Posts tagged ‘children’s illustration’

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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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!

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 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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