My First School Visit Went Like This...

Such an exhausting day.  Gonna invest in a robot that carries large, lead-heavy boxes of books.  Or a husband.  Thankfully there was Dad.

Morgan, UT - I grew up right beneath that "M."  Ish.
My hometown school - Morgan Elementary - hosted my visit.  I saw teachers I still remember, including my own beloved 1st-grade teacher Mrs. Tyrrell (who made this whole thing possible).

I entered the school office.  "Hi. I'm the visiting author for the day."  Did that just come out of my mouth?

"Oh hi!  Are you ready for your stack of orders?"

I tried on some more confidence. "Yes." I wonder if they believe me.

Blog Tour

1. What are you working on right now?

I have two other children's books currently in the works! Both are centered around learning a skill which enhances emotional health, mainly which oppose codependent behaviors, in a light, humorous, and secret way (you can't tell, you just think it's another great story with a great moral! muaha).  The one I'm most excited about involves learning the importance of taking risks instead of playing it safe all the time according to what our minds assume others want or expect from us.  

2. How does it differ from other works in its genre?

I plan to put my books in child-therapy offices.  They will teach emotional health in an enjoyable NON-preachy way (children smell preachiness from a mile away you know).  And they are pretty darn cute. . . 

3. Why do you write what you do?


Apparently it's a thing to draw once every day and post during October!  I've participated on 2 occasions this month so far......... haha.

Here they are!

(my phone takes bad pictures.... and my camera got stolen... and I don't have a scanner)

# 9: GUILT Attacks

Hippo Challenge #9 (read the challenge here)

So does anyone else experience "Guilt Attacks?"  I do!!

First let's talk about Hippo (from my book You Should, You Should for those who are new here).  Let's imagine that before he takes ownership of his individuality and identity, before his grand moment of assertiveness,.... let's imagine how he might have felt earlier in the game had he wanted to say "No, I don't want to do that."  Probably.... guilt.  Unnecessary guilt of course.

Might have gone something like this:

First Mommy Blogger To....

Guess what?!?

I recently discovered to my wonderous surprise that Mommy Blogger "Painter Mom" at "Confessions of a Knuckle Painter" spotlighted an entire post about me and my new book!

(click here to check it out)

This is a deeper Mommy blog, focusing on being real in all aspects.  A mother of both young kids and teens, she's funny, sincere, and includes a unique perspective on not only parenting, but on being human, facing life's challenges with a sense of humor, and on not being perfect but shooting for the best.  I'm not a Mommy and I get a lot out of reading her blog.  Also, she's a best friend of mine.  <3  I thank her for dedicating a surprise spot for my book and I on her blog.

Hmm, I wonder if more Mommy bloggers will think my book is worth some space on theirs too.  I'll let you know!

#8 One word: Dating

First of all, to those who have sent messages to me saying how much they appreciate my stories here, thank you very much for your words and for relating to me.  Admitting to the world your weaknesses isn't super easy... but I know there was a time I definitely would have appreciated something like this.  And so, I share mine.  :)

Hippo Challenge #8 (read the challenge here)

So.  Dating....  :)

I'm twenty-eight and single.  It's fine, I'm fine, I'm okay, it's fine.  Okay?  Twenty-eight and single doesn't mean I'm broken or a failure.  Haha, . . . what?  What do you mean you sense some insecurity??  ;)

#7 "But...You SHOULD Love This Movie!!"

Hippo Challenge #7 (read the challenge here)

Conversation in my living room tonight:

Roommate:  Am I the only one in this apartment who isn't in love with that movie?

Me:  Uh YES.  Maybe you just need to be converted.  I feel like you would love that movie.  How can you not?  It's so cute and so funny!

Roommate:  I don't know.  I'm just not really into the characters that much.  

Me (responding real fast):  OH how can you NOT?  They're so great!  I love them because [x, y, z...] and also [2x... 5y...] and I just feel like it's a movie that you would love!!  You just need to love this movie!"

pause ...  lightbulb moment ...

