new artist blast

wonderful artists!  to see more go to  or contact Christy Ewers at               WELCOME TO THE FAMILY Irene and Katy!!!

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Special adopt a pet day!

Burris kitty

HAD to show off this piece from PRISCILLA BURRIS for the special Day for animals needing homes! and to show off our two Rescued Cat friends… one now 7 and tiny – thus PEANUT. and BUDDY now 1 1/2 and gotten as a 8 wk old from rescued mother to be a friend for my husband. We’d recently lost our dear 16 yr old LOGO tuxedo cat Trelle.  But BUDDY is now an almost 17 LB ‘young man’ and Peanut isn’t so sure this was a good idea!

Buddy portrate

peanut portraitPEANUT

Go ahead…..BRING THEM HOME.  They’ll love you forever…….

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happy earth day…with gratitude

Earth Day (3)

thank you Priscilla Burris for the gentle reminder…. we need to ‘watch’ and care for her…..

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I want to apologize for the delay in this next part to “CAT NIP Promotion!” We had a sad loss in the family that took me away for a month…. but life continues and we must promote it!

the three spring ct this is myself Chris, Billie the agency ‘research assistant’ and Christy Ewers, my daughter and partner in CATugeau LLC.  We are celebrating the team, the now and the future with a kiss out to all!

NOW…down to the VERY IMPORTANT part of the ‘WHAT’ you must have in your portfolios…online and in person.  You must show very good and consistent characters and character development.  It’s most essential for children’s book industry projects as they are all about story telling. And what are stories?  They are scenes in a person, animal or thing’s life history!  whether a moment, a day, a month or a year or a lifetime, characters and their growth and change is what stories are all about.  So you MUST show it!

“Character” = (Webster’s) “complex of mental and ethical traits marking a person” or “a distinguishing feature”.

” Development”= “unfold gradually or in detail”  or ” to go though a natural process of growth and differentiations = evolve!”

So Character Development in ART then is an artist showing a unique character’s individual growth and change in REACTION to the story line events and over a period of time. (could be a few moments possibly!)  This uniqueness for trade books is what the reader/listener identifies with and sympathizes with  to experience the events of life through them and helping us understand and internalize the stories underlying components. The success of this for a story is often determined by the artist’s visual depiction of these all important story characters and their details of life.

How do you do this in a portfolio of 15 + images only which must include lots of different elements of your talent?  you take two or three sequential action scenes from a ‘story’ (doesn’t have to be an actual one) and paint them!  Take a piece you’ve done with a memorable character(s). Now imagine what happened just before this image…and/or just after it.  Same character(s) but different emotion, setting, time.  Make it clear you can show this ‘development’ in these 2 or 3 images. Good to do this for two stories at least…total of 6 images maybe. Place them together in the portfolio. They are probably the most important things you’ll have in your portfolio. It amazes me how many artist portfolios miss this! It makes the buyers ‘leap of faith’ to hire you to do a sequential book project much less of a guess.  Remember, LET THE ART DO THE TALKING.  SHOW you can tell a story with characterization.

Now we’ve covered the ‘WHY’ and the ‘WHAT’ of portfolios and promotion, we’ll next get to the ‘Where, When and How’. Tune in!  (and write me questions anytime…..)

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“MOM’S SCHOOL” launches….

we are SO excited to celebrate the launch day for MOM’S SCHOOL illustrated by our Priscilla Burris and written by Rebecca Van Slyke, published by Francis Gilbert of Random House!  It’s SUCH a fun adventure school for the training of women to become wonderful mom’s as a child might imagine it.  And DAD’S SCHOOL will follow in a year’s time! can Dads wait?


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I am lucky enough to live in a small town, Williamsburg VA, that values art, history, learning and organic, deep beauty in all it’s views!  Our Muscarelle Museum of Art is host to one of only two viewings of more than twenty-five drawings of master Leonardo da Vinci~ ( the other in MFA Boston in April – June).  I’ve been to the show and listened to two experts lectures about the importance of and hidden magic in his drawings…so many of which were lost.  Da Vinci only painted a few over 20 completed paintings and it’s believed that his studies for these were almost more important to him than the finished work.  It’s most revealing to get so close to these wonderful small studies…and notes.  He was left-handed, and wrote his notes backwards to make it easier for himself (!) and the viewer can see the left-handed cross marks in the silverpoint markings he used often…as in the image from this “most beautiful drawings, I dare say, in the world” (Sir Kenneth Clark) of  a head for The Angel in he Virgin of the Rocks 1483 on loan from Biblioteca Reale, Turin.  STUNNING.

Scan0002  you can’t look at the eyes and not think of the Mona Lisa either.  So intimate….   We as artists and humans are always aware of and in pursuit perhaps of beauty, wisdom and perfection in its many, but illusive, manifestations. This is a up-close study of just that.  Lucky me!

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CAT NIP: “WHAT” part 2,

I left you last article thinking about the fact that your website and person portfolio and all your promotional material BETTER BE SAYING THE RIGHT THING about you, your style, your professionalism.  So now that you’ve got that settled in your mind as you’ve reviewed your samples, let’s get to the overall a of WHAT should be in and being seen in your collection of samples.

To start, you only want to have maybe 12-15 of your very very best work in a physical portfolio, and basically the same on your website. Leave them wanting more, but enough so they KNOW you a bit.  You want the images to be as big as they can be on the website so the viewer doesn’t have to struggle to SEE the details.  And no one will do a lot of scrolling unless they are mesmerized, so have your BEST ‘wow’ pieces first. And think about grouping that makes visual sense.

I will list the MUST HAVES now:  and get into them each a bit.

Characterization… showing interesting, appealing characters grow…more on that in it’s own ‘WHAT’ part 3 to come next!  HUGE!

KIDS and people (all ethnic types and ages), animals of all sorts, interacting in their lives. Figures (no nudes! lol) and gestures.

Expressions…happy, surprised, sad, questioning, angry, love and content, lost…….

Sense of place and time…scenes!…sequential scenes. Inside, outside, night, day, school, home etc. ATMOSPHERE

Ability to tell a story! not all ‘presentation pieces.’  Show sequential scenes and page turn ability.


Perspectives…up/down, close/distant, complicated/ simple, surprise us!

Black and White…. if you do this, show it. At end perhaps.  Later elementary and middle grade b/w tone art is very needed these days.  Show a couple from same story-age appropriate.

Two styles max….not including b/w.  You want to be REMEMBERED, and they can’t if you aren’t even sure who you are.  Once they know you, then surprise them with more!

So this is a lot, I know! and you can’t show everything in 15 pieces, but you can make them want to SEE MORE. Arrange your pieces so the BEST ‘WOW’ is first, and then a sequential piece showing more about the characters and ‘the story.’ next. (doesn’t need to BE a story actually.)  Think about what you are evoking as you place images…. think thematically even, styles together, GREAT piece at end of color too, and b/w together at end (or separate page on website and then show more.) I think using both sides of a physical portfolio is a plus…shows a spread big like a real picture book. or two images from ‘same story.’ Think like a buyer…what would WOW you to contact this artist and want them to work with you!?

more CAT NIP ‘WHAT’ very soon…all about the all important Character!

YIPPEE  BURRISPriscilla Burris…character master!





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