Sticking my nose in this here blog to do a quick update. This past weekend, I attended the SCBWI's 4oth Annual Summer Conference her in Los Angeles and had an absolute blast. I don't have much time for a long post detailing ALL of the great stuff I learned and was inspired by, but here are a few of the key things that happened and impacted me:
1. I got to hang out with ADULTS...you know, people that aren't one year old. Or four years old. And those adults were awesome!!! It was a like a weekend of "Author/Illustrator Housewives" mixed with "The (Kidlit) View" and "Dancing with the (Children's Publishing) Stars" all rolled into one! Here are just a FEW of the people I had fun giggling/dancing/talking shop with. Go check out their amazing art:
There are way more people than that I should add to the list and there's a ton of people I really wanted to hang out with more, but never got a chance to. Sometimes, since there was a MILLION people there, a wave across a sea of people was all it could be.
The big take away from the weekend is: Spending time on myself, my dreams and my craft will pay off in SO many ways not only for myself, but for my children. It is so important for all of us to nurture our God-given talents and to not stuff them away for a later date. This idea was a running theme throughout the weekend and it came up and punched me in the face quite a few times.
My main goal for next year? I need to work on not being such a chicken!!! There's no reason that I shouldn't just
Hello everyone! I'm so excited the month of July is OVER! I just completed the busiest month of my life, creativity-wise. July was packed with many deadlines (six to be exact) but I made it through! Oh, make that SEVEN deadlines if you count my spiffy new business cards and postcards I squeezed in there!
August kicks off with a couple of lazy days and then...a weekend packed full of workshopping, schmoozing, brainstorming, socializing and fun! I'll be attending the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Summer Conference here in LA with like-minded people from all over the globe. Let's see if I still know how to interact with other adults, considering I've been holed up in this art cave and interacting only with the "Yo Gabba Gabba" set for so long. Seriously.
Anyhooo, one of the most exciting parts of this weekend will be getting to actually meet (in 3D) so many fabulous artists I have thus far only met on the interwebs: Angela Matteson
, Diandra Mae
and Kelly Light
to name a few.
This year at the conference I'll be focusing on the writing aspects of the children's book world as my new goal is to write AND illustrate a picture book. I haven't done any writing since college and even then, it was nothing too entertaining--probably an expository essay on the differences between Mannerism and Rococo. In other words: boooooring. Unless you like that sort of thing, of course.
So, now, I'm off to tidy up my website and "veg out" on some RHoNY. If you don't know what "RHoNY" is, c'mon people...get a life!
This little piggy just got me into the 40th Annual SCBWI Summer Conference
for FREE! Back in February, I entered this little racing guy in a local Los Angeles SCBWI scholarship contest. I try to enter at least the local illustration contests because it helps to keep my foot in the door and it's a really good incentive to do some new work. The prompt for this contest was just one word: "cinnamon". It took me a few days to come up with what I thought was a good concept. I brainstormed in the shower, while driving to the grocery store, while IN the grocery store...everywhere. Finally, I came up with this:
I wish I could've spent quite a bit more time on it, but it did the job!
I'm just so excited that I get to attend all three days of the conference this summer! I didn't go last year because I had a tight deadline on a project
I was working on (pssst....The Really Groovy Story of the Tortoise and the Hare). And I think I only attended one day of the conference the year before. So, I'm totally due for attending all three days. This time, I'll be able to split my time between the illustration sessions and the writing sessions. I've never sat in on any of the writing sessions before, so I'm really looking forward to working out those creative muscles. Can't wait!
It's springtime. Easter was yesterday. And that means bunnies. Or rabbits. Or hares. Or whatever you prefer to call the cute, furry, long-eared creatures which abound in the spring. It also means that Albert Whitman & Company's Spring Catalogue was recently released. And included in said catalogue is the picture book "The Really Groovy Story of the Tortoise and the Hare", illustrated by me!
Written by Kristyn Crow
, it's a fun read-aloud story with tons of jumping and jiving rhyming. Taken from Albert Whitman & Company's website
"Deep inside the city was a hip and happy hare.
