Monday, October 17, 2016

I love mice and rats

Another furry friend.

I had two rat pets once, Miranda and Ophelia. 
Ophelia was tamer. She rode on my shoulder when we visited my daughter's kindergarten class.
The teacher, the wonderful Mrs. Chappa, was not a fan.
Later I wrote up the scene in the second Ellie McDoodle book.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Another rattie

My agent posted a photo of her at a nice restaurant near her new house and I decided to draw the scene. Well, I put a rat into the painting instead of my agent.
(I know what some of you are thinking. She did *not* take offense)

Bon appetit, Erin!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Not throwing away my shot!

I am a very dedicated Hamilton fan.
Very dedicated.

Can't wait to see the PBS Hamilton special later this month!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Travel Travails

Three weeks ago my dear friend Kirsten Cappy came to Michigan to interview Badge Velasquez and a few other guys from Bikers For Books, a charity promoting literacy for the youth in my area.

Charlie and I saw her at the Bikers For Books Rally on Sept. 10, and then again the next day at the Kerrytown BookFest in Ann Arbor.

Thank you to Bookbound for selling my books at the Kerrytown BookFest!

Charlie and I had dinner that second day with Kirsten Cappy, Matt Faulkner, Kris Remenar, Nancy Shaw, Pamela Patterson, Denise Fleming and husband David Powers and daughter Indigo Powers,

Also at the BookFest: Kelly DiPucchio, Shanda Trent, Heidi Woodward Sheffield, Nick and Ashley Adkins, Isabel O'Hagin, and wonderful SCBWI-Michigan webmaster and brilliant Austin-to-Ann Arbor transplant Debbie Gonzales,
I'm probably forgetting a few writers and illustrators. If that sounds like a lot of name-dropping, it is because they're smart creatives and I feel lucky to know them all.

At the end of the BookFest we walked Kirsten back to her car. 
She was on time to get to the airport, but she reported that her photographer friend Fred had not telescoped the camera tripod for air travel before he left, and she couldn't get that last leg to fold down on her own. 
She went through TSA with that very suspicious-looking tripod, but first endured extra searches and pat-downs and scrutiny. 
Now late for her flight, she ran through the airport with her unfolded tripod, to the obvious shock and dismay of many of the travelers.

As she related the story to me the next day I couldn't help but laugh... and draw it up for her.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Support your local bookstore!

My favorite local bookstore* is Schuler Books & Music.**
It's just a 20-minute drive from my house.

My critique group (The World's Greatest Critique Group -- that's its name but it's also true) has met at Schulers for the 10 years since I joined them.

Before the Eastwood Towne Center store was built, and before the Okemos store moved into Meridian Mall, Schulers had a lovely store next to Meijer, and I visited often.

Over the years we've gotten to know the staff at the various branches.
I put one staff member, book buyer Rhoda, in the art for my Leopold the Lion book.

If you know real-life Rhoda, you know that this doesn't quite look like her.
Real Rhoda has glasses but the publisher wanted no glasses on Mom and no facial hair on Dad.
Real Rhoda is blonde, and I wanted darker-skinned, darker-haired characters for this book.
Otherwise that is definitely Rhoda.
And it's her on the page where she's fixing a bike, too -- Real Rhoda is tough and she plays sports.

If you want to buy any of my books, Schuler Books is likely to have them in stock.
They always do.
Thank you, Schulers!

To buy online -- only $1 per book for shipping! -- go to

To buy one of my books at the store, just walk in and find it on the shelf.
If you want, Rhoda will probably autograph it for you.

*actually two bookstores -- one Schuler Books & Music is 20 minutes away and the other is about 25 minutes away.
**I love Schuler Books. I love a lot of other fine bookstores, too. Schulers is closest.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Hug a dumpling today

Sketch -----------------

To Finish ---------------------------------------------------

Monday, September 26 is National Dumpling Day. Go hug your lil' dumpling. :) 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Finders, keepers?

I found this little toy fox in my studio.
I don't know how it got here.
It's less than an inch tall.

If one of the little kids who visits my studio regularly claims it on the next visit, I'll hand it over.
But I hope they forget about it for a little while because I love it.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Pensive mouse

I was thinking about how to draw something, and then I thought I'd draw a mouse thinking about how to draw something, and then I figured out how to draw that other thing, so I stopped drawing this. 

And that's why it's unfinished. 

(I do highly recommend both thinking and also drawing.) 
(also mice)

Monday, September 19, 2016

Time to post some art

I never know where to post the little art pieces I draw and paint while trying to figure out bigger paintings and stories. Usually I post them on Facebook and forget about them.
But it seems to make sense to post them here.

I drew this giraffe as a sketch in my Story Ideas notebook. Then I redrew him as a black and white dry brush sketch. Then I decided to paint him and add to his story.
Here he is.

And this is a detail of his little baby, picking up good reading habits from Papa.

This is pen and ink and watercolor plus a smidgen of colored pencil.
I think this little guy needs a name. (Or is she a girl?)

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

This weird thing about time racing past

Chatting with a friend just now made me think: I am older than I expected to get. 
When I was a teen looking forward to the millennium change in 1999 I was disappointed that I'd be an old lady, barely able to enjoy it. The millennium change was 17 years ago. I enjoyed it JUST FINE. Ahem. 

What would my teen self think of me now? 
She wouldn't approve of my short hair or my body, but she'd like my studio and work. 
She'd want to be friends with my kids. 
She would think today's Charlie is a nice old guy, and the Charlie I fell in love with in 1980 was romantic. 
She'd like my dogs. 
She'd think it's weird that I eat vegetables for breakfast. 

She'd think it's cool but not groovy that I became friends with my siblings, 

that I have so many good friends in my life today, 
and that I'm this happy. 
All of this makes me plan what I'll be like in 2046. 
I'd better not disappoint me.

Have you entertained your 17 year old self lately? 

Or your 87 year old self?

This is a page from my sketch-journal when I was 17.