Posts from the ‘blog post’ category

For the 12 Days of Christmas by Julie Hedlund, I did an exercise where I made a list of all my successes from 2016. I’m going to try to do that on a monthly basis because it was such an awesome way to get motivated!
So what did I do in January?

  • I participated in Storystorm run by Tara Lazar. This is an event where Tara has guest bloggers talk about different aspects or ways to get inspired and then we, the participants, try to come up with one story idea each day of the month. I got behind, but I finished!
  • I finished my 2017 calendar. I usually finish it in the fall, but my part time job turned into a full time job in September. I’ve had a lot less time for art, and have struggled a little to get stuff done. However, I wanted to finish it and I did! I even sold a few.
  • I went out to Washington to see my sister and brother-in-law and paint a wall in their nursery. That was so much fun. It was challenging since I haven’t ever done anything like that before, but I am so glad I did it because the finish was super cute. I can’t wait for my nephew to enjoy it. I posted the preliminary sketches in my previous blog post. The progress pictures are on my Instagram. And here is the final wall:
  • I filled my first order for large prints. That might not seem like a big deal, but I’ve never shipped anything bigger than 8.5×11 so it was a learning experience. And now I can do it again if needed!
  • I uploaded two designs for Valentine’s Day on my society6 store. They aren’t new, but they are new to my store. Check them out
  • Finally, I wrote a mini story for my characters Chick, Hedgehog, and Dragon. I wanted to have a color version ready for this blog post but I only finished the drawings yesterday. Be on the lookout for color. I want to make this a regular thing, so follow their Instagram to keep track of the stories. Here’s the cover for this week’s story.
    Today I’m going to quickly write a draft of a story for 12×12. I want to get all my monthly badges this year!
    January was a pretty successful month. Some family things threw off my schedule a bit, but overall I am pretty happy with what I got done. Hopefully tomorrow: What I am currently working on!
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Hello everyone. I hope your January is going well. I am writing from scenic Washington today. I say scenic, but as per usual for me when I travel, it has been pretty overcast for the time I’ve been here. However, I have still been having fun champagne tasting, cider tasting, board game playing, and going to a super cute picture book themed baby shower. It’s been a blast and I am only half way through my trip.

Cute name tag table at baby shower for my sister

I’ve also been working on an amazing new project. In March, my sister and brother-in-law are having their first child and I will get a new nephew. I am super excited. When they told me they were expecting, they asked if there was any way I would be interested in helping them set up a nursery for their baby. I couldn’t be more excited about a project. I have never done anything like this before, and, while I am nervous about this, I am happy to challenge myself with something new!

My work station for the week. So much planning!

The theme for the room is hot air balloons. I wish I could take credit for coming up with such a great idea but that was entirely my sister. So cute and creative right? We have painted the room a beautiful grey blue color. Next I got to work planning the accent wall. I will be painting animals in hot hair balloons on this wall. So far, I have drawn some concept pictures, made a stencil, and planned a preliminary layout. Here are some of the sketches. I will share more pictures as soon as it is finished. follow my instagram to see pictures as I make progress! ( hopefully I’ll be able to get better pictures of the finish)

Potential plan for wall

Penguins!

Giraffe!

Dinosaur!

