Art Collection: A Homespun Christmas


It seem like the perfect time to share with you one of my new Christmas Art Collections. Happy Holidays to you and yours. May your season be filled with joy, coziness, BIG dreams and pretty things!! I’ll be enjoying a well need break with the white fluffy stuff in Tahoe with my family. I’ll see you back here in the New Year!!


Sketchbook Stories :: Jennifer Hewett

Gosh, I first met Jen over 7 years ago at the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center when she was running her own stationery and greeting card company. At the time I was really impressed with her strong business sense and her darling feminine illustration style. So you can imagine my delight when we reconnected at my first LIDL (Ladies Independent Design League) meeting. I’m so glad to call Jen my friend, and am luck to get to meet with her, alongside the other LIDL ladies, on weekly basis!! Jen still has a very strong business sense and although her style has evolved and changed she still possess that feminine flair that any girl could fall in love with. You may have seen her slik screen work featured on decor8, Indie Fixx, Art WallWhen I Grow Up, Inhabitots and Lolalina to name a few.


Here is Jen’s Sketchbook Story :

JH: I can’t say exactly where the inspiration for the illustration on this calendar came from; I’ve been drawing birds in one form or another for at least ten years.

JH: I went through my sketchbook and found an early prototype of the bird. But this bird looks way too serious – most of my work is happy and playful – so I kept drawing until I settled on these guys. The floral motif surrounding them also got tweaked and included in the calendar.


JH: Once I had a general direction, I started to layout the calendar on a sheet of paper the same size as the final, printed calendar. Although it can be more labor intensive, I prefer to do my layouts by hand rather than in Illustrator. I like the layout process – erasing and re-drawing, playing with line weights and exact placement.  I also get a better sense of how a finished piece will look when I have it on paper in front of me, instead of on a computer monitor. Perhaps I’m a bit of a Luddite, but my work has a hand-drawn look to it that I’m not always able to maintain in the conversion to Illustrator.

JH: After I finalized the sketch, I created two transparencies – one for each color. I traced the layout using a Rapidograph onto a large sheet of acetate. This is the first step in the screenprinting process.


JH: When the transparencies are placed against a coated screen and exposed to very bright light, the image will be transferred to the screen and will become a type of stencil. Screenprinting ink will only flow through the image areas. Here is the flip side of one of my screens.


JH: I started by printing the first color – the green – then let them dry before printing the second color.


JH: When that was dry, I printed the second color – the blue.


JH: I heat set them with a hot iron, hemmed and stitched them, and hung one up for product photos! I’m sold out of the calendars (yippee!), but my work can be viewed here. I also write a blog about my creative process and inspiration (with the occasional photo of my assistant/dog, Jake) here.


Here’s where you can find Jen ::

shop ::

 blog ::


Seeking a Creative Intern

I’ve been devoting more of my time to creating and developing new art collections, and could use some assistance preparing for my next tradeshow as well as some administrative and arty production things. So, I thought I’d put the word out that I am looking for a part time intern.

If you are friendly organized and not afraid to make a phone call or two, have mad photoshop & excel skills, and know your way around social media network let’s chat.

Some of the things you’ll be doing are:

Tradeshow Prep- Printing, creating and organizing show binders and display materials. Responding to emails and art requests. Filling out forms. Organization, and packing assistance.

Marketing & Communication - Putting together press pack, compiling list of press contacts, follow-up, updating and maintaining mailing lists (include researching) , sending e-mails and making phone calls to set up meetings and appointments with clients and potential clients as well as other contacts, art sales and some administrative work..

Digital - Posting images to website, Uploading images to my blog and website. Scanning and cleaning images for art. Creating mechanicals and reformatting artwork. Updating online portfolios & doing layouts for promotional materials.

I want to find someone that will benefit from the experience. I would love to feed you, help you get school credit, and teach you all that I can about illustration and the art licensing industry. Scheduling can be flexible and you can work from home for some of your hours. My home studio located in the Oakland Hills and I am looking for at least a 6 month commitment.

If this sort of thing might interest you email me at  and tell me a little about yourself and include links to your resume, blog, website, shop, twitter, or anything else you’d like to share.  And answer the following questions: Name your top 3 favorite artist or illustrators. Why are you interested in this position and what you hope to gain from the experience.  I’ll email you from there :-)

Thank you so much, and I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

…Oh and if you know anyone in the SF Bay Area that you think might be interested please feel free to pass this along.

