Monday, December 22, 2014

Pixar Times!

I was fortunate to be asked by the uber-talented Jerrod Maruyama to do the December Pixart piece. Since it happens to be the 50th anniversary of Rudolph, I thought it might be fun to do a Toy Story/Up/Rudolph mashup! There were a ton of possibilities here.

If you are a fan of Pixar (and who isn't?), it's a great site to follow to keep up on the latest Pixar news… check it out here

Saturday, December 20, 2014

FREE merry merry memory game!

As the days get closer keep 'm occupied with a rousing memory game! Download your free printable over at happy happy art collective and merry christmas!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

the power of santa... freebie download!

if you've ever been around kids with less than 2 weeks to go before Christmas, you know what I'm talking about. Sheer pandemonium, chaos, Christmas crazies… need I go on? Desperate times call for desperate measures and there is no more powerful parental behavioral tool than the big man himself. Creepy as it may sound, they all know the song..."better watch out, better not cry, better not pout, I'm telling you why…" Use the power of Santa! Hang the chart and keep track of all the good stuff,  reward them with stickers and watch the tree get decorated as your sanity returns! Then leave the chart out for Santa to see while he eats your milk and cookies and maybe he will even leave his autograph! Head on over to happy happy art collective where you can download the files here!

keep track of good deeds with tally marks!

for every 3 tally marks, let 'em have a present or star sticker!

hopefully, by Christmas eve, their tree will look something like this!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

at long last… DAY 40 of 40 DAYS OF LETTERING!

This was one of those projects where maybe I should have made it more like 30 days or even 20. I'm embarrassed to say how long this thing has gone on! And by the end, I felt like the last one should be some sort of momentous grand finale of sorts, making me procrastinate all the more, which was hardly the intent of the whole thing in the first place! Instead, I've just settled for an ending… grand or not. Anyway, I'm glad I did it, but more glad that I finished it (finally….)

Monday, December 8, 2014

Santa's got quite the wardrobe these days...

Today is day 8 of 24 days of free holiday downloads over at happy happy art collective, and who doesn't need a santa paper doll to make your advent complete? Head on over to the HHAC blog to download the big man and his entire wardrobe :)

Saturday, December 6, 2014

get your freebie santa fortune teller!

Here's my contribution to happy happy art collective's 24 days of free holiday downloads. 
Head over there to get your freebie and see what Santa has in store for you this Christmas! 
(here's hoping it's not fruitcake…)

Sunday, November 30, 2014

announcing 24 days of FREE happy happy holiday printables!

The artists of happy happy art collective will be having a free daily download, starting tomorrow December 1st! (crap… tomorrow is december 1st. how the heck did that happen?!) Anyway, make sure you bookmark our blog and like our Facebook page so you can be sure to keep up with the goodies!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

happy thanksgiving!

giving my extremely rusty paint skills a go, but wishing you a happy turkey day :)

Monday, November 24, 2014

finally at long last… the letter Z!

Well, if you've been following the progress of the happy happy alphabet that I have been contributing to, we finally made it to the finish line! We started this project nearly a year ago, last winter and all six of us have been plugging away at the letters, 2 artists at a time. We decided that for a grand finale, all of us would do the letter Z. You can check them all out over at happy happy! Let's just say, there was more than one zebra involved, but a few fun surprises!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

holiday tunes

Have you started listening to Christmas music yet? Well, thanks to my 14 year old son, I have. Yup, I have raised him right. He's been streaming Pandora Christmas stations since the day after halloween, so when Stacey Peasley needed some art for a couple of holiday releases, I was ready. Prediction here… since Target has latched on to Marshmallow World for their holiday commercials, it's going to run through your head for the next 30 plus days. I know I can't get it out of my head...

Monday, November 10, 2014

christmas gift wrap competition

ok, a post or so ago, I promised that I was laying off contests and also would not become a spoon flower junkie, stumping for weekly votes. This time I really mean it.* I only intended to enter the annual tea towel contest. Seriously. But then I saw the next one was for Christmas gift wrap, based on ornaments. Being the Christmas addict I am, I couldn't resist, so I adapted some ornaments I had from an old card design and here ya go. If you feel so inclined, toss me a vote! And I hereby resolve to stop entering these things! 

