Saturday, August 28, 2010

The magical illustration art of Polish artist Jan Marcin Szancer

Polish artist Jan Martin Szancer (1902-1973) was a true Renaissance man. Besides his exquisite and unique talent as a children’s illustrator he also was a talented painter, print maker, draftsman and a professor at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts among other artistic professional tasks.

Jan Martin Szancer  illustrated over 240 books, including classic polish and international children’s literature  by Julian Tuwim,  Jan Brzechwy, Ignazy Krasicki, Adam Mickiewicz, Hans Christian Andersen, Carlo Collodi and Bolesław Prus among others.

Jan was especially gifted with an extraordinary, enchanting and unlimited vivid imagination which he expressed brilliantly and beautifully in his colourful and unique  illustrations. Children and adults loved to be captivated into a magical world of fantasy which Jan created with his distinctive and delightful illustrations.

Looking at some of Jan’s  charming illustrations today I begin to slowly remember the special and wonderful moments in my childhood which made me escape into a world of  joyful enchantment,fantasy, magic and many delightful childhood mysteries.

Here are some of Jan's beloved and treasured illustrations:


J. M. Szancer, cover illustration for Lokomotywa by Julian Tuwim (Poland, 1954)

Szancer 4

J. M. Szancer, illustration for Lokomotywa by Julian Tuwim


J.M. Szancer, cover illustration for Abecadlo Krakowskie by Wanda Chotomska


J.M. Szancer, cover illustration for Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi


J.M. Szancer, illustration for Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi


Friday, August 27, 2010

Writing and illustrating for children-a delightful task

I do truly treasure my artistic talent of writing and illustrating for children. Creative writing for children is a great responsibly but also a very rewarding one.

When I decided to fulfill my dream project of writing and  illustrating my debut novel for young children titled “My Fuzzy’s World”, I embarked on a creative, challenging and very enchanting journey. I took some time to pursue this dream in 2009 and I can proudly say that I have made my dream come true. It took me approximately one year of full time work to  create and complete my novella for young readers.

I had no previous experience writing and illustrating children’s books. Back in my child and young adulthood I loved to write stories and drawing was also one of my very early creative passions. Through the years my life became consumed by education and later on a full time career.

When I rediscovered my artistic talent I felt that creative writing was something I truly had missed in all those years. I simply forgot about my talent and also to take some time to pursue it on a deeper level.  After accomplishing my special project I felt some kind of an enlightenment-I had truly pursued my dream project and made it come true trough hard work, courage and perseverance.

When I write and illustrate for young children I feel a great passion, joy and happiness.  I don’t consider it a job at all-rather an enchanting and fulfilling task as I love to challenge my creative mind. I write and illustrate from my heart and with my soul with the mission to educate, entertain and engage young children. I also want to inspire and encourage them to pursue their own colourful dreams and make them understand that nothing great in life is impossible to accomplish if one has the courage to pursue a dream.

This is my dream job!

For more information on how “My Fuzzy’s World” came to life and about the joy of creative writing refer to these earlier posts:

Happy reading!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

How do you define success?

I believe that we all define success differently. For  myself  it is happiness, health, joy, financial wealth, good friends, a caring family and a loving soul mate in my life. I believe that these are strong and important attributes to ones success.

As a creative children's writer I am driven by creativity, authenticity, passion, perseverance, excellence and a strong motivation to excel with my debut children’s novel  “My Fuzzy’s World” to a children's book bestseller in near future.

I consider myself a successful children's author always on the go promoting my book and writing creative blog posts and online articles. I believe that success is a lifelong journey of  hard work, passion, courage, perseverance and believing that you can accomplish anything you desire. Some people achieve success quickly and some of us work very hard to be successful in one’s working, private and social life's. 

Always have courage to pursue your dreams.

