Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Happy Holiday's

Hope everyone had a nice holiday! Our was a nice one. A real white Christmas too with a blizzard following the holiday.
©Gartner Greetings

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Holiday Season

It's that time of year again. Holiday music, Christmas trees, snowman and hot chocolate. No snow here yet, but I'm sure it won't be long!

©Gartner Greetings

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's Thanksgiving here again in the U.S. Time for good food, family and giving thanks. Hope you all have a great one!
©Lesley Breen Withrow

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tooth Fairy Tales - My Record of Each Lost Tooth

I recently got a copy of my book Tooth Fairy Tales - My Record of Each Lost Tooth. It's a journal book published by Potter Style (an imprint of Random House) for children and their parents to document when a child looses their teeth. I Illustrated all the art for this book as well as the lettering.
Here's the cover with the pocket peeking thru the central die cut window.

And halftone endpapers and pocket for the Tooth Fairy to leave a gift.

Here's one of the inside pages where you can write.
Here's another inside page where you can write and add a photo.
Here's the back cover.
Ironically, my daughter just lost her first tooth and we got to use it! Yay!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

R. Michelson Gallery's 21st annual Children's Illustration Show

Steve, Marin and I had a great time this weekend at the R. Michelson Gallery's 21st annual Children's Illustration Show in Norhampton, MA. Here's a pic of some of the great author's and illustrator's who attended. Jane Yolen, Mo Willems, Tony Diterlizzi, Angela Diterlizzi, Barry Moser, Jane Dyer, Diane deGroat, Wendel Minor, Jarret Krosoczka, Scott Fischer, Raul Colon, Rebecca Guay, Gary Lippincott, David Milgrim, Norton Juster, Richard Michelson and many more. It was an amazing group of author's and illustrators and I feel so proud to be in the photo with them all!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Philosophy Friday - Halloween!!!

Where there is no imagination there is no horror.
~Arthur Conan Doyle, Sr.

©Lesley Breen Withrow

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Library Of the Early Mind - Premiere Screening at Harvard's Askwith Forum

I had a wonderful time last night at the Premiere screening at Harvard of my husbands film about children's books called Library of the Early Mind. It was great to see the film on the big screen and to be able to watch it with an audience. The panel discussion that followed with Lois Lowry, Leslea Newman, Jerry Pinkney, Padma Venkatraman, Roger Sutton and the filmmakers Edward J. Delaney and Steven Withrow was engaging. I'll post some pictures from the night soon.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What are they looking it?

©Lesley Breen Withrow

Here's a snippit of a self-promotional illustration I am working on. What do you think they are looking at? A statue, a ghost, a giant bunny!?  No. But come back and you'll get to see soon!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Kissing Elephants

©Lesley Breen Withrow

What's better on a Tuesday morning than drawing a couple of cute kissing elephants? Happy Tuesday!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Philosophy Friday

©Lesley Breen Withrow

As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives. 
-Henry David Thoreau

I love Henry David Thoreau's mind set and have so many quotes of his that I would love to share. This quote is one that I had not read before and found particularly interesting. Seems to me that there is a lot of truth in 'we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives'. Above is a cropped sample of some European houses I illustrated for a picture book biography that I am working on and hoping to get published. Here's to making even deeper footprints! Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Cute Kitty Cat

©Oxford University Press, UK

Here's a cute kitty cat that I illustrated for an Oxford University Press course book earlier this year. My daughter's favorite stuffed animal is a gray striped tiger cat named Tito, so of course I just had to get him into the book!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Preview Screening of Library of the Early Mind

Last weekend my husband, Steven Withrow, daughter and I drove down to Alexandria, Virginia for a preview screening of the film Library of the Early Mind, (which my husband is co-producer of). The screening was a part of the first annual Alexandria Story Festival benefitting a great organization, Wright to Read, and was held at an amazing children’s bookstore, Hooray for Books. The screening went well and the panel discussion following was lively. It was a real pleasure to meet authors Lezlie Evans and Melissa Thomson, as well as the organizer, Leigh Hoyer and her team, and the staff of Hooray for Books. It was a wonderful trip and a real joy for us to to attend it as a family!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Philosophy Friday

©Lesley Breen Withrow
We are what we repeatedly do. - Aristotle

Hope you have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Yellow Flower Pattern

©Lesley Breen Withrow

What a beautiful summer-like day it is here today in New England. I know that there are not too many of these days ahead, so it's time to enjoy it while you can!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


©Gartner Greetings

Happy Wednesday! It's a beautiful day here. Hope you are enjoying yours.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Philosophy Friday

Here's a quote I like and part of a pattern I designed on a card for Gartner Greetings. Have a great weekend!

