Aegean Princess

This piece is a celebration of a travel memory for me. A few years back (when we lived in Germany) I had the pleasure of traveling to Greece, specifically to the islands of Milos and Santorini before heading down to Western Crete. What stuck with me most vividly was the pervasive and incredible quality to the light there, especially it's interplay with the white-washed traditional stone housing and the sparkling blue of the Mediterranean sea.


If you'd like a big, beautiful, print of this image, you may BUY ONE HERE. Thanks!

Little Sprout

A little piece I did to celebrate the almost beginnings of Spring. I'd been itching to do a piece that made cute "monsters" out of sprouts for some time... In this one I especially enjoyed creating the Little Sprout sitting in the girl's hand. I also had fun playing with various textures for the sprouts and leafy bits.

Like this piece? You can buy it as a print here. Thanks!


Podcast Round-up: Comics, Illustration, Picture Books, Storytelling

Painting alone in the studio all day, can be quite lonely (even with an adorable studio dog like Zelda) so I love to put on a good podcast while I'm working. Below are the ones I go back to time and time again, organized roughly by topic.

I think of all these folks are my virtual studio mates and I'm incredibly grateful for the shows they produce.

I will update this list as I find new ones. Enjoy!

If you have a favorite art/illustration/wriitng/creative podcast that I haven't included, please share it in the comments below.



Lean Into Art

Jerzy Drozd and Rob Stenzinger "think hard about visual storytelling so you will too." I enjoy how they dive deep into the topic at hand. Great for some introspective thoughts on complex issues. Awesome to listen to while making art of any kind.

Comics Coast to Coast

Brian Dunaway, Joel Duggan, and Matthew Ducharme do weekly interviews with comics creators and other illustrators. Their banter and questions always lead to entertaining shows. Also great for discovering new comics/artists!

Make it Then Tell Everybody

Dan Berry interviews mostly alternative comics folks in his charming British accent. I especially enjoy when they get nerdy about the creative process and his infamous question "where do you get your ideas from?"


Coffee Table Comics

Jason Brubaker, creator of Sithrah and ReMind, does a lot of "talk while working" style video casts, sharing his process and inspirations. He's a great listen while you too are working in your studio.


Jake Parker

Prolific comic and children's book creator shares his wisdom, insight, and practical tips on creating. I especially enjoy his ideas on productivity (not to mention the stunning example he sets!)



Creative Pep Talk Podcast

Dr. Pizza puts the pep in your illustration step with his upbeat introspections, encouragements, and interviews with other creative professionals. Leans more toward illustrative graphic designers but no less relevant to other disciplines.

Will Terry

Old hat children's illustrator, co-founder of SVS Learn online school, speaks with hard won wisdom on a variety of relevant topics for students, new professionals, and others in the illustration trenches.

One Fantastic Week

A weekly web show where fantasy illustrators Pete Mohrbacher and Sam Flegal interview others in their industry. They have a particular knack for the business of illustration, which makes them an invaluable listen for us less business minded art types.


Round Table Podcast

Authors offer up story works-in-progress for suggestions, critiques, and discussion. Really gets the mental story cogs turning. The best episodes are where the work is fairly unfinished, the author is open to new ideas, and those ideas start flying from all corners.

Writing Excuses

Professional fantasy writers, such as Brandon Sanderson, speak about a themed writing topic. I only wish these were longer than 15 minutes!


Odyssey Writing Workshop

Not really a podcast, but they will periodically offer up lecture excerpts by professional authors, which can be extremely insightful.


Out on the Wire

Storytelling from a journalistic perspective. It uses the format of a hero's journey to talk about the process of writing stories.


Story Wonk

Alastair Stephens and Lani Diane Rich have many an articulate discussion and analysis of books, movies, tv shows, and other story-driven media. Alastair's Scottish accent doesn't hurt either…



All the Wonders

Matthew Winner, who sounds precisely how you'd expect the kindest elementary school librarian in the world to sound, interviews authors, illustrations, and author-illustrators of children's books. His warm manner and great questions make for some wonderful discussion.


