Monday, December 29, 2008

Illustration Friday - "Clandestine"

©Kathleen Rietz
I thought at first it might be a stretch, but I keep coming back to the same notion regarding this illustration: As much as I have chosen to be a designer and a children's book illustrator, late at night I revert back to my roots in a clandestine effort to nourish the parts of myself deep within my soul that will always be a fine artist.

You can see more of my work like this one on my Moleskine blog.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Update on yesterday's "Happy Birthday to Me " post


I found my "cake limit" tonite! Thanks everyone who stopped by to wish me a happy birthday.

I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, or whatever else you may be celebrating! Be safe.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

...and my twin brother Patrick, too!

I plan to go out and find my "cake limit" again tonite! Some things never change.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Illustration Friday - "Voices" #2

© Kathleen Rietz
Sometimes it's hard to get the voices out of your head when you find yourself engrossed in a scary story!

During the 21 Day Challenge I participated in with other blogger artists last March, I created a page of sketches based on Millie and her loyal little Chihuahua, Bobo. I then created this illustration (available as a print in my shop). And tonite I took some time to work on the second illustration from my page of sketches, and decided it fit the theme for Illustration Friday.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

Illustration Friday - "Voices"

An oldie but it fits for the theme.
If you have never listened and watched Rev. Martin Luther King Jr's speeches, you can find them online (probably YouTube). He had a lot to say and he inspired many, even now. Sadly his voice was silenced by an assassin.


That's the sound of me exhaling. I am preparing the final of 57 art files for the children's yoga book, and later today I will send them on their merry way, snugly tucked inside envelopes and cheerfully addressed to the publisher and book designer. This is the image we chose for the back cover of the book. It really hasn't felt much like the holidays for me, and I am looking forward to enjoying some quiet time with friends.

Looking for a last minute gift idea? You can pre-order the book, "The ABC's of Yoga for Kids" by clicking the button on the right hand margin of my blog (or right here). The book will not be sent to you until March, but I think it will be worth your wait!

Sunday, December 14, 2008


I find the best way to combat my fears is with gratitude.
This watercolor painting is based on a sketch I did during the "21 Day Challenge" earlier this year. I finally finished the illustrations for "The ABCs of Yoga for Kids", and I am taking a little break before I have to begin all of the paintings for the "Little Black Ant at Park Street" book. You can now pre-order the yoga book by clicking the button I created on the right-hand column of my blog. It will take you to the author's website.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Illustration Friday - "Rambunctious"

I couldn't decide which image to use, so I chose and oldie and a more recent sketch. 2 different styles. Both rambunctious.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

playing in the snow...

For all of you bloggers in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa...happy summer!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Winter Sketch

I really enjoyed the "21 Day Challenge" I participated in with fellow illustration bloggers earlier this year, and so tonite I decided to sketch in my sketchbook - a quickie....maybe 10 minutes while I talked with my sister on the phone. I hope to get back to another "21 Day Challenge" after the holidays. Anyone out there care to join me? (You can scroll down and click on the "21 Day Challenge" tag under the "View By Group" list on the right hand side of my blog to see drawings and paintings from the 21 Day Challenge). I also would like to work some of the sketches into paintings to add to my portfolio.

Thursday, December 04, 2008


A few years ago, I began recycling my recyclables...
(The photos are definitely worth clicking to see 'em larger, IMO.)

Jelly jar is now a candle holder. And an iced tea bottle is now a pretty bud vase.

Drug store votives are dressed up and reused.

Your trash is my treasure.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

I'm a Foodie!

Besides art, 2 things that make me happy in this life are eating and cooking. I love food. I take after my mom. She was cheerful to cook for the people she loved and everything she made was a little masterpiece sitting on a plate. She also was a fabulous watercolor painter and a gardener, but that's another story.

My sister has been bugging me for 3 years to write a cookbook. The problem is, all of my culinary creations are instinctual. In other words, I never write down a recipe or measure anything. I find that ingredients (such as tomatoes) taste different depending on the season in which you find them, so I make adjustments to my dishes according to what tastes, smells and looks good.

