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61651. Movies of My Books

I made some movies of my books using some cool Mac programs (GarageBand and iMovie). I am still amazed at how easy it was to put these short films together and post them on facebook and YouTube. To create the movies, I started by dragging the background music into GarageBand. Then, I recorded myself reading the stories that I wrote for the books (pausing quietly between sentences for a few seconds). Next, I simply split my recorded voice (which looks like a sound wave, and is editable) into separate segments for each sentence and dragged the segments around so they matched up better with the music. I faded in and out to blend different songs together. When I was done with the audio, I exported it directly into iTunes.

afrika song of the tribal spiritThe Next step was even more fun. I dragged the audio soundtrack into iMovie, and dragged my art in one by one. Using iMovie, I was able to use various cropping effects and transitions, as well as control the time an image is displayed, and even edit sound and video quality. The music for the Mary Had a Little Lamb movie was from iTunes. The album is called Song of the Tribal Spirit and the artist is listed as Afrika. I loved listening to this album as I worked on the art for the books, and I am very happy to be able to share this movie, because I feel that it brings the book to life.

You may download the story that I wrote from the ABOUT INDESTRUCTIBLES page.

 

 

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61652. Head Drawing for Character Design

The tutorial of the week this week comes to us from studio2ndstreet.com.

Let me start off by saying, the link for the tutorial this week points to a PDF file created by Ron Lemen. If you would like to check out the site it comes from click here.

This week we look at some creative ways to help keep you’re character design fresh, and how to prepare you’re new character for presentation. There are also some great ideas on how to unlock your creative energy and draw characters that you might not have otherwise conceived.

Click to read the full tutorial >>

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61653. More Rabbits!


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61654. “Dorothy of Oz” concept art

The Hollywood Reporter has posted some of Seth Engstrom’s (Avatar, Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland) spectacular concept art from Summertime Entertainment’s forthcoming animated musical, Dorothy of Oz. The film’s all-star cast had already been announced – it includes Lea Michele (Glee) as Dorothy, Dan Aykroyd (Yogi Bear as The Scarecrow), Kelsey Grammer (The Tin Man), and Jim Belushi (The Lion). They’re saying the film will be released April 2012, but no distributor is attached. Is it in production? If so, where? What studio? We know it was developed at Ken Duncan’s Duncan Studios in Pasadena and that Dan St. Pierre (Everybody’s Hero) is aboard to direct. If any of our readers have the scoop, we’d love to hear more about it.

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61655. One Possible Reason Art Directors Haven’t Hired You Yet

(Illustration by Vidhya Nagarajan)

Have you ever sent out a promotional email or postcard to an Art Director only to get no response?

This can be a discouraging experience.

However, you may be looking at it in the wrong way.

First let me say that it is entirely possible that certain Art Directors haven’t contacted you, and maybe never will, because they simply don’t like or connect with your work.

That being said, it’s a mistake to jump to this conclusion after only sending one form of contact.

The Reality

Instead, keep in mind that most Art Directors work on many projects per year, each one unique from the rest. This means that each project has its own set of challenges and needs, and therefore its own set of possible solutions.

That’s why it’s important to remember that there might be Art Directors out there who absolutely adore your work, but they just haven’t yet found a project that they’d like to collaborate with you on.

This is one of the main reasons that it is common practice to operate on a regular promotional schedule, sending a promo card or email to your contacts once every 1-3 months. By doing this, you stay on the Art Director’s radar in case they eventually come across a project that fits your style or approach.

I’ve spoken with several artists who have told stories about their dream client contacting them and saying that they were relieved to have finally been presented with a reason to hire them, because their latest project is a perfect match for them. They might have missed that opportunity if they had given up and let their correspondence lapse.

Never assume that an Art Director has no interest in working with you after one attempt at reaching out. It is very possible that the right opportunity has simply not yet presented itself.

Keep at it, and the day may come soon.

Have you ever landed a project because you maintained a regular promotional schedule? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section of this post.

Special thanks to Vidhya Nagarajan for providing the artwork for this post.

About Vidhya Nagarajan:

Vidhya is a freelance illustrator from St. Louis, Missouri.  She recently graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a BFA in Visual Communications and an emphasis in Illustration. View more of her work at vidhyanagarajan.com.

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61656. Inking Samples

Some more inking samples over pencils of Dave Ross and Cary Nord. Inked with Pentel Pocket Brush Pen and various liners. Yes, I'm looking for work. Click to enlargeIt's much more fun inking the old-timey stuff.

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61657. Design Inspiration: Jessica Fortner



I've just posted a brand new interview over at Design Inspiration with Jessica Fortner. Jessica is a fantastic illustrator with a very unique perspective. Her work is phenomenal! And she's a member of Sugar Frosted Goodness to boot, score!

Be sure to head on over and check out the interview and leave her a comment.

-Jeff

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61658. gather ye coffee cups while ye may

As I was making yet another Powerpoint slideshow, I was trawling through my iPhoto file for work-in-progress images of When Titus Took the Train and found this snapshot I took in a Richmond cafe earlier this year.



