Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Hog Wild Storm

I've been having a ton of fun with my husband and business partner creating books and games for kids. This cute wild hog was inspired by a bunch of sketches I did for a new game we're helping develop for one of our clients. In the midst of our many projects, on a snowy day in New York I had fun painting this little guy struggling with his umbrella in the snow. And since this week's Illustration Friday prompt is Umbrella, this fits right in.
Hog Wild Storm by Traci Van Wagoner
© 2017 Traci Van Wagoner

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Spring Dreams

One night while vegging out to some TV,  I was paint playing on my old iPad with Procreate and my fancy-pants paint brush finger, and with one magical swipe, I discovered a whole bunch more fun and different brushes. Yay! So I set about playing with them, experimenting, doodling, dreaming, and this is what came about, Spring Dreams. My flowery painting also has a snail among other fun bugs, so it fits with Illustration Friday's prompt this week, Snail.

Happy Spring!

Spring Dreams by Traci Van Wagoner
©2017 Traci Van Wagoner, Spring Dreams

Friday, March 3, 2017


I think people who stand up to bullies, to those who hate, to the greedy, to the power-hungry are heroic. This is my paint play for Illustration Friday's topic this week (yeah, a bit late) Heroic. Stand up for the little guys, stand up for yourself and what you believe in. Be bold and brave people. I dare you.

Illustration Friday Heroic
© 2017 Traci Van Wagoner

Wednesday, February 22, 2017


I had some fun playing with Procreate on my old iPad painting with my finger and created this for Illustration Friday Stomp. I'm enjoying working on a looser style of art, plus I have to admit that last week I found a bunch of new brushes I hadn't played with before in the program. Have some fun today!

Illustration Friday submission
© 2017 Traci Van Wagoner

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Illustration Friday: Swirl

I love to incorporate swirls into my art and many of my textures contain swirls, so this week's Illustration Friday topic is perfect. Swirl. This is a sample from a picture book of mine which I'm shopping around, Don't Fret, Fred. Cut off from the electronic world, Fred is worried a day with Gram and Gramps out in the boonies will be boring. Boy, was he wrong.

Don't Fret, Fred illustration by Traci Van Wagoner
Don't Fret, Fred @Traci Van Wagoner

Monday, January 16, 2017

Dare to Dream

In honor of Martin Luther King, I dare you to dream. I have chosen DARE as my word this year. Dare to dream, dare to send my work out to editors and art directors, dare to write what scares me, dare to draw things that challenge me. Dare to speak out. Dare to stand up for what is right, what I believe in, and what I want to see happen in our world.

What things do you want to dare do this year? I dare you to do them.
Dare to Dream by Traci Van Wagoner
©2017 Van Wagoner

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Booker T. Bear Debut

I'm very excited to share the news that Booker T. Bear is making his appearance in the world with his Booker T. Bear's Website! Yay! Go check it out, buy a book or two, and have some fun exploring Juneberry Square. Books One and Two in the Let's Go Series are available for preorder and will be available very soon.

The series of four books (so far) was written by Jen Jellyfish, M.M., illustrated by the creative team at Imagine That! Design (myself and my husband, Kurt Keller) and brought to you by The Library Store, Inc.

This fun series took up a good portion of my time in 2016. It was a fun adventure traveling the world with Booker and his friend Dahlya Dragonfly.

I'd love to hear what you think of Booker's fun adventures.

illustrated by Kurt Keller and Traci Van Wagoner
Booker T. Bear Let's Go Series Book 1
illustrated by Kurt Keller and Traci Van Wagoner
Booker T. Bear Let's Go Series Book 2

Friday, December 16, 2016

Hug More

With all the craziness going on in the world and with an uncertain future looming in America with a President Elect who is woefully unprepared and unable to govern himself, let alone a country, I have painted. We need love. We need diversity. We need understanding and empathy.

We need hugs.

Hug a Day Traci Van Wagoner ArtHug a Day Traci Van Wagoner Art

Hug a day Traci Van Wagoner ArtTVW Monster Hug

TVW Hug a Day
Hug a Day

Please hug someone today and bring a smile, a spark of hope, or a moment of peace and understanding. It is a small world after all and love makes it go around.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Brown Paper Packages

Traci Van Wagoner illustration

I've been a bit delayed in getting another holiday traditions post up. So, without further ado, I want to share something fun I've been doing for a while now that has turned into a tradition. When I first met my husband and we spent Christmas together, we didn't want to spend a bunch of money on wrapping paper so we started wrapping packages in brown kraft paper since we always have a big roll of that around (for various projects and things) and tied the packages with string (you know the song) with a To/From sticker with our own design. Then I started writing the names in pen all fancy like. That got bigger and expanded each year to include drawings and designs. We lost the string as the artwork became more elaborate. And then, I decided to really have fun and broke out the color pencils. At some point in this process, I started to pick a theme for each holiday. One year was all about snowmen, another Santa and his elves, another reindeer.... And a new tradition is born.

