Posted by: Kathy Temean | October 25, 2015

Take a Look Sunday – Kary Lee


TKSillustration Kary Lee1 of 2


FIRST, what hit me right away is the MOTION of this illustration….almost a beat sense.  NICE!  The shadow of the sax player leaning back and into his music takes my eye right to the swirl that leads me to the main boy character…almost simultaneously!  The floating clothes and sheets on the lines also seem to be dancing to the music which is subtle but reinforces the motion. As I look deeper into the background I’m not really sure what else is going on…baseball pick up game I think, but in this digital copy the ball is hard for me to see in the close boys hand…and he looks a bit small compared to the front main boy?  Love the energy of motion again in a ‘baseball’ activity…perhaps fits into the story elsewhere too. Or just ‘place setting.’

(NOTE:  watch handling of hands and feet. Make sure they are clear, can hold weight, and attach correctly to limbs…always hugely ‘telling’ in illustration.

The second piece is charming as well. Like the perspective very much, but I’d move the windowsill off the boy’s head! Lol. Overlapping lines/shapes should be assessed always for ‘comfort’ and appropriateness ….this can be distracting visually. I have to mention one personal response as well…the girl sitting at an open window (on ledge I can’t see?) also makes me slightly, no quite, uncomfortable…open windows and children, even older ones!  There could be a ledge or something giving a feel of protection maybe, but that might be just me. Would others NOT buy the story if they thought it might lead to a child sitting on such a ledge of an open window? Am I being foolish here?

HOWEVER, both together give a real story feel with an emotive beat visually, and I wonder if he wins the girl?

TKSillustration Kary Lee2 of 2


Oh yes, I recognize this artist’s work – I like her style so very much! I looooooove the colors in these pieces; light and whimsical – with just the right amount of darkness and shadow to keep the a nice contrast. And there is so much action here!

The artist has done a really great job of giving this first illustration lots of environment and busyness, without detracting from the main characters and event in the foreground. The viewer’s eye goes from the boy, to the shadow (which I love!), to the girl in the window – just as it should. And the swirl (of music, is it?) that is guiding the viewer’s eye is helpful – not a distraction. And then, the eye is free to explore the other fun elements of this piece; the woman popping out of the other window, the kids in the street, the blowing clothing…all of it setting a great supporting scene.

One thing that is standing out to me here is the face of the girl in the window; her smile, especially. It is important that the details of her face are clear, and that we know that she is smiling and delighted, but her smile is reminding me a bit of a red smiley face smile. And I think that paired with the dots she has for eyes, it’s giving her an “unfinished” feel, and isn’t aligning with the faces of the other people (that we can see). Maybe toning down her mouth a bit might do the trick? It’s a small detail, but one that hopped out at me right away.

I really love the second illustration as well. It’s a nice juxtaposition to the first, as it’s just the window, and the 2 characters – as seen from a totally different angle. Love it! Again, I think his smile in this one can be toned down a bit. Even though you can only see a sliver of her face, you can tell that she is wearing a very sweet, calm expression. His looks a little overzealous! Maybe taking the smile down a bit, and softening the eyes would give him a more “lovey” and serenading look to him. Then again, maybe he IS overzealous! In which case, perfect! I don’t know the context of the story, so I can’t say…just something I noted.

In short, these are lovely – well done!


This is a two page spread from a non-fiction picture book dummy (written by Stacy Nyikos), Charlie Christian, the Electric Guitar’s First Hero! I create images from original sketches that I scan into photoshop. I then play with the composition and when satisfied, I print my image directly onto watercolor paper and paint traditionally (I love the real brush to paper). Once complete, I re-scan into photoshop and modify as needed. I was hesitant to use Photoshop, but have since realized the digital options are valuable tools, just like my brush. It’s also fun to learn new things and push out of my comfort zone.

Kary lives in a small college town on the border of Washington State and Idaho. She shares her studio with Sunny-an old yellow lab, various childhood books and some coveted vintage toys. She’s also the Illustrator Coordinator for SCBWI’s Inland Northwest Region. You can see more of her work at

Thank you Chris  & Christy for taking the time to share their expertise with us. It helps so many illustrators and is very much appreciated. Here is the CATugeau Agency website link:


For the next few months illustrators can submit two consecutive story illustrations for critique by CATugeau Agency.

If you do not have an agent and would like to be featured and hear what you should do or how it could be tweaked to help you sell your work, then please send Two SEQUENTIAL illustrations – not just 2 pages of illustrations, but two with the SAME “story/characters‎” to:

Kathy.temean (at) Illustrations should be at least 500 pixels wide. Please put ILLUSTRATOR PORTFOLIO in the subject area and include a blurb about yourself that I can use to introduce you to everyone.

Each Sunday one illustrator will be chosen.

If everyone likes this, we will continue until the end of the year.

CALL FOR ILLUSTRATORS: Remember I’m always looking for illustrations I can use with articles I post. Send to: Kathy.temean (at) Put ILLUSTRATION FOR BLOG in the subject area. Remember all illustration need to be 500 pixels wide. Include a blurb about yourself, too.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Really pretty drawings, Elizabeth! Thank you again, Chris and Christy!


  2. Another good one Kathy…thanks… 😉


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: