31 October 2013


In the past few months I have been exploring many different venues for my illustrating career.  I've been following lessons for up-ing my game with the DIGITAL WORLD...and I have been dabbling and doodling around different ways of painting.  I once heard that it was better to have one style and stick to it.  Really?  

I mean I can understand that if your doing a series of books, the style has to stay completely consistent throughout. That's a given.  But in my opinion, depending on the level you are illustrating for, you need a certain type of illustrator.  For example for a young children's book maybe Justin Gerard would not necessarily be your first pick.  But Will Terry or I may be a good pick.

When I illustrate a picture book, I want to know the age group I am illustrating for.  I want to put myself in their shoes and I want to know their level of comprehension, curiosity, interest, fascination.  I want those tiny awesome beings, be in awe and embark on the fascinating journey those illustrations can bring.

In my opinion, not all illustrations styles can create that magical place.  But all illustrations have to be drawn with the intent, to capture the imagination of the child and create a visually magical place that will stimulate their imagination and creativity.

So many books in my childhood have stimulated my creativity and imagination, as well as songs and rhymes that I will never forget.

I understand that the publisher, editor, artistic directors and all those who choose the illustrator already see or have a sense of what the book is suppose to look like, and most of them already work with a multitude of extremely talented artists.  

Of course when you think of a certain artist and their style there are those that stick out in my mind such as, Dolie Day, Will Terry, Nicoletta Ceccoli, Rob Scotton, Petra Brown, Mary Engelbreit, Jean-Baptiste Monge, lafianceeaubeurresale,
Arianne Delrieu, Elina Ellis and the list goes on 
and on...

But then there are those who are multi-disciplinary such as Kevin Keele, Jake Parker and others that can draw in different styles.

Now the question came, where do I want to be?  I want to have the freedom and capacity to draw in different styles too.  If someone asks me to draw something quickly or in extreme detail I want to be able to do exactly that and more than satisfy their expectations.  

So from my experience as a traditional artist I turned my methods of producting art around in order to better serve my 
clients.  Here are a few of the different styles I do...

(1)oil painting, (2)  to sketching (3) to digital painting (4) Colored ink and digital enhancement
(5) Vector only clipart (6)  Watercolor effect digital (7) Color comp digital.

What do you think?  Do you think it is better to have one style or many?

23 October 2013

MY ACORN ADVENTURE (The artist's point of view)

 Last weekend was just a wonderous feast for the senses... it was warm with a breeze of that incredible autumn smell.  I was in a great place.  I had just discovered an incredible artist, Jean-Baptiste Monge and I had planned a private workshop with him.  It didn't matter that he wasn't giving workshops.  
You see I had contacted him by email asking if he gave classes around the Montreal region or online for that matter.  He politely answered me back that it was not excluded in his possible things to do, but at the moment he was too busy with all sorts of contracts. Believe me, this guy must have not enough hours in a day, if you saw his stuff, you would understand.  But that is irrelevant (the fact that he is not giving classes) this is my goal now.  To see if I can achieve that level of drawing, painting. Yeah the bar is up there, way, way up there.  
So going back to my private courses with him,  I am a unknown LIKE in his facebook page.  But what that has brought me, is to his postings.  So a few days before, he posted a speed drawing video, which I quickly went to see on youtube.  It's almost like a silent film, which is a good thing because you are not distracted by noise and too much talking.   I would love to have classes with this guy, but how do I do it?  So I decided to auto-evaluate where I was in the scheme of things.  I would begin by  drawing a pencil sketch of a goblin type creature... which I have never done before a la Anne-Marie.  What did I need to do that apart from paper and pencils and my faithful electric sharpener.
Props!  Acorns would be a good one and I must have an incredible supply of them in the backyard since I have a magnificent oak tree.
I happily made my way to the center of the garden where the majestic oak tree stood half naked, but still, in all it's splendor.  I rummaged through the pile of beautiful rusty colored oak leaves, trying to find a couple of acorns.  i wanted to see the hat!  Feel the texture the smoothness, so that I can draw it exactly.  Alas, all I could find was pieces of acorns and no hats!  I hurried the squirrels above me communicating between each other.  It almost sounded like laughing.  As I looked up I noticed a little squirrel partially hidden behind the branch.  He was all dressed up in combat gear.  He suddenly bravely exposed himself in a bold manner and started the stare down.  As I stood there with my hands on my hips, I just wondered what he would do. He slowly scampered to his secret hiding place and
 brought out his brothers and sisters.  They were all ligned up on the branches above.  You must be wondering what they would do next?  Exactly what i was wondering.  I could feel the squirrel countdown... I knew something was going to happen.  I felt a ping on my head and then another, and another.  I was being bombarded by pieces of acorns aimed right at me.  They were attacking!  Of course, Desmond was on the other side of the yard behind the shed, hammering away.  I was there to fend for myself.  I hid behind our Martha Stewart garden living room set in our gazebo, which wasn't a great idea since we didn't have a roof yet.  I was hunched over behind the chair, I wished I had my dad's binoculars right now.  The attack had stopped.  Suddenly I hear a little squeaky sound.  I got up and slowly but surely, right above me, I see an acorn slowly being lowered an inch at a time and dangling in front of me.  It was hung by thread of some kind which was hooked to a little branch, which was held by the squirrel!  He was fishing, the acorn was the bait and I... well, I had to get the acorn. 