But I have decided to start writing down my recipes from time to time and adding photographs to accompany the recipes (when my camera cooperates).

In the winter, I crave fresh juices and smoothies, probably my body's response to the darkness of cold and flu season. So in the mornings, I have been blending my fruits and veggies. Then last night I stumbled across Jo Fong's blog, and found an instant kinship! So in honor of healthy eating and Jo's blog, I decided to post this morning's smoothie. I also made oatmeal-blueberry pancakes from scratch, but they were gone before I could photograph them.

In the future, I will be posting my food photos and recipes on my Potluck Sunday blog (my collaborative blog with Joan Yoshioka), but for now I will give you a little taste:

Blend ~
1 lime, peeled and wedged
1 tangerine, peeled and wedged
1/2 large Rome apple, cored and peeled
1/2 banana
3 generous handfuls baby spinach
3 icecubes

Blend until very smooth!

Wanna Be Part of A Greater Good?

This is my niece Alice, who just turned 13 in November. For her birthday, she wanted a framed print of my illustration "Annie Had Tea with a Kingfisher", and I presented it to her at Thanksgiving. She has always been a big fan of my artwork. I am a very proud auntie.

Alice will be celebrating her Bat Mitzvah in early January. In preparation, Alice has chosen to donate children's books to the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) in Champaign, IL, as her Mitzvah project. She will be asking each guest to bring a new or gently used children's picture book to her Bat Mitzvah for the donation. Of course, because I am a children's book illustrator, I thought this was a wonderful idea, and I told her I would post about it on my blog to try and increase the number of books donated.

Do you have a book you would care to donate to DCFS? The organization aids in adoption services, social work, child abuse prevention and other related causes. If you are interested in donating a book for Alice's Mitzvah project, please email me or leave me a comment and I will give you information on where you can send it.

Here is the book I will be donating. It is a kindergarten leveled reader which I illustrated a couple of years ago:

Thanks everyone!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Illustration Friday - "Balloons"

I am busy working on the illustrations for a children's book this weekend, but I had this idea in my head and I wanted to see what it might look like on paper...

©Kathleen Rietz

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

New Stamp Design

Check out this new rubber stamp design I created for Toodles & Binks and available online at Stamp Galaxy. This is the first in what will become a series, and would certainly make a lovely gift for any crafters out there!

"Toodles & Binks Skate" ©Kathleen Rietz for Toodles & Binks

Monday, November 24, 2008

Roasted Sweet Potatoes w/ Soy Honey Glaze

For those of you who have requested the recipe for the sweet potato recipe from my previous post, you can find it right here.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Illustration Friday - "Opinion"

©Kathleen Rietz
To the others, Larry Lobster and Susie Starfish were nothing but "bottom feeders", but their opinions of each other were all that mattered to them.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tastes of the Season

Yes, I know this is my art blog and you want to see more paintings of kids hugging their puppies or demonstrating yoga poses for the upcoming children's book I am working on. BUT - it is my blog and I can do what I want. So yesterday I baked between paintings and sketches, and I just wanted to share this other creative side of me with you all.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Soy Honey Glaze (from the cookbook Japanese Light)

Shortbreads (the specks are cacao nibs, which I buy from a specialty spice shop in the city.)

Also, if you haven't visited my Moleskine blog in a while, feast your eyes on this.

Photos ©Kathleen Rietz

Friday, November 14, 2008

Illustration Friday - "Pretend"

Kids sure have fun pretending!
I think that is why kids will love this book I am illustrating. There will be a yoga pose for every letter of the alphabet!

From "The ABC's of Yoga for Kids", written by author and yoga instructor Teresa Anne Power.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I just received this little sneak preview from Teresa Anne Power, author of "The ABC's of Yoga for Kids"! It is so exciting to see the cover of the book now. It makes it seem all the more real to me....even though I still have so many of the illustrations yet to finish before the book can be published! Watch for more details on how you can pre-order the book in upcoming weeks.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Hope Floats

We can all relax and breath again now that the election is over! Yay!!
(another illustration from the book I am currently illustrating, "The ABC's of Yoga for Kids" by author Teresa Anne Power.)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I Voted!

