Happy Christmas!

Happy twelve days of Christmas everyone!  I hope you all enjoyed the holidays.  Here's the winter postcard I sent out recently. gaia cornwall illustration, winter mailer

The last few days, I was in Vermont with my family.  Unlike last year, when we all seemed to be consolidating on the east coast, these last days of December seemed to mark the last time our family will be together in one spot.  My sister and husband are off on a grand, four month long, trip to explore Asia, and my brothers are teetering towards moving out of RI.  I'm happy for all of them, (and a little jealous of two in particular,) but it made our time in Vermont all the more special.

Plus it snowed.  How lovely.

Tis a gift to be simple...

Here's a rough sketch of an illustration I just finished for Time Out New York magazine. GaiaCornwall.com illustration for Time Out New York TONY

Other than that I've been working on knocking things off my monthly goal list, as well as some Christmas-y things.

My immediate family is considering "simplifying"  gifts this year.  We're  in the process of deciding what exactly that means-- no gifts? just stockings? a price limit?  donations in lieu of gifts?-- but I think we're moving in a nice direction.  We're all grownup pretty much-- my youngest brother is twenty-- and everyone seems to be interested in less stuff lately-- either in the interest of pairing down in general, or because of near-future moves.

I love to buy gifts, but I tend to be a little insane about it.  I get caught up in needing to find the perfect gift.  It starts out as fun, but it can turn stressful towards the end.  I think a simpler take on things, might open up the holiday for us.  Leave more room for enjoying each other and the season.

Which is what I'm looking forward to this weekend.  Getting a tree, decorating, some gift making, some baking... our apartment smelling  yummy...hot apple cider.

New Goals + Happy Thanksgiving!

carnation flowers Oh dear, this post is a couple days late.  The group over at Modish Biz Tips all posted on Monday.  Ah well.  So it goes.  But I'm here!  Just busy, like everyone else.

1. Finish and mail out holiday mailer. I got the cards today, and they look great!  I'm cranking up hulu tonight to stamp and address for a couple hours to get these suckers out there.

2.  Get everything ready for the workshop. Done! And the workshop was pretty amazing.  I think it deserves its own post.  Another thing I meant to do already.

3. Set up a time to organize and clean up my studio every day. Um. Still working on this one.  I'm having trouble motivating myself at the end of the day.  It's just the last thing I want to deal with it.  But there's never a time I want to deal with it.  I think I'll have to resort to self-bribery...

4. Continue looking for a wholesale account for Magnetic Kids.

5. Contact publishers with new work. Nope.  But I have some new leads after the workshop.

6.  After the workshop, make a plan of action based on what I learned there. I need to work on this one some more though.

7. Sign up for the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators Conference in New York. I'm torn.  I asked a lot of people what they thought of this conference and from I gleaned, it doesn't sound like a good place to make connections.  I'm thinking about waiting until the New England one.

8.  Participate in illustration online communities more. Hello Pikaland!  Hello Illustration Mundo!

9. Organize and make special holiday gifts for clients. They aren't quite done yet.  Or organized.

10. Make a list of things to do during our week in Vermont! Alas I made the list, but the trip with Mr G was canceled.  Don't be too sad for us though. We made it up there for Thanksgiving.

Sooo.  Yikes.  December already.  Here we go...

1. Mail out holiday mailer.

2. Organize special client holiday gifts.

3. Make and send them.

4. Make a list of publishers and potential new clients in the children's market.

5.  Bribe myself to clean my office.

6. Collect my thoughts from the workshop.

7. Make time for making fun holiday things and gifts!

That'll do it for this month.  It's crazy enough already, don't you think?  Is anyone else excited to look back at all your goals you made through out the year?

A huge thank you to the wonderful Jena for creating Modish Biz Tips and this meetup.  I'm sorry it's ending, but am so excited for you!  Jena, you summed it up perfectly:

...here's to not being afraid to try things, to experimenting and being brave in your ideas, and to not being satisfied until you truly find the place you're meant to be.

Here, here.

Some Organizing

cambodian chicken noodle soup recipe illustration

One of my goals for this month is to do some studio/office organizing.  And happily it seems I am not alone!  A bunch of people have mentioned on their blogs or goal lists similar desires for a more sparkly work space.  Here are some of the posts I've been looking at for both inspiration and commiseration. hah.

