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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: artist, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 111
1. The Artist and the King by Julie Fortenberry


The Artist and the King
by Julie Fortenberry
Alazar Press, due out April 7, 2014
review copy provided by the author

Daphne is an artist, but her art -- an honest portrait of His Crabbiness -- does not please the king. Daphne's punishment is to wear the picture, rolled up, as a dunce cap, instead of her beloved red artist's beret.

Almost immediately upon donning the dunce cap, Daphne's Art kicks in. She begins to add decorations to customize the cap. "Soon she was getting compliments." And she began to sell the hats. They became all the rage.

Which enraged the king.

He banished all dunce cap wearers to the wilderness. Even his own daughter, who threw the extra cap she was carrying at his feet and walked with the others into the woods.

Daphne goes back to rescue the flung cap and discovers the king crying. They share a moment of apology and self-realization, then discover that the cap was intended as a gift to the king from his daughter. Together they bring all the villagers back from the woods, and Daphne is given back her beret.

In the current (March/April 2014) issue of The HornBook, the final essay (Cadenza) is "Reading Picture Books 101" by Robin L. Smith. I'll walk you though her seven steps with The Artist and the King.

1. Look at the cover. The cover illustration of The Artist and the King lets us know it's a windy day. This is absolutely necessary for the plot development.

2. Take the paper jacket off and see whether the board cover is different. Nope.

3. Now examine the endpapers. Plain blue.

4. Peruse the title page. The story actually starts here (I love books that do this)! Daphne is painting a picture of His Crabbiness, and the villagers who are her audience are appreciating her art.

5. Read the book all the way through without reading the words. Pay attention to page turns, white space, and pacing. This is a fascinating way to read a picture book -- thinking about the design process, movement in the illustrations, artistic decisions made by the illustrator. The story absolutely is told coherently through the pictures in this book!

6. Read the book with the words. Think about how the words and pictures work together. There are two places where the words in the illustrations interact with the words in the story. I might not have noticed that if not for this list of steps! When read on its own, the text has a nice flow, with long and short sentences and accessible vocabulary peppered with words perfectly chosen for the story: regal, mockery, banished.

7. Go back and check every gutter. Now that's something I'm SURE I've never done, but how smart to make sure that the art matches up across the gutter and that nothing important gets lost there where the left page turns into the right. In The Artist and the King, when the gutter is not used to divide the pages into separate scenes, there is very intentional movement from one page to the other across the gutter. Fascinating!



These seven simple steps make me want to dive into a study of picture books with my students! One savvy reader noted recently that hardly anyone reads from the picture book shelf in my classroom. This may be a way to get some buy-in from fifth graders who are "too cool" for picture books!

The Artist and the King will definitely have a place in my classroom library, as well as in a study of picture books, and in our discussions about theme. Three cheers for a character who stays true to her passion, her art, and who helps the unfair and crabby king to soften up and be more accepting!

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2. Cartoon Illustration – Bob Ostrom Studio

Illustration Work in Progress

Every once and a while it’s fun to post a little illustration work in progress. Here’s quick sneak peak at my latest:

cartoon, bob ostromtyping, cartoon, business, ostrombusiness cartoon, bob ostrombusiness cartoon, ostrom

 

The post Cartoon Illustration – Bob Ostrom Studio appeared first on Illustration.

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3. Virtual Animators with James Lopez

Last fall I took a class with Virtual Animators (http://www.virtualanimators.com/)  taught by James Lopez. I’ve had quite a few questions from the internets about what I thought, so I thought I’d write a note about my experience.

About the class: Character Design with Disney Artist & Animator James Lopez is a 12 week course taught online. See his IMDB here or amazing work here. The class is viewed through Adobe connect once per week for 12 (12!) weeks. You log in and the VA team, James and your classmates are online. You can ask questions via a chat box, and the VA team does a great job keeping track of the chat and bringing questions to James. The class is not structured, giving James the freedom to teach the class to the group’s skill level. You are also invited to send it work weekly to have it reviewed by James online.

What I thought: 

1. The cost: usually where I’d start when considering a class. I didn’t have to consider the class cost here, since I won this class in a contest, but even if I hadn’t it would be a great deal. (As a note: this is not an endorsed post, haha). All of these courses are so affordable- This one was $250, which is really a couple of trips to the grocery store. For 12 weeks, that breaks down to $20/ class- for an experienced teacher at James, who teaches at Cal Arts… it’s beyond a bargain.

2. The class size: SMALL. There were under ten people in our class, which allows for everyone to ask questions and see James visually explain the answer. You can send emails with questions and receive individual attention.

3. The talent & experience of the instructors: I’ve only taken one class with VA (I am planning on another class this spring/ summer) and the instructors are so experienced and knowledgeable it’s unreal to have this sort of individualized attention. James is a friendly and giving individual who really cares about paying it forward and working with artists of all skill levels. He’s got so much knowledge and information it’s a thrill to see him visually work out problems and review your work. 

4. The Virtual Animators team: Usually I wouldn’t touch on the “customer service” aspect in this sort of thing, but it was so amazing it needs to be mentioned. The small group who runs this online class system are probably the most genuine and friendly team ever. They’re focused around making a good experience for everyone involved, and keep up with their students. If I had a question or concern I would have an email back super quick. Also, as I mentioned above, they are in the classes with you running the sessions and keep on top of questions for the instructor. 

5. Work Review: You send in your work, it gets a review online that week or the next. James was thorough and incredibly professional when reviewing work- it sort of felt like I was working with him at a studio! I learned a lot in such a small amount of time. 

6. Recorded Classes: Classes are recored and posted on vimeo so you can watch later, or if you miss a class you can catch up. This was really helpful to me, watching in the midwest where the class time was late. Also, if you miss something, you can re-watch the class too!

7. A Personal Connection to the industry: As I mentioned above, I’m located in the midwest. It’s sort of like being on my own island, far away from the sunshine and talent network of California. Being involved in this class allowed me to connect at CTNX to the VA team, including founder Bill Recinos (who has an impressive IMDB himself), meet James Lopez and be involved in the community.

Ok, so, that’s a lot of writing. I guess you can see that I really loved the class. Negatives include the regular things of online classes- difficult to connect to classmates, really late live class times because of the time difference- but the benefits far outweigh these small points. I’m going to be completely honest, if you’ve ever thought of taking an online class, don’t think twice about this one, or any with these guys. This class is definitely the best online class I’ve taken based on the personal attention, small class size and the amount of information I learned in a short period of time.

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4. A Splash of Red, The Life and Art of Horace Pippin – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Title: A Splash of Red, The Life and Art of Horace Pippin Written by Jen Bryant Illustrated by Melissa Sweet Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2013 Ages: 5-8 Themes: biography, Horace Pippin, artist Awards: A Robert F. Sibert Honor Book Winner of … Continue reading

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5. A Sketching Day!