He was zippy, sometimes lippy, takin' taxis everywhere.
Way out in the country was a tortoise calm and cool.
He was quite the mellow fellow chillin' out beside the pool.
Kids will love to move and groove with this dynamic duo as they hop and pop towards the finish line in this hip-hopping retelling of the classic tale."
It was such a blast to illustrate, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed illustrating it!
A few posts ago (like back in November), I posted an illustration I did for the SCBWI-LA Illustrator's Day Contest. I actually ended up getting some accolades for it! It won the Professional's Choice Portfolio Award (as chosen by Abigail Simoun of Tricycle Press) and I tied with Wendy Grieb
for the People's Choice Award. Awesome and validating, for sure!
Kudos to Illustrator's Day Coordinator/Producer/Director and ILLUSTRATOR Ken Min
for the great day!!! Looking forward to 2011's Illustrator's Day!
So the Little One will be celebrating her first birthday very, very soon! I really can't explain how fast this year has flown by. Twelve months flew by in a flash. I know--it sounds very cliche, but it's the dang truth!!!
Here are the invites I designed and printed up for the special occasion. Super fun stuff!
There's so much left to do in preparation for the big day, and it's mostly crafty activities that big brother can help with.
Hello everyone! Quick post here. This coming Saturday I'll be attending the SCBWI Los Angeles Illustrator's Day. Here's my entry for the contest based on the line: ""IT WAS NIGHT, AND THE RAIN FELL; AND FALLING, IT WAS RAIN, BUT, HAVING FALLEN, IT WAS..."
Had fun doing it, event though I procrastinated like no other!!!
Howdy folks. Well, I think this marks a record of some sort. I've actually got two posts up within a month!
Well, first off, I've got this to show you:
It's a cover of a book I worked on last year, but I just barely received a few copies in the mail last week. It's a fun little educational book about how a toad learns how to properly cross the road while on a trip to visit his cousin, the frog. It was a fun one to work on, I must say! I think at this point, it's only available in the UK.
And here's one of the spot illustrations:
In other news, I'm currently working on a piece for the SCBWI Los Angeles Illustrator's Day
contest. The prompt is: "IT WAS NIGHT, AND THE RAIN FELL; AND FALLING, IT WAS RAIN, BUT, HAVING FALLEN, IT WAS..."
I've got lots of ideas floating around, but have yet to put pencil to paper in any major way. I've found little pockets of time to doodle down some ideas, but I like to have long blocks of uninterrupted time to sketch. And those seem to be far and few between given my hectic household. So, I've definitely got to pencil in the time, because the deadline is looming! Ack!
Oh, and one more little tidbit: I've been trolling the web for some inspiration for this new piece I'm going to be working on and I happened upon this
blog by Disney Artist Brittney Lee. Such beautiful work, don't you think? It's definitely inspired me to get drawing and painting. Gorgeous!!!
Signing off for now, TTFN!
Hello Party People! It's been forever since I've even touched this here blog. So much has happened in the past few months. Hmmm....let's see. First, this little cutie made a splash into our lives way back in April:
After a not-so-fun and downright yucky
life-halting pregnancy, we were graced with this happy little gem. Oh my gosh, I can't believe she's already going to be 5 months!
Big Brother was so excited for the arrival of his new Little Sister.
Then, a few weeks after she was born, my agent
contacted me with an opportunity to illustrate my second book, titled "The Really Groovy Story of the Tortoise and the Hare" written by the uber-talented author Kristyn Crow
. It's a super cool--I mean, GROOVY retelling of the old fable. It's written in witty rhyme and SO much fun to read aloud.
I finished all 32 pages in a record time (for me, anyways) of about 3 months from sketch to finish. That was a doozy, for sure! Newborn plus 3 year old, plus firefighter hubby (with a crazy work schedule), plus tight deadline equals some serious work. But we got through it, so whoooo boy, bring it on!
