Tuesday, April 25, 2017


Congratulations Diana Delosh in winning the Sky Pony Manuscript Review! 

Sky Pony editors will be critiquing Diana's wonderful and whimsical picture book dummy, 
THIS STINKS, with color samples.

So excited for Diana!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Sketch-play/Character development- By Deborah Cuneo

Dog Characters-Development Sketches

While I love all aspects of being an illustrator, my most favorite part is creating visual characters. And for me, because I tend to be my most creative while I'm multitasking, character development always starts with a lot of  random "note taking" and short bursts of sketch-play. 

As soon as I get a project, I immediately commit the list of potential characters to my brain, so I'll remain subliminally mindful of that list at all times. Inspiration for the characters often strikes in fits and spurts and always at the most random, inopportune time, so I've gotten used to recording my reference information quickly. Sometimes, in the form of an artistic shorthand, usually on assorted pieces of loose papers, a couple of random notes in a notepad I keep in my purse or I'll snap a quick photo or two for reference. 
Met a New Friend at the Pet Store!

Later on, as I have little blocks of time, I gather up everything and do a little sketch-play based on my notes, which is simply allowing myself total freedom to draw "whatever", be silly and not worry if it's pretty or not.  It's the artistic equivalent of taking really sloppy, fast notes. This way, I build on all the bits and bobs of inspiration while the sparks are still fresh in my mind.


After a while of this sporadic, freestyle, sketchy-note taking, the character starts to reveal him or herself to me and I have my starting point.

Small dog character coming to life - Early stages

St Bernard dog character coming to life - Early stages

Doing it this way is not for everybody, but it fits my sometimes chaotic, creative state and gets the job done in spite of it! I'm really looking forward to getting to know these new "friends"!!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Hand Lettering Process Post by Diana Ting Delosh

A BEAST IN THE WOODS © Diana Ting Delosh.
Page 5 - Title page. A sneak peek from my Picture Book Dummy.
Hand lettering: Ink, old wide brush on watercolor paper. Bold, san serif, untamed, caps. Colored by bringing into PS making the black ink lettering clear and placing over a watercolor swatch of purple ink.

My process for hand lettering begins with questions. Does the words/phrase evoke an image, a mood? Sure you can hand letter anything but some words or phrases beg for special treatment. Take the word  BUNNY, what comes to mind? Sweet. Cute. How about BEAST? Something rough, primal, maybe even old monster movie-ish. The word Flourish: a verb or a noun, very organic, something herbaceous.

1: FLOURISH Sketch. I want it to feel organic, flow, vines floral, herbaceous - a script
Next I decide what type style. Does it feel like a serif, or san serif?   Caps or upper and lower case?  Is it a script font??? Bold or light? Formal or casual? Is there an attitude? Do the letters themselves suggest images that relate to the meaning? Is there room for decorative flourishes? Sketching & Doodling commence. I like to make the form of the letters follow the meaning of the words or story.

2. FLOURISH line art © Diana Ting Delosh. Inked with fine tip Radiograph Pen on bristol paper. 
On to inking. Maybe with a fine tip pen or markers or brush - in black sometimes on watercolor paper, sometimes on vellum or bristol. It all depends on what I plan for it. The words dictate the style. Depending on the final usage I may do this a bit oversized. However I do prefer working to size whenever possible. I scan my inks as bitmap art (Black and white art or Black & White Document setting) minimum 600 dpi. Depending on the piece I may just save the scan for in case I screw up  when painting in the lettering or I may bring it into Photoshop to color.

3. FLOURISH finished colored art © Diana Ting Delosh. Painted the original line art on bristol paper with water-soluble transparent colored inks. 

Finally the coloring. Sometimes I hand paint my line work with transparent colored inks, watercolors than scan the finished colored art and clean up. Easy peasy. Sometimes I bring my line art into Photoshop and digitally color it. First I change the mode to RGB or CMYK. Usually I work in  RGB. I can change the color of my lines with the Magic Wand tool. Uncheck contiguous, so every speck of black gets selected, and click on the black than select a color with the eyedropper tool and fill the outlines with the new color. I can then fill in the outlines with the paintbrush tool and multiply so my line art remains. Or I can select the line art with the magic wand tool, make it clear, like a stencil, and layer it over a watercolor wash. Sometimes it's almost all created in PS. So many ways to go...just have some fun with it. Below are more samples of my hand lettering.
Peace to ALL © Diana Ting Delosh.
One of my favorite sentiments. My design for my personal 2016 Christmas Card.
Available at greetingcarduniverse.com/dianascards
Hand lettering: Black marker on vellum. Peace: formal script made from olive branches. Creatures: Serif, U&LC with a swan for an"S" to represent feathered creatures. Big: Caps, sight flared serif with a reptilian flare for the "G" to represent scaled creatures. Small: sans serif, fuzzy, Caps with a little critter for the "A" to represent furred creatures. Scanned the inked lettering and would've painted them per my usual BUT my scanner crapped out. SO, rather than wait for the new scanner I took the line art into PS changed the black line to an Ochre and digitally colored them. 

OLLIE ALONE © Diana Ting Delosh.
Title page from my Picture Book Dummy.
In the story, Ollie is distracted by fireflies. I decided that the title would be made up of glowing fireflies.
Hand lettering: Inked fireflies to form the title with a fine point pen. Bold, san serif, blobby, upper & lowercase. Colored by Painting in PS with a brush so the edges are fuzzy, like firefly glow.

Some Fun News: My Hand Lettering, FLOURISH is on page 19 in the Gallery pages of the book,
Hand Lettering Creative Alphabets for Any Occasion by Thy Doan Graves published by Quarto, UK and St Martin's Griffin, US and Canada.

Twitter: dtdelosh

Check out: 
The BIG ThumbNailer

Wednesday, April 5, 2017


 Purchase a copy of LIZZIE and LOU SEAL 
email Sky Pony Press at wsparkles@skyhorsepublishing.com to let them know.

Now you are in the running for Sky Pony to see your picture book dummy or manuscript!

Looking Inside Sky Pony Press 
with Assistant Editor, Kylie Brien

“Good morning Sky Pony,” my editor says.
She reads at the coffee nook.

She reads at her desk,
In her thinking cap.

too cool                                                   too hot                                                    just right

My editor reads when she walks at lunch,
And with the people standing in line.
“Hmm, smells delicious!”

She reads with publicity

Ming Liu and Kylie Brien
and other editors.
“I like it a lot!”

Rachel Stark and Kylie Brien
She reads in the subway—
All the way home.
"Good night sweet writers and readers!"

Meet Sky Pony author/illustrator Patricia Keeler at Book Expo America 2017, Booth AM34, May 31 - June 2! She will sketch you as a picture book character!

 Facebook:  PatriciaKeelerBooks
Twitter: @patriciakeeler
Instagram: @patriciakeeler

represented by Liza Royce Agency www.lizaroyce.com