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animal wrapped in scarfHello Everyone!
It’ sure has been cold hasn’t it? It’s a new year and that means new resolutions, new plans, and hopefully lots of new ideas. I usually start the year with such good intentions, and then they start to fizzle out by March (and that’s generous). This year, instead of making resolutions like “blog more” or “draw more” I really wanted to figure out concrete ways I could add more to my writing and illustrating life this year. With a full-time job, it’s often hard to find the time or the will power to commit to something like “draw everyday” or “write everyday”.  To be honest, that would be awesome. Knowing myself, it is also highly unlikely that will ever happen.
One idea I came up with for the blog is Work in Progress (or WIP as we said in art school) Wednesday. This is not an original idea by any means, but it appealed to me as a way to take a break in the middle of the week and just take stock of where I am and where I am going. Plus, it’s fun to share in progress pictures with all of you!
Of course, I am working extra hours in January at the day job, so that means I don’t have any pictures to share this week. However,  as I was thinking of what to write today, it occurred to me, aren’t we all works in progress? (Yep I know that is super cheesy) Many of us are constantly striving to be better versions of ourselves today than we were yesterday.
This got me to thinking about my progress as a writer and an illustrator in the last couple years. 3 years ago, I went to my first NJ SCBWI event. I had been a member for 2 years already, but that was the first event I convinced myself to go to. The people there were so kind and so generous with their advice and friendship that I immediately realized that the kidlit community was the right place for me. The next year I got up my courage to go to the SCBWI Winter Conference in NYC, and participated again in an NJ SCBWI illustrator event. Last year, I went to the same conference again, participated in the next version of the NJ SCBWI illustrator event, went to my first ever NJ SCBWI Conference (amazing! Highly recommend it!), joined 12×12, joined a writing group, submitted my first query, got my first rejection from said query and wrote 14 picture book drafts. (That was a mouthful!)
Looking back at my years like this was the first time I realized that I have been building towards this dream of mine to be an author/illustrator consistently for the last 3 years, and each year I’ve built a little more than the last. Were there rough patches in there? Sure! And there is still a lot of work to do. I’m still working towards publication. But making myself an “I Did List” instead of thinking of what there still is to do has made me realize, I really have made a lot of progress this past year towards my goal.
So for this year I want to build on that by looking for new opportunities to grow. I am going back to both the NY and NJ SCBWI conferences this year and I’ve already signed up for 12×12. (If you are writing picture books, this is a great group to be a part of!) I’ve started listening to podcasts. (The Creative Pep Talk is great, I highly recommend it). I’m going to doodle at work. I’m going to write on the train.  Most of all, I am going to enjoy the process, even when it’s hard, by remembering that I am taking steps towards my goals.
As a work in progress, I’m glad to have made progress in 2016! I’m also going to keep making “I did lists” to remind myself throughout the year that I am making progress. You should too!

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12 Days of Christmas with Julie Hedlund imageChildren’s author Julie Hedlund, challenged participants of her 12 Days of Christmas for Writers series to post SUCCESSES (rather than resolutions) on our blogs this year. She believes the way New Year’s resolutions are traditionally made come from a place of negativity – what DIDN’T get done or achieved in the previous year.  Instead, she suggests we set goals for the New Year that BUILD on our achievements from the previous one. I decided to participate in this Anti-Resolution Revolution! 

Wow. I can’t believe 2016 is already coming to an end. In a lot of ways, I’m very happy for that. However, in looking back at the last year, I accomplished more than I realized I could at the start of 2016. While the 12 Days of Christmas is about writing, I am expanding it to include illustration, as I consider myself both a writer and an illustrator. Here is my list of professional successes for 2016 (in no particular order):

  • Revised and re-revised 3 picture book manuscripts multiple times (I used to hate revising so this was a huge step for me!)
  • Wrote 11 picture book drafts. I was so close to finishing the 12×12 challenge to write 12 picture books in 12 months! There are still 3 days left in the year…I only just realized this writing this blog post!
  • Participated in ReFoReMo (reading for research month)
  • Created 4 or 5 new portfolio pieces
  • Started work on a new book dummy
  • Attended the NY SCBWI conference for the second time
  • Participated for the first time in the Portfolio Showcase at the NYSCBWI Conference
  • Attended my first NJ SCBWI Conference where I:
    • participated in the juried art show
    • pitched an agent
    • had a portfolio review with an editor
    • participated in my first first page session
    • LEARNED SO MUCH
  • Wrote and submitted my first query
  • Got my first rejection accompanied with some very kind feedback from the editor
  • Participated in 12×12 (which now I realize I have to finish!)
  • Participated in the Craft Book reading discussions in 12×12
  • Met a wonderful critique group through 12×12 and got a ton of helpful feedback on my manuscripts
  • Came up with lots of ideas for picture books
  • Started a Society6 store to sell more of my art
  • Participated in an Illustrator/agent event through the NJ chapter of SCBWI
  • Now with this blog post, got back into blogging! 🙂

Wow. I know that is repetitive but until I typed out this list I didn’t realize how much this really was! I’m off to write that last picture book manuscript.
What were some of your successes this year?