Here's a little sneak peek of one of the illustrations. I've been advised by the publisher (Albert Whitman) to keep the discussion about it to a minimum until the publishing date (Spring 2011) gets closer. I can't wait!
So, three weeks after sending the final paintings off to the publisher, I'm done with my self-imposed lounging and am getting the urge to tackle my to-do list! There's the Etsy shop to open, Halloween costumes to be made, blogs to be updated, baby rooms to be finished...the list goes on and on. And on.
I'm happy, healthy and excited for what's coming next!
But for now, I'm signing off. It's beddy-bye time for this sleepy mama.
For the most part, I usually try to keep my personal life, well--personal. But every now and then, events rear their head, whether they be ugly or not, and kind of take over my life. So, this post won't be art-related, but mostly Christina-related.
*FYI, I'm writing this post mostly so other women who are going through what I'm going through can find this blog and know that they are not alone.
This point in time is a bittersweet one. No, there have been no personal or family tragedies, per se, but life hasn't exactly been as blissful as is usually expected when you are--EXPECTING. Yes, I am 11 weeks pregnant which is the very "sweet" part. We're so excited to be bringing our nearly 3 year old boy a sibling to stride and leap through life with. We will be a complete family unit of four--okay six, if you count the dogs.
Now here's where the "bitter" part comes in. Just as with my first pregnancy, I am experiencing a disease called Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Yes, it sounds "grave" and it can be if not treated, but what it really boils down to is that I have an extreme version of morning sickness. Yuck. Yuck to the 5 millionth degree. Yuck to the power of infinity...
Hyperemesis is a disease that only 2-3% of pregnant women get, and is marked by severe nausea 24 hours a day and a lot of weight loss in a short period of time due to vomiting many, many times a day. This of course leads to dehydration, which can lead to a bunch of other dangerous body reactions if left untreated. I, myself, lost about 8 pounds in just over a week, and that's a significant amount for someone with a naturally small frame. In a matter of only a few weeks, I had to be admitted for 3-day stays in the hospital a couple of times. It renders you pretty much useless as by the time you've been diagnosed with the disease (if you manage to have a doctor who is aware of the existence of the disease to begin with), as your muscles and fat have already been burned by your body for energy which has technically gone into starvation mode. Oh, and I forgot to mention the fact that many women (including myself), cannot eat or drink much of anything. I, for example, couldn't even keep down 3 or 4 sips of water without it coming back up.
So, now that the messy details are out of the way, we can move forward with how I'm progressing and what avenues I'm taking to feel better!
I originally thought I 'd be able to journal my progress from the beginning, but the severity of my case is just now starting to lift, so now 11 weeks in, I am finally able to sit on the couch with my laptop without getting nauseated by just the glow of the screen! Small steps, small steps.
I'll explain my methods to dealing with this madness in the next post. So if you are visiting my blog looking for art-related stuff, you know you can skip my next post.
This is a good time for a break. Time to change my I.V. before I start the next post...
This has been pretty much finished for a while now, but I'm just getting around to posting it. I still feel like there's something missing though. Actually, it feels like there's a lot missing. But, there are a few things that I really like about it and will channel those things into the next painting. This is what happens when I don't have a very stable drawing or idea to base an illustration on. I was kind of flying by the seat of my pants on this one with a "not very focused" idea. So in retrospect, there's not a whole lot of substance here. This is only a portfolio piece and not for a client, but my next piece will definitely be fleshed out a whole lot better. I've been looking at a ton of visual development artists from the animation world and am dying to get some more drama into my pieces, but I'm always afraid to push values and points-of-view too far (even though I know that's what I really need to do). Maybe I'll do some "master studies" to get more of a feel of how they accomplish so much drama and atmosphere in their work.
Here is Lou Romano's
work...an absolute incredible artist who has all the elements which make intriguing art perfectly wrapped up in each piece (lighting, atmosphere, tension, composition, drama, camera angle, color, value, etc.).
Well, on to the next painting which I will try to make a bit more Romano-like...