Oh what fun it is to sit and sketch. I know I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating, even if it’s only for me. When you were born to create, nothing else satisfies. In the old days, artists were reveered. They were sometimes supported financially so that they might go on creating. What a leap we have made to this century where artists are often misunderstood to be lazy and dreamy-eyed. Who would not be dreamy-eyed with all the ideas we have rolling through our heads!
All of that to say, if someone wants to support me while I sketch, step on up to the plate! Haha! back to.sketching!

via PicsArt Photo Studio


Filed under: Art is FUN!, dream, Work is Play....?

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6. Re-inventing Oneself

Funny words. It suggests that there was something wrong with the first invention something that needs fixing. I suppose that is true. When something isn’t working you should look for another way. You should fix the thing.

I began working on a new set of children’s books. I was hammering away at a story, trying to get something good down in order to illustrate it. Everything was flat. Nothing was working, nothing felt right. My characters were looking at me like I was crazy. They were all yawning! Try writing when your characters are shaking their heads!

It was then that I realized I was going about it all wrong. As an artist, I need to star with the art!!!! …the story would follow.

I sat with sketchbook in hand and began drawing little cartoons. One thing led to another and star was born! I will share more. This is a discovery for me. I will let you know how I make out in the days to follow!

For now, I’ll just keep sketching!

20130627-211756.jpg


Filed under: how to write, Kicking Around Thoughts

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7. Illustrator Saturday – Kirsten Carlson

kirstenscbwi scrawlcrawl in paris 2013Kirsten’s career combines what she loves best about science, art & design. She is dedicated to creating illustrations, graphics, logos and stories that inspire connections between people & nature.

After volunteering and working  for over 10 years with Monterey Bay Aquarium, Kirsten now works out of her own studio. She is a children’s book illustrator & writer, as well as a visual science communications consultant. Kirsten collaborates on projects with scientists, educators, educational institutions, private companies and publishers to tell people stories about nature and science.

Kirsten illustrations style ranges from whimsical watercolor paintings to scientifically accurate pen & ink illustrations. The project’s audience dictates the style and medium. Her illustration work appears in scientific journals, greeting cards, posters, books, aquariums and brochures. Her design communication projects include logos, print and online collateral.

Kirsten brings her enthusiasm and skills as artist, scientist, and designer to every project she works on. She finds inspiration in nature and knowledge and strives to communicate that in her work.

Kirsten is the SCBWI Regional Advisor in Germany+Austria. She started out on AdCom in WA for 2 years (designing newsletter and conferece materials and the traveling booth use at different events in the USA like ALA). After she moved to Germany, she took over as Illustrator Coordinator for 1.5 yrs before taking over the RA position there. She just became an SCBWI board member and the International Illustrator Coordinator last fall, but has to retire when her family moves to hawaii (IIC must live on international soil).

She and her husband Dave, along with their two cats and two dogs, currently live near the Black Forest in Southern Germany.

kirstenbologna 2010

Here is Kirsten:

I worked directly with the author, Joni Sensel, to create the design for the cover. Because it was going to be the 3rd in a series we wanted to incorporate some elements so it echoed the previous covers, I knew I wouldn’t be able to copy the illustration style of the previous covers so I suggested scratchboard because I know well from my scientific illustration work and I wanted to create in image with strong contrast.

kirstenscratch
Special tools needed to do scratchboard:
  1. clay-coated board
  2. scratching tool(s)
  3. permanent ink (ie. india ink)
  4. permanent ink pens (for adding lines)
The clay-coated board is available in white and black (black means it is already coated with ink). I prefer to apply my own ink because I don’t want to spend a lot of time scratching away ‘white’ areas, I’d rather leave them white from the beginning.
I learned on Essdee Scraperboard (from the UK: www.essdee.co ) but I now prefer Ampersand (www.ampersandart.com) because they put the clay coating on masonite and it’s better protected from cracking. If you use Essdee, you just have to make sure that you put it on a backer board.
kirsten3a
You can use just about any sharp tool to scratch the clay surface, it just need to be sharp or you get a ‘fuzzy’ line on the clay. I go through a lot of blades on an illustration, and change them often. My favorite tools are an X-Acto blade #16 and a Scratch-Art flat blade and a Speedball Round Knife. But they make a ton of different types of scratch-tools.
Here are some places you can find the supplies:

kirsten4- preliminary sketches

I did some very loose thumbnails and we quickly chose three compositions that I sketched in more detail. We ended up combining two of the sketches into one composition, and I did a preliminary sketch.

kirsten5 separate pieces

I kept the background, people and knife elements separately.

SONY DSC

My assistant (aka husband) made a knife specifically for me based partly on Joni’s description of the knife in the story. Then all I had to do, was draw it from the real-thing.

SONY DSC

I uploaded a video showing the process but it didn’t turn out well (learning curve. newbie mistake stuff) but maybe it will help visualize the following.  https://vimeo.com/67728895

steps:
1.transfer art to clay-coated board (usually using Saral graphite paper in blue)
2.ink the areas that will be ‘mostly’ black
3.wait for it to dry (blow dryer speeds up the process)
4.scratch and blow off the dust (it is better to use a brush to wipe the scraped powder into a pile, but I either blow or tap the art on the table)
5.the more you scratch the better it gets. I am a messy-scratcher, some ppl are very precise.
6.repairing problem spots is easy—scrape away excess ink or add ink with pens or brush.
7.two tips: make sure you let the ink dry completely before scraping, if the clay is damp from the ink you won’t get a nice clear line; it’s better to apply ink to thinly and have to do multiple layers than add it too thick and get a thick-spot on the illustration (if you buy pre-inked clay board you skip this problem)
kirsten7 skeletons knife final cover

The final cover is a Black and white illustration in scratchboard with digital color, using the same font as the first book (and edition) in the series.

 kirsten2-sketches

The Giraffe Who was Afraid of Heights was done by hand in watercolor and gouache.
After I said I would illustrate the story, I filled up a sketch book researching Africa, giraffes, monkeys, hippos and crocodiles. My file folder is full of stuff, even after several purges of material. I even went to a zoo where I could hide in a special blind to observe giraffes and I went to a reptile zoo to study crocodiles up close.
kirstenGiraffecover

I used gouache  to paint the cover and the publisher added the background from another spread to go behind the giraffe head) and added the text and border.

