Wednesday, July 28, 2010

At the beach

Ha! I wish I was heading to the ocean.  Although I will be close.  I'm off to LA for the SCBWI Summer Conference.  I CAN NOT WAIT!

I hope to blog when I get back, but I may need to take a few weeks off from blogging to enjoy the last days of summer with my sweet family.  Lots of new work to share soon and the conference review when I return, I promise!

In the meantime, you can catch me over at The Sketchables.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Illustration Friday - Double

Another attempt at watercolor.  I'm having fun with these little sessions.  Some I just start doodling and see where I end up, this is one of them.  As I was working on the first boy, I thought - ah ha! If I add in a twin it would fit nicely in with this week's Illustration Friday theme, 'double'.  So here we have it, double trouble. 

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A day at the beach

Yep, that's the life.

Can't wait to see these worked to carve more!

Friday, July 23, 2010


More watercolor studies.  Practice, practice, practice. 

It's really Heather vs. Watercolor as I try to make this stuff behave. 

I need to find out what else tween/teens do besides listen to ipods. Mine are weird - always drawing, writing, working on the computer drawing and writing. My youngest is a craft hurricane. (I have no idea where they get that from...hmm, hmmm.)

And monkeys making banana splits for breakfast.  This one will be fun as a block print. 

So two more studies that will make their way into the world as prints, hopefully soon. I'd like to spend the weekend carving.

Do you go crazy working on new pieces for your portfolio before a conference?  Is it just me?  Do I have some weird manic procrastination disease?  You know, you wait until the last minute and then think, omg - I need new work for my portfolio right now.  Just me?  Okay, I will accept that.  I find procrastination incredibly inspiring.  : )

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Scary Stuff!

Oh, how I wear my favorite medium like a security blanket. I just have such a hard time feeling like my work is done if it's not turned into a block print. I've been playing with watercolors all summer, and I mean playing - totally for fun and many of these little doodles don't live to the see the sunrise. So I pulled out the good stuff today and worked up a few samples from a dummy book that I'm working on. (Yeah for beads, right!)

These are tiny studies at 3" x 4 1/2". I feel like a have about 100 more paintings to go before I could market a watercolor style. But the good side is that I have two lovely little color study for new prints that I will start carving tomorrow.

Experimenting - it's scary stuff!

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

What a weekend!  I am so thankful to the SCBWI and for the opportunity to be a regional advisor.  I have met the most amazing people in my life thanks to this organization.  The exhibit was stunning and Texas illustrators you have until October to make the trek to Abilene, I can't recommend enough that you do!  The artwork is incredible. 80 pieces from the books, covers and more from the Golden Kite Winners of the last 40 years.  I could have spent all day looking at the art.  The NCCIL (that's the "nickel" for those in the know) is an astonishing gallery and a group of very dedicated children's book enthusiasts.

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.

Lin Oliver, Executive Director of the SCBWI, was so inspired she went right out and began drawing!  This was a canvas on the wall with sketches from all the visiting artists - priceless.

The wall of awesomeness - really folks - you HAVE to go!  The exhibit will also be traveling around the country so keep an eye out to see if it will be heading near you.  And it's a huge exhibit, 80 pieces!

Lin Oliver and Steve Moser sharing about the humble beginnings of the SCBWI and the heart behind the organization, which is supporting the talented and dedicated authors and illustrators of children's literature. 

One of the highlights of the day was watching Richard Jesse Watson demo painting with egg tempera.  It was fascinating and I can't imagine the time that goes into his artwork.  He is very much a 'let's try and see what happens' kind of artist, that was fun to watch!

This is a sculpture around the corner from the museum.

The exhibit was good for the soul, the company was inspirational and hospitality was all Texan.  I loved every minute of this weekend and I'm eagerly counting down the days until LA for the next Tribe gathering.  Isn't that what the SCBWI is after all?

See more photos at the Golden Kite facebook page.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Illustration Friday: Giant

Who knows what giants we'll face as we chase down our dreams. Be brave little one!

A black and white version of India Squirrel. 

This is my entry for this week's Illustration Friday.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

SCBWI Golden Kite Exhibit

I'm really looking forward to attending the exhibit and talks this weekend.  If you are in Texas and within driving distance of Abilene, you should make plans to attend.  It's free, filled with illustrators and inspiration -why the heck wouldn't you drive out for it?  Here are the details for Saturday's event:

Exhibit events and talks welcoming SCBWI members. The events are open to the public, no charge or registration required.

10:00 am
Richard Jesse Watson will speak/demonstrate @ 45 mins

11:00 am
Kristen Balouch will speak/demonstrate @ 45 mins

Lunch 12:00-2:00
We invite the visiting SCBWI membership to join us for a casual lunch at the Cypress Street Station

2:00 pm
Lin Oliver and Steve Mooser will discuss some of the history, stories, and anecdotes of the Golden Kite Award.

Afterwards they will be joined by Richard Jesse Watson, Kristen Balouch, Diane Stanley, and Larry Day for Q&A

Dinner 7:00 pm
We invite the visiting SCBWI membership to join us for dinner at Perini Ranch (about 30 minutes out of town)

The NCCIL website

The Golden Kite, Golden Dreams on Facebook

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Beachy Folks

Just playing around a little today with watercolors.  I took a watercolor class in art school, about 16 years ago. Yikes!  My youngest daughter and I enjoy these little sessions in the evenings on the porch, painting whatever pops into our mind.  I think for the next round I'll pull out some good paper and try again.  It's fun, I enjoy the spontaneous feel of the medium. 

And I like that they still 'look' like my work. 

Have a Happy 4th of July!

Friday, July 2, 2010

SCBWI Editors Day

Editors Day Conference
September 18th
San Antonio, TX

Faculty includes:
Sarah Shumway - HarperCollins
Julie Ham - Charlesbridge
Carmen Tafolla - Award-winning author
Art Aliva - Art Director, Raining Popcorn Media
Illustrator Heather Powers (yes, me)

During our breakout sessions for the illustrator's track I will share tips for creating a winning portfolio - both online and off! 

If you are in Texas make plans to join us and help spread the word! 

Thursday, July 1, 2010

A Random Sketch...

Yanked from my sketchbook.  I would like to move a little more into the middle grade/tween market with my illustrations.  So what does one do when they want to expand?  Create portfolio pieces.  I would like to have a series done before LA.  We shall see.  Today is July 1st, so the clock is a ticking and I have a dummy book to finish too.