I could read that as 'live in the present', carpe diem and all that. Or it could be a list of deadlines, hitting hour by hour. Due NOW! And NOW! And NOW! These days carpe diem just seems to mean helping myself to the second biscuit, which is not really where I want to be. The Fleece Station and Neill Cameron have decided we're going to run away to sea. Anyone else coming with us?

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61659. PAPERCHASE - xmas cards 3

finally today the last few of my paperchase christmas card snaps where the sheer variety available is amazing.

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61660. Secret South South Dakota Mission . . . wait . . . what?



Welcome to South Dakota


Last Thursday I flew out to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. I know what you're thinking, South Dakota? ABRAMS fly myself and Jason Wells out there on a top secret mission. But of course its a secret one that I will reveal on Monday. But in the mean time here are a bunch of photos from my South Dakota adventure


South Dakota loves to hunt with adorable dogs



Our Secret mission started here.


Up at dawn, we meet our contacts here for a simple breakfast.


South Dakota's has a variety of game to be hunted


After breakfast we were ready completed our mission. Here is a sneak peak.

1 Comments on Secret South South Dakota Mission . . . wait . . . what?, last added: 11/3/2010
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61661. PAPERCHASE - xmas cards 2

more fantastic christmas cards from paperchase with some snap shots taken at their press show. see them in your local store, in branches of borders in the usa, and some examples online here.

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61662. Current Digs

Prompted by Stuart Immonen on Twitter I'm posting the current state of my studio. We live in a one hundred year old cottage on the Lakeshore in Toronto that has been converted for year round living. I have lately started using the portable easel because I really like the mobile nature of it.

3 Comments on Current Digs, last added: 11/4/2010
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61663. PAPERCHASE - xmas cards 1

im back from a few days working away on the book project, and am straight back into the festive themed design. so whilst i go through emails, catch up and settle back in im posting lots of lovely chrsitmas cards from my fave shop paperchase. as usual they have a huge variety of cards to suit all tastes. you can see them in stores now and a selection are also available online here.

4 Comments on PAPERCHASE - xmas cards 1, last added: 11/4/2010
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61664. Nacho Libre

I love this movie. One of my all time favorite films.


My blog

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61665. Piccolini Ritratti

Here are some little portraits of some of the amazing people we had supper with in Lucca:

1. The incomparable comic artist Massimiliano Frezzato, creator of I Custodi del Maser, 2. Terry Brooks, author of Sword of Shannara, 3. Emanuele Vietina, director of Lucca Comics and Games, and 4. Steve Perrin, game designer for Dungeons and Dragons and RuneQuest.


Also: 1. Skippy, 2. Mandy, 3. Athos, and 4. Andrea. These sketches were all made with water-soluble colored pencils, and all were drawn around the supper table (except the one of Skippy, which was a workshop demo).

11 Comments on Piccolini Ritratti, last added: 11/4/2010
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61666. Brain Burps About Books!!

Yesterday (Tuesday) I was a guest on Katie Davis' Brain Burps about Books!
     We talked about all kinds of groovy stuff, including my books and coloring pages. And in usual form, she had loads of other cool things on her show I know you'll want to hear. You can listen via the Brain Burps app on the iPhone OR visit Katie's blog and listen to the podcast online. I look forward to listening - I hope you do too!
     In honor of this momentous occasion, I'm sharing an exclusive coloring page today - a cool burping cow! Clicking the image will take you to Katie's blog where you can open the large version of the cow to color!

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61667. SLJ likes WE ARE IN A BOOK!

In a starred review, School Library Journal digs Elephant & Piggie's latest adventure as they:"star in a witty metafictional romp replete with visual gags."The reviewer also predicts that you will:"marvel at Willems’s extraordinary ability to animate his personality-packed gray and pink characters with the widest range of emotions, all drawn with the simplest of line."Thanks, SLJ! I hope you

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61668. Mary Had A Little Lamb Movie

I made this movie of my book using some cool Mac programs (GarageBand and iMovie). I am still amazed at how easy it was to put this short film together and post it on facebook and YouTube. To create the movie, I started by dragging the background music into GarageBand. Then, I recorded myself reading the story that I wrote, pausing quietly between sentences for a few seconds. Next, I simply split my recorded voice (which looks like a sound wave, and is editable) into separate segments for each sentence and dragged the segments around so they matched up better with the music. I faded in and out to blend different songs together. When I was done with the audio, I exported it directly into iTunes.

afrika song of the tribal spiritThe Next step was even more fun. I dragged the audio soundtrack into iMovie, and dragged my art in one by one. Using iMovie, I was able to use various cropping effects and transitions, as well as control the time an image is displayed, and even edit sound and video quality. The music for the Mary Had a Little Lamb movie was from iTunes. The album is called Song of the Tribal Spirit and the artist is listed as Afrika. I loved listening to this album as I worked on the art for the books, and I am very happy to be able to share this movie, because I feel that it brings the book to life.

You may download the story that I wrote from the ABOUT INDESTRUCTIBLES page.

