Monday, May 31, 2010
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Monday, May 24, 2010
Friday, May 21, 2010
Sudipta's writing workshop was entitled "The Picture Book Deconstructed". She gave copious amounts of advice regarding structure and content. She also shared participant manuscripts and led a group critique, pointing out what I would guess are the more frequent 'mistakes' writers make with picture books.
While I wouldn't share any of her specific advice, I can point you to her website where she shares a few gems. I would also highly recommend attending any workshop she teaches near you. I took her advice and applied it directly to my current manuscript. Hopefully, I'll come out the other side with a stronger, more marketable story. I'm a total novice writer but felt completely comfortable with Sudipta. Her story is pretty amazing, and I really loved her attitude about treating work as work rather than a hobby.
I've been blogging about the conference this week - if you'd like to read more, please visit my other blogs: Picture Book Junkies and The Pineapple Diary
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Completely blank before Sunday, my notebook is now brimming with possibilities. My day at the New England SCBWI conference yielded the following:
Build your career in small, but consistent ways. Do a little each day. It builds over time.
My scrawling on the first page, was the gift of author, Cynthia Leitich Smith during an interview with
Use pen tablet.
I thank Jen Morris for this advice that many illustrators may take for granted (read: they are already proficient in the use of said device.). Jen opened her workshop "Photoshop Techniques for Illustrators" with a discussion on the benefits of using a pen tablet. Frustrated with my Wacom, I put it away a couple of years ago, not giving it a fair shake. It's time to dust it off, hook it up, and use it. With clarity and humor, Jen demonstrated ways Photoshop can be used to illustrate rather than simply edit. Her blog is chock full of info. And for more about her workshop, check out Gina's post here.
The verb stands as the quintessential part of speech.
Josephine Nobisso's, "Show Don't Tell: Secrets of Writing" intimidated me at sign up. Here I would be this fumbling beginner, among all these skilled writers. And I might have to share! Still I thought I should venture beyond my comfort zone.
Josephine's presentation was fun, exciting, and empowering. Though I was challenged, the pain I imagined was non-existent. She had us write about Twizzlers (which we got to eat). Sharing was optional. She discussed the function of parts of speech in improved writing.
She demonstrated the power of the verb. Pay attention if you use adverbs. You probably don't have the right verb. For example, "walked softly" becomes "tiptoed."
I left wishing we had more time with her, excited about writing, and thinking next time I just might share.
Punctuating her well-organized presentation with humor and surprise, Illustrator Dani Jones gave this tip as one of her "Ten Ways Artists can Improve Their Online Presence." She suggested that we answer questions instead of just asking; contribute and discuss instead of just commenting; and volunteer time, services and knowledge. Dani practices what she preaches. She posts lots of tutorials, tips and tricks, and you can watch videos of her drawing live from 10:00-11:00 a.m. here.
Be brave. Be true.
Jo Knowles spoke these words after providing one of her writing prompts. I wasn't expecting the prompts to become increasingly uncomfortable as the hour went on. But they did. This sweet, friendly-faced author had me squirming in my seat.
I struggled to put words to paper, unsure of myself. I listened to what others wrote, but kept quiet. I felt frustrated in this discomfort. Why did I even sign up for this workshop?
The answer came before me in the last challenge. Jo asked us to write what we want our words to do. We all shared our responses. I want my words to move and empower. This can't be done without bravery and truth.
Looking over my notes from this workshop, I realize that along with the clumsiness of being a beginner, there are seeds of stories planted in my notebook. The most uncomfortable workshop of the day may have offered the greatest reward. Next time I hope to be brave enough to reveal my boo-boos. Some airing may do them good.
Monday, May 17, 2010
Hey Blog-land! This week finds me in NYC, attending Surtex and the National Stationery Show. Surtex is one of the art and licensing shows that I exhibit in each year, and as always it is exciting and bustling and full of potential! The show ends Tuesday, and when I get home I'll write up and post lots of pictures, but for now, here's a shot of some of the stuff in my booth, taken with my old cell phone, so sorry if its blurry! See you all in a few days!
Saturday, May 15, 2010
I survived my spring semester! Woo! I have two weeks off before summer classes start and was hoping to refocus some of my energy back onto my illustrations. But now the question looms - where to start? I have so many projects and ideas that were put onto the back burner for so long that I'm not even sure how to begin anymore. Should I finally get around to using my screen printing kits? Should I try my hand at miniature stylized painting? Should I just take a break and hit the museums?
I've been so consumed with graphic design and school that I can barely remember what it's like to choose my own projects. And forget my paintbrushes - I've been living on my Mac in Adobe InDesign.
One week has already passed and I haven't done much other than try to remember how to breathe again. As I'm staring at the blank pages of my sketchbook, they're staring back. Time is limited before I'm back into the whirlwind that is getting degree #2. I suppose I need a smallish project that I can handle. Any suggestions on how to begin again?
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Friday, May 7, 2010
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Monday, May 3, 2010
Zombie Chicken! Look at those strange muppet-faced kids! Ink and watercolor. REALLY bright colors.Colored pencil over watercolor. I'm still proud of my composition and wallpaper design. The character design however, frightens me!The faces improved a bit, but how gaudy are those colors - yikes!Aha! I finally struck upon something that worked for me. Same technique, but more skill through practice and better subject - animals!So I got better, and the compositions became more complex. I went as far as I could, then realized my hand hurt and I was spending WAAAY too long on each piece. This was about the time I started actually WORKING in children's illustration. All the earlier stuff was never submitted to anyone. Well, except relatives and this blog's supportive critique group.At the urging of Ann Marie, I took a fantastic gouache class that really inspired me. With gouache, I found my signature color palette and became more adept (and interested) in illustrating children as well as animals (and monsters, of course).
Here I'm back to my 'alligator' stage of proficiency. I've got my colors down, and the faces are more rendered and complex.
And when I couldn't take those dot eyes anymore, I added pupils. I'm excited to share my next stage on my next post. It sort of combines a few of these iterations from the past 9 years, and hopefully is an improvement.