I want to create stories that inspire the present moment, intrigue the senses, and motivate the heart. Stories both exciting and tender. They must connect with children and be fun! Characters should take risks, face challenges, learn and grow internally. My style is bright, loose, and expressive. I create simple yet awe-inspiring spaces- filled with rich, funny, relatable characters who come to life through a mixed-media style. My intention is for children to recognize my work and pick it up again and again.
My work is inspired by nature. My stories are about friendship, kindness, inclusion, self-awareness, resilience, and responsibility for our natural world. My work and studies as a fine artist, eight years of teaching Pre-Kindergarten, and being a parent of two amazing kids has undoubtedly molded my expression.
I'm always learning, growing, traveling, moving... my perspective is always open and so is my work. I am a writer as well as an illustrator so inspiration comes to me two-fold. The story and the images appear as if woven together, a gift when I am fully present and not asking for anything. More often the imagery tells me the story. I start with loose, quick sketches to get my idea to paper. This sketch period is synchronized with the writing. When working on my final illustration- (currently) I'm working in photoshop. But I may also use one or a combination of pencil, pen, ink, watercolors, acrylics, collage, and photography.
Dummy Book Examples (rough illustrations)
"A moat? Fill it up, everyone is welcome!"
Mixing illustration with photography
Born into a storm,
a lost baby blue whale must decide-
Fight the ocean or become one with it.
Work in Progress...
R y a n S m i t h M i c h a e l
Happily Ever After?
When a new prince and princess enter town- everyone will learn quick, change isn’t easy but it sure can be a lot of fun.
Audrey in Paris, Mona Lisa Rescue
When Audrey, a free-spirited Parisian girl, uncovers a plot to steal the Mona Lisa, it will take some unlikely friends, a lot of guts, and of course good style to save the day from the evil Madame Mâché! All in time for a very late dinner, after all, they live in Paris darling.
A young girl discovers... She can be the change needed.
Earth Day Journey
A little mouse takes an epic adventure
around the world.