Take a moment to think how  you define success. 

success by Konrad Knutsen-cafepress

Art print by Gustav Knutsen on

Helpful resources for aspiring children’s writers

Here is a list of some beneficial sources which I recommend for any one who desires to become a children’s writer.  Please also refer to my previous post on how to become a children’s writer.'s_literature

Happy researching!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Challenge your creativity from within

Creative people of all kind of talents always have doubts if their creativity is authentic, exclusive, innovative, enchanting, captivating and delightful enough to stand out from the crowd.  Many more doubts cross possibly creative minds everyday.

Some of the greatest masters of all time from the past went trough emotions of self-doubt and criticism, failure and also genius.

I believe that anyone who desires to be creative in life needs to challenge its creativity from within. Replace the doubt with passion and courage for your creativity and start from within.

                                       Daring by Andrea Roberts on cafe press

                   Daring art print by Andrea Roberts on

An inspiring and unique quote on creativity

“The world is but a canvas to the imagination.”

Henry David Thoreau, American author, poet and philosopher.

I often compare creativity with the art of creating a painting on a canvas. Begin your creative journey on a blank canvas. Your creative mind and skills will take you on a magical journey. Pursue your creativity with a passion and courage!

Remember this famous quote by Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862).

How to become a children’s writer

The advise I am offering in this post is solely based on my own development and growth as a children’s writer. Today I am the published children’s author and illustrator of my debut novel titled “My Fuzzy’s World”. My book is available on Amazon.

I strongly believe that creative writing for children is an art. Either one has the talent and/or one have learn the skills which will help one succeed in this unique craft. I do recommend to do a lot of research and consult several renowned professional children writer’s resources to build your knowledge. This will also motivate one's desire to write for children and inspire the creative mind.

I was always very creative and I loved to write unique and colourful stories as a child and young adult. I never learned the skills for creative writing and for writing children's books. However, I am very creative, have a great passion for writing and a colourful imagination which I love to share with young readers.

Keep in mind that writing for children is also an important responsibility. Clarify what you want to teach your readers and be mindful and sensitive to use age appropriate language in your writing. A children’s story needs to be authentic, engaging and interesting. Basically-unique in its own way.

1. If you like to write -commit to authenticity, creativity and excellence!

2. Research  at least the basics of children’s literature and the difference between children’s literature, children’s classics and books. Familiarize yourself with prominent children’s writers from the past and present and learn what made them succeed, and why some of them created timeless pieces of classic children’s literature.

3. What age  is your target audience you are wanting to write for?

4. Research how children’s books are categorized in age groups.

5. Read some classic children’s literature for the age group you are intending to write.

6. What is the storyline?  Define it and clarify the message of your story.

7. Set a goal in regards to time you want to invest per day/week etc. to accomplish your project.

6. Network with published children's writers on the Internet  and/0r trough renowned local and national organizations.

7. Don’t be too proud to take advise from a professional writer!

8. Have passion for your creative writing and maintain courage and patience to pursue your project!

9. What are you trying to teach the targeted age group?

10. Ensure your story is suited for your targeted age group.

11. Have fun and just go for it! Research your creative mind and ideas.

12. Ask for feedback from family, friends, parents, children of the same age group as well as teachers and librarians.

Life is all about taking a smart risk and having courage to accomplish something important for yourself and others!

I will soon post some children’s writing resources which I recommend.

What I want to accomplish as a creative children’s writer and illustrator

In my debut children’s book titled “My Fuzzy’s World” I focused on creating a fun and engaging story for young readers. While enjoying my story young readers will learn valuable lessons on the importance of family, friendship, diversity and courage and will be inspired to create their own colourful dreams to come true. I also emphasize the essence of courage and determination to make dreams come true.

Book cover of “My Fuzzy’s World” designed and illustrated by Natalie Lehr-Splawinski

As a creative and published children’s writer and illustrator my goal is to teach young children about something of great importance in life. My story helps them to understand the true essence of different values and why it is so important to gain and keep these values for life.  I want young readers to have fun with my story and also be taken on a unique and magical journey.

