Random Acts of Creativity by Karen Windness

Birthday Unicorn

Friday the 13th was my birthday, and when it’s your birthday, you can draw unicorns if you want to — which is just what I did! Meet Penelope! -Kaz



Big Feels

I returned from RMC-SCBWI conference with the challenge to express those big, uncomfortable feelings. If it’s embarrassing or shameful, tell it. BIG BREATH! Here goes! If you can relate to my experiences, I’m sending you big hugs right now and hope you find this as cathartic and healing as I did. -Kaz




Resources: Intro to Children’s Book Illustration

I’m speaking at the RMC-SCBWI Letters & Lines conference on October 7th, and I’ve come to the realization that I have too many resources to print out and distribute. I’m posting here for the convenience of session attendees and other blog fans with a children’s book illustration interest.

Sample thumbnail dummy books:



32-Page Sample:32-page

Sample contract for illustrators working with Independent Publishers:


Portfolio Check Sheet:


Local RMC-SCBWI Opportunities:

RMC-SCBWI Mentorship Program (Apply Oct 1 – Oct 30) :

Critique Connects and other events calendar:

National SCBWI Opportunities:

Full list of SCBWI Illustrator opportunities:

Submission requirements for SCBWI Bulletin:

Links to RMC-SCBWI social Media:

NOTE: To share images with us, post using hashtag #rmcscbwi

Facebook Private Group (must be a member and ask to join):

Instagram: @scbwirockymtn


My (Karen “Kaz” Windness) social media handles:

Facebook: @karen.windness

Instagram: @KarenWindness

Twitter: @KWindness

My web Links:



Pinterest (TONS of pinned resources, inspiration and weirdness):

Member Badge (save image and use!):


Recommended Books:

Publishers, literary agents, magazines, contests, and more: Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market 2017 : The Most Trusted Guide to Getting Published

BRILLIANT book on the elements of design for picture book illustrators: PICTURE THIS by Molly Bang:

How to illustrate children’s literature: Writing with Pictures: How to Write and Illustrate Children’s Books by Uri Shulevitz



Boo at the Zoo

When zoo animals get ready for Halloween, there’s no telling what they might dress up as. Designed for little hands, this board book concept features a surprise peek-a-boo fold out. You’ll never guess who the ghost is! More at:



Batday Boy

Happiness is a bouquet of bat balloons.


Splat Monsters

Monsters are everywhere. You just have to look for them!

Meet Mr. Hands, a creepy little dude we found in Walmart.


This is a coffee devil. I found this one lurking outside Michael’s craft store.


The gym is a popular spot for Splat Monsters. Take this werewolf for example. He was just lurking by the front door at 24-Hour Fitness.


And inside the gym? HAUNTED! Here’s the proof:

ghostie-paperThis splat was contributed by my friend, David Dinsmore. He found this mini-ET at The Black Sheep concert hall in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I want to believe!

alien-monster-windness More Splat Monsters are sure to appear. You can use this sheet to practice spotting them. Print out the PDF link below, investigate from many angles, and draw over the top once you spot a monster. What creatures can you find?


Kaz Windness,,

Frida & Mona

I love doing portraits and caricatures and have been wanting to do a painting of Frida Kahlo and Mona Lisa for a while, so why not together? The connecting element here is eyebrows — Frida’s famously singular brow and Mona’s (somewhat) famously missing ones. But hey! Who needs brows when you have a smile like that?


Someone smart once told me that you need to ask for what you want. I’d love more illustration work doing historical figures and stylized renditions of famous paintings. Also dogs. Especially Pugs and Boston Terriers. Especially for picture books and chapter books. Anything alien or Bigfoot also welcome. And, if it’s not too much trouble, world peace, please and thank you. Art directors and editor people, my email is

Is Cursive Dead?

Neither of my boys are learning cursive in school, so this made me wonder…



You are brave. You are smart. The dark is no match for your light. brave-smart-windness

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