Monday, December 28, 2009

Dummy up...

I have considered several styles of dummy for presenting to publishers. In the past I have done the labor intensive stitched kind, with heavy board covers and also the double stick adhesive type as well as accordion folds and taped together versions. For the book I am working on right now I used a new system that suited the style very well. Since I am able to hand deliver this one, it won't matter that it is a bit heavy. I took an older sketch book with hard board covers and used it as a base. Then I glued each page into the book on the empty pages. I had just enough leftover sheets in the sketch book to accommodate the dummy.

Although this wouldn't be the best choice for one that I mailed on spec, it is a great way to showcase the sketches for this particular project. I was even able to slip a DVD with the PDF for the sketches into the book. The images are blurred for privacy of the publisher, but you get the idea. I liked the way the presentation turned out.

Because I have a nice new wide body printer I can actually print out the spreads up to 13 x 19 inches. I can make a dummy with those as well as this kind where I have to cut the pages apart to put them in order. Maybe variety is what I like when it comes to dummies. *:)

Do you have a favorite way of creating a dummy?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Through the Fog

The family members that had to travel here have traveled home. Those who could not make the trip have called, chatted and sent photos and videos for us to enjoy.

Now today, those of us who live in this house are quietly settled into almost normal daily activities. The tree is still trimmed and shining brightly. The manger scene invites discovery from all who pass by.
Often the characters are rearranged to suit whomever is visiting.

Basically all is quiet. Outside a heavy fog has cloaked the forest from view and the snow has begun to change yet again into something not quite snow and not yet slush.

Although it warmed up today , I am sure the bears are still deep asleep and waiting out the rest of the winter safe in their special hideaways. When the cold returns with ice and snow the deer will begin to arrive.

In the meantime, soups are made, leftovers are served, more cookies are baked, puzzles are put together, books are devoured and all is calm.

Saturday, December 26, 2009


Amelia Mae was always the one to explore her surroundings. A true pioneer she was the first to discover the unusual tree at the top of the mountain, near the edge of the forest. The sound of tiny giggles drew her nearer and nearer. There she found tiny beings with wings. Much smaller than the birds of the forest it was clear that these creatures could actually be transported by those very birds. Seeing the future of flight in the various wings around her she decided right then that she would one day become the first woman to fly around the globe.
And, of course, she would do that with a set of her very own handcrafted, highly polished wings.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


Because her hair was forever UNdone
Angela Ann would be the one
To venture out on a bright sunny day
with friends who stick with her all the way

Friday, December 18, 2009

Did you Trim the Tree?

Along with that question comes another... who helped?

In our house my strong husband wrestles the tree and lights into position and I get to hang our treasured ornaments on the tree. Some of those are over a dozen snoopy plush characters that one of our daughters has given us over the years. Another is a gift from our other daughter, a small owl that goes on first. Others include favorites of our son when he was little ( now a dad with little ones of his own) and some that I made from sculpey clay and one shiny one my neice made from an old CD disk. Others include handmade gifts from friends, students and my mom and dad and my husband's family.

Do you decorate as a family? Do you have special favorite ornaments? Do you have a blog where we can see your tree?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Magical Snow - And snow stories WANTED (*:)

It usually comes in the night..... covering the old snow with bright new flakes that greet us in the early morning. Magical snow that wipes away the dust and debris. Magical snow that makes hearts sing. Magical snow that brings the bright promise of more joy to come.

Now, I am sure there are as many views of SNOW as there are types of snow. What is your view? Do you love it? Hate it?
Share your SNOW stories here!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Shepherd's Play

The Shepherds Play is being performed again this year by the Life Sharing communities of our Monadnock region. With each performance a it is clear that the actors and their assistants are truly touched by the spirit of this Holy season.

There are so many reasons for this. One of the truest meanings of Christmas is found in the love that is given to those who live in the life sharing communities. The residents in these family homes are always excited to perform the play for our community. This year's cast is made up from those who live at Plowshare Farm, Maple Hill, Tobias and Four Winds communities. Director Kimberly Dorn Bay welcomes us each year to witness the wonder of the season as told in this production.

The play itself is an abridged version of the Oberuferer Shepherd's Play which is a medieval religious mystery play. The roles in this play were passed down from generation to generation and involve the simple story of shepherds coming together to follow that all shining star.

Finding no room in any of the inns Mary and Joseph are given rest in a small stable with friendly animals to help keep them warm.
Later in the play as the Angel Gabriel slowly lowers a star on a stick over Mary, Mary slowly forms a cradle with her arms and we know that the Christ Child has been born. Silence at this point in the play is overwhelming and the moment is truly devine.

