Childrens Books - now available for pre-order

For the past many months I have been working on illustrating a series of Bible Story books for children. The writing is amazing! It is written in rhyme but in a really smart, unique way... a bit similar to "The House that Jack Built". And now 2 of the 4 books "The Beautiful Garden of Eden" and "A Patch on the peak of Ararat" are available for pre-order on Amazon. (HERE and HERE). So exciting!!!

 It was great to work with Tyndale. I can't wait to get my copies and see the book in full. And show more images from it.

custom illustration

Inspired by buildings & houses - my latest topic for my daily art project (where I create are around a specific a topic, 16 days in a row in 2016) #16in16art - I have decided to offer a new service on my website... I have called it: I will draw something just for you. It can be your house, a special object, or even your grandma's recipe for chocolate cake!

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Below are some of the recent house "portraits" which inspired me to offer this service. (I also recently did a recipe commission, which came out really fun + I included that as well.) I like adding little subtle details that make the pieces unique. 

In the first photo below, you will find a portrait of my childhood home in Oceanside, New York. My brother reminded me that most of the year we had an electric menorah in our window. (Even though Hanukkah only lasts 8 days.) We also had a lovely alarm sign in the lawn... though I'm fairly certain we did not have an alarm for most of my childhood.

I will add the family name and anything else you would like to have on your houee/item portrait. You can choose from the various styles and looks shown below. 

Find out more details about this new service by visiting my online shop here

holiday houses

My Kindred Art Collective just made some lovely downloadable + printable holiday houses. They really are a lovely set! View them all here. 

Here is my winter woods inspired house. Feel free to print, cut out, fold, fill with a treat or hang.

Shown below is my in progress house - made quickly with regular paper... The graphic designer in me just HAD to do this...

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cricket cringle - 2015

This past weekend I participated in the 2nd Annual Cricket Cringle - a holiday pop-up outdoor market in Ardmore, PA. There were over 30 merchants and the event was held on a Friday night (5-9) and the following day (10-6). I do not sell at many art/craft shows, but i can say this one was so much FUN to be a participant in. (And to help plan.) I do wish I had been able to walk around a bit more. There were many entertainment options, food trucks, restaurant samples (mmm... pumpkin beer), kids crafts, and even Santa popped by. 

At the market, I sold prints, cards, mugs, tote bags and even a few pillows. I will be adding inventory to my online shop and you can also find my things at Pucci Manuli

Aliza of Aliza Schlabach Photography took some AMAZING photos of my booth at the event. You can see more of the event photos at the Cricket Cringle event page

process...

Lat week I had the opportunity to work on a project involving mushrooms. I had a blast creating a myriad of textures and drawings. I can't quite show the results here... but I did want to share some of the process. Many of my more complex pieces begin this way... 

throw back thursday - more maps!

Here are 2 local maps I had created for Main Line Parent and Philadelphia Family magazine - which never made it to my website... till now! You can view past issues of the magazine in Issuu right here

the Cricket Cringle!

Some new illustrations created for a local holiday Event called the Cricket Cringle

Meet, Mix and Mingle at the Cricket Cringle! Celebrate the season with Ardmore's Cricket Business Community with a unique holiday shopping experience. Visit over 50 participating businesses, restaurants and individual vendors to knock off some of that holiday shopping. You'll enjoy holiday carolers, roasting chestnuts and plenty of holiday cheer.

GTS - cultivating creativity

Well the 2014 GTS finalists have been revealed. A "top 50" were chosen from 999 entries. Unfortunately this was not the year for me - but that's cool as I still need time to grow (cultivate) my portfolio. :) (And I happen to be swamped with work at the moment - which is always a good thing!)

I'm very excited to see many familiar names and friends who are in the top 50 moving forward - including my 2 roommates from Surtex this past May. (Jan and Lucy - fabulous work by both of them!!) I can't wait to see what everyone creates for round 2.