In other news, I attended the lovely OC Illustrators schmooze this morning and got pretty inspired by my fellow artists' work. It's always motivating to get together with like-minded people and spend some time talking shop.
Every day small adventures come and go and every day I think, "ooh. I should blog about this". But life carries on in it's tidal wave fashion, and blog updating gets sloshed around in the undertow.
I've known for quite some time now that I am not the journaling type. So why do I constantly question myself as to why I never update my blog? Over the years I've been given many a journal. Each one I managed to sporadically fill to, oh, the third page or so. I guess there's no hope for this until I set an appointment to update my blog on a regular basis on my iCal. Three alarms will be needed to light a fire under my bum for blog updating. I do realize it should be part of my marketing strategy, so iCal, here I come.
I do have some great news to share since I've last posted: I have an agent! I am now represented by The Bright Agency
--a really cool agency based in London. I'm super excited about this opportunity and curious to see what illustration life has in store for me around the bend!
On that note, it's time for me to get moving on my illustration work and get some sketching done!
Here is something I'm working on at the moment. Still have to finish up the background and add the final details to the piggy and frog:
I'm currently getting ready for the annual SCBWI Summer Conference held here in Los Angeles. That means finalizing my portfolio, and getting business cards, etc. together. I ordered some fun things from here this year. I'm curious to see how they turned out. I should be getting them in the mail soon! Ooh, it's like Christmas in July!
And just to add some imagery, here's a happy little elephant I did for an educational workbook earlier this year. He's cute, if I do say so myself!
I know this is coming late, but just about two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending the big SCBWI Summer Conference here in Los Angeles for the second time. It was all at once extremely energizing and extremely exhausting (in a good way).
This was my second time attending full-time. Last year, I attended full-time as well and though I came away with a ton of information, I felt as though I hadn't made the most of the weekend. So this year, I decided I was going to be more proactive. I promised myself that I would make more of an effort to mingle, meet new people and hand out lots of business cards--quite the task for someone who is usually on the "quiet" end of the spectrum. I actually ended up accomplishing all those things and ended up making a bunch of new friends. I also met and exchanged business cards with a few "giants" in the children's book world: award-winning writers, illustrators, agents, editors and art directors. It was a blast.
I also decided that I need to broaden my horizons and learn more about the ins-and-outs of the industry, so I attended some workshops held by agents, editors and art directors. I'm realizing now that I really need to read those Publisher Weekly's and Horn Books on a regular basis to become more aware of the going's on in the Children's Book World.
Of course, I did attend some workshops geared only toward illustration...I just had to see what one of my all-time favorite illustrators Mark Teague
had to offer up. He was so generous in sharing his tricks of the trade and answering tons of questions. Among others, I also went to John Rocco's
workshop on self-promotion and Yuyi Morales'
presentation Magic Tricks and Secret Potions: An Illustrator's Palette of Techniques--both so
inspiring! I left feeling ready to paint and get my name out there even more!
The single biggest thing I took away from the weekend though, was a common thread I picked up at almost every workshop, presentation and keynote speech: create from your heart. I know that may sound corny and trite--even obvious. But in retrospect, I don't feel I've painted for myself or trusted my artistic instincts for a long time...and to me, it shows in my work. I'm excited to begin painting again with a new sense of freedom and fun.
So, I met the goals I set for myself at this year's conference. So, what are some goals I'm setting for next year's conference (and the 12 months in between)?
1. PAINT, DRAW, PAINT, DRAW! I want to have a whole new portfolio by next year...
2. As my knowledgeable, encouraging friend (and awesome artist) Mac McCool
tells me: keep on the radar of the industry people I met this year. Send postcards regularly...
3. Read more books (children's books, y.a. novels, etc.). There are so many great y.a. books out there I want to read...
4. Read more industry magazines (Publisher's Weekly, Horn Book, etc.)...
5. Keep in touch with my new art buddies!
6. Oh yeah, and next year: take pictures of all the cool people I meet and the fun events that go on!
There were so many other great things that happened: a cool illustrator's social, a big gala on Saturday night, a portfolio contest (go Patricia
!), great keynotes and just an all around fun environment with fun people!
