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