Author-Illustration Nick Patton interviews other authors and illustrations in the realm of children's books. I like how he asks very illustrator-ly questions of his guests! (Now part of All The Wonders)

Publishers Weekly PW KidsCast

Though these podcasts are sponsored by various publishers, the resulting conversations feel very natural and are quite interesting. I especially love these for the interviews with middle grade authors.

Golden Antler

Once upon a time, in the Far North, lived two sisters whose only memento of their father was a broken shard of golden antler…

A sparkly new winter piece! This piece was inspired by northern lights and fairytales. At the start of the new year my thoughts turn toward giving and spreading light to a world that has so much need of it. The antlers as lights unto themselves really appeal to me on a deep and visceral level. I was also happy to paint a new piece set in the snow! As anyone who knows me can tell you, I absolutely adore snowy weather and find a certain magic in it. The story of the piece is not from an existing fairytale, but rather is from a brand new fairytale that I'm writing.

If you'd like to support my art: BUY A PRINT. Thanks!

The Kingdom of Winter - Book Released!

I've been quite busy with another exciting cover + interior client project here, this late fall/early winter. One wrap cover and 27 interiors later, I am pleased to share all of these images with you!

The book is a children's fantasy chapter book titled The Kingdom of Winter by Dorothy Papadakos. The book is newly released and can be found for sale on Amazon HERE.

The printed book turned out beautifully, I especially like the interior design by Lorraine Gelard!

And here is the complete gallery of illustrations for this book:

And the cover file by itself:

Prairie Sea

A brand-new personal piece for late golden summer!

This piece was inspired by my childhood growing up in Oklahoma. It's as much a reflection of the landscape I came from, as my inner landscape as a child. As a young girl I was absorbed by the fantasy world of Narnia and the pioneer life of Laura Ingalls Wilder. This image gives nods to both. My 3 siblings and I were known to engage in fantastical play, so the idea of combining the two into one image -where it's hard to tell where reality stops and fantasy begins- is quite intriguing to me. The Scissor-tailed Flycatchers soaring into the sky are the Oklahoma state bird and the distant house was our first childhood home.

Buy a beautiful gallery-quality print (up to 36" x 24" size): HERE!

Hope you enjoy!


Morning Song Book Release!

Client book Morning Song by Sharon Lee Beatty is now available on Amazon. For this book I created a custom wrap cover complete with title text design.

This gripping fable-inspired tale follows an extraordinary young woman named Kimi on a desperate journey across war-torn 19th century China.

As with the book Shi-Lin, I enjoyed illustrating an Eastern dragon for this cover!


Book Cover:


Process Images:

Starfish Shore

Starfish Shore came about from a series of sketchbook doodles done on actual real paper with pencils. Thanks to my local illustration group, I've just rediscovered my love of toned sketch paper + white Prismacolor pencil. I've been itching to do something "beachy" so I was musing about sea-life that one might find along the shore and what might be magical about it. When this image started off it was just the boy and a lantern, the girl came about when I was painting later and found myself wanting to put something/someone hovering over top of the starfish.

BUY A PRINT - A vibrant, gallery-quality art print, on cotton rag paper -up to 24" x 35" size!

Gravity Falls

After finishing both seasons of Gravity Falls, I was inspired to try my hand at the setting and characters with a fan art piece. As I enjoy both the offbeat humor and mystery of the series, I wanted to include hints of both. I thought it especially important to capture the magic of the Oregon wood in which the story takes place. Though I didn't want to clutter the piece with all of the creatures Dipper and Mabel encounter, I did hide a few of the quirky gnomes in the bottom left corner.

All and all, it was a fun challenge to translate the show's cartoon style into my own! Hopefully fellow fans will get a kick out of seeing these characters illustrated differently.



Animated GIF of the process:

Narnia Book Cover

For many years now I've wanted to create an fan work to honor of one of my most beloved fantasy series. Narnia was my earliest foray into fantasy. My parent's read The Chronicles of Narnia aloud to my siblings and I for many years before we could read ourselves. Later, I was absolutely swept away by the 1988 BBC production, watching it many times throughout my childhood.

