Sunday, September 25, 2011

Lion Mask

Halloween is getting closer! For October my friends and I are making masks. I took a simple half mask that I bought at Target to get the size right and I drew a lion. I'm having a lot of fun with it!
When it's all done you'll be able to download it at Between the End Pages, cut it out and wear it yourself. I'm excited to try it out on the neighborhood kids!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What You're Good At and What You're Not

I had a wonderful time at the SCBWI conference in Denver. That Adam Rex sure does know how to entertain a crowd! I got his book Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich and I'm enjoying reading it in yummy bites right now. I hope Adam made it home through airport security with his mounted taxidermy duck a-ok...


Because I'm a bit of a perfectionist, I tend to dwell on what I'm not so good at and worry about how I could make it better. At the conference I had a great portfolio critique with Adam Rex and a manuscript critique with Alexandra Penfold, editor at Paula Wiseman Books. After both critiques I gnawed away at the comments about the weaknesses in my art and story. But as time passed and I put things in better perspective, I realized that I was given lots of compliments and encouragement, too.

I also got to spend a few days with my friend Brooke Boynton Hughes. She conquered her fear of zombies over the weekend which you can read about on her blog. (Another success story from a SCBWI conference!)  One evening Brooke passed along some wisdom to me. Lots of people focus their energy trying to improve their weaknesses. But it's important to remember your strengths also. It's ok emphasize the things that you love to do and are really good at. That way you aren't always working on something difficult and perhaps disappointing.

So!! I would like to acknowledge what I'm not so good at-
1. Drawing people and their clothes.
2. Putting emotion into the text of a story.
To work on improving I'm going to draw people in the real world every Friday morning. You see, I was excited to start going to life drawing sessions. My work schedule just changed and I was finally off on the Friday morning meeting time. But I found out they just recently stopped doing the sessions. Aargh! So I'll be drawing at a coffee shop or the library.
And I'll keep writing and writing and writing etc. while thinking about the emotion of the story. Heck I may do a little of that at the coffee shop, too.

But there are things that I'm already good at-
1. I'm very good at my favorite medium, linocut.
2. I'm also good at thinking through an entire story or concept and working on it until it's done and is a BOOK.
I'm all fired up and already working on my next dummy. And of course redoing my current one.

In the spirit of celebrating what we are good at, I'd love to hear what you love to do that you do really well!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Gone to Denver SCBWI

This weekend I'll be at the Rocky Mountain Chapter Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators Conference. That's a mouthful. This year there's a new Illustrator's Intensive for a half day on Friday. Apparently Adam Rex is going to show us how to model our characters out of clay. (!) 

I also get to hang out with Brooke Boynton Hughes, my pal from Between the End Pages. Check over there when you get a chance- our illustration theme this month is Ocean Voyage. AND we are going to start posting 15 minute sketches soon. 
Have a lovely weekend!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Illustration Friday: Boundaries

Here is the finished illustration that I gave a little background about in my last post. I think it also works for this week's Illustration Friday prompt- boundaries.

Even though the Earth seems infinitely huge and complex, it isn't. The boundary around us is unforgiving. Our world is the only home we have and everything we need is here- including solutions to our problems. Enjoy the sunrises and moonshine!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Evolution of the World In Print

Any of you that have seen my art over the years may have noticed a theme. I feel silly even mentioning it. It's OBVIOUS. When I was a kid I wanted to be an astronaut. Then when I got older I thought about becoming an astronomer. I have lots of books with photos of beautiful star clusters and images of Earth from orbit. My favorite is still The Home Planet edited by Kevin Kelley. It was published in 1988- forever ago! But it has so many wonderful quotes from astronauts around the world. I wish a new version of it could be made.

I'm just starting a new linocut for a poem I'd like to turn into book. I'm hoping it will work as a children's book, but I'm not certain yet until I do some more drawings. Here's the beginning of the block-

And here are some prints that I've made of Earth in the last 6 or 7 years. I was trying to work out the story I wanted to tell and what it would look like.

And finally I got to a good place with a series of prints of nine views of the planet. Here's North America. I put them together into a hand-made book called Earth that I finished this year.

In the last couple years I tried some more illustrative versions. I hope the print and story I'm working on now will resolve these latest thoughts!

Friday, September 2, 2011