We’re on Kindle!

Very, Very Excited!

Zero and One is now on Kindle!


Author Jeff Byington has been working diligently to get our book transformed into a Kindle version, available on Amazon.com!

You know, those wonderfully tempting instantly downloadable buy-with-one- click books?


Verry dangerous for us bibliophiles!

But also very convenient!


And My OTHER Girl!!!


This has been a week of my girls doing amazing things!

Our oldest daughter, Jordan Boesch is the featured artist today on

Annapolis & Company
Creativity in the Everyday

Mary Beth is doing an awesome series about young creative ladies.

It is truly inspiring.

And so is my girl, who made her Mama cry as she read the interview.

…And also laugh when she saw pictures of her
sand-covered chock-full-of-life Grandboys!

Jordan, who mastered Spencerian Penmanship at the age of 15,
has a design business where she specializes in hand-drawn
logos and lettering for websites, branding, and marketing.

If you are in need of an artist that will work with you to
create¬†a very special look for your business or blog…

Go visit my girl at…

Hey There. Design

Sometimes Life Happens…

I think one of my favorite quotes is
“The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley.”¬†

I even like its source… a poem by Robert Burns entitled…

To a Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest with a Plough

Just like that wee, sleekit, cow’rous tim’rous beastie,
sometimes my wee-bit housie is in a bit of a ruin,
and all my plans the win’s are strewin!

Such has been life the past week or so… Just a bit busy!

There have been frames to fill…

And more to make…

And things to cut out…

And some more…

And some more to go…

Yet in the midst of work, there have been streets to walk…

And places to shop…

Critters to befriend…

And quiet spots to rest.

But… I’m still sketching!

An’ forward, tho’ I canna see,
I hope these 31 Days posts will be
completed before I put up the Tree!

To see all the posts for
Pie from Scratch
click on the picture below!

Working with a Model…

One of the posts that I had planned for the Pie from Scratch series was about working with a model. Artists usually have a basic understanding of proportions and the mechanics of how the body changes as it bends and moves… but it really helps to have someone walk through your story scenes to get realistic poses. Sometimes, working with a model gives you poses you would have never thought of, if you were drawing from memory. Check out this photo I took of my young friend Dory and her Mom, who was pretending to cut open a pumpkin…

While taking that shot, I was focussing on how it might look if someone was trying to stick a knife into a hard pumpkin shell, but when I looked at the picture later, I realized I had caught something special on “film”… Dory’s relaxed, completely natural, only-a-kid-would-stand-like-this, stance! I have GOT to work this into an illustration…

I mean, check out those feet!

I would have never thought of that pose!

P.S. LOVE the shirt, Dory!


A while back, I wrote a whole post on working with
a live model that goes into a lot more detail…

You can see it by Clicking Here!

See all the blog posts about making
Pie from Scratch!
by clicking below!

Store Bought or Home Grown…

I bought eggs today.

Usually I don’t buy eggs…
We have a home-grown supply thanks to our gals…

But for research purposes, I broke down and bought a dozen.

This is what they look like in the box…
Pretty white, and very uniform in size and shape…

I don’t know how they get the chickens to lay eggs like that.

My chickens lay eggs that look like this…

The only thing consistent about the eggs around
Thistle Dew Farm¬†is what’s inside…

The egg on the left is store-bought.

The egg on the right is home-grown.

Fresh, home-grown eggs have bright orange yolks instead of pale yellow.
They “stand up” in the pan… the white isn’t all watery.

And they taste like an EGG.

Once you get used to eating them, it’s hard to go back to store-bought!

Annie’s day of pie-making includes gathering eggs from her Pop’s hens.

Have you ever gathered fresh eggs?

We’ve kept chickens for about fifteen years,
and here’s what we’ve learned about them…

Hens… female chickens… start laying eggs somewhere between 4 and 6 months old. They lay about an egg a day, unless they’re molting, or getting new feathers. They sometimes lay more… especially in the spring. They sometimes lay less… like in the winter months, or extremely hot or cold weather. Young hens are very productive egg layers, and older gals space theirs out more and eventually stop laying all together. Sometimes the older hens will lay BIG eggs. Sometimes young hens will lay double-yolkers. Once, we found a triple-yolk egg… and boy, was it HUGE!

To make baby chickens, you need roosters. (Don’t worry Moms, that’s as far as I’m going with that. Keeping this Rated G.) Roosters are male chickens and they crow. A LOT. It’s a good idea to make sure your neighbors like the idea of farm animals before you get roosters. (Or you can bribe them with home grown eggs.) If you have roosters, some of your eggs will be fertilized, but chicks will not grow inside the egg unless a broody hen decides to set on them. Broody means she really wants to be a Mama Hen, and she will not be happy with you if you try to take any eggs out from under her. She may try to hid her eggs from you and set in a secluded place. If we have a broody hen, we’ll gather up a small pile of eggs for her and encourage her to set in the barn instead of the hen house. (Because she will try to set on every egg she sees and get them mixed up!) Her chicks will hatch 21 days from the day she begins setting on them… even if some are a week old before she sets. I think that is absolutely fascinating.

