Tuesday, December 22, 2015

My favorite picture books of 2015

There have been many wonderful picture books released in 2015.
Here are some of my favorites in no particular order.

Edmund Unravels

This book is adorable and shows the importance of independence and travel as well as family. Edmund is a bouncy, rambunctious ball of yarn who travels the world. He becomes lonely though and realizes that in the end he misses his loved ones. The art in this book is colorful, bold, and dynamic.

To the Sea

"To the Sea" is a great book about a boy named Tim who feels alone and just wants a friend. He meets a whale who is stranded on the land named Sam. The two become friends and Tim helps his whale friend return to the sea. The colors and compositions used in this book are absolutely incredible and set an adventurous tone.

Shark Detective

This book is hilarious and so much fun. It's about a shark who wants to be a detective! Shark goes around searching for mysteries to solve and finally learns about a missing cat.  In the end of this colorful story Shark solves multiple mysteries and makes a new friend. The fun and sketchy illustrations also pair harmoniously with the text.

Simon's New Bed

I love dog books and this story is wonderful. It is about how Simon just wants to sleep in his new ultra cozy bed, but the cat in the house won't let him.  The illustrations are so playful and the illustrator does an incredible job considering the story mostly takes place in one room.

Job Wanted

This is another heartwarming dog book. "Job Wanted" is about a dog who just wants a job on a farm. He tries different roles on the farm including being a cow, a chicken, and a horse. None of these roles quite fit though and in the end he finds the place where he truly belongs. I also love how the art is so soft and atmospheric.

I Love Dogs

The text in this book is rhyming and is super catchy. It's a poem about one boy's love of every kind of dog. Every once in a while when I'm at the park and see many dogs I'll start saying some of the couplets in my mind. And although the text doesn't clearly state a story, the illustrator creates a narrative for the reader to follow. The many types of dogs are also illustrated with such character!

Lazy Dave

Can you tell I like dog books? The white space is masterfully crafted in this book about a sleepwalking dog.  Dave's owner Lily thinks Dave is the laziest dog ever. What she doesn't know is that Dave ends up saving the day all while he is sleeping! The illustrations are very delightful and a wonder to look at.


This book is so much fun! Who hasn't pretended to be a robot? This book about pretending and becoming a robot doesn't follow the usual story arc and knows it! There is even a fun paper transformation in the book as well. The flamboyant text pairs beautifully with the vibrant and animated illustrations.

Little Bird's Bad Word

Little Bird learned a bad word from his dad and thinks it is so much fun to say. BLARK! He starts telling all his friends his new favorite word but his friends shy away from him. Little Bird is left all alone wondering what has gone wrong. By the end of the story all the friendships have been restored and Little Bird learns the power of words. The illustrations are lovely and I love the colors, characters, and compositions.

Vegetables in Underwear

Who couldn't love cute vegetables in underwear? This book is a celebration of all the different types of underwear. Many different adorable vegetables don the undergarments in this simple, but well designed book.

Goodnight Already 

(technically released December 2014)

Goodnight Already is a fun friendship story about two friends who are total opposites. Bear just wants to sleep while Duck just wants to do fun activities with him.  The two friends go back and forth trying to state their case. The ending is just as fun and hilarious as the rest of the story. The artwork is so joyful and the colors and textures used really add to the story.

Beyond the Pond

In Beyond the Pond a boy and his dog decide to discover what lies below the surface of the pond in the backyard. The two go on an adventure and discover a new world, and make it back home with a new perspective. It is gloriously illustrated. I particularly love the underwater scenes because they really capture the atmosphere of being underwater.

What are your favorite picture books of 2015? Let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Little Red's Adventure

This year for the Tomie dePaola Award the prompt was a passage from Little Red Riding Hood.
Last year I was a semi-finalist for this award so I was very excited for this prompt.

I was taking a screen printing class and thought it would be fun to make this piece as a screen print.
Here are some photos of the process.

Below is the final print!
It is a very limited edition and two are available for purchase in my Etsy shop.

Did you submit for this award?
Share a link to your entry below.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Screen Printing

I have been taking a screen printing class the last month or so and have been loving it! I thought it would be fun to show my process and some other projects I have been working on (besides the pizza rat in the previous post).

This is by no means a full tutorial. I know I am missing some critical and key steps and things to consider when screen printing.  This is more like a guide to help those who are unaware how screen printing works to get a general idea.

Please excuse that these photos were taken from different projects, but show the overall process.

Step one: Create a black design on see-through vellum or acetate.

