Sunday, November 1, 2015

Resources, Resources, Resources

I told one of my friends from Smart Dummies that I'd give her a list of free resources. Of course I got so busy that I didn't put these together until just now. I can't be selfish, so I'm sharing them with all of you as well!

These are all places that I love going for my own information. The only programs I've not used much are Krita and Inkscape (though they both look like sophisticated programs). The 12x12 is not a free resource, but it is worth mentioning. They also have scholarships for this event.

I was given a few other resources on Smart Dummies to add, but I need to check them out first. I like to know what I'm telling other people to read. Feel free to send me links to any other great resources!

Resource list:

Friday, October 30, 2015

An Interview With Jennyann Carthern

I've known Jennyann for almost two years now. We met in the 12 x 12 (12 picture books in 12 months). Jennyann is never short of ideas and this keeps her very busy with her art. Though Jennyann is busy, she always makes the time to support to other Illustrators.

Jennyann has been working hard on some fantastic projects over the years. In late 2014 she got the idea for "Monster Chores" coloring book that I worked on her with. Monster Chores is a collaboration of 13 illustrators and is filled with lots of fun monster illustrations to color. You can download the book free here:

Jennyann has a lot of big projects going on this year. She's got a Bookplate creation project for Etsy (link is for the Patreon page), a her Painting Black Faces Project, and she's also creating some course material for teachers and afterschool programs!


Dani: Why Children's Literature?

Jennyann: I love children’s literature because it’s magical, and engaging. It ignites the unknown realms of our imagination, where almost any idea, creature, or creation can be told.

Dani: What are the main projects you are working on right now?

Jennyann: I’m not currently working on a specific children’s book right now. However the main projects I am working on are creating bookplates. Which are fancy illustrated labels that you glue in the front pages of your favorite books. I’m planning to sell them on Etsy. My store will be opening real soon, in a matter of weeks. I’ve also created a special page on Patreon to offer a limited edition set of bookplates to Patrons only each month.

Other projects include my Painting Black Faces Project, in which I’m collecting photos of African American youth in K-5th grade. I want to create a picture book of portraits, that I’m painting of them. This is in service to more diversity in picture books and more students loving the skin their in.

Then last I’m creating some course material for teachers and afterschool programs to bring more art into their classrooms and programs, along with courses for adults who just want to have fun with art.

There are a whole lot of other projects too, just not ready to release the hounds yet.

Dani: Finish the following thoughts:

Painting is...whimsical, dreamy, and inviting .

I focus on joy.

Dani: What's special about your work?

Jennyann: My work makes people happy. It’s engaging, a whole lot of fun, and it’s a journey worth taking.

Dani: What is your ultimate goal?

Jennyann: My ultimate goal is to live my life with purpose while making a living doing what I love. I want set up better life experiences for myself and my family. I want to impact others to live the life they want. Regardless of their circumstances. It just takes a yes, then a whole lot of learning, mistakes, and work. It’s possible.

I think that’s why I also love children’s literature. It’s always full of possibilities. As some of us grow older, we just stop believing. I’ve never stopped. I just kept going, even after falling a gazillion times, and if I fall again. As long as I can look up. I’ll kept getting up. I just know that all the work I’ve put in will pay me back one day. So if I stop, or refuse to keep going. It won’t ever get the chance to do that.


My Patreon Page to become a Patron:





My New Etsy Store/Coming Soon:

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Smart Dummies Survey - One Last Prize!

Thank you all one last time for participating in Smart Dummies!

Here is a survey I'd like you to fill out if you have time. Please send all answers to daniduckart(@) (remove parenthesis) with the subject "Smart Dummies Survey". You can also comment below or catch me on Facebook if that's easier. To bribe you to do this I will be sending out a hand-painted greeting card to one random participant. If I have time I may send out a few other prizes! If you did participate in the event, but did not get a chance to sign up you are still eligible to win.

Feel free to answer as many of these questions as you like. Please be candid. Don't be afraid to hurt my feelings. Please answer at least 3 of these questions to be entered to win! I will be picking a winner from the entrants on November 14.

1. What did you like about Smart Dummies?

2. What did you not like?

3. Who would you like to see doing a guest post next year?

4. Would you like to write a guest post next year?*

5. Did you finish your dummy? (If yes, skip question 6).

6. If you did not finish your dummy
      A. How far did you get?
      B. What got in the way of completion?

7. What would you like to see changed for next year?

8, What kinds of prizes would you like to see next year?

9. Do you have a prize you would like to donate for next year's event?

*I'm mostly looking for published Writers/Illustrators to post, however there may be other posting opportunities surrounding the event.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Even More Winners!

