Sunday, November 23, 2014

Waldorf Doll Workshop

We just finished up a Waldorf doll making workshop at the Westside Waldorf School.
It was the first doll making workshop I led, and it was a very pleasant experience.
The people who chose to make dolls with me were wonderful, the dolls they created, lovely. It's so rewarding to create beautiful things together with other people.
I definitely want to repeat the experience next year.

The workshop will take place some time in the spring of 2015, on the Westside of Los Angeles. It will be open to the larger public. There will only be 10 spaces available and it fills up quickly.
I'll make another announcement when I know more.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Monday, July 21, 2014

Author/Illustrator Blog Tour

First, I want extend my thanks to Johanna Wright for asking me to participate in this wonderful Blog tour. I met Johanna quite a few years ago at the Renegade Craft Fair in Brooklyn. She had a table full of magical little paintings, and I immediately fell in love with her work. 

When her first picture book, The Secret Circus came out, it was clear that Johanna had some great stories up her sleeve as well.
I am looking forward to see her newest book, The Orchestra Pit, soon.

What am I currently working on?

I am (and have been for a while,) working on a big graphic novel project called Lint Boy. (Clarion 2016). I'm excited to be working on a book for ages 9-12, It gives me more freedom to make the story and characters darker, with a pinch of wicked.  

How does my process differ from others in its genre?

I'm not sure what other peoples processes are like, so it's hard to say how mine differs. I love to work in different media, try different papers, paints, crafts, work with wool and fibers, learn new skills, take classes, and spend hours in my studio making things. 

So far, for each of my books I have worked in a different way. Lint Boy will be water color with inked lines, not unlike the process for Hugging Hour, but it has a very different look. Bella & Bean, I drew on paper, scanned and painted digitally, and City Hall, I painted with acrylics. In my near future I'd like to illustrate a book with my needle felted figurines.

Why do I write what I write?

My stories mostly evolve from characters. The characters in turn are born from doodles, sketches, or dolls I make. In the case of Lint Boy, the character and story idea came about when I was making one of my first dolls. I was surprised how much stuffing it took to fill a small fabric creature.  I was looking around for stuffing material when the dryer chimed it's done signal. A full load of bath towels creates a whole bunch of lint, problem solved. My little guy was going to be stuffed with lint and named Lint Boy, all kinds of images and scenes exploded in my brain. I'm also inspired by settings, locations, and objects I like to draw.

How does my individual Writing and Illustration process work?

While I'm sketching characters, or making them out of fibers, ideas for stories grow in my mind. I go with the flow, sleep on it, before I start writing. I write a couple of hours a day, until the story has it's first solid form, then put it away for minimum a week, while I work on something else. I need to do this to get some perspective and to see what I wrote with a more critical eye. Then, that process repeats itself while I rewrite and revise. The story has to be close to finished before I start drawing again. I have learned my lesson the hard way. If I start drawing too soon, I tend to get attached to certain images, I then try to incorporate those into the story, often at a cost.
As for my illustration process. I first do a thorough study of each character, sketching front back and side views, plus expressions and emotions, I also write down a little background story for them, to understand their motivations better. After I'm satisfied with all the characters,  
I sketch out the story in large thumbnails. Then, I go page per page and refine the sketches. I sometimes scan the drawing into photoshop to work on the layout. Finally, I do the finished drawing on the appropriate (water color) paper. I always scan the final drawing before I paint, so I can do color studies in photoshop. 
Then, over a couple of days I make the water color painting.
Bella & Bean I painted digitally.

Who am I tagging?

I haven't found the right people yet, sorry. I have a couple of emails out and I'm waiting to hear back. So, please be patient, I will announce my Author and/or Illustrators in my next  post.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

From my Sketchbook II

On this page I was sketching different positions for a painting.

Here, the final painting, which, I believe I have posted before. (for sale on Etsy)

Happy Summer!

Monday, July 14, 2014

From my Sketchbook

When I'm jotting down ideas, or scribbling away at a friends house, people often ask to see my sketchbook. And, I understand. I am always curious myself when I see someone drawing on the subway or on the street.  Sketchbooks are where the raw ideas are born.

Today I'll be sharing the fist of a random page from my current dirty smudgy sketchbook.

Happy Summer


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Quote of the week

‘Today you are you, that is truer than true. 
There is no one alive who is youer than YOU.’ 
- Dr Seuss

Saturday, May 3, 2014

SCBWI Bulletin Cover

I was very excited to be invited to illustrate the cover of the SCBWI Bulletin. The painting is on this months publication, which just arrived in the mail today. 
Here is the painting.
 As I mentioned in the interview (one always accompanies the cover design), I often scan my illustration before I start the watercolor painting. I use the scan of the illustration to do a detailed digital color study. Once in a while it may occur that I like the study better than the watercolor painting itself. 
The watercolor painting made it as the final this time.
I included the digital study below.


Friday, April 18, 2014

Swim That Rock!

Dear friends and family,
       I am excited to announce that my husbands novel SWIM THAT ROCK co-authored with longtime friend, Jay Primiano, is in stores now.  They spent five years nurturing this book and seeing it finally arrive on bookstore shelves is overwhelmingly satisfying. 

Swim That Rock - a book trailer from John Rocco on Vimeo.

To purchase the book:
      -find your independent book seller. 
      -or at Amazon. 
      -or at Barnes&Noble. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Painting I

My daughter's school, the Westside Waldorf School, is having it's annual fundraiser.
Here is a painting I made for the auction. Gouache, crackle, ink and varnish on Bamboo.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


Look who I found wandering between our plates and cups this morning.

Turns out he preferred to recite his poetry outside between my succulents.

Monday, February 17, 2014

AWED 2014

Here is my design for the poster of this years Westside Waldorf Fundraiser.
We are having a 'strictly for adults' Casino night.
Vintage Monte Carlo style.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Beautiful Quote by Roald Dahl

If you have good thoughts 
They will shine out of your face like sunbeams 
And you will always look lovely.

Roahl Dahl

Friday, January 10, 2014

Miss Maple's Seeds

I've been on a serious holiday brake from blogging, but, I am back now. I 'm wishing everyone a wonderful 2014, and I want to ring in the year by sharing one of my very favorite books of 2013, and that is:
Miss Maple's Seeds

Miss Maple, a sweet older lady, takes in orphan seeds of all kinds, and tucks them in cozy beds for the cold winter. She reads flower tales to them by firefly light! When spring finally comes around, she carefully helps the seeds find a good place for each them to grow. Miss Maple has given them guidance and love, and now her part in their story comes to an end. Then in the fall the cycle starts again.

Not only is the art more than gorgeous, see for yourself.
But, the story is beautiful and very sweet. This book is ideal for telling little ones about the seasons, the cycles of live, and to teach reverence for nature around us.

If I had anything to say, everyone should have the privilege to own a copy of Miss Maple's Seeds.
Congratulations Eliza, you made a masterpiece.