kathleen Rietz
When I hear the word "momentum", I think of it as referring to the pace of one's heart or one's life. I thought I would post some of my design work, which always begins with an illustration of mine. I rarely ever post my designs on my blog, but I enjoy creating pattern and design equally as much as I enjoy creating a new illustration. So, I hope you enjoy something different from me this week.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

September Shower

©Kathleen Rietz

I think September is the most beautiful month of the year.

©Kathleen Rietz

These photos are dedicated to my mom, Carol, who would have been 72 this month.

©Kathleen Rietz

As I get on with my life, I wish she was here to celebrate all of my happinesses with me. I know she would be proud of the woman I am today, her daughter.
I miss you, Mom.

Win a Book!

The FIRST person to post a comment on THIS post gets a *signed* copy of this book I illustrated!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Random Fact #2: I Am Exploring Other Talents

Art is not the only thing that interests me. I have always been interested in healthcare and lifestyle modification from a holistic approach. I recently took a part time job working as a chiropractic assistant. I work with a fantastic group of people; it is both exhilerating and exhausting. I do not have a photo of me in my scrubs, so I am posting this illustration I drew a few years ago for a book about fitness and weight loss.
copyright protected

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

I'm Excited!

I just ordered copies of this book I illustrated, which will be for sale at the SCBWI children's book illustrators gallery show next month in Chesterton, IN. Read more about this show in the post immediately below! I'm getting tingley!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Come Meet Me!

Come meet me at the Chesterton Arts Center in Chesterton, IN, as I and other members of the SCBWI-IL display our children's book illustrations at a show which will run the entire month of October. The opening celebration is Sunday, October 7th from 1-4pm. A diverse group of talented children's artists will be there to meet, demo and lecture, and it is a wonderful opportunity to see amazing art and purchase children's books. I hope to have copies of the book I illustrated "My New Pet" there if I am able to nab a few from the publisher in time for the show. There is also a silent auction featuring an illustrated alphabet, where my illustrated "M" will be available for bidding.

©Kathleen Rietz
One of the nicest surprises, which I did not expect at all, is that the SCBWI-IL is featuring my illustration "Symphony In The Pond" on the show's promotional materials!
I hope to see you there!

Illustration Friday - "Alphabets"

© Kathleen Rietz