*Unless they are really a super cute or fun idea and I can't resist.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Spoonflower 2015 tea towel calendar

well, I've never been a spoonflower person, if there is such a thing…always intimidated by the whole technical mumbo jumbo of creating perfect repeats. I get the general principle of it, but creating seamlessly flawless ones…errrr never had the guts to upload. Anyway, a tea towel contest sounded far more appealing or at least doable. So here is the hat I tossed into the spoon flower towel contest. When in doubt #putabirdonit. If you like, I'd appreciate the vote ;) thanks!

Friday, October 31, 2014

keep it freaky

Before the night is over, here's one last halloween wish. Personally, I've seen enough sugar skulls and day the the dead stuff, to last me a lifetime. But have no fear, once that clock ticks past midnight tonight, you will wake to jingle bells on the radio. 

Hope you saved enough of the good bars for yourself ;)

Friday, October 24, 2014

the dreaded letter X

Anybody that decides to take on an alphabet, knows it's there…lurking at the end, the possibilities far from endless. It's just a crappy letter. Here's the laundry list of possibilities:

1. xylophone - the obvious choice… kid friendly and potentially colorful. Nobody is surprised at that choice.
2. x-ray - gives you a few more possibilities in terms of settings, characters, etc. My friend and fellow happy happy artist, Lauren (Minco) Lowen did a fabulous job with this (yup, she got stuck with this crap letter, too)…check it out here
3. somebody named Xavier - yeah.
4. Xerox machine - this may have worked better for kids back in the 80's.

So there you have it. I may have missed a few obscurities, but as far as the english language goes, that's about it. Sooooo, I decided to loosen up the interpretation of the letter and include words that have an X somewhere in them. Muuuch easier. There's a few not so hidden X's in there, can you find them? 

Check out the entire collaborative gallery of our happy happy alphabet right here!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

enough rain already.

The rain just won't give up here in New England the last few days, making it seem like the middle of November, rather than the nice crisp fall days of October. I've always hated the heavy gray skies of next month! On the other hand, I'm starting to burn out on this whole inktober thing, so maybe November isn't such a bad idea ;)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

new york, new york

…"the Bronx is up and the Battery's down, the people ride in a hole in the ground." Know the song? Being a fan of old movie musicals and New York, it's one of my favorites. Anyway, I wanted to add some more lettering pieces that included photographic backgrounds to my portfolio. It seems to be a pretty popular style lately, so why not? I took this pic a few years back from the top of the Empire. It was a bitter cold day in December, but we inadvertently timed it just right to see the sunset while we were up there. My basic idea here was to make it look like some sort of an ad for NYC tourism. Hopefully, you got the idea before I spelled it all out! The heart it in the lower right corner, is a play on the infamous, "I <3 NY campaign. Sorry Mr. Glaser!!

holiday tote bag giveaway!

Need a new tote bag? And who doesn't with Christmas just around the corner ;) All the girls in the happy happy art collective are running giveaways for the next few weeks and now it's my turn. All you have to do is like our Facebook page and follow this link to our website and enter. Easy peasy and good luck!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


I recently had the opportunity to work with a shop that I have loved for a very long time, the Dutch site, Psikhouvanjou! It is filled to the brim with the most gorgeous and sweet toys and home decor for kids that I have ever seen…everything from Helen Dardik to Tiago Americo, to beautiful Djeco products and so much more. They were looking to rebrand their site and newsletter with some new fun and fresh characters and I was happy to oblige! I am hoping it will become a long standing relationship. Check them out here!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


Yep, I've jumped on the inktober bandwagon. Ink has never been my thing, but I'm kinda enjoying it for a change from the pencil to vector routine, a.k.a., rinse dry and repeat! So far I've been using a pentel pocket brush, tomboy brush marker and a rapidograph (#2…look it up kids ;). Not sure if I will get sick of it, but I'm sticking to a halloween/fall theme for as long as I can stand it. How about you? Are you doing it? Please leave a comment so I can follow your progress (if I don't follow you already!). I'm pretty much only going to post on instagram @zippyboro… there's also a link on the right column here. Happy inking!! 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

happy happy W and alphabet bloopers

Well if you follow happy happy art collective (and if you don't, why don't you?!?!), you know that we are at long last, nearing the end to our collaborative happy happy alphabet (check out the entire gallery of letters so far right here!). It's been a really fun project, seeing what cleverness my happy buddies come up with week after week. This month, I was assigned the letter "W" and I thought, great, no biggie…should be lots of good possibilities, it's not like "X" (which happens to be my next letter, ughhhh), or so I thought. For my contributions, I've continually tried to do something a little unexpected, i.e. not your typical kid's alphabet letter images, so doing a whale was not in the cards. But maybe it should have! I kinda struggled to come up with something clever and believe it or not, here are some of the things I considered doing. Let's call them bloopers:

