Random Acts of Creativity by Kaz Windness

Resources: Intro to Children’s Book Illustration

Resources for RMC-SCBWI Letters & Lines conference attendees and 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:


Colorado Independent Publishers Association:

Portfolio Check Sheet:


Local RMC-SCBWI Opportunities:

RMC-SCBWI Mentorship Program (NOW – Oct 20th):

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: @KazWindness

Twitter: @KWindness

My web Links:



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

Help with Color, Composition, & Working Fast:

Member Badge (save image and use!):


Recommended Books:

Every illustrator NEEDS THIS BOOK! “Art, Money, Success” by Maria Brophy. Includes everything you must know about branding, marketing, and doing business as an illustrator.


Publishers, literary agents, magazines, contests, and more: Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market (current year): 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



Featured post

How to Replace a Popcorn Ceiling with Styrofoam Tiles

My friend and brilliant designer and house whisperer, Chandler Marvin, is helping me renovating  my office/studio. After painting the space the gorgeous green she recommended, the ugly popcorn ceiling stood out like a sore thumb. Chandler found some inexpensive foam tiles online and suggested I give it a shot. Result:

Several people are asking me how it’s done, so here’s my process.

You’ll need these tiles: 50pc of Astana White (20″x20″…

It took me approximately 36 tiles for a 10’x10′ room.

This is the adhesive (Custom Building Products… but I discovered halfway through that nails were working just fine and not making me high and sick from fumes. If you do want glue, the AcrylPro is great because it will adhere to both the foam and to the popcorn ceiling with some pressure. I put dabs on the edges and the center. You have to put enough on that it can sink into the popcorn texture, but you don’t have to cover the whole tile.  For 36 tiles, I would have needed another tub if I hadn’t moved over to nails .

If you want to leave the tiles white, I’d still recommend painting over them with a liquid water-based paint.  The tiles do you look like Styrofoam without any paint on them.

If you want to go with the faux tin ceiling look, here’s how.  Styrofoam does not like spray paint. I knew that going in, but I didn’t want to hand paint everything, so I was determined to find a solution. Here’s what happens if you just hit it with regular  spray paint:

It’s not the worst thing in the world, because it’s kind of nice to have some antique feel to the tiles, but too much corrosion means it starts melting and warping. To minimize the corrosion, start with a two in one primer and paint made for plastics.  I tried both white and cream, and I definitely recommend the cream as you can see where it’s going on and it creates a good base for the gold.


After you have a base of the primer, you can spray it with the metallic paint. I chose antique gold. It will take a few coats.

Once you have good coverage on your tiles  and the spray paint feels dry,  use acrylic paint to apply highlights. The first photo is before highlights. This step really takes the tile over the top!

Then you’re ready to apply to the ceiling!  I started at one wall edge and measured into the middle and placed my first tile there.  Some instructions suggest measuring into the middle of the room, but I just didn’t trust myself to get that first tile straight.


I used nails at each corner and  sometimes one near the middle if it look like it was sagging. The tile is very easy to cut with an X-Acto knife, so trimming the  edge tiles two size wasn’t difficult. Once the tiles were up, I use some white tub and tile caulk to fill in the  obvious gaps between tiles. I didn’t bother to do the whole ceiling with caulk, but it’s easier to paint over dried caulk then it is to paint popcorn ceiling between gaps. I used the same highlighting paint to cover over obvious gaps.

I also used slices of middle pieces to fill in the edges, and I found that that looked just fine and saved a lot of tile waste.

My biggest complaint about this process is a quantity of spray paint needed.  It’s going to be a while before my neighbors talk to me again. I would have upgraded to real metal if I’d known what I was getting into, but I am happy with the result. I will use Styrofoam tiles for my white ceilings for sure.

Goodbye popcorn ceilings and happy renovating!



Portrait in Graphite

I was recently hired by a librarian to draw her son and their family dog, a Chiweenie, as a gift for her husband’s birthday. She requested something more realistic than my usual style and I was happy to oblige. I love drawing people and their pets! Click HERE for how to order your commission today.


This is 9″ x 13″ graphite on Bristol paper.

“We love it! Thanks for creating a beautiful picture of our son and our Chiweenie. It was a Father’s Day/birthday gift for my husband that the whole family enjoys. Thanks again!” — Tracy Scaglione

Here is the original photo reference.



Kaz specializes in creepy-cute and gothic themes, especially people, pets, and animals with a whimsical, halloweenie, or macabre twist.  Examples HERE.

Order your commission today by emailing Kaz at karenwindness (at)!



– Except for doodle, up to 3 sketch concepts included. For additional sketch revisions, add $20 ea.

– For a matted and backed drawing (your choice of black or white mat), add $20

– Larger sizes available. Ask for an estimate.

– Additional time-consuming details (multiple figures, backgrounds, etc.) will be an additional charge. An estimate will be provided.

– Most commissions completed in 4-6 weeks. Expected ETA provided. For 2-week rush job, add $50. For a 1-week rush job, add $100.

– For non-US domestic shipping, an additional fee will be assessed and provided.


-Email me at karenwindness (at) to arrange your commission. I respond to email once daily.

– Payment processed via Paypal using address karenwindness (at) Other payment methods available upon request.

– 50% payment due to begin job. Final payment due at completion. Your art will be mailed or digitally delivered upon receipt of final payment.

San Diego Comic-Con success! Mother Goth Rhymes is out!

I just got back from San Diego Comic-Con, and wow! What an exciting whirlwind!


Here I am at the Hermes Press booth, seeing my book for the very first time. Shout out to Sabrina and Dan Herman who went above and beyond to give me and Mother Goth Rhymes extra-special treatment. Check out that Stabby the unicorn banner!


This is the SDCC limited edition teal cover with signed, full-color tip-in sheet.


Hermes Press had just over 210 copies at the conference with a cover price of $49.99, and here I am on Saturday afternoon selling the last copy! Considering how many nightmares I had about not selling a single book at the conference, this is an incredibly proud moment. The support and enthusiasm was amazing, and I enjoyed meeting amazing people from all over the world.


And maybe the best thing yet is the book is officially out and pre-orders will be mailed on August 13th. You can get your copy HERE for $24.99.


Mother Goth is at SDCC 2019!

Who’s going to San Diego Comic-Con? Come see me, Mother Goth (Kaz Windness), at the Hermes Press booth, #1821. The special limited edition book (teal cover!) is only available for the event, so snatch it up while you can! 🖤

My official schedule:

Signing: 1:00-2:00
PANEL: 4:00-5:00 Room 29AB PANEL INFO
Signing: 5:30-6:30pm

Signing: 12:00-1:00
Signing: 3:00-4:00; 5:00-6:00pm


Book will be out August 13th! Pre-order yours now at




Punk Rock Cucumber

When cucumbers go bad.


Blog at

Up ↑