And that’s what I know about chickens.

If you ever come visit, we’ll introduce you to ours!

See all the blog posts about making
Pie from Scratch!
by clicking below!

A Little Perspective…

Landscapes are not my “thing.”

I love landscape paintings, but have always had
a difficult time making them look realistic.
They always seemed a little “flat”… No depth.

But in the last couple of years, I’ve learned a few
tips for adding perspective to landscapes!

Tip #1… Overlapping

You can make objects look like they are near or far by simply
overlapping them… One will appear to be in front of the other!

Tip #2… ¬†Size

You can make an object appear closer by making it larger, and you can
make an object appear to be far away¬†by making it smaller…

Tip #3… Placement

Placing an object higher up on the paper
makes it appear to be in the background…
…placing it near the bottom of the page puts it in the foreground.
They higher an object is in the painting, the farther away it will appear!

Tip #4… Atmospheric Perspective

That one sounds pretty technical, huh?

One of the early masters of atmospheric perspective was Leonardo da Vinci! Atmospheric perspective simply means that things up close are bright and crisp, while things far away are lighter colored and a bit fuzzy. Maybe even a little blue-ish, or hazy. Next time you’re outside, and able to see a long way… such as at the beach, or in the mountains, or standing in a field… take a good look at how things look both far away and up close.

I’m still working on the Pumpkin Patch illustration…

Can you see how all four of these tips are being used in it?

Copyright Kim Frey, 2012

See all the blog posts about making
Pie from Scratch!
by clicking below!


Light and Shadow…

Whoops! I fell off the Blogosphere!

After a crazy weekend…

… And a Monday to gather my wits…

I’m climbing back on!

I figure I’ll just “count” posts up to 31, even if they don’t match the date.

So here goes POST #19…

Learning to Look for Light and Shadow…

Painting with different media provides different challenges in depicting light and shadow. I painted with acrylic paints when I was much younger, and always began with a dark background, building up to lighter colors. White highlights were the last thing added to an acrylic painting, such as the shine on an apple, or the twinkle in an eye.

In my 30’s, I took a watercolor painting class, and what a difference! Painting with transparent watercolor is completely opposite to painting with opaque acrylics. Because you can see through watercolor, you can’t just add white on top because the colors beneath will show through. Technically, there is no real “white” watercolor paint… most watercolor sets will offer some sort of opaque white pigment if you want to try to “fix” an area that you wanted to be white, but they don’t work very well. So how do you get white and other light colors?

You have to “save” the white. Basically, when painting with watercolor, you have to think ahead about where your lightest whitest colors will be, and paint “backward,” from lights to darks. If you want an area to be stark white, such as a highlight or gleam of sunlight, you can paint those spots with Masking Fluid. It’s sort of rubbery, so I like to keep a bar of soap nearby… you can suds up your brush on the soap before dipping it into your masking fluid. Oh… and use an old brush!

Once you have the white areas masked off, you can
paint a very light layer of paint over the entire object.
The lighter areas will be this color…

Since my light source is coming from the left,
the next step was to build up the darker colors
on the right side of the cream separator…

It works best to build up layers when the paint is still slightly wet…
Unless you want sharp lines, like you see on the legs.

When the paint is drier, you can use a “dry brush” technique
(As in not a sloppy wet brush)¬†to add in the darker details…

And finally, you can remove the masking with a rubber masking eraser!

I’ll probably add in some more shadows later, using some grays mixed from the orange and blue, but isn’t it neat to see how you can show light and shadow with a single color? I actually love “looking for the light” when painting, and when I’ve been painting a lot, it seems that I find myself looking at everything in terms of lights and shadows. The more you “look for the light” and see how it shines in contrast to dark areas… the more you take notice of how the white of the paper even glows right through the other colors… the better your eyes are trained to recognize the light.

I think that’s pretty profound.

Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet,
and a light unto my path.
Psalm 119:105

See all the blog posts about making
Pie from Scratch!
by clicking below!

Designing Sketches…

Sketches often seem to develop as they are worked on. The Whatchamacallit from yesterday’s post was going to be a small “spot” illustration, since my thumbnail for that page only included the one item. The sketch began with taking a bunch of pictures of it out in the sunlight. This one gave me the best light/shadow combination, which will help when it comes time to paint…

First, I sketched it in my sketchbook to practice the shapes and angles. Then I noticed an old milk can in the store that would look great beside it. And then I remembered that I want to try to tuck a pumpkin or two in each illustration, so in went a pumpkin. Then my kitty was playing the “I want in, I want out” game, which always involves lot of leg rubbing… and a bell went off in my head that she might be very interested if she lived on a farm, and this Whatchamacallit was in use.