I use almost exclusively Winsor & Newton with some from Daniel Smith paint. I also love Waterford papers the best, Arches smells like wet-dog to me when I start laying down washes (and I get plenty of that smell with my real-life wet dogs). I’ve recently fallen in love with a bamboo watercolor paper from Hahnemühle. I have oodles of brushes, and go through phases where I have favorites, usually varies project by project. I seem to have a lot of DaVinci brand.
kirstenturtlebig2

How did you end up moving to Germany. How long have you been there? Do you plan to go back to the states in the future?

I fell in love with a military man while living in Monterey, California. We arrived in Germany five years ago (Sept 08) for his job and were supposed to stay in Europe until 2015. However, the military made some unexpected changes and we are moving to Hawai’i this summer. I wasn’t ready to leave but I’m super excited about being near the ocean again.
I see that you have a BS in Biology.

kristinhonu3

How and when did you get involved in art?

I’ve have been artistic since childhood, but I didn’t start pursuing it professionally until I was in graduate school for marine science. For two months, I spent many hours diving underwater doing research in Antarctica with icebergs, amphipods, penguins and seals. That experience changed my life forever. I was blown away by the unbelievable and unfathomable things I saw and it inspired me to reach beyond science in search of a way to communicate what I experienced to other people.

I found a graduate program that combined science and art—graduated with a Science Illustration Certificate from the University of California, Santa Cruz (the program is now located at California State University, Monterey Bay) and have been illustrating professionally ever since.

kirstenbird
Did you ever take any art lessons?

Absolutely…and I still take art lessons whenever possible. I’m definitely addicted to learning. I took one art class as an undergraduate, but much of my illustration training is from the Science Illustration program and the amazing instructors that are still teaching there. I’ve pondered whether I should go back to school for a degree in Children’s Book illustration.

kirstensnake

What was the first art related thing you got paid for?

This Kelp Forest illustration for a brochure on diving in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. It was a work-for-hire project. Graphite, but printed in one-color (blue).

kirstenphoto 2

How did you get your first picture book assignment? Which book was it?

My first picture book assignment was a story called “You Can’t Untie a Knot of Toads.” It’s a concept book about what groups of animals are called. A friend wrote it and wanted me to illustrate it, so we could submit it to publishers (we didn’t know about keeping writing & illustrating submissions separate). We got rejection letters from Chronicle and Houghton Mifflin and I have since lost touch with the author.

kirstenphoto 3
kirstenphoto 4

You have quite a resume with books, posters, greeting cards and magazines. Which one got you started?

I started with t-shirt designs and logo designs while still in high school. In my 20s, I did an internship with a group called Friends of the Sea Otter and they put my artwork on boxer shorts and sold tons of them. I think that officially nudged me in the direction of wanting to do more illustration.

kirstenphoto 5

Do you think you will start submitting to the Children’s Magazines out there?

Yes. There are so many amazing magazines for kids and I think a few of them might find my illustration style appropriate. I submitted my work to Ranger Rick in the 90s but was rejected.

kirstenpup
What types of things helped you develop your illustrations and style?

Going to graduate school for scientific illustration was a huge catalyst, and taking classes from people who inspire me through SCBWI and other informal educational groups. But, listening to feedback from fellow illustrators and sketching as often as possible have been the most valuable resources in developing my style. I’ve been consciously working on developing a more narrative style, like the character for Sleepy Seal.

kirstenphoto 6
Have the materials you use changed over the years?

Most definitely. I’ve migrated from doing everything by hand to integrating the computer more and more. I still use pencil (and think it is integral to my style) as my primary drawing tool but I’ve expanded coloring my works digitally.

kirstenfish
Have you ever tried to write and illustrate a children’s book?

Yes. I’ve actually been taking a break from illustrating to work on my own stories and strengthen my writing. I am currently working on three picture books and one middle grade illustrated novel. One of the picture books is called Pool Shark.

kirstenphoto 7

It looks like your first children’s book was “The Giraffe Who Was Afraid of Heights” by David Ufer and published by Sylvan Dell. How did you land that contract?

I was contacted by the publisher after attending the SCBWI NY conference in February 2005. The publisher saw my illustration of a polar bear and sent me the text for a story about a giraffe. I said, “Yes, please!” and I signed a contract two months later. I had six months to complete the artwork.

kirstenphoto 8
What types of things do you do to get your work seen by publishing professionals?

I have primarily attended SCBWI events and conferences—participating in portfolio and/or illustration showcases, and signing up for critiques. At the SCBWI LA conference, I won 1st place for Realistic Portfolio, two years in a row.

kirstenGreat%20Whitesmall

Do you have an agent? If so, who and how long have the represented you? If not, would you like one?

I do not have an agent and am definitely seeking someone to represent me.

kristinfrog%20samples

How many books have you illustrated?

I’ve illustrated three picture books and one activity book.

kirstenphoto9
Did you self-publish your new activity book, “Where the Land and Sea Meet”? How do people order it if they want a copy?

No, but I am the illustrator, author and art director. The activity book is an education outreach project that a team of scientists published through their universities. It is currently available in English from University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska Sea Grant: http://seagrant.uaf.edu/bookstore/pubs/SG-ED-74.html
And is available in Italian from Pisa University Press:
http://www.edizioniplus.it/scheda-libro/carlson-kirsten/dove-terra-e-mare-si-incontrano-9788884927316-34091.html
It’s also been translated into Spanish but it’s not yet published.

kirsten3-research

Talk about doing research and your homework. Kirsten takes it to the next level.

kirsten3b-croc study

What types of research do you do for your illustrations? It looks like you snorkel. Do you take pictures or do any research before you start a project?

I love to do research, sketch and photograph extensively for projects. I enjoy learning as much as I love drawing. I will sketch in the cold & snow and even underwater to research my subjects.

SONY DSC
Who is Taylor Trade Publishing and how did you end up illustrating Sea Secrets: Tiny Clues to a Big Mystery for them?

They are the parent company for the imprint, Moonlight Publishing. They are printing and distributing all the educational picture books for a scientific group called The Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network. I was contacted by the Education and Outreach Coordinator for one of the LTER research groups because she like my illustrations for Ocean Seasons. I designed and illustrated the book for a flat fee, and worked with Beth Simmons, the Education and Outreach Coordinator on several more really fun education projects (but not kids books).

kirstenphoto 11a
kirstenphoto 11b

kirstenphoto 11c

I see Ocean Seasons just came out in paperback. Was it previously printed as a hardcover?

It was published as a hardcover in 2007. Sylvan Dell also offers it as an eBook in Spanish & English.

kirstenphoto 12 a

How do you keep your illustrating talent on the minds of your clients?

Ideally, I would be sending out postcards a few times a year, but I have a lot of opportunity to grow in this area. I’m becoming more active in social media as a way to stay connected to clients that are also using social media.

kirstenphoto 12 c
Have you gotten any work through networking?

