About

This blog is a celebration of novel, novel characters!

I love reading novels, and as an artist I know a great exercise to stretch one's illustration skills is to portray characters from a description in a book. This blog is a challenge to myself to do just that so I'll be posting illustrations from whatever book I'm currently reading. Feel free to add comments and send me your fan art for these great titles too!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Elani from The Treasure of Isian by Serena Clarke


Greetings readers!

Previously, I reviewed book 2 of this series, starting a bit out of order, but I feel in love with the characters and the world Serena created, so here I am retroactively posting on book 1: The Treasure of Isian!  Book 3 will be coming out soon, so if you haven’t read any of the Isian stories, now is a great time to start!  I highly recommend these stories to any fantasy/romance lover.
“The picture had been smudged after several centuries and the details were rough, but she could see that it was a sketch of a tall, dark creature whose features were filled with agony.  Water swirled up around its legs and its arms were held high, reaching for the sky.  Behind it, she caught a glimpse of a young dark woman, with short hair, holding something in her hands.  The look on her face was fearsome.” -p.76 The Treasure of Isian
The following synopsis for both books was provided to me, which allowed me more time for the drawing above (as you’ve probably noticed I still haven’t gotten a handle on posting regularly).  All I want to add is that I loved both books and am very excited to share about book 1 with you today!  Elani is a captivating, strong female lead, strong where it counts- in spirit.  I hope you get a chance to enjoy her story!

Provided text:

Magic, Fantasy, Romance, and Mystery

Fantasy has become one of the most popular genre, simply because you are taken into a completely new world… a world of magic and mystery… where almost anything can happen. In this new series by Serena Clarke, we have an enchanting kingdom and mystical creatures that reside in the forests.

The Treasure of Isian is the first book in The Isian Series. Prince Garin is a brave, proud, adventure-seeking prince. Elani is his most trusted servant and she would do anything for him. Their quest to find the mystical Treasure of Isian is immediately interrupted and they find themselves confronted by giants, elves, dragons, and a vengeful water-witch. Elani must face her greatest fears to save her prince and her kingdom. Will they be able to make a great sacrifice to save the kingdom?

“The Treasure of Isian was a stirring tale of an enchanted servant and a handsome prince,” wrote Author Charissa Stastny. “The adventures they face together as they search for the fabled treasure of Isian that will grant the bearer any wish they desire. Once I picked it up, I couldn’t put it down. The author did a wonderful job pacing the story and connecting me to the characters. Superb story that brought a smile to my face and helped me remember that sometimes, we can overlook the most valuable treasures in life if we’re not careful.”

In the second book in this series, The Alliance of Isian, Isian decides to make an alliance with their long time enemies.  Isian sends a proposal, offering their daughter to the prince, in order to ensure an alliance. Princess Gabrielle and Prince Alec must learn to work together and trust each other in order to triumph in the approaching war. With a mysterious beast attacking the kingdom, their lives in danger, and overcoming their vast cultural differences, will love grow despite their trials?

When we think of fantasy, we think of magic and mythical creatures, but it is not the same without some romance. Cheryl Larson wrote: “I am always intrigued by stories of arranged marriages and how they turn to marriages filled with love. There is plenty of action and intrigue in the storyline. I can't wait for the next book in the series!”

The Treasure of Isian and The Alliance of Isian can be found at local libraries, bookstores, and online. For more information and to read a sample chapter, visit http://serenaclarke.wordpress.com


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Thanks for checking out the blog!

-Monica


Monday, June 1, 2015

Tiffany Girl Images Revealed!

Last month I teased you that Deeanne Gist's latest book features some of my ...er Flossie's art!  It was such a joy to be Flossie's Ghost artist.  As I've been busy again with other projects, I thought I'd fill the gap by sharing with you a couple of my favorites from the book.  The remaining illustrations can be viewed on my portfolio site, or in the book (of course), which I highly recommend, and not just because my art is in it!  The illustrations I did can be found in front of chapters 9, 11, 40, 75, 79 & 80.

