Saturday, August 10, 2019

Pre-Smart Dummies Starts Now!

Note: All future blog posts will be at my new website: 
If you aren't currently getting emails from my new website please re-register your
email there. You should not get double emails with this list!
To sign up for Smart Dummies go here: and be sure to sign
up for emails!
This year Smart Dummies is going to be a bit different. I’m going to work to make
this more of a community event! I’m hoping we can help each other to make stronger
dummies. Not only that but I want as many people as possible to actually finish their
dummies this year!

What’s leaving Smart Dummies 2019?
Besides being on this new web address Smart Dummies will not be having guest and
likely not prizes this year. I will be removing the calendar from the Smart Dummies
I’ve had to think hard about this, because I don’t have time to run it like I have in
previous years. However I’m hoping what we lose will be regained in new parts of
the event.

What’s Staying the Same?
We’ll still be having critique groups, badges, and the Smart Dummies digital workbook
will be back soon! Weekly posts will let you know what we are doing all week long!

What’s New?
I’m hoping to get a few more people helping out with Process Posts (see below). These
posts will be hosted on other blogs with links from my blog. I’m hoping to have (or find)
answers to all of your Dummy Creation Questions! There will be more action on the
Facebook Group (BTW everyone is welcome to post non-promotional material there).
There is the possibility of a twitter/video chats. And maybe a few surprises. I will be
adjusting the calendar in the Smart Dummies booklet to reflect the different subjects we
are covering.

Process Posts
The post below is something I’ve already posted on Facebook. I’m looking for help
with process posts. Do you have any of these posts already on your blog? Great, just let
me know, send me a link and photo from your post and I’ll share it during Smart Dummies! 
Looking for people who have a technique or process they’d like to share. Your post
about this does not have to be on my blog (but it can be). It can be something from an
old post of yours. Here are some of the subjects I’m looking for, but it doesn’t have to be
limited to these:
  • Turning Public Domain Stories into Picture Books
  • Marking up a Script for Illustration
  • Researching Images
  • Doodling
  • Character Design
  • Character Emotions
  • Thumbnails
  • Loose Page Drafts
  • Preparing Substrates (traditional artists)
  • Any Posts About Technique
  • Anything Else to do with Art or Dummies

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Spring into Writing Starts Today!

Yes, this blog is closed, but I will be posting a few big things this year from this year here. This is one of them! Spring into Writing starts today. You can register here:

If you are receiving this via mail that means you are on my mailing list. I have switched my mail list over to Mail Chimp. You should have received several emails from me via mail chimp. Please check your junk folder to find these emails! I'm trying as hard as I can to fix the problems on my end. I will not be blogging much on this blog this year, so please, please check out my new blog at 

Participant Badge!

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

I've Moved!

Hi everyone! I just wanted to let you know that I've moved! My new blog is on my personal website here: I'm hoping that this will help so there aren't as many problems signing up for events and maybe will afford more opportunities. If you were signed up for my blog you should still be getting blog posts from my new blog, so all you need to do is change over your bookmarks.
I wont be updating this blog much from here on in. I do want to point out a couple of things before I go:

The writing challenge "Spring into Writing" is scheduled to start May 1st. You can read more about the event here: If you already know about the event and want to sign up go here: (I'm still working out the kinks, so comments may not show up right away). The booklet for this event is now available to order here:

Smart Dummies will run again this year! The new landing page for that is Sign up will open late July for Pre-Smart Dummies (August 1st). The main event starts September 1st!

Hope you all join me on my new blog. Great things are yet to come!

Friday, March 15, 2019

The Writing Challenge is Go!

You can now sign up for the new writing challenge below! I'm doing pre-registration for this event just to judge involvement in this new challenge. This event will be on my new blog! You can register for the blog here:

The Writing Challenge will be May 1st - May 31st!

Interested in pre-ordering the Writing Challenge* booklet? Then you can go here: The price is a bit more than the Smart Dummies booklet, but that's because this will be longer in content and the calendar will be for the whole year (instead of 2 months), so you can use it as a planner all year round!

I need help with 2 things! I'm still looking for a name for the Writing Challenge (feel free to post your ideas in the comments below). I'm also looking for ways to make it easier for me to have my Wordpress blog look nice. Right now the post editing isn't pretty. If you have plugins to help allow the words to wrap around images please let me know. Right now the words and images are completely separate! 

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

What's in a Name?

I'm not quite done with the downloadable booklet but I have a lot done! I want to have the booklet on pre-sale this week. I didn't quite get the cover done, but not quite! I'm going to be busy tomorrow and I don't want to put the booklet up and start the pre-registration when I know I wont be online to answer any questions. So for now I'm going to announce a contest! 