1. My first stupid thought was to do Washington. As in George. Standing on a map of…..wait for it…Wisconsin?! hmmmmm. Seemed so cool at first. Moving on, but keeping with the same theme…
2. Washington as a witch. Seasonal, right? errrrrrr, yeah. No.
3. Washington eating watermelon…"Ever wonder if Washington wolfed watermelon with his wooden teeth? ooooookkkkkkkay. Maybe not.
4. A witch eating watermelon. Not a horrible idea, but we have a predetermined palette we have all been using for this alphabet, and with no green at my disposal, I wasn't sure I could pull it off.
5. Something involving waffles. Hey, I like eating them, but drawing them, not so much.
6. A woman wearing a giant white wig, with lots of W words stuck int it. I was intrigued, but wasn't sure how it would immediately look like a wig vs. just a crazy white hairdo? hmmmm… which brought me back to…

7. WASHINGTON WEARING his WHITE WIG!!! With WOODEN teeth!! With a WOODPECKER WHITTLING away at it! And a WORM sticking out!! GENIUS, right?!?!?!? Well, I thought so and actually worked up several sketches. And then, I showed my art director. One look from my 14 year old daughter and aspiring designer, and she said, and I quote, "You have lost your mind." Completely serious and walked away in silence. Crap. Do over.

So this is where I ended up. I took the woodpecker and thought about who he could marry in the wintry woods and who else could be in attendance. I thought about a woodchuck, but I don't think everyone has a visual picture in their heads of what a humanized woodchuck looks like, so I went the worm route. I thought this might be kinda cute considering he might be in the bird's food chain, plus he could be small, letting the happy couple be the stars.

So, there you have it. How I got from point A to point W. Now on to the cursed letter X. I still think I should have gone for Washington… what do you think?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

day 39 of 40 days of lettering and yet another competition...

I thought I was at the point where I had had enough of these competitions and I really do feel this way. I see little point in entering something where there is a very slim chance of winning, unless of course, you feel like you would be adding something cool to your portfolio. The winning part… not very likely and certainly not worth getting invested in. Soooo, with that in mind, I entered another tiger print comp, hahaha. Well, as you may know, I love Christmas and this contest having the focus on lettering, I thought I'd just do one submission. Besides, I could use it for the second to the last day of my 40 days of lettering thing. Yes, I think I'm just continuing to type on here to convince myself ;)

It was kind of an odd contest for them. They provided around 4 or 5 photographs that you were supposed to choose from and then add your lettering. I decided to take part of a lyric from White Christmas (yeah, I am a Christmas music freak, too). I tweaked the background image, making it bluer and giving it a bit more tone for the white lettering to drop out of. I kept adding more little swashes and flourishes until it looked done. I'm pretty sure they will go for a more calligraphic treatment, but it was a nice exercise, nonetheless.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Artists Around the World Blog Hop

I was recently very humbled to be asked to take part in a blog hop of artists from around the world. One of the great benefits of having enrolled in online courses like MATS, is the chance to get to know and connect with other designers and like minded artists. The lovely and talented Antonija M. was kind enough to write a bit about me and some other great artists on her blog. Now it's my turn to go on about her! 

I had never met anyone from the country of Croatia, but if she is any indication, I would sure love to visit there some day. We have been MATS buddies since the inaugural Part A of the spring of 2013, all the way through 2 Global Talent Searches ( she was Top 50 last year!), Part B, and Bootcamp. I have come to rely on her keen and thoughtful eye throughout our shared design experiences, as have many other artists. Her designs are instantly recognizable with their clean lines, sophisticated palette and super stylized, yet super cute characters. That's an extremely difficult combination to achieve, but she excels at it, while being a complete original. Just take a look at her amazing work…

She has also designed and developed her own brand lil' ledy, which she plans to debut at the Brand Licensing Europe Show in October. Her description of the brand as "Japan meets Sweden. Kawaii merging with classic harmony" is perfect and I can easily imagine her lil' ledy character on a wide range of product. I can't wait to hear and read about her success there! Be sure to check out all her work and her blog as well.