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My heart hurts. It seems that you cannot turn on the tv anymore without seeing some act of violence, terrorism, or racism. One feels powerless to change the systems that create these actions, these environments. We cry out angrily to politicians “DO SOMETHING!” and yet nothing changes. A terrorist shoots up a night club, police officers kill black men, snipers shoot down a peaceful protest. . . when will it end? How do we make it end?

I wish I knew the answers to these questions. Anytime something happens like this, I think, but how do I help?

After two black men were unjustly killed this week, I am reminded of something by the writing community I am surrounded by. Words are important. One of the members posted a link to this blog Crawling out of the Classroom. This post talks about the importance of sharing the stories of those affected by racism with students to educate them on racism in America. I am not a teacher, but I think it is a very important post so I am sharing it where ever I can.

This post also reminded me of two phrases I heard from children’s book writers this year at conferences. I carry these words in my heart and I hope to carry them into my work.

“We write to express empathy in a broken world.” – Gary Schmidt
“We do not have to save the world, we just have to tell its stories.” – Suzy Ismail

As a writer and illustrator I will hopefully one day have an effect on children reading my words, looking at my pictures. I may not have much power to affect changes in political systems, but by teaching children kindness, respect, and inclusion in my art and words, hopefully I can make a difference.

Anytime something terrible happens in the world I am reminded of a video that went viral after the Paris attack. A father is comforting his scared child and tells him that the flowers and candles will remember those who lost their lives and protect them. (I am paraphrasing.) I was very struck by that video and have since wanted to create an image based on this father’s remarks. Today I was having a hard time focusing on the work that needed to be done in my studio when there are so many people hurting today, so I went ahead and just created the image.

anneappert_vigil

I want to draw and write to express empathy. I want to share the stories of those affected by these acts of violence.

This image is my vigil for the victims of violence, no matter what kind it is. A light for the brokenness of the world and of our country. My thoughts are with the victims and their families. I hope for a better future and for the wisdom to know how to make a better tomorrow for everyone regardless of race or religion. I pray for peace.

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Hello everyone! I was going to say good morning, but by the time I publish this it probably won’t be morning anymore. I had such grandiose plans for today. I was going to get up at 7, write, get ready for the day, write this blog post, and then draw the rest of the day. When my alarm went off at 7, my body was like HAHAHAHA that’s funny. . . so needless to say it is almost noon and here I am just starting this post. There is still a lot of day left, so I am sure I will still get a lot done. There is always tomorrow to try the 7 am alarm again. (I know this doesn’t seem early to most people, but I work an evening job as a part time job in the beginning of the week, so sometimes it’s harder for me to tap into my morning person personality later in the week.)

So you are all waiting for some sketchbook posts! This week I actually have some of the finished projects on my computer so I will share those along with the sketches. This sketchbook is also from my 3rd year at FIT. It’s so fun looking back at these and knowing the projects they eventually inspired. It’s also cool to me to see how much of my style has stayed the same and how much has changed.

For my History of Illustration class we had to pick two musicians to paint. I picked Buddy Holly  and Cyndi Lauper. We had to use photo reference but change it enough so that we weren’t violating copyright. I am not sure I accomplished that, but I will never sell these. It was a good exercise. For the rest of my life I will sing “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” and “Buddy Holly” by Weezer every time I see these. These sketches were done in pencil.

pencil sketch

pencil sketch of Buddy Holly

pencil sketch

pencil sketch of Cyndi Lauper

And since I actually have the finishes on my computer:

Watercolor of Buddy Holly

Watercolor of Buddy Holly

Watercolor of Cyndi Lauper

Watercolor of Cyndi Lauper

I don’t work like this much anymore, but looking back at these, I can see where my love of graphic shapes and patterns in illustrations was starting to appear in my work.

