Tuesday, November 26, 2013

ABFFE Art Auction Nov 26-Dec 2

The American Book Sellers For Freedom of Expression Holiday Auction is Live. American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) Click HERE for the link. New work will be added about every five minutes. NOV 26 - DEC. 2, 2013

I am participating with an original gouache illustration in this auction along with my colleagues at CBIG: Vicky Rubin, Marilyn Papas, Madonna Davidoff, Angelique Anderson and many other children's book illustrators industry wide in this worthy cause.

Monday, September 16, 2013


My illustration, Mexican Sunflowers, was exhibited at the National Heirloom Expo this month.
Mexican Sunflowers, Donna Miskend 2013

Thursday, August 15, 2013

New Theater Illustration

I'm thrilled to contribute to the current production of Mr. Bengt's Wife performed by the August Strindberg Repertory Theatre. Previews on the 13th and 14th. Performances begin September 15th. Craig Baldwin the play's director, wanted more mystery in the design. Here's my illustration before and after:

BEFORE, Donna Miskend
      More changes: new dates, more text. It's an evolution                    AFTER, Donna Miskend
the image is also a bit more refined to balance out the new layout
Final, Donna Miskend

Click HERE for further info.  and a REVIEW

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


I've contributed this original illustration to an auction, The 19th Annual Children's Book Art Auction, in support of The Kids Right To Read Program against censorship of books sponsored by ABC Children’s Group at the American Booksellers Association and American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE)There will be an on-line auction (Opens: Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 9am and closes Friday, May 24, 2013 at 9pm)in person ticketed auction (Wednesday May 29) and a holiday auction in the fall. For more information click HERE
Ha! Bunny Splash, Donna Miskend2013
This is a reinterpretation of the Mother Goose Rhyme "Rain". In my version the bunny prefers a sunny day but makes the best of a gray day and jumps in the puddle to play. I will make prints available soon.

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Next Big Thing!

It’s a global blog tour that started Down Under and has tagged numerous, FABULOUS illustrators and author/illustrators along the way. And now The Next Big Thing is here! Rules: answer the same ten questions about your work, then tag up to five wonderful artists whose work you want to champion. I’ve been tagged by Nancy Doniger, illustrator of the new book by Bob Raczka, Lemonade: and Other Poems Squeezed from a Single Word.  You can see more of her work at her blog http://www.donigerillustration.com/blog .

Here we go…
1. What is the working title of your next book?
I’m always working on book ideas. I keep a journal with key phrases, titles, an opening paragraph to a few pages of a story. The ideas are for picture books through YA. I’m almost finished with a YA novel, and I’m currently revisiting my story Cricket (working title) with some illustration revisions before I send it out. 

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
I was enjoying an afternoon at the NY Botanical Gardens and the sunlight hit an acorn cap on the path I was walking on. The story came to me literally in that moment. And I chose chipmunks as my characters because they’re so darn cute the way they scamper around. I imagine what they could be doing in their world and the story of an artist chipmunk who makes things with the plants and flowers popped into my head. Alter ego perhaps? Let’s see, cute (√), artistic (√). Hmm, her room is much neater than mine ever was. 
Donna Miskend
3. What genre does your book fall under? It’s a book about dealing with being a bit of an outsider, feeling insecure about being different but coming out stronger in the end. I think 4-8 is a good age range because kids can feel pressure to fit in starting very young.

4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
These would be animated characters, but I’d love to see Bette Midler play the mother. She’s always been her own person creatively and she supports the Central Park Conservancy, so the Botanical Gardens is a similar venture.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Cricket is about celebrating individuality through art. 

6. Who is publishing your book? 
I don't have a publisher yet. 

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
This one flowed pretty quickly and I had a first draft in a day. I wrote it at the garden. I think visually when I write so I made rough doodles for the artwork as I wrote the text idea. The next steps moved right along. I made a thumbnail draft to map out the story. After that I worked separately on the manuscript to get the text in order. Now I’m tweaking the illustrations and doing a couple more color pieces to give a better feel of the overall style of the book.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes. The other chipmunks in my story make fun of Cricket's name too. 

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
The heart of the story is about individuality. My parents encouraged me to be true to who I am and not be swayed by peer pressure. In my story the other animals make fun of Cricket and her creations. Her mother tells her to be herself. Cricket’s creations are unique and although it’s hard for her not to conform, in the end she is rewarded for that. Nature inspired me as well. I love to paint flowers and I knew I wanted to use the things I saw in the Botanical Gardens in my book. 
Donna Miskend
10. What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?
Cricket's creations are assemblages of different parts of flowers, leaves, pinecones, etc. I hope it inspires kids to make things themselves. 

Thank you for joining me on this tour. I also interview people in the arts about their work at my Conversations blog. Click here to visit. 
And for the next stop on the tour of The Next Big Thing I’ve tagged: 
Vicky Rubin    
Vicky Rubin

Click on the name to link to her site. I know you will enjoy seeing her work

Thursday, April 11, 2013


Donna Miskend 2010
This just about sums up how I feel. There's been a lot going on. But, it's finally spring! I'm soooo happy. Time to go to the Botanical Gardens and recharge my batteries. Speaking of that, this illustration of my character Cricket was inspired by a trip there. It's been on the back burner, but it's time to revise and send it out. I'm putting the finishing touches on another book dummy too. Spring really inspires me creatively.