I embellished my story with soft oil pastel drawings of all my plush characters in my book. My illustrations, which I believe are quite beautiful  mirror the soul of all my plush characters. The drawings make them all come to life.

I am very proud of my story and my illustrations which will enhance a young readers imagination and creativity. I want young children to understand and learn  that they can accomplish what ever they want in life if they pursue their dreams with courage. For more information about “My Fuzzy’s World” please visit my website:

You can view three chapters of “My Fuzzy’s World” on Google books!

Enjoy reading!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The journey to sucess

I do believe that we all are on a specific journey in our lives.  I mainly focus on success in my professional and personal life, besides creativity, happiness, health and inner strength. I do consider success as a lifelong creative journey of discovery, courage, perseverance, change, motivation and discipline for hard work.

On my life journey I rediscovered my talent for creative writing and illustrating for children. It takes a lot of promotional work to become a successful writer. So I embarked on this magical journey of becoming a celebrated and well renowned children's writer and illustrator. This is a very exciting, rewarding and happy journey which also motivates and challenges me to always be authentic, creative and thrive to the best as a published children's writer. My creative journey has just began and I will continue it with many more fun, engaging and creative children's books in the "My Fuzzy's World"  adventure series for young readers.

What is your journey to success? Take a moment to define it.

Success art print by Paula Scaletta on

Monday, August 23, 2010

The illustration art of Jessie Willcox Smith, America’s Golden Age children’s illustrator

I recently discovered the very beautiful and enchanting  illustrations of  Jessie Willcox Smith who became celebrated for her unique illustrations art  of the late-Victorian era home life.

Jessie Willcox Smith (1863-1935) achieved extensive celebrated success as an illustrator of children's books and popular magazine covers.  Jessie’s  unique cover art  on Good Housekeeping, one of America's most popular magazines brought her popularity and the recognition as a celebrated children’s artist. 

Her exquisite  illustration art graced the covers of Good Housekeeping for more than 15 years from 1913-1932 which are now considered as vintage covers.

                                                                                         jwsmith9           jessie-willcox-smith-good-housekeeping_-september-1926jessie-willcox-smith-little-drops      jessie-willcox-smith-we-give-thanks

Jessie became a celebrated and successful artist of children`s illustration art in the Golden Age area. She charmingly portrayed the unique beauty, innocence and joy of childhood and it`s playfulness during the Victorian area. Her portrayals of mother and child in close and joyful moments together are very touching. I especially love this illustration:


During her creative career Jessie Willcox Smith illustrated over 40 children's books including  A Child's Book of Old Verses (1910), A Child`s Book of stories  (1911) and classics such as Little Women (1915) and Heidi (1922).


Jessie Willcox Smith book cover for The Bed-Time Book, by Helen Whitney, 1907


Jessie Willcox Smith`s book Illustration for A Child's Garden of Verses, 1905  written by Robert Louis Stevenson

For a list of all books with Jessie`s illustration work see: Jessie :

Her unique illustration work shows strong characteristics of  prominent outlines and flat shapes which seem inspired by Art Nouveau and Japanese prints. She worked with charcoal, water colors and oils pastels. Later on in her advanced artist’s life she also became an accomplished portrait artist. Jessie also painted posters and advertisements.

Jessie Willcox Smith`s illustrations and paintings are nowadays universally considered the pinnacle of American children's illustrative art.

For more resources on the life and work of Jessie Willcox Smith visit this great link:

Happy reading!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Visualize your dream and pursue it with passion and perseverance!

When I first created the idea of writing and illustrating “My Fuzzy’s World”,  I also visualized my dream project. In an earlier post I described how this project came to life. I invite you to read about it.

No matter what your dream is-even if it is winning the lottery, moving on an secluded island or retiring early-just visualize it. I believe that we are so consumed with work, responsibilities etc. that we simply don’t allow ourselves the time to dream about something which we would love to accomplish in our life.