Me:  Actually, never mind.  You don't have to love it.  We can love different things.  We can be different people. 

Roommate:  (starts laughing)  "You should you should!"


Haha.  Yeah.  Sometimes I catch myself in Flamingo's shoes....  Sorry Roommate!

#6 - "I'm Changing My Mind Okay??!"

So I often have thought that if I commit to something, that's the end.  I must do.  I must do all of it, all the way, as much as committed, exactly as originally committed.  There's no changing my mind, or ideas, or size, or shape, or style, or nature, or type.  Even if I'm the one who extended myself the proposition.  One of the greatest pleasures I've learned, that allows for much less stress and rigidity, and much more freedom and room to breathe, is that I can change my mind!  And so can other people!  If I don't end up liking what I try, I can change my mind.  Of course I have changed my mind plenty of times, but not without a large load of guilt attached.  Strange, I know.  Some of you get me though, I know you do.

Obviously if I tell someone I'll be somewhere/do something, I will keep my commitment if at all possible.  But we don't have to go all black and white in the entire spectrum of life being so rigid that we won't try new things, or reinvent ourselves, and open our mind to new ways of thinking, acting, and blogging.  :)

Sooo... here's the thing.  About this Hippo Challenge... Ima change my mind.  Well.  More like changing pace.

I said every day initially... but holy smokes, I don't have time to blog EVERY day.  What was I thinking??  Nor do I have the energy!  Silly Ginster.  Sometimes I just get all excited in the beginning of things and think I can run a thousand miles at once.

So.  Let's go with every few days.

Well that's great Ginny . . . so what's the story for today?  Well I'll tell you.

Here's what happened today:  So, I have this blog.  And.  I started this Hippo Challenge thing.  And.  I wanted to change my mind about something to do with it.  But.  I was afraid people would be like, disappointed, and call me a liar, and be like, "What a lame blogger," and "She totally back down on her word" and "What a flake."  But then I realized we're allowed to change our minds and everyone does it, and it's a totally normal thing!  Plus, I was putting words in like a thousand people's mouths - how rude of me!  So I wrote a post telling everyone I'm changing my mind.

And guess what?  It's not even a big deal.  

Why do I make everything such a big deal?  Dude.  Sometimes, my head can make life fifty times more stressful than it needs to be.  I'm working on that.

K.  That's all!  Night!

Tomorrow, I share some big news..... :D

#5 - When A Grandma Reads Your Book...

Hippo Challenge #5 (read the challenge here)

(this is not the actual grandma/3 year old)

So people are getting my book in the mail from Amazon!  It finally belongs to people!  You Should You Should is in the homes of families, a part of their book collection, and being read aloud to children all over!  I'm getting text messages/facebook messages/emails/phone calls every day about someone who received my book and wanted me to know they love it or their kids love it! (Y'all are the best)

I'm soaking it in.  I'm loving every minute.  I'm feeling happy with my hard work (I worked HARD) and I feel like there is cause to celebrate!  Even if I'm not having a party, I'm allowing myself to feel glad and very grateful!

Today was the best so far though...

#4 - Allow Me To Inconvenience You...

"I just... really... want that!"
* * *

Hippo Challenge #4 (read the challenge here)

So I was meeting up with some friends for "institute" the other night.  Which is basically like a Sunday School during the weekday, or I guess like I large bible study.  I asked them to save me a seat and I'd come later, seein how I had some laundry to finish up.

I knew this would mean I'm the awkward person that opens the door which triggers a large wave of head turns, and I get to be center of attention for a brief awkward moment.  Yay.

#3 - "Fine, Don't Have Some Gum!"

Hippo Challenge #3 (read the challenge here)

Today I was at a movie, sitting next to my friend.  About halfway through the movie, I pulled out a piece of gum to chew.  I considered offering her a piece, but a sudden fear of rejection ensued so I kept the gum to myself.  Later, when I found more courage, (yes... I know... my life is so thrilling that I conquer the great fears such as offering pieces of gum) I leaned over and whispered, "Want some gum?"

