Archive for the ‘SkADaMo’ Category

Toddler Dance

Toddler Dance

Hi everyone!   I’ve been uber busy with a couple of projects (i.e.  deadlines).  July turned out to have some unexpected detour activities – that’s life!  We made a trip to Arkansas to lay a dear friend to rest.  The trip took 4 days – but we also got to visit for an hour with my niece in Dexter, Mo and then my Aunt and cousin in Chicago.   There is nothing so bad that some small good can’t come from it as Ma Ingalls used to say.

Anyway – one of the projects has been to finish sketches I did during SkADaMo (November) and  Doodle Day May.  Thought it might be fun to show you my progress and experimenting.

The sketch above  is  based on this sketch from November.  SkADaMo 011

The original idea was from my daughter’s dance recital when she was 2.  That costume was so stiff and prickly she did not want to put her arms down.  Every time she wore it she kept her arms out straight.

Added the color in photoshop elements.  Tried a few new features to get the netting on the tutu and used a gradient for the background.  I even learned how to do a cutout with the lasso.  (only took 3 tries).

Just looking for a story now for this to go with.

Blessings on your creativity!

Laura (grandmamiller)

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Kitties Never Sleep

YAY – finished the challenges of PiBoIdMo and SkADaMo.  Congratulations to all who participated!!   This was my first time participating in both.  I must thank Tara Lazar of PiBo and Linda Silvestri of SkAD for their energy and talent.  I have learned so much and improved on my skills in writing and drawing.  I’ve been inspired and prodded to do better.

Here are the last of my sketches.  I did some character studies of kids and a couple illustrations for some poetry for my daughter (she’s working on an ebook).   I think my total for the month posted here was somewhere around 28.   I did sketch every day.  Some were just quick sketches to get an idea down on paper – others were for current projects – and some just for fun.  There are a couple I’m not showing because they are just ..um..bad…and since Linda said no rules I don’t have to show them  (thank goodness).

Anyway for those of you who may be brave enough  it looks like Linda and friends have come up with HoHoDooDa Day for the month of December.  The title just makes me laugh.  It’s another drawing challenge – again just for fun.

If you are interested in  any of my sketches you missed  you may click on the links below.

Sk#7     Sk# 8      Sk # 10        Sk #21      SkAD Update (8 sketches)

Update Too (7 sketches)


Prepare to Meet Thy Doom


Character Studies

Character Studies

SkADaMo 022

Charct. Study: Dance! Read! More Sugar!






Big Sis

If I Had A Dragon

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Butterfly Wishes

AS promised here are a few more sketches from the SkADaMo challenge.  I do my sketches the ‘classic’ way(I prefer that to ‘old-fashioned’) w/pen, pencil and paper.  I’ve not made it to the digital age yet (thinking about it) and admiring of those who use that media.

Sir Reginald

I’m curious about how you get the pencil/sketch look in the lines.  When I try in my very basic photoshop elements the lines are very heavyhanded.  If anyone using digital would like to comment I’d love the education. (Hurry -while I can still make a birthday/Christmas gift request :).

Lighthouse dog

Anyway  – here are a few more of my sketches from the past weeks of SkADaMo.   

The dog study is for a true story based on the German shepherd I grew up with.

The sketch on the post-it is for a scene about my uncle who was mentally impaired. He brought such love to our lives and lots of giggles too.

The bunny seems a little out of season w/Thanksgiving, but what can I say, the hat fit.

I did NOT flush the slippers!

I Hate This Hat!

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SkADaMo #27 “Cat Man” by Laura Anne Miller @2012

Above is yesterday’s SkADaMo project.  Whoooeee – what a whirlwind month.  Like many of you I’ve been doing PiBoIdMo, which has made 12×12 somewhat of an easy task, but just for fun I threw in Sketch-A-Day-Month too.  Also with this being November there were 2 large Thanksgiving dinners, and a funeral, a wedding and rehearsing with a dozen+ 2yr old-6th graders for our Church Christmas program.  (Bells, drums and ribbons [think rhythmic gymnastics–ha-ha, yeah right])

Needs More Sugar

So true confession –I’ve kept up with everything!!!   Er, uh… except the office stuff.  As in, posting all my sketches. I’ve only managed to post four.  I finally had a Saturday freed up to catalog the sketches with my camera. On Friday I gathered all the sketches from their various sources, sketch books, scraps of notepaper, post it notes, etc (I get inspiration and sketch at truly odd times).     Saturday was absolutely  dark and dismal gray outside, not a glimmer of sun.  So the one wall where I can post the art and snap a pic is in gloomy shadow.  If I use my camera’s flash it fades the pic.  If I don’t use the flash everything is gray….what to do….tried holding a flashlight in my mouth….yeah – okay I hear you snickering…..tried a sewing light…tried my desk light….finally found that clipping a reading light to the bird’s cage (much to his protest) gave enough light with out too many halos or glare.  So anyway  here’s some of the sketches for your perusal.  I reworked some older sketches, created some new and the last few

Toddler Recital

thumbnails below were from the first days of PiBoIdMo.  I had just made thumbnail sketches in my  Notebook- before I officially joined SkADaMo.    Normally I wouldn’t be brave enough to show such  ‘rough’ sketches.    But since the very talented creative force of  SkADaMo,  Linda Silvestri assured us there weren’t any rules  – I’ve told myself that rough sketches are okay–they are also part of the creative process.