Ok, now is the part of this blog hop format where I have to talk about myself (ugh) and answer the following set questions. 

1. What Are You Writing/Working on? Well, I've been working on some cute cards for Peaceable Kingdom, developing some little characters for a shop, getting together some pieces to submit to companies, trying to remember how to paint, unsuccessfully entering design contests ;) etc., etc. Here's a sneak peek at a baby card…

2. How Does Your Work Differ from Others in Your Genre? hmmmmm…that's the 50 million dollar question, isn't it? I'm a firm believer that there's not much out there that hasn't been done before. If you don't believe that, perhaps you haven't heard of this thing called Pinterest ;). That being said, every artist needs to develop their own approach/style to have any level of success. I'd like to think that I can put a fresh slant on the mid century illustration that I love. I always try to inject some happy-go-sweet-unabashed-cuteness into my work. Does that make me unique? No, but I hope I do it in such a way that my work is recognizable.

3. Why Do You Create?  I dunno, but I've done it since I was little. There is always something about that rush to see what you can come up with and how it will turn out. I just like to make cute stuff! How's that for an in-depth answer, haha.

4. What is your creative process?  Because my background and degree is in graphic design, I tend to take more of a problem solving approach especially if I've been given a brief. Who's the audience, the message, the best way to visually communicate this, and so on. I'm not a trained illustrator, so I don't just sit down to draw before I have an idea of where or how I'm going to solve the problem. Lilla's technique of getting her students just to sit down and draw first has been a hard road for me to follow, but it has paid off, and I now actually use a sketchbook, and I love it! Anyway, I like to think it through first (like when I'm driving or in the shower…my mind tends to wander and I can think more openly. No, it hasn't caused any accidents, but I tend to forget some turns along the way!) Then I get to any necessary research followed by pencil sketches which I usually just take a pic of with my phone, and bring into illustrator on my laptop. I usually redraw everything there (that's the super tedious part) but lately, I've been trying to incorporate some traditional media into my work. Finally, I do my favorite part, add color, followed by texture, all in AI. Just a stubborn vector girl here. That and I'm not comfortable in photoshop.

Ok, more than enough about me. Let me introduce you to two wonderfully inspiring artists that you no doubt already know about… they are that good!


Tammie is one of those people that I find inspiring on a number of levels. We met through MATS and the happy happy art collective, which I am proud to be a member of, was her brainchild. She has the guts, intelligence and tenacity to take on any task…whether it be going solo at Surtex, to designing a pattern a day for 365 days…. (yeah, you read that right), to her tiny thanks project, 50 asks, producing great pieces traditionally as well as digitally, the list goes on and on and I haven't even talked about her art. Tammie has an uncanny ability to think in terms of pattern, but it doesn't end there. Her colors are so fun, the graphics, so brilliantly joyful… it's an irresistible combination.With degrees in journalism and a law school graduate, believe it or not, she is a self taught artist! I really don't know how she does it all and continues to do new things. Be sure to check out her website and blog for more inspiration.

Tammie got our happy happy alphabet off to an awesome start with the letter A! 


Another member of the happy happy art collective is the charming Denise Holmes! Ever since I first saw her work in MATS A, I have been in awe of her innate ability to infuse pure charm and sweetness into every thing she creates. I so admire how she has developed her own instantly recognizable style. She recently illustrated her first children's book and it should be on every parent and illustrator's "must have" list it's that good! You can pick up a copy here!

I just love her distinctive line work… always just enough, always just right, and her innate use of color is a big part of her signature style. I tend to go a bit overboard when it comes to color and I know I could definitely take a pointer or two (or four or a whole lot more…) from all her work. I don't have a crystal ball, but I have no doubt there is a long line of books in her future, her style is just so sweet and clean with a fresh vintage vibe that I adore. You immediately know when you see a niseemade piece!

this letter T is one of Denise's contributions to the happy happy alphabet… how cute is this?!

Please be sure to check out her website and blog for more cuteness!

Well that concludes my officially longest post ever! It was a pleasure to share the work of these talented artists!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

"Cute Characters" for Tigerprint!

I decided to enter the Tigerprint competition for "cute character." I never have much luck at all in these competitions, but this one appealed to me. I mean if I call my stuff shamelessly cute, if not this contest, then what?! Anyway, if nothing else, I have a couple new birthday card ideas for the portfolio, so nothing wasted! Which one do you prefer?