This is my journey in creating concepts, writing, illustrating, finding a literary agent, and becoming a published children's book author and illustrator for the picture book genre.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

crossing over into Acrylics

I have recently crossed over into another media that I love. The colors are so vibrant and beautiful. Acrylics are new to me, but quickly becoming a medium that I am drawn to. I love how it allows me to punch the color and layer for depth. Below is my newest piece that I have created. I recently submitted it into the scbwi illustration monthly for the prompt "borrow".  It seems  the ladybug has her heart set on the red one. How will bear feel about this? Like any good friend, Bear will gladly lend her the balloon the lady bug desires.

This piece will also be going up for auction at my children's school, Maumee Valley Country Day School. They will also be holding their auction online. It is a 16x20 stretched canvas piece. If you have a desire for this piece, please contact the Maumee Valley Country Day School Development Department for more information. Their phone number is 419-381-1313 for more information.

My acrylic adventure hasn't stopped there. I am working on another piece. This piece is still a "work in progress", but I am excited to see where it takes me.  Here is a pic of where I am at this time with this piece. It is an acrylic version of my ant. Andy is telling his story. To be honest, I am actually creating this for me. It is my inspiration to never give up on Andy and his story.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Well, moving along with my illustration and demonstrating cohesion in color palette and character. I really like what I am creating. Every time I try to cut back with a softer palette, I find myself picking up the paintbrush and using a color with yellow tones and cool bright blues. The winter dull drums are definitely weighing in. I need spring, so I paint with spring colors! Andy's journey is continuing. I need to finish up some details in the newest piece, but it is really coming along and should be finished soon.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

An artistic late bloomer

There are times where my confidence is rattled by that voice that tries to remind me that my pursuit is silly. It likes to state that the art I create isn't art. An artist creates on mediums with technique that far surpasses mine. What I create is nothing more that scribbles and doodles. More often than not, many family members don't acknowledge what I do as professional worthy. It is usually more of, "Oh, you can draw a bit, right?"  Art can lead to the most negative of self talks. I think that may be the case because it is so weighted and valued by others' opinions. The truth of it is that I love what I create and my work grows with each page I illustrate. I do have a gift for taking criticism and applying it when called for to recreate a piece. Art is subjective. Not everyone will like what you do...and that is okay.

As an artistic late bloomer, I am really trying to catch up with those I am now aligning my work with. I listen to professional feedback and continue to apply it. Some of the wisest words I have received were from an artist named Ruth Sanderson. Google her work. Her art transcends generations. It has a renaissance feel with a modern day spin. Her stories are wonderful. I love them and so do my boys. It is easy to get lost in her art though. I remember hearing her talk at a conference. Some of her work would take 6 mos to complete one page. Art doesn't have to be rushed. She is a prime example of it. Receiving one of her books is similar to receiving an art gallery that fits in your hands. 
A few years ago, she briefly looked over my portfolio. She wasn't impressed. I was not in the same genre. She told me to look at grass outside and asked, "Is it always green?" My palette consisted of mostly primary. Where was my depth? It was these words that I have pondered over in the last two years. Her words made me aware of backgrounds. Sure, grass is green; it is also yellow, blue, purple, grey, and more depending on lighting and the condition of the grass. I still paint my grass green, but in varieties of green. I add all the above colors to it and more. 
Onto my latest piece that I am working on. It is a page from my Any the Ant story. He loses his way as he becomes lost in the beauty of his surroundings. He stops to smell the flowers. His Ant family continues to march on and away.
 Below is the newest piece that I am working on. This piece conveys the cause of the crisis of the story. Will Andy be able to find his way?
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Monday, February 29, 2016

