Author Tara Lazar is hosting Picture Book Idea Month, known as PiBoIdMo this November. 30 picture book ideas in 30 days. I'm so on it. I mean starting projects and not finishing, why that's my specialty. It's so nice to see a challenge that celebrates my short attention span. I'm off to write down 2 brilliant ideas!
I've decide to reprint the two samples again and play with the color palette. I'm just not over the moon about it and I want to crazy in love with the samples I send out with my dummy.
Color can certainly make or break an illustration. It has to evoke a mood, it offers a sense of time and place. Color can help tell the story. Along with color is the lighting, the use of darks and lights to pull the eye into an image and direct the action.
My process will involve a little research, 1st scouring through my collection of children's books for color inspiration and then to my art history books. After that I'm going to play with a few options in photoshop. While my work isn't digital I do enjoy the use of modern tools to make my work easier!
I was thinking today, I started working on my portfolio and going to conferences 6 years ago. I found my groove and style at the end of 2007. A few month's later I won the Tomie portfolio award.
And then 2008 was the year of the beads. I made so many beads I couldn't see straight. Illustration went to the wayside along with the rest of my life.
And while I love my day job, couldn't be a happier beadmaker, I want this. My art in books, making images that tell stories and spark a child's imagination.
Life happens, sometimes you take the long road to get where you want to go. The point is to keep moving ahead.
The big question is how to keep going when the glow of the conference has faded? How to stay on track when other things are pulling you away? How do I get that momentum and keep moving forward so that in a year I can say I have poured my heart into this and hopefully have something to show for it?
Well those are the questions I'm asking myself tonight as I do a little soul searching.
I wanted to show my latest sample, this is part of the cover for a dummy book I created to take along with me to LA. It's a holiday story about a little guy who is too wrapped up in giving the PERFECT present.
The image also happens to fit this week's Illustration Friday theme, so I thought I'd play along.
The SCBWI Summer conference flew by in a swish of images, inspiration, heart-felt words, dear friends and new. So how do you take those amazing 4 days and filter it into an action plan?
Dee and I almost fell out of our seats when Kathleen Duey gave her keynote speech on a conference exit plan as we had discussed this very idea the night before and I just so happen to jot down my own strategy before her talk! It must have been in the air!
1. Let's say it together, "We're not worthy!" Anyone who sat in Kadir Nelson's session know's what I'm talking about. It was like sitting in a room with Andrew Wyeth or Norman Rockwell, what a privilege! So let's bask and move on...
2. Take exactly 112 seconds to pout about not winning the portfolio contest. Why 112? That is how many other illustrators didn't win, don't take it personally.
3. Work on a business model. Agent Steven Malk encouraged us to take time to define what we want to accomplish in our career. What exactly do you want to do as an illustrator, be specific. Find illustrators you admire and learn how they got where they are. Take this business seriously, even if you are working it part-time.
4. Draw, draw, draw! David Weisner exhorted everyone to take a life drawing class. No matter what style you work in, you need to know the human figure.
5. Expand your horizons. It's not all picture books, work on illustration samples to fit in middle grade book cover and interior illustration. While production of picture books is down and editors are taking less chances, middle grade is exploding and illustration is the preferred cover art for this genre.
6. Play! Dan Yaccarino encourages illustrators to create personal work to add depth to their portfolio and to help land work that really speaks to your heart. Don't turn down opportunities, stay open to new avenues - you never what they may bring!
7. Rethink. Elizabeth Parisi said to rethink the author/illustrator strategy if you are just breaking into the business. Unless with certainty you are equally brilliant at both jobs, try to break into one field first. A dummy book can be used as a promotional tool.
And now the rest of the plan: send out postcards, follow up with submissions to the AD & editors from the conference, work on social media to promote my illustration, create the best work I can. Rinse and repeat...
Don't worry about your "style". Just have fun drawing. Your style is like your handwriting, it comes through while you are working. I think we sometimes confuse medium for style. The medium you choose to work in will give your work a certain look, but your style will translate into any medium you choose because it's your natural form of expression.
Don't get too precious with your sketches. I see some artists freeze up, working on only one piece. It's been noted that great works come from artists who produce lots of work, some of it mediocre. While those who work trying to create that "masterpiece" never give themselves the chance to fail, and consequently to grow!
A page from my sketchbook, trying to get my characters movin'!
I had fun this weekend sketching my nieces and nephews as squirrels. They thought it was pretty funny too. I loved trying to capture their personality as little furry creatures.
I'm working on drawing more from life, sketching each day and storing up images for future reference. I have quite a collection of sketchbooks that I'm working on filling up! I take a book anywhere I know I'll have to wait for a few minutes. Flex those sketch muscles!
My nephew who is two, does a mean Elvis impersonation! He also sports a faux-hawk and does mad tricks on his wheel-less skateboard.