Needless to say, I tried to get the acorn and everytime I came to grab it, the evil squirrel would pull it away.  After about what seemed like an hour of fruitless grabbing, I stomped home terribly upset over the fact that I had no props and was totally acorn-less.

22 October 2013


This last weekend Anne-Marie was very upset! She wanted acorns, whole acorns. She wanted these acorns so she could draw them. 

Now, we have a lovely oak tree in the back yard, and this oak tree produces a lot of acorns, so finding a few whole ones should not be difficult at this time of the year, you would think.

So there she is, out the crisp morning air, rummaging around in the fall leaves (yup, we haven’t done our raking yet).  I was in another part of the garden. After a while, I began to hear her ever louder frustrated mutterings.  She was upset she could not find any whole acorns on the ground. The squirrels, who being nefarious furry little thieves, had been feasting on our so valuable acorns, leaving her only the empty acorn husks in amongst the carpet of fallen leaves. She demanded that I must do something about it! This was not acceptable, she stated, not acceptable at all. I asked her what I should do. “Climb into the tree and collect them”, before the squirrels could devour them,” she demanded. Uh, I did mentioned that, as winter was soon approaching, the squirrels needed all the nourishment they could get, and the acorns were an important food for them.  I also expressed my not inconsiderable concern, that to reach the outer branches for a few acorns might be a bit dangerous. Faced with this, grudgingly, she allowed that she would have to find another source for her acorns.

The squirrels have food for another day, and the passionate artist remains acorn-less.  

... and now about those nasty little garden snails who have been eating her grape vines and hostas.

21 October 2013


Being an freelance illustrator usually means you work by your lonesome, at home.  This isolation is not healthy on the long run.  On the short run if you need to concentrate and need to focus... well you are certainly not disturbed.  However on the long run it is a definite benefit to have colleagues that you can bounce your drawings and illustrations on.  They can keep you on your toes and tell you what's good and not so good about your drawings.  That my friend, is a really good thing.

Get a group that can not only like your stuff but help you evolve.  I found most of my groups by joining an online course.  If you want to learn to paint digitally very well and many other techniques... Will Terry is fantastic!  Anyhow... he had this class at -School of Visual Storytelling and that is where I started taking classes.  From there came a group of illustrators that I was studying with from all over the world.
This group keeps us evolving and not afraid to constructively criticize each others work... and encourage us to persist and go on...
This cuts the isolation and keeps you going, as if you were in a working environment which is fantastic.  I suggest this for any illustrator that's at home.

18 October 2013


Can I be frank?  I am amazed.  I am simply amazed at how this drawing turned out in photoshop.  I mean realistically speaking... this is truly my third drawing on my cintiq tablet, my third drawing with photoshop, my third drawing ... digital.  I like where I am going with this.   I do see the mountain I still have to climb.  But i am happy with what I am achieving.  This does not mean I can slack off.  Heck no!  I still have a power class with Will Terry on October 26th and another one on one.  So my plan is to now draw my thumbnails for our book.  Anyhow... here are the results.  I changed Mattie's color scheme, I've softened her up, I kept brightness where I wanted there to be... and kept line art, just paler.... I like her!  Tell me what you think....