Chapter 11's image is a place card Flossie makes for Reeve, a fellow boarder where she lives whom she'd love to get to know better.  To make this image I hand painted a card with watercolors.  My handwriting is awful to be honest, so for the script I had to pick a font on the computer, print it out and trace it with an ink pen to get it up to Victorian standards.  Once the place card was dry, I staged a place setting with the help of my mother's fancy dishes, and believe-it-or-not, my floor!  I photographed the set-up, and finished by making the photo black and white, adjusting the contrast in Photoshop.   


A similar process was used to make this greeting card Flossie gives to Reeve (Chap. 75).


The rest of the images I did for the book are featured on my website if you'd like to take a peak:
http://www.artistmonica.com/Projects/index.html

Thanks for stopping by the blog!  Hope you have a great week!

-Monica

Monday, May 11, 2015

Drew, Madeline & Fluer from Murder at the Mikado by Julianna Deering


The Drew Fathering Mystery series has been great!  I’ve never been very good at guessing “who done it” in mysteries and was very proud of myself for guessing book 2’s culprit, but Murder at the Mikado had me guessing the whole way, and I loved every minute of it.

As the book starts Drew and Madeline are planning their wedding and everything seems to be going fairly well, that is until Drew’s heartbreak of a first love Fluer shows up and Madeline starts letting her insecurities run rapid.  Fluer’s a knock-out beauty, but her damsel in distress routine isn’t what sways Drew to help with her case so much as his regard for her husband.  

As Madeline makes preparations for their wedding, she forbids Drew from working on the case, but Drew, of course, just can’t help himself.  If you haven’t read any of the Drew Fathering Mysteries yet, I highly recommend them all!



I love the cover for Murder at the Mikado so much it stilted my motivation to do a drawing for the book!  Everything about it is perfect!  Finally, I was inspired and ended up with the image you see here- poor Drew caught in the middle!  Trying to get the right expression on his face was difficult, I’m still not sure I nailed it, but it was fun to try!

-Monica


Monday, May 4, 2015

Tiffany Girl by Deeanne Gist


I’m so excited to share with you Deeane Gist’s latest book- Tiffany Girl!

The story is about Flossie Jayne, a young lady who goes to work for the Tiffany Company during a worker’s strike.  Excited to be part of the team of ladies working to complete the windows for the Tiffany Chapel at the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Flossie puts her whole heart into her work, but it isn’t an easy job.  Outside of work, pegged as a “New Women,” a derisive term from the time period for independent women who earned their own keep, Flossie unknowingly becomes the muse of Reeve Wilder, a columnist who starts writing humorous fiction under the pseudonym I. D. Claire.  As Reeve’s fascination with Flossie grows, and her curiosity pushes him outside his comfort zone to include more social interaction, it’s only a matter of time before love brings them together.  It’s romance after all!

As with all of Deeanne’s books I enjoyed this one immensely.  I feel especially connected to Flossie since she’s an artist, and even more so because I had the pleasure of being her ghost artist!  Inside the book you’ll find seven illustrations by me, five of which are Flossie’s work.  I also had the pleasure of sketching the people in Flossie’s life for some promotional bookmarks.

You can download the book marks for free from Deeanne’s website here:

And, if you take the “which Tiffany Girl are you?" quiz my illustrations appear at the end!  I got Clara!

https://deeanne-gist.squarespace.com/blog/which-tiffany-girl-are-you

The illustrations I did can be found before the following chapters: 9,11,40, 75, 79, 80.  And you know what, I'm not going to show them to you now- you'll just have to buy the book!  Hehehe mwahaha!  Perhaps in another post I will divulge a bit more.  :)

Hope you have a wonderful week!