• Over at Mint, Ellie and her friend Margot, from Pitch, have begun a series about starting to work from home.  I've been working at home for years, but am sorry to say I still find myself falling into the "why-bother-getting-dressed?" and "my-house-is-a-perpetual-mess" pitfalls that often accompany having a home office.  So it's always good to hear other's comparable stories and tips for coping.  Find their Howdy Do It posts every Monday at Mint and Pitch.

• When starting to organize my office, I found this post from Uniform Studio chock full of helpful bits.

• If you need some inspiration look no further than Lovely Design's studio tours-- old and new!  Not only does every item seem to have its place, but the colors!  Really gorgeous.

• There's also the Modish Flickr Pool-- Handmade Spaces.  Always fun to troll through...

In related news, both my site and blog got a bit of dusting off these last couple of days.  See the newly organized sidebar to the left!  The portfolio and the homepage menu have been updated, and I decided to add in some pencil sketches from upcoming projects.  (Remember the image above from it's pencil sketch posted a bit ago?)  Let me know what you think of the new work.

My physical workspace may still be a bit of a mess, but now my digital (er, virtual?) one isn't!

November Goals

feathers and leaves in the wind sketch

Here's how I did on my October Goals:

1. Fall mailer. ERgh.  I worked on one for weeks, before deciding it just wasn't right.  So I've decided to just make a holiday/winter one and send it out late November.
2. Make list of items to bring to the book workshop.
Three new kid illustrations for site.
4. Update site– add in new work, do new homepage. Adding in the new work today!
5. Make list of children’s publishers to contact.
6. Get a wholesale account for Magnetic Kids.
Still working on it.
7. Work on organizing my office/studio.

And now for November!

1. Finish and mail out holiday mailer.

2.  Get everything ready for the workshop.  This is a big one, and it all has to happen this week.  Yikes.

3. Set up a time to organize and clean up my studio every day.  I think if I do this on a daily basis the clutter will be more manageable.  Seems like a good habit to get into.

4. Continue looking for a wholesale account for Magnetic Kids.

5. Contact publishers with new work.

6.  After the workshop, make a plan of action based on what I learned there.  Hopefully I'll make some good connections!

7. Sign up for the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators Conference in New York.

8.  Participate in illustration online communities more.  I realized the other day that the great majority of the blogs I read have to do with cooking, fashion, or crafting.  They are super pretty and fun to look at, but I'm not taking advantage of the whole illustration community out there.

9. Organize and make special holiday gifts for clients.

10. Make a list of things to do during our week in Vermont!

Oh Leia, My Halloween Girl Crush

Are you a costume person?  Do you have your Halloween outfit all picked out and ready to go?  Over the last few years I haven't done much dressing up.  But this year I feel inspired. I threw out a bunch of ideas because they were too expensive, or too cold, or too involved, but then hit upon one that involves all the magic elements: layers for warmth, boots, a belt, and braids:  Princess Leia, a la Return of the Jedi.  Think more tie dyed ponchos and less metallic bikinis:


My all time favorite outfit of hers is the white snowsuit, with the vest, the gloves and the crazy blue boots in the Empire Strikes Back.

I think she's in that jumpsuit (ahem, spacesuit?) almost the whole movie...

Anyhow doing some research for the fast approaching holiday I came across all these gorgeous Carrie Fisher as Leia photos.

This one is my favorite:

You're welcome.

All photos from The Padawan's Guide to Star Wars Costumes.

Marketing is Fun!

I'm making  alright head way on my to-do list for the month.  I've started work on my fall mailer,  have made a list of items to bring to the workshop, organizing the office/studio has begun, and changes to my site are underway.  Yay!  Anyhow one of the items on my list for September was to list reasons "why marketing is fun."  --Because more than half the time I forget that.  So here's my list.  Any additions would be most appreciated!

1.  An excuse to do some drawings just for me.  Well, for a mailer.  But the client is basically me.

2. Holding my work in postcard form is pretty fun.

3.  Adding to my list of prospective clients can be exciting.  Just imagine all the cool potential projects possibly now headed my way.

4.  Even weeding through my mailing list can be rewarding if I think about it in terms of getting clearer about what kind of people/companies I want to work for.  Aim high.

5.  As the holidays are fast approaching, it will be nice to send out a little something extra to the people you really really want to impress.  I have a few idea rolling around, and this is a good excuse to actually make them happen.

6.  Making a list of blogs to contact is fun-- hello you get to look through blogs and feel like you're actually doing something, as opposed to frittering away time.

