Category Archives: Places

Summer School, Part 1: Hollins University

I’d like to introduce you all to one of my favorite places: my graduate school, Hollins University, located in Roanoke, VA.

This is my third year attending Hollins during their summer term, pursuing an MFA in Children’s Literature. This is also my first year as a student in the Children’s Book Illustration certificate program. After this year, I’ll have two more summers left to complete my coursework.

We just finished week five of the six week term. It has been one of the busiest summers of my life, but I have learned an incredible amount in this short time. The next couple posts will give you a peek at what I’ve been doing in my classes.

The Hollins campus is stunningly beautiful. I like to tell people that it’s magical place here in the summertime, and hopefully you’ll be able to see why. Let me show you around:


The campus apartments (ok, so this isn’t so beautiful, but it’s home sweet home while I’m here).


Carvin Creek, which I cross every day on my way to the main campus from my apartment.

My first year here, there were some muskrats that lived in the bank of the creek. I had just reread The Wind in the Willows, so I was calling them water rats in my head, and spent a lot of time watching them. They’re mesmerizing swimmers. I’ve been on the lookout for them this year, but no sightings so far!


The Visual Arts Center (VAC), where I’ve been spending anywhere from 6-12 hours a day, working hard! This building also houses the school’s art museum, which is currently showing an exhibit of Clement Hurd’s illustrations for the bedtime classic Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown.



A glimpse of the studio space in the VAC.


The creative writing building, Swannanoa.


My favorite library!


The library, the chapel, the mountains.


The quad.




And some of the great details around campus.

I hope you enjoyed the little tour! Up next: Picture Book Drawing Fundamentals, and Picture Book Media.

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Accomplished Goals

You haven’t seen or heard the last of my beach inspiration.
For now, an update on my vacation-time accomplishments. I achieved all of my Happy Life Goals!

The toy shop:


I found the perfect Secret Santa gift there!

The kites:


My papa had an awesome, huge kite, but there wasn’t enough wind to fly it.
My aunt made the kite my brother is flying! It makes me want to try my hand at kite-building.

The lighthouse:


It’s named Barnegat; its friends call it Barney.

No taffy photo, but I did get some. The shop had a whole wall where you could pick out your own flavors! Very exciting.
Coming soon: a sneaky peak at a beachy project.

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Beach Curiosities

I am on Long Beach Island, NJ for Thanksgiving.
Here are the results of today’s beach-wandering session.

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