Friday, December 28, 2012

New Shoes: Illustration Friday

Here is my Illustration Friday illustration of the week on the topic of "New" fresh from the brush. What girl doesn't like a pair of..........................................................................................................................................................
4x6" Ink and Watercolor

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


"Giving Love" rubber stamp print & digital 4x6"
To everyone on this catmas day, enjoy the gift of love! May your day and year be filled with friendship, good health, and laughter!   

- Heather Soodak Illustration

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Little Women- SCBWI Tomie DePaola Contest Entry

This year's SCBWI's Tomie DePaola illustration contest was to illustrate The Yearling, Adventures of Tom Sawyer, or Little Women in black and white. Here are the full guidelines. I chose Little Women because I remember reading this book as a child and was happy to reread it for this project. Everyone is just so proper in that book, what a different era this books reflects! I just drew this vision I had as I read this scene in the book after John and Meg were decided to be married and Mr. March came home from the war where everyone was together and cozy. It is so exciting to see other illustrator's entries on the unofficial gallery, so many different approaches and visions, I just love the variety! My illustration is hidden in there somewhere! Below is the process:

Little Women Sketch

"Little Women" Ink, Watercolor, and Colored Pencil 8x10"

Version for the Unofficial Gallery, with added text below

Official Entry Version, with text spread

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Sacred Show Interview

I am delighted to present to you Elana K. Arnold's website, author of the wonderful novel "Sacred". I could not put this book down and highly recommend! I was so happy to be included in this amazing art show displaying scenes from the book, and being interviewed was awesome! The final artwork and interview is on the link, but I will also include artwork here as well.

"Magic" 16x20" Mixed Media

Process (with masking fluid still on it, no detail)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sabrina and Jeremy

This is a recent commission I just completed of the lovely Jennifer's cat babies, Sabrina and Jeremy. You may see the process from initial sketches to finish below! Originally, I was going to go with a cartoon style, but changed the style to a bit more realistic according to Jennifer's preferences from the initial sketches. The initial sketches help me to work out the style, likeness, and personality of the character. What a fun project, thanks Jennifer for the wonderful opportunity!

Sabrina and Jeremy 6x8 Ink and Watercolor
final sketch

initial sketches
initial sketches

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Cat and Dog Friends

Ready, set.....paint! These paintings were done quickly. I had lots of fun with the process because I got to play with acrylic techniques. I enjoyed the technique of painting the animal head first, then scratching in the hairs to show the color behind, and then adding glazes on top and adding some outlining. The idea of this technique came from my artist friend and teacher coworker, Ian Paul. His work is a different style than mine but he is a great local artist! Check out his work at: You can see part of the scratching process below the final work (excuse the low quality of my cell phone camera on the process photos).

This series is up for sale at the Art exchange in Long Beach. Feel free to check out the show at the Art Exchange from 6-10pm during the Long Beach art walk! Great way to support local artists and get unique gifts for the ones you love during the holidays. Go here for more info.

I love working quickly at a high deadline, I feel I work best this way. I don't know why since it is usually a highly stressful way to work, but that's how it is I guess. I can't wait to see all of the artwork that will be displayed at the Long Beach art walk!

"Friends" Series 5x5 Acrylic on Canvas

All together, now!

cat process, scratching in the texture!

cat and dog process- starting to add white in the eyes
dog process

Monday, December 3, 2012

Chemers Gallery Illustration Event!

Yet another amazing annual Children's Book Illustrator and Author Event at the Chemers Gallery in Tusin! I look forward to this event every year too look at beautiful original artwork, to meet children's book illustrators, and see their wonderful presentations! I also got to see a few local illustrator friends as well!  Some of my photos are not perfect, but at least we can get an idea! Here are some tidbits from the day: 
 E.B Lewis, the prolific illustrator, fine artist,  publlic speaker, teacher, and inspirer
 I mentioned to E.B Lewis that I enjoyed his talk at the SCBWI conference a couple of years ago and talked to him about being an illustrator and a teacher and his main message was to not give up!! And also how meaningful it was to help other by teaching.

 Boris Kulikov, versatile illustrator

 When I met Sylvia Long, I also told her I was aspiring to illustrate children's books and I asked her how she got started. She said that her friend wrote a book and she illustrated it, and when she submitted it they had nice comments but no publisher would take it. So, then she said that she hung those illustrations up in her studio for 9 years, and then listened to her mom to "try again!" and she submitted the story again and it got picked up. Her message was to not give up!
Sylvia Long

A piece of Sylvia's I liked in the show: 

With Author  Kathleen Krull, making learning fun!

