Monday, November 22, 2010

Aunt Esme and Me

Here's something just for fun. I've been sketching these characters, developing a fuzzy story as I go.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Importance of Letting Things Settle

I'm still riding high after attending the SCBWI Prairie Writer's Day last weekend, where I met so many inspiring editors, authors, and agents. I came home totally enthused about sprucing up my book dummy for a story I first wrote a couple years ago. Katherine Jacobs, editor at Roaring Brook Press, gave a talk about pacing, and that got me thinking about revising the page turns in my book to build suspense. I was happy with my manuscript, but not with the book dummy, so I tore it apart and started over again, with almost all new illustrations. Having not picked up this project in a while, I had lots of fresh enthusiasm and am really happy with the way things turned out. This is an example of a page that I radically changed, for the better, I think.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Sketchbook Project - A Start

It was two months ago exactly that I received my sketchbook in the mail for The Sketchbook Project, and now I've finally started! I heard about it from another illustrator and it sounded like fun, so I jumped on board. I chose "In Five Minutes . . . " from the list of themes offered, and then I decided to get some kids involved.

My sister teaches first grade, and I'd been wanting an excuse to visit her class, so I decided the sketchbook was my ticket in. Not only is it good research for me to hang out with little people, it's good for my soul too. They're so funny, so generous, so creative. When I told them I needed ideas to fill my sketchbook and asked if they'd help, they were jumping-out-of-their-skin eager to assist.

As it turns out, my chosen theme was probably not the best for this group, since at this age, time is still pretty irrelevant. They live in the moment, which is one of the things I love about kids. (My sister the teacher can tell you there's a downside to that too.) So I decided to jazz it up a little and ask them to brainstorm what they would do if they could have any superpower of their choice for just five minutes. The kids drew and wrote their ideas, and I'm going to steal freely from them. I am the undead illustrator, swooping in to suck the creative juices from unsuspecting fresh young things.

I'm resisting the urge to plan out the sketchbook in advance, because I want this project to be my "free play" time, an antidote to the creative burnout that sometimes comes from drawing on command. I'm just going to pick it up whenever I have spare time and see what comes to me. So far, I've painted the cover and endpages to reflect the superpower idea. I'll keep you posted. Meanwhile, keep that garlic away from me.