Monday, February 12, 2018

The Magic Bus - Vail Valley Foundation

Occasionally a project comes across your desk that is incredibly unique in scope and affords you a tremendous amount of creative freedom. And occasionally you are approached by an altruistic client whose sole focus is the betterment of the lives of children. And occasionally you get to work with a client in your own neighborhood. But never before had I experienced the collision of all of these elements in one project...until now. 

The Vail Valley Foundation's Youth Power 365 provides year-round educational opportunities to children throughout Eagle County. One of their programs is the Magic Bus,  a fully functioning mobile preschool that travels throughout the Vail Valley and provides a preschool education to children ages 3-5 who do not attend a traditional preschool program. When YP 365 needed new buses they worked with Winnebago to customize this bus both inside and out, they commissioned me for the exterior illustration, and they brought in First Chair Designs for the wrap installation. It was truly a team effort and I am incredibly grateful to say I was a part of the process. Huge thanks to Carrie Benway, Melissa Rewold-Thuon and everyone at YP 365 for letting me be a small part of the Magic Bus! 

The illustrations were drawn by hand and built digitally in Adobe Illustrator. (photo credit: Dan Davis)

Currently, YP 365 is working to fund their second bus which will allow them to serve a larger number of students and cover the entire valley. 

Monday, April 25, 2016

New Work

Working on some new personal pieces...very different themes and markets, but both were equally fun to make.

Monday, April 11, 2016

St. Lucia & The Rainforest of Reading Festival

Recently I had one of the most humbling and inspiring experiences I've been afforded thus far as a professional illustrator. Last month a book I illustrated for Kids Can Press, School Days Around the World (written by Margriet Ruurs) was nominated for an award at the Rainforest of Reading Festival in St. Lucia. As a result I was invited by OneWorld Schoolhouse Foundation to travel to St. Lucia and participate in the festival. 

The Rainforest of Reading Festival was started by OneWorld in an effort to 1) create libraries in schools where they are otherwise nonexistent and 2) to eradicate illiteracy in the Caribbean. Over the course of a week myself and the 4 other author/illustrators participated in 2 festivals (one in the north in the capital city of Castries and a second in the southern part of the island in Vieux Fort). At each festival we met and hosted a day long event for over 7,000 students in grades 3-5. 

The experience was inspiring and overwhelming. The children were ecstatic to receive a book, or activity, or honestly anything they could take home (huge thanks to Nat Geo Kids Magazine who donated some copies of their February issue for the kids). For those kids, reading the books and the chance to participate in the festival was an experience they would otherwise never have. 

We heard from a waitress at our hotel that her daughter's school could not afford to send all of their students so they randomly picked half who received the chance to go. There is little opportunity or motivation for these kids to go on to college, or to travel outside of island, or pursue careers. The fact the OneWorld Schoolhouse and it's founders Sonya White and Richard Clewes are creating an opportunity for these kids to imagine a life and a world beyond what they know is amazing. And it was amazing to be a very small part of it.

Thursday, March 10, 2016


Recently I've been playing around with a new technique (or I guess revisiting an old one). I used to do a lot of silhouette work, but I wandered away from it as I switch over to digital collage. It's been really refreshing to go back to it and then take it a step further digitally. Here are some examples...more to come.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Monday, February 8, 2016

New Picture Book Portfolio!!!

This first full winter in Colorado has been a snowy, and busy one as I've been building a new picture book portfolio for the Society of Children's Books Writers & Illustrators Winter Conference coming up this weekend. Check out some of my new work here...
or on my website.

1st Grade Picture Book Workshop

In December I had the pleasure of teaching a week long picture book illustration workshop with the first graders 
at Inman Elementary School. Gigi Dambrosio, the art teacher at Inman invited me to visit with a grant from 
the Chapman Cultural Center.

Over the course of a week the kids learned how to develop characters, build environments, and even write 
their own stories. It was amazing to see the creativity, imagination, and talent of all of the students!

Here are some fun photos from my visit.