Sunday, December 22, 2013

Happy holidays!

So, I am taking a break from Facebook for the holidays. There are lots of reasons for this, not the least of which is, I think I am addicted! I love it. I love looking in on everyone's successes, beautiful children, new works of art, commiserating with other mommas... but there is also a sad side... And to be truthful, I enjoy trying to help with that too... But I was doing it too much.
It hit me when my daughter told me I should post something on Facebook. It hit me when my husband said I was spending more time with that screen than I was with him. It hit me when i was putting off playing a game with my kids while i updated my status to what we were doing...
I have so much wonderful work to do, friends to keep up with, pins to share, pictures to share, comments to make..and the list goes on. But you know what? I have a family to do stuff with, a husband to spend time with, books to write and illustrate, apps to design and so much more. I need those hours back, I need to learn to control them. A moment, looking before I started working in the evenings turned into hours, and the constant chatter going on in the background made it really, really hard to concentrate fully. Last night I stayed off, mostly... And I got SOOO much done. Today I have stayed off... And I feel less anxious. Less busy. Less... Less... Because the downside to too much Facebook is that everyone else's life seems charmed and wonderful. That people had perfect houses and children, take wonderful trips to Disneyland and Mexico... And in those moments, I feel a teensy bit of envy, and I don't want that. I love Facebook... But we have to stop going steady. I am taking the holidays off to enjoy my kids, my family, my messy, teeny, fixer upper of a house that will be packed full of friends and their kids (who mostly, curiously enough, DON'T FB). Then, I hope, Facebook and I can have the odd coffee and talk like old friends, and it can be a little less of a teenage love affair.

Happy holidays my friends.
PS, because of this development, there is a good chance I will actually blog again...

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Drawing at the Ballet Studio...

So, what seems like forever ago, but was really only last year, I started talking to the lovely folks at the Quinte Ballet School about possible models for my classes. An option to actually come to the studio seemed to be the best one, and today I brought the 3rd year animation students. I think it was successful, the students did quite a bit of drawing. Here are some sketches of mine - looking forward to seeing more of theirs!
Ballerinas are incredible to watch - they go from average teenager, to art - beautiful lines, movement and power - so much power! Can't wait to take the next group in a couple of weeks.

MOvember maquette

This was a 35 minute sculpt... Now I am going to build him in maya.. Minus the mustache! 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

the mustachioed armadillo

having (of course) to join in with the month of Movember... I am a few minutes late...

MOvember fun...

Joining in the fun, here is a character I am sure I have posted before...

Friday, November 1, 2013

PiBoIdMo Begins (and reflections on taking chances)!

So, in a flurry of wordplay, I allowed myself half an hour away from paying projects to jot down some ideas... and WHAMMO... I have a title for a story I have been sitting on, sitting with, and purcolating for a LONG time. Karen Li at Kids Can Press and I were talking about another book idea (sadly dying in the sales team trenches) and I was laughing about the state my family was in. Anyway, she said - you should write about that... and so, I have been, and thinking about all the ways to do it without being preachy, sarcastic or otherwise degrading to my family, (are you getting it might not be a 'feel good' story... lol?). Anyway, starting with an initial idea (that was ultimately lame), I let myself go... further, and further yet, into ridiculousness and past - and lo and behold - there it was. My TITLE. (and NO, I am NOT sharing it!)

As far as my illustration work goes, I have been facing a bit of a crisis... so much work (wonderful) and so much dissatisfaction about what I was producing. It was becoming, 'work'. This is not a reflection on my publishers (I LOVE THEM), but rather on ME... I wasn't pushing. I wasn't having fun, and I wasn't producing work I was really, really, REALLY proud of. You know, the kind of work that makes you want to sing from the rooftops? The kind you dream about, that makes it impossible to sleep till you at the very least, jot it down?

So, I decided to play with this next book (after all, my publisher told me I could)... and at first, i was afraid. TERRIFIED. What if they hated it? What if it made it to easy? What if... SO, I tried it. I played. I did the playful things I admire in other illustrators - and here is why...