"Yes," she whispered, paused a moment, then changed her mind and said, "no, I'm okay."  I figured she was being polite - she did say yes at first.

I calculated how many times she's turned me down for a piece of gum.  Never.  Odds are she wants it.  No big, I'll just hand it over.  I pulled out a piece and set it on her lap, "There you go."

#2 - "I Need You To Fight With Me!"

"I Need You To Fight With Me!"
Hippo Challenge #2 (read the challenge here)

So, here's what I learned about boundaries the other day during a heated argument (the type where you ball like a baby):

#1 - Halloween Decorations Drama

The first story of how I'm learning to be like Hippo (read "You Should You Should" here)


Halloween Decorations Drama
Hippo Challenge #1 (read the challenge here)

I just put up all my Halloween decorations right now, after my roommates went to bed!  Ha.

I've been avoiding putting them up since I brought them from my parents' house.  They've been sitting in a bag, on the floor, in the living room, for days.  Why did I wait til tonight AFTER everyone went to bed, even though I have to get up early tomorrow, to do one of my very favorite annual activities??  Because my mind decided something else was more important - fear of what my roommates think.

They might hate it.

The Hippo Challenge

Every day, until my book ("You Should, You Should" - read it herephysically comes out on the book-store-shelves, I'll be blogging a daily blurb where I learned the same thing Hippo learned.  Cuz it's a lesson I'm still learning, every day.  It's no secret that Hippo represents me.  To those who have been close to me, it's no secret that I have been a bit of a people-pleaser for most my past life.

Real Life Example:

Friend 1:  So what did you think of World War Z?  I am NOT a fan of those types of movies.
Me:  Oh, me neither.  Total waste of time, I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.

(20 minutes later)

Friend 2:  Gin, World War Z was so intense and awesome!  Wow!  What did you think?
Me:  Oh, yeah, I know right?  I was on the edge of my seat!  It was so good!!

Yeah, that happens sometimes, even still.  The above example was just this summer.  BUT, this is great progress.  How?  Because I'm to the point where I feel literally surprised and uncomfortable with myself when this comes out of my mouth.  Like, it doesn't feel as natural anymore.  Which is awesome!!  And way more progress than when I was just learning to simply even recognize this happening.

Recognize what happening?  People pleasing.  In mental health speak, we can refer to it as a symptom of codependency.  In this case, it's saying and doing things that we assume others want us to say and do, in order to keep/maintain our relationships, and ultimately our feelings of self-worth.  This happens when we're absolutely dependent upon what others think about us.  It's a sad and miserable way of life, really.  Always hiding, always pretending, always lying, always believing we're less than, and always afraid.

I mentally face this on a daily basis and work to deal with it healthily.  I'll share my moments and what I gain from them with you every few days till my book comes out, in honor of Hippo and his special debut!!!  Hippo, here's to you.  :)

I already have tomorrow's post written... so come back to read about my Halloween Decorations Drama.

P.S.  To those who subscribed to my blog a long time ago and won a free ebook, it's coming to you soon!  Be excited.  And thanks for subscribing.

P.P.S.  If you have similar stories to share in the following days/weeks/however long this lasts, I invite you to comment.  :)

Where Did Ginny Go?

Um... (Ginny peeks shyly from around corner and waves)... hi...

I'm sorry.  I know it's been a while!  I know, I haven't been very blogful lately.  Truth is, my Creative Juice has been on low for the past year, but I still had to make art, meet deadlines, gain a crowd, finish this book which has been born of sweat, blood, tears, and more than anything, hours and hours and hours of my life.  I don't know what this book was made of, or where I found energy to create anything else besides, because I've been on near empty for a WHILE.

