Friday, April 1, 2016

Baby News!


I'm so excited to share the arrival of my baby girl, Valentina Sabrina, on March 23, 2016 at 3:42 pm. We feel so blessed to welcome such a precious little angel into our family. It's been a little over a week now and we just can't get enough of her.

To celebrate her arrival, I created a new self portrait that embraces my new journey as a mommy artist. YAY! I can't tell you how excited I am to see how she's going to influence my work, being that I'm a children's illustrator. As you can see, it's already begun. :)

Valentina's arrival on March 23rd with daddy, titi Sandra, and titi Oday.

Valentina at one week with mommy!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Believe in Your Dreams Gift Book & GIVEAWAY!

Hello! FINALY! I get to share the Believe in Your Dreams gift book that I worked on last year, published by RSVP. I worked on all of the hand lettering and art & design for the entire book. It was one of those dream clients that give you 100% creative freedom to just do your thing. So FUN! Thank you Mary Beth, Mary, and Robin for your support. The book is filled with encouraging and inspiring messages to believe in your dreams until they are realized. This delightful book is the perfect gift for friends, a new graduate, a mother, sister, daughter, etc. I think every woman should have a copy in hands reach as a reminder to NEVER give up on your dreams!

The book will be available at boutique retailers on March 15th. Please find the links below.

Barnes & Noble

To CELEBRATE the release of the book, as well as a way to say THANK YOU to my on-line community for the support, inspiration, and encouragement that I get from you guys each and everyday I am giving away TWO BOOKS. YAY! You can leave a comment on here or on any of the Believe in Your Dream related posts that I have up on my Facebook page saying "I'd like to enter or I'm in". The winner will be announced on the official release date, March 15th. For those of you that have already left comments on my fb posts, you are automatically entered :)


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

NY 2016 SCBWI Winter Conference

Hello! It's taken me a few days to recuperate after my weekend at the SCBWI Winter Conference. I signed up knowing I'd be 8 months pregnant at the time of the conference, however, unfortunately I was surprised with an additional challenge of a cold that came on the Thursday before the conference. Despite, the many trips to the bathroom, getting up to stretch my legs, hydrating, eating, etc., it was still well worth it! I walked away feeling inspired to get back to my desk and apply all of the knowledge I gained. Thank you SCBWI for hosting such an amazing event. Oh, and by the way, the morning bagels were EXTREMELY appreciated by this pregnant mama! ;)

First and foremost, the highlight of my weekend was finally getting to meet and spend time with the lovely, Shirley Ng-Benitez, from my illustration group WLTI. We started this group back in 2010, so it was such a treat to meet her after so many years of posting and emailing back and forth.

Another high point of the weekend was getting to spend time with my college roomie, Michelle Hazelwood-Hyde, who I love to pieces. It's been about 3 years or so since we last hung out, but we're always able to pick right back up where we left off. I also enjoyed seeing the talented Katie Kath, whom I originally met at the Highlights Foundation Workshop, as well as many other local illustrators. And, finally meeting Sarah Baker, Director of Illustration and Artist Programs at SCBWI, whom I've corresponded with many times was a treat - She's even cooler in person!

Me and the Girls

DAY 1: Friday Illustrators' Intensive was my favorite day by far. Getting to hear from the keynote speakers about their journey was extremely inspiring. Here's a list of the speakers with some selected notes that I felt were key points.

William Joyce 
• Share with people what inspires you and what leads you to projects
• It's the story behind the story that people want to hear
• Study other artists' work - color, line, composition, how the work leads people's eye, the mood you want to get across.

Sophia Blackall
• Keep things interesting - collect what you like
• Etsy is a great place to share work and get discovered by publishers
• Take risks, leaps, find community
• Give it all NOW, don't keep to yourself what you've learned
• Read more books to improve writing & simplifying

Recommended Blogs:
The Niblings
A Fuse #8 Production
Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast
100 Scope Notes
All The Wonders
Nerdy Book Club
Design of The Picture Book

The last two speakers, James Ransome & Mike Curato were so inspiring that my attention was mostly focussed on them rather then taking notes. :)

Mike Curato's talk

There was also a panel discussion towards the end of the day with agents, editors and art directors discussing ways to shape and manage an illustrator's career. The following are a few notes:

• Being comfortable with your art is a key quality to break into the industry
• It's not about them, it's not about you, it's about the art
• Leave some things blank so readers can add their own thing to it
• Don't take shortcuts
• Build relationships
• Always care and love your work. Do your best!
• Get out of your comfort zone. Try new color palettes, etc.