At our SCBWI Montreal conference this past October, I spent some time with Laurent Linn (amazing guy and AD at S&S). I had a one on one portfolio critique, but I prepared 2 portfolios... one, filled with work I get paid to do. The other, filled with the kind of work I LONG to do, but end up shying away from for fear of not 'filling' the page, or 'proving' that I can draw. A simpler, playful, textured and 'hypothetical' style - less literal. He encouraged the 'longing' portfolio, to put it out there... and, so I am. I am working on a book - coming out in 2014 with Fitzhenry and Whiteside and I am having FUN. I am allowing myself the chance to explore the 'what if's?' and 'hmm's' that I regularly encourage with my students - after all, if I can't free myself up to explore the possibilities - what right do I have to push them to do the same?
a 'rough' spread for the F&W book (title on side for twitter)

Thursday, October 10, 2013

I'm a Chemical Engineer

Full disclosure, comic books were not really my 'thing'. My friend Melanie mentioned this project to me wondering if I knew anyone who could do it. I looked high and low and we could not match the style to someone who had the time to do it. I did not have the time at all, but as always I am up for a challenge and off we went. We are just about to start #2... and we are getting high accolades already - which is awesome.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Watching time bandits and sketching away...

So I am dying to do some darker stuff... Some older books or covers or something... So working on a style that I've always had, and been wanting to do... While my kids are in the tub. This is done in procreate on my iPad in about 30 minutes. The sketch was done while I was doing some homework for my job, watching time bandits. I have the WORST job, lol!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Our boy is eight...

He had a small request, a cake that depicted our literally whirlwind trip to Algonquin this summer. We were in there when the microburst hit, trees flying everywhere, landing on our canoe and stuff, but luckily not us or our kids. When we paddled out of the Barron canyon the next day, there was not a soul around, it was so quiet and beautiful I wept - maybe due to exhaustion - the night before we did not sleep a wink all night, there were snags everywhere and they creaked all night long so we took turns listening and watching... But we had the entire canyon to ourselves. Our kids, 3 and 7 loved every minute of it. Our eldest, Mowat, designed this map in photoshop to put on a water bottle, and I used it to print out icing... We mapped out our route and on the weekend we celebrated #8, with a camping theme, gorp goody bags, complete with bandaids and flashlights, a campfire and kids running around in the dark... Perfection. Oh, and no storm. Thank goodness.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Found a Treasure Trove of old pics...

I found an old book of pictures from 30's to the 50's... so much inspiration, and I am looking to work in some different styles, to switch things up - and so, I did this little sketch as a character study for later... maybe I'll make her in 3D...

Monday, August 26, 2013

Summer is almost over...

and it is time to think about hibernating... well, not really. Here is a little piece of a bigger piece for a book that is coming out in May 2014... by Red Robin Books.
copyright 2013 Peggy Collins

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Bears! Bears! Bears!

I've been working On some character design for a new book I'll be doing with red robin books, and I've gone through several renditions, to find the cutest bear I can... This little guy did not make the cut, but I still think he is super cute... However, the frontrunner is awfully cuddly too... But I can't share him, just yet. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mother's Day

I do a lot of reflecting at this time of year, I am not sure why - though it probably has something to do with spring and all it brings. The lilacs are in the air and the kids are CRAZY. Maybe it's just that we need to adjust to each other again, and find our routine...

On the eve of this mother's day, I am not feeling particularly motherly. I had a wacko 7 year old and a very whiny 3 year old today without reprieve. I also did not get enough sleep this week, a product of lots of projects and a weird addiction to Mermaid World. Today I lost my cool - a few times. Today, for part of the day - I JUST WANTED TO BE ALONE. So while I reflect on what it is to be a mom, I need to take into account all the madness as well as the sweetness. It all ended in snuggles and cuddles and deep thoughts - and thank goodness for that, but in many ways today felt like a planting day (for those of you who have done this job - you understand!)

