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

Friday, May 5, 2017

Girl in Pink

Sorry I haven't posted here in a while. I've been busy finishing the illustrations for Rest in Peace RaShawn, which is now available (see Books), as well as finishing some new dog toy designs, and game designs and illustrations. It's good to be busy doing creative work.

On top of client work, I've been having fun paint playing both in Photoshop and on my old iPad with Procreate (which I LOVE).  Lately, I've dived into the @colour_collective challenges each week. I love playing with color and this gives me a jumping off point each week and encourages me to expand my color palette. I have to admit that many of the colors I would not have picked, so it has expanded my art world. This cautious girl and her cat were in my to-do-someday sketch file from past projects, both personal and work related, which spoke to me when I saw the color for this week, Mountbatten Pink. I painted this in Photoshop using my wonderful Cintiq. Enjoy!
Girl in Pink by Traci Van Wagoner
Girl in Pink © 2017 Van Wagoner

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