Illustrator Matt Tavares demonstrates how he draws people by demonstrating with a live model!
 It turned out pretty good, I thought and it was interesting to see his process, starting with simple stick figure and shapes first, and then defining from there and adding depth in the scene.

 Boris Kulikov spoke about starting out as a costume designer is Russia and then moving here and decided to illustrate books instead. This way, he says, he can take that theatrical approach and be part of the entire production since illustrating a book is kind of like a play- you can be the actors and designer all in one! I thought his technique was also interesting how he cut and pasted in Photoshop and how he captured the point of view of the children in his work. It was an important reminder how he used a basement as an analogy for composition, it is the structure that holds the house, or in this case the illustration together.
 Here is a piece of his that I liked in the show: 

In contrast to the technological approach, Chris Sheban does everything old school by hand. I like this because I remember when computers were not a daily part of life and things were more simple, but also seems to take a lot of time. I think he said it takes about a year to complete a book. He went through his process with us! First, he starts with the manuscript, below he shows us an example:
Then, he thinks of ideas and does small, light sketches of his ideas- he does a lot of sketches, he says for one book he can do up to 580 sketches in total! Then, he does a next sketch to show the publisher that is a bit tighter and larger which he shows us here:
Then, he goes to the library to photocopy the light sketches to make them darker, takes the charcoal to create light and dark tones-his influence of light from Jan Vermeer comes into play here. I think this a great step I will try with my own art! Then, he adds color pastel on the photocopy to work out the color, here we are passing them around, just gorgeous studies!

Nadia Roldan and Lauren Gallegos, local illustrator friends, admiring the sketches
example of a pastel over photocopy
 Then, he does a larger study with watercolor and colored pencil (which he shows us below), redraws on tracing paper, transfers onto final paper, completes the final, and snail mails it to the publisher.  And there you have it, Quite amazing work!

Here is an illustration from the show that I enjoyed: 

E.B. Lewis's speech was very touching, as his work is and every time he speaks at an event. Oh, the stories he told! I can't share all of them but I will share bits of gems he left with us. He talked about how art is the work that for him can be left behind for someone to use. He spoke about how you have to really get to know your character, take them out to lunch, go through their drawers, things like that. I also thought it was interesting how he talked about seeing the book as a movie in your head in order to illustrate it. Emotion is a key ingredient in your book, you must feel it first and then add it. There is too much to say about E.B. Lewis, but I recommend you see him speak someday and read his books if you want to be touched and inspired.

A piece I liked of his in the show:

I am now filled with inspiration and a bag of books to give as gifts and to savor for myself! Happy Day!

Friday, November 30, 2012

PiBoIdMo: Challenge Completed!


 PiBoIdMo is over, I completed the challenge of thinking of 30 children's book ideas in 30 days; but this is just the beggining for so many of us authors and illustrators that have done the challenge that now will be making book dummies/manuscripts from the ideas created this month. Right? Right! Ok, let's go!

Friday, November 23, 2012


Just did a sketch of this week's Illustration Friday topic, "Whiskers"!  See on the website illustration friday.

"Whiskers" Ink and Watercolor  5x5

Thursday, November 22, 2012


In a time of reflection, what do you think is important in life? What are you thankful for? I think being together with the people you love is important!  So cheers to togetherness- and a day off!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Picture Book Idea Month! Hurrah!

I joined late, but not too late-I just came up with 7 picture book ideas to catch up!
 Pi Bo Id Mo Information!

Chris's Birthday Card

Bass Fox Watercolor and Ink 5x7"
Ok, this is late on but I wanted to post a card I made for my hubby Chris Gagon whom I adore. He wanted something with a fox so I painted him playing his bass as a fox!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Bio Pic and Cat and Fox Sketch

Cat and Fox Pick Apples
I have been planning for my new website for quite some time now, and I am currently designing it! My good friend and amazing pro photographer Leanne of Sargeant Photography took some snaps of me for my bio page. Here are a few shots and a copy of the sketch I created during the process! The sketch is of me (I'm the cat ), my husband Chris (the fox), and our puppy Darwin (as himself).

This will prob be the bio pic!
I make artwork that makes me laugh!