The next sketches were for a linocut we did in another class. For this process, you transfer your drawing onto some sort of block (we used easy cut blocks) and make a stamp of your piece which you then ink and transfer to paper. It was a super fun project. I was the only one prepared for class that day, and my teacher made my classmates all pay me to use my supplies. I think I made money that day! It is still a favorite memory from art school.

These are very loose sketches for concept:

thumbnail pencil sketches for linocut

thumbnail pencil sketches for linocut

And this is the sketch I ended up going with:

Pencil sketch for linocut

Pencil sketch for linocut

i really liked this sketch and since I still have the linocut, maybe I’ll make some more prints with this! (Note: because of the way the art is transferred, the final piece would be a mirror image of this sketch.)

Last but not least, here is a sketch I ended up doing for a project in my photoshop class:

pencil sketch: under the willow tree

pencil sketch: under the willow tree

This was a frustrating class for me. For some reason, I just could not get the hang of what we were supposed to be doing. So finally my teacher just said, create something you love in a style you want to. . . so I drew this. In the final piece, the girl is surrounded by hand drawn rainbows and flowers and butterflies…as if her drawings are coming to life. I am not sure what he was expecting, but I did have fun creating this piece.

That’s it for this week! Be sure to subscribe on the right to never miss a post!

Before I forget, I also started a new store on Society6 this week. I will be adding more art in the following weeks, and you’ll be able to get all sorts of things on phones, tote bags and more! Check it out.

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Hello all!

I was so busy yesterday working on projects I forgot to post a TBT Sketchbook post! Good thing we have flashback Friday right?

I realize a lot of these throwback posts are going to be Fashion Illustration posts. For those of you who don’t know me, my first degree was actually an Associates Degree in Fashion Illustration. I didn’t think I was going to do this when I got to FIT. In fact, before I got accepted, I had to do a drawing test at FIT. The professor who looked at my work asked, “Would you ever consider doing Fashion Illustration? You really have a knack for it.” I replied something to the extent of “Well I really want to do children’s illustration, so probably not. I’ll think about it though!” Fast forward approximately 6 months and there I was, signing up for the Fashion concentration in the Illustration program. A couple of things went into my decision. First of all, I loved my fashion illustration classes my first semester. Secondly, at the time, not all the general classes painted from live models, and the fashion illustration classes did so I thought that would be better practice. Thirdly, all my friends were doing Fashion Illustration. Oh the decision making skills at 18! Regardless of why I made the decision, I have never regretted that decision. I met amazing people, created some really cool art, and learned a lot. Also, I now have some fun sketchbooks to show you!
Anne Appert Sketchbook

I had this sketchbook my second year into the program. You can see it was much loved. I literally lost one of the spiral bindings because I’ve taken this apart to give pieces to people. When I saw this sketchbook I had to have it. It has polkadots, is square, and the paper is kraft paper. Everything about it was so fun!

Anne Appert sketchbook1

This is one of my favorite pieces from the sketchbook. Most of the drawings in this book were copies of pictures from fashion ads in magazines. I created the backgrounds. I don’t remember all the info for each as it was awhile ago now, but this one I remember was an Oscar de la Renta dress which I LOVED. This is done in gouache.

Anne Appert Sketchbook2

I don’t remember what designer this one. This is done with pen and marker. I do enjoy the color choices I made for this drawing.

Anne Appert Sketchbook3

This one is also done with marker and pen. If my memory serves me correctly, it was from a Moschino ad. (But don’t take my word for that!)

Anne Appert Sketchbook4

This is another marker and pen drawing. It’s funny, I don’t really use markers too often any more, but I obviously had a lot of fun experimenting with them!