The process of visualizing your dream is not only stimulating for one’s creativity but also for the purpose of one’s own personal success.
Off course I want to win the lottery. One day I will. I visualize and believe in it. I pursue my dream by continuously buying a lottery ticket without spending a fortune. I don’t say-I never will win the lottery.  In the meantime I focus on my other creative dream projects and make a plan how to reach my goal.

All you need is some time, passion, perseverance and courage. Believe in your dream!

You will be surprised what one can accomplish with that creative mindset!

Art print by Janet Kruskamp on

Nurture your creativity!

Where to find rare and enchanting children’s picture books

What first comes to my mind is the world wide web-today’s quickest, most convenient and also rich resource of a world information on every topic including rare and vintage books.

I recently stumbled over a website which sells some of these wonderful and enchanting children’s book treasures. You can search by category, illustrator and also signed editions. This website offers an amazing amount of rare and signed books. There I found some unique early editions which are a children book lover’s dream. I discovered the first American edition of A.A Milne’s Now We Are Six, illustrated by Ernest Shepard from 1927. The other wonderful fact about this amazing children’s books and illustration wonderland is that you can also purchase some of the most beloved Giclee Print like this one:

Giclee Print From Winnie The Pooh

Ernest Shepard, an illustration from Winnie the Pooh

Beautiful, authentic and creative illustrations like this one are a wonderful treasure for a nursery or young child’s room.

Visit to discover some your beloved treasured children’s books and Giclee prints.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

How to inspire and encourage a child to read printed books

By introducing young children very early to printed books you will change their life forever! Later on talk  about your favourite children books, read them to a child, talk about what you have learned from that book, the story, the characters and about the essence of that specific book. Share how the book has inspired you and enhanced your imagination.

Children are very visual and love to see colourful pages at a young age. This is the best time for awakening the desire to read printed books and enhance a child’s creativity.  Although they might be too young to fall in love and treasure a book they soon will discover the magical effect of reading a book.

Let a young child hold picture books, explore them and play with them. Once they grow older, children very quickly start being drawn to books because they were inspired early by an adult who knows the beauty of reading.


Girl Reading on a cushion, Vintage Wood Panel-artist unknown

How the beauty of a moment can be very inspirational for your creativity

 When I work on my creative writing posts, articles and notes about my next future My Fuzzy in Paris project I sometimes pause for a moment. Often I find my and my husband’s beloved cat Maya (who is also one of the characters in my first children’s book “My Fuzzy’s World”) sleeping or lounging in our office on her beloved spot.

Maya is a very happy, playful and active young Grey-Tabby cat and you can see it on this picture how comfortable she is when she sleeps or naps.

Looking at my cara bella mia Maya (Italian-my dear beloved beautiful Maya) always inspires my creativity to write. Maya has so deeply enriched our lives with joy and happiness since we have rescued her as a kitten and has also become my muse for creative writing.

Enjoy Maya’s afternoon nap snapshot!

Maya 2009

Do you have a favourite children’s book memory?

Most people I know have a favourite children’s book memory like I do. I am referring to a special, beloved and treasured children’s book of my early childhood. Some of us have several of these treasured books which have always been there when we needed to be comforted, encouraged and captured into a wonderful world of adventures. They are like a good and loyal friend who is always there for you when you need him.

Maybe it was a an exceptional book you were read to as a young child or you read yourself once you learned the  basic but very exciting skill of reading. I do believe that reading is an art. We have to learn it and treasure it as it is not only a very helpful talent but will always enrich our life with wisdom, inspiration and colourful imagination.

Our lives are now so consumed with work, family and social responsibilities that we tend to find excuses not to have time to read a printed book. We read everything which we need for work and our private lives on our computer screens, iPods and smart and i phones.  The memory of my most beloved children’s and young adult’s books immediately recalls the unique feeling of happiness, joy, comfort and a vivid world of a special adventure. That memory also reminds me that I need to take time to read printed books. If I simply don’t have the time I need to make time for the enchanting pleasure of reading again a printed book.

