Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Tomorrow I will share a set of free gift tags for folks to download on the Sketchables. In fact, there will be a whole week of free gift tags from our group! Can't wait to see them.
I thought I'd share some gift ideas with you from my Etsy shop. I have this whole earthy, woodland vibe going on this year:
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
The Start of Story
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
More Watercolor Experiments
Monday, September 27, 2010
Creating Without an Undo Button
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Bears and Birches
And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk
Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,
But dipped its top and set me down again.
That would be good both going and coming back.
One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.
-Robert Frost (Birches)
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Creating an Award Winning Portfolio - Part 6: Improve Your Odds
Friday, September 24, 2010
Creating an Award Winning Porfolio - Part 5: Editing Your Portfolio
Would your weakest piece hold up to the critical eye of a trained designer?
Is your weakest piece still strong enough to win you assignments?
Reasons to remove a piece from your portfolio:
If you have to make excuses for why a piece is weak, take it out.
Don’t keep a weak piece in your portfolio because you are too attached to it. If you love a subject matter do revisit a it or rework on a piece that you feel could be stronger.
Ask 3 trusted friends to look through your portfolio and tell you their least favorite piece.
Does one piece stand out because it’s in a radically different style or medium? Remove it until you have a collection of portfolio pieces in that style.
It’s better to have a portfolio of all animals done well than a mix of animals and kids if you can’t draw the figure. If you are struggling with drawing kids, take a class, read books on figure drawing and sketch from life until you master this skill.
The best way to weed out weak work from your portfolio is to create new work on a regular basis. The more work you create, the quicker you’ll see pieces in your portfolio that need to retire.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Creating an Award Winning Portfolio - Part 4: Improve Your Skills
Fundamentals of Composition - A great blog post to read.
Picture This: How Pictures Work by Molly Bang
The Encyclopedia of Writing and Illustrating Children's Books by Desdemona McCannon, Sue Thorton and Yadzia Williams
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Creating an Award Winning Portfolio - Part 3: Finding Your Niche
Here are a few great examples of portfolios that know their niche!
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Creating an Award Winning Portfolio - Part 2: What to Illustrate
Songs or Poems
Things Kids Hate
Change it up, don't draw just another version of Cinderella - make her a diva with her step-sisters waiting on her. Or check out Dani Jone's take on a classic holiday song: Frosty the Gourdman.
Use your unique style to retell a classic.
Create an unusual visual twist to an ordinary situation.
Leave a little mystery, the viewer should ask - what's the story here? What's going to happen next?
101 Projects for Illustrators by Dani Jones
79 Things Kids Don’t Like by Tara Lazar
Monday, September 20, 2010
Creating an Award Winning Portfolio - Part 1: Visual Vocabulary
An award-winning portfolio includes the above but also tells compelling stories with a unique visual vocabulary, fills a niche in the market and showcases a mastery of skill.
Building a Visual Vocabulary
Learn to craft a consistent world for your audience, follow a visual language that you create and stick to those rules.
Never copy a style or follow a trend, find your own way and stand out from the masses.
Master one or two mediums, divide them into sections in your portfolio.
Your style isn't something you need to develop, it is your unique way of expressing yourself visually. It's like handwriting, it takes some practice but it's something that comes naturally to you over time.
Three portfolios that showcase a strong visual vocabulary:
What mediums can you use quickly and get consistent results?
Use 5 words to describe your artwork.
Who are your artistic influences?
Name one book you wish you had illustrated and why?
Use these questions to narrow down your focus.
Friday, September 10, 2010
Building a Visual Vocabulary
In keeping with my no short-cut theme, I have been working hard on building a visual vocabulary in my sketchbook. I've ordered a few really cute kids clothes catalogs and have been sketching the wee folk and their stylish duds. Of course the trick is to change their facial expressions to give them some life, no we don't want kids looking like they crawled out of a JC Penny catalog.
You can't really abstract something until you know it - you have to be able to draw proportions and have a hint of truth in simplified or stylized drawing of kids. So while these will never be anything more than exercises in observation they are an important step in improving my drawing skills. It also helps me expand my idea of what kids are wearing and improve upon my small stable of hairstyles.
Of course drawing from life is great too, but good luck getting a toddler to sit for any longer than a doodle!
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Monday, September 6, 2010
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
At the beach
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Illustration Friday - Double
Saturday, July 24, 2010
A day at the beach
Friday, July 23, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Who Me? Tips for Writing a Bio
If you are on online you need a bio and probably more than one. Here are some hints to help you shine.
More than one bio? What?
I know, right! You thought one would be good enough. But guess what? Different bios are needed for different occasions. The good news is once you have them written, you can plug them in online in your various sites and networks and tweak them as needed.
You need a long bio of 200 words of more - use it on your website or where more information about your career is needed, such as a press release.
A short bio - under 100 or better yet 75 words - use this one for online portfolios or professional membership sites.
And then a 'sum me up' in one sentence bio - best used for bi-lines and your twitter or facebook account.
Who are you?
Before we get any farther, make sure your real name is easily found on all your accounts like twitter, your blogger bio and even your Etsy profile if you have a shop. As a blog writer, it helps me when I feature artists if I can call them by their real name.
1st person or 3rd?
Since people want a personal connection to the artist or writer when they looking at a blog, facebook or twitter I say 1st person is nice and friendly.
On your website - that's a toss - 1st person sounds friendly and direct, 3rd sounds more professional - but you can go either way.
Listing on a portfolio site or member listing/profile for professional organizations?? I'd go with 3rd person.
No matter what point of view - keep your bio professional, on topic and well edited!
What to include?
Relevant information to your career only - if illustrating or writing isn't your day job this can be tricky. Include your day job only if it's relevant to your creative career or ties in to show an area of expertise that you also write about or illustrate.
Things to include about your creative career would be your education, experience, awards and memberships. I would also say to sum up what you like to write or illustrate.
More bio writing tips here and here.
A Long and Short Example:
Long - Children's book illustrator Heather Powers has illustrated for the educational, magazine and picture book markets. Heather's work focuses on quirky characters, multi-cultural themes and crafts. She is currently under contract writing her first jewelry design book.
She has a BFA from Kendall College of Art & Design where she studied printmaking and painting. Heather was awarded the Tomie dePaola Portfolio Award in 2008. She has been a regional advisor for the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators for the last 4 years.
Books illustrated by Heather include Story Game for Perfection Learning and Conor's Gift, published by Yeowon Media.
Short - I'm a children's book illustrator, SCBWI regional advisor and bead artist by day.
And one final word when it comes to writing a bio - if in doubt, search it out - just check out other artists' or writers' bios to see what they have included. Always search up - find bios of creative professionals who are a few steps ahead of you on the career ladder for the best examples!
Golden Kite Exhibit Review
Before the exhibit we were treated to 4 illustrators reading and drawing with the children of Abilene at the public library. Pictured above David Diaz taught everyone about classical proportions as he drew one of his signature faces. David is also the driving force behind this successful exhibit and event. Members of SCBWI Illustrator's Board were there to support the event, including David, Priscilla Burris, Cecila Yung and Pat Cummings. Illustrators who did the visits included Larry Day, Kristen Balouch and Alan Stacy.