Posts tagged ‘challenges’

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 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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