from “pfffft” to “fabulous” – my Filofax hack


I’ve been working on the massive renovation and reconstruction of a novel in progress, but sometimes a writer has to come up for air and do a little cutting and pasting of immediately prettier things instead. SO SATISFYING TO MAKE SOMETHING COME TOGETHER IN A MATTER OF HOURS INSTEAD OF YEARS. This is why I love visual art. I can SEE it happening, instead of the years it takes to … [Read More]

Censorship is so last century.


I had a chat with an irate teacher at a high school the other day. She’s mad because one of my queer characters in The Way Back  “got his straight best friend pregnant.” She thinks this is wrong and messy for a couple of reasons, the first being that my teen characters are having sex, but also because I’m messing with her whole notion of who is supposed be having … [Read More]

story mapping


When we were in Sayulita recently, I did a workshop with the secundaria students at Costa Verde International School, and part of what talked about was story mapping. I never map a story. Whenever I’ve tried to outline a book or a story, the characters kick my ass and do what they want anyway, and then I get anxious that I’ve betrayed my outline. And while I know that outlines … [Read More]

artful Friday


It’s December, which is my month to hide from the madness that is the standard holiday season. We’re happily hibernating and staying out of stores and off the roads. We’re making lots of art and listening to every version of every Christmas carol that was ever made, except for the easy listening mush that makes my teeth hurt.

So, artful goodness … look at what Esmé made (see awesome heart … [Read More]

a mulonkey for Susan Juby

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The lovely and talented writer Susan Juby is looking for pictures of mules. So I drew her one, because who doesn’t want to draw a donkey? Or a mule. Wait, is a donkey a mule?

Just a sec.

Okay, I’m back. Thanks,  Googleoracle. A mule is the offspring of a male donkey and a female horse. Who knew? Susan Juby. That’s who. She knows these things. She knows.… [Read More]

owl always read to you

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owl-cropped copy

One of our favourite knock-knock jokes goes like this:

Knock, knock.

Who’s there?


Owl, who?

Owl always love you.

Once Esmé understood how ‘owl’ is a play on ‘I’ll,’ she ran with it. One of the ones she came up with had the very sweet punchline of “Owl always read to you.”

Which inspired this illustration, which now hangs above one of the bookshelves we keep for library books.… [Read More]

anatomy of an illustration


I love seeing how artists work, so here’s a glimpse into my process for all of you studio snoops and creative-process junkies.

See you later, excavator! is a commissioned illustration, and because the customer wanted the text incorporated onto the image and a finished image “like it’s out of a picture book,” I finished it in Photoshop, which is handy for this post, so that I can show you an … [Read More]