-Monica


Thursday, April 23, 2015

When Calls the Heart

Have you been watching the Hallmark series When Calls the Heart inspired by Janette Oke's book of the same name?  My mother and I were hooked on it when it aired last year, and I'm excited that the second season will be airing this Saturday April 25th at 8/7 central!  I'm so excited that I did a drawing of the main characters Jack Thorton and Elizabeth Thatcher.


Daniel Lissing as Jack Thorton

Erin Krakow as Elizabeth Thorton

I admit, I feel like I should be adding a proper book review to go along with it, but to be honest I haven't read the book yet!  It's still on my oh too long to-be-read list.  In the meantime, I'm just going to enjoy the show.  :)



Here's the website, if you want to know more about it:
http://www.hallmarkchannel.com/when-calls-the-heart

Have a great weekend!

-Monica

Monday, April 20, 2015

Taylor from Shadows of the Past by Patricia Bradley

I finally have a new post for you, and it's on an exciting contemporary thriller called Shadows of the Past that came out last year!


I’m 50/50 with this genre to be honest, for me it all depends on my mood.  When I’m feeling sad or stressed I don’t like reading thrillers or anything with a difficult subject matter.  On the flip side, when I feel good, I really get into them.  For that reason, it took me a while to read through Shadows of the Past as I had a bit of a low point part way through it, but when I was feeling less morose and picked it up again, I enjoyed finishing it and am happy to share with you about it now!

For a thriller, the pacing was great.  There was a perfect balance of action, romance, and suspense.  Every time you started to think things were safe, something unexpected would happen.  The story follows Taylor Martin, a criminal profiler & professor who’s being stalked while working to help solve several murders.  I think it was the stalker thing that really creeped me out.  That and Taylor's dreams about a clown.  Seriously, clowns can sure be creepy… just reading about a character having nightmares of clowns is enough to give me nightmares of clowns, lol!

Aside from the murders, the stalkers, and the nightmares, Taylor picks up on a personal investigation to find her father who’s been missing since she was a little girl.  As if that wasn't enough stress, Taylor continues to struggle with the feelings of abandonment she's had since his disappearance.   Remembering her father as such a loving man, the reasons for his leaving never really added up.

When Taylor gets a lead on a former student of hers possibly being connected to one of her cases she crosses paths with his brother, Nick Sinclair, and the romantic tension begins.  Nick Sinclair is quite a catch.  He's a handsome, successful novelist, but Taylor won’t give him an inch when it comes to the matter of his missing, possibly stalker brother, Scott.  Nick is convinced Scott is innocent of any crimes, but Taylor is much less trusting.

There’s a lot of action that happens as it gets increasingly dangerous for Taylor to do her job.  The closer she gets to solving the case and finding her father, the farther away the truth seems.  It’s a thoroughly entertaining journey, if not a bit intense at times!  The romance aspect helps a lot for someone like me who wants a story that’s not only exciting, but heart-felt.  Taylor’s fears and doubts about her past make her a deeply believable character.  If you like a good thriller with murder, mystery, and a touch of romance, definitely ad this one to your list of books to read!

Thanks for stopping by the blog!

-Monica

Monday, March 30, 2015

March Marching on by



I came to the realization today that March is moving on by without a single post to the blog.  Yikes!  There goes that New Year’s resolution!  My apologies, I haven’t had time yet to finish my latest character sketches and reviews.

2015 has been an interesting year so far for me.  As much as I love drawing characters from books, I’ve always wanted to create my own characters and stories in some capacity.  So, in February I attended a conference for children’s TV to pitch my animated TV series ideas!  I got to share my work with execs from Disney, PBS and several international companies.  It was quite an experience.  I pushed so hard to get ready for the conference, I’ve been exhausted catching up on all the other things I ignored while getting ready.  Hard to believe it’s taken me a whole month to feel like I’ve gained my footing again!  If you’re curious about my show ideas visit:  www. Subarashiistudio.com

I’m hoping to get back on track with posting again soon!

-Monica