Tuesday, February 27, 2007

More on AZ Illustrator Workshop

After my post on the AZ Illustrator's Workshop featuring Tim Gillner, someone emailed me few photos she had taken. Thought I'd share...

Reviewing assignments.

So Many Hats!

For the last couple of weeks I have been getting a project ready for submission and preparing for a gallery show. I found myself pulled in so many directions to get this all done, that all I could think of was the number of hats we must wear in this business. Here are some of them.

Writer, editor, copywriter, typist, proofreader, word processor, artist, graphic designer, art director, book designer, desktop publisher, paste-up artist, printer, bookbinder, mail room specialist, creative liaison, printing quality control specialist, mat cutter, framer, packager, deliveryman (women).

What I accomplished:
Framed artwork delivered to gallery show.
Picture book package submitted to publisher. (Includes manuscript, dummy book, and art samples.)

I always find it so amazing when I mail one of these packages. They seem so small! How could all that time and work really fit into a 9x12 envelope?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valentine's Day

After seeing how many Illustrators have Valentine art today I figured I should find something I've done with a heart. Finally remembered this.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Arizona Illustrators Workshop

Recently, I had the opportunity to take part in a workshop run by Art Director Tim Gillner of Boyds Mills Press and hosted by the Arizona Illustrators Forum. (Held in Molly Idle's cool studio with room for 15 attendees. Thanks Molly!) This was a hands-on workshop, where we were given a project to work on ahead of time. We were sent manuscripts to pick from. (Lots of genres, lots of style.) We needed to chose a section of text to illustrate one page for. We got to decide how much or how little text to work with. After doing an initial sketch, with type placement, we sent it off to the AD for his comments and suggestions. We then needed to do revisions and bring the new sketch, along with the first one to the workshop. We were also given the choice of doing a final color piece if we wanted to.

A cool part of this was, I worked ahead of deadline! I’m the type of person who always makes my deadlines, but I push them to the eleventh hour. On the first sketch I finished about one week early, then had only minor revisions, so I had the final sketch done about 2 weeks before the workshop. This gave me time to start a color final.

And even cooler, when I was at the workshop and I said which text I decided to work with, Tim mentioned something about how he thought that story was just right for me. We had at least a dozen manuscripts to pick from, yet he knew by my style which one I’d choose. I know that’s his job, but I had tossed around a few options before I decided myself, so I was amazed.

But the coolest part for me, was finding out that I liked to work with someone else’s text. I had never done this before, I've always worked from my own text. I really wasn’t sure if I could do this, or if I would even want to do this. But after reading through the manuscripts a few times, I found myself sucked in. I was spending all my extra time thinking about the characters, what they would look like, what they’d be doing, what I wanted the pictures to say, and what I wanted to add to the story. And it was fun! (The piece I did for this workshop was “First Snow”).

For the first part of the workshop we each put up our pieces on a display wall and Tim went over his initial response, his suggestions for revisions, and how he felt the final sketch improved or what could still be worked on. As group we went over any color finals. It was great to hear everyone’s take on the finals. Tim was full of insight and advice. But he was also, in some cases, brutally honest. The rest of the workshop covered the following topics: Questions and Answers, What makes a better Picture Book, Inspiration Pieces, Contracts, Submitting Samples, and Individual Portfolio Critiques. A few of us were even able to get together for dinner at Sindbad’s. All in all, a great weekend!

One of the projects up for critique.

Tim Gillner and Amanda Shepard in deep conversation.

Tom Tate, Kathy Parks, Julie Gissler Barry.

Heavy discussion on self-promotion.

Dinner at Sindbad's.
Tim Gillner, Laura Jacobson,Tanja Bauerle, Kathy Parks,
Jullie Gissler Barry, & me. Missing from photo Debbi Haun.

The night included entertainment...

and even a illustrator who can belly dance!
(Debbi Haun on left)

Thursday, February 8, 2007

A Rare Sighting

I’m sitting in my studio with the door propped open just enough to enjoy the warmth from outside and trying to figure out what a seagull sounds like. Thinking about squeals and cries and caws. Looking for just the right words. When somewhere off in the distance I hear what at first I think is a bunch of dogs barking. We have lots of dogs in the neighborhood, but not that many yipping all at once. I notice the sound getting louder and louder. I open the door a little farther to hear better, when I realize its geese! I dart outside just when a perfect “V” formation of geese are flying right overhead, squawking away and heading south. I guess it’s still winter somewhere.

I really can’t remember the last time I saw geese. And I don't think I've ever seen them that close. Their sound keeps echoing in my head. Living in the southwest desert I suppose they pass through, or maybe stop and stay awhile. But I haven’t seen this in a very long time. I just wish I had time to grab my camera. But seeing and hearing them was enough for me. Funny how something so simple can get you motivated. It’s a reminder of what I’m trying to capture in my writing and why these revisions are so important. So, back to seagulls...

drawing by Charles Livingston Bull [published between 1890 and 1932]

Wednesday, February 7, 2007


I've been tagged by connie, who only knows me via this blog. Wow! people are reading my blog!

Here are the rules as I know them. . .I must post 6 weird things about myself, and post the RULES." Which are. . .

Each person who gets tagged needs to write a blog post of their own 6 weird things as well as clearly state this rule. After you state your 6 weird things, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names.

Don’t forget to leave a comment that says “you’re tagged” in their comments and tell them to read your blog for information as to what it means. That means you may find a short message from me at any time soon in your comments.......

1. When I was about 4 or 5 I saw my great aunt's husband sitting in a car across the street watching me play. Nothing weird there, he had been doing it since his wife died. Turns out I looked a lot like her and he just missed her. Weird part is when I got home my Mom said it couldn't have been him, he had died the week before.

3. When I was about six years old I won an ironing board in a sweepstakes.*

4. When I was in second grade I got caught smoking cigarettes with my best friend who was two years older and much wiser than me.

5. We got the money for the cigs by saying we were Girl Scouts and collecting pop bottles to return for the deposits. Then we added "Alpines" in our very best Mom handwriting to the grocery list that my Mom sent us to the corner market with. Of course this was my best friend's plan, because she was two years older and much wiser than me.

6. We (same best friend and me) used to bring home plastic artificial flowers to give to ours Mom's. They came from the cemetery. My Mom would put hers in the flower box, even though she knew where we were getting them.

*The ironing board is a fun story that I'm saving for later.

Uhh, look, I'm out off numbers already and didn't even get to my teen years, let alone adulthood!

Now it's my turn to pass it on to these 6 people who I only know through their blogs: If any of you don't want me passing this on to you please forgive me and let me know, I'll remove your name. I picked you, because I enjoy reading your blogs.