DAY 2: My two breakout sessions on Saturday were also very informative and full of great advice. The first one that I went to was called ALL ABOUT PICTURE BOOK ART with Patrick Collins, Creative Director at Henry Holt Books for Readers. He spoke about the important aspects of successful picture book illustrations. He broke it up into these categories: Character, Setting, Action, Color, Simplicity, Humor and Variety. Some of the books that he highlighted to illustrate well use of these categories are Bunny Dreams, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, and Wild Feelings, Maggie and Micheal Get Dressed

The second breakout session was with Elizabeth Bicknell, Executive Editorial Director & Associate Publisher at Candlewick Press about WRITING PICTURE BOOK TEXT.  She spoke about what kind of books Candlewick specializes in and shared the many books she's been involved with. She shared lots of great tips, too many to list, but here are two that stook out to me: 1. The importance of the first line - it should teach the reader everything about the book. 2. Don't make the story about too many things. Choose one topic and keep it a linear story.

DAY 3: The Awards Presentation: They presented the Tomie dePaola Award, Jane Yolen Mid-List Author Grant, Portfolio Showcase Awards, and Student Illustrator and Writer Scholarship. Congrats to all of the winners! I was exhausted by day 3, so regretfully I had to leave early. All in all, it was a wonderful weekend. I walked away feeling motivated and inspired.

Promo postcard

Selected pages from my portfolio

 Sincerely, J

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Tres Leche Cake

Hello there! I just made this Tres Leche Cake for my bear this week and a friend asked for the recipe, so I thought why not post it on here as well and share it with everyone. This is one of my favorite desserts and trust me when I tell you, this recipe rocks! Enjoy! :)

Tres Leches Cake


For cake:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
5 whole eggs
1 cup sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk

For glaze:
1 can evaporate milk
1 can sweetened, condensed milk
1 cup whole milk

For icing:
1 ½ cups of heavy cream
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Maraschino cherries to decorate


For cake:
1. Preheat oven 350 degrees. Lightly butter 9x9 metal pan.
2. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt into mixing bowl
3. Separate 5 eggs. Beat egg yolks with ¾ cup of sugar on high speed until yolk is pale yellow.
4. Stir in 1/3 milk and vanilla extract. Pour egg yolk mixture over flower mixture and stir gently with spatula.
5. Quick beat egg whites in separate bowl until soft peaks form. With mixer on pour in remaining ¼ sugar and beat until stiff, not dry.
6. Fold egg whites mixture into batter very gently until combined. Pour into pan. Bake for 35-45 minutes.

For glaze:
Whisk together evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and milk.
Once combined, pour most of the glaze over the cake leaving about a 1 cup to use later when serving each slice.

Place the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla into a bowl. Beat together on low until stiff peaks are formed.  Then, change to medium speed and beat until thick. Spread the topping over the cake and decorate with maraschino cherries.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Printsource Show NYC 2016

Here's one of my designs for the Printsource Show in NYC next week. Looking forward to walking the show.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Festive Holiday Doormats!

I'm a little behind with this post due to all of the holiday traveling, shopping, etc., but how awesome are these holiday festive Mohawk doormats from the Pink Light Team. I hope they added much cheer to many homes. My design is the one the left, 2nd from the top that says "have a HOLLY JOLLY Christmas".

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Free Christmas Gift Tags


Happy December 1st! Wow it's been such a longggg time since I've blogged, but it's actually for a very good reason. I've been busy with work and planning for a SUPER EXCITING life changing event... I'm preggo and will be a mommy soon!!! :D My little bunny will be arriving into the world on March 18th. We feel so blessed and cannot wait! I created this announcement for friends and family.

To keep with the tradition, I've creating some holiday gift tags that seem to be a hit each year. It's a nice way to make your gift-wrapping that much more special. Enjoy! Download them here!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

High Five Cover Art

Hey there! I know it's been a while since I've posted, I've just been busy, busy with projects and person stuff. Autumn is right around the corner (just a few days away)! Yes! It's my most favorite season of the year. To add to the fun, I'm extremely thrilled to share the October issue of High Five Magazine with my Illustration on the cover... What an honor. Thank you Kelley and everyone over at Highlights. You guys are one of my most favorite companies to work for.