This has definitely been a fun experience, one which has forced me to be more creative and produce more product.  It’s also loosened me up some.












Having had to sketch and write everyday is a good discipline to remind me of my goals.


And I promise there will be more sketches tomorrow.  I’m working on that post after I publish this one.

Blessings on your creativity,

Laura (Grandmamiller)

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In Everything Give Thanks by Laura Miller 20112

Give thanks to God for all he has given you and may God Bless You today!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Laura  (Grandma Miller)

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One of my cyber-writer/illustrator friends, Alison Kipnis Hertz,  is having a book launch TODAY!  Her new book is called Flap! (When Max and Katie try to teach their little sister to fly they quickly learn that telling her to Flap! just isn’t enough.)

I originally became acquainted with Alison Hertz through Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 writing challenge.  Then more recently through PictureBookIdeaMonth and SketchADayMonth (which she encouraged me to join).   Alison’s posts are energetic, encouraging, creative, thoughtful and fun (and sometimes all five in one.)

I’ve been wanting to do some ‘interviews’ with fellow writers/illustrators and have been shy about asking since I’m really just beginning to build my blog.  But when I saw Alison’s book was coming out I decided I had to ask if she would be my first interview and she said YES!

I believe Alison is currently on her way to Chicago to be with her 97 yr old grandpa who is in the hospital.  So if she isn’t able to respond to your comments right away, please understand, but comment anyway to encourage her!!  And now……here’s my interview with multi-talented Alison Kipnis Hertz:

Alison Kipnis Hertz

Laura:  Tell us a little about yourself and your family and something we don’t know about you.

Alison: I am a mom, a writer, an illustrator, a teacher, a toy designer, a juggler, and a former camp director. I live in Georgia with my wonderful husband, two creative children, and two fluffy dogs.  I am sure that if you read on, you will learn much about me that you didn’t know…

Laura: Describe yourself in 5 words.

Alison:  Creative, Analytical – these two often contradict each other, Caring, Resourceful, and Hopeful.

Laura: On your website you say you always liked to draw.  When did you first start drawing and writing with intention?

Alison: I studied Architecture and City Planning in college so I filled journals with thoughts about shape and design and sketches of buildings. Throughout my college summers, I worked as a camp counselor and told stories to my campers every night but it wasn’t until I studied Toy Design at FIT in NY nearly twenty years ago that I learned how to pair my stories and drawings for children. I wrote and illustrated a picture book while studying there and created my first real character. You can see Dagan on the homepage of my website.

Laura: What or who was a big influence to your ambitions and/or writing/illustrating?

Alison: When I was young, my mother (who had been a high school English teacher) taught me to think critically about my own writing. She also showed me sketches she had done in college. They were loose line drawings but they showed position, proportion, and emotion. I wanted to draw like that. My mother was a big influence on who I am today. My grandfather, Papa Gus, is a chemist and an inventor and he taught me that I could do anything and that it’s not just “ok” but a wonderful thing to be able to think outside the box.

Laura:  What a wonderful legacy from your family.  Who is a favorite children’s writer and why?

Alison:  I really can’t choose just one. I enjoy the writing of different children’s authors for different reasons. Madeline L’Engle hooked me on reading when I was nine years old with A Wrinkle in Time. Donald Sobol taught me how fun it is to read the same stories over and over again with his Encyclopedia Brown series. Now, I appreciate authors who create stories that pull me in like Ingrid Law with Savvy and Jody Feldman with Gollywhopper Games.

Laura: Who is a favorite children’s illustrator and why?

Alison: I love the illustrations created by Erin Mauterer because she has a wonderful ability to show movement and playfulness in her work. If you haven’t seen The New Red Bed, check it out. I also love Will Terry’s work. He creates warmth in his illustrations that makes them come to life. He also teaches online classes through the FolioAcademy where he shares his techniques.

Laura: How did you get the idea for ‘Flap!’? 

Alison:  Ha ha. Growing up as the little sister of male and female twins, I was often the test pilot of many of their brilliant ideas.

Laura:  (laughing out loud) I think I’m glad I was an only child!  What medium did you use for the illustrations?

