How cool is this?! Topographical Map Printed Pet Carrier! Released a couple weeks ago for Dog Is Good license. I got one for my fuzzy baby! ‘Never travel alone!’ 



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Detail of print


The past few weeks I’ve been elbow deep into re-designing my studio. I painted the ceiling (fixed the leak!), the walls, and even the trim! I updated the hardware before I scrubbed, cleaned and shined the windows and floor. With my beautiful new rug and chair in place I couldn’t help but go out and get a new monitor.. and while I was at it an Intuous tablet.. and wireless mouse and keyboard.. Okay.. so maybe it was more then ‘Redecorating’. It was more like a ‘Rebirth!’ At the moment  I’m waiting to hear back on some non-pet related prints for a change. My fingers are still crossed on this one, but I’m very excited about it!

Excited to see that The Queen’s Game has been released on the MeeGenius website! See the first few pages for free here:The Queen's Game



But first… a word about words.. 

A year and a few months ago a census taker came to my door. For the first time I had to answer all those tedious sorts of personal questions in one-to-three word answers. Inevitably the census taker came to a question that should not have made my mouth hang open like a moron… but it did. ‘Occupation?’ Occupation??? In one-to-three words? I started at him like an idiot with my mouth hanging open. How do I answer? Do I answer? Do I answer with my lifelong goal (and what I consider myself to be) which is ‘Illustrator’? Or do I answer what my job title is at PetEdge (which is a mouthful: ‘New Product Development Designer/Packaging Designer’). Or do I just stay generic and say ‘Designer’ to avoid further questions and to close my gapping mouth? Ironically, at the exact time the census taker was knocking at my door I was working on a Website Design for a freelance client. Where does that fit in?

Finally I gave an answer that some in the industry would actually consider a dirty word: ‘Commercial Artist’. There. I felt satisfied enough. Commercial Artist may be a term that artist’s derogate from, but I’ve come to use the word as a crutch for my elevator pitch. It is the simplest way to include everything that I do without leaving anything out. I love what I do, I’m very proud of what I do, and I think it is very important to answer correctly and personally. As you can tell the whole experience left me questioning the weight of words when it comes to labeling (especially one’s self). That is why I decided to not limit my new website to words. Introducing: 


Design…astration! Designastration Studio! Perfect! Is it Illustration?! Is it Design?! Yes! It’s both! Because that’s who I am. And I’m proud of who I am.. I’m a Designastrator! Ha!
So the Polaris Studio website will be slowly phasing out. I’ve enjoyed making websites on the side but I enjoy creating illustrations and surface designs much, much more. I’m so thankful for all the websites I’ve been able to help design and produce. They have enabled me to be in control of my career. But it’s time to concentrate, narrow down, and allow myself to focus on what I love. 

Sometimes when I need a pick-me-up I go on the web and find images of people and their pets enjoying the products I’ve designed. I find them on Facebook and one retailer websites where customers can leave pictures with reviews of products. Here are some of my favorites in no particular order:

casual-canine-digital-camo-dog-tank-9766 holiday-monkey-business-dog-dress-tiff-7572 holiday-monkey-business-dog-dress-tiff-9736 monkey-business-dog-dress-tiff-5362 monkey-business-dog-dress-tiff-6309 monkey-business-dog-pajamas-ty-8978 monkey-business-dog-robe-ty-9431 monkey-business-dog-tshirt-ty-6050 Vegas & Dexter zack-and-zoey-flutter-bugs-dog-dress-bumble-bee-9791 zack-and-zoey-flutter-bugs-stowaway-dog-jacket-lady-bug-green-9661-1 zack-and-zoey-hoot-and-howl-owl-dog-tshirt-8592 zack-and-zoey-hoot-and-howl-owl-dog-tshirt-8598

If you’re the mommy or daddy of some of these babies, I’d love to hear from you and see more pics!


Book #2 for MeeGenius: The Queen’s Game
Paintings are all done and in good hands! Time for a well deserved rest and maybe a long awaited trip to the yoga studio.

Here are some sneak-a-peeks of my favorite pages. I think these will be my next postcard.


In anticipation of tonights ‘Virtual Book Tour’ of ‘Right This Instant’ I’m releasing my Q & A with Christine Alemshah. Christine is the author of this adorable story and I have been so lucky to get to know her through email. One thing about the publisher, MeeGenious, that I love is that they let me choose the stories I illustrate from a short accumulation that they think may fit my work. When I read this story I knew it was going to be a winner. Christine’s work is wonderful and it’s been so great working with her.