These unique books have also taught me much wisdom at a very early age. I either learned an important message from the book’s characters, the story, the ending or from all aspects of the book. These treasured books were also one of my guiding lights trough my child-and young adulthood. Until today I still read my favourite children’s books because I always discover a new message of wisdom.

Do you have a favourite children's book? I encourage you to be inspired by that special memory and take a precious moment to read a printed book again.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Today's Thought: Commit to Excellence!

I commit myself to excellence in my work, my creative writing and illustrating for children, in my partnership, in my friendships and in my life in general. I do believe that if you commit to excellence it grows into a valuable habit which will inspire others around you.

Always Thrive to the Best!

Are you committed to excellence?

Excellence Art print by Tavo Studios on

Happy reading!

What is a children’s book classic?

What defines a piece of children’s literature as a classic? Based on my research the answer seems to depend on an individual's personal viewpoint. I am expressing only my personal perception and opinion of classic children’s books in this post.

During my childhood and continuous education process through my adulthood  I have defined many read children's  books as classics. This includes all the books which I treasured and loved then and do so now. Beloved books witch were always around to  comfort me throughout the years like good friends who never fail to be with you when you need them.

I am referring to all the wonderful, imaginative, enchanting, engaging and magical timeless pieces of children’s literature which filled my heart with joy and my mind with wisdom at an early age. With years passing by these beloved and unique books  also became timeless treasures and guiding lights  in my life.

I define classic children’s books as any authentic books of creative, valuable and memorable work of art-in words, writing and illustrations. Many of my favourite children’s book classics have withstood the true test of time in popularity and are still in print. These brilliant books also left a lasting impression on me. I learned something important from the story and character(s), the ending or even of all aspects of the book combined.

These creative books made me memorize something unique, like a valuable lesson about the essence of life, family, friendship,love, forgiveness, courage, creativity or anything else encouraging in regards to the human spirit.  In this aspect I always will consider my favourite children’s classics as  inspiring and also educational for my life.

Here is a list of  my beloved classic children’s books (and some young adult fiction) which I  treasure until today and  highly recommend for children and young people to read. All of the listed books on here will enhance a child’s creativity and imagination. Please kindly note that I have not listed the books in in any age groups.

The Little Prince written and illustrated by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

This is my all time most favourite! This classic book  is listed as a children’s story but it is also a big  favourite among adults today and I am sure it will continue to be so in future. The unique and wonderful thing about this magical novel is that it never gets old. Every time I read it I discover a new and valuable lesson and meaning from this enchanting novel.


The Little Prince- book cover illustration by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, publication date: 1943 in French language


The Little Prince drawn  by  Antoine de Saint-Exupéry


The Little Prince drawn  by  Antoine de Saint-Exupéry


The Little Prince drawn  by  Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

I will be writing in detail about The Little Price by  Antoine de Saint-Exupéry in an upcoming post.

Alan Alexander Milne 

  • Winnie-the-Pooh
  • The House at Pooh Corner
  • Now We Are Six
  • When We Were Very Young

The Wind in the Willows  by Kenneth Grahame

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

Madeline series by Ludwig Bemelmans

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

The Moomins by Tove Jansson 

The Jungle Book by  Rudyard Kipling

Doctor Doolittle series by Hugh Lofting

Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi

One Thousand and One Nights -various unknown authors over many centuries

Pippi Longstocking series by Astrid Lindgren

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift

Mark Twain

  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Here are also some great children’s book treasures which I discovered as an adult (I still love to read children’s books!) I believe some of them will be considered as children’s classics in  future.

E.B. White

  • Stuart Little
  • Charlotte's Web

Kate DiCamillo

The Tale of Despereaux

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

My greatest inspirations to draw and illustrate for children-the unique talent of E.H. Shepard

British artist and book illustrator Edward Howard Shepard was always one of my greatest creative inspirations to draw animals early on as a child. Shepard's creative drawing talent also inspired me to illustrate my first children's book "My Fuzzy's World."