Last, but not least, I looked back at my storyboard, and discovered I had drawn the whole scene backward. It needed to be reversed. So I flipped it over on my makeshift iPad lightbox¬†and traced the lines on the back of the paper. (VERY makeshift… You have to draw carefully so you don’t damage the iPad screen, and the touch sensitive screen will also wiggle around under your drawing if it senses your hand movement!) ¬†Then, I retraced a better version on my desk/lightbox… Several times, until it was “just right.” And then a final, very light tracing onto watercolor paper, using a sharp 4H pencil. (Not 4-H the club, 4H the hardness grade!)

It’s been challenging to learn how to design a sketch over the years. An artist has to think about the elements that should be in the picture, arrange them in the space you want to fill, and wiggle them around until they fit and seem balanced in the composition. I used to try to draw the whole thing from memory, and then get frustrated because it didn’t look right. Gradually, I’ve learned to take photos from different angles, use Google image searches to find quick reference pictures, and to keep a sketchbook filled with lots of various sketches that you might need later. And to be patient… a good illustration has been drawn and drawn and drawn again!

P.S…. Did you figure out what the mystery item is?

It’s a Cream Separator!

Fresh milk has the cream all mixed in with the milk, but if you let it sit for a short while, the cream will rise to the top. This style of separator has two small windows that lets the farmer see when the cream and milk have separated, and the milk can be tapped off the bottom. You can still buy a similar version!¬†¬†The “whole milk” that we buy in the grocery store today is “homogenized,” which means it’s been processed so the fat or cream is broken down into smaller bits that won’t separate from the milk. Not too long ago, they even sold milk in special “Cream on Top” bottles, so you could pour the cream off at home… They’re a fun dairy collectible!

See all the blog posts about making
Pie from Scratch!
by clicking below!

Drawing Stories…. Part Five!

Okay… I said we were going to break out the “crayons”
in this post,but no crayons were injured
in the production of Zero and One.


The next step in illustrating the book was to make a full set of “Color Roughs.” I had mixed feelings about this step at first. It seemed like I was doing the entire book in miniature, and I probably went into too much detail. They weren’t very “rough.” But, I wanted to make sure that Jeff and I were on the same page when it came to the finished artwork. I could have done just a few “finished” Roughs (how’s that for an oxymoron?) and took it easy on the rest of the Roughs, but I think being nervous about how the final artwork would look made me want to see a tiny version of every illustration! Here are a few of them….

The Color Roughs helped us discover a few places
where the overlapped color wasn’t going to work…

Blue hands on a blue body blend in!

Adding color also showed us  where
things didn’t quite make sense…

Those “See-Through-Numbers”¬†had me stumped.
Should we see the grass through their tummies?

I just knew a brilliant preschooler would be disturbed by that.

The Color Roughs were painted with watercolor, with some gouache mixed in to increase the color intensity. After the roughs were analyzed, dissected, and approved, I started on the final artwork. The Finals were basically Really Big Versions of the Roughs, and they took every bit of time I had left before my deadline! With the Finals, I used watercolor and gouache, but burnished several layers of Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils on the characters to smooth out the color, and to give them extra depth and brightness.

I went through a LOT of Prismacolor Pencils.

And  LOT of Colorless Blender Pencils.

But it was worth it.

I have to tell ya, it is a lot of hard work to take a children’s book from start to finish… But seeing the stack of completed artwork gives you such a feeling of accomplishment! One of my biggest faults is procrastination, and finishing a big project like this helped me know that I really can finish something… and ON TIME too!


To purchase Zero and One,
Click on the Picture Below…

To Learn More About Illustrating for Children,
Click on the Course Module below…

Drawing Stories….. Part Four!

Well… I got sidetracked again! There are just too many bunny trails to hop down this time of year, and the last couple of weeks have included lots of hopping! Back to business at hand…

Once Jeff Byington and I chose the dummy that we liked best, it was time to start on the full-size artwork! The first thing to do was line drawings in the proper size. Determining the proper size was not easy, because we weren’t sure how the final product would be published, and each printer offered various page sizes. Plus, in the back of our minds, the possibility of printing an e-book was floating around. Remember, this was a year ago… digital books for children were just beginning to surface, and the ability to self-publish them was a brand new technology. I’m pretty sure that there were only around 500 children’s books and/or apps available when we first looked at this option! (More on the digital book idea coming later…)

So, with lots of size options and more information than my brain could process, we decided to play it safe and go with 8″ x 10″ vertical illustrations, with 10″ x 16″ two-page spreads. That’s the most popular size of picture books. I did the actual artwork on 10″x 12″ and 10″ x 17″ paper. The first batch of drawings that were needed were done in pencil, shaded, and sent to Jeff for approval.

But first things first…

I needed to develop the numbers into characters and get them
in proportion with each other. That was actually pretty fun!

And then they were placed in the illustrations…

If you’d like to learn more about using perspective
and proportion in illustrations,
Mark Mitchell’s illustration course can teach
you how to be a “Space Commander!”

And before I scanned them and sent them to Jeff,
I added a bit of shading!

Next post, we’ll break out the “crayons!”