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(sneak peek from one of the pages of my book)

Well, June has just zipped by in a panic wouldn't you say? Mine was filled with happy festivities, indulgent treats, and progress on a book that has been sitting on hold, yet again, for the past year. You may recall that I wrote a book about 7 years ago and became utterly immobilized when it came time to illustrate it (you can find that post here). To be honest, I put so much pressure on myself to not mess up, that I ultimately set it aside in a mental lockbox for another day. Every year I would revisit the story, opening the box, dusting it off, reading it, and then without fail putting it straight back into the lockbox. Last year, however, was a little different...when I pulled the story out, a few ideas popped in my head, and I started sketching out thumbnails and pictures. I felt like it was going to finally be the year that I had the courage to finish it. I sketched out each page, tweaked the wording, and even started playing around with painting styles. Well a funny thing happened.....not so funny I guess...I just plum didn't have the time to work on it any further with other client projects and having a baby. So, back in the lockbox she went for another year.

(thumbnail sketches of the book)

When February and March came around and I was back to work full time I started peaking into the lockbox once more....but this time felt a little different. I was seeing it in a new light...I was inspired to change the sketches and reformat things. I would spend an hour each day doodling on my iPad, percolating different angles and styles so that my little book could come to light. Then for a month straight I worked and re-worked different illustration and color styles, questioning myself, researching, and ultimately landing on the look that I wanted. One day, I stepped back and realized I had fully illustrated an entire page. And then a week later, I hated it, and started over. Another week later, I stepped back and felt excited that this time I was where I wanted to be.

(sketches of two page layouts)

So, friends, I write to you in the beginning of July, and I officially have 18 pages illustrated. Some weeks I illustrated in a frenzy, and others I didn't pick it up at all. I've constantly felt behind on the schedule I set for myself in the Spring, but I'm persisting...and isn't that the point? I included some pics for you, behind-the-scenes, sneak peeks, or whatever you want to call them of this book in color. I'm really excited about it, but primarily I'm finding myself in a state of flow enjoying the process. When I finish I want to be able to say I had fun making this, and that's what is guiding me every time I set aside an hour to work on it.

(Originally I had planned to paint the pages - these were test pages, but it just didn't feel right with what I envisioned in my head)

The words will get another re-write I'm sure, and the trepidation is definitely not over, but for now I'm excited and anxious to share it with you, my little pet project, when it is all finished...eventually. I remember in college a professor said a painting is never done, you just decide to stop working on it. Woof, do I feel that!!!!

Below are some screenshots of a few pages....what is this story about? It's about a silly adventure filled with quirky and silly imaginative vibes...oh and it rhymes (I love a good rhyming book! I felt this way before having a baby, but I love rhyming stories even more after reading countless books to Leonora)

I decided on a very Pencil sketched out style using my IPad. Above is my main character with a few friends she meets along the way.

I wanted a warm color palette and a looser style of pencil. The ipad allowed me to play with this look more than paper.

Another sneak peek of a current illustration. Having so much fun being silly with these

I truly am so excited to share these sneaky photos. I know I will re-work all of these some more at the end, and I also know it is so possible that the book will be put on pause once more. But fingers crossed, if that happens, it will only be temporary.

Until next month,


Hello my Beautiful Butterflies and Happy June to you all.

It has been kind of a wild May, to say the least - and I say wild in a very loose sense. We've been battling being sick on and off all month long. Leonora caught her first bug from daycare and it took us all down for two weeks. All of our friends told us we would get sick once she went into daycare but we just have to stick it out. And honestly, I consider it lucky that it took 2 months for the sickness madness to begin.

We also had a lovely little cabin getaway in Austin for Mother's Day weekend (whilst battling being sick), then lost power for 48 hours in Houston the following weekend from a crazy storm. We rounded out the month with a birthday weekend for Ricky with activities, treats, and shopping. It was a pretty crazy month of life but fun and relaxing all at the same time. There's something so nice about not having a gazillion options on the table. When you're sick you just sit still and be sick. When you don't have power you pivot and figure out what to do and embrace the simpleness of it all. It of course has its's no fun being sick, but looking on the positive side it can be nice to sit still and make the most of the bad situation.