Here we have my fan cover for The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. Re-reading the book, it was hard to decide what elements to include on the cover -but, ultimately, I felt that the biggest emphasis should be on the four siblings. It was equally important to show the wintry magic of Narnia in the surroundings. The one aspect I did take liberties with was the children's coats. Technically they should all be wearing oversized fur coats (taken from the Wardrobe) -but I really wanted to show them in more eye-catching colors and styles from the 1940s to emphasize that they come from our world.

(Logo used for mock-up purposes only. I did not create it nor do I claim any ownership of the property.)


Sand Wizard

Here's a brand new personal piece. In 'Sand Wizard' I was interested in exploring a desert environment, as it'd been ages since I painted one. The main inspiration came from a number of beautiful long exposure photos I've seen of night skies above deserts. And the idea of for the color scheme was to do a purple/rose background paired with a golden glow.

For our Moroccan wizard boy, I enjoyed trying my hand at some traditional clothing from the culture. The Fennec foxes seemed like a great fit for an added measure of depth and cuteness -I'm especially happy with the light shinning through their ears. Yes, I did take a fantastical license with their purple eye color.

This whole image was an exceptionally quick process for me once the idea struck, taking only a few days of painting to complete from thumbnail to final.


If you like this image you can BUY A PRINT in my shop. Thanks so much!



Below is a quick animation of my process:

Butterfly Magic

I'm finally getting back into the swing of things after the chaos of an international move over the holidays (back from Germany to my home state of Virginia), followed by house hunting. After an amazing three-year-stint aboard in Southern Germany, chalked full of European travel, historic sites, international friends, and incredible food, my husband and I felt it was time to head home -to be closer to our families and move onward to our next life adventure. I will never forget my time spent abroad, nor the awesome friends I made, and I want to continue traveling to other parts of this beautiful world.

I'm now mostly settled into my lovely new home studio -except for wall art- always such a hard decision for an artist! Photos of my new studio space to follow soon!

So: Butterfly Magic. This one popped up when I was doodling around for ideas for a spring promotional piece. I thought it would be neat to do more images in the vein of "Firefly Magic" I could eventually see a small series of magical encounters of kids with critters.

As always, a tremendous thanks to my critique groups and art friends for their great feedback along the way!

I've included several detail shots and a quick animation of the steps. I do want to note that this was created at a nice big resolution of 24" x 36" @300 dpi for making some huge crisp art prints.

If you like this image you can now BUY A PRINT! Thanks so much.

StarSpun: Chapter 9!

Chapter #9 for my webcomic StarSpun releases today. This one is a bit of breather for Poppy after the previous maelstrom, but sets things up for the remaining chapters.


Click the image below to read this as an infinite scroll:

Chapter Summary: Desperately worried about her injured cat, Poppy knocks upon the door of the giant glowing conch shell. Here she meets an old hermit named Solomon who heals Amber and tells her his story -their paths are not so dissimilar.

Enchanted Acorns

I just put the finishing sparkles on a brand new personal piece. This one was created for the October 2015 SCBWI Draw This challenge, the theme: Enchanted. This theme meshed nicely with my desire to create a fall-themed illustration for fun and promotion. I was going for something glowing and magical that would fit well into my middle grade fantasy portfolio. In this I challenged myself to create a multi-figure composition with clear leading lines for the viewer.

I have the awesome ladies of my critique groups to thank for the way this one shaped up at the end! You all are wonderful!


The Legend of Shi-Lin Releases Today!

The Legend of Shi-Lin by Sharon Lee Beatty has just released in paperback form via Amazon today! For this story I created seven original interior illustrations, one chapter heading illustration, and a custom wrap book cover.

The story of The Legend of Shi-Lin is a brand new tale that is inspired by Chinese legends. It follows the story of a most unusual dragon woman and revolves around her fascination with the human world -and one man in particular.

My favorite part about this cover was getting to try my hand at painting a Chinese dragon.

*Note: text design mock-up may not reflect final cover design by client.

I created the interiors in a mock watercolor digital style. I especially enjoyed playing with Kyle T Webster's Watercolor Brushes for these.

Amsterdam Post-Conference Report & Trip

I'm safely back in the studio after an extra long weekend at the SCBWI Europolitan 2015 in Amsterdam!