Most definitely. Meeting people in person and showcasing my illustrations at conferences are the primary ways I’ve gotten work. Specifically, at conferences involving the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, National Marine Educators Association, and Western Society of Naturalists.

kirstenphoto 12b

Do you do any art exhibits to help get noticed?

I’ve done one every few years, they are a great motivator to produce work and it’s a great way to reach out to the local community.

kirstenphoto 14

Do you ever use Photoshop?

Almost every day. I haven’t decided if I will continue to use them since they are going to be subscription-only, but for now I use Adobe CS5 for 99% of my digital work.

kirstenphoto 15

Do you own a graphic tablet? If so, how do you use it?

I have and adore my Wacom Cintiq display and Bamboo tablet. They are fantastic tools for working digitally. I use them primarly for touching up work.

kirstenfishschool

How much time do you spend working on your illustrating?

In an ideal week, I spend 20-30 hours on illustrating. However, I’ve invested a lot of time in the last two years to writing and networking. The last year has been less than ideal creatively because my husband was deployed to Afganistan, and I had to juggle several things solo. But now he’s back and things are getting back to normal. As soon as we’re settled in Hawai’i, I look forward to getting back to my ideal week.

kirstenphoto 16

Do you still do your greeting cards?

Yes! I did a greeting card as a promotional mailer for Valentine’s Day this year. The company that originally distributed my cards went out of business and the copyright has reverted to me, and I’d like to continue doing greeting cards as part of my income stream. They are fun and enjoyable short-term projects.

kirstenphoto 13
What is the most important tool or material that you use?

I love my sketchbook bag with my beat-up watercolor set, waterbrush, pen and sketchbook. All my art supplies and the computer are tied for a very close second place.

kirstenphoto 17
Any exciting projects on the horizon?

No contracts at the moment, but I’m working on several self-motivated projects.

kirstenlowpipe

What are your career goals?

My goals are to work on creative projects daily — to do a combination of authoring and/or illustrating children’s stories, creating illustrations for licensing and selling ocean wildlife art in a gallery setting. I have an income goal to make between $10,000 and $1,000,000 annually, dependent on production. I fell far short of that this year.

kirstenfisheye
What are you working on now?

I’m focused mostly on the writing-illustrating projects I mentioned earlier.

kirstenphoto 19

Are there any tips.(Example: Something you love – the best place to buy – a new product that you’ve tried – A how to tip, materials etc.) you can share that work well for you? Technique tips?

I’d recommend trying out a medium you’ve never used, because I did that and it affected me in an unexpected way. I recently took an abstract-art class, created something that was completely outside my style and it helped me loosen up so that I could create a more spontaneous whimsical piece of work (a triptych on wood) that is one of my favorites.

kirstenphoto 18
Any words of wisdom you can share with the illustrators who are trying to develop their career?

Stay committed. No matter what.
Keep creating and surround yourself with supportive friends and colleagues, reach out and mentor folks that can learn from you and ask for help from folks you would like to have as mentors.

kirsten1-first farwalker books in series

kirstenesealbigThank you Kirsten for sharing your process and journey with us. Boy, you really do go the extra mile holding alligators, swimming to the bottom or the ocean, and weathering the cold and snow to get close to nature and your subjects. I enjoyed doing this post and wish you much additional success. For those of you who would like to visit Kirsten you can find her at: www.kirstencarlson.net and www.artsyfishy.com   Her twitter name is: kirstencarlson

Hope you will take minute to leave Kirsten a comment. It is appreciated.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: authors and illustrators, Illustrator's Saturday, inspiration, Interview, Process Tagged: Artist, Illustrator Saturday, Kirsten Carlson, Montery Bay Aquarium, scientist

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8. What's Your Worth?

Story Four of the 2013 One series is now available.

You Are a Million $ Baby
by Sudè Khanian


My friend Sudè returns to the One series with a touching story of how we define ourselves and how we view others in our life. What we get is a tapestry of ideas flowing together with her unique way with words. If you have ever seen her paintings, the way she writes is an extension of that energy. It is easy to identify with the narrator of her story. However, as a father, I saw the conclusion a little differently. A lot of this piece is about inner strength and how we react to people in our life. Do we run away screaming or do we embrace our differences?

100% of the author’s proceeds will be donated to Bridge to Ability Specialized Learning Center, a not-for-profit organization serving the educational and therapeutic needs of fragile children with severe physical and cognitive disabilities. www.BridgeToAbility.org. The authors, creator and publisher are in no other way affiliated with this organization.

Mark Miller’s One 2013 is a spiritual anthology examining True-Life experiences of Authors and their Faith. As the series evolves expect to discover what it means to have faith, no matter what that faith is and no matter where they live. Remember that we are all part of this One World.


Story Four is a touching look at us all. This story could take place at any time and to any person. It is a story of love lost and life abandoned. The author asks us if our imperfections can be seen as beauty. She also explores where we find strength and hope?


Get Story Four on Kindle: http://amzn.to/YoOvEI
Also available on Nook and Kobo

Please visit the Authors of One on Facebook

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9. Artist and Author Talks: Podcasts and Videos

One of my favorite things is Terry Gross’s show, Fresh Air, on NPR. I especially love the interviews with actors and writers. Lately I’ve been listening to the podcasts while I’m doing something boring, like folding laundry.

Sometimes there just aren’t enough of Fresh Air interviews, though, so I’ve been looking for more conversations with authors and artists. Here are a few good ones I’ve found:

This Creative Life, created by YA author Sara Zarr (who btw also blogs here). There are interviews with a lot of writers and other creatives about how they work and live. I especially enjoyed the one with author Andrew Auseon (who is also a video game designer).

Mini studio-tours with artists at Little Scraps of Paper make me smile so much. The one above is of three collaborators who make these wacky wonderful costumey-snuggie-kind-of-things. Trust me, you just have to watch it. The videos are so beautifully filmed and just the right size for a quick pick-me-up. Thank you to Blair Stocker of Wisecraft for this hot tip.

Here’s a video of young fashion blogger/ Rookie magazine editor Tavi speaking at TEDxTeen about the strong female characters she’s looking for, and not always finding. YA writers, if you don’t know Tavi, you SHOULD!

What about you? Do you have any favorite creativity-related podcasts?

And by the way, are you on Twitter? I’ve been on it for years but am really just now learning the language and getting into it. I’m discovering all kinds of things there, including some of the above links. Meet me on Twitter @emilysmithpearc

A few other random things:

-Speaking of talks about art and writing, if you’re in the Charlotte area, check out the April meeting for the Women’s National Book Association (yes, men, you can join us, too): Monday, April 22, 6:30 – 8:30 PM at Consolidated Planning. The talk is titled “Latin American and Latino Women Writers and Literature in Translation.” More details here.

