Backyard Pond Visitors by Brad Sneed

Our backyard pond attracts all kinds of critters. This summer, it’s been fun watching the dragonflies and damselflies flit, dart, and careen near the water. You have to get close to really appreciate the remarkable variety of form and color that distinguishes species. These amazing insects have inspired a series of illustrations that I will post later. For now, check out these close-up pics my wife and I managed to capture.

Blue Dasher

Twelve-spotted Skimmer

Familiar Bluet


It was 2006 when I received my first advance copy of the soon-to-be-published, The Boy Who Raised by Librarians. It was super fun coming up with images to accompany Carla Morris’s story about a curious boy and his enthusiastic, encouraging, question answering Librarian friends. Fast-forward to 2019. Yesterday I once again experienced the joy of seeing this book for the “first time” but now as a soon-to-be-published paperback! I’m tickled the original hardcover book is still out in the world, and delighted, come August, it will be joined by its paperback cousin!

front cover

back cover

Great Blue Heron by Brad Sneed

I’ve long admired these majestic birds, though always from afar, until one day I froze while passing by a window facing the backyard. Standing in our pond (this is a decorative hot tub-sized pond) was a Great Blue Heron! He was there to poach a goldfish or two, I suppose, but must’ve sensed or seen me, for he launched and was gone. The encounter, though brief, made an impression!

Prints of this bird are for sale in my Etsy Shop.

Barn Swallow Pattern by Brad Sneed

It’s been an exceptionally wet summer here in the middle of America. Lots of rain means lots of puddles which means lots of mosquitos which means there is food aplenty for critters that enjoy a mosquito meal. One of those mosquito-eating critters is the lovely Barn Swallow. Sadly, these birds don’t live in my neighborhood, but they were plentiful at my rural childhood home. They nested in the rafters and under the eves of the barn and outbuildings. There was a family that returned year after year to nest above a window on our house. By summer’s end, my family shared the homestead with at least 30 swallows! Those warm August evening skies were filled with careening fork-tailed birds gorging on mosquitos and other flying insects. That memory inspired this illustration.