...I fixed it!" That's the prompt that was given for the Illustrator Challenge at the upcoming New England SCBWI conference. It took awhile for me to come up with the idea. And then for some reason, I was drawn to doing it in watercolor. Not sure why, because it's not a medium that I have much experience using.
Anyway, here's the final version. Very curious to get feedback from the art directors who will see it!
The Fonz says we went to church,
all my thoughts are now in verse,
@kwamealexander, well deserved.
#NY15SCBWI #TheCrossover #Newbery
"Creativity takes courage" -Henri Matisse
This week I've been posting 3 pieces of art each day to Facebook. It's been an exciting and intimidating challenge.
Exciting because I'm posting work that many have never seen. Exciting because this has given me an opportunity to go back and re-visit and reflect on my life as an artist. I've posted paintings from high school, my time in Paris, my courses at RISD and my experiences with SCBWI. Exciting because each day I have the opportunity to nominate a fellow artist to have the same type of exposure and reflection.
Intimidating because I'm posting work that many have never seen. Intimidating because revisiting old work has shown me how far I have come, how I'm still the same, and yet how far I still want to go. Intimidating because it feels risky to put my work out there to be seen and judged.
Overall, I've enjoyed the challenge and it's given me a boost of energy and confidence to keep doing what I love.
I'm in the process of updating my portfolio, both inside and out, for the upcoming SCBWI conference in NYC. I will be adding them to this site as they are finished.
Back in September the months stretched out before me and my aspirations were high. Now with less than a month to go, I'm going with what I've got, which isn't nearly all I thought it would be.
I'm hoping that in shooting for the moon, I'm still landing among the stars. ;)
Or that I'll be able to at least see a star--through a telescope.
I just got back from dropping off some work to be in a show at the Center for the Arts in Milford, CT. The show is called, "The Art of Children's Book Illustrators" and runs from Oct. 6-Nov. 14. Although I have had my art in shows before, this is the first time I will have my children's book art in a show. Very excited for the opening reception on Saturday, Oct. 11, 10-12. I am showing 4 pieces: 3 finishes and 1 process piece. They wanted to see some sketches and unfinished pieces to show the work behind the work.
I can now add matting, framing and hanging to my list of "skills I learned as an adult."
I enjoyed spending time with my dear RISD friends Sarita Rich and Marcela Staudenmaier who also have pieces in the show.
Info. on the show:
The Art of Children’s Book Illustrators
Show Dates: October 6-November 14, 2014
Viewing: Wednesday-Friday 10-4 PM
In honor of National Book Month in October, The Milford Arts Council and the Milford Public Library will feature a collaborative exhibit of Children’s Book Art. Work will include Art from published books or pieces the illustrators are currently working on as well as work that shows the “artistic process.”
Reception: Saturday, October 11, 2014 10-12 PM.
Join us for a “Meet the Illustrators” Reception. Illustrators and some authors will be on hand to meet with visitors and answer questions about their artwork. This family friendly Reception will also include a book Raffle! Winners will be announced at 11:30 AM. Coffee, juice and donuts will be served.
Center for the Arts
40 Railroad Ave South
Milford, CT 06460
My friend, Marcela Staudenmaier, passed the children's book writer/illustrator blog tour baton on to me this week and I’m honored to take it from her. Marcela and I met at RISD and have been SCBWI conference buddies ever since. Learn more about Marcela and her beautiful, thoughtful work at:
What am I working on now?
I’ve just finished an almost year long re-do of Oma’s Garden, the first picture book that I’ve both written and illustrated, and have sent it back out to the world. I’ve also been creating new pieces to update my portfolio.
Spending time with my kids this summer is providing me with plenty of ideas and inspiration for my next story and/or image. Listening to their thoughts and observing how their minds work as they interact with the world around them proves to be some of my best research, and the most fun.
How does my work differ from others in the genre?
I came to writing from the art world. Most of my art background is in landscape painting and portraits, that’s my comfort zone and what I tend to write toward.
After living overseas in Europe and Asia, I’m drawn to both the simple lines and natural subject matter of Asian art and the deep perspective and use of light in more traditional European art.
I also use my experiences as a classroom teacher, memories of my own childhood and my children’s lives for access to some of those oh-so-important childhood highs and lows.
All of these experiences influence and inform my "voice".
Why do I write what I do?
Wisdom. Nature. Simplicity. Innocence. I love children's stories for these reasons, especially ones that have a timeless, sweet and subtle message. I think children are full of wisdom and I am always impressed with their self-assuredness, honesty, and joy. I want to honor their important role in the world through my work.
Although my style is very different from theirs, Shel Silverstein and Dr. Seuss were some of my favorites as a child and their wit and wisdom continue to delight me. Where the Sidewalk Ends, Yertle the Turtle, and The Sneetches are ones I still love to read.
How does your writing process work?
My process consists of a lot of folding laundry, putting away groceries, brushing teeth, and watching my kids’ tennis practice; in other words, a lot of not-writing. After reading Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird, I feel more confident in this being a valid piece of the work.
For me, the most important thing is the story arc. I like to start by writing down everything in a plot outline. It's helpful for me to know where I'm going before I begin to play with images and words. After I have organized my ideas and I’m confident in the story arc, I will start laying out my 32 pages. I do this with very loose sketches and descriptions of what will happen on each page. Then, almost like an archaeologist chipping away at long buried treasure, I begin the back and forth between the actually words and the images, tweaking each until the final piece starts to emerge, .
Making small dummy books at different stages along the way helps me work on pacing, variety and consistency.
My final art is almost always done in oil and/or acrylic paint, with some digital tweaks here and there.
Next week my sweet and talented friend Sarita Rich (see below), another RISD-CE alum, will be posting about her process.
Thanks for reading!
What a great weekend! So lovely to see old friends, meet new friends (including Peter H. Reynolds!), and refill the creative tank. Wish I didn't have to wait another year to go back!