However, enough complaining - what I do WANT to talk about are the amazing new momma's in my life.... this past year some of my favourite people entered the world of motherhood. My littlest sister, who is amazing in so very many ways, had a little girl who is the most beautiful little bean I have ever seen (next to my own - but I am supposed to say that), and IS AN AMAZING MOMMA. She traveled from Lindsay back to KENYA with a 5 month old - all by herself... it is incredible to watch her as a mom. I knew she'd be awesome, but she is amazing. My cousin-in-law, who has had an incredible journey to motherhood - now has a beautiful baby boy that I cannot wait to meet. Then there is my long time friend, who had TWINS! After a long, difficult time she is a momma to two perfect babes, and is incredible to behold. These new mommas, and all those others I hold so dear - near and far, are my roots - some fresh and new, others solid and unwavering. My friends and family teach me so many things on a moment by moment basis it keeps my head spinning.

I come from a long line of strong, beautiful mommas... and most days I strive to live up to the expectations I have as a mom. Some days I rock it, other days - not so much. But I love my kids more than anything, and the feeling I get when I look at their sleeping, relaxed faces, sweaty sleeping hair - arms and legs all akimbo - their beauty and grace makes me well up, and I forget the insanity of the day, and look forward to a fresh start.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

iPad art

I've been exploring possibilities, and thinking of developing some app e books... Working in procreate here are some new pieces, created all on the iPad.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Next Big Thing

The Next Big Thing is a global blog tour, started in Australia, to showcase authors and illustrators and their current work. I was tagged by the lyrically talented Lizann Flatt. Thanks Lizann! I wasn't really too sure what I should talk about or show - my work has been in flux, and developing at a rapid rate this year in all sorts of directions... but I have LOTS of projects on the go, so I'll share one of them here.

So now I'll answer some questions, then pass the Q&A along to a few others who'll pick up the tour next week.

1) What is the working title of your next book?

end of book

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
My daughter proclaimed at dinner one day that she was an asteroid. I asked her if she knew what that was - she said, "yes. It is a princess who won't sit still at dinner." She has a wild imagination and makes me laugh constantly, and this is where the idea was born. My son is a non-fiction guy (raised on Lizann's books!) and facts... so that aspect factors into the story as well.

3) In what genre does your book fall?
Picture book for silly, wierd, intelligent kids.

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
It would have to be animated, I am not sure who would do the voices... but I SO LOVED the animation for the Fantastic Mr Fox, or anything Tim Burton - that style would be awesome.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Inspired by a book her brother reads to her, a little girl wakes up the next morning and being super crafty (with her brother's help) becomes an asteroid.

6) Who is publishing your book?
To be Determined.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Not too long, I was doodling on my ipad and it just flowed on to the page... I've been using Paper by 53 and it is awesome for getting ideas out fast. 
However, before I ever jot a story down it's been spinning in my brain for awhile. It's like soup. All the ingredients go in, and eventually it tastes good (or not) and all comes together. If it stinks you order pizza and start over again.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Petunia, Olivia, Charlie and Lola (sort of)... I put myself in fine company here, haven't I?
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
My kids. They are weird. I love that they are weird. I hope they are always this awesomely weird. I hope they never try to fit in 'that' mold. They are quizzical, intelligent and riotously funny. They also drive me a bit crazy. They talk a LOT. My son (7) spends his screen time touring around the world on google earth finding volcanoes and tiny islands, and my daughter (3) fancies herself an acrobat/linebacker/mermaid and sometimes zombie - though she really has no idea what a zombie is.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?
Did you know asteroids hate asparagus?