-Did you hear about the break in the Isabella Stewart Gardner art heist case? Soooo exciting. I used to work down the street from this lovely, one-of-a-kind museum.

-Saw Natalie Merchant the other night with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra. Great show. Her new material is as complex and thought-provoking as ever, though I have to admit my favorite part was the 90′s set she did for an encore. The nostalgia factor is hard to beat. Seriously, what pipes she’s got—and what a talented songwriter.

-Lastly, I love this DIY magic potion kit over at Elsie Marley.

What’s got you inspired these days?


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10. Introducing Dawn Hanna of Dawning Day Studios

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I’m very excited to introduce Dawn Hanna, artist and photographer. I’ve admired her work for years and am so glad she’s pursuing her art full-time these days. She was kind enough to agree to an interview, and also, to offer a giveaway to my readers! See details at the end of the interview.

spcsixwordlrDawn was born in Rhode Island but has lived in the south for many years. She’s recently left a 17 year career in social work to launch Dawning Day Studios, her photography, layout, and design business. She is a freelance photographer for Getty Images and Arcangel and has been published in Artful Blogging and Time magazine. Currently, Dawn is working on a soon-to-be-published e-book of artist self-portraits from around the world.

So, Dawn, how did you get started with photography?

I have been an artist my entire life….I think I came out of the womb staring at the colors and shapes around me. I picked up a Brownie Instamatic camera when I was 11 years old. From there, I learned how to develop and print in a darkroom (during prehistoric times…yes I am old!) in high school. In my early adult years, I worked a lot in the darkroom at The Light Factory in Charlotte and showed in juried shows here and there. Then life took its course and I found myself a mom and growing a family. I bought my first digital camera in 2007 and learned Photoshop from a dear friend of mine. Digital expanded my mind into the kind of work that I had always wanted to do and found myself totally immersed in it from that point on. I joined flickr and found daily inspiration from fellow photographers and artists who fed and continue to feed my soul on a daily basis. With the exposure and power of the internet…..I gained recognition for my work from book designers, art directors and stock photography agencies. It has been a steady and amazing growth since then.

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What do you do when you get low on inspiration?

I have found that getting in the car and traveling somewhere does the trick for me. Sometimes I think our eyes get tired or they overlook the beauty in everyday that a new perspective can regain.

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What do you recommend for someone who’s just getting started in photography?

I would highly encourage you to jump onto the many photo sharing websites such as flickr, instagram, google + or 500px and see what the world is doing with a camera these days. There is infinite inspiration on these websites and people are generous and encouraging to all. When I first joined flickr, I was scared out of my mind to put my work out there, but I will tell you that it has been nothing short of an incredible journey and led to my growth as a photographer and an artist.

What are you working on currently?

Currently, my partner and I are working on a book layout and design for an upcoming publication that is near and dear to both of our hearts. It has been a labor of love and we can’t wait for the book to be published.

Current obsessions?

I would have to say that my current obssession, like many others…is exploring the world of iphoneology. The possibilities are absolutely endless and it is so exciting to be on the beginning curve of an incredible piece of technology and artistic trend as the iPhone and iPads are.

Thanks so much for agreeing to share with us today, Dawn. You can find Dawn around the web at her Facebook page, her etsy shop, and on flickr. And seriously, follow her on Instagram. Wow!

As I mentioned, Dawn has graciously offered to give a print to one lucky reader from anywhere in the world. To enter, go to Dawn’s etsy shop, then comment here on the blog about which print is your favorite.

You have until 12 noon Eastern Standard Time on March 14, 2013 (one week from today), at which time I’ll use the random number generator to choose a winner. You won’t be added to a mailing list, but I hope you’ll like Dawn on Facebook and favorite her etsy shop.

Personally, I’m in love with the barbed wire piece. You have to go check it out!


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11. NEW @ society6: Creature with seven heads. (throw pillow)

0 Comments on NEW @ society6: Creature with seven heads. (throw pillow) as of 2/27/2013 5:17:00 PM
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12. Blue girl with hollow eyes. @ society6

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13. I LOVE TOYS!!!

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For as long as I can remember, I have LOVED toys!  To have a toy made from one of my cartoons is my dream come true!  It will help the world see my character the way I see him.  REAL!!  ha ha!  This series of plush Peepsqueaks in the pictures above, were the first proto-types that came to my home. Merry Makers is the toy company we worked with.  It was so fun to see my little Peepsqueak transform from page to puff!  He is such a cute little plush!!  Merry Makers did such a good job!  You can buy Peepsqueak now if you go to their website. They welcome retail orders online at http://www.merrymakersinc.com and retail and/or wholesale orders at 888-989-0454 or via email at merrymakers@merrymakersinc.com.

Below is the final Peepsqueak. I just love him!  Isn’t he cute!!! I brought him to a preschool yesterday and the children loved him and all wanted to pet him…. so they did!!!!

So order your Peepsqueak now!  He is waiting to live in your home!!!  Don’t forget, the books, “Peepsqueak”,  and “Peepsqueak Wants A Friend” are at your bookstore waiting for you too.  They would all make great gifts for the kiddies on Easter.

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Filed under: My Characters, Peepsqueak!

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14. PRE-MADE COVER EXTRAVAGANZA!

So, here's the deal.

I do a lot of covers for a lot of people these days. Sometimes when I whip up something for a client it doesn't exactly work for their book and I have to give it a second go. It's all part of the process. It happens.

Unfortunately, this means that I'm left with a pretty decent cover that doesn't have a home.

Covers are just like people, right? Every cover wants to be loved and every cover deserves a home.

Also, I'd like to at least get my money back for the stock images. That's a part of it too.

With that in mind I've decided to implement the First Annual Pre-Made Cover Extravaganza! (You know it's important because it's in caps.)

Here's how it works: Have a look at the covers below. If you think one of them might work for something you've written all you have to do is drop me a line at novakillustration@gmail.com (or leave a comment in the comments section) and it can be yours.

I'll remove the novakillustration.com watermark, plunk in your title and your author name, and even putz around with the fonts a bit if you think you'd like to try something different. If you like most of the concept but want to make some changes I'm sure we can work out a price that'll make every happy.

I'll do all of that for a measly $40. (Payable through Paypal) 

Come on, that's a serious deal. Final images will be sent to you in printable 300dpi quality, as well as three sizes for all of your online needs.

Deal city, people. Deal city.  

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.