16 October 2013


I had a bunch of questions to ask Will.  You see it was our one on one with the teacher after we had finished our critique's class.  I needed some answers.  I want to get better quickly.  I have no time to lose.  I've made a life changing choice of going into illustration.  Like my husband says... I am not watching from the benches anymore... I've invested and am constantly investing into this... time and money.  So the questions I was asking were related to techniques and to finding my style.  I sort of know where I am heading.  The answers guided me into the direction I needed to go.  So here is another try out for Mattie... in a different way of drawing.  This is not finished yet.... Oh no...but this is the process I've been going through tonight.

The Arts and Crafts section

For all those who know me, my life has always been surrounded by the arts.  From my father Alberto Francesco Buscio (1939-1991) to my uncle who is still alive Umberto Bruni (all of 99 years old!).  I have been drawing, doing crafts, inventing things since I can remember.  I gave a course called "La Magie des Arts" translated it would pretty much say "The Magic of Art" at a friends basement.  I had a dozen children taking the course including my own.  It was a course that had different experiences or projects to do which included science, three dimensional art, fun with new things, thinking out of the box.  The kids attending were up to 12 years old!  I loved it!

So the arts and crafts part will be things I will find that are interesting, my twist on arts and crafts and activities.  I will eventually post youtube videos and pdf to download.
Hope you will enjoy it.  Feel free to comment on things you would like to see!

My girl Mattie!

Here are my drawings for Mattie, the main character for our book.  I've learnt to draw digitally and I am trying out different things.  I need to know which one you guys prefer.  The pencil effect one... where the initial pencil drawing comes through... or the purely digital one.
Please let me know it is deeply appreciated.

Perfecting the drawing...

I've sadly had my last critique's class and am awaiting impatiently for my one on one with Will Terry.  I really enjoyed this class.  I've learnt so much from all the critiques.  I have Will Terry's power day class with four illustrators coming up and a surprise illustrator too on October 26th.  So hyped up about all that.
So after the last critique class I had some modifying to do and so I did.  Subtilit√© in french.... can't find the word right now.  But it is small details... but it's funny that in the small and what you might sometimes think insignificant details is where the whole painting just harmonizes together.  Less moon, more detail in the inside treehouse.. more light in the shadows... I am happy with this first digital drawing...
Can i go further... of course... we can always go further but then the hardest part is to know when to stop.

8 October 2013


Anyone ever take an online class?  Wonder if it is worth it?  Well, I guess that would depend on many things such as the class, the teacher, the subject.  Just as in anything else, I think one should research the person that you would like to take a class from.  Before buying into my online classes, I went searching for information about illustrators.  There I found a couple of interesting people sharing information about their art, their lessons and basic information plus of course a couple of speed drawing videos.  It's hard for me to pay for something if I don't feel it is going to be worthwhile.  When I found my teacher, I had found a place where he sold his books.  I bought one of his online videos, listened to it and was impressed but most importantly learned something.  When an online course was offered, I bought a light version and saw how it was conducted and learned.  The next online class was offered and there I took it instantly.  I was like a groupie waiting for tickets for my favorite concert.  I think i was the first to sign up for that class.  I have just finished the class and I have a one on one still to be done in a week.  Can I say any louder how much I have learnt from listening to all the other critiques from all the other participants / collegues in this class as well as my own critiques !!!! I have learnt sooo much and am so hyped up about learning more and perfecting what I have learnt.  Online classes is a PLUS.  If you are an aspriting illustrator go find Will Terry, go see on youtube first, then do the same route as I did, or just jump into it!
Here is the last drawing I presented.  Now I still have some work to do on it... to fix the things that need fixing and yes there are alot of little things that need fixing.
But here is the work in progress.

4 October 2013

Squeezeed into the in-between periods of my day, I am endeavouring to prepare our query letter and materials to submit our book.

Every editor and publisher has very specific criteria they want in any submission, assuming they will actually accept them in the first place.

Trying to find just the right “voice” to convey the synopsis and the tone of the book, without being pretentious or boring, hmmm ... not a simple task.

It’s quite amusing to realise that writing a letter of introduction for a book takes almost as much effort as the writing of it.

All sage advice is welcome.