Now I get to introduce some amazingly talented illustrators (and fellow SCBWI members) who will be posting on May 2nd, so stay tuned!:
Chris Jones
Chris Jones

Suzanne Del Rizzo
Danielle Arbour

Friday, April 19, 2013


I can breathe again... barely. My first FULL year of teaching is (almost) complete - at least classes are... and man, have I learned a TONNE. What has teaching taught me?
  • It is almost more pleasurable to watch a student's aha moment, than to have one yourself
  • It takes many kinds of people to contribute to a successful classroom
  • I know my stuff - mostly - and the stuff I don't know, I figure out 
  • how amazing it is to work with people who honestly tell you how it is
  • there are so many people who do not THINK they are artists, and actually are
  • I am GOOD at inspiring people to do GREAT work (I am working to get even better)
  • how to manage drunkeness, apathy and fear in the classroom
  • Many students have HUGE challenges, and watching them triumph (or not) is a spectacular thing to witness, and also heart wrenching when something BIG throws off the balance
  • my students all come with something to offer, especially the ones who are afraid to offer it
  • I LOVE teaching. I love it. It's a job I'll go in early for, and stay late... and time flies.
  • knowing there is a break coming allows for a level of intensity I have not experienced since planting - where you work your butt off knowing you can catch up on everything else later
  • I am LUCKY. 
  • That I have room in my heart for all my students, even the ones who lack personal hygiene
Most days I feel like dancing out of the classroom, it has been so exciting to support so many students on their journey this year... not without it's challenges either, or the complete TERROR I felt in the beginning... all those faces looking at me for guidance; or the general feeling of fraudiness that pops up every once in awhile, since I think I may have the best jobs ever.

Now I get to focus on the other job... creating - hi ho, hi ho, its off to work I go!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Digital just keeps getting better...

Here is my first piece created in procreate... What an amazing app... Mre to come soon. Love love love having a digital studio right in my lap like this.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Royal Baby to see my pictures!!

So, I am not much of a Royal watcher, however I think it is incredibly cool that several (maybe all) of the books I've illustrated for Red Robin Books were presented to the Duchess of Cornwall to read to her grandchild. Neil Griffiths, the author visited Wiltshire Scrapstore and Resource Centre and a stack of bookish gifts were given.

tp 41633 Scrapstore Royal Visit
Pic 47 Duchess of Cornwall takes a close look at the gift for the royal birth
Pics Trevor Porter 41633 12th Feb 13
— at Wiltshire Scrapstore & Resource Centre.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Ideas, ideas ideas..

I wonder why it is, when you are the most busy, ideas flow. Teaching is fantastic, and time consuming, and fantastic, but I am a rookie and I am learning rapidly how to maximize my efficiency. How official does that sound?

Right now I am working on a few stories, this piece is a rough study for a dummy I am putting together... Developing the idea on the iPad, it is great fun and is allowing a free expression style I've been desiring.

Three more weeks and many of my students will be off on placement and I will have more time than I need to develop this stuff, and attend to some other projects as well.

We are also finishing up the maquette's in my classes, here is one of mine, with paint starting to go on. The next step is a 3D capture and then, who knows?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Asteroids crash!

We do a lot of talking about asteroids in our house... Having an almost eight year old who is extremely scientifically minded helps quite a bit. One night my daughter, two, and I had a conversation about dinosaurs. It went something like this:

"Mommy, where did all the dinosaurs go?"

"Well, some say it was a giant asteroid crashing into earth, others think it was a giant volcano...etc.. then.."

Quiet for a minute...



"I think it was aliens. They landed in the ocean and caused these volcanoes. Then the dinosaurs went away. I think they went to the beach though, or maybe the forest."

The next day, at dinner, she insists she cannot sit still, because SHE is an asteroid.

Did you know that asteroids do not eat asparagus?
(And of course, I am now creating something out of this!)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Building a maquette...

So I have started building a maquette of grandpa, for the banana story, which is now going in a completely different direction and may end up as an app/ebook... Maybe even with some 3D effects... Who knows. I am loving being surrounded by creativity every day while teaching... It is inspiring and occupies my thoughts almost completely during the semester. However, it is also improving the work that I do and drawing me into higher and higher standards for myself as I look at things very differently. I am doing this maquette a few times, using the different materials I will be using with them, so they can see the differences, and what materials would work best for their own projects. This one is wire and super sculpy so far. Other materials will be paperclay, air dry clay, casting materials and a few other options... FUN!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Some new roughs...

These are for a Picture Book I am working on... it starts out sad... that is all I can say.
On the other hand...  I also have some new images from another PB I am working on... that is not sad at all...