Alison: I draw in my sketchbook with three shades of blue. It doesn’t smear like a traditional pencil and it shows well when I scan them in to my computer. I use those sketches as the bottom layer in Sketchbook Pro when I want to tighten up the art. I also sketch everyday on my ipad in Sketchbook Pro. I am able to replicate the feeling of using a pencil and make changes quickly and easily.

Laura:  About how long did it take you from start to finish  (idea, writing, sketching, final art)?

Alison: It only took a couple of hours to write the story the first time but then I re-wrote and revised it at least twenty times before and after signing the contract with my publisher. I completed all of the sketches and final illustrations in less than three months to stay within a tight publication schedule.

Laura: How did you research/choose where to submit the story?

Alison: I sent several submissions to agents and to publishers before I knew that I really needed to research where I was sending my manuscript to make sure it is the right fit for what that publisher is producing. I attended every conference, seminar, and presentation on writing, publishing, and submitting that I could find and was lucky enough to meet the editor for Weaving Dreams Publishing at a library presentation on publishing. She told me that she was starting an imprint for stories for children, Magic Dreams Publishing, and that I should send something to her.

Laura:  How can we obtain a copy of Flap! ?  

Alison: Flap! can be ordered on IndieBound, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon. You can also order it directly from my website (if you want an autographed copy) or from Magic Dreams Publishing’s website.

Laura:  Any advice for we aspiring authors/illustrators?

Alison: Read, write, and draw everyday. If you are not an illustrator, draw anyway – it can be stick figures or blogs to represent the location of characters. You need to make sure that there are enough different scenes to support a 32 page picture book. With work, kids, networking, etc… our lives are busy but carve out the time to journal, doodle, create an outline, write a story, anything to keep the creative juices flowing everyday.

Laura:  That’s great advice, Alison, whether we are new to the picture book world or seasoned professionals.  Now, I’m curious, what is the story behind ‘Toy Designer’?  What kind of toys did you design?

Alison: This is a long story so I will sum it up by letting you know that I created hundreds of toys that were sold in Toys R Us, WalMarts, and Disney stores. I’ll save the details for another day.

Laura:  Wow! I’m impressed. What about being a circus performer as a teenager?   What did you do?

Alison:  Juggling, unicycling, stiltwalking, rolling globe, and high wire. I know it sounds crazy but I was a very coordinated dare devil so the circus was a perfect fit.

Laura:  Goodness, having those twin siblings must have prepared you for an exciting lifestyle! What was a hardship you overcame that has made you stronger or better in your career life?

Alison:  There have been many. You head down a path and a giant obstacle gets in the way – in my case, a car crash into a gravel truck. Your path changes, your destination changes. I was pretty smashed up after the car accident so I left the career of Toy Design, because I couldn’t draw all day anymore, and earned a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction. Becoming a teacher led me to teaching writing and teaching art. I now use these skills together everyday.

Laura:  I have to say although you had to change careers , as a teacher you were surely an influence and a blessing to your students .  Now some ‘just for fun’ questions.  If you could go anywhere on a vacation where would it be?

Alison: I would love to go to Australia or London and I have yet to see the Grand Canyon.

Laura: What artist or writer (alive or deceased) would you like to meet and what would you say to them or ask them?

Alison:  I would ask Piers Anthony (he’s alive) which character in his Xanth series is most like him.   I would love to meet Kandinsky (not alive) to learn more about his influences in his art.

Laura:  Alison, thanks so much for sharing with us.  Congratulations on your new book, Flap! And our thoughts are with you and your grandpa.  You can follow up with Alison on any of these:

website address:         www.AlisonHertz.com

blog                                 http://www.alisonhertz.blogspot.com/

Twitter                          @AlisonHertz

Facebook                      http://www.facebook.com/AlisonHertzAuthor

Oh and for anyone keeping track, I’ll be posting my SkADaMo updates.  I’ve been working on a project due date,  also had  dinner for 40 people this week and the loss of a dear friend and funeral.  I’ve kept up my sketches in the evening (some of them do look a little sleepy…just haven’t had time to scan.)

Blessings on your creativity!                                                                                                            Laura

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If I had a Dragon by Laura Anne Miller 2012

This is a guy that’s been rattling around in my head for years.  (Phew!! Glad he’s outta there – should have more room on the main frame now.)  Needs some tweaking.   I started by drawing all the scales….Te-di-ous!! So I erased and just went w/a few.  (I so admire those who will do all those beautiful details…but for just a sketch – this is what you get from me.)

My little girl underwent several hairstyles. She was ablond at first.  Tryed a simple bob (we used to call them page boys – but I wouldn’t want to date myself), then I went with semi-curly, then I tried black hair with a little flip – couldn’t decide if she looked like Jackie Kennedy or Laura Petrie.  Finally went with the braid.