 GTS 2014 - artwork by Barbara Chotiner - bzdesignstuff.com

GTS 2014 - artwork by Barbara Chotiner - bzdesignstuff.com

My final piece was a combination of printmaking & drawing and there is even a iPhone photo of one of my yard plants in there too! I was away on vacation for the majority of the time that we had to work on this assignment, so I did not have as much time as I had wanted (+ needed) to add some additional final drawing details + make this piece even more lush and fabulous. In hindsight, I may have been a tad too literal about the wall art assignment. I did not add any characters and ended up keeping it more like an overgrown magical forrest/terrarium bursting with color and life. (I had drawn some birds & even a deer, but at the end of the day they just did not mesh in well with the rest of the canvas. It never even occurred to me to put in gnomes or woodland animals - but they are rather cute in some of the finals.) Maybe I'll have to make another (less serious) one.

My final touch was to create the vine on the upper right which is reaching up and breaking free from the garden. In the end I am happy with the work I created. And in my mind at least, It is leaps and bounds better than my last years submission.

If interested - you can puchase the print right here at my (small but growing) Society 6 shop. :)

gts - it's a process!

The finalists for the Lila Rogers Global Talent Search were announced yesterday. 50 were chosen from 1500+ submissions. (yowsers!) Unfortunately, I did not make the final cut. However, I was pleased that so many of my fellow MATS classmates did. (More than half I think!) Way to go you talented gals (& guy)!

I wanted to share my process and my entry in hopes to get some feedback. As you can see... where I started and where I ended are very different. This tends to happen and I feel now (as I have in the past) that something gets lost when I do my "finals." 

I had a blast with my initial sketching for the assignment. (Which was a 5x7 journal, for Paperchase (a fun & fab UK paper goods company) with the theme: vintage playground.) Phase 1 shows my favorite developed sketches of the bunch.

 Phase 1 - sketching concepts

Phase 1 - sketching concepts

Then I started tightening up once of the sketches & added color: (phase 2).

I loved the dynamic composition but wasnt sure about such a large character being front and center, and you couldnt see the playground images. I also know her hair & eyes needed work! So... I revisited some of my phase 1 ideas.

 Phase 2 - coloring

Phase 2 - coloring

Somehow I got very into the vintage metal playground spring animals & in one of those happy and delirious post midnight art-making moments, I created the art in phase 3. (In hindsight, perhaps I should have taken a chance and explored my new loose "smooshy texture + line drawing" style further and sent my final in this method.) It was done with printmaking, collage & hand drawing.

 Phase 3 - a new direction

Phase 3 - a new direction

However, instead I did a bunch of drawings inspired by this above piece, and ended up with my final design submission: phase 4, shown below. I really focused on color, composition and character development. I wanted to make sure it read well small and kept your eye interested.

 Phase 4 - the final

Phase 4 - the final

I was initially confident in my submission however, soon after I began to have my doubts. I could have pushed the coloring further. I could have perhaps cleaned up the subtle details. (i.e. eggs in the design for the rooster saddle, clouds for the toucan, carrots for the rabbit etc.) After a disappointing morning yesterday, I reread the post regarding the chosen few. It seemed very logical that one of the main factors for the narrowing down to the 50 was "a strong, evolved style."  I can freely admit that I am still trying to develop & find my own unique illustration style. While it is evolv-ING it is not yet evolv-ED, And, as I have been doing graphic design and art direction for 15+ years it is only recently that I am delving deep into the world of illustration, surface pattern design and art licensing.

And now with a good night sleep behind me - I find I am actually quite happy to be freed up to make some new art and take all the things I have learned in the past few months and put them into play. And so with this... I will more forward and draw some more. I will make more art. More prints. More projects. And joyfully still run my design business. And I will eagerly await October and Part B of MATS.  

And on a final note... in a non related email that also got yesterday morning (from my local hair salon which I love btw...) this quote was randomly mentioned. It was very apropos for the day and I'm pretty sure I have never quoted a president before! :)

"I will prepare and some day my chance will come." – Abraham Lincoln

I welcome any feedback & comments whether here below, or via email

Oh and thank you for reading my longest blog post ever. :)