Empress Theodora


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Theodora, a Byzantine empress from the 6th century, is quite a character. First, her portrait in mosaic from the walls of San Vitale in Ravenna, Italy:


And here, I imagined what she might look like in profile:

Theodora in color for blog post

There is a fantastic description of her in The Secret History by Procopius.

Which dalmatic would your imperial highness like to wear?


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Three maidservants

Princess Anna, the oldest daughter of Emperor Alexios I & Empress Irene, has to get dressed for her betrothal, and a dalmatic or over-tunic with patterns and jewels, is a must.

As a side note to these Byzantine characters, I am so excited to be attending the Bologna Children’s Book Fair this coming Monday, March 30 – April 2, 2015 and will also go to Ravenna, a Byzantine art mecca. I look forward to sharing the art & inspiration of the mosaics of San Vitale.

The “Bad” Picture Book Blog Hop


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cat 1969

Hat’s off to Dani Duck who started the “Bad” Picture Book Blog Hop last week. The idea is to share our earliest attempt at writing/illustrating picture books.

There are already lots of terrific posts to check out:

*Feb. 9: Dani Duck *Feb. 10: Becky Fyfe
*Feb. 11: Marcie Colleen *Feb 12: Mandy Yates
*Feb 13: Sylvia Liu *Feb 16: Rachel Elizabeth Cole

So now here we go. First, a big thank you to my mother who kept my pictures & books so carefully for these many years and who sent them guaranteed holiday delivery because my own stuff is so disorganized. First up is a collaboration with my younger brother Hans. He was almost 2 & I was 6. He dictated the text for AUTOS and added crayon color to my marker drawings:

Autobook1 2Autobook 3 4

My absolute favorite book when I was 8 was The Thirteen Clocks by James Thurber with incredible illustrations by Marc Simont. Here is my version:


I was terrible at spelling in 3rd grade, and I still am!

Finally, I’d like to share Count Rinaldo & Princess Salamanda. I think I was about 10 or 11 when I wrote/illustrated this one. Clearly, there are heavy influences from The Thirteen Clocks, plus, by now I was really interested in the Tudors. The count, depicted on the second spread with the red hair, resembles my then hero, Henry VII.



It is exciting to me to realize that I actually have not changed much in my tastes or style. And humbling to see that the problems that plagued me then still plague me. But now, I hope I can fix some of them!

Thanks again to Dani for putting this fun tour together and if you haven’t yet, check out her work as well as that of Becky and Marcie and Mandy and Sylvia and Rachel :) And definitely tune in tomorrow for the baaad book of:

Feb 18: Teresa MI Schaefer


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