Free coloring page

Hey everyone!  

Here is a free PDF coloring page for you to share with any little ones you know!

I know I have been extremely inconsistent posting but that only means more things to share with you in the near future!

Thanks for your patience.

Pass, share, and enjoy!

Coloring Page-1-1


Revealing the artist…

 So I am finally announcing who the illustrator is for my children’s book…


Please, please check out her portfolio; she is truly a talented and friendly person to work with.

She has been amazing so far with her work and is doing an excellent job capturing the story’s main themes and elements.

Here is the finished cover art:



What do you think?!

We will also be having a pre-order website coming soon so please be on the lookout for that!

ALSO, I will be doing a giveaway sometime this week for the book so watch out for that as well!

More updates coming soon!

Please “like” the Facebook page and pass it on!

Photography 101 (creativity part II)

I apologize for not having posted the Mini Kabob recipe yet!  I will do it as soon as I can!  But for now David is back with more tips and great advice for going beyond just snapping pics on your own.


My last post was just a starting point and I didn’t want to overwhelm you with too many tips or info. Let us look at some more steps you can take to improve your photography.

Basking Tulip

Get to know other creatives. Join a camera club, or if you’re unable to join a club, engage other photographers in conversation online. You can meet a lot of nice photographers through blogs or websites like Flickr. Send them an email and start up a conversation. You just might make a friend who will let you pick their brain a bit. They’ll be even more inclined to talk to you if you share some knowledge or experience too.

Pismo at Twilight

Not ready to spend any money? Start out at It’s a great resource where you can find almost anything.

Another great free resource is the local library or bookstore. You can walk into any large bookstore and read all the latest photography and photoshop magazines for free. Even local libraries may carry a few photography magazines worth checking out. I used to take notes or pictures of the magazine on my iphone so I could try out new techniques when I got home.

Go to a workshop. Yes, they can be expensive, but you can learn so much in a day at a workshop, and you can network with other photographers there. I do have to add that its very important you choose a workshop that suits your skill level. A beginner is going to struggle in a more advanced setting, and if you take a class that’s below your level, you won’t pick up many useful tips and you’ll probably be bored. If you do go to a workshop, make sure you’ve read your manual a few times and know your way around your camera so you can get the most out of the class.

A happy couple

If you can’t afford a workshop, there are a few websites that offer excellent videos. Kelby Training and are both great. Kelby offers 75 24-hour free trials everyday that will give you access to all of their videos.

Rogue River Gorge HDR


If you feel like you’re talented and ready to take photography beyond a hobby, look for a mentor. Call local photographers and ask if they are looking for an assistant. If you do attend a workshop, stick around afterwards and ask the photographer running the class if they’re looking for an assistant. I have to warn that not everyone wants an assistant, and some people don’t pay very much, if at all. But, you will be paid in knowledge of how the photography business works and how a professional approaches their craft.

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Scribbled: Laura Huliska-Beith

I have invited for Laura to share her insight about the world of illustrating children’s books.  She is an amazing artist whose talent and love for fun and whimsical colors and movement throughout her work brings much delight for all those who pick her books up.

Welcome Laura!

Images courtesy of Laura Huliska-Beith

1.      Can you give us some background info about yourself?

Born and raised in Nebraska, the oldest of five children. My siblings were BIG inspiration for my first picture book “The Book of Bad Ideas” (but I take full credit for Bad Idea # 143). I am a graduate of the Kansas City Art Institute, worked at a greeting card company for a while, and then set out on my own to explore the wild world of children’s books and visual story-telling. I also got married along the way to a wonderful guy who is also an artist (animator) and we now have 3 dogs.

2.      What inspires you?

Kindness, humor, nature, young people, old people, middle aged people, animals, travel, movies, books, and music.

3.      What do you do if you’re uninspired or have a lack of ideas?

I will look through my books, sketch at a coffee shop, or lately, I will paint without anything in mind; free-forming ,watching the paints mix with each other. It’s kind of meditative and will quite often lead to some discovery. OR I will do something completely different and not art related. Usually that means eat.

4.      What’s your advice to others who would like to be an illustrator?

DRAW! And then draw some more. And observe, and then draw what you observe. And be prepared to do some crappy drawings! You have to do those to get to the good ones.

Also, be on the look-out for artist’s work you admire and ask yourself what it is about that work that inspires you, how they did what they did, and what their point of view is.

Keep yourself open to experimentation, but also, think about forming your own voice and visual language.

5.      Name something not a lot of people know about you.

I used to be terrified of dogs.

6.      What are your plans in the future for your work?

More writing, more life drawing, and more dimensional work. I have also enjoyed facilitating art workshops and talking with students at school visits so I would love to continue more of that.

7.      How long does it usually take you to finish a project?

Roughly, 2 or 3 months for sketches, and then 3 or 4 months for the finishes. (This is for illustrating a 32 page picture book)

8.      What do you do to celebrate when you have finished a piece of work?

Ideally, road trip! If that’s not possible, a glass of wine will do.