This was something I did for fun and for the enjoyment of the receivers. I didn't take pictures most of the years, because I didn't really care, and as an artist of many years, I'm not that attached to every piece of art I do, so I let it go out into the world to suffer the fate of being ripped open, or whatever. Not until later when it became more of a thing that people always mentioned and loved about getting gifts from us, that my husband decided to start photographing the packages. I've shared a few of those with you. Enjoy!

Traci Van Wagoner illustration

Traci Van Wagoner
Traci Van Wagoner
Traci Van Wagoner art

Traci Van Wagoner art
 Traci Van Wagoner art
Traci Van Wagoner art

I love creating these packages. Besides helping get into and celebrate the spirit of Christmas, it's non-stress artwork, where I can draw whatever I want without any expectations of having to be perfect. And it's always fun to see how happy my nephews, in particular, are to get these personalized gifts. I will soon begin the decorating of this year's packages. Hmmm, what will my theme be this year?

I would love to hear about your holiday traditions. If you would like to share your tradions, I'll be happy to host you as a guest blogger here. Please let me know in the comments, or feel free to email me with the contact form on the side. It would be wonderful to be able to share a diverse range of celebrations from around the world.

Happy holidays!

Friday, November 11, 2016

A Poison Arrow

I am saddened and heartbroken this week. The results of the election was like a gut punch from which I haven't been able to catch my breath. Seeking solace in like minded people through social media has not helped. Seeking answers to WHY to those who helped bring this about has definitely not helped. So I write. I've dived into NanoWrimo with a shiny new idea. My characters have been leading me on a merry adventure. But then I return to reality, and once again I find it hard to breath and darkness invades. So I write this in hopes of helping push the darkness away.

A poison arrow has been shot into the heart of America. You all know the archer.

I am battling the poison as it darkens my thoughts, emotions, and days, striving to turn my heart from love, joy, and laughter to anger, pain, sorrow, hatred, and fear. I mourn not only for the wrong person winning in a "quirky" electoral system, but for the people who have sided with him and let his poison do its work to darken their hearts, to bring out hatred toward others who are different from them, to feel free to express that hatred so openly with no compassion or empathy, fueled by the blowings of a giant wind bag.

The poison is spreading and America is on the brink. I fear we are no longer a land of tolerance, a place of peace, solace against the storm, a bright light in the dark night, a haven for the downtrodden and weary and oppressed. And don't forget on Veteran's Day that many soldiers have fought and died  in many wars for our sanctuary of freedom. We are supposed to be a land of hope. A melting pot. A land of opportunity. The Mother of Exiles is weeping. I am weeping.

The New Colossus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
A poem by Emma Lazarus, graven on a tablet

within the pedestal on which the Statue of Liberty stands.

Traci Van Wagoner, Statue of LIberty art
© Traci Van Wagoner

Many of us are suffering, barely able to buy groceries and pay rent. We all need jobs. We all need health care. We need our children to be educated, to learn not just math, science, English, but art, music, and tolerance. Empathy for one another. For all.


Empathy is the antidote to the poison. Empathy, my friends, my enemies, my fellow human beings. Fight the poison coursing through our veins. Purge the hate, the anger, the ignorance. Laugh. Share a smile with another. Play a game with a stranger. Get to know someone who is different from you. Try to understand someone else who comes from a different culture and background. Walk in their shoes, my mom always told me. We all need love, to feel welcome, to be happy, to have a home.

We are all human beings living on a small blue marble amidst a mighty large Universe. We are but small beings who should be celebrating life, love, and happiness. We should be laughing side by side at the wonders that lay around us, and we should be striving to keep our beautiful blue marble safe for us all to continue living and laughing and loving for generations.

Fight the poison coursing through our veins. Purge the hate. Let go of the anger. Laugh and love a little every day. It will get easier with practice, I promise.

I drag myself out of the depths, and I have pulled the arrow from my heart. Now, I seek to purge the poison, to learn, to get involved, to help people open their eyes. Please join me in the sharing of what is truly important. Do not close the golden door. Open your hearts, your minds, your arms. Purge the poison.

Live, laugh, love and learn.

As I finish writing this, my heart has filled with hope for a brighter future for human beings across the globe.



All these reasons and more is why I have signed several letters and petitions to join the fight against the archer of the poison arrow. Here are a couple links to get involved: