The Day My Life Changed Forever

The Day My Life Changed Forever

What if YOU were the Magic

Let me tell you a story.

It’s the story of how this book project came to me, and it’s one I think about often. It’s a story that inspires me to never give up on myself or my dreams, and an example of how if you believe you’re made of magic, you will create magic.

So here we go!

The year was 2014. I was a stressed out and struggling mom of a 1.5 year old. In between nap times I would be studying to become a holistic nutritionist. I had decided to put my illustration career on hold while I studied. We were living off of one income and still in debt from the business I ran before I got pregnant. One day I got an email from my current agent – she wanted to represent me. I signed with her while still studying nutrition. Upon signing the contract, my agent sent out a welcome email to all the editors and creative directors on their list to introduce new artists they have signed.

The day Christy (my amazing agent) sent the email was a hard day. I was feeling exhausted and alone and listening out for the glorious sound of my husband’s key in the door. As soon as my husband walked in through the door – I threw our son at him and escaped to the bathroom. The only room in the house where I knew I wouldn’t be disturbed. I hadn’t been in the bath for more than 10 minutes when I screamed like a banshee, ran out of the bathroom waving my phone in the air, dripping wet and leaving puddles all over our apartment. My husband couldn’t understand a word I was saying. I eventually gave up and just let him read the email I had just gotten. The email that changed my life forever.

This life changing email was from Christy. You can read a bit of the email below. This email gives me goosebumps every time I read it.

Within 20 minutes of Christy sending my welcome email out, Harper Collins reached out. They were offering me a two book deal!! With a very sizeable advance. An advance that would change our lives. I was a newbie. Nobody in the publishing world knew my name. But Margaret Anastas from Harper Collins vibed with my art and took a chance on me. When she offered me that two book deal, she didn’t even have a manuscript for me. She wanted to sign me before someone else did. It actually took two years for her to find the perfect manuscript for me to illustrate. And that manuscript was Dear girl.

The Life Changing Deal

The advance from that deal bought us our first home. And it was in our new home that I found out I would be illustrating a book written by the amazing Amy Krouse Rosenthal – who is dearly missed. I knew who she was. I knew she was a big deal. My life had changed two years ago when I signed that contract. And now, it was changing again. All of my little girl dreams were coming true. I’m sobbing as I write this. Every time I tell this story, I turn into a mess of tears. Happy tears.
Nine years later, I am still so very grateful. I am so grateful for my agent. Without her, my art wouldn’t of gotten in from of art directors. I’m so grateful for Margaret. She took a BIG chance signing an unknown illustrator to such a big contract. And I am so grateful for my husband. He allowed me to chase my dreams. Not once did her ever tell me to “get a real job.” He let me take risks. He let me focus on my art. He’s the one that worked a regular 9-5 office job to support us. He let me be me. This book…it rescued us from our debt. It bought us our first house. It gave me the freedom to focus on illustration and it made me a #1 New York Times Bestselling illustrator.

Dear Girl: The Phenomenon That Is Changing the Way We Talk to Girls Around the World

Dear Girl was first released in December 26, 2017. It’s been five years since this powerful little book came out and it still sells thousands of copies a week. The thought that hundreds of thousands, if not millions of little girls around the world have read my book – I can’t put into words the emotions I feel. Dear Girl is so much more than a book. It’s all of my little girl dreams and big girl dreams coming true. It freed me from debt. It stopped us from living pay check to pay check. It catapulted my career. It gifted us our first home. It lead to the second book in the series – Dear Boy, which lead to the third and fourth books in the series; Dear Baby and Dear Teacher. It has led to other merchandise like pyjamas and dolls. It has been tattooed on people’s bodies.

It made me believe in myself again and is my daily reminder that I can create my own magic. Do you believe in magic?

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The Day My Life Changed Forever

The Day My Life Changed Forever

What if YOU were the MagicLet me tell you a story. It's the story of how this book project came to me, and it's one I think about often. It's a story that inspires me to never give up on myself or my dreams, and an example of how if you believe you're made of magic,...

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The Day My Life Changed Forever

The Day My Life Changed Forever

What if YOU were the MagicLet me tell you a story. It's the story of how this book project came to me, and it's one I think about often. It's a story that inspires me to never give up on myself or my dreams, and an example of how if you believe you're made of magic,...

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The Day My Life Changed Forever

The Day My Life Changed Forever

What if YOU were the MagicLet me tell you a story. It's the story of how this book project came to me, and it's one I think about often. It's a story that inspires me to never give up on myself or my dreams, and an example of how if you believe you're made of magic,...

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Easter Bunny

Easter Bunny

The Easter Bunny’s Real Life

NEW BOOK ALERT!!!

This is my 6th book as an author AND illustrator and I’m very hoppy to share it with you! (see what I did there?!)

Before I begin sketching the interiors for a book, I first start by working on character development. This is the most important step – in my eyes, for any story or animation. I usually will sketch a few different ideas for the characters. Some books it takes several passes, other books I know I have the perfect character with the first sketch. With this book, it took me three sketches before I decided on the final character.

Everything about the third character sketch was making me happy. I loved the big glasses, suspenders and bow tie – he actually reminded me a lot of my 9 year old son! Once the creative director and I have decided on the final character, I begin to fully bring it to life with colour and texture and patterns oh my! Since we wanted an Easter vibe, we wanted to make sure everything from his shoes to his bow tie were happy and colourful and full of glitter – because glitter is my favourite colour!

