Posts tagged 󈥬×12’

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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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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Hello Everyone!

Apparently I am terrible at blogging. It’s just so much more fun to paint and stuff! I have been keeping very busy, so I thought I would give you a recap of everything I have been doing in January. Since January is almost over, it seemed like a good time!

I have decided that 2016 is going to be the year “Anne Get’s Serious About Her Children’s Book Career”. What does that mean? Well, first I joined a challenge called the 12×12 challenge. This is a challenge where you write 12 picture book manuscripts in 12 months. There are webinars with people already published or in the industry, the chance to join critique groups, and to get your work critiqued by the group at large. It’s awesome! I also joined the illustrator portion of the group which gives the opportunity to have your work critiqued by others and share resources. We’ve already done a critique of websites which was great. (If you have visited my website before, you’ll notice the art has gotten bigger. That was a direct result of joining this group.) I think you can still register if you are interested. It’s definitely worth thinking about if you want to get some feedback for your work and “meet” great people!
Through this group, I have also joined a challenge to read 1,000 picture books in 2016. A big goal I know! However, it is extremely important to know your field, and what is getting published. Plus, it’s a great excuse to go to the library. I am already making a list and plan to visit my local library tomorrow to get started!
I’ve also joined a challenge to create a picture book dummy and submit it in six months through kidlitart. It starts now and goes through July. I am really excited and nervous about this one. I have created dummies before, but there has never been a schedule for it, it’s been more of a haphazard process. This will help keep me focused and create more work.
The final challenge I have joined is one my sister organized. The challenge is to read 40 books in 2016, however, they have to fulfill certain criteria. Some of the categories are “a book based on a fairy tale” or “a book written by a celebrity.” This is a fun challenge because I will definitely be reading books I may not have read otherwise.
As you can see, I have gone a little crazy with the challenges in January! However, one of the things I have learned the more I do this, is that accountability is everything. It is way to easy to keep putting things off or let fear keep you from continuing when you don’t have accountability. I’ll keep you posted on all these challenges as the year goes on. Right now I am really excited about all of them. We shall see if that excitement carries me through the year!

The other thing that has been keeping me busy is the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators conference that is happening in 2 weeks. The event takes place in Manhattan and I’ve been prepping for it since Jan. 1st. This involves creating more portfolio pieces, getting a new portfolio to keep these pieces in, getting new promotional materials printed, and researching the people who are going to be there. I have been doing a lot of work for this. I went to the conference last year and it was amazing, but I didn’t feel prepared. Probably because I decided to go at the last minute. This year, I registered as soon as registration was open. I am also participating in their Illustrator Intensive this year. Last year, because I signed up so late, it was already full. I am excited and nervous for this. The conference is going to be amazing again. I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

Now, what would be a post without any art? Here are the new pieces I have created in 2016 so far:

Queen Bee

Queen Bee

The inspiration for this piece came to me as I was inventorying periodicals at my day job. I have no idea how I thought of it, or why it came to me, but I am glad it did! I hadn’t painted in so long it was great to pick up the paintbrushes again. This is currently my favorite piece in my portfolio. I call it queen bee. You never know where your inspiration is going to come from! This was painted with gouache.

Whoever said penguins couldn't be airborne, had never met a penguin as resourceful as Sammi

Whoever said penguins couldn’t be airborne, had never met a penguin as resourceful as Sammi

This second piece was from a drawing I did last fall as part of a drawing challenge I created for myself (Again with the challenges!). I made a list of words, and had my facebook followers pick a number. Then I had to do a drawing for each of those words. I did it as a way to inspire myself again and it worked. Everyone had fun with the challenge, and now I have several drawings that I could make into portfolio pieces (like this). If I wanted to. This was finished today! It was also painted with gouache.

Going forward from today, I am going to continue prepping for my conference. There are more things to be drawn, more things to get ready. It’s nice to take a break to write, but now it’s time to get back to the painting and stuff 🙂 Be sure to check out my new page: New Work. Here is where I’ll be posting pieces as I finish them going forward. I will keep you posted about how the year of “Anne Get’s Serious About Her Children’s Book Career” is going!

Happy January!

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