Those of you who know me well know I am not a morning person, but I was in line at 5:40 this morning to cast my ballot. Please vote today. The lines are go early and be prepared to wait.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Illustration Friday - "Vacant"

Jerry's mind was vacant and he knew he needed to fill it with the right knowledge and skills so he could get a job and marry Susan.

This is from a series of text book illustrations I made earlier this year. Not very creative, but it helps pay the mortgage.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

How fun!

I was sent a preview of the cover of the book I am illustrating "The ABC's of Yoga for Kids" by author Teresa Anne Power. It is so cute, and a sign that this project is becoming a reality! I will be posting it as soon as it is ready.

In the mean time, here is another peek inside the book.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

When do you STOP?

These illustrations are for the children's yoga book I am illustrating, "The ABC's of Yoga for Kids" by author Teresa Anne Power. The book is meant to be instructional, so the focus needs to be on the poses in each case. But...since the book is for little children (ages 4 - 8 mainly), I want to make it cute and appealing. I felt this illustration needed a little something more, but I did not want to compromise the main focus, which is the child imitating the frog's stance. So I brought a few elements into the scene that would add interest and color without taking the focus off of the characters.


another illustration I made for the book "The ABC's of Yoga for Kids" by author Teresa Anne Power.

Friday, October 24, 2008

illustration Friday - "Repair"

©Kathleen Rietz
Sometimes the best way to repair a broken heart is with a smile and a hug.

Spook-a-licious Tiny Tags Giveaway!

©Kathleen Rietz
Ready for one more Halloween giveaway? This time you can win tiny pieces of original art! Each tombstone-shaped tag is 1 1/4" X 1 1/8" (approx. 4 1/2 cm X 3 cm) and is hand painted with a different original Halloween design. Just leave me a comment on this post telling me your funniest or scariest Halloween story, and on Monday the 27th I will randomly draw 2 names from all of the people who have left me a comment. Both winners will receive 5 tags each. Ghoul'd Luck!


Congratulations to Meridith and Redheaded Stepchild for winning the Spook-a-licios Tiny Tags in the drawing!!

Thanks everyone else who left a comment with a Halloween story. I thoroughly enjoyed each and every one. So even though they did not win a prize, I would like to give the following titles to:

Dave: most nostalgic story
Candace: creepiest story
Edrian: best tasting costume
Ellen & Joan: stories most likely to lead to therapy later in life
Ewian: saddest (no Halloween??)

Thanx again everyone! And Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Check out the Picture Bookies Group!

Hey everyone! If you haven't checked this "group" lately, go there now! The Picture Bookies are an online group of very talented children's book illustrators, of which I am so happy to be a member. The other members include Ginger Nielson, Sherry Rogers, Amy C. Moreno, Paige Keiser, Bron Smith, Gina Pfleegor and Kristi Valiant. You can even link to their individual websites and blogs from the "Picture Bookies" group blog.

Sherry Rogers just designed this spiffy new blog header for us! Yay Sherry!

(PS...can you pick out which character in the header is mine?)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Back to the Little Black Ant book...

Yesterday I showed you a preview of the yoga book I am illustrating in my whimsical style (see the post directly under this one). Tonite I am up late because now I have to switch gears and work on all 14 of the interior pencil studies for "Little Black Ant at Park Street" in what I call my 'soft realistic' style. They are all double page spreads. This is to meet a deadlne a couple of weeks away. Such a challenge it is to work on 2 books at once, especially such different subject matter. I am not complaining, though. Everyone I am working with has been so supportive and encouraging. And I am so happy and honored to have these books assigned to me!

Anyhoo - I wanted to share with you the pencil study I did for the cover illustration a couple of months back....I know I am always interested to see how other illustrators work. So here it is. Doing this helps to establish the values and overall balance of the painting for me, and helps to communicate to the publisher what to expect in the final painting.