E.H. became most famous for illustrating Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne and The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. I remember how very much I loved all the enchanting and adorable Winnie-the-Pooh characters as a little girl.  They remain in my heart forever, just like all of my beloved and treasured Winnie-the-Pooh books by A.A. Milne.

E.H.Shepard is also well respected as the master of line and the black and white illustration. What most inspired me in his Pooh and friends drawings was their human-like appearance . To me all of the Pooh characters are very lovable and seem almost alive, just like they would step out of the pages to  share their adventures with me. The illustrations showcase all of the characters gentle and vulnerable human like nature. I admired Shepard's creativity to draw so beautifully Milne's charming Pooh characters with great imagination and an exceptional talent.

                            Eeyore and Pooh illustration by E.H. Shepard

I always loved Shepard's original black and white Winnie-the-Pooh characters illustrations. I proudly declared Pooh and Tigger as my most favourite imaginary friends as a little girl.

                                                     Tigger by E.H.Shepard

Every child and child at heart was thrilled in 1973 when Shepard colored his original black and white Pooh illustrations. I felt that they even enhanced the beauty and uniqueness of all characters making them more colorful for my own imaginative world of animal friends.

                                             Pooh eating honey by E.H.Shepard

Encourage children to read Milne's Pooh books and fall in love with E.H.Shepard's wonderful world of Pooh illustrations. Once they discover the uniqueness of both artists they will be grateful and inspired for life.

Visit a great source for  Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends:

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Today's Thought: Nurture your Creativity!

What ever your creativity might be-find time everyday to nurture  it!

Art print by Louise Carey on

About the great artist who illustrated AA Milne's Winnie the Pooh- Ernest Howard Shepard

Ernest Howard Shepard dreamed of being an artist from early on and always carried a booklet for his drawings with him until his death. He was originally a prolific British artist and contributor to the Punch Magazine in the early 1900. He later on became a very famous book illustrator. E.H Shepard became well known and respected especially for his human-like animals in illustrations for Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne and The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame.

Alan Alexander Milne was an  English author who later on became famous for his enchanting books about the teddy bear Winnie-the-Pooh and also for various children's poems. AA Milne approached Shepard to illustrate his book of poems titled "When We Were Very Young" in 1924. Milne was delighted with creativity of Shepard's illustrations and the book then became an instant success for both artists.

                   The original Winnie the Pooh drawing by E.H.Shepard

E.H. Shepard also illustrated Milne's 'Winnie-The-Pooh, Now We Are Six" and "The House At Pooh Corner". Shepard was said to have fallen in love with all the characters of Milne's Winnie the Pooh books and was delighted about the illustrating task for Milne. However, both artists were said to never have been close.

"Do you think you could very kindly lean against me, 'cos I keep pulling so hard that I fall over backwards"
                                                 © Estate of E.H. Shepard and Egmont UK Ltd.

Winnie-the-Pooh was published in October of 1926.  After Milne realized his illustrator's grand contribution to the book's success, he then generously arranged for Shepard to receive a share of his book royalties. Milne also inscribed a copy of Winnie-the-Pooh with the following very touching personal verse:

When I am gone,

Let Shepard decorate my tomb,

And put (if there is room)

Two pictures on the stone:

Piglet from page a hundred and eleven,

And Pooh and Piglet walking (157)…

And Peter, thinking that they are my own,

Will welcome me to Heaven.

Ernest Shepard died in 1976-on the 50th anniversary of the publication of Winnie the Pooh.

Most of his Winnie-The-Pooh illustrations are treasured by the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

Read more on E.H. Shepard on the Pooh Corner's website

One of my articles now featured on Ezine Articles!

I am proud to share that my "Why we must encourage young children to read printed books" article is now featured on Ezine Articles! I also have earned Ezine Article expert author status!