My design had two colors so I was making sure my second layer lined up with the first one below it. 
I need a second screen to make the second color.
My full design also did not fit onto my screen so I did it in sections.

Step two: Create your screen, which is like a fancy stencil.
  This process includes coating a screen and exposing it to a light source with your design, 
which hardens the coating on the screen except where the design was. 
Then the screen is washed (see photo below) and the design washes out 
because it was not hardened by the light.
Also tape the edges so no ink goes through where the screen was not coated.

This photo is actually of me cleaning an empty screen, but you get the idea.

Step three: Preparing your surface.  This might be paper or fabric or any flat material.
Usually you'll need to cut the paper to be the size you want, or iron your fabric and have it stick to a board using sticky stuff (I'm not exactly sure what it is though).

Step four: Mix your color and get it to the right consistency.

Step 5 (not shown): Align and register your paper or fabric so that the prints are consistent.

Step six: Flood the screen with ink before printing.

Step Seven: Use a squeegee to pull the ink across the screen.

Step Eight: Put the print on the drying rack to dry. 
Repeat pulling the ink across the screen on paper or fabric until you are 
finished with that color or screen.
Then make sure to clean the work surface and screen thoroughly.

Step Nine: Eagerly wait until you can return to the printshop to continue printing!
(Or if you're lucky and have enough time continue printing once the ink is dry.)

The above tea towels will be available for sale in my Etsy shop soon. Stay tuned!

For a more complete guide to screen printing visit this awesome blog:

Friday, October 23, 2015

Book Cover Reveal!

I'm so excited to share the cover of my upcoming book Lorenzo, the Pizza-Loving Lobster!
The photo is of the proofs I received - it looks fantastic!
Lorenzo is excited to meet you in May 2016.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Hi Again!

Hi Blog Followers,

So much has happened since my last blog post. I plan on being more active on here.

I'm proud to say that I have finished my book Lorenzo, the Pizza-Loving Lobster.  It will be released in summer 2016 through Little Bee Books! I'm so excited! More news about Lorenzo's book release will be coming soon.

I also have been working on more children's books ideas and illustrations.
Here are two of my latest pieces.


Recently I added more cards to my Etsy shop. I had so much fun expanding my "punny" Christmas card collection. I hope they make you laugh!
To view them please visit my Etsy shop url is www.clairelordondesign.etsy.com
Here are some of the cards:


Currently I also am taking a screen printing class, which I'm really enjoying.  I have always wanted to take screen printing.  Below is my first project - Pizza Rat!

My first color was pink

My second color was a transparent yellow.  The orange is created from the overlapping of the pink and the transparent yellow.

The final image with the third color of maroon. 
This is one happy rat!


I also have been busy with the Inktober challenge. Inktober was created by Jake Parker, as a challenge for artists to create any piece of artwork every day in October using ink.  It could be a pen, ink wash, or anything ink related.  This has been a great exercise for me since I work mostly digitally. Here are a few selected images below. To see more please visit my Facebook Page or Instagram.

More artwork and updates coming soon!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

I Have A Book Deal!

I'm so excited I can share my good news. I have my first book deal!! My debut picture book, that I also wrote, will be out summer 2016! The book is titled "Lorenzo the Pizza-Loving Lobster" and will be published through Little Bee Books.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Even More Great Tools!

Hi friends!

I wanted to share some more great information and tools that I have found helpful for my work.

The first tool I'd like to share is Cofftivity.

Coffivitity brings the sounds and ambience of a local coffee shop wherever you are.  It is a quiet hum of changing noise that makes you feel like you're in a coffee shop.  This is great to listen to while you work because it gives you some background noise without being distracting.

This small amount of ambient noise is great because ambient noise has been scientifically proven to help with the creative process.  You can read more on the New York Times Blog.

Another great tool I use is Tweetdeck.

Tweetdeck is an downloadable application for your computer that helps organize everything on Twitter.  You can make your own columns based on your feed, specific hashtags, your notifications, activity, messages, and more.  The application is customizable and makes using Twitter feel less overwhelming.

One reason I use Tweetdeck is for the weekly #kidlitart chats.  They occur every Thursday at 9PM EST with a new topic every week.  More information about the history of the chats can be found here.

To join in the chat check out the official Twitter account for the weekly topic.  Just use the hashtag #kidlitart in all your posts to join in on the conversation.  I have found these chats very useful.  Topics have included promotional materials, websites, conferences, color, and more!  It's a great way to connect with other people in the Kid Lit industry.

