Where have I been?

It feels like a long time since I've posted anything.  That's probably because it has been.  I have a good reason, however - I'm hard at work on my first picture book.  It's called Panda's Pause by Amanda Desua, about a young panda learning to manage when things don't go his way, and I'm excited to be a part of it.  Not quite at the final stage yet, but I thought I'd share the first page with you as it is one of my favorites.  A work in progress, but it progresses well.  Good thing too, my deadline fast approacheth.

Happy creating!

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SCBWI-WI Fall Conference Illustration

I was asked to do the illustration for the Fall Conference this year, which was such a wonderful opportunity.  Our theme, if you couldn't guess, is Reality Check: Exploring Truth.  I wrestled a bit with this one, sketched out a number of thumbnails.  I was going to do a treasure hunt piece with children holding maps and lanterns, then I was thought about going in a "discovery" sort of direction with mysterious footprints and magnifying glasses.  But none seemed like the right fit.  I decided that, for myself, facing reality and exploring truth had everything to do with science, and so my budding scientists are hard at work at their lab table.  Do you have a favorite face?  I'm particularly drawn to the boy with the notepad and the girl with the microscope.  "Drawn to".  Ha!  No pun intended...

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New work!

Taking part in the fouroutthedoor program of SCBWI-MI, which reminds us to send out mailings four times a year.  This will be my next postcard.  I didn't join in time for the February 1st mailing, so this one will go out on April 1st.  I have an illustration planned for the back in black and white, but thought I'd share the front.  I have a bit of clean-up left to do, but am otherwise pleased with it.  Finished, not perfect.. 

Happy creating!

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Kid Lit 411 entry - sketches

I will be sending off my submission for the contest for the Kid Lit page tonight.  I won't share the final image until the winners are announced, but here are some really rough thumbs and sketches as I put together my idea.  I have been looking for a new logo I can put on business cards, and if my piece doesn't place I think I want to use a small part of it for the new logo, so either way it's a win for me.  Wishing you all a pleasant Sunday, for myself I'm about to go outside with the kids and do some sledding.


New Year, new start...

Okay, so clearly I didn't get to posting once a week as I had hoped back in October.  But I have a good reason, I was working on a book dummy and getting it submitted before the deadline.  There's no guarantee it will be published, but I am pleased with what I created.  I also seem to be having difficulty with getting my blog here linked to Facebook, so this is a trial run blog post - hopefully I've got it figured out.  If not, I'll have to keep tinkering with it.  It shared my first two posts, but not the last one.  Anyway, I hope to have new work up soon, and here's a little peek at the characters from my book dummy.  Happy creating!

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Thursday sketch

Another five-to-ten minute character sketch.  I try to tell a small story with each one.  Or at least part of one.  My past character sketches would usually feature the character standing still, possibly waving one hand but not really doing much of anything.  I think if you can practice movement along with a character it can't help but be helpful. 

Working on a new story, a couple of tweaks and I can start the storyboard phase.  My goal is to have it submitted before Thanksgiving, and as long as I don't get sick again like I did this week, I may actually be able to pull that off.  Until next time, happy creating!


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The importance of five minutes a day.

Mama said there'd be days like these.  She didn't mention there'd be weeks...

Sometimes you just don't get as much done as you'd like.  Life in all its glorious messiness gets in the way.  I don't regret what I do all day, but like my favorite Jim Croce song, there never seems to be enough time to do the things you wanna do once you find them.  So, what to do about it?  I recently read a quote by author Laura Vanderkam in Reader's Digest.  She said, "People always tell me 'there aren't enough hours in the day to get to everything I want to do!' which is true.  But we don't live our lives in days; we live our lives in weeks.  Think 168 hours instead of 24 hours, and everything changes."   Maybe that will help me keep things in perspective as I climb the mountain of laundry tomorrow.

I heard a lecture once by author Kathi Appelt, and she described the importance of writing for five minutes every day.  I think that's valid for illustrators as well, especially those of us starting out a little further down the road of life with a fuller plate of daily responsibilities.  So, I am working on drawing, even small quick sketches or thumbnails, for five minutes a day.  It's a great loosening up exercise.  Also, when it's late and all you want to do is crawl into bed you can tell yourself, "Well, I can manage to do five minutes." (because getting started is the hardest part).  Often I find that if I can just manage to sit down and start, I can get lost in it and before I know it an hour has gone by.  Then the trick is shutting down the thought processes to get some sleep...

It's going to take me longer to get there then if I had started this at 23, no question.  But I'm further then I was when I started this 7 years ago, and that makes all the difference. Here's my first five minute sketch (that turned into a ten after I decided to ink her).  Keep your head up, and keep moving...


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First post on the new page

Hello, and welcome to my new website.  It's been several years since I've had one, because I was busy taking classes in illustration, and brushing up on old art skills as well.  It's been a good year - I was second runner up in the SCBWI Tomie dePaola contest this year, and I just won the SCBWI-WI Illustrator award for the contest we do at our fall conference every year.  My goal is to start getting work at magazines and, potentially, picture books before this year is out.  I hope to be blogging at least once a week with news and tips for other aspiring illustrators.