I needed a break.  So I took one.  I neglected my fb page, my blog, my pencils, my sketch books, and I don't think I've even doodled at church in a long, long time.  I played with friends, watched movies, read books, went to Disneyland, camped.  So nice.

But, whether I'm ready or not, it's time to come back!  Hippo and friends are counting on me now!  My hopes and dreams that lived over a year ago when I began writing are counting on me now!  My current self that wants everyone to know about the important lessons I've learned lately, and put into this book, and my future self who will write more books with similar important lessons.... is counting on me now!!!

So.  Now that I'm all moved in to my new place, been working at my new full time job for about a month, my vacationing has come to an end, and I'm starting to feel settled and back to a routine, and now that I don't have homework at night (no homework!!) . . . . . it's time to come back.

I have some ideas for how this blog will work from here on.  They still be brewin' in my head.  More on that laters.  Right nows, I goes to bed.  I's exhausteeed.


Book Reviews on "You Should, You Should!"

Any child and every adult can relate to the message in this book. The Hippopotamus represents the fear of rejection in all of us. The illustrations in this book bring out with crystal clarity our insecurities, but also show us how our greatest fears can be our greatest strengths. What a beautiful book! 

~Aaron N.

I read it to my 4-year-old and he wanted me to read it again and again, which I'm sure is great news since he's the target audience. :-) The pictures made him laugh--especially the hippo trying to peck-peck-peck the watermelon. The grammar and spelling are clean. I was able to read the book aloud smoothly, so the words fall together perfectly.  
My son definitely had a basic understanding of what the book was about and once we finished we had a discussion on how important it is to do what he likes and not what other people like. He did understand that the hippo was trying to make others happy which did not make the hippo happy, so he did understand the message. He only wants books he really really likes repeated. Usually, if we read three or four books for the day, he wants his favorite repeated. There are plenty of books he has no interest finishing from start to finish, so he knows what he likes. :-) His bookshelf has about 50 books and there are three books that he wants read over-and-over, so hopefully that gives you an idea of how much he liked your book. 

I read the book five times (four times with Ayden) just trying to find more to critique, but the book was so good that it ended up just being fun to read with my son.

~Melissa M.

BFA SHOW PHOTOS - wanna see?

BFA Show Opening Reception!  I loved it.
(note: the show will remain up until July 13th for those who still want to go see)

Photography by Lindsey Marie Sweat:

I put the story's text at the bottom of each piece so people could read the story of "You Should, You Should!"

This wonderful lady found me more than once to tell me how much she loved my book.

I love this pic


Food!  Friends!  Fart!  
I mean art!
You're invited!!
Free attendance, free food, free parking.

Part of the requirement to graduate as a Fine Art Student is a Bachelor of Fine Art Student Show.

This is where the student hosts a gallery show at which they display their Capstone Project.  
My project, as most of you know, was the illustrating of the children's book I wrote, 
"You Should, You Should!" 
And today I get to show it off.  :)

It's here TODAY at the UVU Library:

I won't be showing alone!  I've joined up with talented illustrators:

James Allen, 
Nate Call, 
and Rani Bean.  

So you'll have your fair share of really great art to look at!  See you there!

Caricature Artist For A Day!

A few years ago I emailed the Ogden City Fair and asked if they needed a "Caricature Artist."  They wrote back and said yes, they want me.  You'd think I'd jump for joy, but instead I shook in my shoes.  I wrote back saying I wouldn't be able to attend after all.

Letting Go

But I won't say, 'You should, you should!' 
I'll let you choose it if you would.

'Cause very most importantly,
I am choosing to be me."

Hippo learned it's okay to be himself, and he learned to let go of worrying what others thought, and chose authenticity and presented his own reality.  He learned to let go of trying to control his friend - to let go of trying to make them like him by always doing what they wanted him to do.  He let go and stopped trying to protect their feelings by saying things he didn't mean, in case of offending them.  He let go, and learned honesty and vulnerability instead, stating his discomfort and asserting his real feelings.  He let go of fear and took the risk that his friends may be disappointed, or laugh at who he really is.  He let go and gave his friends the ability to choose to like him for HIM.  Hippo learned the art of letting go.