Steven



COVER 1 - AVAILABLE


COVER 2 - AVAILABLE


COVER 3 - AVAILABLE


COVER 4 - AVAILABLE


COVER 5 - AVAILABLE


COVER 6 - AVAILABLE


COVER 7 - AVAILABLE


COVER 8 - AVAILABLE


COVER 9 - AVAILABLE


COVER 10 - AVAILABLE


COVER 11 - AVAILABLE


COVER 12 - AVAILABLE


COVER 13 - AVAILABLE


COVER 14 - AVAILABLE


COVER 15 - AVAILABLE


COVER 16 - AVAILABLE


COVER 17 - AVAILABLE

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15. My Computer . . . what an amazing tool!

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2 1/2 years ago I bought my trusty little Apple laptop. The other day I was working on it and up came a window telling me I had about 100 GB of information on it!  This memory includes programs that I run, but most of it is ART!!  Fabric design, product concepts, children’s books and more. Peepsqueak and his friends, Newton my lamb and his friends, a friendly new elephant and monkey, some babies, some clowns, Lae Dee Bugg, Snofolk, and more!  Always more.  What great fun it has been to look back at the last 2 1/2 years!  It has me wondering just how much art will fill this computer by the end of 2013!  I have some ideas right now!!!!


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16. Tools of the Trade

Ever wonder what I work with?
I am always curious to see other artists' studios, the tools they use, even down to how they brush the paint on. It fascinates me.


I'm working on a project right now that has forced me to look closer at what I work with and why I work with it.

You can find commentaries on blogs, forums, and Facebook about how one artist will voice their favorite pencil, while another artist in the same field will swear by another brand. Call it the sport of art if you like (I'm sure there's an artist out there with a rabbit's foot).

Most of my tools have a story or memory attached to them. 

The oldest tool I've used every day in the studio is my kneaded eraser.

My dad is an art teacher most of my life, so I grew up with this wonderful tool laying around his art studio coiled up or made into small pyramids. Something to do while thinking or working. I was introduced to it very young.

The next tool oldest to me is a retractable Tuff Stuff! The moment I discovered this eraser years ago I fell in love and haven't gone back. It gets into the little spots and is always a clean erase. I don't go anywhere without it!

My pencils are newer to me. I have worked with mechanical pencils for at least 15 years now, but the one I used as a teenager...well....was great for a teenager.

Two years ago I did some research and tried Pentel GraphGear 500 on a whim. Love them! Great body weight, good lead selection, amazingly priced! The green Pentel is their most standard. Pentel P205...still a great drawing pencil!

Sketchbooks are personal, in every sense, like a diary. I have always favored the large Strathmore or Canson spiralbounds, 9x12 inch. I have several moleskines too that are smaller....and I adore them, but I like space for my hand when I draw, this allows it.

Color Theory wasn't around in the beginning for me, so I just picked colors that worked to my eye. This did not help in finding the best palette for me, or how to lay it out even.

All of my palettes up to several years ago were rectangle and felt rough to me. Nothing progressed fluidly for me, only manageable.

There was a teacher of watercolor where I work (The Des Moines Art Center) who had a round palette out during one of her classes, and I was introduced to the Stephen Quiller Palette. A circle! Imagine color on a wheel!

I took her class, several times, and have since learned how to better use my palette effectively.

The paints I use are a blend of  Daniel Smith and Winsor Newton.  I always have a messy palette, it's cleaned maybe once every two months. I also paint on primarily Arches Hot Press and Cold Press 140lbs. It's a comfortable inbetween weight and their brand is one of the oldest. I'm open to other papers, but I'm a snob about Arches. The brushes? Cotman series 666.

If you know my work you'll notice my use of white. This started in the phase of trying to keep the white of the paper and failing. I taught myself watercolor, so I turned to problem-solving (an illustrator's best trait).

First it was FW liquid acrylic. I would brush it on, but it cakes easily. Nowadays I usually water it down.

The other partner in crime is the white gel pen. Discovered this while watching watercolor videos on YouTube. Genius! I don't think I use the best one, your basic Gelly Roll, but will be ordering a UniBall gel pen and I'm looking forward to seeing how it works!

Last but not least, the infamous indigo colored pencil. 

I started using this prominently last year while working on Tangerine. I was first introduced to Verithin Colored Pencils by Prismacolor a couple of years back. They're fantastic because of the harder lead with less wax. Because I'm not a colored pencil artist, this worked great for sketching!

The indigo was an accident. I was sketching with it, and as I added color (without thinking of the muddiness it could create) I noticed how it's more dulled tone worked. After Tangerine I continued to sketch with it. The hue is attractive to me, mixed with graphite or color. It helps to provide me my shadows.

Although indigo can create mud very quickly (it's not for the inexperienced), it does create a more earthy visual of color hues in the painting. I trust it so much I paint with indigo as well.

I try to sharpen always with a blade so that I don't go through the pencil as fast (taught by my dad), and the electric eraser was a gift to me. Never knew I would have a need of it until I discovered it erases the indigo colored pencil wonderfully!

Do you have a favorite pen or material that you use a bit religiously?

6 Comments on Tools of the Trade, last added: 2/14/2013
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17. On Creating Art…

Like with every artist, my brain sometimes gets plagued by a disease called self-doubt. Sometimes it’s so subtle that i barely realize what is happening. Symptoms might include comparing myself to other artists, procrastination and hiding out from the world. We all experience it from time to time, even the best of us. I just have to remind myself that thoughts in my head are not real and self doubt is only natural when confronted with pressure to perform.

So how do you treat self-doubt? Put down your phone, shut off facebook and stop looking at other people’s artwork. Go to your studio and start working. Throw yourself into your art. You will have terrible paintings. But with every 3 bad paintings, you will create that one good one. We all have those bad paintings that we don’t show anyone. Bad paintings are a sign that you are taking risks and pushing yourself beyond whats comfortable. If you never have any bad paintings, you are not challenging yourself enough. Let yourself evolve. Take risks, fail miserably and be extraordinary.

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18. How to Hire an Artist

How to Hire an Artist: Tips for Hiring an Outstanding Illustrator for your Next Project:

Finding the right illustrator can be a challenge. Whether you decide to use Bob Ostrom Studio or someone else it pays to know what you’re looking for. If you’ve never had the opportunity to hire a professional before here are a few tips that will help you find the best possible artist for your project.

Know What you are looking for.
Every artist has his or her own style. Many artists are versatile but no artist works in every style. Look for the artist who specializes in the type of art you are looking for. There are many artists and styles to choose from so be patient and make sure you leave yourself enough time to find the right one for your job.

Try starting with a simple Google search. Check out a few artists websites. Notice that no two are alike. Some are very professional with a highly focused direction, while others may choose to show a broader spectrum. Regardless as you begin to move away from the top ranking sites  you may also begin to see a drop in quality. Being a professional artist is an extremely competitive field. Artists work hard to make sure they are seen. There is a reason those sites are at the top of the search.

