Tom & Gibson Sample Artwork

Art, Children's Books, Illustration

Well… I fell off the Inktober bandwagon. Inking every day wasn’t the problem; it was the idea of sharing it every day. Sometimes the things I draw are best left inside a closed sketchbook! Once I realized that the thought of having to post something every day was not appealing to me, I remembered working on something every day was (like NaNoWriMo!). So I kept working on my main projects instead, which didn’t always involve inking or sharing.

Here’s one thing I finished up. It’s a sample page from Tom & Gibson: a quirky story about a pet and master power struggle. Meet Tom the walrus person and Gibson the purple cat.

Tom & Gibson Sample Art by Sheri Roloff

Cognito Sanchez: Opening Spread Sketch

Children's Books, Illustration, Writing

I’m excited to share a sketch of the opening spread of Cognito Sanchez: Dive Another Day! I’m working on sketching the first chapter, so more to come soon. In the meantime, you can see more illustrations here. Thanks for stopping by!

Cognito Sanchez: opening spread by Sheri Roloff


From My Sketchbook: Brie Character Study


I’m working on a character study for Brie: the main character in my story Alien Hunt. I’ve made some changes since my original drawing. I need to dive in a little deeper with more expressions and poses, and then next up are character studies for Ben and Bigglebee. That’s all for now. Thanks for tuning in!

Brie Character Sketches by Sheri Roloff


Flight of the Flightless Birds


Ostrich, Penguin and Chicken were sick of hearing “You can’t fly!” from their flight-worthy friends, so they took matters into their own hands….or wings…or talons? Flippers?!? …you know what I mean. Now they’re the most adventurous birds on the block.

I created this drawing for July’s SCBWI Draw This! word prompt: Adventure. My illustration “Noisy Ninja Bounces Back” is currently featured in the June gallery. I also posted it here. Comments and feedback are always welcome!

Flight of the Flightless Birds by Sheri Roloff

SCBWI WI Fall Conference Recap from a Newbie’s Perspective


As I mentioned in my last post, I attended my first SCBWI conference last weekend. Here are a few highlights and thoughts from the experience.

Folder artwork by David Diaz. Design by Sarah Baker.

Folder artwork by David Diaz. Design by Sarah Baker.

What surprised me

It was a smaller group than I had anticipated. Maybe 100-ish people? It was a very welcoming group, and it seems easier than I expected to get involved and make lasting connections.

What I learned

I learned a ton! I won’t go into great detail as to respect the presenters’ content rights, but it was definitely a worthwhile experience and I learned tons of tidbits on writing and illustrating various levels of kid’s books. It was really helpful to hear from author, illustrator and agent/publisher perspectives. I would definitely recommend this conference to anyone pursuing the craft of children’s books. Connecting with and learning from like-minded individuals was awesome. I look forward to attending again next year!

Two tiny (random) tidbits

Thing 1:
Conference attending 101 – keep business cards in the back of your name tag lanyard. This super basic but super convenient bit of advice was shared at the new conference attendee session lead by Melissa Gorzelanczyk. It allowed me to swiftly swap business cards with a number of people without digging in my bag like an awkward panda.

Thing 2:
“You can’t tinker a novel into working.” These wise words were spoken by Susan Campbell Bartoletti who did an extremely informative presentation geared toward novel writing called “Home Repair Tips for the DIY Writer.” I took a ton of notes, and I think a lot of her methods and recommendations translate into picture book writing as well. You can’t just tinker with the words until the story “works.” You need to make sure the fundamentals of the story are sound before you hone in on making the language just right.

Did I have the guts to use my promo materials?

Confession time. I didn’t work up the nerve to hand out my one-sheet for Run, Cheetah, Run. It just didn’t feel right! I focused more on making connections and swapping business cards vs. promoting. Maybe at a larger conference with more editors and agents it would make sense. I’m still glad I went through the exercise of making it, and I hope to use it in the future.

I’m really glad I brought an illustration portfolio. It was helpful when talking to other illustrators, especially those who also had portfolios. It was really cool to see other people’s work. I met several very talented individuals! In summary, the business cards and the portfolio were great to have.

More on illustration portfolios

I also learned a lot during a session with Martha Rago the Executive Art Director at Harper Collins Publishers. I gleaned helpful tips from her presentation and some quick, in-person feedback on my portfolio. Good news: she likes spiral bound portfolios as it supports a tidy presentation. Yay for doing one thing right! Overall though I need to ditch illustrations that aren’t telling a story and add in more sequences and narrative-building illustrations. This is something I kind of knew, but it was good to hear firsthand as it relates to my specific illustrations.

One last highlight – my manuscript critique

My in-person manuscript critique with JoAnn Early Macken was an immense help. She provided very thorough written feedback that I received the first evening of the conference. I then had 15 minutes with her the next day to discuss and ask questions. I have a lot of great actionable feedback for Run Cheetah Run to tighten and build the story. She also had a lot of positive things today say regarding the language and the premise (yay!).

To sum it up, the Wisconsin SCBWI Fall Conference was a great experience that I would wholeheartedly recommend to kid-lit authors and illustrators alike. Maybe I’ll see you there next year!

Meet Fiasco and Flatypus from The Garbage Monster


Hi there!

I’m working on a picture book called The Garbage Monster, starring Fiasco the cat and his trusty sidekick (and favorite toy) Flatypus. Here is a preliminary illustration. In this scene Fiasco is jolted awake by The Garbage Monster’s menacing sounds. Aaah!

Fiasco and Flatypus

Who or what is The Garbage Monster, you might ask? It’s a secret! Ha! At least until I post more illustrations. 🙂