Daily sketch challenge

I’ve decided to give myself a daily sketch challenge. I’d like to create a morning routine that kicks me right into creative work mode (instead of loafing around in social media land), so the plan is to make a sketch first thing when I enter my studio, before I even turn on my computer or check my phone. I’m tempted to post on instagram, but I think I’ll limit myself on that too. I might choose my favorites from the previous week on Mondays and post a couple as part of my new and improved ‘internet presence’ routine. But I will post them here, at least a few times a week — fair enough since more frequent blog posting is one of my goals this year.

The challenge paramaters (for now):

• materials: dip pen and ink, plus one additional color if I want it

• theme: kids and pets

• bonus: a hand lettered word or phrase relating to the image

Here is day 1:



Note: noodlers ink BLEEDS on watercolor paper.


Sketch outing

Oregon Children’s Theatre has a wonderful new-ish tradition of inviting artists to the dress rehearsal of their performances.

It’s always fun and a little exhilarating: drawing in the dark with only a clip-on booklight to illuminate my paper, scrambling to capture an interaction, gesture or expression that grabs me from the stage. It’s not clear why I choose to work in watercolor under these circumstances — apparently ‘logical’ and ‘strategic’ are not my top qualities. But there is no opportunity to second guess or fuss over details, so sometimes the results are refreshingly loose and lively.

GStilton1_web GStilton2_web GStilton4_web GStilton3_web

Sneak peek

Here’s a glimpse of a project I’ve been working on for the past few weeks. These are a bunch of drafts of the color wash layer. Once I was happy with the color layer, I laid a sheet of translucent paper over the top and quickly made a graphite line drawing that roughly correlated to the wash below. After about a million drafts of both layers, I scanned and combined the color wash with the line art in Photoshop.

Done now — I’ll post final art when I get the go-ahead!


Getting started


This new year is getting off to a slow start for me. I have a million things I hope to accomplish this year, but I am giving myself the space to start with baby steps. Trying to keep the goals and ambitions in sight without letting them own me.

One of those ambitions is to open the door a crack and let some of my work out into the world. So, occasional instagram, occasional blog posts. I’m not ready to immerse completely in an internet life, but I want to dip a toe in, see how it feels, see if I like where it takes me.


This little Sassafras has been on my mind and drawing board forever. This year she is getting a book.

Weekly Word

In light of the fact that I love hand lettering but rarely do it, I decided to challenge myself to create a hand lettered and illustrated word at least once a week. It’s a good warm up, and I’m hoping that the public commitment will motivate me to keep it up. Instagram seems like the right place to post this type of challenge ( @abigailmarble ), but I will post here as well for my five dedicated followers.

Here are the first few….







The life of the freelancer

That funny moment when, after spending a solid hour reviewing the last printed version of a dummy book and making a thorough punch list of work-to-do, I open the file in InDesign and realize I had done the exact same process before the holiday. The good news is that I came to exactly the same conclusions, so I guess I am on the right track.


Making more efficient use of my time is high on my list of goals for 2015, but I am not off to a great start.

Picturebook Polka!

My friend Kate Berube and I are going to give a little talk tomorrow afternoon. The topic will be “Picturebook Polka: the dance of words and images.”  She wrote a nice blog post about it here.

If you’re in the Portland area, I hope you’ll come see us!

Here’s the info from the SCBWI-Oregon events page:


The Next Level Professional Series – November 2014

Topic: Picturebook Polka: the dance of words and images 

How do we know which words are essential to tell our stories? How can we create illustrations that expand on the story instead of just repeating in pictures what is already written in words? And most importantly, how can the two dance together to reveal the heart of the story? In this workshop, we will look at examples of books that attain this balance. Covering issues for both PB writers and PB illustrators (and for those who do both.)

Date(s) – 11/15/2014
2:15 pm – 3:45 pm

TaborSpace, Copeland Commons
5441 SE Belmont – Portland, OR 97215


Fees: This year we will be charging for this wonderful series—sorry, we can’t continue to give the event to you free. Fees pay for the room rental and speaker honorariums. But here are your options:

1. Purchase a Member Pass for $35 for the pass (nonmembers $50) by Nov. 12th, which gives you this session and all the rest of the sessions through April.
2. Preregister for each TNL event, $8 for members and $10 for nonmembers by Nov. 12th for this month.
3. Register at the door and pay $10 for members and $12 for nonmembers after Nov. 12th.


 Every 3rd Saturday through April 2015 except for December


What, Where and When: Ready to bring your writing and illustration skills to The Next Level? Whether you’re plotting a novel or perfecting a picture book, SCBWI Oregon’s professional series will give you tools to advance your career.

Join us on November 15th at Copeland Commons*, upstairs next to the coffee shop, at Tabor Space on 5441 SE Belmont. Doors open at 2:00 pm, and speakers start at 2:15. The series continues through April 2015—but each talk is different, so don’t miss out!

Time:   Doors open at 2:00; Session: 2:15 pm-4pm     

ATTENTION from TaborSpace management:  Parking has become a concern for our neighbors. Please park in the TaborSpace parking lot on SE 54th.  If the lot is full, be very considerate of neighbors’ driveways when parking on the street.

*Location for November only!