Happy soon-to-be Fall y'all!

Here's the sketch before taking it to color and below is the color art.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


Hello and Happy Hump Day!

This is a sketch that got rejected a while back and I've been wanting to finish it. I spent yesterday and this morning working on it. As you can see, I finished up the kitchen and I added some friends peering in through the window enjoying Emma's performance. What do you think? I just might take this one to color.


finished sketch

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Eleven Madison Park

Hello and Happy July 1st! Oh my gosh, the weather so far in NY has been delish! Let's hope it stays like this through July and August.

This month over at WLTI, we decided to create some fun recipes for the TDAC website. I chose one that my hubby introduced to me that is from the Eleven Madison Park restaurant in the city, the Eleven Madison Park Pistachio, Coconut & Cherry Granola. Doesn't the name alone sound amazing!? Anyway, I like granola, but this recipe takes it to a whole new level -- we can't seem to get enough of it lately. Enjoy! Let me know what you think.

Please click on the illustrated recipe to enlarge

Here's picture of the most recent batch that we made. The recipe says to bake it for 30 - 40 minutes, we like it pretty toasty so we usually leave it in for the full 40.


Wednesday, June 3, 2015


Hello and Happy, happy SUMMER!

Lots to talk about here... First, I wanted to announce that me and the girls over at We Love To Illustrate Studio are back on track with a full list of FUN activities planned for the summer. We've kicked things off with a "Welcome Summer" theme. Stop by to check out some "hot" art and don't forget to visit us at the beginning of each month to see what we've been up to.

Here's my contribution: Summer is HERE! Let's beach it up! Don't you think this would be a cute advertisement for Baby Gap? That's what I had in mind when I was creating it. Hang it up in your studio or office to keep the sun shinning inside and out. ;) You can purchase the print here!

I also created this version with a white background, which didn't "make the cut" in my opinion, but I thought it would be nice to share it anyway.

Also, last month was my 3rd year attending SURTEX, and I have to admit that it gets better by the year. I had such a blast working the booth with the amazing Pink Light Team. These gals are the sweetest bunch, but don't let them fool you -- they mean business! Walking the show was another awesome experience. I got to catch-up with friends that I see there each year, as well as meeting some longtime friendships that I've created through the iternets ;) Nina, my WLTI buddy, being one of them plus many more. All and all, it was an inspiring show filled with mucho talented artists and just a good time catching up with my fellow artists buds.

Happy June! Wishing you a creative week/ month!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Goldilocks and The Three Bears: The Smelly Version

I am beyond thrilled to share this his AMAZING project that I worked on with Megan from Melcher Media, part of the Sensory Stories exhibition at the Museum of Moving Images. Not only did I get to illustrate such a nostalgic fairytale, 'Goldilocks and The Three Bears', but it's also aromatic, hence the unique version that engages your sense of smell. And, to top that off, it's also animated!!! The book has selected scents placed throughout the story, so for example, when Goldie first smells the porridge coming from the cabin in the woods, the scent that you smell is apricot. The scent comes from a machine that is called oPhone, you can learn more about it over at The exhibition is currently at the Museum of Moving Images in Astoria, NY running through July 26th. The exhibition features the future of story telling with ground breaking new technologies incorporating full body immersion and interaction that includes touch, sight and smell. My illustrations are part of the exhibit for the world premiere of an aromatics story presented by oBooks. I am very proud and pleased to be involved in this amazing new innovative story book experience!

I thought it would be fun to share some of the sketches/ process with you rather then the final, which can be seen on my website. There are a few scenes that show Goldie repeated in order for the animation to work. These are not on my website, so I'll also share them with you here.

Part of my morning routine is to list things that I'm grateful in my journal, but today since most of my gratitude is about this project, I'll share them on here.  1. I'm grateful for Megan, the editor that found my work on-line and hired me for this project. 2. I'm grateful for my agency, Shannon Associates. 3. I'm grateful for my partner, who encourages me to break out of my comfort zone each and every day. Happy May Ya'll!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Look and Look Again for Highlights High Five Bilingue

Happy April! I'm so excited to share this FUN puzzle project that I worked for Highlights High Five Bilingue. It's for the April/May issue. Can you spot the 20 differences? Click on the image to view larger.

And here's the sketch before going to color.