Everyone should have their own Marketing Guru


Everyone should have their own Marketing Guru and I’m also delighted to welcome aboard Myleen Obando, who will be scheduling all of my Surtex appointments and assisting with anything promo related. So if you’re planning on attending let us know so we can get you scheduled on the calendar :-) You can reach Myleen at myleen@cindymedia.com.

Sketchbook Stories :: Bethanie Murguia


I’m lucky enough to be in a children’s book critique group with Bethanie Murguia. Just in case you were wondering, she pronounces her last name mer GEE ya (with a hard “G” as in “glee”), and there just happens to be small town in Spanish Basque country named Murguia, how incredibly charming is that?

Bethanie is a Bay Area writer, illustrator and mom. In her past life she was a art director and graphic designer. Silks that have come in handy when she’s lays out a book and is visualizing what it will look like. One little trick that she has shared, is that she likes to work back and forth between words and images when she is developing and idea. If she gets stuck with the writing then she’ll switch to figuring it out visually. And vice versa. Bethanie draws her inspiration from her family and the small moments that remind her what it means to be a child. She has created illustrations for toy packaging and various children’s publications, including Ladybug and My Big Backyard (National Wildlife Federation). She loves all things mint and chocolate, especially all things mint chocolate and has a nickname for almost everything. 


Here is Bethanie’s Sketchbook Story ::


BM: The inspiration is as much about the idea as about the visual…I thought it might need some explaining?



BM: I suppose it’s not surprising that I wrote a book about sleep at the point in my life when I was getting the least. I was a slightly delirious, sleep-deprived Mama with a newborn and feisty 3-year old when my friend asked me to take a writing workshop. I was too tired to say no.



BM: As I started to mull over story ideas. I was struck by the contrast between my swaddled newborn who slept so calmly, so neatly and my 3-year old who thrashed from one end of her bed to the other every night. I began to suspect that my 3-year old was having BIG dreams.




BM: And the story of Buglette was born.



BM: Buglette the Messy Sleeper will be available in May 2011 by Tricycle Press/Random House Children’s Books.

Buglette is a tidy little bug, except when she’s asleep. Her quirky sleeping habits annoy her family until her big dreams save the day (or night, as the case may be). This tiny heroine is a spirited and imaginative character. Whimsical illustrations bring the details of young Buglette’s world to life in this simple and original tale about messy sleeping.


And Here’s where you can find Bethanie ::

website :: http://www.aquapup.com
     blog :: http://www.bethaniemurguia.blogspot.com

listen while you work :: My Top 10

A while back Brooke asked me “What do you listen to while working?” and recently this question came up again. So today I’m going to share with you my 10 favorite things to listen to while I work.


  1. I absolutely love Pandora, it makes playlist and adds variety without me having to think about it.
  2. The Manic Mommies are one of my favorite mommy podcasts. Erin & Kristin are super funny and always have me laugh out loud.
  3. I also love listening to Sister Diane over at Crafty Pod.
  4. And Craft Sanity has some great interviews.
  5. The Illustration Geek in me, has to get my weekly dose of Escape from Illustration Island.
  6. For story time it’s The Moth.
  7. If you dare Risk‘s uncensored stories always gets a chuckle or two out of me.
  8. When I want to feel inspired by other creative’s and get some good freelance tips I head over to Creative Independence.
  9. If I need some help pluging into that creative energy The Accidental Creative is where I go.
  10. And if I know I’m going to start a project and am going to be working on it 6-8hours straight, I like listening to an audio book. I have a monthly subscription to Audible.

What do you like to listen to?

Some confidence with a bit of guts and sass mixed in with your morning breakfast

Aren’t these really powerful words? I ripped this page out of a magazine and now have it tucked between the pages of my sketchbook. I found it kind of inspiring but also a bit disturbing that it’s actually an ad for Kellogg’s Special K. I guess they must known their audience, since it hit a cord with me, though I can’t necessarily say that I’m a Special K kind of gal.