Anne Appert Sketchbook5

Lastly, here is another marker and pen piece. I must have really loved the way these drew on this paper! I do like how on some of the pieces you can see the marker spots from the drawing on the previous page.

There are many more sketches in this book, but I made myself stop scanning at 5. I thought that was enough for one blog post! This way too, I can always post more for a future TBT post (or flashback post!). I think what most attracts me to these pieces is how evident it is that I was just having fun. I was being loose and enjoying it. Using a medium I didn’t use and still don’t really use, I was able to create drawings that were fun and appealing to me. There are still some pages in the book, maybe I’ll have another go at drawing like this again.

Disclaimer: I do not own the pictures these were originally drawn from. This is not intended to infringe on anyone’s copyright, but instead show my process and how I create art.

 

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Hello All!

It has been awhile since I posted here, or on social media at all. I have been super busy. However, I wasn’t busy with anything I could actually show you so that meant radio silence on my end. I need to work on working on both my projects I can’t share, and things I can share at the same time so you all don’t think I’ve forgotten about you!

So what have I been up to? I have been reading ALOT of books. . . picture books! I took part in a challenge called ReFoReMo, or Reading for Research Month. The idea of the month is to actually research picture books: how they are written, what the balance between text and illustration is, what kinds of books are out there, what formats are they written in etc. Each day, someone in the industry would write briefly about one aspect of writing for children, and then share some books that they thought would be good mentor texts to illustrate their point. I have learned a lot about picture books; both what I like and what I don’t like. I also have two new manuscript ideas from reading the selected books. It’s been a great month! I still have to read some of the selections, but it has been really a great experience. There is a new post every week during the year with useful knowledge, and if you want to participate next year, check out the website!

I’ve also been working on a project I really can’t show you because it is a present for someone. Eventually I will post it here!

I have been working on writing several manuscripts for children’s books.

I also have been cleaning out my art room which is a slow but necessary process. Today, I got to clean out a closet that had all my old sketchbooks in it. Then, I was inspired. Every Thursday, for throwback Thursday, I will post something from an old sketchbook for you all to see! Going through them today, I realize I used to have a lot of fun in sketchbooks. I have no idea what happened, probably life, but I don’t spend the same amount of time in sketchbooks as I used to, or as I should. I am hoping this experiment will be fun for you, and reinvigorating for me.

I definitely have posted this on an old blog, but I thought I would start with my first special sketchbook. I have sketchbooks from when I was 7 or 10, but this was the first sketchbook that really meant something to me. It was also the start of me beginning to realize I loved art.

The First "Real" Sketchbook I owned

The First “Real” Sketchbook I owned

I was 12 and I had just won a 20 dollar gift card to Barnes and Noble from the Book-a-Thon at school. I was rich. I could buy two books with a 20 dollar gift card. (If only that were still true!) I didn’t know what I would get, but I knew it would be the best book the store had to offer. Then I walked passed the journal section and this caught my eye. Something about the fake wood I thought was beautiful. I picked it up and flipped through the blank pages, feeling excited. I put it down. I wasn’t an artist. And if I bought this, I may have money for a book, but I may not. I left and came back. Picked it up again. In my memory, this indecisiveness lasted a long time. I can’t imagine how annoying this must have been for my dad who had brought me and my sister shopping. Finally I decided to just go for it. I bought it and brought it home.

This was the perfect sketchbook. It had to be filled with the perfect drawings I decided. So I sat with it, started drawing, didn’t like it, ripped it out…this happened several times. Then finally I just drew.

The "perfect" drawing. Note the ripped edges of the pages I deemed imperfect

The “perfect” drawing. Note the ripped edges of the pages I deemed imperfect

It took forever, but I finally decided I was satisfied. Then, being the truly focused 12 year old I was, I left it on the couch in order to go outside with my sister and friends.

