Sunday, July 16, 2017

Crazy Dog

I didn't get a chance to post my paint play for #colour_collective on Friday since I got a new iPad! Yay! I've been have a ton of fun playing with that and my new Apple Pencil. This painting, however, was done in Photoshop. The color was Byzantium purple, and I used an old sketch from one of my first picture book projects I recently pulled off backup disks. I think I'll be taking another look at this story with this character and her silly dog who is always getting blamed for everything. I had fun with this trying to keep it loose and a bit messy. I hope you enjoy.
illustration by Traci Van Wagoner
©2017 Traci Van Wagoner

Saturday, July 8, 2017

The Treehut is Occupied. Oh my!

I forgot to post my illustration, Treehut Occupied, yesterday with the #colour_collective fun. It's never too late to share though, right?

This was another fun experiment with the color of the week khaki in a full-on monochromatic illustration. I started with a sketch from #inktober2016 dragons and played around with values in Procreate on my old iPad (new one has been ordered -- wahoo!), and then brought it into Photoshop to add final details. I love the idea of illustrating middle grade books, so you'll probably see more work like this coming up.

To be completely honest, I'm not sure I'm 100% happy with this one yet. But I did have fun, and ... dragon! I'd love to hear your thoughts. Successful or not? Suggestions? Critiques?

children's book illustration by Traci Van Wagoner
©2017 Traci Van Wagoner

Wednesday, July 5, 2017


This week's Illustration Friday prompt is LOVE. We could all use more love right now. The power of love can save the world. So, go out and love everyone.
Love makes the world go around
©2017 Traci Van Wagoner, LOVE

Thursday, June 29, 2017


The prompt for Illustration Friday this week is Sprout which fits perfectly with one of my picture book projects I'm writing and illustrating. This is one of the scenes I'm playing with using Procreate. I approached this project very different from other projects. Instead of starting with a fully written story and then pencil sketches, this picture book started while paint playing with my old iPad, my finger, Procreate, and an idea. I created a variety of color scenes of a girl planting a seed while it's still snowing, then waiting, waiting, until...

Sprout Artwork by Traci Van Wagoner
©2017 Traci Van Wagoner, all rights reserved

Friday, June 23, 2017

Gertrude Pye a Picture Book Character

Once again, colour_collective inspired me and pushed me to create something new in a color palette outside my norm with this week's color, licorice. This is the, Gertrude, the MC for a picture book I'm creating. Last week I shared her little brother who believes dragons are troublesome. Gertrude believes they are misunderstood. What do you believe?
character illustration by Traci Van Wagoner
©2017 Traci Van Wagoner, all rights reserved

Friday, June 16, 2017

Picture Book Character

I've had a crazy week without much art getting done. I really enjoyed having a few moments (or so) to paint play with this fun character from sketches for a little brother to a MC in a current picture book I'm writing and illustrating. As brothers often are, this little guy can be a pain, but ain't he cute?

I'm finding #colour_collective to be a great inspiration and deadline for painting something new and helping to expand my color palette each week. This week was Ceylon Yellow.

I hope you enjoy Bratford.
Traci Van Wagoner illustration for picture book
©2017 Traci Van Wagoner

Friday, June 9, 2017

Mermaid Glade

Happy Friday! I had some fun this week in between a hectic and fairly dramatic week dealing with getting more work, tax problems, and family issues to paint one of my MerMay sketches, Mermaid Glade, for colour_collective. The color was iris blue. I'm enjoying expanding my abilities to paint backgrounds and settings as well as dramatic light and balancing textures and all that good stuff. I think I just might have pulled this one off.

If there's enough interest, I'll create a poster and other goodies in my Zazzle and RedBubble stores with this art. What do you think?
Traci Van Wagoner illustration
© 2017 Traci Van Wagoner, Mermaid Glade

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Girl in Yellow

Sitting in my studio on a rainy, dreary day in NYC,  I've decided the world needs a splash of yellow. So here's my Sweet Girl in Yellow. Perhaps the sun will come out tomorrow. Stayin' positive.
Girl in yellow by Traci Van Wagoner
©2017 Traci Van Wagoner

Thursday, May 25, 2017

On Twitter Pitch Parties and Perfect Phobia

hashtag illustration
 My thoughts on twitter pitch parties:

Love them. They're a great kick in the seat of the pants to get me to finish things. I suffer from what I shall call, Perfect Phobia, and these online contest, pitch parties, word wars, etc. are a good remedy. I have a debilitating fear (if I let it) of everything having to be perfect. When I was in high school, a teacher once told me to stop worrying about my report being perfect and just get it done. I could always revise it. These contests help jar me out of the fear of perfection. I know manuscripts are supposed to be completely polished and ready to send, but then I'd never send anything. I have to let go at some point. Call it done.

My writing and manuscripts have improved in direct result of having subbed to online and twitter contests. And to be honest, I have to admit to submitting things that were not polished. While I thought they were finished to a high level, I do feel guilty for going against the rules when I had inklings some of my manuscripts were not as polished as they could be. However, my manuscripts wouldn't be in the better condition they are now without having done this, without the push of a deadline to complete to a solid level finish, and without the critiques and comments from generous authors also participating who nudged me in the right directions, helping me to recognize those inklings, the ticklings in the subconscious that I didn't look at directly -- like monster's eyes on the dark, don't look and they're not there. Well, they are and BOO! Gotta face 'em sooner or later.

I have received some likes (hearts) here and there. I haven't subbed to all of those since I'm searching for an agent for both my picture books (writing /illustrating) and my MG / YA. Many only rep older. But I'm not necessarily in these contests to find my agent. I am querying specific agents for that. I know there are success stories with these contests, but I also know how numb I get going through the feed of so many offerings. I don't know how agents and editors do it without it all becoming a jumble in their heads. So I don't pin my hopes on being discovered within the feed, but I do appreciate the kick in the seat of the pants and the feeling of community while constantly updating the hashtag feed.

I'd love to hear about your experiences and thoughts on twitter pitch parties. Do you love them? Hate them? Participate or not? Any success stories you want to share?

Here's a few I know of and have participated in. Please add any more on the comments.


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Ugga Mugga Love

The world needs love, lots of Ugga Mugga love. I painted this on Mother's Day thinking of my Mom who is so far away. This also works for Illustration Friday's theme this week, Mother. Go give your mother a kiss today! Aren't ugga mugga kisses the best?
Ugga Mugga by Traci Van Wagoner ©2017