None the less, these words really resonated with me. I want to be confident in my actions and decisions, to warrant a little sass and pep in my step. Be gutsy enough to have the nerve to take risks in the things I believe in. And have the drive and momentum to keep going when things get tough and I start to doubt myself. I aspire to have a personality that sparkle and shine thru my work, and to have the moxie to to do things differently in the way that only I can. I’m looking to find inner peace so I may fully experience true joy. And I want to be excited about living my life and being me.

finding beauty

 Just a little reminder to find the beauty in everything. Even if it’s old and rusty.

Sketchbook Stories :: Isabel Samaras


Isabel Samaras is a Bay Area artist, painter, chocoholic and a cult favorite of the Pop Surrealism/Lowbrow Art Scene. Her paintings, often marry the classical paintings by the Old Masters with narratives and characters from movies, television and pop culture. Isabel’s oil paintings are witty, mysterious and sexy, but all the while still managing to have a tender and delicate hand. She has been featured in books like: Pop Surrealism: The Rise Of Underground Art, Weirdo Deluxe and her very own On Tender Hooks. Isabel admits to obsessing about everything from monsters and fairy tales to succulents and how to score more high grade chocolate.


Here is Isabel’s Sketchbook Story::

IS: I started working on a series of paintings called “Into The Woodz” that came out of pondering what might have happened to the “lost girls” – the ones in the fairy tales that *didn’t* end up rescued and delivered into a life of castle luxury. (The whole vapid Disney princess culture really irritates me.) What I wanted to know was what became of ones who stayed in the forest, had to find their own way and figure out stuff on their own? What kind of women would they grow into after their tales ended? I’d done some paintings about Red Riding Hood for one show, and then my thoughts turned to Goldilocks & the Three Bears.

IS: A lot of my work revolves around themes of love and a fascination with the idea of soul mates, so I decided that the moment when Goldy woke up and saw Baby Bear standing over the bed was a lightening bolt “love at first sight” thing for both of them. I envisioned a  diptych: “The Porridge Eaters.”  The first sketches were really just thumbnail scribbles that were *literally* the size of my fingernail that I probably drew while riding BART (that’s our subway).


IS: Around the same time I was listening to a lot of old 80s hip hop records, and that started to infiltrate my drawings. The bear in my sketchbook ended up with a gold foil dookie rope made from the wrapper of a chocolate bar.

IS: My studio wall is like a living scrapbook, some of which gets folded into the art, and some of which is just for fun. (I also have shelves full of odd collections: bones and medical models, old Batman toys, vintage games, and too many birds to count.)


IS: Because I am a cheap and readily available model, I’m often the body in many of my paintings. For the face I was actually looking at the singer Duffy, though I didn’t really want it to be a portrait of her 
(I just liked her apple cheeks n’ blond hair). I mocked up a fake label and wrapped it around a Quaker Oats can so I could draw from that for my “Just Right” brand oatmeal.  And the bowl is something I have in my kitchen, though it’s yellow in real life.


IS: A smarter person probably would have painted the two pieces of the diptych simultaneously but I didn’t have Goldy figured out when I started Baby, so the challenge was to make sure everything worked together. I hung them both up on the wall side by side to make sure the landscape was lining up as I drew it, and kept Baby close as I painted so I could match the colors.


IS: And here they are in the gallery! When my framer came up with these amazing frames I totally flipped – the wood looked like it had been clawed at regular intervals by bears!


photo by Josh Keppel 

Isabel’s video interview with Chronicel Books further explaining her Baby and Goldy paintings, as well as the rest of the “Into The Woodz” series and her book.

And Here’s where you can find Isabel::

website :: http://astrocat.com/samaras/

     blog :: http://isamaras.wordpress.com

    book :: On Tender Hooks The Art of Isabel Samaras :: http://www.chroniclebooks.com/index/main,book-info/store,books/products_id,7923/title,On-Tender-Hooks/

hand lettering

Broke out the india ink and spent my afternoon working on some hand lettering :-) It felt really good to have a brush in my hand.

Now Accepting Advertisers

I’m excited to announce that in the spirit of growing I’m now officially accepting advertisers on Blu Penny!!

 There are a range of sizes and price points to choose from that can fit your needs and pocketbooks :-)

If you are interested in supporting creative freedom and  

“living the life creative.”

You can read all of the advertiser details here.