The conference was wonderful. Being the first big one I'd attended this side of the pond, it was a great way to meet many new faces in the work of children's writing/illustrating/publishing over here in Europe. It was awesomely held in a venue at street address "42." It's only the answer to the meaning of life...

Prior to even arriving in the city, my husband & I visited the famous Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse, Netherlands. It was crisp and sunny when we arrived and quite pleasant to stroll. And, though early in the spring season, there were an incredible amount of blooming flowers about already. So many varieties of tulips! The whole area is masterfully landscaped and immaculately tended as well.

The conference warmed up with a Amsterdam city "Scrawl Crawl" where we were led on a guided tour of various older parts of the city. Some sketched, some photographed, I mostly just soaked it all in. I especially fell in love with the rich and quirky architecture, especially the cute narrow canal houses.

For Day 1 of the actual conference, I enjoyed the opening panel and keynote on diversity. I then opted for a few illustration-related panels. The first of these was "Lessons from Successful Picture Books for Illustrators" presented by Martha Rago, Creative Director of Random House/Golden Books. This was followed by "A Thousand Words and Four Images" presented by illustrator Rachelle Meyer. After lunch I attended "Pitch Yourself Positive: How to Promote Yourself Effectively as an Illustrator" -where, among other things, we were shown some really creative mailers Martha had received from illustrators. I topped the day off with a writing related presentation by Agent Marietta Zacker on characters. All this followed by a social/art showcase and then a group Japanese meal with a number of writers and illustrators we nabbed to join us.

Day 2 at the conference I opted to focus a bit more on the writing side of things, spending most of my day in Esther Hershenhorn's Sunday Intensive entitled: "Rx for Children's Books Creators: Getting Your Stories Right." This turned out to be about the writing life as a hero's journey, which gave me much food for thought. On either end there were also a couple of presentations on publishing across country boundaries and on the cultural trickiness that can ensue. The conference wrapped up with regional news, contest winners, and prizes (including a timely golden egg hunt). The very last event was a canal cruise at sunset, which was a beautiful cap on the event!

Post-conference my husband and I went to see the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum. Both are beautifully designed experiences. As we weren't allowed to photograph much of anything at the Van Gogh, I had to suffice with a capture in front of one of the giant wall posters meant for that purpose. The art on display there was quite extensive and presented as a "story of his life & work" which was very informative. I only wish they actually had Starry Night there -apparently it's in the MoMA in New York!

The Rijksmuseum itself seemed a work of art, a church-like structure built to house all of those great dutch masters -complete with stained-glass likenesses of many. And standing in front of Rembrandt's Night Watch was an amazing experience all it's own. What a painting! I could have gaped at it for hours. Likewise, with the Battle at Waterloo painting. It's hard to comprehend painting at that scale and with that detail and skill!

Note: the photos included tend to be those taken either before or after the conference, as I was too busy in-conference to get out the camera!

Can't wait for the next one in two years!

SCBWI Europolitan Conference 2015

I'm super excited today to be prepping for the SCBWI Europolitan Conference in Amsterdam over this-coming long weekend! (April 3rd - 6th, 2015)

I'm keeping it simple as far as materials to bring with me, as everything needs to fit in my carry-on. I opted for a hardcover custom photo book as a portfolio especially for the Portfolio Showcase (I'll be carrying my iPad with me otherwise.) I went with AdoramaPix as my printer and couldn't be happier! Very clean and professional job on the book, nice quality prints, and great thick paper. I also love the lay-flat gutterless spread printing. (see the Dandelion image below)

For business cards I used my old standby and the cards turned out lovely as always. I can't get enough of their Printfinity, such a wonderful way to showcase portfolio images.

See you at the conference!


Flying Colors

This painting was created as a new Laura Diehl Illustration logo image and as a printed portfolio book cover. The initial idea actually came from playing with arrangements of my initials 'LD.' While doodling, it struck me that the 'D' could be a sail. It soon followed that this sail might be attached to a painter's palette and paintbrush to form a magical sort of ship.

When I was thinking of the magic steam billowing from the lit brush, I was envisioning something akin to the way I've always imagined the trails from the alchemy which powers ships in the book Larklight by Philip Reeve (which I've been recently reading.)