Another useful handout from a very good psychologist:

Letting Go...

To let go doesn't mean to stop caring.
It means that I can't do it for someone else.

The Cover Jacket!!!

David at Familius just sent me a low resolution image of his first draft today!  I thought you'd like to see what it's like so far....


The green sides will fold into the book.  Cool or what??  It's coming together!

Goes to the printer tomorrooooooooooooow!

Back of Book Cover Jacket

I thought I was finished, but David (book designer at Familius) and I skyped yesterday and discussed the book cover jacket.  We decided it would be nice to have an additional illustration for the back side.  But the deadline to send the book to the printers is SOON (Tuesday) so I got right to work!

First the drawing:
My trusty fb friends helped me figure out he looks like he's laying ON TOP of the water instead of IN it.

One friend even posted this photo to help:  
(thanks James!)

So I shrunk his belly down...
But it still wasn't enough.  Nope.

 Finally a success!!
I also took out the dark lines between him and the water and that helped a ton!  Now, he is in the water.  :)
Behold, the back side of the book cover!

Once my book designer David at Familius approves, he'll put it all together, and the book will be sent to the printers next week!!!


Orem Fire Station Mural

Some have asked to see my mural at the Orem Utah Fire Station 3 (it's "my" mural because my design was unanimously chosen by the fire department crew from several design submissions, but over 40 students actually helped paint it).

See Mural at my old blog:  Here

photos on my old blog

For more information you can read UVU's press release about the mural project by clicking:

UVU Press Release... and a pic of me!

Morgan County News: Front Page!!

Check it out!

A few weeks ago I received a phone call from one of my cute small town's newspaper journalists, asking if she could interview me for the Morgan County News Paper.  She introduced herself by saying she went to school with my brother (or was it my sister?), is friends with my sister-in-law, that my friend from high school married her brother, and that her sister was my tennis partner.  

She asked many wonderful questions, and I had a lovely time completing the interview.  A few days later I found out I would be on the front page.  A week or so later I got texts from my family members saying, "I see you are in the paper!!"  

And so I am.  :)  I love the way she wrote it and feel extremely privileged to share my work with my hometown where it all began!  


I promise I'm still going to blog about graduation!  And the rest of the fabulous questions people asked me by blog, email, google+, and fb!  (huge thanks to those who participated)

Right now, a quick update of what's going on right now.  I'm in Arizona for a few weeks!  My besties moved down and I joined them for the ride.  I took my car along to help them pack everything, and then to spend some time with them before the big goodbye.  (I don't wanna talk about it)  This is a pic of our trip!  Unlike Toby (dog), Kiko (cat) had never ridden inside a moving vehicle longer than across town.  She spent most the trip hiding in a tight corner.

After a good 12/13 ish hours (thank you landslide and 90-minute detour) we made it to Phoenix by 4 am Utah time.  Singing to my CD's is the only reason I made it alive.  I mean awake.

We actually took 2 cars... so this drawing is a complete lie.  BUT here's a fun fact: I win the gold medal for behind the wheel driving the entire 12/13 hours!  Longest drive ever!  (in competition with my past life)

Thank you, thank you.

Stay tuned for tomorrow, I'll post my newspaper article!  (made front page at my hometown)

Questions For Me?


I wanted to ask my lovely readers and viewers if there are any particular questions you'd like me to answer or blog about.  Anything at all.  If you'd rather not ask publicly, feel free to email me at otherwise please post your questions as comments and I'll see what I can do!



YSYS: "Theee end"

(but not the END by far)

This is how the last page turned out:

First there was the drawing which I scanned in:

Then there was the color composition:

Happy Birthday to Me!

For my birthday, I will be:

1.  Finishing the book
2.  Finishing the book
3.  Finishing the book
4.  Road tripping with a ton of good birthday friends to celebrate lots of March birthdays!

