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OK, Whodunit?

On friday I received a letter with no return address. I opened it up and inside was this lovely hand-painted card:Jambo and Sneak cardThere was no note, but the sender clearly knew me and my pets- as this is a great depiction of our Mastiff, Jambo, and our cat, Sneak. Here is what they look like in real life:Jambo and Sneak

Now, I immediately assumed this thoughtful card was from the super talented Julie Rowan-Zoch, who draws and paints all sorts of wonderful and whimsical critters. And, Julie knew that poor Jambo was recently diagnosed with bone cancer and that I was heartbroken.

I sent her an effusive thank you note to which she replied: “Sorry, Iza, I didn’t send you anything!…”

Dumfounded, I began to search for clues, and, sure enough, the postmark was from Minneapolis- not the city or state where Julie lives.

So, now I have a mystery to solve. Here are the facts of the case: This person is thoughtful.  This person is a talented artist.  This person knows me and my pets. In fact, this person knows that I have one dog and one cat and not the two dogs that appear on my un-updated website (our Aussie, Grommit, died a few years ago.) This person has my mailing address. This person either resides in Minneapolis, was visiting Minneapolis, or sent the card to someone in Minneapolis to send to me. This person is sneaky!

Peeps, can you help me solve this case?

Or, dear sender of this card, will you turn yourself in, so that justice- in the form of a proper thank you- can be served?

Illustrators Contest at Susanna Hill’s!

An illustrators contest? Over at Susanna Leonard Hill’s? What? A cover illustration for a fractured fairy tale? Let me be the judge of that… oh, wait, I am one of the judges! :-) Yes, my colleague and friend, Lisa Thiesing and I will pick the winning entries. And Susanna always has great prizes. In fact, a portfolio review is one of them! So all you wonderful illustrators- hurry over to Susanna’s  Illustrators Contest and find out all about it. You have three weeks. Have fun and good luck!

Skype School Visits

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! Unknown

On an unrelated topic,  I am over at Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog talking about the ins and outs of school visits via Skype. Join us!

What Skunk Had to Say (a love poem)

Last year for Valentine’s Day, I wrote a poem about a smitten porcupine who marries a skunk- though he objects to her scent. If you would like to read (or reread) it,  here’s the link: Will You Be My Valentine?   And here is the new poem I wrote  for today:

Valentine Skunk

What Skunk Had to Say

Oh Porcupine, my Porcupine
My dearest darling Valentine,

 You say that I’m a smelly one
And so I have been told,
But you, my prickly one, I wed
To have but not to hold.

Alas, you are not huggable,
But still you are my mensch.
For better or for worse, my dear,
In fresh air and in stench.

 Oh Porcupine, my Porcupine
My dearest darling Valentine,

 Be kind and do not hold your nose
And run out of the room
If I should overwhelm you 
With my signature perfume.

You made a serious wedding vow
To love me all your life,
But please, my dear, accept you have
A stinker for a wife.

 By Iza Trapani 2-13-2014 ©

Happy Valentine’s Day to all you stinkers out there!

And  this week the wonderful Linda Baie at TeacherDance is hosting Poetry Friday. Please be sure to stop by and read some other poems!


Picture Book Illustration: Dealing with mistakes

A question from a reader:

What happens if you make a watercolor mistake, how do you determine if it is still ok, or you fix it as much as you can, do you still show the publisher? Especially if it is a piece you have put in long hours, a lot of people say only the artist can see the mistake as we are the most critical; still, the publisher may be even more so. In my own painting, some cupcakes did not turn out as I’d hoped, but I wonder could they be photoshopped later by the publisher, if the artist doesnt have photoshop? My main question is, do you re do the whole thing for one little area of a large painting or see if it can be salvaged via photoshop first?

They say that the difference between an amateur and a professional is that the professional knows how to fix mistakes. That is true to some degree, but not entirely. Even professionals have to start over at times.

In my watercolor illustrations, I improve my chances for fixing mistakes More

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