I came back in to find my dad looking at the drawing I had done. I was mortified. No one was supposed to see it! I felt like I was pretending to be something I was not. Then my dad looked at me and said, “Anne, this is really good!” While still embarrassed, now it was for a different reason. I was proud and so happy my dad had thought I could draw. I probably mumbled a thank you and grabbed the sketchbook. I don’t remember that part. I do remember that after that I really thought about creating art more often.

The funny thing is, that is the only drawing in that sketchbook. Even though I went on to fill more sketchbooks, take art lessons, experiment with media, I never came back to this sketchbook. Thinking about this sketchbook, I also realize all the earlier times I had filled sketchbooks, illustrated stories me and my sisters wrote, made pretend boardgames all should have been clues to how I really had always loved art. I guess I was pretty clueless. This drawing was really the beginning of my awareness of the importance of art to me.

This is my first throwback sketchbook post. Tune in next week for the next installment!

Also, if you haven’t already, check out my contact page! I am all sorts of social media (facebook, twitter, instagram, instagram again). Follow me on the platform you are on most often! You will definitely get to see more of my art as I work on it

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Hello all!

It’s time for my last post about the conference that happened this past weekend (I know you are all excited about that.) Sunday was the shortest day of the conference, but I got there the earliest so I could grab some books from the bookstore to get signed at the autograph party later. They started the day with announcements about who won various awards (unfortunately, my tired brain did not think to write them down), and then went straight into the first keynote. The speakers for the day were Rita Williams-Garcia, Jacquelyn Mitchard, a panel of publishers and agents, and last, but certainly not least, Gary Schmidt.

Rita Williams Garcia – I have to say, Rita was a fabulous speaker. Her talk was humorous and she had so much wisdom to share! She gave us a list of Don’ts for our careers: Don’t isolate yourself, find your community, Don’t fear Doubt, Don’t not hear criticism, Don’t stay with an uncontracted project too long, Do learn who you are in the marketplace but don’t be afraid to evolve, Don’t drop the ball, Don’t know it all, Don’t stop writing, Do What you’re doing, you’re here, Live in the Plan, Do Live with Gratitude, Be all about the Do!
I really really enjoyed hearing about her journey and especially her “Live the plan” advice: how what you are doing should be working towards your plan.

Jacquelyn Mitchard – Jacquelyn was a great speaker and definitely  very engaging. I didn’t take many notes on her talk though, as it was all about writing good endings, and seemed more applicable to longer books and not picture books. However she had very good advice about different kinds of endings. One of the things I did find as food for thought: Your ending should take the reader slightly by surprise. That could definitely make picture book writing very interesting!

Panel: The last panel in the conference was about the acquisitions process in some publishing houses. This was very involved information, and sometimes varied by person. Some things that I found helpful: if an editor brings your manuscript to the acquisitions team, it is no longer about the quality of your work and rather is a business decision (it means they already like it), sometimes you have to be flexible or change direction, It is a serious endeavor, love what you do, pick an agent who will be an advocate for you.

Gary Schmidt – Gary was the last speaker of the conference and wow. What a way to end a conference! He was so inspiring. He talked about writing, but I believe all of what he said was also applicable for artists. Some key thoughts I wrote down: We all have the same mission, we all do our best work for kids; express powerful and real empathy, express a connection between two souls, story insists that though we want things simple it insists on human complexity and multidimensionality, show children that even though this world is broken it is still beautiful, everything matters. The line that I thought summed it up for me? “We write [draw] to express empathy in a broken world.”
I have to say, Gary Schmidt was my favorite speaker of the conference. He talked so beautifully and so sincerely about craft, and why we do this. If you ever get the chance to hear him speak, GO!

After the conference there was a book signing, and I got a LOT of books signed. Thus I got to “meet” (as much as getting a book signed and saying omg I love your work counts as meeting): Paul Zelinsky, Mike Curato, Rita Williams-Garcia, Gary Schmidt, Matt de la Pena (didn’t speak at the conference, but he won the Newbery this year for his book Last Stop on Market Street, which is a big deal since it is a picture book and only the second time in the award’s history a picture book has won! but I digress), Sophie Blackall, and William Joyce. Thus I got my second picture (yeah I only took two pictures at this conference):

meandppaul

Paul O. Zelinsky and I at the book signing

The conference was so much fun and so exhausting. I cannot wait to get back to writing and illustrating, having learned what I have learned.