But, alas! There's no more time for blogging, I've got to get to painting!
Okay, admittedly, this one's a bit of a stretch. But here goes...
I bet that water buffalo would love to detach himself from that cart he's pulling around.
Everyone needs a bedtime routine--milk and cookies and a good book...
I am interrupting this illustration blog to bring you a public service announcement.
You know, I was thinking today. You see I had a lot of time for it: my husband is out working a 72-hour shift, and Wind Up Toy is at his grandparents house. Oh, and as for myself-- I'm sitting on my bed, trying to recover from having a kidney stone laser-blasted into oblivion (hopefully).
Anyhow, I was thinking that maybe from time to time I could throw in some posts that aren't just illustration related. So here goes the public service announcement for y'all:
If kidney stones run in your family and you haven't yet had the lovely experience of one rip-roaring through your innards, bringing you the most intense, vomit-inducing pain you've ever experienced in your life, you better be drinking plenty of water to keep them at away. Far, far away.
And just to get this info straight, no, I am not a middle-aged, beer-bellied man. So, it can happen to anyone.
This is the third one I've had this year, and this time it took me out for, oh, five days now. They suck, they are excruciating, and they are EEEEVILLLLL!
About a year and a half ago, I became involved with a book project for the group Kids Konnected. It is an amazing support group for kids whose parents have or have had cancer. Previously known as Komen's Kids, it was founded by a 11 year old boy who found himself feeling alone as he dealt with his mom's battle with cancer. Everything about the organization is truly inspiring and I really suggest a visit to the website for any child or teen who might be going through a similar time in their life. There are now chapters of this group all around the U.S. where kids can get together and share their feelings with one another.
So more about the book: it's titled "Moxie" and is a picture book that helps to educate young children on dealing with the difficult subject matter of cancer from a child's perspective. It is educational, but is not at all "scary". Here is a summary as taken from the Cancer Connected website where the book can also be found:
"Moxie, a blue racoon, lives up to her name in this story about facing difficulty with spirit and courage. She also sees this in her friends, Kelly and Jon, who are learning how to do the same through the bond of having a parent with cancer. There’s also a journal within the book that was “written” by Jon when he found out his mother had cancer. His insights and examples provide an easier way to explain cancer, as written from a childs point-of-view."
The printed book has finally come to fruition and is available for purchase at the Kids Konnected site and at the Cancer Connected site, with $5 dollars of every book purchased going to the Kids Konnected organization.
Here are a couple pages from the book:
In other news, on Saturday I headed south for a "schmooze session" with my O.C. Illustrator buddies at the studio of (soon-to-be famous) Marilyn Scott-Waters. It's always fun to get out of the house and hang out with fellow illustrators--I always leave feeling inspired and ready to paint! Everyone in the group is at a different level in their career and it's fun to hear about the exciting projects that everyone is working on.
After our schmooze, we took a field trip to the *AWESOME* bookshoppe A Whale of a Tale. I had never been there before, but had heard lots of good things about it. Everything I heard about it was true--it's a cozy shop with tons of really cool kids books and a friendly and very knowledgeable staff. They also have a really cool bunch of authors and illustrators come through to speak and sign books, which is always a fun thing to experience. Saturday, one of my all-time favorite illustrators, David Shannon was there! He did a great presentation for the packed house of young 'uns and I even got to meet him (even if just for a minute) while he signed three books for my little one. I decided a year or so ago that I would start a signed book collection for Wind Up Toy and now his collection is up to about thirty signed books. He's a bit too young to handle them on his own now, but hopefully he'll appreciate them when he's a bit older!
Also, check out the lovely illustrator, Yuyi Morales' blog and Senor Calavera's new website for some really cool stuff!
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No doubt this guy has been rambunctious today. This is a crop from a project I just completed about "The Old Lady Who Lived in a Shoe". Click for a larger image.