Posts tagged ‘progress’

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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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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“It’s not just about creativity, it is about the person you are becoming while you’re creating.” – Charlie Peacock

I found this quote while procrastinating on Pinterest this afternoon. It really struck a chord with me, because it really sums up how I feel this week changed me. I know that seems crazy, a week changed me? Did that much really happen this week?
In short, yes. I have never taken a week off before and just dedicated to my art career. Let me tell you, I fell in love with the freelance life. Yes I freelance part time anyway, but to fully be immersed in my dream career? It was amazing. I don’t have very many stressful projects right now, and I know freelancing isn’t all rainbows and butterflies, but for the first time in my life, my eyes were open to the knowledge that I really could freelance full time. Not financially at this point, but mentally I am totally ready. There is nothing like waking up and knowing there is nothing on the agenda for the day except creating.
So what does my life look like as a freelancer? I got plenty of sleep, exercised, ate well, and made art everyday. I think the routine of it was what really sold me. You can get so much more done with your time when you do the same thing every day. There was none of the pressure of: if I don’t get this done today, I won’t be able to work on it again for a week. Instead, if I didn’t finish something I could work on it again the next day. And that was empowering to me as an artist.
I know if I did do this full time there would be all nighters, times where I was stressed about where the next paycheck was coming from, clients who were stressful or didn’t understand what I did, and periods where I just felt uninspired. There would be times where I couldn’t exercise, where sleep wasn’t a priority, where I would have to spend days with the business side of things instead of creating. But these things happen anyway. There are weeks when I come to the blank page and I just don’t know where to go. There are times when I am frustrated with what a client wants me to do or the time frame in which they want me to do it. There are times when I come home late from my job and go right to the computer to finish that project that is due the next day.
However, I still would love to do it at some point in my life. I would love if that point in my life is sooner rather than later. Because by taking this week and really focusing on me and my art, I got a glimpse of the person I could become. And that was exciting!

You are all wondering, so what did you get done this week? This is supposed to be a recap after all!
Well here is what I got done this week:
I completely revamped my website. What does that look like? Gathering files, scanning pictures, getting everything internet ready, writing a bio, finding the best way to showcase my art, and starting a blog where I could write again. And you can see the results of all that work by browsing my website (Which you are currently on)
I finished a project creating tags and posters for an up and coming clothing line. This didn’t take too long, but it was great to cross a project off the list of things to do.
I finished a new portfolio piece. Have you looked through my art yet? You’ll notice this image in the digital children’s illustration portfolio:

Like christmas lights blinking on a summer's night

Like christmas lights blinking on a summer’s night

 

 

 

This piece was a result of a drawing challenge I did with my facebook followers over the last couple of months. It was great to add color to it and make it really come to life! Also, I haven’t created a new portfolio piece in awhile so it felt good to add something new to the portfolio.

 

I also got 1/3 of the way through creating the images for my 2016 calendar. Usually I’m in a panic to finish it by December 1st so people can give it as a Christmas present. I’ve already surpassed myself in how long this usually takes me. Here’s a little preview of each of them:

January Freesia

January Freesia

February Magnolias

February Magnolias

March Cornflower

March Cornflower

April Sweet Peas

April Sweet Peas

So I was really happy with how far I got this week. It was great to pick up the paintbrush and try my hand at watercolors again. I was relieved that I finally got my new website up (That has been on the to do list for 2 years). And I was really happy to get a new portfolio piece done.
So what’s next for me? Well I am going to continue working on my calendar. I am going to continue working on new portfolio pieces. And I am going to continue blogging.

This week was great for me. Now I just have to figure out how to fit all the great things I’ve been doing around my two other jobs. Because as great as this week was, it won’t mean anything if I can’t keep up with it while still going to work. Will I get as much done each week? No. But if I can keep creating art and taking care of myself, I will definitely have accomplished what I set out to do with this week. What it comes down to is, I like the person I am when I am creating. I am focused, I am positive and excited for the future. That is something worth holding on to.

And now, back to the painting table!

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