Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Promo Mailer

I just dropped in the post box some promotional mailers. This one features an image from the chapter book I recently finished illustrating, A Surprise at Dancing Fields, written by Ronit Elk. The book itself isn't out quite yet--I am so anxiously awaiting its publishing!

Also, I have recently joined Linked In, and JacketFlap. If you are a part of these web communities, add me as a friend. I would love to keep up with you through them!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Halloween Memories

Seeing all the Halloween candy in the grocery store makes me nostalgic. I used to love going trick or treating in my neighborhood each year with my sister and cousins. We were so excited when we were finally old enough to go to the "Candy Man's" house (rumored to be a former Brach candy company employee)-- he'd give out the mother load of all candy stashes! My mom made such awesome costumes when I was a kid too: Minnie Mouse, a senorita. When I wanted to be a scarecrow, she even found a place to get hay for the stuffing. Ah, the good ol' days...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Writing and Illustrating for Kids (wik) Conference

Pat and I looking especially chipper in the Spain Park High cafeteria,
where the break activities for the conference occured.
There was a bookstore set up, snacks to munch on, and artwork set up.

As a new SCBWI member, and one who was anxious to learn all I can for a career in childrens' illustration, I decided to attend SCBWI Southern Breeze region's annual fall conference, wik (Writing and Illustrating for Kids) in Birmingham, AL this past Saturday. The conference was only one day long, but packed with workshops, time to network with other artists and writers, get critiques, and meet publishers.

The conference was held at Spain Park High School. Upon arriving at about 7:45am, I signed in, got a name badge and set out my portfolio and promo materials on a long table with other artists, and dashed over to the auditorium to hear the Keynote speaker, Diane Z. Shore.

Diane told about her trials and tribulations of becoming a published children's book writer. She stressed the importance of continual learning about the craft: She read countless books on writing and rhyme, particiapated in SCBWI critique groups, all the while receiveing those early rejection letters. All her hard work and determination paid off, as she's written for several children's publications such as Highlights and Cricket, as well as written several picture books, such as Bus-a-Saurus Bop (below). Her speech was full of funny antedotes, some her beautiful early poetry, and some motivational advice for emerging professionals in the industry, such as this quote from Thomas Edison: "Many of life's failures are men who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up." The speech was outstanding and I think it really got everyone motivated for the long day of learning ahead.

Click image to view page.

The conference had small workshops set up, in which speakers led lectures on different topics as pertaining to the industry. The first one I attended was "Publishing with Eerdmans," led by Art Director Gayle Brown. She gave an overview about the company, and talked about the submission process and what they would like to see. She also had a collection of recently published books spread out of the floor, which we all looked through. The picture below doesn't do them justice, but the books were all so colorful, they looked like little jewels! Eerdman's publishes a beautiful variety of children's books, not sticking with one particular illustration style.

My eye kept on being drawn to this book. Eerdmans has done several biographies on artists for children. The illustrations in this book, I Am Marc Chagall by Bimba Landmann were particularly stunning, in my opinion.
Click image to view page.

Next I attended "Picture Books in a Challenging Market," with Lynne Polvino, Editor of Clarion Books. She broke down some of their sucesses, and descibed the elements that made the books a sucess. She stressed the importance of knowing the market, and what's out there.

Another book with exceptional illustrations, Two at the Zoo, by Danna Smith, illustrations by Valeria Petrone. Published February 2009 by Clarion. Click image to view page.

Diane Z. Shore's "A Picture Books is Worth 100 Words or Less" lecture had me frantically writing down notes the entire time! So much useful information! She described some pitfalls of unsuccessful childrens genre writing, and sent us on our way with tremendous resources. I aspire to someday write as well as illustrate picture books. She said that illustrators have a leg up because of their visual thinking, which was encouraging to hear!

Pat got a lot out of the conference as well. He met Calista Brill, Editor at First Second Books, which publishes graphic novels for children (and all ages too), and learned a little more through her workshops about what kind of submissions they would like to see. I am sure he will be blogging about his experiences at the conference too, so, I won't take up too much room here.

In summary it was a great day. It ended at about 5:30pm, and, boy, was I wiped! I enjoyed meeting a variety of people, and learning. Attending seems to have just been the beginning step--I have a lot of notes to look over, and websites and blog resources to check out. I have a clearer understanding of the marketplace, and how to promote my work, as well as insights on several publishers. I had a wonderful time, the conference met all my expectations. I am looking forward to attending the annual spring conference, Springmingle, in Atlanta in February!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Southern Breeze Portfolio Workshop

Eager to network and learn more about the industry, I joined the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators a few weeks ago. I thought that by joining it would help in my research I had begun on my thesis project, a 32-page picture book that I am illustrating for a client. I just wanted to write and mention how pleased I am with the resources thus far through SCBWI. I am looking forward to participating in some upcoming conferences put on by the local chapter, Southern Breeze too. After joining, I received in the mail a "Publication Guide" with information about publishers and the submission process, as well as a copy of SCBWI's super informative newsletter. I definitely recommend to anyone interested in the children's illustration market to join.

On a high from my new membership, I went, toting my portfolio, to the portfolio workshop last weekend, hosted by Southern Breeze. They had two great speakers, Donna German of Sylvan Dell Publishing and Mark Braught, freelance illustrator. Sylvan Dell is a company that produces children's books with a focus in math and science. Donna spoke about submissions she receives, things she likes to see in a potential illustrator for her books, and necessities about starting out (importance of a website, other professionalisms, etc.). Mark, who gave a super pastel demo at SCAD a couple quarters ago, gave insight on promoting one's work, pricing, and the importance of a good portfolio. The actual portfolio review portion of the event was short, but I felt like the information from the speakers and networking were very beneficial.

The impetus for the portfolio workshop was to prepare for wik09 (Writing and Illustrating for Kids '09), their annual Fall conference in Birmingham, AL. Pat and I registered to go. I think I got him eager to find out about graphic novels in the children's market, which is going to be a workshop at the conference, given by Calista Brill, Editor of FirstSecond Books. I am going to some workshops, which I hope will help with not only insight ino the industry and meeting some children's illustrators and writers (and maybe some publishers too!), but also will aid in my thesis. I also signed up for a portfolio review, and look forward to the feedback I'll recieve on my work at the conference.

I'll follow up this blog with some notes and photos from the Birmingham conference in case it might interest some of my fellow illustrator friends!

Speaking of other illustrator friends, you all might like this:
I heard through this event last weekend of a great resource new to Southern Breeze illustrators, the Illustrators' Corner. It is a place to post works for critque, to both give and get feedback. I look forward to posting something in the near future.

P.s. I won my category at the Generate event! I got a copy of Adobe CS4 for my Christmas cover design for Atlanta Intown! Yay! I saw the other entries, and they were all AWESOME. I have no idea how I won, I was just happy to finish.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

24 Hours....(well...close enough!)

I had a great time at SCAD-Atlanta's annual event, Generate, a 24 straight hour art challenge. It was wonderful to have the opportunity to work AND socialize with fellow students, and even those outside my department of Illustration.

I accepted the challenge of creating a holiday 2009 cover for the paper, Atlanta Intown. Below was what I did with about 19 hours. I stuck it out until 5am, but I had to catch some shut eye, as I was going to a children's book portfolio workshop at 1pm. I am pretty happy with how it came out. It was gratifying to finish (which I didn't do last year)!

There were so many great pieces that came out of the event. The most exciting challenge for me to see come to fruition was the character designs for a non-profit's children's book. Wish I could have done that challenge too!! For more artwork (animation, maquette design, comics, graphic design, etc.), check out the blog: Generate!