 

 

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61669. Geeky dragons #5

Last in the geeky dragons series

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61670. Zombie Chicken Hat

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61671. 30 Lessons Learned, #4: Getting Ideas Down on Paper (Part One)

Hi all, just a quick note to let you know that I am SWAMPED with work. I may not be doing Illustration Friday quite as much (sniff) but I'll still be posting on Wednesdays. I hope to be back to IF soon. I miss it already. Now, on to the topic of the week:

People tend to be curious about my process and whether I begin with words or images. In my case, both are woven together. Most projects begin with a spark of inspiration—usually a character idea or an observation of a quirk that develops into a character. After that initial spark, I do rough sketches of the character. I keep them very loose and try various poses and expressions. This helps me get to know the character.

I also begin to consider dialogue: what does the character think or say? This guides me into the story. I try to envision the character’s environment and how the character exists within that environment. I also begin to envision the other players in the story and their relationship to the main character.

Next, I like to think about spreads. What are the moments of action in the story? I jot down notes about various scenes, sometimes with sketchy thumbnails in my notebook. I brainstorm and put as many possibilities down on paper as I can. This stage is not about the plot. It is about getting to know the character(s) and key interactions. I am drawn to humor so this is often about the moments—either visual or written—that make me chuckle.

After some time has passed, I review the scenes with a fresh perspective. I circle the most cohesive parts. Often an order begins to suggest itself. At this stage, I like to do thumbnails of the whole book. In art school, I didn’t understand thumbnails. It frustrated me that I couldn’t put any detail into those little squares. It wasn’t until I began to work as a designer that I came to value them. Now, I love thumbnails for their ability to show size relationships, positive/negative space and pacing at a quick glance. In my studio, there is a drawer full of legal sized sheets, each printed with thumbnail rectangles. There’s no need to mess with rulers or drawing rectangles or anything else that might distract me. I write. I sketch. I write. I sketch. 

(Part two will be posted next week!)

2 Comments on 30 Lessons Learned, #4: Getting Ideas Down on Paper (Part One), last added: 11/3/2010
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61672. Annual Illustration Show at R.Michelson Galleries THIS Sunday 4-6PM


This Sunday is the 21st annual Illustration Show at the R. Michelson Galleries, here in Northampton, MA. Come on by the gallery from 4-6PM to rub elbows with all of the local artists. More information is here: http://www.rmichelson.com/Childrens-Book-Illustrators.html.


And check out the window display! Never thought I'd share window space with Spock!

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61673. The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade

Boy, do I have a bug-tastic treat for you all today! My SCBWI friend and now DEBUT AUTHOR, Lori Calabrese, has just published her first picture book: The Bug That Plagued The Entire Third Grade. Woohoo!

Lori has also decided to make my blog a stop on her rockin’ bug-tabulous blog tour. She was kind enough to let me interview her and share with you some of the trials and triumphs of her publishing journey!

An Awesome Interview With Author Lori Calabrese:

First off, tell us a little bit about your book The Bug That Plauged the Entire Third Grade.

Lori: Hoping to win the upcoming Bug-A-Fair, Matt pries a strange bug off the grille of his Dad’s car. But as the fair nears, Matt catches a different kind of bug: a cold. Will Matt become student of the year or will he create a third grade epidemic?

Watch Lori’s amazing book trailer here:

Okay, onto the nitty-gritty writing and publishing stuff. What was your favorite thing about writing this book?

LORI: My favorite thing about writing The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade was seeing it transform into what it did. As writers, we all know that the first draft is usually WAY different than the final draft and that was definitely the case with this picture book.

The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade was a huge learning process for me and it will always hold a special place in my heart since it was my first children’s book.

What struggles did you meet in the writing process, and how did you overcome them?

LORI: I think the biggest struggle I met in the writing process was writing a good story in so few words. There are many people out there who think writing a picture book is a walk in the park. I know because I used to be one of them! But when you finally sit down and realize everything that goes into it—from the rhythm, meter, character development, plot, having your child protagonist solve his own problem, and making it entertaining, you become aware that writing a picture book is far more difficult than it looks!

To overcome the struggle, I read a ton of picture books. Fortunately, I’m obsessed with picture books, so that wasn’t such a hardship, but I really read and studied them to find out what works and what doesn’t.

How did you go about selling this book? And how did you find your small publisher?

LORI: Unfortunately, the picture book market is a difficult market to break into right now as most of us are aware from the recent NY Times Article and from reading agents ‘and editors’ blogs. Due to a tough economy, it’s hard for a debut picture book author to break in, but I truly believe that if you have the passion for it, it’s not impossible.

I found my publisher, Dragonfly Publishing, Inc., online. Since 2008, DFP has held a children’s picture book contest. DFP has to keep their submissions closed most of the time because they get too many and just can’t physically handle the volume, so Senior Editor Pat Gaines came up

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61674. Illustration Friday: Spent

© Copyright Alicia Padrón


Roberta spent her days singing to her heart's content...


This is shy Roberta, a character from a story that's been in my head for sometime now.


20 Comments on Illustration Friday: Spent, last added: 11/6/2010
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61675. The Dance of Fall


Happy Fall Everyone!

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