by robin gayle howard

Category Archives: Uncategorized

Hey all! No, I have not fallen off of the face of the earth. I have really been busy focusing on my artwork and getting my Etsy shop rolling, and here it is

Please visit my shop and like my Facebook page for updates. Here are some of the things I have been working on.



See you soon!

coral elephantThese cuties are not quite finished yet, but they have been fun!pink elephant

27 days.  That’s how many I have left to finish my portfolio.  Three pieces and my portfolio cover to go.  That should be more than enough time, but I’d realllly like to finish most of it this week.  So here’s a peek at what’s left.


This one is in the process of being painted.  I’m on the second round of doing the background.  There may be a round three, but I’m not sure yet.

Then the next two are part of a series of the Pied Piper. 


 I’ve been reworking the kids for too long, so I think I’m sticking with this one. 

 I’ve had way too much fun with the rats!!

piper2This whole process has been such an adventure.  I’m looking forward to my critique so that I can understand what I need to focus on.  I still have so much to learn and I am truly enjoying the journey.  Have a great week.

One of my favorite pencil sketches, the one originally posted on my home page, was bugging me.  Something just did not look right.  Today I was determined to find out what was wrong and knew I needed to learn a few new tricks in order to fix it.  Looking at it, you can tell it is crooked.Learning Color Theory

  So I loaded it back into Photoshop, learned how to set grid lines, and lo and behold . . .   I must have used a crooked ruler when I drew these lines.  Or maybe my desk isn’t level.  So I set the grid, drew new lines, reprinted, redrew, and VOILA!  It looks so much better that I had to make it my logo.  What do you think?


I guess it still is not too late to wish everyone well for the new year since it is only the 2nd.  Wow!  What a year it has been, and I am expecting nothing but adventure from the year to come. 

Today I (along with encouragement from other staff members)  started a 31 Days of Growth Challenge at work.  The idea is to establish 31 goals, one a day, during the month of January.  We are posting pictures of seedlings or seeds around the office with the goal written on it.  When the goal is completed, it transforms into a flower.  What a great visual to encourage co-workers toward growth.  The goals can be simple or complex like hike to the top of Machu Picchu, or read that book that you never seem to have time to complete.  I can’t wait to see what happens!

You all know my first, and most pressing, goal is to complete my portfolio by the end of March for review at an SCBWI conference in Citrus Heights, California in April.  That’s number one.  Second is to revise a children’s book manuscript for the umpteenth time so I can submit it for a critique by early February.  I think it is almost there after all the great feedback I have been receiving.  I have a few ideas for number three, but that’s for tomorrow.

Will you take the challenge too?  RobinHBarnDanceColor3Every day write down another goal that you would really like to reach this year.  It’s all good.  Growth of any kind is movement in the right direction.  I’d love to hear goals that you all are reaching to achieve.  Please keep me posted.

So here are a few things I’ve been working on.  They still need some refinement, but they are getting close.

Now I’m off to play with color.  Have a great evening and HAPPY NEW YEAR! RobinHBigRedColor2 


fly1color2Creativity 1Creativity 2

and here are more art journal pages – love the colors (thanks Mary ;o)

My neck hurts, my eyes are blurry, and my fingers are discolored.  No, it is not contagious . . . but it could be if you enjoy experimenting in COLOR. 

So here is my first test with Big Red.  I was going for a dominant red.  I may try at least one more combination before I finally decide.  I am attempting to follow Mark Mitchell’s Power Color theory as taught in his online  illustration course, Make Your Splashes  – Make Your Marks.  It is a great way to decide what colors to use to make your artwork pop!  And have fun with color too.

Speaking of fun with color, here is an art journal page I also made this weekend.  I guess I need more long weekends to get more work done.  Have a blessed week!

I have been a drawing maniac this weekend!  And I love it.  I have never felt more productive.  I have my sight set on the goal to have a portfolio ready by April.  I know I can do it, but I also want to finish well.  I want all of my artwork to be the best that it can be.  I am so thankful for my Wiggio group members from my online illustration course, Make Your Splashes  – Make Your Marks, who always give great critiques.  We are all on task for helping each artist improve their craft.  Thank you, Mark Mitchell, for bringing us all together.   Have a blessed week.