I envision full color in purple, yellow, and green – the dragon not the girl.

OH – and for those of you who follow my bunny tales…look at the lower right corner.  I had it tacked to the wall to take a pic – the phone rang – it apparently fell down and when I came back ….RRR RABBIT!

This is November so Remember to check out SkADaMo at Linda Silvestri’s site.

PiBoIdMo at www.taralazar.com

and Picture Book Idea Month.

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SkADaMo Day 8: Prof. Ziggy by Laura Anne Miller 2012

My little bunny above was our first pet house rabbit (well-minus the glasses…he just looked scholarly sitting on the books so I added the glasses) I was looking through my ‘Inspiration Folder’ and pictures we had of him inspired not one, but three ideas for books.  YAY!

This has been a productive week for me.  I’ve actually posted 3 times (a record), kept up with Picture Book  Month reading and  PiBoIdMo, joined up with SkADaMo,  and now I am TiReD.  That said, I now have to edit my husband’s doctoral paper (that’s my FuNFrIdAy 🙂 ).

Lovely Susanna Hill is host of  Perfect Picture Book Friday where participants review a favorite picture book.  My recommendation this week is a humorous little story of misinterpretation:

Title:  Mother, Mother, I Want Another


Author:   Maria Polushkin Robbins

Illustrator:   John Goodell

Publisher:  Dragonfly Books: 1978, 2007

Genre: Fiction

Audience Age: 3 & Up

Themes/Topics: Bedtime, Family, Humor,

Opening Sentences: It was bedtime in the mouse house.  Mrs. Mouse took baby mouse to his room…But as she was leaving, baby mouse started to cry.  “Why are you crying?” asked Mrs. Mouse.  “I want another Mother.”

Synopsis:  A lovely bedtime routine begins –  until baby mouse asks for another mother!   Mother is aghast, stricken, but diligently begins to search for another mother for her baby.  She brings in a mother duck, a mother frog, a mother pig and even a mother donkey.  They each in turn sing a lullaby only to have baby mouse say, “I want another mother.” This is a delightful comedy of errors that resolves to a surprise and satisfying ending.

Why I like it:  This is an older book that was re-released and newly illustrated.  The art by Jon Goodell is what originally caught my eye.  When I read the delightful story I had to buy it and add it to my “grandma collection.”  The scenes in the mouse house are warm and cozy, and the other mother

Mother Mouse by Jon Goodell

animals are darling as well. I felt so sorry for Mrs. Mouse when she hears the dreaded words, “I want another Mother,” that I rushed to the end to find out what happens.  My grandgirls (2 & 4) actually get the joke on mother mouse and ask for the story over and over.   When it turned up missing in the house for a while, they kept asking about it.  It is definitely a favorite.  They even like to do an impression of Mrs. Mouse based on this drawing.

Activities/Resources:  Our family loves to act out this story.  We narrate while the grandkids act out the different animals, their voices and lullabies.  I think this could even be made into a play.    Also Dragonfly/Random House has a PDF w/ classroom activity suggestions.

Availability:  Hardbound & Paperback

Have fun reading & blessings on your creativity!

Laura (grandmamiller)

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rainboots final Susanna copyThis was from an idea I had today for PiBoIdMo and SkADaMo (more in a minute).  When I was in 5th grade I wanted a pair of pink polka dot rainboots.  Another girl in class had a pair.  She was a beautiful girl, with blond hair, smart and just perfect. ( I thought.)

I had just gotten braces and glasses.  I did not feel pretty.  I knew if I had a pair of boots like hers everything would be different.  I never asked for them tho’.  I knew they were not in my family’s budget.  The boots were not a necessity, they were a want.  *Sigh*

But, I’m over it.  I survived without them.  And I was greatly loved – I knew that.  So – here I am some    ____years later with a GREAT STORY IDEA ABOUT THE BOOTS – who knew!!

Say – what did you want as a child?  Did you get it?  Was it what you thought it would be?  Tell me in the comments.

Now for an explanation of SkADaMo and other illustrators that might be interested…SkADaMo = Sketch A Day Month.  The very talented Linda Silvestri challenged herself to do  a sketch a day a few years ago.  Then she invited others to the challenge.  As she says “This is just a very easy, breezy, unorganized thingy. No rules, unless you count no rules a rule.”  So if you want to join in the sketching fun  click on the links above.

I have to put up my first 6 sketches that I was also doing with my PiBo ideas.  (Just haven’t had the time to scan.)  Love to see all your sketches too.  You can put your link in the comments and/or click on SkADaMo to see the other participants.

And don’t forget to hop on over to Picture Book Month.  So many great GREATs are writing there.  I’m getting Star Struck.

Blessings on your day & your creativity!

Laura (grandmamiller)

P.S.  if you would like a devotion about wants and needs click here.

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