7.  Contacting, or really, hearing back from bloggers is wonderful.  Making new friends...

8.  Every new sale, blog write-up, and new client is a cause for a celebration.  Which probably means a yummy dinner in my case.

Basically it seems like marketing is fun if you think of it in terms of goals.  It's an opportunity to continually be checking in and honing both your long and short term goals.  If you can do it with your eyes open, instead of squeezed shut just trying to get through it, ahem, it's a process that can keep you on track.

Any thoughts on this?  How do you make it fun or rewarding?

PS. The above photo is how I spent my weekend: rowing in the Head of the Charles Regatta!  That's me, fourth from the back.  Click on the photo if you'd like to see more.


I meant to say this yesterday, but a huge CONGRATULATIONS to June, and her team, for completing the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer this past weekend!   They walked 26.2 miles on Saturday, and 13.1 miles more on Sunday!  --The 4000 participants raised over 9.5 million dollars, making it the largest Avon walk of the year! We are so proud of you guys.  And most grateful for all your hard work for such a good cause!

If you'd like, you can still donate money here.

Edit:  I just noticed Etsy's blog, The Storque, has a post listing Etsy sellers who are donating a portion, or all, of their sales to breast cancer awareness organizations.  Check it out.

October Goals

Alrighty, just a little late, ahem.

1. Fall mailer. Probably Thanksgiving themed, as I pretty much missed Halloween. Darn. 2. Make list of items to bring to the book workshop. 3. Three new kid illustrations for site. 4. Update site-- add in new work, do new homepage. 5. Make list of children's publishers to contact. 6. Get a wholesale account for Magnetic Kids. 7. Work on organizing my office/studio.

That should keep me busy!

The sketch above is from some more work I did for Time Out NY Kids.   They wanted the birds to almost look Disney-esque...

PS. Canine family member update: We are meeting a pup this weekend. I think. Very exciting!

Sept Goal Wrap Up

So at first glance my goals for September didn't go so well.  But I think it was more of a matter of changing priorities and focus, as opposed to slacking off. I'm ok with that.

1.  Make a list of all the reasons marketing is fun. I made a list.  I should post it here so you guys can add to it.

2. Finish drawing Fall Mailer and send it off to get printed. Ergh.  This one did fall by the wayside and now I'm seriously behind.  Not good.

3.  Get a wholesale account for Magnetic Kids. Still working on it.

4.  Make a list of blogs, and then contact 3 each week for both Magnetic Kids, and Other Such Things shop. This felt like to much to bite off in the end.  I did make a list, but contacting three a week is too much for me right now.

5. Be brave and buy an expensive printer.  It will be worth it. Nope.

6.  Use said printer and put some prints in Other Such Things!  Nope.

7.  Make a letter mobile.  Or two. List in Other Such Things shop.  Nope.

8.  Research holiday guides. I did a bit of research.

9.  Go. to. the. beach. Yes and it was lovely!

10.  Get a dog.  yup, I dare me. We are working on it!

10. Think about updating portfolio site. Have some more changes to make, but did make some serious headway on this one.

Anyhow I've decided to really focus on pursuing children's illustration.  So I'm going to work on my networking skills to get some advice.  I want to start contacting book publishers as well as magazines.  I'm hoping the book workshop will be helpful will all of this.

I think this means not selling prints for right now.  Maybe I'll change my mind, but it seems like too much at the moment.  So that fancy new printer will have to wait.  Sad.

But it does mean updating my site with new kid's work. I've been working on a few new pieces, and I just finished up an illustration for Time Out NY Kids.  Exciting!  And perfect timing.

Btw, the photo above is a plaque on a historic house in Wickford, RI.   I love the colors and the little icon above the name.  Providence doesn't have any icons on it's historic plaques...

Walking around.

As you might have guessed from previous musings, we have been debating moving to a new neighborhood? apartment? house?  the country??  Things were getting a bit desperate because of a pretty awful neighbor situation.  But they are gone and our new building mates seem lovely.  So perhaps we'll stay put for a while...?  And maybe being happier in our space will let us enjoy our little neighborhood a bit more.   I know it has a lot to offer.  But sadly we weren't in any mood to give it a chance.

Well, the other day we took a walk to pick up some wine.  We wound through the park, and then through the little streets with cute houses.  We stopped for ice coffees and a cookie on the way back.  It made me love our neighborhood.