Whoa!!! It is high time that I get back on the stick.  I have been busy making rainbows of all kinds, but have not been documenting it at all.  Bad Robin!

So let’s see if I can recap. 

  • I have written three picture book drafts in 12 x 12 in 2012 challenge.  Two have good potential.  We shall see.
  • I have found a color palette that I absolutely love and have been experimenting with that.  See how yummy it is.
  • I have been in a monthly art therapy group that has been exploring new media. 
  • I purchased a Wacom Bamboo Create digital tablet to use for my illustrations. 
  • I’ve been watching scads of tutorials in order to learn how to use the new paperweight. 
  • I was part of a team that wrote a grant for a parenting program (first I have ever written . . . we will see if the desired outcome arrives.)

I think I am tired from just remembering everything that I’ve worked on. 

  • Oh yes, I made some melted crayon art and some monster feeling faces from what I found on Pinterest and am ready to make some kitty, dog, and bunny feeling faces too!

Yes, the biz-eee is here as always.  I guess biz-eee is as biz-eee does ;o)

Every day a challenge is set before me.  Some days are more challenging than the next, especially when the day starts with the eyes refusing to allow the first morning rays to be reflected upon the retinas.   The greatest challenge, however, is how to best use the time I cross paths with, without letting it just run through my fingers.

With this challenge before me each day, what is the most successful way to filter the best choices for the use of my time?  Well, during the work day that answer is pretty easy–attend to the necessities and the situations at hand.  Do all of the must do’s and have to’s.  Communicate, clarify, simplify, and do what is best and right.  Easy?  Not always.  Especially at those junctures when I am not in control of the time.  At those moments my thoughts must turn to making the most of every opportunity.

Once I arrive at home, it is so much a different story.  There are many choices of what to do with the very small amount of time I have left until the cycle begins for the next day.  I have really developed a distain for time-wasters, stupid television (as opposed to educational programs), games (unless shared with another in developing relationships), shopping (without purpose) . . . whoa!!  Sounds like I belong in the 19th century or in a cave!  How do I choose what is best to do for the rest of the day?  Not just what is “good” to do, but what is “best.”

Thus far I have kind of set a schedule of what could be accomplished each evening, i.e. spending time with hubby & kiddo; domestic chores, researching and writing, drawing and painting, etc. with hopefully no more than seven categories.  I really need more days in the week or more hours in the day.  Maybe that’s why I can’t sleep in anymore.  I thought it was just those blasted hormones! 

So, what will help me make the correct choices for what is best to do?  Through writing this I’ve come to realize that I really need to rework my personal mission statement.  Yes, the glories of the writing process.  It has probably been over 15 years since I wrote my last mission statement.  My life has changed sooooo much since then and I am way overdue.  Anyone else have a mission statement that they’d care to share?  I’d love to hear from you.  And if you’ve never ventured into the land of mission possible, let me know.  I have a challenge for you!

Digging for gems

Yesterday was a full and rewarding day at the SCBWI Keeping It Real Non-Fiction Intensive.  There I was able to  bask in the wisdom, knowledge, and experience of  all of the wonderful speakers.  When I started on the journey of writing and illustrating picture books I had absolutely no thoughts about non-fiction.  None! 

While soaking in all of the information that was shared, I remembered something very long forgotten.  I love doing research!  That is where a majority of the time is spent for non-fiction writing, even for picture books.  Facts are facts and they need to be accurate.  In days  and jobs gone by, one of my duties involved research.  I used to spend hours in the library using their databases to dig up information during those B.I. (Before Internet) days.   Just being in a library was a joy for me.  While the internet does hold vast riches of information, it is just not the same as excavating book after journal after article to discover the rarest of gems.  The stacks, the smells, the enjoyment . . . I really miss those days! 

So what do I do about that?    A few months ago I started a story about someone in my family tree, but that story is more historical fiction than non-fiction.  I guess I will have to start digging to see what can be unearthed about the background story, and perhaps discover some little known facts or people that have a truly interesting and encouraging story that needs telling.  On to a new challenge, so . . . let the digging begin!