Anatomy of an Illustration

I used to think that illustrations just “happened” the first time pen or pencil was set down on paper. I’ve since learned that many ideas, sketches and attemps leads to a satisfying image. I thought I would share my process of this little painting of Jody and Flag from the Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, 1938.

TN-Bears on the Road 110212Selected TN #3 110512Line Drawing 110712

Selected TN #7 111212

 Line Drawing 111312

Value Studies 111312

Several little scraps tracing paper, ink experiments and notes are always scattered around the art table.
Final Ink 121012 72 dpiDonna Jeanne Koepp

This is my submission to the SCBWI Tomie dePaola contest. Check out the submission gallery for many great black & white illustrations from The YearlingLittle Women and Tom Sawyer by SCBWI members.


Studio Makeover

First, I must say in my loudest outside voice, that I’m GRATEFUL to have a space to make art and call my own.  When we moved into our new home twelve years ago, this space was the previous owner’s “man cave”.  But I claimed it the first day.  The windows are east facing, the ceiling is coffered and it fits all of my stuff.  Except my textile, embroidery, knitting stuff in the extra bedroom closet, but that’s for another day.

Having Multiple Muse Disorder means that interests, desires and manifestations of many creative paths must get out somewhere.  White Wolf Studio is the place where my artistic visions dream, breathe and live.  But with that comes “stuff”.  All good stuff, but I can get myself stuffed with stuff pretty quickly.  I love to try stuff, buy stuff and ultimately stack stuff.  I’m such a stack rat.  So……..I took about 12 hours of my time off from work and this is the result.  It may not be as glossy as some of those great “Studio” magazines or as interesting as Lynn Perrella’s “Art Making & Studio Spaces”, and even as I post these pictures it may not seem like such a big deal.  But I’m ready for 2012 and my space is open, breathing and full of life and potential.

Before. Check out the upper book shelf, sheeeeesh!!

After. Select a book without danger and press fabric.

After. Ahhhhhhhh!!

Before. Full sheet of watercolor paper? Not thinking so.

Before. Dusting nightmare.

After. Dusted for another 6 months.

After. Oh, there are those due dates.

Before. There's a project board here somewhere.

After. Hey, room for my hands to find stuff.

Before. All those tracing, sketches, prelims really need a home.


Connie Furgason's class at Berkeley, CA 2007 with my friend and calligrapher Carol Pallesen of the Silent Hand Scriptorium, Reno, NV.

And then there are those gems I find when I sort, purge and toss bits and bobs that just can’t go in the bin.

Watercolor Travel Journal – An Imaginary Trip to Paris

Laure Ferlita is the mastermind behind Imaginary Trips.  If you want to improve your on-location sketching and painting or you just want to paint along on a really fun trip, check out Laure’s workshops.  For many years I’ve taken paper and paint with me on trips and sometimes I’d paint and sometimes not.  I believe in Laure’s workshop I improved my confidence to sketch and paint wherever I’m at.  This workshop uses reference that Laure provides and Google Street View.  I also had fun with Google Translate.  She includes video so you can see her paint too.

I bound my paintings into a book.  Click any image to enlarge.

Decorative paper covers and bound with a Coptic stitch.

 My hand marbled paper.


The cafe on the right was found using Google Street View.  Google allows derivative use of their images.

Painted the boats on the right without drawing, just went right to paint. 




I filled a water brush with Higgins Eternal ink.  This ink is permanent, but not waterproof.  When used with water, this ink makes lovely watercolor black and greys.



 It’s fun to have the work bound and feels like I really went to Paris.  Of course I have a vivid imagination too.

Red’s Dream, Arriving at Gramma’s House

A warm and sunny morning, after a pancake breakfast, a ride up a mountain road is like a lullaby.  Twisting and turning, whirring and grinding, heavy eyelids are too much to carry.  A day of dreams is only minutes.  Such an adventure……, but who is that stranger with Gramma?

Last in a series of four.  Little Red Cap as imagined by “ME”.

Red at Gramma’s Door

Red gathers the blooms and returns to the path.  Once at Gramma’s entry, she knocks and eagerly anticipates her visit.  The voice behind the door, although strangely different, gives her permission to pull the latch string and enter.  The voice is different, the garden hollyhocks are pointing and there’s a bit of second thought.  But Red’s determination dismisses all awareness.  Sometimes, even when intuition pulls our hair, we stride forward…..

Red in the Forest of Flowers

Red was to go post haste to Gramma’s house, but the forest of flowers was too tempting and she  left the path.  The delight of the beautiful flowers caused Red to pick the white and pink blooms for her grandmothers table.  Wolf also delighted in the forest of flowers and convinced Red that the crimson flowers were the most exquisite in the land.  And they were.  Red accepted Wolf’s invitation to add his personal favorites to her bouquet and wished her good fortune and good-bye. . . . . . .

Watercolor and Prismacolor Pencil on 90# Arches Hot Press Paper

A Brand New Wolf

Worked on a new White Wolf.  He is the new banner, avatar and alter ego for White Wolf Studio.  New website launching July 1st!!

Micron Pen, Watercolor on Cold Press Watercolor Paper

Relaxing on a grassy ledge under a full desert moon.  The view is spectacular, all is mysterious and everything is possible.