The last tool I want to share today is called f.lux.  While it is not necessarily for art and design, I can see how this tool would be especially helpful for writers.

f.lux has your computer follow a more natural light pattern.  During the times when the sun is down, or partially down, the program changes your computer to emit less blue light.  This is to replicate the natural light pattern of the sun and regulate your melatonin levels, which is supposed to help with sleep.

Some of you might be wondering if you create digital art that this will mess up your color.  While this can be the case, you can turn off the program for any specific application.  If I am working in Photoshop late at night I can turn f.lux off for just Photoshop so my color is true.  Whenever I click on any other application the orange glow will return.

I have found using f.lux has helped me feel less awake and have less strain on my eyes late at night.  While I can't say it will work for you it's worth a try.

I hope you find these tools helpful!  If you have any great tools to share please feel free to leave a comment.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

SCBWI New York Conference 2015 Recap

This past weekend I attended the SCBWI (Society of Children's Books Writers and Illustrators) New York 2015 conference.  It was a great experience and I want to share some highlights.

My portfolio, postcards, and notebook ready for the conference!

My name tag. I added my Twitter picture and name to help people recognize me.

Let's get this conference started!

I started my conference with the optional Illustrator Intensive on Friday.  It was an informative day filled with lectures, an in-class assignment, panels with publishers and editors, and meeting other fellow illustrators. This also was when illustrators dropped off portfolios for the SCBWI Portfolio Award. Art directors, agents, and publishers to looked at our work too.

At the end of the Illustrator Intensive there was a raffle and I won 'Louise Loves Art' by Kelly Light. I had been wanting this book for a while. I tweeted the author/illustrator that I won and she happened to be in the hotel. We met up and she signed my book. I couldn't be happier!

The industry portfolio review ended Friday evening. 
Most people stayed around to look at other portfolios before leaving with their work.
It was so great to see such a wide range of techniques and incredible talent.

My awesome SCBWI folder. It had important handouts and my schedule.

Saturday the conference really began.  It was a mixture of inspiring lectures from authors and illustrators, panels with agents, publishers and editors, workshops, and more!

Some of the topics of the workshops I went to were "Creating Picture Book Art" and "Developing Your Illustration Style and Career Path."I took many notes and learned much that will help me.

I also met some wonderful writers and illustrators.  There was an informal art browse where illustrators could show their portfolio again. The evening ended with a social that included a mashed potato bar in martini glasses with various toppings!

The above photo shows the largest conference room with 1200 attendees listening to one of the lectures.

Sunday started with the announcement of awards. 
I'm so happy that my talented friend Mika Song won the SCBWI Portfolio Award!  
Check out her wonderful website here.

Sunday also included more panels, lectures, and keynotes. The final keynote was from Kwame Alexander who had just won the Newbery Award. His speech and all the others were incredible and were each so unique!

At the conference there was a bookstore where books from presenting authors and illustrators could be bought. There was an autograph party as well, where these books could be signed.

My postcard collection from the various illustrators! Such talent!

The overall conference was great and I left feeling very inspired! I'm so happy to have connected with so many other writers and illustrators and have the opportunity to show my work. I also learned much from the various events.

Top Takeaways and Tips:
  • If you can afford it and have the time take the Illustrator Intensive. It's a great way to hone your skills and get your work in front of so many people in the industry (through the Friday portfolio review).
  • Talk to the people next to you while waiting for a lecture to start.  It's a good way to connect with people and make new friends. 
  • Ask questions during the workshops. It is helpful to think of with questions before the workshop starts too.
  • Have a business card or postcard ready to share.  Also make sure you order and carry enough! I ran out of postcards during the Saturday art browse.
  • Dress in layers! The hallways were really warm, but the conference rooms were very cold.
  • If you are participating in the Saturday art browse stand next to your portfolio. People love talking to the artist and you never know who you'll meet.
  • There is a food court in Grand Central and you don't even have to leave the building.  It's great for those cold New York City days! They also have a great variety of options.
  • Bring cash to buy books.  The bookstore offered a discount if you bought your items with cash instead of a credit card.
  • Connect and use social media.  I met some of my social media friends in real life and people recognized me and my work from Tweeting, Instagramming, etc...

SCBWI did a great job of putting together a streamlined and informative conference. Bravo!

A more detailed list of events, workshops, panels, photos, and more can be found on the Official SCBWI Conference Blog.

I hope I can go to more SCBWI conferences in the future.  I really enjoyed the New Jersey conference last June. Maybe I'll try the Los Angeles conference?

Did you attend the conference? What was your favorite part?