©Gartner Greetings

Men always love what is good or what they find good; it is in judging what is good that they go wrong.
-Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Pen and Ink

©Lesley Breen Withrow
Here is a pen and ink drawing I created a while ago but recently found. I decided to add some more details, like the wallpaper. I use so much color in most of my art these days, and I love color, but I equally have always loved black and white and grays. I find that this love also extends to b&w movies too (I am an old movie buff) and to rainy days. Yup, I love the look of the gray sky right before it rains! I'll be sure to share more of my black and white linework form time to time too. I created this piece with a mystery in mind!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Happy Birthday to Marin!

©Lesley Breen Withrow

Today is my daughter's 5th birthday! We had a great party for her over the weekend with family and friends. She has been enjoying eating the leftover cake and playing with her presents the last few days. It's hard to believe that it's been 5 years since my little girl was born. But I am happy to say that I haven't missed a moment and am looking forward to many more. Love you, Marin!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Philosophy Friday

I love Friday's, philosophy and quotes that inspire. So here's my first Philosophy Friday. Enjoy!

-To teach how to live with uncertainty, yet without being paralyzed by hesitation, is perhaps the chief thing that philosophy can do.  ~Bertrand Russell

©Gartner Greetings
(Art from a Mother's Day card I illustrated for Gartner Greetings)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Circle Patterns

©Lesley Breen Withrow
I got re-inspired to create more patterns the other day while visiting a local sewing store with my mom. I loved seeing all the fabrics and patterns and COLORS! So fun and beautiful. Here's a fun pattern I recently made of some circles with different textures and patterns.



Monday, August 23, 2010

Snail Pattern

©Lesley Breen Withrow
Here's a snippet of a repeat pattern I created a little while ago containing these cute little snails, bugs, flowers and leaves. I have been getting back into sewing again, something I enjoyed to do as a kid. I would love to see these patterns as a kids fabric someday!

Friday, July 9, 2010


©Lesley Breen Withrow
Lots of hot weather her in the North East lately! I've been enjoying being busy with greeting card work lately, but have been slacking on updating blog. So, here is a piece I created a little while back that I thought would be nice to share. Reminds me of those slightly cooler, but warm, spring days.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Library of the Early Mind - Trailer

My husband, Steven Withrow, has been working as the co-producer on an independent documentary film this past year, and they just released the first of several short trailers! The film is called 'Library of the Early Mind' and it's a feature-length documentary about children's literature. So, if you have an interest in children's books, this is a must see.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Summer is on the way!

©Lesley Breen Withrow
It certainly has felt like summer this week with a couple of 90 degree days here in New England! This illustration I made of the beach reminds me of home. I grew-up on Cape Cod and used to work at a snack bar on the beach and even drove an ice cream truck one summer! This was my view for most of those days.  I am looking forward to visiting there soon. Happy Memorial Day everyone!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Fun pattern

©Lesley Breen Withrow
Here's a pattern I elaborated upon recently. It was fun adding new elements to it.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Christmas Pattern in Spring?

©Lesley Breen Withrow
I've been illustrating a lot of Christmas/Holiday cards lately. Here's a pattern I used on part of a card. 'Tis the time of year to make holiday art, so it can be printed and on the shelves in time! ho, ho, ho!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Tooth Fairy Tales - My Record of Each Lost Tooth

It's nice to see the tooth fairy diary I illustrated  Tooth Fairy Tales - My Record of Each Lost Tooth for Potter Style (an imprint of Random House) is already available for pre-orders! It's coming out August 10th of this year and I can't wait to see the printed version of it. It's a part of the Potter Style Summer 2010 catalog which is available on-line and is beautifully designed. So check it out if you have a moment.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Pattern for Spring

©Lesley Breen Withrow
Here's a snippet of a fun new pattern I just created! It makes me think of Spring flowers and sun.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Feather of Memory

©Gary McCluskey

Check out my husband, Steven Withrow's, new project called Feather's of Memory. He is writing a verse novel about a futuristic time-traveler. He's also been recording it into audio files so you can choose to read and/or listen to it weekly as the story unfolds. Pretty cool! Also, the fabulous art above of the time ship was illustrated by my talented friend, Gary McCluskey.