 

 

He’s so Fluffy I Wanna Die!

I’m not going to lie – I have a love/hate relationship with drawing fur. I love how it looks in the end, but the process to get there is painstakingly slow and painful. By the time I was finished with the final character, my hand was frozen in a semi-permanent claw position and caused a deep ache all the way to my shoulder – illustrator problems. And that was just after one page – I had 10 more Easter Bunnies to illustrate.

But I think the end result was worth it. Just look at this little guy! He’s so soft and fluffy and cuddly and I want to squeeze him with all my might!

Once the character has been fully developed, I begin sketching the interiors. I’m not one of those illustrators that does thumbnails first. I usually have a good idea of what I want each spread to look like. My sketches are always pretty detailed – it makes it easier for me when I start the final painting stage.

 

Get Your Sketches On!

Sometimes the sketch phase goes quickly, and for other projects it can go on for months and months and many rounds of revisions. You gotta develop a pretty tough skin to be a book illustrator. I’ve had book projects where I spent weeks finishing the sketches to only be told the publisher is pivoting and going in a different direction – which means starting allllllllllllllllllll over again. But for this book, things went pretty smoothly. Just the normal amount of revisions!

Once the sketches have been approved, the fun part begins – the final painting stage! I LOVE adding tons of textures and patterns to my illustrations. And I love adding little Easter eggs for parents to find.

Do You Want to Know What My Muse Looks Like?

A lot of my work is inspired by my little boy. Like this spread for example.

Do You Want to Know What My Muse Looks Like?

A lot of my work is inspired by my little boy. Like this spread for example.

My son has always been obsessed with suits and bow ties. All during covid, my son would come downstairs at 7:30am wearing a full suite and tie while his dad and I wore our daily questionably clean sweatpants and shirts.

So I just knew the Easter Bunny had to wear a bow tie and big sparkly glasses!

So, are you ready to meet the Easter Bunny? What do you think would happen if you did?

Well…maybe he’d show you his excellent bow tie collection and you’d be treated to a lesson on egg dyeing! And he’ll definitely tell you his real name, which is NOT Easter Bunny.

Learn all the ways the Easter Bunny gets ready for the big day.

In stores TODAY!!!

Comment below if you would like to see more behind the process posts!

 

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The Day My Life Changed Forever

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What if YOU were the MagicLet me tell you a story. It's the story of how this book project came to me, and it's one I think about often. It's a story that inspires me to never give up on myself or my dreams, and an example of how if you believe you're made of magic,...

read more
The Day My Life Changed Forever

The Day My Life Changed Forever

What if YOU were the MagicLet me tell you a story. It's the story of how this book project came to me, and it's one I think about often. It's a story that inspires me to never give up on myself or my dreams, and an example of how if you believe you're made of magic,...

read more
The Day My Life Changed Forever

The Day My Life Changed Forever

What if YOU were the MagicLet me tell you a story. It's the story of how this book project came to me, and it's one I think about often. It's a story that inspires me to never give up on myself or my dreams, and an example of how if you believe you're made of magic,...

read more

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Why I’ve Returned to Blogging After All This Time

Why I’ve Returned to Blogging After All This Time

Social media anxiety

Why I’ve Returned To Blogging After All This Time

Hello,

I haven’t written a blog post in over a decade, and I swore I would never start another one. But then I realized something: I was tired of social media. It had become less about connecting with people and more about keeping up with the Jones’s, and I just couldn’t do it anymore. So, here we are: my first blog post in forever.

I’ve had a love-hate relationship with social media: I love the friends I’ve made and the inspiration I’ve found there—but I hate how fake it can be. And it’s not just the people who post things that are fake—it’s also the metrics that make you feel like if you don’t post something every day, or if your engagement isn’t high enough, or if your number of followers isn’t growing fast enough, then you’re not good enough. It makes me feel like my art is worthless because it doesn’t have as many likes or retweets or comments as other artists’ work does.

But what’s even worse is when someone posts something hateful or hurtful, and everyone starts attacking each other over it. It feels like there are very few spaces left where we can actually just be ourselves and connect with each other in real life rather than through some screen somewhere. I know now that social media doesn’t have to define my worth or yours. We can choose to be kinder to each other, because kindness always wins out in the end.

So anyway, this blog will be a diary of sorts. I will be sharing my art, my creative process, poetry, my thoughts, feelings, struggles and wins. I’m not sure where this blog will take me or what it will become—if anything at all—but I know that it’s going to be an important part of my journey as a creative person. I hope you enjoy the journey with me and that you find something here to inspire you on your own journey.

So here we go!

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The Day My Life Changed Forever

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What if YOU were the MagicLet me tell you a story. It's the story of how this book project came to me, and it's one I think about often. It's a story that inspires me to never give up on myself or my dreams, and an example of how if you believe you're made of magic,...

read more
The Day My Life Changed Forever

The Day My Life Changed Forever

What if YOU were the MagicLet me tell you a story. It's the story of how this book project came to me, and it's one I think about often. It's a story that inspires me to never give up on myself or my dreams, and an example of how if you believe you're made of magic,...

read more
The Day My Life Changed Forever

The Day My Life Changed Forever

What if YOU were the MagicLet me tell you a story. It's the story of how this book project came to me, and it's one I think about often. It's a story that inspires me to never give up on myself or my dreams, and an example of how if you believe you're made of magic,...

read more

Comments

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