Children in our audience love to see the shepherds arrive and enjoy their antics and comical performance. Coupled with this is the touching moment when the shepherds give their precious gifts to the Christ Child.

As a bit of background the Oberofer Shepherd's Play: As early as the 16th Century a group of German people migrated to the little ilsnad of Oberufer on the Danube close to the frontiers of Austria and Hungary. With them they carried a cycle of religious plays which had been handed down by oral tradition through the generations. The plays were preserved unaltered to the method of acting and the words and songs and in the 50s and 60s Karl Julius Schroer a professor of folklore transcribed the dialogue from the region's farmers who were the actors.

The Shepherds play is performed each year in many languages in many schools and churches worldwide. Audiences are given song sheets to participate in the opening and closing songs and help to lead the actors to and from the stage.

Our local church Union Congregational has the pleasure of hosting the Life Sharing Communities as they perform the play each year. Shepherds are also evident in the form of the helpers who assist the performers in their roles. Quietly holding, leading , singing and speaking with and for the actors, are directors and assistants who dress in subtle costumes and are more of a background than performers. The roles given to the actors from these communities are taken seriously, performed with love and to this day bestow a special blessing upon all who witness the play.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


Do camels eat carrots? If they do they are sure to be CRUNCHY. Actually they eat mostly grasses. When people keep camels as pets, they may sometimes give them carrots, but generally carrots are way to rich to be a steady diet for a camel and should only be used as a snack.
"Clarise Camel Chews Crunchy Carrots Cautiously."

Friday, November 27, 2009

More for the board

I can't really begin painting until the editor for this book signs off on the total set of sketches, but as I work through the text I like to add a bit of color as a reference for later painting. When I post all of these on my bulletin board I can get a good idea of the flow of the colors and direction the paintings are taking.

Seeing the whole book at once is helpful in many ways. I can check character consistency and balance of close up to more distant scenes. The text for this book is so great! I have so many ways to share the story in my illustrations. Because I belong to a wonderful church with many delightful souls, friends, and students I am able to draw on some of them for my characters. I will have to change things here and there, but for the most part, they will be slightly recognizable and I think the folks I am able to use as models will get a kick out of seeing themselves as part of a wonderfully imaginative story. Shhhhh... don't mention this, but I might even get the editor in there somewhere. Oh, and Henry of course.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009


I was cleaning out computer file cabinets and found this picture of Buddy. We had Buddy for only 3 weeks before he passed away. We had gotten him from the rescue shelter and perhaps they should not have let him go too soon. He was a Katrina survivor, but in poor health and being treated for heartworm disease. That particular medication is very hard on a dog, and with his immune system already below par he simply went downhill from the day we brought him home. He was so loving and gentle and in such need of our love. I am glad we were able to give him some weeks of warmth and love, but still miss him even after 3 and a half years.

Henry now occupies our lives with fun and adventure, but for anyone who has had a dog or dogs, you will know just how special each one is to your family. So today, here's a picture of Buddy.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Website Update

From time to time it is good for an illustrator to refresh things. This goes for the studio, the bookshelves, and in today's case, the website. Have a look around if you have time. I kind of like to update from time to time and plug in some of the newer images.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


When I work on a book I use a storyboard to keep me on track. In the beginning stages it is mostly concept sketches that I paste into place to see how the rhythm of the piece is flowing. This is a look at the early stage of a book I am working on. Like other illustrators, I don't always go from page to page in order, but skip around depending upon difficulty, use of models, time to get good reference photos and changes in the general tone of what I am trying to achieve.

An occasional image may be in color here and there, but the bulk of all the color finishes is done after the sketches have been approved by the editor.
My storyboard is like a mini dummy. Once I have everything in place, I'll construct a working dummy and submit it to the editor for any changes or suggestions. In the meantime I have a few months... (*weeks) to complete the initial sketches.

For this story I needed to get lots of first hand photos of a nearby town. I photographed stores, parks, streets, vehicles and people for several scenes I need to create. I needed a number of young students as models for characters as well as adults for some crowds in the story. Children in my Sunday School Classes and adults in our church are great subjects because there is a whole community of folks to choose from. I think they will enjoy seeing themselves in a book. The hair color may change, or the face might be a bit different, but I'll be sure to let them see where they are in the book.

Friday, November 13, 2009


Papa Mario should have never tried to teach his children a new feat on Friday the 13th.
At least, however, he works with a net!