Even more winners today! I will be getting in touch with everyone over the next week. If you want to send me a pre-emptive email please feel free. Use the subject Smart Dummies Prize (so I don't lose it) and email daniduckart(@) 

And the Winner of the

Sussu Leclerc 

Thank you all for participating! I will be having a survey soon about the event, so I can improve things for next year!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

More Winners!

I have a slight problem with one of our big winners Meaning I have to make an adjustment. The big prize winner, Meridth Gimbel, is already in a critique group with Mary Uhles. While Mary will be giving her friend a portfolio review, she has asked me to choose another person!

The new (or second) winner of a Portfolio review by the wonderful Mary Reaves Uhles is:

Marla Lesage

Since Meridth already had access to the prize awarded she will  receive Two Girls Want a Puppy from Maple Lam

More Winners because giving out prizes is fun!

I'll announce the final winners tomorrow! 

The prizes may be subject to eligibility rules found in earlier posts (ie Some prizes can only be sent to the US. I believe I double checked everything thoroughly, but if for some reason someone is not eligible for a prize I'll send them something fun through letter mail.  

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Reminder for #PBPITCH and Some Winners!

Before I announce any winners I want to remind you all about #pbpitch that's happening October 15th. For more information on this event look here: You can also search #pbpitch on Twitter to see past pitches (and what was favorited).

Since I'm a sharing person I'm going to share with you a link to help you get the most out of your pitch. I followed the instructions and got my first favorite ever on a pitch party during the last event.

PJ McIlvaine uploaded a wonderful guide to pitching Picture Books on the Kidlit 411 group. If you aren't a member of this Facebook Group you must join!

I'm not going to post all of the winners today. I have chosen most (if not all) of the winners already. The next two days will be devoted to winner announcements! 


Winner of the Dummy Critique 

Dyann Joyce

Friday, October 9, 2015

Quilling in Style with Stacy S. Jensen -- Plus a WINNER!

I asked Stacy Jensen on my blog today because I happened to catch this wonderful post of hers just before Smart Dummies began:  In this post she created beautiful work just using paper. Stacy doesn't see herself as a visual artist, but maybe she should reconsider this view. I could see illustrations like these in books!

Stacy is a wonderful Writer and a lot of fun. I think if she wanted to she could also be an Illustrator with this fun quilling style. I thought that her style could help you see another way of crafting your art. Whether you use this style for inspiration, illustration or just to relax I'm sure you'll be tempted to try this style. It looks like a lot of fun!


I write short picture book manuscripts.

My efforts to curl paper caught Dani Duck's eye, if you are wondering why a writer is among the guest bloggers.

I began quilling a couple years. I discovered quilling, as a portable craft I could take to a neighborhood meeting. I discovered this craft on Pinterest — not at the age of 12 like most people I know.
Thanks to the Internet, books and online groups, I've taught myself a variety of techniques and have an assortment of tools to crimp, coil, and pinch my paper strips into shape. I also have a large glue collection.

While quilling takes some time away from my writing, I find it feeds into my writing too.
I often put down my quilling to make a note for a new story idea or a story-in-progress.
I've used quilling over the last year to "illustrate" an image for a challenge:
I stretched myself really large in June when I participated in Susanna Leonard Hill's illustrator contest. I created a scene for the "Discovery" theme. ( It's a bit cliché with the large eye looking down into the grass. But it pushed me. I had a deadline and pushed myself to use new techniques.

When another friend asked me to participate in a #SpreadPoetryonFacebook challenge, I picked up my paper strips and glue. I created four projects for Emily Dickinson poems.


3- And another challenge to write a poem about Punxsutawney Phyllis by Susanna Leonard Hill, resulted in two quilled images and a video. (

Dummies aren't really required for my one-panel projects, but I do create sketches for my work.
Dummies are part of my picture book revision process. They are more word based. I create doodles too. Since I write short, a dummy will often help me find mistakes in my writer logic.
I've researched a lot of quilling artists. While I haven't found one yet in a picture book, I have found several really cool paper artists.

Here are a few paper artist links for inspiration:
  • Yulia Brodskaya
  • Denise Fleming (
  • Brittani Rose Gothard. (
  • Marina Adamova (

Thanks for letting me to join you for the Smart Dummies Challenge.

Bio: Stacy S. Jensen writes picture books, eats chocolate, designs websites and quills paper. She lives in Colorado with her family.

Today I'm going to announce the Portfolio Review kindly donated by Mary Reaves Uhles! If you haven't read her post yet, you need to. Mary has excellent Time Management Tips you need to know!


The winner of Mary's Portfolio Review is:

Meridth Gimbel

Congratulations Meredith! I'll contact you shortly about your prize (if you don't contact me first).