Monthly Archives: April 2012

Make Being Published an Event!


As the art judging is finished I always feel a bit guilty when I come across a school with an extremely high acceptance rate.  But sometimes a teacher is just great and his or her students create wonderful work.

There are a few schools that I look forward to judging. Palmer Catholic Academy in Ponte Vedra Beach in Florida is one of those schools who I find it a joy to see the students’ art.  Katie Corrigan has created a program there where her students create wonderful images.  Her elementary school watercolors are above grade level and just plain fun.

She sent an email this week with the following pictures and message:

ImageI can’t tell you how happy I am to see how many of our students “made the cut”! I’ve opted to wait for the postcards before sharing the news so they have something in hand to take home but it is a hard secret to keep. I couldn’t remember if I sent the attached photos to you upon receipt of last year’s good news and book arrival so I am attaching them now. I thought you might like to see some of the proud second grade artists with the book opened to their paintings. As the cards arrived shortly before the last day of school I had given letters to the students and used the cards to decorate our lobby bulletin board. The students took them home on the last day but had a chance to shine being recognized there first.Image
Thank you again for your wonderful book! We are thrilled to be a part of it.
With gratitude,
Katie Corrigan
Art Teacher
Palmer Catholic Academy

Thank you Katie.  In judging high schools that do work at a level much lower than your 4th graders, you are making a difference and changing lives.  We are glad to be here as a way to give your art an audience.  Hopefully being published provides an extra spark as we work together to create live long artists.
 Tom Worthen, Ph.D.


Featured Student Artist: Shannon M.


ImageToday’s featured student artist is Shannon M.  Shannon is a 9th grader at Hempstead High School in Iowa.  Shannon’s art piece, “Watching My Face,” was selected as a Top Ten Winner in our Fall 2011 national art contest.  Shannon’s art was selected as a winner out of thousands of pieces in her age division (7th – 9th grade).           

“Self portraits are hard.” Shannon explains, “I believe the most challenging face to draw is your own. Maybe it’s because there are so many details only you yourself notice, and you keep messing up on the tiny things. Maybe it’s just because you’ve seen your own face so many times in the mirror that, when you actually study it, you can’t take it apart to draw. Either or, it’s a hefty job.”

As her art was selected as a Top Ten Winner, we asked Shannon what inspired her winning piece.

“I chose to draw myself for the challenge, really (It was definitely a challenge.) The last time I drew myself, I knew it didn’t look like me. I decided to start to actually think, not just do, drawing. I did studies of my face, separate parts- my eyes, my nose, and my lips. I even did some studies on my hand so I could have something other than a face to practice on.

Over time I learned about form, depth, shading, and texture — all those terms from art class. I realized I often didn’t shade that dark, and when that happens, you don’t get as much depth in some areas of your drawing as what could be. I also realized I was drawing shoulders way too small- when I drew myself I looked more like a caricature than a real person- so I also learned a bit on proportions, too. Not to mention the ‘Rule of Thirds,’ which pretty much means, ‘Don’t just stick something in the center — Put it off to the left, right, higher, or lower so the art isn’t boring.’Image

I then started my actual drawing. It was hard at first of course, due to the fact I was supposed to put my face on a blank piece of paper. But, I carried on, knowing sooner or later it would actually resemble me. And it did! All that practicing helped me — I wouldn’t be as developed as I am now.

Basically, this drawing was more like a learning experience instead of just a drawing. I don’t often make art like this, pretty much because of time issues, but when I put aside some time I know I can actually do something that I can be at least pleased with. I hope soon I can start on another project — I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.”

Congratulations, Shannon, on being selected as Top Ten Winner in our national art contest!  This is a great achievement and we hope to see much more of your talented work in the future.

To view other Top Ten Winners like Shannon, visit here.  If you would like more information about our national art contests, please go to

Raise the Bar


ImageThe deadlines have now passed for entry into our spring contests.  It is always a joy to come across a teacher who really knows how to teach and you have 30 entries that are each a joy to judge.  It always comes down to the teacher.  We have some teachers who send in 50 entries and none are accepted.  In other cases, a teacher who really works with his or her students sends in 50 entries and all 50 are accepted.

There are several teachers who I wish were teaching my children.  I really don’t think these exceptional pieces of art or poetry came from schools with above average students.  Many of them come from normal neighborhood public schools.  I think a teacher took ordinary students and taught them techniques that ended in extraordinary results.

I hope as teachers see our books and realize what each grade is capable of creating, the bar can be raised. I hope next year, one teacher will look at our contest with the attitude of “Wow! I didn’t know kids could do this quality of work,” and then that teacher will take it as a challenge next year.  My hope is that for his or her class the expectations that the students and the teacher have will be raised and another class will produce extraordinary work.

For more information about our national writing contests, please visit

For more information about our national art contest, please visit


ImageIt is a publisher’s nightmare.  For our our Fall 2011 Art books, we started getting calls that the pages were falling out.  In investigating, we found that it was a simple setting on the binding machine.  However, the result is we now have books that will not last.  We take pride in our work and so does our printer.   We want to create books and customers that will be with us for generations to come.

We are now re-printing all of the Fall 2011 Art books and will reship a new book in about three weeks.  I am proud that we have a printer that stands behind his work, and I want to let you know that as a publisher, we take pride in what we do and stand behind our work.  We want every school and student to be proud to be in one of our publications.

The contest deadlines are ending this week and now is the task of judging and notifying everyone for poetry and art before schools get out for summer.  Back to seeing the awesome work your students have created…

For more information about our national art contest, please visit

We Take Pride in Our Work

Featured Student Artist: Max E.


ImageMax E. is today’s featured student artist. Max is a sixth grader at Ronald C. Wornick Jewish Day School in Foster City, California.  Max’s art, “Brian Wilson World Series 2010,” was a Top Ten Winner in our national art contest.

Max has loved making art ever since he was a  preschooler and he got to scribble in nursery school.  He has taken art lessons a lot which has helped him to improve his work.  When asked what inspired his piece, Max responded,

Image“This piece was inspired by the San Francisco Giants World Series win in 2010. I got the idea for the piece at an art show where I saw amazing paintings of athletes. I am also an avid baseball player and I think about and talk about baseball all the time! I really want to thank my art teacher, Mike, for giving me advice on the painting and helping me to become a better artist.”

Thank you, Max, for sharing the inspiration behind your winning piece!  Congratulations again and we hope to see more of your work in future contests!

The deadline for the Spring 2012 art contest has been extended to April 17!  For more information, please visit

Featured Student Artist: Liana B.


ImageLiana B. is today’s featured student artist.  Liana’s art, “The Mother of Sorrow,” was selected as a Top Ten Winner in our Fall 2011 national art contest. Liana is a senior at Cypress High School in California.  When asked what inspired her piece, Liana told CelebratingArt:

“I grew up enjoying art even though I wasn’t able to attend the art academy like I had wanted. So I ended up teaching myself the techniques and developed my skill. This art piece is made from oil pastel, so the smooth texture to it took a long time since usually oil pastels tend to be harder edge to it.”

Incredible work, Liana!  Thank you for sharing your piece and the story behind your art.

To learn more about our national art contests, please visit