The holidays are coming

I should let you know that with the holiday quickly approaching and all the craziness that goes with it my blogging might slow down a bit till I can get all caught up on my to-do list and, well my life.
Cindy Ann

Hangin’ at the East Bay Art Licensing Party

Kate Harper, recently post on her blog some highlights from our Holiday East Bay Art Licensing Party. Artist Dianne Woods was once again kind enough to host. And we were lucky to have Card Sales Rep. Ginger McCleskey as our honorary guest speaker. She gave us the inside scoop into what trends are hot for her market and what gift shop owners and buyers are looking for. The most interesting tidbit if information that I picked up was that her card buyers were looking for an emotional reaction weather it be a smile, chuckle, out and out shock or even an ewwww or two. The logic was that if it caused a reaction people will buy it and it didn’t matter much if the reaction was was good or bad, just the fact that there was an emotional reaction.

So I thought I would share with you few photos that Dianne snapped off featuring your’s truly. You can see the rest of the photos here.

 And if you get a few moments you should check out the video interview that Kate did with Ginger.

As well as a shorter two minute interview with Patti Gay Licensing Artist and former Art Director at Portal Publications.

Sometimes thing just don’t work out the way you have planned


Inhale, exhale, inhale and exhale…last week was a very difficult week. When we received the sad news that my father-in-law unexpectedly passed away. We booked our plane tickets and made the trip to Dallas to lend support and attend the service.

My head was in a bit of a haze and everything I had planned to do just didn’t seem to matter or be all that important. Our time here on earth is short. Too short to be doing things that don’t add value or bring you closer to reaching your dreams. 

 Even though we were visiting for a solemn occasion we still found a way to bring some happiness and joy into our trip, especially since we don’t get a chance to visit very often. My daughter got in some amazing QT with her Aunt Christine (they got matching Hello Kitty Chococat watches). We visited Santa and did some ice skating in the Galleria, and Ava Blu and I were lucky enough to fit in a visit with Brooke and her boys.

So, needless to say with all that was going on, this week’s Sketchbook Story did not get coded and posted. However, we shall pick up again next Tuesday :-)

sketchbook stories :: megan halsey

I met Megan for the first time last year when I was setting up my booth at Surtex. It was kind of funny, because we had just been featured together the day before on Print & Pattern. My friend Christy, who was helping me with my booth, mentioned that I should meet her teaching associate, Megan, who was also showing. As we were unpacking and setting up, we realized that Megan’s booth was directly across the aisle. We were booth neighbors. How amazingly fortuitous was that?

Megan has been working and illustrating for over 20 years. She does everything from licensing to editorial and children’s books. In fact she has illustrated 44 books, some of which she has even written. On top of all of this, she also teaches at Moore College of Art & Design, in Philadelphia, and is on the faculty of Marywood University’s MFA Program for Working Professionals

Megan and I had such a good time hanging together at last year’s Surtex Show that we’ve decided to join marketing forces and promote our booths together!! So you will definitely see more from us in the upcoming months :-)


 Here is Megan’s Sketchbook Story ::

MH: I realize now I was ahead of my time, back in 1994, when I wrote and Illustrated 3 Pandas Planting. One of my favorite titles, this counting book is about recycling, conserving energy, and other “green” topics. I was thrilled when Marshall Cavendish agreed to reissue the book for Earth Day 2011. In its first life, 3 Pandas Planting was printed in a big-book edition (measuring 18 x 24!) and was chosen by the Governor of Georgia for the state’s Textbook Adoption Program.



MH: The illustrations for the book went through several versions. This is my original book dummy with cover design and first design for the panda spread. The jacket was a little busy (well, very busy!) and the pandas were rather large on the page so the publisher requested some additional designs.


MH: I painted this color study while I was teaching myself to use gouaches (chalky paints like high quality poster paints). I went through several versions of the spreads and made many ugly images before making good art! The final result was worth the work. Kirkus Reviews said my art was “as open and cheery as a sunny day”. I think 16 years later the art is still successful, and “cheery”, and appropriate for the age group the book is intended- ages 3-8.




MH: In the new edition of the book, I replaced slightly lengthy information with “nuggets” of fun “to-do’s”. I was inspired by lots of articles I collected. I also included web addresses of cool places like the Environmental Protection Agency, the Arbor Day Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy.



MH: I am creating fun stuff for my website. I’ve been working on downloadable coloring pages as well as ideas for book-related products.




Here’s where you can find Megan ::


 Amazon link for pre-orders:

To order from your local independent bookseller:


Here’s what some people are saying  about 3 Pandas Planting ::

“art is as open and cheery as a sunny day” - Kirkus Reviews

“A simple, positive look at a complex contemporary issue.”

- School Library Journal

“Attractive and timely, this will be popular as a counting book as well as an ideal choice for spring story hours or Earth Day celebrations.”