My big takeaways? Love what you do, draw what you are passionate about, express empathy in a broken world.

Hope to see you all there next year!

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Hello all!

If any of you follow my facebook or instagram accounts, you may know that I was at the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators annual winter conference in NYC. Let me just say, wow. If any of you have ever considered being a children’s book writer or illustrator, this is a must go to event. Also a must is being a part of SCBWI. The amount of resources available through this group and the fantastic people you meet through it is priceless.

So this weekend, I packed my bag and headed to NYC. My friend was very gracious to let me stay at her apartment for the weekend. Last year I commuted every day, and while it is feasible, I didn’t get much sleep. Little did I know that I would be so excited that I would get very little sleep anyway! I’m not going to go into too much detail as we will never get to the end of my gushing about this conference that way. Rather, I will just make a list of the things I took away from the conference in a series of blog posts. Today, I will tell you a little bit about the Illustrator Intensive.

On Friday, I went to the Illustrator Intensive. This was my first year doing this, and it was definitely worth it. The speakers included William Joyce, Sophie Blackall, James Ransome, and Mike Curato. Then there was a panel of art directors, editors, agents, and illustrator Paul Zelinsky. Here is what I took away from each speaker:

William Joyce – Keep working outside your comfort zone; People like to hear the story behind the story; study the artist’s work whom you admire, and ask Why do I like this person’s work so much? William Joyce has illustrated and written many books, worked on many films, and then started his own company to produce children’s books, short films, apps, etc. He won an Oscar for his short film The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore.

Sophie Blackall – Keep busy doing what you love; Take risks and leaps; Do personal projects because they are almost always your best work. Sophie Blackall won the Caldecott this year for Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous BearNot only does she write and illustrate children’s books, she also does work with the Measles & Rubella Initiative and a reading program in Rwanda.

James Ransome – Important things to think about when illustrating: Drawing, Design, and Color; find a lot of different kinds of reference for books not just the internet. James Ransome is a children’s book illustrator. He talked a lot about his process, and showed it to us through some of his past projects.

Mike Curato – Mike Curato talked about his journey with illustration and the hard work he did to get his work published. He won the Portfolio Showcase in 2012, and has since published several books: some that he has written and illustrated and others illustrated. His talk was very humorous with stick figure diagrams, and very inspiring.

Panel about planning and collaboration in your career: Persistence and adaptability are important; study other picture books; draw characters with every facial expression you can think of; be on time and don’t take short cuts; to be an illustrator, rule out the possibility that you would want to do anything else; be open and listen; get outside your comfort zone; be curious; be yourself; pay attention to the publishing world; be consistent and ask all the questions you have; people will care about your work because you care about it; it’s not about you, it’s about the book; illustrators bring amazing emotions to the lives of children and adults.

In conclusion we had a Q&A where we really thought about where we were in our careers, what we wanted out of them as illustrators, etc. My take away from this and the entire day was this: Everyone of us brings something to the table that someone else doesn’t. We have to figure out what that is.

The illustrator intensive was so inspiring, Everyone who spoke had a different journey into and through their careers, and yet they were very similar in their passion for illustration. I don’t remember who said it, but in the wrap up of the day, someone said, “You’re the only one who can stop yourself.” It really made me stop and think, what am I doing to help myself become an illustrator? What am I doing that is hurting that goal?

The takeaway from the intensive (and really much of the conference) was this: Draw what you love and are passionate about. It’s made me really consider where I am going to go from here, and what I want to do next. I can’t wait to start creating more work!

To wrap it up, here is a picture of me and my friend at the end of the illustrator intensive. We had a great time! Tomorrow I will tell you more about the conference!

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