9.      What is the hardest thing about your job?

Since books are such long-term projects, keeping up the momentum is probably the most difficult… but I do enjoy the process and try to give each project its own unique look … with color, technique, the characters, and/or something within the layout.

10.  What was the worst memory/experience you had when working?

Hmmmmmm….. well one summer our house became home to about 20 bats. They roosted in our chimney and then came in through the fireplace as well as the hot water heater in our basement. Every once in a while we’d wake up to a bat flying over our bed at night. I didn’t get much sleep that summer. And since my studio is in our attic, that gave a whole new meaning to “bats in the belfry.”  We couldn’t remove the bats because they are protected by law in the state of Missouri, so we needed to wait until September to put a bat cap on our chimney. Since then, we have not had any bats, although one time, a bird made its way  into my studio, and wouldn’t you know, it left a little poop on a sketch I was working on.

Photography 101 (creativity)

Today I have invited David to discuss with us how to put our brain in the mode for taking pictures and how to be creative with them. As you’ll see, David is talented and please make sure to visit his wonderful links! Welcome David!

Improving Your Photographic Eye and Creativity

A Splash of Light by David Pasillas (DavidPasillas) on
A Splash of Light by David Pasillas

A few years ago I decided I wanted to take photography seriously and get good enough to shoot weddings and sell landscapes. The tips in this post are some of the things that I believe helped me go form snapshots to art you want on your wall.

First things first, you have to want it badly enough. Carry your camera at all times and take pictures everyday if you can. A 365 project can be a great way to push yourself. I have to admit it’s not for everyone. I only made it to day 32 (or somewhere around there) on my first attempt. There are days when you just don’t feel creative and its hard to force yourself to shoot. Its ok to miss a day, but get back to shooting ASAP.

Lowell Covered Bridge HDR by David Pasillas (DavidPasillas) on
Lowell Covered Bridge by David Pasillas

Next, you’ll need to share those photos online somewhere. Flickr is a nice little community for hobbyists and semi pro’s. You can expect the majority of the feedback to be encouraging, but lacking in constructive criticism unless you ask for it.

Take time everyday to look at amazing photographs. Heres the trick though, take time to really look at the images and think about what it is you like about them. Ask yourself what settings the photographer may have used or how they might have edited it. I have a few suggestions for people to follow on wordpress (see the links below.) I also highly recommend The quality of the popular images posted there are unmatched by any other photo sharing site. The good thing about 500px is you can usually see what the camera settings were on the images posted.

Glosoli by David Pasillas (DavidPasillas) on
Glosoli by David Pasillas

To me, one of the most important things to master in photography is composition. It’s so easy to learn if you have an iPhone. All you have to do is turn on your rule of thirds grid and use it to compose your images so the horizon is on either horizontal line and the points of interest are at the points where the grid lines intersect. The more you use this, the easier it will be for you to compose images with your DSLR.

Take mental notes and mental photographs. I’m always paying attention to the light no matter where I am. If I see something I like, I remember what time of day it is and what the light was like. The more you pay attention to the light, the better you’ll get at anticipating what it will look like at different times of the day. Taking mental photographs is a great way to improve your photographic eye. While looking at a scene, think about how you would compose it, what angle you might shoot it from, what time of day, and so on.

Green Fields

Remember how I said you should take pictures everyday? Seriously, take pictures everyday. Shoot a lot. When you feel like you’ve taken a lot of pictures, take some more. Try different apertures, shutter speeds, and perspectives of the same scene.

This is one of the most important things to becoming a better photographer, become your own editor. I’m not talking about post processing. I’m talking about knowing which image(s) to share. Don’t show all of them off. Only show the one you want on the cover of a magazine. By learning to cull your unsuccessful images, you will improve your eye and the quality of your work shared.

African Daisy by David Pasillas (DavidPasillas) on
African Daisy by David Pasillas

If you want to take your images to the professional level, you absolutely have to start shooting in RAW mode and learn to edit your images. Do you want the tiny processor in your camera editing for you, or do you want your beefy computer with lightroom or photoshop handling them? If your camera can do RAW+JPEG, start out with that while you get the hang of editing RAW files.

These are a few ways to improve your creativity:
• Play with children. They’re more creative than you by a longshot. Try to approach the world with a childlike wonder.
• Draw, paint, color, play an instrument. Look to other disciplines and experiment in combining concepts or styles.
• Study artists you admire.
• Take 500 pictures of a single object. Try making them different.
• Try different genres of photography.

Perfection by David Pasillas (DavidPasillas) on
Perfection by David Pasillas

Recommended photographers on WordPress

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Cursing kills creativity

Besides the fact that curse words are inappropriate, disrespectful, crude, hurtful, and un-Islamic, they are completely unoriginal and uncreative when it comes to describing feelings and situations.

It is a lazy man’s substitute for something perhaps greater and more profound but he opts to throw in a lovely curse word.

It is not “artistic” nor “creative” when one uses this vulgarity.

