What I’ve Been Working On June 2022 Edition

Gnome girl picks up slug laboriously Carmen Wood Illustration comic art graphic novel children's illustration illustrator fantasy art webcomic fantasy magic lbgtquia+ kidlit artist

Hi! It’s been a pandemic minute, huh?

What I’m up to:

I’m taking this magical graphic novel intensive course through Kids Comics Unite, taught by the incredible Rivkah LaFille and Janna Morishima. We started with Rivkah’s Craft focused portion and now we’re into Janna’s Business and Marketing focused portion, for almost five and a half months of content! It’s like taking the graphic novel bootcamp class of my dreams, and is so worth the investment.

The projects that are taking up space in my brain right now include a magical library middle grade story, an early middle grade gnome tale, and of course my beloved artistic playground, Mermaid Days (catch up on my webcomic here). I’ve workshopped and lingered on one specific page of Chapter 8 of Mermaid Days for literal months, and it will feel so good when I finally finish it up and get that chapter posted. Finishing projects – that’s the big hard goal!

The overarching goals driving me are to get a project ready to pitch to agents – script written, beautiful art samples ready, thumbnail samples, and a kicka$$ query letter. And in the meantime, find a satisfying bookish day job in my new state of CA, stay healthy, and keep learning and growing on my art, as always. Kind of a tall order!

Later, nerds



Thank you for your support!

Just a belated yet deeply heartfelt THANK YOU to everyone who included my art in your holiday gifting. It is the greatest compliment when people send my art to their loved ones! And thank you to everyone throughout the year who supports me and my art making – through buying pieces, liking and commenting on art I post on social media, telling me I’m not wasting my time, feeding me, housing me, and loving me in general – I couldn’t make art without your very tangible support. Thank you for believing in art! And me! And now I can finally post some of those secret holiday pieces that I was working on – below is a favorite. sir-barnabus-sainsbury-28-final

Arts Experiment Beginning!

Watercolor pine tree grill green and reds Carmen Wood illustrator whimsical picture book art Minneapolis
Here’s a watercolor sketch from my week up at the cottage in Wisconsin over the 4th of July!

Arts Experiment: I’m actually full time illustrating/artisting as of last Monday, which is a calculated risk that I’m excited and terrified about. It’s been wonderful to just plow through work – previously, I only had one official full day a week to try and get everything done. I’m crossing so much off my list! I’ve focused on product development this week – stand by for incoming greeting cards! I’m also getting prints matted to pitch to local baby stores – I have a whole bunch of baby themed art that needs to find its audience.

I’m also working on continuing to learn coding skills, and various self-directed graphic design projects to flesh out my graphic design portfolio – I’m planning on seeking internships in that field in the fall.

I’m ALSO working on polishing picture book submissions – here’s the book ideas I’m working on. In particular, I want to up the game on the final art samples for the so-called Diaper Book.

Messy desk baby art pens Carmen Wood illustrator whimsical picture book art Minneapolis
Character design and greeting card design!

And finally, and excitingly, I’m continuing to work on some exciting commissions for some exciting clients! Next step there is cutting and stretching big ol’ pieces of gorgeous watercolor paper to begin final art. (Side note – I can’t tell you how much I love this Arches watercolor paper – it is like painting on velvet paper. Smooth and buttery. mmmm.)

Handwritten notebook page with hand Carmen Wood illustrator whimsical picture book art Minneapolis
The all-important organization notebook!

Welp, that’s a long blog post. Whatever. It’s good for me to skim some of this off my brain. Wish me luck!

Edit: Oh, I forgot to mention some of the challenges…for example, after working in a busy bakery where I was on my feet for six hours a day and talking to hundreds of random people all day, as a work-from-home artist I hit a point in the afternoon where I am bouncing off the walls of my silent studio..HAHAHAHA (manic laughter). My body has jittery energy as a result of sitting all day. I want to talk to people more than previously. So you’ll probably be hearing more from me on social media and the blog!





New Hugea$$ Paper!

Arches paper selfie

Yes, I now have 30 FEET of gorgeous Arches watercolor paper, purchased for a big commission. And yes, it was a challenge to get it out of the box and a challenge to take a pic with it. Now it’s hanging out in my room in a huge roll. Excited to try working on it! #artistchallenges #bathroom selfie #paperforlife

Vivianne’s Wedding

Here’s the first episode of this graphic story I’ve been working on. Enjoy!


Carmen Wood illustrator whimsical picture book art minneapolis

Despite popular opinion, it really is not me and my sister. I’ve borrowed some setting details, and Cami has a similar look to me because that is the easiest face/body type for me to draw, but other than that, very different people and a very different wedding. My sister, for example, when picking out a dress, knew exactly what looked good on her and what style she wanted. Then she walked into David’s Bridal, found it, tried it on, and bought it. Boom. A model of efficiency. Also not bubbly like Vivs.

It’s been fun telling a quiet story. Unfortunately, most of my male test readers reject it out of form – “Meh, picking out a dress?” – which bugs me, as interesting stories can be told around the most mundane subjects (although I personally find fashion GRIPPING). I guess my next story will be all action and explosions.

I’m hoping to have five episodes total for Vivianne’s Wedding, and to not take too long between them. I’ll keep you posted!