I'm kind of shy until I get to know someone. But I try not to let that stop me from meeting new people. I just pretend to be brave, and somehow I am! It's even harder to introduce yourself to people you look up to. I've done it a few times and each time I was pleasantly surprised at how kind and helpful my heroes are. I guess I'm lucky that many of them are children's artists who tend to be nice, fun people anyway.
Last summer at the LA SCBWI conference I met Loren Long. His talks were inspiring and gave me insight that I needed about bringing emotion into my artwork. Loren encouraged me to mail two of his books that I owned to him to sign. I also sent him a hand made thank you card and one of my postcards. Loren sent me back a wonderful letter and this signed Otis poster. I LOVE Otis! I finally just got the poster framed yesterday.
Another hero of mine, Marla Frazee was wonderfully helpful. Marla is generous and smart in addition to being super talented. She critiqued my work two years in a row at different SCBWI conferences. Marla was able to see my progress and how I had followed her suggestions from the first year. She even suggested I email her if I made changes in any of the stories. I wound up completely redoing my last dummy based on her observations. When I emailed her she had me send her a pdf of the new dummy. Isn't that nice? She liked it!
I finally emailed Beth Krommes after combing the internet for about a week trying to figure out how to transfer a line drawing onto scratchboard without chemicals. I asked her how she did it and she answered me right back. It was a piece of cake! Here's my first scratchboard attempt.
I wanted to meet more relief printmakers so I started a little mailing project. I made 5 small books for artists to put one of their prints into and then mail on to someone else. I sent them to a couple friends and then realized my BIG MISTAKE. I started the project to meet more printmakers. That's because I didn't know many. So who was I going to send the other books to?! Complete strangers? Yes! I sent a couple to artists I admired and then got brave and mailed one to Mary Azarian, with a letter of course. Mary sent me a notecard back saying she'd gotten it and sent it along to another printmaker. I was so excited to get a card from one of my heroes!
By the way... I still don't know if those little books are out there circulating. I hope so. They are supposed to be mailed back to me when the pages are filled. But who knows if I'll see them again.
Does anyone else have good hero stories to share? I'd love to hear!