I need a name for the writing challenge! Winner will get a print copy of the booklet. If you live outside of the US/Canada I'll find some other great way to thank you.

The purpose of the writing challenge is for writers to have fun with their craft. The booklet so far is a bit longer than the Smart Dummies booklet and contains ideas and fun activities inside! I'm hoping to have at least 100 writing prompts for this booklet for those of you who love prompts. I hope to get at least 20 people giving me their ideas, and may close early if I get more than 100 people entering (so get me those ideas fast).  Hopefully I can get everyone's entry by Monday. Give me your best ideas!

How to enter: Just post your thoughts below. You can also enter on posts to this contest, my contact form or in private messaging!

Monday, March 11, 2019

Lady Luck - Kidlit Collage Week 2

I didn't quite finish the inking for this image like I wanted to this week. I've been focused on my new writing event. Also moving my blog onto a more sustainable and overall more easily accessible host. Having some issues with the set up, but hopefully it will be done soon! 

Want to join me  and Christy Ann (@christyillustrates on Instagram) in Kidlit Collage? There is no sign up! Just post your image on Instagram (and other social media) and tag #kidlitcollage. That way we can see your work!

Friday, March 8, 2019

Announcing May's Fun Writing Event!

I'm sure that many of you know that there is a writing event planned for this year, but I haven't been able to say much.

When: This event happens May 1st - May 31st

What: This is going to be a Creativity Event. It will be an event to have fun and do some artsy stuff while working on your craft. You will not need any formal art skills to participate in the event. This will be a relaxed event. The goal will be to have fun!

Where: Since I have so much trouble with Blogger I will be moving my blog to my website. I have to set everything up because I'm switching to Wordpress. I will continue to post major updates to this website during this year, so if you don't switch over you will still hear about Smart Dummies on this blog!

More Info: There will be an early sign up for the event soon. Pre-Orders for the booklet will start sometime next week. There will also be a contest to name the event (winner gets a free print booklet.

I have given Becky Fyfe two copies of the print book to give out during the Chapter Book Challenge (going on now). If you sign up for the event and look out for the post you could win a copy (limited to the US and Canada).

Here is my WIP for the book cover:

Monday, March 4, 2019

Lady Luck - Kidlit Collage Week 1

This month's theme for Kitlit Collage is Luck! Since my computer was out of commission for almost 2 weeks I'm way behind on my artwork. I'm working on something a little bit more simple this month. Inspiration for her comes from Lady Luck and the goddess of luck Tyche/Fortuna. I think this will look a lot better defined once I get the lines on her, but I do like the energy of the line. This was completely drawn in Clip Studio Paint. 

Want to join me  and Christy Ann (@christyillustrates on Instagram) in Kidlit Collage? There is no sign up! Just post your image on Instagram (and other social media) and tag #kidlitcollage. That way we can see your work!

Monday, February 25, 2019

A No Update, Update

Unfortunately I could not work on my Kidlit Collage post this week. I wish it was laziness or that I was just too busy. The problem is that my computer is having issues. I'm hoping these issues will be resolved soon! I'll be back here ASAP to fill you in on more details.

 Want to join me  and Christy Ann (@christyillustrates on instagram) in Kidlit Collage? There is no sign up! Just post your image on Instagram (and other social media) and tag #kidlitcollage. That way we can see your work!

Monday, February 18, 2019

Dark Kitchen -- Kidlit Collage

I changed almost everything in this image. I see a few more things that I need to adjust, but I think I got a lot of good changes made. I wouldn't have done so well if it wasn't for my critique group! There may be a few more basic changes I make (like color and getting rid of stray lines, but overall I think this will look great once I finish next week!  

Want to join me  and Christy Ann (@christyillustrates on instagram) in Kidlit Collage? There is no sign up! Just post your image on Instagram (and other social media) and tag #kidlitcollage. That way we can see your work!

Monday, February 11, 2019

Dark Kitchen: Kidlit Collage 2nd Draft

Got quite a bit of flat coloring done on this image today. I still have quite a bit to do. I started to see some things that need to be changed after I got the color on, but I think overall I'm liking where this is going. Got a lot of coloring done today so I'll have time to work on other WIPs the next two weeks. 

Want to join me  and Christy Ann (@christyillustrates on twitter) in Kidlit Collage? There is no sign up! Just post your image on Instagram (and other social media) and tag #kidlitcollage. That way we can see your work!

Monday, February 4, 2019

Dark Kitchen -- Kitlit Collage 1st Draft

Here is my my image for Kidlit Collage. This month's theme is Passion! My image itself may not portray passion as much as I'd like (though it could be said that cat is passionately trying to get away). This is my first draft and in digital vector inks, so I will be editing this image from what it looks like now.

Want to join me in Kidlit Collage? There is no sign up! Just post your image on Instagram (and other social media) and tag #kidlitcollage. That way we can see your work!