Some artists work with representatives and some are independent. Generally the better the quality the higher the price you will pay whether you are dealing with an art rep or an independent. Remember though that with higher quality artists you are not only paying for a more appealing image you are also paying for experience, but more on that later.

Determining a Style
Before you contact an illustrator take a few minutes to determine what you are looking for.

Who is your target audience and what is your demographic?
Determining who your potential audience is and what appeals to them is a great first step for helping you chose the proper illustrator. Here are a few tips to help narrow things down:

Describe your customer.

  • Are they male or female, both?
  • How old are they?
  • What kind of things do they like or pay attention to,
  • What kind of things do their peers like or pay attention to?
  • Where can you find them?
  • How do they find you?
  • What is their income bracket?

Crating a detailed profile on your potential customer will help give you a better idea where to begin. Once you’ve determined who your market take a look around. See what else is out there.

 

What is your competition doing?

This your chance to really stand out and get noticed. Instead of putting something out there that looks like everyone else consider trying something a little different that’ll get you noticed. Finding the right artist will help.

 

Shop around

Visit an artist’s website. Look at their style and level of presentation. You can tell a lot about an artist by the way he or she presents their work. Take a look around and see what type art they are displaying. How long have they been an artist? How successful are they? Do they have recommendations, a recognizable client list, have they received any awards.
Experience is the name of the game.

Most artist’s would love to illustrate a picture book but that doesn’t mean you should hire them. Do a little homework first to make sure you are choosing the right artist. Can they draw or create the style you are looking for consistently? Does their portfolio contain the right art for your demographic or is it scattered and lacking direction? Has your artist been published, if so where? Try searching their name on Google, LinkedIn or Amazon to find out more about them and their level of expertise.
Hiring the wrong artist for the wrong  job can be time consuming and expensive. Your project is no place for on the job training so be sure to hire someone with the highest level of expertise you can afford. Always check out who your artist has worked for and examples of jobs they have done. A good artist will be proud to display their work and answer any questions you might have about past experience.
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You get what you pay for.
Why do some artists charge so much more than others? Without a doubt experience is worth paying for. The art you display will directly affect the perception of your company or business. This is no time for bargain shopping, always hire the best artist you can afford. It is always better to spend a little more and get the best quality possible rather than trying to save a few dollars and ending up with something you can’t use.

Successful artists are not just good at making pretty pictures they also know their market and understand production. They know the difference between file formats and what will work best for your project. They can talk to your printer and help give you exactly what you need saving you time, money and aggravation.

If you’re not sure about the difference between vector or bitmap art and which one you need ask your artist. He should be able to explain in simple terms explaining the pros and cons of each. Do you need a jpeg, tiff or png? RGB or CMYK format? An experienced artist will know which one to use for your particular project and why. Even if your artist works in traditional media the art will still need to be scanned and translated into a digital format at some point. If your artist doesn’t understand these simple requirements you might want to shop for some one else who does. The proper format is crucial and could mean the difference between your project looking great and becoming a costly disaster.

Questions your artist may ask

Here are a few questions your artist might ask. Use this list to have your answers prepared before you talk so you don’t forget or leave anything out. It’s best to be descriptive and include as much information up front as possible. The clearer you are with your artist the better chance you have of getting back exactly what you asked for.

Always start by describing your project in detail.

The more information you can provide the more accurate your illustrator can be. Don’t be afraid to include your illustrator in your creative process or as a part of your creative team. A good experienced illustrator will often be able to help you with creative suggestions or finding great new approaches to your project you may not have even considered.

Here are a few questions (in no particular order) you will want to think about before you begin.

  • What is the artwork being used for?
    • Who is your target audience?
    • What is your goal?
    • What style you are looking for?
    • Are there certain color preferences or other considerations?
  • Production
    • How many illustrations will you need?
    • What is the size(s) and or format?
    • Where will you be using the art?
    • What is your deadline ?
    • What is your budget?
    • Can you put me in touch with your printer?
  • Contact information
    • Who is the main person in charge of the project ?
    • What is the best way to reach that person or people?
      • Email?
      • Phone
      • Other

What is the artwork being used for?
Different uses mean different file requirements. Knowing who your audience is and where your piece will be used make a big difference in style and approach. What might work well for one audience might not work well for another. Do you have a goal?

A piece of art that needs to be many different sizes will require a different solution then one that will be printed at a specific size. The demands for the web are completely different from print. Knowing the different places your art will be used will help me determine the best format(s).
How many illustrations will you need?
What is your budget?
Most illustrators charge by the project not on an hourly basis. One size does not fit all. Many artists will charge you different rates for different types of usage. They may charge less for limited usage then they will for a total buyout because once the copyright is sold the artist no longer has the potential to make money from that image. Determine which usage works best for you and be sure to negotiate the rights with your artist up front at the beginning of each project so there no surprises later on.

I prefer to charge by the project and am happy to give you a quote before we begin. If you have a limited budget that’s okay chances are we can find a creative solution to fit your needs.

Can I talk to your Printer/ web designer?
Why on earth would an illustrator want to talk to a printer. Simple, every printer has certain requirements when it comes to artwork depending on what type of equipment he is using. He can tell the artist what type of file will work best for his machinery. Similarly a web designer may also have certain requirements for artwork and file format.

I’ve worked with many printers over the years and I speak their language. If you have any questions about the process just let me know and I will be happy to explain.

What are your deadlines?
It is very important to spell out your needs and plan out a schedule at the beginning of the project. Most artists work in stages and will submit artwork to you within a certain time frame. A typical schedule witll start with sketches and proceed from there. It is important to be realistic about your needs. Be sure to provide you povide enough time for the best job possible. Some artists may ask for an additional rush fee if your project’s deadlines are unrealistic. Different artists work at different rates, if you’re uncertain how long it takes just ask.

I am very efficient with my deadlines but too little time will probably mean having to make a few compromises. Art takes time. Always think ahead and make sure to leave plenty of time for your project. Leaving extra time will assure you always receive the best quality.

How would you like the art delivered?
An experienced artist will make arrangements for delivery at the beginning of each project. Digital artwork is great because it is so easy to work with. Some programs can produce rather large file sizes though. If you have an FTP site or another preferred method of delivery let your artist know. If you don’t chances are your artist will have a quick efficient way to deliver files that are too large for email. Most artists have experience in this area and have worked out a delivery method that should be easy to use and eliminate headaches.
Make sure to resolve this issue as early as possible so you don’t run into any problems on you due date. I have several methods of deliver I use based on costumer preference.