Andy the Ant

 For several years now, a character has remained dear to my heart. He was the start of my crazy journey. He inspired me to write. He encouraged my boys to use their manners. He became a name in this house that was as common as Mickey Mouse to others. My book I wrote was laid out in a Photo album. My boys would sit down and study the pictures and read the words. He started out as a crayon drawing utilizing simplistic shapes that children could relate to. His journey was simple and to the point. This character evolved and grew as the years went by. His simple shapes began to grow a bit more complex in colors and character. Andy the Ant began to have little adventures as I created him into a tangible character. Sometimes the words of his story were more complex than the character himself. I think that was my problem. I had created a character who was simple, sweet, kind, and childlike. Unfortunately his story did not follow his character persona. After a few redo's and several hours, days, and months spent with those my ant is modeled after, I began to notice that his wordy adventures needed to become less "wordy" and more illustrated. The audience of Andy react according to their emotions. So does this character. His adventure is emotion driven. It is an emotion identified and verbalized in illustration. We see  joy and regret. The journey he embarks on is is the cause of his wandering nature of enjoying the moment without regard to the task he was given. He loses his way as the ants march away. Andy is lost. Now what should he do?
This is a preschool learning moment that all preschoolers can relate to. They have felt that feeling of "where's my parent".  A story that ran almost 500 words when I first created it, I have now tasked myself with re creating it in less than 150 words.
Andy the Ant is an illustrated driven story using limited text that will hold the attention of the newly emerging reader. The target age is 2-4 years/ preschool. It is a "read to me" story that a preschool teacher and parent will both enjoy reading aloud while allowing a child to create the story by what they see. This will offer visual and auditory learning by how it is used.. I love a great book that a child will take to a reading nook and become lost in its illustrations. It begs the question, "What do you see?" That is where you truly see the story emerge. Their eyes become big and alert at the thought of what could be. It isn't limiting. It is an open adventure full of color and imagination. That is where reading really begins. Later in life, we are able to create our own visual imagination that correlates with text of an engaging story. At this age, it is about illustration that lures them into the interest of the text. In kindergarten, the text and illustration become one. They, together, teach the skill of reading.
Above are a couple pages I have put together. Below is another page sketched out and ready for paint. I am very partial to watercolor and find inspiration in vintage works of A.A. Milne and Beatrix Potter. My colors hold vibrancy as I am very fond of colors and have found my audience to be just as fond of them.
Be sure to follow me on Face book at Children's Book Illustrator, Author, and Blogger- Cassaundra Dunbridge. You can also use the link in the tabs at the top. It will take you right on over to that page. I post on that page regularly with updates and page progressions. I am also on twitter @CDunbridge and pinterest @cassaundragirl.
Always aspiring and creating,

Monday, January 11, 2016

the learning curve of illustration

Time has gone by and I have been quite a busy bee, but my job hunt hasn't been nearly as kind. I am still subbing at the school where my children attend, but it isn't a regular deal. The resumes continue to go out. Even in the lapse of ongoing employment, my artistic endeavors seem to keep me busy.
I am exploring a new style of illustration. I am working with Thortful, an online greeting card company based in England. Please visit them and my gallery at if you are interested in my artwork for your thank you notes and more. They have offered guidance and advice to encourage my style to target that market. While working with them, I have created some new illustrations for the greeting card line. Below are an example of three pieces that I have created. These have been created in water color.
I think the hardest task was putting text to the art. My earlier pieces that I used from my portfolio
were created with story text.
I am a children's book artist and author, That is where my head goes. Unfortunately, that doesn't sell cards. My task was to create a moment. That is where I continue to work at this time. I want to bring some more diversity to my art, too.I am trying out some new perspectives, characters, and interactions.
Here is another piece that I recently created using colored pencil. You may see a lot of dogs in my art. Well, I have two dogs; both shelter dogs. They are great models and inspiration for my artwork.
My artwork has also been used for a local rescue group's apparel line. I volunteer my time and artwork to help rescue and raise money for the dogs by creating apparel illustrations and media marketing materials. Below are some examples of my illustrative contributions. 
Over the next couple days, I will be updating my portfolio to reflect the changes I have made to my art and the direction I am taking it. I am still a children's book illustrator and author working towards the goal of traditional publishing. Throughout my journey, I have had a super hero of sorts by my side. He was my copy editor and personal cheerleader. A little over a month ago he passed away. I still struggle with his passing and have a hard time conveying the pain I feel at the loss of his presence in my life and journey. Many had words to share, I could only create an illustration. Gerald Zepeda of has passed on and I truly miss him. Below is my tribute to him. He encouraged me to embrace my dream. He would edit for me on a moment's notice. I had always imagined that this road I traveled would include him . It did for a few years, but now I travel without him. Fare thee well, friend. Thank you for your support, friendship, exchange of words, and more. Every time I evaluate my grammar, sentence structures, use of tenses, love of the hated adverb, and my inept inability to write about myself and my accomplishments, I will remember you. What would Gerald say? What words of encouragement would he lend?