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

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Look Again

I visited the nature sanctuary again today, probably for the final time this year. These critters camouflaged themselves so well....I would have completely missed the praying mantis if it had not scurried as I walked past it. We seemed to have startled each other.

praying mantis (the colors are amazing!) The praying mantis was about 5 or 6 inches (approx. 13-15 cm) long.

grasshopper (I see you!)

It was nice to break away for a little while....I took Leon with me after hitting the gym. I am working at home on the children's book illustrations and a small side project this weekend. I am hoping to find a little bit of time to draw in my Moleskine tomorrow. My growing interest in nature photography and my new Moleskine have been great outlets to help me to relax lately.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Illustration Friday - "Strings"

©Kathleen Rietz

Lots of "strings" here!

Prints and cards of this image are available and ON SALE through the month of October at my online shop . Plus, buy any full-size fine art print and receive a free Halloween card with envelope. Check it out!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Autumn's Treats

Today's weather was so beautiful, you'd have to be inspired. It actually got my mind off the world's gloom-&-doom economic crisis, the sadness of the war, the upcoming election and my shrinking investments and how I am going to pay to heat my home this winter....I forgot about all of that for about 5 seconds.

I finally captured this spider with my camera today, something I have been trying to do for about 2 weeks. It lives in a peach tree near my house. It usually comes out after dark, but today when I was out walking, I spotted it having lunch. It eventually dragged the morsel back up its web and retreated into the leaves where it spends most of its time.

I also saw these interesting berries....which I am beginning to think may actually be related to some sort of peppers.

Love the textures of the berries and leaves against the fence.

I saw beetles...

and bees.

I even took Sunshine so that she could enjoy the warm autumn air. There were all kinds of good smells out there today.

And when I returned home, the postman had delivered a package for me today....these Halloween cards and envelopes arrived fresh from the printer!

All of that autumn air has me feeling generous. Leave me a comment on this post, and on October 13th I will draw 3 names. Each name I draw will win a free Halloween card with envelope!

These cards (and 8x10" prints) are also available and on sale through the end of the month at my online shop. If you buy any 8x10" print, you will also receive a free card with envelope while supplies last!

Ghoul'ed luck!

Sketch Buddies

One of the last warm afternoons of September, my friend Joan and I took our sketchbooks to Starbucks and spent a couple of hours sketching and getting caffienated. Later that night I bought my first Moleskine, and what a difference (as you can see here)! Joan's drawing convinced me to give one a try. My sketchbook paper had too much "tooth". I was not very happy with my sketches during this session.

The pencil sharpeners are actually ones I still had from when I was in gradeschool!

Joan drew my purse. You can see more of her drawings here.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Tuesday's Tasty Tidbits!

Well, I have some items worth sharing today. The book designer is currently working on designing the cover of the children's yoga book I am illustrating, so I will be able to post the finished cover soon, and you will be able to pre-order the book before it is actually released! Watch for more about that. You KNOW I will be promoting the book as much as I can when I am finally able. It is like waiting for the last day of school, though...I am SO antsy! This is the illustration that has been chosen for the book cover!

Remember these ribbons I designed for j.caroline creative ?

(photo courtesy of Caroline Devoy)
Caroline emailed me yesterday to ask me if I had a logo for my design work because she will be showing the ribbons at the International Quilt Market at the end on October in Houston, TX. So the logo design I came up with will be printed on stickers which will go on the ribbons at the show. I think that's pretty neat!

You can buy the ribbons here at j.caroline creative's online store , along with ribbons and fabrics created by a fellow blogger and designer I admire, Jessica Jones of "How About Orange" .

Also, I was recently interviewed by fellow illustrator John Blackford. Check out the interview on his blog right here (mine is about half way down the page), along with interviews of other illustrators. And take a look at John's fun illustrations, too!

Prints and notecards of my illustration "Happy Halloween" are now available and on sale through the month of October at my online shop ! Please go check them out, and see the other prints available. More will be added in the upcoming weeks as I get the shop ready for holiday shoppers.

©Kathleen Rietz

Finally, I wanted to show you a few of the photos I took while Joan Yoshioka was staying with me.

One thing I love about living where I do is that right outside the world-class city of Chicago, you can still find the beautiful prairie. It truly is an amazing place to live.

I took these photos at the Spring Valley Nature Sanctuary here in Schaumburg, IL.

Joan and I took hundreds of photos, so I am trying to weed though them and figure out the best forum in which to show them to you.

I will likely display more here and on our collaborative blog Potluck Sunday , and then put them all on Flickr.

Saturday, October 04, 2008


©Kathleen Rietz my moleskine....I am finally "okay" with the fact that I am very VERY diverse as an artist. I enjoy a quiet evening lost in my new moleskine as much as I enjoy drawing whimsical images of children in my "children's book" style. I also enjoy cutting stained glass and grouting to create my own mosaic projects, primitive silversmithing, and creating textile patterns on my computer in Photoshop. Go figure. I always thought I had to pick one and skill/style and stick with it to create a "brand" for myself. But I don't care anymore, really. This blog is to showcase my creativity APART from my professional website, so this is what I drew last night and wanted to post today. : )

Friday, October 03, 2008

Illustration Friday - "Sugary"

I thought these both fit the topic well this week:©Kathleen Rietz
©Kathleen Rietz
Have a sweet weekend everyone!

Aloha from Chicago!

Happy Friday everyone! Here is a little pic of my blogger buddy and fellow artist Joan Yoshioka and me in the city last week. In just a few hours I will be driving Joan back to the airport and she will be heading back to Hawaii. We are both sad to say good-bye. It was so fun to have her come and stay with me at my house. These past 2 weeks was like a mini vacation for the both of us because we got to go exploring like a couple of tourists in my very own city. I'll be posting more photos soon. For now we just wanted to say "Aloha"!