Art is about being specific and trying to create an exact meaning of things. 

The curse words block any attempt for creativity to flourish.

People are unable to extract various interpretations of the art piece (movies, song lyrics, writings, etc.) when a vulgar word takes the stance of something meaningful.

The quality of the artistic expression is lost when it has been wrung through the cursing machine. 

Image courtesy of Brittany Romo (Thank you for creating this!)

Even fantasy creatures do not appreciate such lazy language and will fight to be expressed in a more profound manner…

Art gains its intrigue, originality, and creativity when the curse word is replaced with something more visual and better promotes understanding of the work.

For example, if one was to read about someone who just heard his wife got into an accident, he could replace the cursing the character might say with something significant.

Or the writer can illustrate an image of how much pain and shock the person is going through in his writing piece.

The quality wanes when cursing is involved in a could-be-masterpiece.

Don’t let cursing kill creativity.

What do you think…does cursing lessen the quality of art?  Is it a lazy man’s substitute for something more enlightening?  Why or why not?

Where Children Sleep

Images courtesy of James Mollison

I know this isn’t new but James Mollison and his stunning photography in regards to children just gets me thinking everytime.  He was so objective, and clean with his work…I admired that restraint.

The way he took his subjects and separated them from their environments was creative.

As an artist, he made you make your own judgements and observations about what you saw and didn’t see.

He just took the time to go around and capture what we would not have known…like the details of these children’s lives.

This is a great book to have on your children’s book shelf; not only should children have textbooks, stories, fairytales, and comics, but real images of children like them who live in different environments.

You know how we used to always hear from our parents or say now to kids, “Oh the kids are starving in China” or “Some kids in Africa have no proper bed to sleep on”…well just hand over the book to them and it will do all the work for you.

It’s an excellent reference book to the “reality” of this world.  This also would be an awesome coffee table book as well.

What do you think…should every child have this on their bookshelf?  Why or why not?

Here are some of the photos that are just amazing:

Photography 101 (lighting)

I love photography and the many ways you can create beautiful images and unique pictures.  But, alas, I am not knowledgeable in that area so I invited someone to come share with us photography tips.

Meet Carlie!  She takes lovely photographs and is going to share some tips and the importance of lighting when it comes to photography…

Oh!  Don’t forget to check out her lovely blog!  Welcome Carlie!


Photography has been a passion of mine since childhood, but I didn’t just pick up a camera and become a photographer.

It takes time, patience, and many mistakes.

When I took my first photography course in college we only shot with natural light.

Natural light is known as available light, most commonly, the sun. By not allowing us to use a flash, my professor taught us how to be prepared for any lighting situation. To this day I still do not use flash even when it’s pitch black out.

For any beginning photographers out there, my advice would be to experiment, experiment, experiment!

Once you have mastered shooting with natural light, the possibilities are endless. Lighting can be used to create intense and dramatic photo effects.

Here are a couple pointers, I wish someone had told me when I was first starting out.

  • The best time to shoot is known as the ‘golden’ hour, which is just before sunset or sunrise.
  • Pay close attention to which direction the light is coming from.
  • Let’s say you are shooting a woman in front of a tree. If the sun is shining upon her face (direct sunlight), you will get a warm, light, and detailed photo.
  • If the sun is coming from behind her, which is known as ‘backlighting’, it would create a hard, vivid and contrasted image.
  •  Both lighting situations can work to your advantage; I love to use direct sunlight for portraits to bring out the details in my subjects’ faces and to get a beautiful glow.

I like to use backlighting to create artsy and contrasted silhouettes. Shooting in shade also makes for a beautiful, softer image, but make sure there aren’t shadows being cast on your subjects.

I hope this article was helpful. Remember to experiment and learn from your mistakes : )

A backlit image. You will notice that the image is darker, contrasty, and you lose detail in the subject’s face.

Now I’ve turned him around and he has direct sunlight hitting his face. We can now see more and a beautiful glow upon his face.

In this image I used backlighting to create a contrasted and colorful silhouette of this little boy running along the beach.

Books for kids (owl theme)

I discovered more books for kids and I just love, love the illustrations!  So amazing, creative, and unique.  Each one has a certain flair and specific style and I have fallen in love, love at first sight.

But I have not gotten to know these books, though.  I just judged it by its cover.  I want to go read them.  What are your favorite illustrators for kids books?

The first book is by Il Sung Na…A Book of Sleep

The second book is by Divya Srinivasan…Little Owl’s Night

Books for kids

So I went to Barnes and Noble by myself, and of course even when I don’t have my kids with me, I am still thinking about them nonetheless.  Normally I would make a beeline to the magazine section but instead I found myself looking for something for both of my girls.

Well, I discovered these amazing books and I wish they existed when I was growing up!

I think you could use these basic reference guides for college as well!  I think they beat the dummies series in some way.

Beautiful and fun illustrations that truly make learning fun!  I would have totally become a doctor or scientist if I had these books as study guides…

What do you think?  Would these help as study guides for high school or college students?