Who or how many people are involved in the decision making process?
The more people involved in the approval process, the higher the potential for miscommunication. Pick a leader or point person for your project and be sure to have all direction go through that one project leader. If it absolutely must be a committee decision make sure everyone involved in the decision making process signs off on direction before you involve the artist.

Conference calls are fine as long as it doesn’t waste everyone’s time. Be clear and decisive and do not leave big decisions unresolved. Ambiguous direction will be costly.

Contract
If you do not have a contract or written agreement, ask the artist to provide one for you. Do not hire an artist without something in writing. Be sure to spell out all the details of your project including delivery schedule, usage, copyrights, payment schedule and any other important information that might effect the outcome of your project.
You may also want to include a kill fee in your contract spelling out what happens if the project is cancelled for any reason before completion. This will protect both you and the artist by allowing you to understand ahead of time what happens if for any reason the project needs to be terminated.
I am happy to provide an agreement if you need one.

Enjoy the process
Working with an illustrator should be a fun and rewarding experience. Hiring the right illustrator will not only make you look great but will add great value and marketability to your project. If you have not worked with an illustrator in the past or need a little help organizing your project please feel free to contact me. Whether you plan to hire me for your next project or someone else I am always happy to answer any questions you might have about how to improve your project, hiring an artist or other any other art related questions.

For more information on hiring me for your project please visit my contact page.

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19. Illustrators on WordPress.com

November was a busy month! Not only did bloggers and writers churn out pages for NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) and NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), but illustrators and artists also took part in NaNoDrawMo, which challenged participants to produce a minimum of 50 new works between November 1 and 30.

In honor of NaNoDrawMo, we’ve highlighted some illustrators and sketchers in our community. Take a look:

Photo courtesy of Pete Scully.

Pete Scully

Currently in Northern California, Pete Scully sketches the world as he sees it — and his visions are unique, intricate, and oh-so-fresh. (His sketches above prove this, don’t you think?) We love Pete’s style, as seen in his drawings of pubs, bookstores, and urban neighborhoods. Browse his sketchbook images of San Francisco, London, and more; and be sure to follow along on his NaNoDrawMo journey. His black-and-white header adds a personal touch, and his substantial blogroll of fellow artists is worth checking out.

Pete’s blog uses Twenty Twelve, an elegant, readable theme that’s fully responsive — content looks great on any device. If you’re curious to see how other artists use this theme, check out cartoonist Chuck Cottrell’s blog Sketches from Memory and follow along on his Sketch a Day series. (He’s also participating in NaNoWriMo. That’s dedication!)

Paula Knight

You’ll find art projects, sketchbook pages, and works in progress on Paula Knight’s blog. What we love best is that we get the sense of an artist at work — series of sketches, quick doodles in spiral notebooks, commentaries on older drawings, and personal reflections. Be sure to check out her comics, which comment on fertility and childlessness. Also a writer, Paula has published children’s books and is currently working on a graphic novel for adults called The Facts of Life.

Paula’s blog uses Twenty Eleven, the third most popular theme on WordPress.com (and our default theme in 2011). Versatile and full of features, Twenty Eleven is a tried-and-true theme on which you can experiment with various post formats, a light or dark color scheme, and different layouts. For more inspiration, check out how cartoonist and writer Ulises Farinas uses Twenty Eleven as well — the Brooklyn-based artist creates imaginative, super-detailed worlds of heroes and beasts. 

Our Process

For a dose of politics, current events, education, and culture with your artwork, don’t miss the comicsportraits, and maps of Aaron Guile. Aaron’s visual style is very distinct, and his commentary is sharp. Unlike the other illustrators in this list, Aaron doesn’t use much color. He eschews color for bold, black on white illustrations that convey potent ideas.

Aaron’s blog uses Forever, a simple and modern theme originally created with weddings in mind. But, as you can see, Forever works with different kinds of content — it’s really up to you to transform a theme into something that works for you!

The Town Mouse

Avid drawer and architectural historian Joanna Moore compiles drawings created on location — if you’re in London, you may find her sketching frantically on a street corner. Check out her mixed media drawings of Gothic cathedrals and sketches of castles, or browse her category archives at the top of her front page.

Joanna’s blog uses Imbalance 2, a modern, sophisticated theme that can easily turn your blog into a professional portfolio or online magazine. Imbalance 2 is also appropriate for collaborative projects — check out Illo Confidential, a group blog of about 20 illustrators.

Hotcharchitpotch

Gareth Cotter serves up wonderful sketches, illustrations, and comics that show his passion for architecture. His drawings inspired by a fall trip to Gdansk, Poland, are worth noting, as well as this comic/graphic story about a “cyclical city.” We’re waiting to see what whimsical little world he’ll illustrate next.

Gareth’s blog uses Blogum, a clean and minimalist theme — with a touch of modern — that lets you focus on your content. Its simplicity allows for images and illustrations to take center stage. 

Easily Emused

How can you not enjoy the drawings at Easily Emused? They’re colorful and quirky, and complement the blogger’s musings perfectly. (Read “Earring Aids,” a recent post about piercing one’s ears — it’s a nice mix of storytelling and illustration.)

This blog uses Balloons, a lighthearted theme that effortlessly creates a playful mood.

Creative Stuff

Photographer and student Jessie Vittoria loves to draw, and she uses Creative Stuff to compile her illustrations, greeting card designs, comics, and doodles. Her artwork is airy and playful — you can see this right away in her blog’s header image. We like how she keeps it simple and makes her different types of artwork easy to find, and how she uses built-in features to add color and draw visitors to her popular content.

Jessie’s blog uses Yoko, a theme that’s simple and elegant, yet customizable. We asked Jessie about the features she uses.

Talk a bit about the features you use to make your blog look the way it does.

The full-size images in my posts allow viewers to see my art without having to click another link, while the slideshows present smaller, less prominent images. For example, I use the slideshow to quickly give an idea of a certain type of drawing. I really like the images in my sidebar; I am a very visual person, and for an illustration blog, it makes sense for users to click on images — rather than text — to navigate the site.

Why did you choose Yoko as your blog’s theme? What features do you like in general?

I was looking for a simple way to display my art with easy navigation, and Yoko seemed to have everything I was looking for. The sidebar makes it easy to find specific pages. I can display my work in the header to immediately show visitors what I do as an artist — even before they click on my posts. I also like the scroll-and-load feature – you don’t have to click “next” to view older posts. Overall, I like how clean the theme is, which doesn’t take away from the art itself.

Want more?

Looking for more advice on how best to showcase your art on your blog? Head on over to The Daily Post for our Q&A with two illustratorsThomas James and Mark Armstrong — who share their design tips.


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