Thursday, September 27, 2012

At the Drawing Board...

At the drawing board this week are FALL related!  I don't know about you, but I am really looking forward to cooler temperatures, colorful leaves, and the wonderful smells of baking bread, apple pie, and pumpkin pie spice.

I am currently working on a scarecrow drawing. We'll see how it turns out.  I'm thinking about popping' The Wizard of Oz in the DVD player for some inspiration. :)

What are you working on this week?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I have been busy adding new materials to my Teachers Pay Teachers store!   Candy Corn Activities is just one of the latest packets I've added. Click on the Candy Corn image above to go to the store.

Also new this week was a packet on Bats for the Stellaluna learning centers.  I am currently working on pumpkins and scarecrows!  Stay tuned for more on that!

Saturday, September 15, 2012


I spent the week editing, or adding onto some older packets that I had made.  It's always fun to look back and see the work that I have previously made.  If someone were to compare some of my earlier work to what I create now, I think they'd be surprised.  My Mom used to say "practice makes perfect."  I'm a long shot from perfect, but I believe that the artwork has come a long way.

When I was growing up,  I didn't think that I could draw.  My Mom is a natural artist, she can draw pretty much anything just by looking at it.  She won a scholarship to college back in the day for her artwork.  You can only imagine what it was like  ( at least in my head) trying to figure out how to draw when there is an artist in the family.  Stick figures, I was your go-to-girl, but real objects that could be identified?  Not a chance.

Flash forward to 1998 when I began creating learning materials. I began putting my materials "out there" into cyber space and as quickly as I would make something I was being requested and encouraged to make more.  At that time I was using clipart that I had permission to use by 2 well known companies. Prior to using their materials, I had asked permission and had letters from the companies granting me permission.  That worked well for a year or two until an unscrupulous competitor tried everything under the sun to push me offline.  She even went so far as to stage a "cou" and set the wheels in motion for some of my work to be copyright infringed, and some nasty rumors spread.  It hurt at first, but then I realized that the person must have such a low self worth as to do something like that.  In the midst of all of the gobbledegook (great word, eh?) :)  The person had contacted the 2 companies that I was using for artwork, and complained that it wasn't fair that I was able to use their artwork.  To this day, I believe that she thought that would be the end of me creating. :)  Instead, it was a gentle nudge for me to start drawing my own artwork.  I wasn't about to let someone that didn't have ethics or morals keep me from doing something that I loved, and was doing to help people.

My first official printables website was opened in 1999, and my "brand" was created in 2000.  So yes,  I've been at this for 14 years and for the most part have loved every minute of it.

My original artwork was more simplistic.  I used the shape tools for a lot of the items I drew.  The lines weren't always perfect, and sometimes the coloring wasn't quite right.   I kept at it, and taught myself different techniques for correcting the lines and shading/coloring.  Pretty soon,  my "style" was becoming pretty well known.  I like simple line artwork because it's nice to be able to identify with the object/animal.  I've received numerous letters from teachers of autistic and other special learners that were happy to see my artwork because the children could identify with it, and not become confused by the "busy" lines.  I have had fans/followers email me from all over asking me if a certain project/game was mine based on appearances only.  Most of the time, they are spot on! :)   It's fun to know that so many have come to identify with me and my work.

In 2010,  I decided to up the ante a little bit.  Until then, even though I did create materials for older age groups, my brand name identified more with the younger levels.  A customer came along and wanted to purchase the domain name that I had used for years, and I opted to do it.  It was a risky business move to change brands, but I did so in order to create a larger / broader collection of learning materials.

Now, my age range spans from Prek-K  up to 5th grade.  I've been blessed with different opportunities to create, draw/illustrate, and publish hiqh quality learning materials.  My artwork is being used in classrooms in 16 countries, and all 50 of the U.S. States!  How cool is that?

When I think back at how I got my start, from one small sketchy drawing...  It makes my heart smile.


Friday, September 14, 2012

A New Year.... A New Beginning!!!

September is here, and Fall is in the air!

Like most of you, I've spent the majority of the summer working on new materials for the coming school year.  Before summer,  I had made a list of things that I wanted to accomplish this summer.  The big one was to redo my website.  I did complete the design, and most of the 100+ pages.  Then I reached a point when I realized that this site is huge, and how would I have time to maintain it and keep up with my fans and followers if I was bogged down in details such as HTML coding, adding new content to keep it fresh, and still have time to design new materials.

Then the big proverbial light bulb came on, and I realized that I can use my Blog as a focal point for keeping in touch with my fans and followers, and still be able to provide all of the resources that everyone has come to enjoy from Crayonbox Learning!

Last year,  I had this Blog design created and I only posted a couple times.  I never really got into it, because my work schedule prevented me from posting with any regularity.  I spent the school year looking at other people's Blogs, and making a mental list of the things that I wanted to do with mine.  I'm not a real fan of cluttered up pages that are hard to read and navigate through.  Not everyone is tech savvy, and some people have a hard time with so much stimuli.  I removed my previous posts so that I could start fresh this school year.

Ta da!  Here it is.   The plan for this Blog is to share my journey creating original learning materials, as well as periodic printables being posted for you to download.   The more you share my Blog, the more I post.
Be sure to bookmark this page, and check back often for new postings!

Are you following me on Facebook, and Pinterest?