Friday, February 1, 2019

Girl Bear Art

I'm doing #kidlitart28 Which means that every day this month I will be posting an image every day for the whole month on social media. I don't know if it will be pretty every day, but it will be me drawing somethign I love. Here is the link to join in:

Below is the little girl that I'm adding to the kitty comic that I'm currently working on for #kidlitcollage. I may make some edits on her yet. Originally she was a regular little girl and then I decided she was much better as a bear. 

Monday, January 28, 2019

Kidlit Collage Week 4 - Kitty Computer!

I was not able to finish my illustration for this week. I had a lot of big things happen this week that made it impossible to finish. I don't know if I have more than a few hours of work left on this, but my back is telling me it's time for quits tonight. I'll work on it more this week. 

I have a lot of other images I've started, from this series, so I'll be working on them as well this month. I'm not sure if the other images will work well with the prompts, so I may not do a major image next month (more like a spot illustration). 

February's Kidlit Collage prompt is: Passion

Friday, January 25, 2019

More About Make Your Marks and Splashes

I'm talking again about  Mark Mitchell's wonderful illustration course. This course will give you the ins and outs of the picture book field. Mark strives to help people get a solid foundation of art and an understanding of the illustration field. You can see Mark's Smart Dummies Post about the course here:

What did you miss out on in school? Were you able to take art classes in college, or were you able to go to college at all? I personally have a BFA in Fine Arts and let me tell you I missed out on a lot. 

There are many art schools and universities that give you most of the tools you need to get started as an illustrator. I wasn't lucky enough to be in one of those schools. I got most of my training in one grad course that cost me $1,500. I don't regret it, but that's a lot of money to pay out of pocket. I have learned a lot since then, but with art one has to be open to learning their whole life.

What don't you know about illustration? If you could take a class that would set you on a path to being a paid illustrator would you take it? If you are already a paid illustrator what would it mean to be better at your craft? What would it mean if your work would appeal to more audiences? An education like that is worth it's weight in gold. You can take a class with Mark Mitchell for about a fifth of the cost that it took me to take a single university course.

College Doesn't Matter for Art. A good portfolio will trump any degree. Publishers, art directors, agents and even employers want to see what you can do. They don't care if you have a fancy education if you can't do the job. There are some cases where a degree is vital, but in most cases your portfolio means more.

What's New?  Things have changed a bit as far as the set up for buying your course. If you click on the link it will take you to a place where you can explore a bit about the course. There is also a video which will tell you more about the course!

Mark is supporting this blog and Smart Dummies through this course. If you take this course you aren't just helping to improve your art skills, you are also helping me to make Smart Dummies, this blog and any other related events better for everyone. Through the support of the community I've been able to host giveaways and an art contest. I hope to be able to to even more this year!

Make Your Mark's and Splashes info:

Monday, January 21, 2019

Kidlit Collage -- Goals With Some Color

I wasn't able to get all of the coloring done on this image yet, but it's getting close. I've noticed a few things on the inks that I need to edit, but overall I'm liking where this is going! Final next week.

Edit with a bit of recoloring. This is what I posted on Instagram today:

Monday, January 14, 2019

Kidlit Collage -- Goals WIP

Here is my Kidlit Collage update!  This image is taking me a bit longer than I expected. Part of the reason is that it will end up being three images and not just one. This is my inks for the first of three images. I'm working towards finishing at least this image as my goal for this month's Kidlit Collage post. I do hope I can finish all three and start working on another image that I'm planning. I'm still making some adjustments to this image, so this is not the final inks

You can tag #kidlitcollage on social media to join in the fun! This month's theme is goals. We are posting WIP all month and the last Monday of the month will be a final image!

Friday, January 11, 2019

Sorry About the Mess!

Sorry the font has been so messy on my blog lately. I had a problem a few months back with my whole computer and I just didn't have time to fix things.  Somehow all my internet fonts were changed on the computer but my blog looked okay on my phone.

In any case, I'm sorry for the horrible font. It's been adjusted now! I'm still not sure how the settings changed, but I'm very happy to have a legible blog once again!

Monday, January 7, 2019

Monday Montage is now KidLit Collage!

Sorry guys, Monday Montage wasn't a name that stuck. Had a conversation with Christy and a few other friends and Kidlit Collage is what we came up with. In fact it was Christy's idea. It's fantastic!

Here is my #KidlitCollage post. I was only able to get some character drawings done. I may make some minor adjustments, but this is basically my kitty for the upcoming GOALS illustration. I may even do a series of illustrations with this guy. I do have thumbnails for this illustration, but they are pretty messy, so I'll wait until next week to show the image!

These images were sketched on paper, but mostly created in Clip Studio Paint!