Friday, January 29, 2010

Illustration Friday - "Focused"

©KathleenRietz
"Yoga keeps us focused and calm."

My 2009 illustrated book "The ABCs of Yoga for Kids" (written by Teresa Anne Power) has just won its 5th award,the Gold Medal in the Picture Book - Body, Mind & Spirit category in the 2010 Mom's Choice Awards!

You can also read a great review of the book here.

And order the book here.

If you've never tried yoga, it is a great exercise in strength, balance, focus, body awareness, and a great stress reliever. I always leave yoga class with a sense of calm and well-being, and ready for bed!

This post would not be complete without me mentioning one of my favorite sites to visit. It is the site of my friend Polly over at "Yoga is Yummy". Last year I designed a logo for her DVD. You can see her yoga demos, recipes, and even read snippets to nourish your spirit here.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Illustration Friday - "Clumsy"

From my latest children's book illustration project, titled "Champ's Story: Dogs Get Cancer Too!", written by Sherry North, and coming in 2010 from Sylvan Dell Publishing.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Better in 2010

I'm really excited about children's book I am currently illustrating for Sylvan Dell Publishing, and written by Sherry North. It's called "Champ's Story: Dogs Get Cancer Too!"

When the folks at Sylvan Dell offered me the project, I skimmed the manuscript and admittedly I was a little disheartened. Having lost both my parents to cancer at a young age, I was not so sure I wanted this theme to creep back into my life in the form of a story about a little boy whose pet gets sick and has to endure chemotherapy treatments. I really had to think about it and pray about it and search my heart about whether this book was a good match for me. For those who don't know, children's books generally take anywhere from 6 months to a year to illustrate. They are all-consuming, at least for me, because I pour my heart and my passion into them. After sitting with my thoughts awhile, it began to become clear to me that the book was Divinely offered to me for a reason. I have great empathy for anyone going through such a difficult illness, whether they themselves or a loved one. I also sweetly love my dog, Sunshine, and could easily imagine how I would feel if I had to watch her endure treatments for cancer. It is my life experience, I believe, that is guiding me as lovingly I create each illustration for this book. I hope that the end result will touch many lives and help many children understand cancer and deal with their own treatments for the disease.

Here is a dramatic scene from the book Champ's Story: Dogs Get Cancer Too!".

Sylvan Dell Publishing has been wonderful to work for. They have given me quite a bit of creative freedom in how I have chosen to illustrate the book. It has been fun mixing media - watercolor, gouache, oil pastel, pastel pencil, and touches of colored pencil - to achieve the look I want. I like how I've been able to bring a softness to the illustrations through the mix of media. It's like getting paid to try something new with my art!

In other news, if your New Year's resolution for 2010 is to a better illustrator, please read my latest column in the SCBWI-IL's e-newsletter The Prairie Wind, appropriately titled "Your New Year’s Resolution: Become a Better Illustrator". I lay out a few tips, accompanied by examples from my latest children's book "Little Black Ant on Park Street", written by Janet Halfmann and published by Soundprints Publishing.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Illustration Friday - "Confined"

"The ants were confined to their colony until springtime, when they emerged one by one in search for food to bring back to the queens." (click on the image to make it larger)

You can order my book "Little black Ant on Park Street" (Soundprints Publishing, 2010) at Amazon.com. You can see more samples from inside the book by clicking here. Or visit my website.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Yoga Coloring Book Winner!


Just after midnite today, I drew the winner of the "ABCs of Yoga for Kids" Coloring Book. The winner is...Kathleen W. of Katydid & Kid! Congratulations. I hope your little one loves coloring and learning the poses!