Finally, I get to play.

Finished the above last night around 1:30 am.  I slept over at Lee and Ty's house so I could paint forever then get up and start painting the very last one!

Here's my color comp:

2 More Paintings: Hat and Walk

"I like your walk but that's for you.
I have a walk that's my own too."

Finished this one (above) around 1:00 am last night.  
I forgot to watermark it with my name so... no stealing please.  :)
I'm pretty fond of this one, I won't lie.

"Good bye old hat that mother made,
I guess I found a better trade."

I forgot to post this one when I finished it a while back actually... sorry!
I have a few important changes to make on this one still.  Mountains need to be lighter.  Etc

YSYS: I like my spot! I like my hat!

Three paintings left now..........

No time to chat!!!!!

Due Friday night!!!

Go go go paint paint paint!!!

I accept cookies and late night donut deliveries.  Even from Malaysia.....   ;)

P.S.  I haven't had time to reply to your wonderful comments, all of which I appreciate, but please know I read them and take everything into account, and it does help me feel inspired and supported and encouraged.  Thank you so much for all the help and support.


I'm going to show you what I just went through trying to figure out how to put this break dancing hippo page together....

I have different examples of him dancing, so I didn't worry about a detailed background (with leaves n trees n such n such)

So at first I did this:

But felt the background was too distracting.... especially next to the page it's next to in the book.  
(I'll show you that in a sec)

So then I switched to this:


Painting painting painting painting painting painting painting painting

P.S.  It's REALLY nice outside.  Six more days and I'll be out playing frisbee n such!!

YSYS: Sing Hippo! Sing!!

"I prefer my la la la!
Not oo oo, ee ee, ah ah ah."

Someone peel my off the floor please.  This was the most complicated painting yet.  Do you realize there are FOURTEEN living creatures in this painting???  AND a background?  Which by the way I learned the key to painting the "golden hour" (about 5:00 pm).  The trick is long high contrasted shadows and orangey/yellowey colors :).  Did it work?  I remember the days I was painting 2 characters and no background except some nice colorful spotty things.  I was like, "Dude I'm gonna finish this book so fast if this is how easy it is!"  Hahaha.... so naive I was a few months ago.

This still isn't finished finished.  Trust me there's plenty more to do here.  But good enough for now!

Six paintings left!  Six days!  Here we go!!!

YSYS: "STOP!!" Digital vs Acrylic

So.  Back when I was trying to do this book in acrylic paint and hating life, this is what happened:

Acrylic Painting
(back when Hippo was gonna be blue)

Not too bad.  But definitely needs work.  Definitely not finished.  Aaand, this is what I painted today:  :)

Digital Painting

Hmmm.... I have to say, seeing them next to each other helps me see things I want to change on the digital one.  I think I can lighten up the chin area and either make the inside of the mouth a little lighter or the back of the throat darker.  Or both.  Oh and I can definitely things up inside his ears!

Edits come after all paintings are done.  So... on to the next painting!!!

“When you take the time to actually listen, with humility, to what people have to say, it's amazing what you can learn. Especially if the people who are doing the talking also happen to be children.”
~Greg Mortenson

YSYS: Break Dancing Hippo

"Spinning does not help my feet.
My feet dance to a different beat...."

Haha!  Surprise!  Didn't know Hippo could break dance, didja?!?

I originally planned to make him a tap dancer.  (here's my earlier post of dancing hippo)  But I was talking to Lee while I was here drawing his dance moves and she was like, "That would be cool if you could make him break dance.  But it probably wouldn't work with his little arms and huge body."  I was like, "Oh my goodnes... I'm gonna try it."  I googled lots of break dancer images and came up with these!

I'll arrange them in photoshop on a page and figure out how to put them together nicely before I paint them, but these are the drawings!

I just realized... now that he's not a tap dancer, "My feet dance to a different beat" doesn't work so much.  Gonna have to rewrite that line I think...