Now Children, never try this at home.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Take a Break

One thing about illustrators is that they often spend way too much time indoors not moving around much. At least not much more than those busy hands that hold the brush or pen. I have thought about getting an oven timer and just setting it for an hour to remind me to get up and out with Henry. He needs the walking as much as I do...and even without the sun, it is always refreshing to take a break and come back to work renewed.

Monday, November 2, 2009


Recently I learned that Overnight prints was offering Poster prints at 11 X 17 inches. I decided to try this out and was rewarded with the most beautiful prints! The color is perfect and the effect is fantastic. Well worth the money spent and there are always coupons available for discounts. If you have a book to promote or artwork you want to sell as posters this might be right for you as well.

Since I photographed this in natural light in the studio, it may not be as vivid as it is in real life, but I am really happy with the quality.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Another try for Harold

Harold still hasn't gotten the ski thing figured out yet, but he did buy some new togs at the ski shop. They even had his size: Super-stretchy- 11XXX.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Secret

It was one of the best kept secrets of the day. But Brookster knew there would be a pop quiz, and he told only his best friend, Louie. They would only have recess to prepare, but with that in mind, they scribbled some study notes and went out, not to play, but to study hard for 15 minutes. In their quiet corner of the playground they memorized the 6 Times Table to perfection.

Okay, quickly now, what is 13 X 6?

The answer is in the illustration if you need some clues.

Friday, October 23, 2009


I completed this illustration this week for part of a series I am working on. It seems to fit the subject rather nicely. Others in the series may pop up from time to time.

For some added fun, here are some of the MANY pumpkins on display at the Keene, NH pumpkin festival.

If you want to see more of the pumpkin festival (which is HUGE) go to and type in Keene NH Pumpkin Festival. You will be amazed at the THOUSANDS!!! of pumpkins on display.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Do Bears Play Leap-Frog in the Snow?

I don't know....
( Well, maybe, but just at parties!)

Are Leap-Frogs good at jumping rope?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Character Studies

A character studies for young boy and girl.

Friday, October 16, 2009


......with fear!

The first snow....

Our first snow began this morning and although it is mostly just a prolonged flurry it came before the leaves had all changed or fallen. Up here in the northeast we have a bush called the Burning Bush. This morning it cooled off a bit with a dusting of fresh snow.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Flying ~ A clever hoax

There has been a long held belief that the flying elephant fish is extinct. Of course that belief was recently tested when one was spotted flying over Loch Ness. Alas, it was simply a cleverly crafted hoax in the form of a balloon. That fact became quite obvious when the wings began to deflate. Knowing this, Nessie has no worries about any competition in the near future.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

IF-FLYING through the Autumn Leaves

Autumn leaves are brilliant waves of red and gold and brown.
I ride them on a gentle breeze from town to town to town.

I posted this a bit early but it fits the theme so well I wanted to offer this for Illustration Friday. It is a rework of an older Black and White image with the addition of a short poem.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Website update

As with all things new replaces the old. I have updated the opening on my website using an older image with a new twist.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Lizards on leaves ~ revisited

In addition to reposting a new version of the lizards I wanted to mention that one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me is sitting on the sidebar of this blog off to the right. When I was one of the many contributing graphic artists on AOL I had my own little "space" in the family computing department. We created games, puzzles, who done it mysteries, craft ideas, homework help, photo libraries, mazes and more and uploaded other people's art work and as we worked together many of us became friends.

In those early days of AOL we also held community leader conferences where we could actually meet one another face to face. One of my friends created the arrangement to "Puttin' On the Ritz" that you will hear if you click on the slider on the side bar. My friend "Pablo" ( Paul Perez) created this version and it has always made me smile. You will too, if you care to listen.

This is another version of Lizards on leaves. By using the Pattern Emboss feature in Painter X, I was able to create an interesting relief under the lizards. These are the same guys I used for a card a while back.

Friday, October 2, 2009


I would guess it all depends upon how you look at this.
Germs? Love? Both?

We love our pets as part of our family. They are the most trusting members who give
us unconditional love 24/7. This illustration is dedicated to my friend
Sherry who lost her beloved dog and trusting friend, LUKE this past week.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

In the Library

© Ginger Nielson
I have a fondness for this illustration. Maybe because two people who never knew each other, might be about to meet. But on what terms? Under what circumstances?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Friday, September 25, 2009


(you will need to click on the image to see the whole spread)
I enjoy making patterns for my illustrations and for my characters. Here is an illo from a book I am S T I L L creating with the pattern on the woman's dress added in a separate image.