Author Archives: artsyandi

Back in action… finally.


I want to apologize for being scarce the past few months. I could blame a number of things… work, my surgery, my toddler, my husband changing jobs, etc.  Truthfully most of it was because I was a bit burnt out and decided to have a pity party for awhile. Chasing this illustration dream can be rough on the ego sometimes and I just need a little break from things.

I HAVE been working on a few things in the sidelines. Particularly an app development project that will be taking up a chunk of my time over the next few months. I’ll be sure to fill you in once I get a bit further in the project, or you can read all about the process on my blog (

That all said, I finally sat myself down at my desk last week and started my second digital illustration. I forgot just how much I love my Wacom and it definitely reenergized me a bit. Look for quite a bit more work coming out of my hand over the next couple of months.

So here is that illustration… for the word “Suspend” given to us by  It was a lot of fun and I’m excited to be back. Feel free to check out the last few posts on my blog to see the progress images on this one. Hope you enjoy it and I’ll look forward to seeing all of you at the next meeting in August! (I REALLY can’t believe it’s already mid-July. Wow.)


As always, comments and constructive criticism are always welcome!


New York SCBWI Conference


I’ve created a blog post about our trip to the SCBWI Winter Conference in New York. You can read it on my blog at

I can’t express how much I wish that ALL of you had been able to attend. I know that Katie, John and I all came away totally inspired and ready to get back to work. We will look forward to sharing more with those of you who can attend the next Picture Book Study Group in KC.

In the meantime, keep creating!

Illustration Update…


I finished the digital illustration I’ve been working on. It LITERALLY took all night and I still have to go to the printer to drop off my files in a couple hours, so I’m going to go catch a few Zs before my son Collin wakes up. I’ll look forward to hearing your thoughts. Enjoy!

P.S. For those who are curious about the story, it is a spread for a manuscript I wrote. It’s posted here on the manuscript crit page if you are interested in reading it.

A piece in progress…


I know I’m posting a lot… but that means I am also working /thinking a lot right now… so it’s a great thing right!?!

I bought a Wacom Intuos4 and it came in the mail this week.  I am absolutely in LOVE. (Don’t tell my husband).

I’ve been working in Photoshop since (*cough*) 1997… and have even been teaching seminars and workshops on the program for the past few years. Knowing that, it is just plain ridiculous that I haven’t bought a tablet before now. Ridiculous.
When I got it,  I was expecting the normal 3-4 month adjustment period people claim that it takes to get used to using the thing… but oddly enough it fits like an old cozy glove.

To get a better feel for how to get started, I went ahead and bought/watched Will Terry’s first Digital Painting in Photoshop course.

I was expecting to pick up a few tips here and there… but I ended up watching all three hours in total amazement… taking notes feverishly the entire time. He is a MASTER at color. And, believe it or not, he does his illustrations using only about 2-3 tools in Photoshop. That’s it. He advocates becoming an illustrator in traditional media and then finding a way to create the same technique digitally (Props to traditionalists!). When you look at his previous acrylic work alongside his newer digital work you literally can’t tell one from another. It’s a beautiful thing in a world so smothered in digital art.

I was a quick sell. I’ve been searching for a way to get the detail I need and want, without losing the raw beauty of the texture you see in traditional paintings. By adapting Will’s methods to suit my style, I think I may have turned a really incredible corner. I’ve still got a long way to go on this one… but it is beginning to take shape and I love all the “special moments” that are just starting to form. This one is very dark obviously (a nighttime scene)… so I am excited to try something brighter next.  I just had to share. Would love to hear your thoughts!

And a closeup of the texture:

P.S…. I’ll post the final once it is done.  🙂

New Sketch…


This is an illustration I am working on for the KidLitArt #PBDummy Challenge. I will be laying in color next but would love to hear your thoughts. This will be a night scene… so should be fun to see how the light plays on all the treasure.


For those interested, it is a spread for a manuscript that I am writing. The book idea was inspired by the Japanese story of Takara Bune. If you aren’t familiar (which I’m guessing you aren’t) you should google it. It’s a very fun story / tradition involving Seven Gods (ie… Buddha and his friends) and a Treasure Ship. I’m literally writing it just so I can draw these characters… too fun!

I have a bit of work to do on the manuscript… but would like to have some people to critique it here and there as I go. If you are interested in reading through it and letting me know your thoughts, please let me know. It’s my first time writing for kids… so I have a lot of polishing to do… but I think I have a good premise so far.

Hope you enjoy it… will be posting again once I get some color going. 🙂

My identity crisis…


I’m having a bit of an identity crisis with my style this week.
Hopefully all of you might be able to help me get myself back on track.

I took some time this morning to rifle through my old portfolios, which were gathering dust under our bed. I came across some pieces I worked on a couple years ago and decided to scan them in and add them to my website. Now… seeing the contrast between old and new that I dug up, I am second guessing my current direction a bit.

This illustration is based on a poem by Shel Silverstein titled “Captain Blackbeard Did What?” about the day he shaved his beard. I did a series in this style a few years ago (you can see more on my portfolio page) and have gotten wonderful feedback from anyone who has seen them. When I pull them out and look at them they always make me smile. However, in the past I wasn’t sure that they were colorful enough or expressive enough for children’s books. Now, seeing them side by side with my other work, I am beginning to wonder if I could find some sort of happy middle between the style and what I have been doing with my colored pencil work.

This illustration was actually a class assignment to do a book cover illustration for a classic fairy tale. I chose the Prince and the Pauper and I love the contrast between the smooth gold and the rough texture of the burlap. It was done in chalk pastels… a medium that I tend to avoid due to the mess it can make. However, I love how much movement it captured. I seem to work a lot looser in pastels… which might be something to explore a bit more this year. I also wonder if I could achieve this (or a similar) style in digital medium… something I would also like to pursue.

My request for feedback today is actually a bit more general. I don’t really need feedback on these pieces in particular. Instead, I would like some feedback on my portfolio AS A WHOLE.

NOTE: You can view my entire portfolio at

In particular, which pieces do you feel are my strongest, which are my weakest, and which direction should I go from here? Which of my styles do you feel would (if pursued more) be the most marketable (don’t we hate that word) for children’s publishing? I also need to select a group of them to print for the SCBWI show in New York this month… which pieces do you feel I should include? Which ones would you leave out?

I know that I am asking a lot of questions, (many of which are ENTIRELY subjective) but I’m hoping it might generate some good discussion that we can all apply to our work. I’m sure we all struggle with that peculiar definition of “personal style” sometimes. I know I find that I enjoy so many different techniques and mediums that I have difficulty settling in sometimes. While this in itself is a great thing, it definately makes pulling together a “cohesive portfolio” to be a challenge.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts. And if any of you are struggling with the same thing I’d be happy to give you my opinions as well… for what they’re worth.  😉

Testing the waters…


I’m excited that we will be able to share our work and get feedback from each other now! For a test, here’s an illustration I did last year. Would love to hear your thoughts on my technique. Fan of the colored pencil texture or no. Any suggestions for other media I might try experimenting with this year?

Dancing Lesson

Andi Osiek