Is Debbie Tilley Available?

Is Debbie Tilley available?
On June 28, 1995, yes that was 15 years ago, my rep, Richard Salzman received a call from the art director at Gallaudet University Press. Is
Debbie Tilley available to do samples for an up coming project? We're going to be publishing a signing dictionary for children, needing
around 1000 illustrations.... and that's how it all started....

Fast forward 15 years:
On December 4, 2010, Richard, my rep received an email from the Editorial Director of Gallaudet University press, they were ready to get started
on the Children's Sign Language Dictionary! I think that is the longest lead time in freelance history! As it turned out, I had been illustrating children's picture
books nonstop for a long time. The thought of doing 1,000 individual drawings sounded so great to me, I couldn't wait to get started.......

Monday, January 31, 2011


One thing that makes this job so much fun, is that I can do ANYTHING I want for each image.  For dream, my dog Cobber was the inspiration.  When he is sleeping his paws twitch and he makes little woofing sounds.  I just imagined that he's dreaming, super dog to the rescue! 

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Word: FAT

With a word like fat, it's always wise to go with an animal.  I use animals a lot when the subject matter could hurt someone's feelings.  It's kind of hard to offend a cat.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

My Annual Lunch With Joy

It just so happens Joy lives on the coast, about 20 miles from my house in Escondido. We decided to meet for lunch in December
We had a picnic at the Nikki St. Phalle sculpture garden at Kit Carson Park, in Escondido. My daughter, now 10, on Christmas break joined us!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Joy Chu to the Rescue

 The decision was made to hire the super talented designer, Joy Chu. That's when things really started to happen. So now there was a team in place. a designer, a person to illustrate the signing motions, and the illustrator (me) to make this a fun dictionary to look at.
Joy has a major job here. She has to keep track of everything. She has set up a system of keeping track of 1,000 words using log sheets. They have notations as to sketches,revises, and finals. The same goes for the signing diagrams and text for each definition. Yeah, we definitely needed Joy!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

They're great! We'll get back to you.

I sent off the samples and everything was fine. They said they'd get back to me soon. In the mean time they sent me this cool little tape measure, which I have now been using for 15 years!