While nursing our illnesses and hanging out without power, we spent an immense amount of time admiring Leonora's growth. She started crawling which has been mesmerizing to watch, but it's also been so fun to see her interact with our dog Frankie. He loves giving her kisses and lying with her on the ground, but she loves to stare at him and laugh. This growing bond between them made me think of this painting I made last fall. I was very pregnant....think 8 months-ish. My bump was popping and I was working on a few different commissioned pieces before my due date was fast approaching. A client reached out to have me create an illustration of her daughter with her pup taking a stroll in the city. The pics she sent of her little one with her pup were sooooo adorable and of course, had me imagining what my Frankie and baby girl would be like together as she got older. It's so bananas to think back at that time now.

I loved how cute this little painting turned out and so I decided to share it with all of you for this month's post. Back in the fall, I compiled a relaxing timelapse video of the painting with the intent to share it on social media, and I never got around to it before Leonora was born. But better late than never here it is. You can watch the video below OR for my non-video peeps I compiled some photos and words below if that's more your jam.

I hope you enjoy it!

After transferring the image to watercolor paper, I started painting in the background cityscape. Because I was in the fall mindset I kept the colors very muted and in that palette.

I gradually added in the windows and awnings of all of the cute and wonky buildings.

I think my favorite part was adding in all of the shades on the windows, and imagining what people lived there and what they were up to.

After finishing up the city background details I moved on to our main character and pup. I painted both in a likeness of the pics my client sent along and added some fall leaves on the ground. (clearly, Fall was on the brain!)

I was so tickled by how cute this painting turned out. I just wanted to jump into the illustration and take a walk with them.

I can't believe looking at this painting now before my baby was here, imagining what she would look like and how she and Frankie would get along. And now seeing them interact is such a joy.

I hope you enjoyed this post and that your June is free of sickness but full of simple moments to take it slow and appreciate what's around you.

Cheers, and Happy Summer!! Rachel

Hello, My Beautiful Butterflies, and Happy May to you all!!!!

Summer is just around the corner, but I'm truly holding onto spring like it's my job....I'm not ready for the heat. So I have a new print in the shop to celebrate the cheerful vibes of Spring and to celebrate the beauty of being a butterfly.

I have always called you all my Beautiful Butterflies. I'm not 100% sure where that came from. I just remember using the phrase at one point, and then again, and then it stuck. But honestly, it's such a fitting phrase for you all. Butterflies are such a symbol of growth...emerging from their caterpillar state into their true-self fluttering about spreading joy to the world...something I associate with all of you and with my artwork. I like to spread a little joy and a little imagination with each piece that I make, and you all being along for the ride makes it even more special.

For this blog post, I wanted to dive into the behind-the-scenes of this painting. I also have a bonus timelapse video at the end of this post. The video has no talking, just music, and is filled to the brim with calm and relaxing vibes.

The original painting was for a client's nursery, and the colors of the painting matched the wallpaper used in the room. To start I sketched up this little number on my iPad to get a rough idea of layout and colors.

Next, I made a black-and-white drawing of the iPad sketch to transfer over to watercolor paper.

After I painted in the background and mixed up my colors I went in and painted each element color by color.

It was almost like painting by numbers (one of my favorite Michael's purchases as a kid). And slowly the whole painting came together with the last little bit adding in some definition and detail to the butterfly itself.

And here's the final piece!!

I seriously was so so excited about how this little butterfly number turned out. It was so cheerful and happy and the perfect thing to share for Spring/Summer.

And as a lovely little bonus, I filmed myself making this painting and compiled it together for your viewing pleasure. I kept it nice and relaxing with calming music and no talking. Just painting. Hope you enjoy the video below!

If you'd like to purchase a print of this butterfly painting you can find a link below.

That's all from me this month! I'll catch all of you Beautiful Butterflies in June!!!!!



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