Monthly Archives: September 2016

Throwback Thursday – Heart Tiger

It all began with a little girl’s drawing of her imaginary friend…Heart Tiger!  She wished that she could visit him in the land of hearts to hear him sing the most beautiful.  There would be heart leaves, heart ducks, heart flower and even heart bubbles.  It would be amazing!

Heart Lion Web

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Why is Children’s Author Tara Lazar Having a Tea Party with a Bunch of Frogs?

I have always considered myself a Toys-R-Us Kid.

I wear a pony tail almost every day, because I love when it swishes from side to side as I walk. Full House is still one of my all time favorite shows (Yeah, I almost named my daughter Michelle…lol). Oh and between you and me, I may or may not have just had my hair cut like Kimmy Gibbler on the new Fuller House.

My friends often look at me like I have two heads when I come up with my crazy imaginary ideas for portraits! After a while, I felt like my pictures were wasting away on social media. I decided to create children’s books, so they could be in the hands of young children all over the world, who would truly appreciate their whimsical wonder.

Julie McGann 2

When I began my research for literary agents, I came across Tara Lazar, an amazingly silly author!  She had filled her blog Writing for Kids While Raising Them with an enormous amount of resources for new authors. I discovered her one day when I was looking for information about fractured fairy tales.  Her video was HYSTERICAL! I had finally discovered that there are other people in the world as weird as me! Last week, I had the great pleasure of interviewing Tara to find out more about her wild imagination!

Weird is a side-effect of awesome!

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I was instantly attracted to Tara Lazar‘s newest book Normal Norman, which is an incredibly cute story about a purple orangutan named Norman who thinks he is not-so-normal!  It’s a book that celebrates our weirdness and I love that!

Tara explained, “I have never felt normal. When the name Normal Norman popped into my head one day, all I really knew about him was that he could, in no way, BE NORMAL. He would have to revolt against everything I threw at him, doing unexpectedly zany things instead–proving that normal is impossible to define.”

“It’s the crazy stuff that makes us interesting, the quirks that make us human (or purple orangutan, take your pick)”

nnTara has written several books and loves them as if they were her own children!  She enjoys sharing her stories with children across the country, teaching them about the joys of writing.  Back at home, Tara has two daughters of her own, who also love to use their imagination to write stories. “We love the website Storybird.com where we can pick illustrations and imagine the story behind them. It’s like solving a puzzle with words.”  That truly is a magical site Tara!

Tara believes it is important to give “kids and their parents the chance to laugh together over a book, to share special moments while reading. Those are some of life’s first and best memories.”

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Back when Tara was little, she was extremely attached to her stuffed animals, which she thought were “real animals.” “I remember sitting on my bed, looking up at all of them arranged atop my bookshelves and bawling, pleading with them to talk to me. I thought whatever I ate got magically transferred to their tiny tummies and that they came alive while I was sleeping. “Please say something! I won’t tell anyone your secrets!” I sobbed. Crazy? Maybe. But also good preparation for being a children’s book author.”

So why did I create a silly portrait of Tara having a tea party with a bunch of frogs?

sea-of-frogs

As you probably already know, I am a wish granting digital artist, capturing the imagination of little dreamers worldwide, by giving them the dream pet they have always wanted.

I asked Tara “When you were a child, if you could have any animal in the world, what would your dream pet be?”

Tara loved building blanket forts as a child. “Oh, how I loved building blanket forts and pretending they were my own home! I made truly EPIC forts because we owned unbelievably huge blankets that could stretch across the entire playroom. My forts had rooms inside. Entire wings, even!”

But why frogs?

Tara’s childhood dream was to have her very own sea of frogs!

“I had my dream pet for one fateful evening. My grandmother and I had gone for a walk and happened upon a COLONY of frogs. I immediately ran toward them and they began hopping away. I was screaming, “Catch one, Grandma, CATCH ONE!” And there’s my plump Italian Nonna bounding after a sea of froggies who were changing directions like starlings. We caught one, placed it in a beach bucket, covered it with foil. I punched small holes in the foil so it could breathe and left it on the back porch. That night we had a terrible, whip-crack thunderstorm and in the morning I discovered a gaping hole in the tinfoil. My very first pet had been spooked and leaped to freedom. I was devastated.”

