Finally had the chance today to compile some of the  #tinydragonpaintings I did last fall! Check out the updated page here.

Hoping to get a post up soon about the Museum of Science Forest Animals mural – was super fun to see it in person last month!


Update on my 100days project, #100daysofdrawingonphotos! I’ve compiled them (all 102, due to counting errors:) to a new page on the website.  Hoping to have some prints available soon, so definitely contact me if you have any favorites.

It’s been busy over here with under-wraps book projects and some other fun stuff I hope to be able to share at some point.  New posts coming soon on my other recent personal projects, #tinydragonpaintings and my in-progress attempt at #inktober (see sporadic updates on Instagram under my account @thereul!).


Been working on some handlettering projects! I’ve found skillshare.com to be a super useful way of learning more about new topics. There’s more about my process for these pieces up on the project page for Martina Flor’s “Golden Secrets of Handlettering” course.

The Extraordinary Adventure of NESCBWI16



“Rue Des Voyages Extraordinaires” or “The Avenue of Extraordinary Voyages” 

I just got back from the fantastic whirlwind of NESCBWI16 (the New England conference for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) and I’m still pleasantly reeling. There were tons of inspiring workshops (led by fabulous authors, illustrators, editors and booksellers, including Nancy Castaldo, Deborah Freedman, Dan Moynihan, Brian Lies, Anne Sibley O’Brien, Calef Brown, Celia Lee, Elizabeth Bluemle and so many more), as well as great keynote speakers and the gorgeous Portfolio Showcase. Overall it was awesome to reunite with other authors and illustrators for a whole weekend of nerding out about making pictures and stories.

One element of the conference that I really enjoyed was the Illustration Challenge. This year, the prompt was “reinvent Jules Verne for the 21st century.”  I dove into a bit of research and was immediately impressed by the number of well-known books he’d written that are still vibrantly alive in popular culture (20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA and AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYs, of course, but also FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON, which was hugely inspirational for the George Melies silent film “A Trip to the Moon“, as well as JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH, THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND and FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON). His stories have been reinvented so many times that I was initially a bit overwhelmed about what to pick, until I realized that I didn’t actually have to choose just one story – I could try to address his overall “Extraordinary Voyages” collection.

I flipped through my sketchbooks for inspiration and found pages of neon sign sketches – I love the vintage appeal and saturated color of neon.

In fact, my desktop image for the past 10 years (across 3 computers) has been a photo I took at the Neon Art Museum in L.A., where I first got a close-up look at the artistry required to bend thin tubes of glass into intricate letterforms.

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looks just like my computer!

I decided that my reinvention would be a Vegas strip of Jules Verne titles, to convey the awe of a person discovering his many works for the first time.

Since Jules Verne was from France, I chose to stick with his native French and to create signs that hinted at the books through design. Here are some early variations I tried for AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS (aka TOUR DU MONDE EN 80 JOURS):


I ended up creating each sign as a separate PSD file and then placing them as smart objects in the overall image (really loving that aspect of CC15).


After they were all placed and transformed to fit into the perspective of the scene, I rasterized the separate layers and locked transparent pixels to repaint the separate elements into colors that worked for the overall composition. Once the base colors were set, I played with a ton of layer effects and some filters to get the neon to glow.

Here’s the image from thumbnail sketch to final:


At some point in the future, I think I’ll try making some of the individual signs into gifs themselves, complete with bright flashing lights as well as the subtle flicker and hum of real neon signs.

I hope you enjoyed this peek behind the scenes – I know I was inspired by seeing the different processes of illustrators I admire at NESCBWI this past weekend!




As you might already know, I’ve jumped into The 100 Day Project inspired by Elle Luna, attempting to tackle #100daysofdrawingonphotos. At the time of writing I’ve made it to day 10 and have been posting drawings each day on my Instagram account @thereul (and cross-posting on Facebook) – here are a few favorites so far:


More info on the project in my recent Writer’s Rumpus Post: Instagram & #the100dayproject.

If you’re doing 100 days of something, let me know! I’d love to check out your work.

New post on writers’ rumpus

Wrote up a new post on observation for animation illustration & writing on Writers’ Rumpus – the final installment of the 3-part series. Includes notes on how I use reference from Pinterest, like this pinboard – one of my favorites:


Portfolio update


Just updated my illustration portfolio – check it out here! Sneak peek at some fun new projects, mostly still under wraps…

Museum of Science Mural project

Over the past few months I’ve been working on a super neat project for the Discovery Center at the Museum of Science, working with the staff members to develop a 16 – foot – long mural of New England Forest Animals.  Here’s a bunch of the progress work, with some color comps, one linework variation (we’re still moving some stuff around, so the final won’t look quite like this), an early rough sketch and super rough early thumbnail. MOS_thumbnail_forest_sunset_v1 MOS_thumbnail_forest_sunset_v2 MOS_thumbnail_forest_sunset_v3MOS_thumbnail_forest_colorlinework_2-1-16MOS_thumbnail_forest_linework MOS_forest_animals_panel_thumbnail

Bonus: some fun animal studies I did in preparation for the final linework – if you follow me on Instagram (@thereul) you might have seen some of them already. Hoping to finish up the project in the next couple months – will try to post final photos when it’s all up!
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Writers’ Rumpus


Writers’ Rumpus, a great blog for writers & illustrators of children’s books, recently invited me to join. Part one of my three part series, Animation, Illustration and Writing just went live this morning!  It includes lots of process pieces on development work for “Monster of Lake Quannapowitt”- check it out here:

Animation, Illustration and Writing – Part 1: Iterations

UPDATE: Also posted Part 2: Planning & Part 3: Observation. Lots of fun spreadsheets & photo ref, my favorite!


flower ritual


Another gif for loopdeloop.org a couple months back, for the theme “ritual”.