Category Archives: Custom Illustrations

Blog Header for Book Blog!

Books for KidsI just finished this blog header for my book blog Books for Kids.  I am super happy with the way it turned out.  I actually drew the frog twice.  The first time I drew him, he was cute, but the second time was better!  I really wanted something bright and cheerful for my book blog.  I review kids books, anything from picture books to middle grade novels, so I wanted something that would reflect the content.

I have always had this slightly unhealthy obsession with drawing frogs.  I don’t know why, but I just think they make adorable characters and they should be illustrated as often as possible. I used to catch frogs as a kid.  There was a little stream by my house and there were dozens of penny frogs that lived in the grass by the water.  My friend and I would go down there with a jar and catch them until we had far too many to comfortably fit into one jar, then we’d let them go.

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Filed under blog books, children, children and family, children's books, Custom Illustrations, graphic design, Illustration

A Sneak Peak

Sailing the Seven Sheets

I have been working on this book app for a few months now. I am super excited about how it is working out.  A friend of mine wrote the story and I am illustrating it.  This is the finished cover page.   It was Josh’s idea to use pillows for the navigation buttons.  I thought it was brilliant.

It has been an interesting thing to work on this book app.  Creating the artwork is much more complicated than simply drawing a picture and coloring it.  Every little element has to be on it’s own layer so that the programmer can animate it.  Since I draw all of my artwork by hand first, I have stacks and stacks of tracing paper with individual elements on them.  I then have to scan them all separately and fit them together again once I’ve finished adding all the color. It’s a long process, but it’s fun to see our project come to life.

I am about 1/3 of the way through illustrating the app, and I can’t wait to have the whole thing done and animated!

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Filed under Book App, Custom Illustrations, Entertainment

For the Kids’ Room

Beautiful Daughter

I thought of the phrase “There is nothing in this world more beautiful than a daughter” a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to create something for my little girls’ room, and I felt like the opportunity presented itself when those words popped into my head.  I drew the daisies in pen and ink first, then painted them in bright watercolors.  I spent a lot of time holding the brush as far away from me as possible while I was creating the splatters, but I got pretty messy anyway.  I scanned the painting and made all the adjustments I wanted and added the text at the top.  I can’t wait to get this up on the wall!

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Filed under Custom Illustrations, Family, graphic design

Jewelry Postcard Design for Gold Adore

I just finished these lovely little postcards for Gillian at Gold Adore.  I love doing custom work.  There is something extremely satisfying about filling a need or solving a problem that someone has.

Gold Adore is a beautiful Etsy shop full of unique vintage jewelry.  I really encourage you to check it out.  I always thought that vintage jewelry wasn’t for me until I saw Gillian’s shop.  She has great taste and I fell in love with several of her items right away.  Be sure to visit her Etsy Shop and her blog.



Gold Adore Postcard
Gold Adore Postcard

If you would like to meet Gillian in person, you can attend the Etsy wedding expo “To Have and To Hold”. It’s happening on April 28th in New York City. Find more details here:

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Filed under Custom Illustrations, graphic design

They Draw and Cook *Kraft* Competition

Rustic Grilled Cheese

Copyright Dena McMurdie 2012

They Draw and Cook hosted an illustrated recipe contest for Kraft Foods. The contest closed yesterday. This was my interpretation of their recipe for Rustic Grilled Cheese. I initially wanted the lumberjack to be Paul Bunion. I really wanted to put the blue bull in the design and everything. As I worked through the design, I decided that I liked this one the best. My husband (my ever vigilant and all-knowing critic) agreed that this was the best design.  Personally, I love the way it turned out.  My lumberjack is handsome, and obviously very happy to be eating a Rustic Grilled Cheese.

All of the recipes on this site are available for sale as prints and high-resolution downloads.  Some of them are even included in a recipe book, calendar, and so forth.  If you love to cook, this is a really fun website to browse and maybe even discover some unique artwork for your kitchen!

You can view the rest of the entries here:

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Finished Business Card Design

Business Card DesignFront

Business Card DesignBack

Here is the finished business card design for my sister-in-law. It is an expression of her and an extension of her products. If you haven’t already, you really should check out her blog and etsy shop. She is creative and crafty and a super fun person. Her energy really comes through.

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Filed under Business and Technology, Custom Illustrations, Family

Updated Business Card Designs

Here are the updated designs for my sister-in-law’s business cards. I am personally a huge fan of the brightly colored designs. I just love how they pop. Nobody would misplace your business card if it were this colorful! I also enjoy the more muted tones of the softer color palette. It is feminine and slightly romantic. I can’t wait to see which one she likes!

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Filed under Business and Technology, Custom Illustrations, Family

Business Card Designs

My sister-in-law contacted me the other day about creating some business cards for her.  She has a craft blog and Etsy shop and is super creative.  I designed her cards with her personality in mind, developing three options that expressed her as well as her products.  I’ll post the final business card design once she has decided on one.

business card designs

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Filed under Business and Technology, Custom Illustrations, Family

Book App Title Page

Book App Title Page

I have been making some good progress on my drawings for the children’s book app (for iPad and iPhone) I am working on. It is called “Sailing the Seven Sheets”. The only problem with posting artwork at this stage in the process is that my drawings are on multiple layers of tissue paper. It wouldn’t be too interesting for you to see one of the layers. There would be a random head, a dislocated arm, a floating lamp… you get the idea. I did want to upload the title page for the book app, though. I am really excited about this app. It has been a lot of fun to work on so far. In case anyone is curious, the website listed on the picture is not live. You can type it into your browser, but it doesn’t exist, so you won’t find anything.

Keep checking back because I will have finished artwork to post in the future!

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Filed under Book App, Custom Illustrations, Entertainment

Big Projects

I have been completely swamped over here for the past couple of months.  I must apologize for not posting anything, but I guess that is the consequence of having a full schedule.

Just to let you know what is going on in my little art world right now –

I spent the entire month of November writing books.  I participated in the insane National Novel Writing Month challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in a month.  I finished my novel at 60,002 words, and then wrote a second book for young readers that was 5,010 words.   December has been filled with lots of craft shows, chocolate making, and Christmas shopping.

Now that my Christmas shopping is mostly taken care of, I have started working on a project that I am super excited about.  I am creating illustrations for an author of a children’s book app for the iPhone and iPad.  It is going to be so much fun!  I will post some of my drawings as I go along.

Merry Christmas!

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Filed under Custom Illustrations, Family, Uncategorized