Natalia Vasquez | Exhibition in Croatia

Natalia Vasquez will exhibit her illustration work alongside her super-talented colleagues from around the world in the 6th Children’s Book Fair, taking place June 26 – July 6, 2012 in Sibenik, Croatia.  The exhibit honors 200 years of Brother’s Grimm Fairy Tales.  Here’s the exhibition poster and Natalia’s beautiful work that will be part of the show.  Image



Super Jane is now blogging!

Super Jane is now blogging! Check and get the latest scoop on the curious & creative activities of super star T2 artist, Jane Smith!

“I’m Not Too Little to Help the Earth,” Illustrated by Natalia Vasquez

This is a copy of a December 5th blog post found here:

Title: I’m Not too Little to help the Earth
Author: W.Y Taylor
Illustrated: Natalia Vasquez

Ages/Grades: K-1 (5-6 Years old)

Buy it a this link:Amazon!

This is a short book for a kindergarten and first grader to read to learn about some things and actions that they can do to contribute to the improvement of the world. Kids in this grade (Kindergarten & 1st grade) sometimes see themselves as “little people” that are not as important because they do not drive a car or can speak with a firm voice. They look up to adults who are able to make a difference and role model after them. This book shows that their actions can help the earth too. The book mentions simple things like turning off the light before leaving a room, using two sides of the paper to color and draw, not always having to ask parents to buy the newest toys. This is helping them to become more independent, more mature, and more responsible for themselves as well as taking care of the earth. Recycling is mentioned several times in this short story book and they can even start to recycle. We sometimes overlook children as followers but if we show them what they can do to help out and they see it to as a result, they can soon be leaders; leading other children to do the same thing. This book doesn’t just show how children can be proactive, the kids (characters) in this book are being proactive by saving the earth one action at a time.

SJE: This book is the 6th social justice element. The children in the book do not want the world and earth to go “bad” because of all the wasting of water, paper, and electricity, so they do something about it. They put their desire into action. They turned off the water while brushing their teeth, they use two sides of the paper, and they turned off the lights before leaving the room (being proactive and putting their action to work, showing to others what they are doing so it can be spread).

Activity: After reading this book, you can discuss some ideas and make a GOALS LIST on what the kids can do at home to improve the earth. They can spread the word of recycling and conserving energy to their parents, friends, siblings, etc. By the end of the week, they can see if they can finish and complete the GOALS LIST. Also, you can introduce recycling to them and have a recycling race. Have a bunch of recycleables spread out and mixed up on the ground and they have to have a race on who can fill up the different recycleable cans the fastest (paper, glass, cans, etc)

Helpful Resources:

Publisher’s Weekly Starred Review for “Why Do I Have to Make My Bed?”

Illustrated by our own Johanna van der Sterre, “Why Do I Have to Make My Room” (Tricycle Press, 2011) was given a glowing and starred review by Publisher’s Weekly. 

Why Do I Have to Make My Bed? Or, A History of Messy Rooms
Wade Bradford, illus. by Johanna van der Sterre, Random/Tricycle, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-58246-327-8
Why is it that, throughout the ages, kids’ chores are never considered complete unless they also make their beds? Bradford, a children’s playwright making his book debut, and van der Sterre (Feivel’s Flying Horses) have compiled a terrific people’s history, moving backward in time with generation after generation of child asking the titular question. “Me already clean cave!” says a prehistoric boy to his harried, leopard-skin clad mother. “Me hunt mammoth! Me dust stalagmites. Me make fire! Why me have to make bed? It just get messed up again!” But centuries of pleading have clearly done no good, because the irrefutable reply is always the same: “Because I said so.” While playing up the timelessness and universality of the human condition (at least as far as chores are concerned), the text and pictures underscore the evolving demands and trappings of domestic life. With its clever premise, keenly observed visual comedy, and easygoing pedagogy (an excellent afterword draws more directly on scholarship), this book deserves a place on the shelves next to the Magic School Bus series. Ages 4–7. (Feb.)

Coming in February 2011 from Tricycle Press

dance STEP-by-STEP

Here’s sneak peek into the making of Dance Y’all Dance, a picture book written by Kelly Bennett that I illustrated and is being released this November (Bright Sky Press). It was the most fun project I’ve ever worked on. The story is set in the not too distant past when families, farm hands and cowboys & gals would get together on weekends at the local honky tonk. I did some research into clothing styles, period furniture, Texas symbols and olde timey dance halls, then chose to keep the colors vivid and saturated to give the book a contemporary look.

Once I had the scene sketched, I redrew it on Strathmore 10-ply paper with a Berol Prismacolor pencil…then laid a wash of ultramarine & yellow ochre. With a wet q-tip or small brush, I picked out highlights.


Using the new tones as a guide, I start to lay in color in gouache, working from dark to light. What interests me now is the design of shadows, losing and finding edges and letting a little of the wash show through as line.  I make an effort to not have perfectly symmetrical faces as I believe it lends to more effective expressions.


I continue building layers of paint to emphasize form, adding texture, patterns, detail and highlights.  Finally scanning into photoshop, I clean and fine tune the piece.


So there you have it.  I love playing with color.  I love visiting my works-in-progress (aka “children”) every morning.  I love this job!

Working on:  another country-themed book offering, but that’s all I’m gonna say right now!  In the meantime, here is an interview I did on the author’s website, if’n you’re interested:

Tugeau 2 artists win poster contest prizes at NESCBWI!



Two Tugeau 2 artists won awards for their poster art the Annual New England SCBWI Conference (April 25-27, 2009). About 50 artists took part in the contest and showcased their own illustrated concept of the theme “Many Voices”. T2 artist Kathy Weller won prizes in two categories: Best in Show, Published Artist and Third Place,  Viewer’s Choice. T2 artist Dani Jones won Second Place, Published Artist. Yay for T2 artists!!

holiday sneak peek

Remember the time you waited until no one was around, crawled under the Christmas tree, peeled back the corner wrapping of your present and took a peek?  This is going to be something like that.

Except that this time, Mrs. Nicole Tugeau Claus is fully aware and gives a wink and a nod.  I was asked to paint the image for this year’s Tugeau 2 holiday card.  Knowing I wanted to show a variety of animals and convey the hope and magic of the season, I sketched and rendered the following illustration.


The next challenge was to create a piece of spot art for the back of the card that played off the main illustration.  This is a fun part in creating narrative illustration…to give visual hints as to what may happen next. In this case, the subplot is easy to catch.  A gift is given, it is received…and the mouse soars.


So if you receive one of these holiday cards in the mail, just act surprised. How did we know … it’s what you’ve always wanted!

currently painting: 6 illustrations for May/June 09 Ladybug Magazine
currently writing: short stories and poetry for a themed anthology

Happy Holidays!

Terri Murphy