Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers by Deborah Heiligman

Although I'm a little late on posting this, I read Vincent and Theo by Deborah Heiligman for book club in February, and I found it incredibly inspiring. I think it about daily.

I never studied Van Gogh in college, and I really only knew that he was mentally ill, cut off his own ear and was friends with Gauguin. But the story that Ms. Heiligman has weaved together through the letters between him and his brother told of a kind, thoughtful and extremely hard-working artist. He was dedicated to becoming a better and better draftsman and painter, and he consistently sought his brother's feedback on how he could improve. I was surprised to learn that he struggled with color (as do I), and he worked diligently to develop and modernize his palette. I was so impressed.

This book has much to offer — it's a passionate tale and also educational and inspirational. I highly recommend!

The portrait below was my take on Vincent shortly after I finished the book.

Kendra Shedenhelm_Arteza_Van Gogh Portrait

New Batch of Greeting Cards Available #moocards

I am in love with the quality of moo cards, and I use them almost exclusively when selling my art in card form. Here's my latest batch for the local birding and nature store, Feed the Birds.

Kendra Shedenhelm_Watercolor Birds_Feed the Birds_Greeting Cards

This was a custom pack, so I don't have any more on hand, but please check out my cards in my Society6 shop or contact me personally to get your own custom batch. Thank you!

What's been happening this year: Update 5 of 6

When I was a kid, I couldn't wait to get my copy of Cricket magazine. I loved every single illustration, and I wondered about the artists who were so lucky to have their work in there. I wanted to know these artists, and I hoped to be one some day.

So... a few months ago I was hired to illustrate for Cricket Magazine! Huge! I cried when I read the request. I cried, and then I called my mom.

Here is my watercolor for Carol MacKay's poem, Basset (Nov/Dec issue)...

My basset hound illustration in Cricket magazine!

My basset hound illustration in Cricket magazine!

What's been happening this year: Update 2 of 6

I started licensing my work! So stoked!

Last fall, after an extremely helpful call with Giuseppe Castellano of The Illustration Department, I decided to revisit the resources in SCBWI's "The Book." I focused on a small group of art directors and agents that I'd like to work with, and I sent out emails to all of them. I am now fortunate to be represented by Lori Nowicki and Liz Wain of Painted Words licensing, and I couldn't be more grateful.

Watercolor of a scarlet ibis. One of the images picked up by  GreenBox Art + Culture  for 2018, watercolor and pencils, Copyright 2017 Kendra Shedenhelm

Watercolor of a scarlet ibis. One of the images picked up by GreenBox Art + Culture for 2018, watercolor and pencils, Copyright 2017 Kendra Shedenhelm

Debut of my licensed watercolors with  GreenBox Art + Culture  for 2017 (image posted on Instagram by my agent, Liz Wain of  Wain's World  and  Painted Words Licensing

Debut of my licensed watercolors with GreenBox Art + Culture for 2017 (image posted on Instagram by my agent, Liz Wain of Wain's World and Painted Words Licensing

What's been happening this year: Update 1 of 6

Hello again!
I cannot believe it's been over a year since my last post! This will be the first of a series of short updates of what I've been working on the past 13 months....

November of 2016:

Three local, award-winning businesses that I love began carrying individual collections of my note and greeting cards. Wonderful shops with stellar products and customer service: Sunshine & Clover, Feed the Birds and Baked by Susan.

Kendra Shedenhelm, Notecards for Baked by Susan, Croton on Hudson
Kendra Shedenhelm, Greeting cards for Sunshine & Clover, Croton on Hudson, NY
Copyright 2017 Kendra Shedenhelm, card for Feed the Birds, Croton on Hudson

Missing Milla

Last night, I had a dream that I found my beloved cat, Milla, at my friend Jenny's apartment. I was totally confused as to why she was there, but so thrilled to see her. I told her all about our new cat, Leo, and how much her buddy Tyco was going to freak out with glee when he saw her. All the while, I could not figure out why in the heck I'd left her at Jenny's in the first place.

As I was packing her up to leave, however, I realized I was dreaming. My dream self told me that Milla was not at Jenny's and would not be coming home. That she'd passed away two years ago.

When I woke up, I wanted to feel grateful that I was able to hold and pet her all night (even if it wasn't real), but it's not enough. Man, I miss her.

Busy October, gallery shows and more to come!

It has been a very long time since I've updated my blog, and I hope you're still catching my posts on Facebook and Instagram!

The month of October was a very busy and exciting time for me. I had a good deal of illustration work come in, AND I had my first group gallery show since college. In fact, I had TWO gallery shows in October — one opened in Iowa on the 16th and the other opened in NYC on the 24th. 

I'll update more about the illustration jobs soon, as well as details on an upcoming solo show, but here is a shot of the watercolor and collage work that was at the show in Cedar Rapids ("Rabbit," "Meeting the Wolf" and "Crow"). 

As always, your questions and comments are most welcome!

Kendra Shedenhelm_COE_College_Art_Gallery_Show_Watercolor

Another year of the Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search

On Friday, I submitted my entry for the Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search. This was my third year of creating work for this competition, and it proved to be as challenging and rewarding as ever.

This year, we were given a story about a fictitious young woman who lived in Brooklyn. The brief showed us a picture of her (and her clothing style), where she shopped, where she worked, products she'd buy, products she sold in her shop, the food truck she stopped at, and so on. With this type of person in mind, the assignment was to create a patterned sneaker that she could wear when she bicycled to work. The patterned shoe also needed to incorporate at least one word, hand-written or an actual font.

Although I really liked this approach of getting a visual story about the client, I did find it tricky to create something for a person I couldn't really relate to, while still keeping myself in the art. So I focused on whatever images I was drawn to in the brief.

In her shop, she sold some darker, occult-type of items, so I decided to go with a crow theme. They are one of my favorite birds – strong, smart and ominous, and I knew I would enjoy drawing them.

She also sold some pretty, Parisian-style gifts, which made me envision using a loose, dreamy watercolor style for my pattern.

I drew my shoe template with a sharpie, painted several crows (you can see one of them here), and this is the mockup I submitted, followed by the actual pattern...


You can see my 2014 and 2013 submissions here and here.

Your comments are always welcome!