And here is a photo of the finished painting before I sent it off to the publisher, Soundprints. I actually had to photograph it in 2 sections and Photoshop them together because the painting was over 2 feet long. But I thought you would want to see it.

And, finally, here is the finished cover after Soundprints scanned it and plopped in all of the good stuff. Ta-da! Cool, huh? It is such an amazing process....hours and hours of plotting and planning and sweating and bleeding. And in the end, you have the finished product. And hopefully - what we illustrators all wish for - it will become a child's favorite book!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

New Book!

You know how it is when you have a secret you are just bursting to tell someone?? Well I wanted to give you a 'sneak peek' at one of the new books I have been illustrating titled "The ABC's of Yoga for Kids" by author Teresa Anne Power. Teresa is a yoga instructor as well as the author. Teresa's yoga expertise combined with my ballet background has been the perfect formula in bringing this fun and instructional book to life through the illustrations of children demonstrating the poses. Teresa and the book shepherd - Brookes Nohlgren - have been so wonderful to work with. It really makes the project so much more fun when you work with people who are positive and understand each other's vision and have respect for the kind of time and work that goes into children's book illustrations. There will be close to 60 illustrations in all!

Teresa has allowed me to give you a little peek at the book. I was going to post only one illustration, but I feel these 3 are a pretty good representation of the book so far. As the holidays approach, I will add to my blog a link for pre-ordering the book. Remember this illustration that was selected by Teresa for the "book cover"?

So here are a few of the poses:

The "X"

The "Frog"

The "Dolphin"

I am so excited!! Okay...back to work!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Happy Bloggiversary, Little Blog!

Today marks 2 years that this blog of mine has been in existence! Yay! I wanted to say a big THANK YOU to all who have stopped to visit - even you "lurkers" out there - and especially those of you who come by regularly and leave comments. I have 'virtually' met so many other incredible artists and talented people. You all inspire me and at times encourage me, and it's been a lot of fun. I have even met some of you in person, and have made some friends. So....THANKS!!

Earlier this week I launched another blog, "A Moleskine Journal". Those of you who visit regularly know that I am under contract for 2 children's books at the moment, and now I am negotiating a 3rd contract. As funny as it may sound, I sort of needed a creative escape from the children's book illustrations (read as 'art therapy'), and have found that escape in setting up still lifes (or single objects) in my kitchen or studio and drawing from life. I even added a section of this work to my website. It's been fun to tap into a skill I have not exercised in a while. Here is what I worked on tonite in my kitchen:

Maybe tomorrow I will add some garlic...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Autumn Oak

©Kathleen Rietz
More therapeutic sketching between illustrating my children's books.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Wanna Trade Treasures?

Today I received my shipment of "Annie Had Tea With A Kingfisher" note cards. I am thrilled! Vistaprint does an incredible job every time I have them print anything for me. These cards are available at my online shop, but seriously, I think I may have to order more because now I want to give them away in sets to friends this holiday season. They are just that cute!

So now I am feeling like having some fun with the cards. Do you have something you want to trade? If you have a printed note card featuring your art, an ATC, or even a handmade Etsy item you want to trade, leave me a comment. At the end of the day on Friday, I will randomly draw 5 names from all of the posted comments, and will trade you a notecard for your treasure of choice. (notecards measure approx. 4 1/8" X 5 1/2" and come with a white envelope)


UPDATE: Winners...ValGal, Alicia Padron, Joan Y., Diana Evans and Senta! Congrats ladies! Don't forget to email me with your mailing info.

Monday, October 13, 2008

We Have Winners!

Congratulations to Vickie, Carli and Teri! They left me a comment on Thursday's post and today I drew their names. They each will recive a free Halloween note card.

Also, I have launched my new blog "A Moleskine Journal" to showcase my latest obsession. Check it out when you get a chance.

Glazed Bowl

©Kathleen Rietz
Hhhhmmmm....I'm thinking need to put these on a seperate "moleskine" blog....

Sunday, October 12, 2008