Oh Tara!  How unbelievably sad! How can I deny her of her dream?!  Enjoy your “sea of frogs,” Tara!  I hope they bring you a “sea” of happiness!!  Thank you so much for speaking with me! I just love your imagination!

So if you are interested in some seriously silly books by Tara Lazar, stop by and check them out!

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It you are an author-in-the-works, like me, be sure to read her wonderful blog Writing for Kids While Raising Them!

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What is your favorite Tara Lazar book?

Let us know what makes you smile!

Blog Images:  Frog picture from Julie McGann Fine Art PortraitsTara’s Book Covers from Amazon, Tara’s Logo from Tara’s Website, Tara’s pictures from Tara’s Facebook Page, Stock Images from Meta Stock, Cassy Blue, Dragoroth Stock, SteppelandStock, and various personal stock

SUGGEST SOMEONE you admire with amazing imagination skills for Julie to interview!

READ MORE INSPIRING PEOPLE POSTS

COMMISSION JULIE for your own child’s portrait!

 

 

 

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Throwback Thursday – Elephant Boy

He loved elephants so much, that he dreamed of being raised by an elephant family.

Elephant Boy Final Web

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Behind the Scenes – The Making of Barney

Curious about what the personal photos look like that I use in my portraits? Here is an example! They don’t have to be perfect! I can make anything work! I used these three cell phone pictures from a client to make a portrait of her children and their dog.

Recently, their dog Barney had passed away. They missed him so much that they wanted to create a picture in memory of him. So, I asked them, if they could spend one more day with him, what would they want to do with him and it could be anything! This is what they came up with….King Barney and Sword Fighting Barney…the double rainbow symbolizes their two wishes coming true.

Dog Test

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Winner of the Giraffe

Last weekend, I had a beautiful weekend at the Clothesline Arts Festival at the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, NY  selling framed art, journals, calendars, playing cards, toys, puzzles and much more!

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I decided to give away this giant giraffe with a BIG blue bow and sparkly leash!

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Over 200 people entered to win…WOWSERS!

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And the lucky winners are…IRELAND & STELLA!!!!  Congratulations girls!  Giraffe, who is now named AVA has her new home!

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Throwback Thursday – Firefly Hill

She dreamed of flying on her unicorn guided by the light of the moon.  It was the most beautiful field of fireflies she ever saw!

Firefly Hill Web

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Behind the Scenes – Butterfly Fairy

Created for a little girl who loves Queen Clarion!

Butterfly Fairy Web

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101 Box Play Ideas

We spend countless dollars on toys, but what do kids play with the most? The boxes! Throughout the years, my kids have played with many boxes in so many different ways, such as toll booths, sailboats, race cars, dinosaur kingdoms and even submarines.  Boxes are so much fun!  Over the years, I have collected some websites with unique ideas to share with you, so you can have fun with your boxes too!

Melissa and Doug – Building Imagination – 50 Box Play Ideas for Kids

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Buzzfeed – 31 Things You Can Make With A Cardboard Box That Will Blow Your Kids’ Mind

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My Life and Kids – 20 Simple Cardboard Box Activities

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Share some pictures of your box activity!  I would love to see what you have created!

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Calendars Tomorrow

I will be at the Clothesline Arts Festival THIS WEEKEND September 10 & 11th selling framed art, journals, calendars, playing cards, toys, puzzles and much more! Don’t forget you can also enter to win a 4 ft stuffed giraffe with a BIG blue bow and sparkly leash!

Come visit me at Booth 182! Cross your fingers that does not rain this year!  It’s at the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, NY!

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Throwback Thursday – Baby Kitten

A fairy with her baby kitty…

Julie McGann Fairy

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