I guess I forget how important walking to me is.  It makes me feel connected to where I live.  Well, I don't forget really, its just that I don't walk all that much.  And I've been thinking about why not.

Providence is a different walking experience than we're used to.  It's not that things are far away.  They're pretty close by.  Perhaps a mile or two.  Which is nothing compared to daily walks we made in Brooklyn.  I've finally realized it's that there's nothing in between.  Which is really different.  In every Brooklyn neighborhood I've lived in you pass a zillion little places in between here and there.  Even if the "there" is just a few doors down.  Here you pass maybe one store if you go down the right street, but the rest is a bunch of houses, or maybe a gas station.  I have no idea why this matters.  Less options?  Less things to look at?  --So why bother walking?

Anyhow I suspect once we get a dog our relationship to our neighborhood will change drastically.  We will have a reason to walk down long streets that are leafy and pretty and not much else.  We will have a reason to walk over the ugly highway into downtown.   We will have to walk.  I'm looking forward to it.

Pup please find us soon.

Art Show

A few weekends ago I participated in an art show at the boathouse where I row. And I forgot to take pictures.  Which is ridiculous, but basically my M.O. lately.  Darn.  However these are a couple of the images I displayed.  They're pen and ink, with collaged bits of vintage paper.  And the one above has some water color as well.

It was a small, pretty low key show of the boathouse member's, ie rower's, work.  Who knew I was in such good company?  Apparently, a lot of artists row in the Seekonk!  Anyhow it was a gorgeous evening on the river and everyone seemed to have a great time.  Thanks to my parents and friends who came out.

Here's an, unfortunately incomplete, list of the artists who showed:

As I row at 5 am these days, it was especially nice to connect with other rowers. Besides my team, there are only a few other people crazy enough to be up at that time.  And several people pointed out that it was fun to see teammates in their "regular" clothes, perhaps looking a little nicer than usual.  --No one cares much about looking nice pre sunrise.

Weekend Away

Recipe for Perfect Martha's Vineyard Evening:

1. Kayak 40 minutes to the next town over and pull your boat up on some nice person's backyard/ handy beach.

2.  Take the short cut to the Menemsha Fish Market.

3.  Eat your newly purchased chowder and raw clams on the pier out back, legs swinging, overlooking the fishermen hauling in lobster.

4.  Carefully pack your fish for dinner into the kayak.  Plastic bags and ice recommended.

5. Kayak home as the wind picks up.

6. Steam up some corn on the cob, set the table, light some candles, sear the tuna.

7.  Tuck in.

8.  Thank your lucky stars you have an aunt who happily welcomes visitors.

Falling Leaves 09: Picture Books Master Class

picture book illustration mock I was accepted into a picture book workshop! --the Falling Leaves 2009 Picture Books Master Class, run by the Eastern New York chapter of the Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.  Gosh, that's a mouthful.

It's a November weekend in the Adirondacks filled with group critiques and lectures and individual meetings with children's editors.   I'm pretty excited about it.  I've been working on this book proposal for what feels like forever now, and hopefully I'll get some useful feedback.

Now I just have to make it to November.

If you've attended previously, or have any insights regarding attending such workshops, I'd love hear about it.

Pikaland: "Good To Know" issue #5

Pikaland is a blog about all things illustration and, not surprisingly, it's one of my favorites.  It's founder Amy says:

Pikaland is a blog about living the illustrated life — an art and illustration blog that’s a collection of beautiful things and inspirations that I stumble upon on the internet that’s made/designed by illustrators and artists, and is updated almost daily.

She also organizes the PikaPackage project (a fun promo and marketing tool containing a bundle of prints, limited editions and other goodies from artists and illustrators, that's for sale seasonally,) and the Good to Know project— "a zine filled with advice + inspiration from illustrators, artists and designers."

Right now the 5th issue of Good to Know is available in print and in download form, and explores the topic of Art School:  "Do you think that artists need to have degrees/qualifications from art school in order to be one? Did you study art? Does it matter?"

Always helpful and gorgeous to boot, get yours here!

Ooh almost forgot the giveaway: " 2 random winners will win a copy of the zine when they leave a comment at the blog."

Spidery Tattoo Dress

Have you seen this dress by Alexander McQueen?

Photo from Style.com

Perhaps on Drew Barrymore?

Photo from JustJared blog.

I am in love with it.

Photo from FadedYouth blog.

It's amazing.

Photo from JustJared blog.

Oh spidery lace tattoo dress I wish you were mine...