I'll also have a recap here with more pictures from the exhibits I curated recently, Mother Goose and Dickens. I've been down for the count with a bout of sciatica so I missed the award ceremony for the Morgan Library Book Project but I will add some links with pictures shortly. And, I've been "tagged" for The Next Big Thing blog tour. The blog tour answers will be my next post, best guess on the 22nd. Also, coming this month to my Conversations blog is an interview with Arvind Garg, photographer, so look out for that one. Click on the link  HERE.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

August Strindberg Repertory Theatre - EASTER

I went to see the production of Easter, the other night by the August Strindberg Repertory Theatre. When I saw the character of Lindy, played by Jolie Garrett walk onto the stage I was struck by how the hat he wore and his broad physique was echoed in my illustration of the character. The family owes him money so I portrayed him as a shadow since he looms over them in their minds.  The robin (a bird that is typically free in the wild) represents the family and the cage symbolizes the fragility and imprisonment they seem to feel in their circumstance.  The yellow lily is both a reference to Easter and to the daughter. The image I submitted is on the left, the final product for their postcard/poster is on the right - they chose to use a different typeface.

my submission (L)   
postcard as it was produced (R)

the design worked well with the cast list and other info added

I also must mention that in a review from Stage and Cinema, the reviewer erroneously credited me with the painted black and white window backdrop used in the set design. Angelina Margolis is the set designer. Although we didn't collaborate, we both got a black and white graphic style vibe from the play. I'm enjoying the challenge of this type of illustration project and I'm looking forward to doing more projects for the theater.

Click HERE for the review from the New York Times. I love how this 19c Swedish play is transported to 1958 Harlem.The production takes the heart of the story, about relationships and circumstance and makes it relevant to a modern audience today. Robert Greer, the artistic director will appear in an interview with me on my Conversations... blog later this year. The general link to that blog is HERE and you can search under the heading of Theater.

This production runs through March 31st at the Gene Frankel Theatre in NYC. Click HERE for further info, schedule and tickets.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Morgan Library Annual Book Project

I can't believe it's already been a year since I participated in The Morgan Library Book Project award judging. Last year I read stories about the surprise of the birth of hamsters from a 3rd grader to a fantasy story by a 7th grader. This year my group was 3rd and 4th grade. There was everything from a description of a field trip to Haiku poetry. The artwork is amazing and the stories are quite impressive.

The kids learn to make their own illustrated manuscript book using real materials provided by the Morgan Library Museum. After learning about the process and visiting the real thing at the museum they are ready to create their own book with the assistance of their teachers. The kids make their paint from scratch, crushing saffron for yellow, or cochineal beetles for red (ooh, how cool is that!) and other materials in a mortar and pestle and add the binder. They even get to use gold leaf! It's such a wonderful experience for them, and I feel privileged to participate and see all of their creations.  Click HERE to see last year's award winners. And I will update this blog with this year's winners around the first week of April when the Morgan Library posts the results. The awards have been expanded and more work from the award winners will be exhibited in the museum this year, so I will have the info here. It will be well worth a trip to see the books in person as the photos don't do them justice.

Here are photos from the award ceremony this year. Some of the books are on display through April 18. click HERE

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Mother Goose

Sunday, Jan. 6 at 1pm: Meet artists of the Children’s Book Illustrators Group (CBIG), and join us for a panel discussion about their art process, what it means to them to be involved in illustrating for children,  and their reflections on Mother Goose stories both as children and as adults.  We’ll discover the inspiration and personal connections behind the work on exhibit, with an art demonstration by Roberta Rivera. Moderated by me, Donna Miskend, President of CBIG with: Sara Lisa Lavoie, Marilyn Papas, Roberta Rivera, Clare Pernice and H. Ruth Karpes. The event is suitable for kids and adults. In association with the exhibit:

Mother Goose Re-Imagined
Illustrations by the Children's Book Illustrators Group
Exhibit runs: through January 16, 2013 

 Flinn Gallery, Greenwich Public Library 
101 West Putnam Avenue, Greenwich, CT.
view http://www.cbig-nycExhibits.blogspot.com/or call the gallery at 203.622.7947 From NYC: Metro North New Haven Line, Greenwich Stn.
Exhibiting members of CBIG: Angelique Anderson, Deborah Cuneo, Diana Ting Delosh, Laura Goetz, Leeza Hernandez, Mike Herrod, Sara Kahn, H. R. Karpes, Anna Kim, Ann Koffsky, Sarah Lisa Lavoie, Kitty Leech, Donna Miskend, Sawaka Norii, Marilyn Papas, Clare Pernice, Barbara Mason Rast, Roberta M. Rivera, Vicky Rubin, Tatyanna Starikova, Cheryl Taborsky, T.T. Tyler, Wallace West, Brian Yanish

check back for pictures from the exhibit
one of my paintings on view: Mother Goose Tales 
© Donna Miskend2012