THE FEATHER OF MEMORY -- a verse novella

The Feather of Memory, my first experiment in writing a short novel in verse for young adults, will make its official debut on Monday, March 15th, the Ides of March, a date that plays an important part in the story. The series will update weekly until the story is completed.

The main narrative will be written in blank verse -- unrhymed iambic pentameter -- and each installment will also include an audio file of me reading the poem aloud.

Hope you'll come along for the ride, add it to your blog reader or bookmarks, and help spread the word!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Children's Illustration - Step by Step tutorial

Unfortunately, you cannot show most illustrations that you are working on due to contracts and all so I try to create some art just for promotion. Here is a step by step of an illustration I made of two small cats baking cookies in a kitchen. Yum, I could go for some cookie dough right now. Hope you enjoy!

This is a sketch with pencil or pen on paper. I then scan it into the computer and don't worry too much about the quality of the scan because it is just so I can get an idea what I want to paint.

Next I open the art in a program called Painter. There I use the oil and or real bristle brush to paint the basic colors and shapes of the art. Painter is a fabulous program. I am able to achieve the look (paint strokes, blending texture, etc.) of real paints. In this step I try to capture the expressions on the cats faces keeping them as lively as they are in the sketch. I also make choices about what colors I want to use. I decide to paint bold colors with the understanding that the green table top will be used as an underpainting.
Then I like to save my art as a flat file and bring it into Photoshop. For me, this is where the real 'magic' happens. Here I like to add lots of texture and patterns to my art. Photoshop is the perfect program for this. For example, In this step I added a scan of some wood I have, to create a wooden table top.
Next, I refine my wooden table top texture and trim around the art to create a soft irregular border. I add more art, like the cookie sheets, cookies etc.
Here I refine the art even more. Adding more elements but more importantly I start to bring depth to the art by adding shadows and highlights. As you may notice, the cats look more rounded. I added blush to their cheeks too as well as some white lines to the wood table pattern. I continue to add lots of details too, like the recipe card, bag of flour and broken eggs and a subtle dot pattern to the background.
Now I added a white line shelf in the background . I continue to add more shadows and highlights and textures.
Finally, I adjust the white line shelf more, changing the scrolls at the top to a clock. I think this looks more refined and gives an element that I am looking for. It's nice working digitally because changing something like that is easy but would be much more complicated if I was working reflectively. I add the stripes to the cats and continue to bring out the shadows and highlights until I am happy. Then wha-la! I am done.

©Lesley Breen Withrow

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


©Oxford University Press
Here's a snippet from a piece of art I'm working on. Gotta love drawing colorful bugs!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Happy belated Valentine's Day!

©Lesley Breen Withrow
Here's another card I illustrated for Gartner Greetings. The dark title, subtitle and line work are in pink foil and there is a jewel attachment on the woman's finger which looks like a diamond ring. I figured the art is kind of fitting for Valentine's Day even though it's an anniversary card. Hope everyone had a nice holiday!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Nice review of or book!

Steve and I were happy to see this nice review that our publisher shared with us about our book "Illustrating Children's Picture Books ." The review was in the UK magazine 'Photoshop Creative.'

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

My Greeting Card Collection - Sharing the Faith

©Gartner Greetings

I illustrated and planned the subject matter for this religious greeting card collection called 'Sharing the Faith' from Gartner Greetings (an imprint of Gartner Studios ). It's a beautiful collection that has a soft natural look, lots of textures and patterns and up-lifting verses that tie in well with the art. It's a 40 card collection that I shared with another fabulous illustrator and was a joy to work on. All the images above are my illustrations.