 - Booklist


“A playful plentitude of environmental lessons can be painlessly learned in Halsey’s (Something to Crow About) upbeat, reverse counting book. Her worthwhile offering opens with a dozen crocodiles zooming down the highway: “We’re carpooling,” calls one croc tyke from a car window, and indeed the 12 occupy only three vehicles. In a charmingly detailed cross-section of a house, 11 tigers are seen conserving water; subsequent spreads feature recycling bruins, beach-going turtles who “take our cans home” and, of course, the eponymous pandas, busily planting and nourishing saplings. The animal cast demonstrates considerable personality (check out the condors, who manage to live up to their tough-guy image while “collecting litter”), and Halsey has concocted some unexpected settings (seven fetchingly costumed chimps change lightbulbs at a dressing-room mirror as they primp and preen). Colors are joyful, drawings are sharply outlined–and a vital message is vibrantly conveyed. Ages 4-7.”Publishers Weekly ©1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

“PreSchool-Grade 2-This cheerful introduction to protecting the environment combines a reverse counting book with illustrations showing conservation in action. Each double-page scene includes a group of animals from 12 to 1 engaging in activities that their human counterparts can emulate. For example, eight condors collect litter. Four rhinos use rechargeable batteries. The illustrations in colored pencil and pastels radiate good humor, concern, and a positive approach to problem solving. Youngest listeners can concentrate on counting the animals in each scene. A five-page section at the end gives a paragraph about each conservation method. A simple, positive look at a complex contemporary issue.”

- School Library Journal Kathy Piehl, Mankato State University, MN ©1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

“Ages 3-7. In this reverse counting book, which is printed on recycled paper, 12 different endangered animals explain their efforts to help save the earth. Colorful double-page spreads for each anthropomorphically dressed species allow children to observe crocodiles car pooling, tigers turning off faucets, otters sorting trash, turtles searching for cans, condors collecting litter, chimps changing lightbulbs, bears bundling newspapers, leopards learning about recycling, rhinos using rechargeable batteries, pandas planting trees, and whales watching for polluters–and, also, one elephant enjoying the earth. Additional information about each topic is appended for teachers or interested readers. Attractive and timely, this will be popular as a counting book as well as an ideal choice for spring story hours or Earth Day celebrations. A portion of the royalties will be donated to Friends of the Earth.” - Booklist  Kay Weisman


“The title says it all: from “12 crocodiles…carpooling” (unequally divided among three cars for extra arithmetic practice) to “2 whales…watching for polluters” and “1 elephant…enjoying the earth,” sensible suggestions for protecting the environment are dramatized in humorous spreads featuring animal characters–tigers turning off faucets, turtles taking cans home from the beach, rhinos using rechargeable batteries. All are practices young people can adopt or urge on adults. The author’s simply rendered art is as open and cheery as a sunny day; she appends several fact-filled pages amplifying the basics offered earlier with how (e.g., identifying plastic recycling codes) and why (why fluorescent bulbs are preferable to incandescent). The serious message is delivered with an admirably light touch; and it’s a good counting book, too. (Picture book. 4-8)”  

- Kirkus Reviews ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

My Kind of Volunteering

I spent yesterday morning volunteering At The Crossroads making handmade birthday cards for under served teens and youth who live on the streets of San Francisco.

Look what we accomplished in 3 hours !!

This is totally my kind of volunteering :-)

All Tangled Up

Through out our entire Thanksgiving Holiday my daughter was talking about how much she wanted to see Princess Rapunzel and how it was her ABSOLUTE FAVORITE. It’s amazing she knew about the movie before the commercials even hit the tv. The Disney marketing people are geniuses, I hope to someday have that type of marketing power behind my work. (Heck I’d be even happy with half that :-)

Ava Blu correcting my drawing

When we weren’t outside playing in the snow we were inside sipping hot coco and drawing Princess Rapunzel. Well more like I was drawing and Ava Blu was art directing and correcting my “mistakes”. For instance only boy (the prince) can ride the horse and there needs to be a “lizard” on Princess Rapunzel shoulder. “Mama, you will see when we go to the movies. I will show you.” was the quote of the weekend.

So on Monday I picked up some tickets to the 3D show (I would of been fine with regular 2D version but that was the only showtime that would work), and her and I had a girls night out, popcorn and candy included.

I have to say that I really enjoyed Disney’s adaption of the story. I thought they did a really nice job of presenting a strong smart female role model. And when we got home I jumped on my computer and googled “Tangled” to find out more about the creative development and creation of the movie and came across RANDOM ❤ MUSINGS’  detailed look at the creation of Tangled. I found the concept art the most interesting part.

The movie’s visual style was based on French Rococo artist Jean-Honore Fragonard’s painting “The Swing”. How cool is that?