I started a post on December 20th, and here I am finally getting something posted. The holidays are behind us, and although we had a good Christmas and New Year celebrations, it has also been a rough time as we dealt with an ongoing illness with my youngest son. Three trips to the doctor later, we were admitted to Nationwide Children’s Hospital with a diagnosis of pneumonia. We spent the weekend in the hospital watching him slowly improve and we got to come home for New Year’s Eve. He is definitely doing much better now!
As many people do, I have been looking to the new year and wondering what it will have in store, as well as reflecting on 2018. This past year was a great year of firsts for my illustration journey. I began this blog, I started my Instagram account, I got involved with SCBWI and the kidlitart chat community on Twitter, I even travelled to Los Angeles to the SCBWI summer conference! I produced dozens of illustrations throughout the year, made lots of new friends, and felt my confidence in my abilities increase.
In 2019, I plan to get back swing of doing colour collective illustrations at least 2x per month, as well as get a few sample pages for a book dummy complete. My biggest step forward that I’m going to work on is mailing out postcards. For real, guys, postcards are going out this year. With a less definite goal in mind, I’m also going to be giving some use to some Christmas gifts I received: some watercolors and a watercolor sketchbook! I have missed traditional media and look forward to getting familiar with a new medium.
What this means for me is compiling my mailing list! I am going to try to go back to what Giuseppe Castellano suggested: add three names to your list per week. We will see how many I can come up with.
The near year holds a lot of opportunities for us all! What are some attainable goals you have for yourself? Don’t be afraid to dream big!
Now that it has been a full week, I finally have time to blog about what an amazing experience I had this past weekend!
I arrived in LA either very late or very early, depending on your frame of reference, and got to my hotel around 1:45am. My friend and roommate for the weekend, Cynara, was already in the room and was surprisingly still awake! So, naturally, we decided to stay up for 2 more hours talking and catching up.
Morning came soon, and we made it downstairs in time for coffee and registration. We went to the first workshop together, where we got to hear Brian Pinkney talk about his creative process. It involved a lot of naps. I wish my creative process involved naps.
I went to lunch with a group of people who were gathering from my region (and some people who came along because they like us). I got to meet my region’s illustrator coordinator for SCBWI and two of my Twitter #kidlitart chat friends!
The Illustrator’s social was Friday night, and I met many people and saw some beautiful portfolios. I was so caught up in everything, I missed dinner!
Saturday was busy. I met lots more new people. Tried to find some familiar faces at each session. The portfolio showcase was beautiful, but we weren’t allowed to take pictures. My portfolio has a far way to go to be on par with some of those, but I am trying to not feel too down about it. It was my very first conference, after all. Baby steps!
The Artist and Writer’s Ball was Saturday night! What a blast. The theme was to dress up in homage to your favorite author or artist. I was inspired by Roy Lichtenstein’s pop art figures. It made me late to the party, but I felt pretty good about it! They had a variety of sliders, a taco bar, and free dessert trucks! The cupcakes were to die for. I can’t remember the name of the truck, but I do remember seeing something on it that said they had won some Food Network cupcake challenge thing, which won them points in my book! After eating, I proceeded to dance the night away with a new found friend. I hung out with another of my new friends, Guy Kopsombut of 4am Shower fame, and his regional buddies after the party was over. I managed to “catch” the mythical white stag (as seen in “King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table” and The Chronicles of Narnia). She granted several of us each a wish. I wished for diligence in improving my craft. She actually gave some very helpful advice!
Sunday came all too quickly. We got to have a “luncheon with Lois Lowry” (author of The Giver and so many many other things), and it was amazingly interesting! I added a few more books to my growing list of things I want to read. I am thinking of picking up audio books so I can “read” at work!
When it was all said and done, they had an autograph party where the faculty were set up to sign books they had for sale all weekend long. I spent more than I expected to on books, but I was so excited to bring them all home! My boys already love them all, and I’m loving the YA novel I bought as well! I caught up with a few friends as we were wrapping up and got to say goodbye. I even got to have one last dinner out with some friends before catching a Lyft to the airport,
I wish I could have stayed for the illustration intensive course on Monday. Next time, I will. My main takeaway from this conference was KEEP WORKING, but don’t let it become work. If you don’t enjoy the process, your work will suffer for it. It has made me excited to get back to work!
This whole thing has been such a learning experience. I am already looking forward to the next time I can go!
Wow! It has been quite some time since I updated, but I had to check in because I’m getting so excited for the SCBWI conference! It is just under two weeks away at this point, and things are getting very real.
Shortly after my last post, I shared a creation I made with my #kidlitart folks on Twitter.
At some point each Thursday, our conversation always seems to come back to sweets. Everyone loved it! I ended up ordering a batch of pins with the design on them to take with me to the conference in L.A. The arrived in the mail a couple weeks ago!
I also managed to get my postcards ordered, and they arrived on this past Thursday! I’m pretty happy with my design, and so excited to have the cards in hand.
My portfolio is still not completely assembled. I have all 12 pieces prepped and ready for printing for my portfolio. Getting those printed and mounted is next on my to-do list. I’m hoping to have that done by the end of this week.
I’ve been in my new job for three full weeks now, and I’m very happy with it so far. The people have all been nice, but we stay so busy that we don’t get to socialize a whole lot. The plus side to that is I love being busy since it makes the day fly by. I did get to chat with some people at the company’s “Christmas in July” party this past Friday. Apparently December is such a busy time there that there is no time for parties then, so they celebrate during the summer. It was nice to get to know people a little better!
Speaking of getting to know people, my 10 year high school reunion was yesterday and it was great getting to get reacquainted with some of my old classmates. The best part of it all was that all three of my best friends from way back when came back into town for the reunion! My mother-in-law came and watched my kids so my husband and I could spend several hours with everyone. We went to the reunion and then out for dinner. It was wonderful!
I’m going into the coming week excited for my conference, happy with my work, and somewhat rested. It looks to be a good week!
Hello, friends! It’s been busy these past few weeks, and I finally have a moment to catch my breath. I just finished laying out a booklet celebrating the work of a Dayton, Ohio-area DJ who has now been in the radio business for 50 years! I volunteer design services for his current radio station on occasion, but this project was the most involved piece I have worked on for them. It is a relief to have it finished!
With my plate slightly more clear for the time being, I can turn my focus back to building my portfolio and preparing for the SCBWI Annual Summer Conference in August. My mini assignments from Guiseppe are coming along nicely. I have 6 art directors on my contact spreadsheet and I have begun to make more changes to the website, beginning with the actual web address. No longer am I encumbered by the WordPress branding! It feels more official this way.
I’ve been giving some thought to postcards lately. Illustrators generally send out postcards showcasing their work to publishers around May and September: the peak hiring times for the year. With the first big round of mailing coming up, my #kidlitart chat friends on Twitter spent last Thursday sharing postcard designs, postcards in process, and asking/answering questions about mailing them out.
I won’t be ready to send out cards in May, but I plan to design my postcards and have them printed by the end of July so I can take them with me to the SCBWI conference in Los Angeles this August. Having them there with me will allow me to hand them out to fellow illustrators with whom I want to keep in contact as well as potential agents, editors, and art directors. Also, since I will have them ready by then, I will plan to send my first mailing in September of this year!
A quick side note about #kidlitart chat: I am so glad to have found these people. The information I have gotten has been very helpful, and they really made me feel welcome from day one. I speak up more now than I did at first, but no one ever made me feel like an outsider. I’m looking forward to meeting some of them face-to-face at the SCBWI conference!