Q: When did you discover you wanted to write children’s stories and what was the catalyst?

A: I was in third grade when I found out it was possible to create my own books. My teacher taught me how to write, illustrate, and bind my own picture books. Ever since that time I knew I would want to publish books some day. In college, I took a course called ‘Writing Books for Children’ that introduced me to all the different genres of children’s books. Still, picture books stood out as my favorite. That was back in 2001. It wasn’t until my 30th birthday that I had an epiphany; it was time to get serious about my writing dreams. It feels great to be pursuing them, and I hope to encourage others to do the same.
Q: What was the first story you ever had published and who published it?
A: My first story ever published was ‘Max and Digby’s Big Day’ for Stories for Children Magazine. That was a wonderful experience. They regularly accepted stories from new writers and were very diligent about showing us how the editorial process works. My experiences with them were invaluable.
Q: We found each other on the SCBWI website! How long have you been a member of SCBWI and have you found it valuable?
A: I have been a member of SCBWI since 2010. I found out about SCBWI through children’s author, Merrily Kutner. She was leading a session at the Central Coast Writer’s Conference. She mentioned that anyone who wanted to get serious about writing for children should join. And that was exactly what I wanted to do, so I joined. Almost every connection I have made has been through SCBWI — education, local conferences, friendships, and my critique group.
Q: You mentioned to me that you have completed 12x12x12. (An author challenge of writing 12 picture book manuscripts a year. A manuscript a month!) Did you find that useful and would you do it again?
A: Yes! Most definitely! I completed 12 drafts last year, one of which I am in the revisions process with and am hoping will be my next published work!
Q: Was ‘Right This Instant’ a 12x12x12 manuscript?
A: Actually it was not. It was written in 2011 before I joined the challenge. It was revised several times before being picked up by a publisher. I think revision is an essential part of the writing process.
Q: Are there any other manuscripts from the 12x12x12 challenge that you feel may be picked-up soon?
A: I have one out of the twelve that I feel is particularly close, and two others that need a bit more revising.
Q: Your website and blog are very well put together. They used to be separate, right? What benefits are you expecting to have them together and have you noticed any advantages already?
A: I really enjoy using the WordPress blogging platform as I am familiar with the backend and know how to navigate it pretty well. I feel I can better promote the site when everything is neat and tidy in one place. I am a picture book writer; Concise could be my middle name.
Q: Are there any other websites besides scbwi.org that you use to keep in touch with colleagues and promote to publishers? Facebook? Jacketflap?
A: I use FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads. I also am a member of Verla Kay’s Message Board, also known as the blue boards, an online forum for Children’s Writers and Illustrators.
Q: Do you belong to any critique groups and if so do you find them useful? Also, how does yours work?
A: Yes. I am a member of the Newport Beach SCBWI Critique Group. We hold monthly meetings. Being part of a critique group has helped me grow in many ways. I’m better able to identify my writing weaknesses, so I don’t keep making the same mistakes over and over, and I’ve improved my ability to provide constructive feedback to others. I love seeing how everyone’s projects progress over time. ‘Right This Instant’ was critiqued several times by the group.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: I am working on a character-driven picture book featuring Emilene, a spirited girl who tends to challenge conventional ideas, in this case being how the tooth fairy delivers treats for lost teeth.
Q: How often do you write? Do you have a schedule or do you write when inspiration strikes?
A: In the summer, I try to write every morning. During the school year, I fit it in whenever possible. I often have napkins or receipts stuffed in my purse with notes on them. And yes, I sometimes have to stop everything and write when inspiration strikes.
Q: Do you have any mentors? Or authors you really admire and wish to meet someday?
A: I have been fortunate enough to meet both of the current Picture Book Authors who influence me the most at the SCBWI LA Summer Conference, Jon Sciescka and Deborah Underwood. They were both kind and encouraging. Others I hope to meet someday include: Pam Calvert, Tammi Sauer, and Mo Willems.

Q: Favorite animal :) ?

A:I love English Bull Terriers … and turtles.


Some great news! ‘Right This Instant‘ is now available through MeeGenious.com! The author, Christine Alemshah is having a Virtual Book Launch on July 24th. You know I’ll be there!


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