Wins and new goals.

Maybe it's a bit premature to talk about 2018, but 2017 is almost over so what the heck.

I celebrated the release of a new picture book with Larisa Stephenson tonight, and it had me thinking about this whole year and what I would like to work on next year....which is in a few days. Although I'm proud to release this book, I look back on the past year as I created it, and more stuggle than I'd hoped to see.

I'm over all very happy with the work I've created in 2017. My clients and my author pals are a joy, and they gave me a lot of purpose. But taht purpose is dampened because I feel very unhealthy in my body. Even though I love making art, I resent sitting and doing it. My body screams back at me- elbow is janky, my tummy has been accumilating a couple of flat tires, and my brain can only focus for 30 minutes at a time.

Burnout? Yeah, a little of that. Diet and exercise regimen lacking? Most likely. Mental fog making it harder to see what needs to be shifted. For sure.

I have considered myself a healthy eater and an active individual, but this year has proven to me that something is not working. Even though I eat vegan, I've gained 15-20 lbs in 2017, lost a lot of muscle, and feel more mentally foggy that ever. I though vegan was good for the animals AND for me. But I'm suffering.

Tonight I read a little PDF by Arnold Ehret called, "Rational Fasting". It's free and full of wisdom, personal anecdotes, and research. Maybe it's a bit extreme, but it helped me uncover something that I needed to see.

He talks of "vegetarian gluttony" and the idea that moderation- true moderation- of animal foods and even processed [real] foods, are healther than the overeating of a vegetarian diet.

Ok. I do this. When I went vegan 2 years ago, I started eating like a horse. I am an emotional eater, and would eat to the point of discomfort when we went out to restaurants. I don't know why or where I learned this habit but I've done it for so long, and the new found freedom to gorge myself on "healthy vegan" foods enabled this addictive tendency. Even now, I don't really know what a healthy portion size is.

So here I am, eating fairly healthy, whole, real foods, and gaining weight. Feeling miseral, and not enjoying my art, my free time, my travel, because my body is uncomfortable. And all because I've tricked myself to thinking that because I eat nourishing foods, I can eat myself silly and still be ok. Maybe if I was running 4+ miles every day I would be ok. But I'm sitting at a desk drawing all day... because that's how you draw!

There are cultures all over the world that talk about health and longevity. They mention that eating small amounts is key to living longer and maintaining health. There is no vegetarian gluttony in recommended daily diet.

So 2018, I'm going to reclaim my wellbeing and give myself a chance to feel good again. I'm going to try a different approach to eating meals, and thinking about how much I actually need. Maybe I'll find that the space allows for more freedom, more comfort, and more ease- more focus to provide the best art I can, and tell the most truth I have inside of me!

Here here and happy new year!

I'll keep ya posted!


Annie is an author and illustrator with books available on Amazon and local book stores. She is open for commission, too! She lives in California, and loves tea, bike rides, reading, and exploring new places.

Hangin' with the posse.

This last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the Society of Childrens Book Writers and Illustrator's conference at Asilomar in Pacific Grove.

Beautiful place, beautiful people. I love this community and how much they support and encourage each other. At the end of the event, it was determined that we're all a little crazy. I'd never thought of us that way, but I guess we are. Artists and writers are known for following their hearts even when the world is telling them they're silly for doing so.


I took a bunch of crazy notes and met some crazy new friends. We suffered some power outages because Asilomar can't handle our crazy. Seriously, this group of people are the most loving and kind people you've ever met. If that's crazy...then this world don't know what's up.

I learned a lot about how to improve my compositions, which really comes down to focusing on design rather than drawing. I'm re-doing my dummy book and I'm already much happier with the new ideas are emerging.

My portfolio doesn't really speak to childrens lit, and that's ok. But I think I'll do a handful of new images for some classic fables to help strengthen the collection. I'm guessing that it's a lot like performing a cover song. If you give the viewer/listener somehting they recognize, then they can see how you interpret it.


And as for writing, it takes time. I've been journaling radically since I was about 9 but never crafted an entire novel and that's ok. Actually, it's really fun to learn! It's similar to moving around pieces of a puzzle, revealing certain parts of the story at certain times, so the reader is swept away. Harder that it looks, but worth trying.

The workshops were extreemly helpful and inspiring. I walked away having concrete steps to take in order to improve and move forward and some fire to propell me down the tunnel of kid lit madness.

We had a stormy Friday and Saturday, but all of us woke up to an incredible Sunday morning filled with sunshine and roaring waves in the distance. They called to us, so after most attendees left for their homes, a few of us took a long walk along the shore. We built a stone bridge across an ocean stream, admired some hipping and scuttling birds as they searched for sand snacks, and gazed out along a very beautiful part of the California coast.

I took so much away from this weekend. Mostly, that it doesn't matter what the world says about you, just that you follow your heart, which which will lead you to who you really are. You can fight it, but why not let your self fly when you can fly?

Now- time to get to work and make some killer books!

Annie is an author and illustrator with books available on Amazon and local book stores. She is open for commission, too! She lives in California, and loves tea, bike rides, reading, and exploring new places.