Posts tagged ‘summary’

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 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):


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!


Hello all!

If any of you follow my facebook or instagram accounts, you may know that I was at the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators annual winter conference in NYC. Let me just say, wow. If any of you have ever considered being a children’s book writer or illustrator, this is a must go to event. Also a must is being a part of SCBWI. The amount of resources available through this group and the fantastic people you meet through it is priceless.

So this weekend, I packed my bag and headed to NYC. My friend was very gracious to let me stay at her apartment for the weekend. Last year I commuted every day, and while it is feasible, I didn’t get much sleep. Little did I know that I would be so excited that I would get very little sleep anyway! I’m not going to go into too much detail as we will never get to the end of my gushing about this conference that way. Rather, I will just make a list of the things I took away from the conference in a series of blog posts. Today, I will tell you a little bit about the Illustrator Intensive.

On Friday, I went to the Illustrator Intensive. This was my first year doing this, and it was definitely worth it. The speakers included William Joyce, Sophie Blackall, James Ransome, and Mike Curato. Then there was a panel of art directors, editors, agents, and illustrator Paul Zelinsky. Here is what I took away from each speaker:

William Joyce – Keep working outside your comfort zone; People like to hear the story behind the story; study the artist’s work whom you admire, and ask Why do I like this person’s work so much? William Joyce has illustrated and written many books, worked on many films, and then started his own company to produce children’s books, short films, apps, etc. He won an Oscar for his short film The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore.

Sophie Blackall – Keep busy doing what you love; Take risks and leaps; Do personal projects because they are almost always your best work. Sophie Blackall won the Caldecott this year for Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous BearNot only does she write and illustrate children’s books, she also does work with the Measles & Rubella Initiative and a reading program in Rwanda.

James Ransome – Important things to think about when illustrating: Drawing, Design, and Color; find a lot of different kinds of reference for books not just the internet. James Ransome is a children’s book illustrator. He talked a lot about his process, and showed it to us through some of his past projects.

Mike Curato – Mike Curato talked about his journey with illustration and the hard work he did to get his work published. He won the Portfolio Showcase in 2012, and has since published several books: some that he has written and illustrated and others illustrated. His talk was very humorous with stick figure diagrams, and very inspiring.

Panel about planning and collaboration in your career: Persistence and adaptability are important; study other picture books; draw characters with every facial expression you can think of; be on time and don’t take short cuts; to be an illustrator, rule out the possibility that you would want to do anything else; be open and listen; get outside your comfort zone; be curious; be yourself; pay attention to the publishing world; be consistent and ask all the questions you have; people will care about your work because you care about it; it’s not about you, it’s about the book; illustrators bring amazing emotions to the lives of children and adults.

In conclusion we had a Q&A where we really thought about where we were in our careers, what we wanted out of them as illustrators, etc. My take away from this and the entire day was this: Everyone of us brings something to the table that someone else doesn’t. We have to figure out what that is.

The illustrator intensive was so inspiring, Everyone who spoke had a different journey into and through their careers, and yet they were very similar in their passion for illustration. I don’t remember who said it, but in the wrap up of the day, someone said, “You’re the only one who can stop yourself.” It really made me stop and think, what am I doing to help myself become an illustrator? What am I doing that is hurting that goal?

The takeaway from the intensive (and really much of the conference) was this: Draw what you love and are passionate about. It’s made me really consider where I am going to go from here, and what I want to do next. I can’t wait to start creating more work!

To wrap it up, here is a picture of me and my friend at the end of the illustrator intensive. We had a great time! Tomorrow I will tell you more about the conference!


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