Have you ever been in “the zone” when you’re working on a project? Have you ever broken through that wall that was keeping you from moving forward?
Today, I totally smashed the wall, and stayed in the zone for 4 hours.
This was one of the first things I painted when I first downloaded Photoshop and got my Wacom Bamboo tablet. I painted her for a Shirt Woot! derby, and always thought “One day, I’m going to sit down and really do this Tiny Grandmother right.
Here is a snapshot of my work in progress:
I’m really excited! There’s a ton of work left to do, but I’m trying out new techniques with photoshop and am getting closer to the result I want with the program
I am easily distracted these days. Even with the aid of organizational tools, I find myself staring off into space while my brain works on a thought. Maybe it’s a drawing idea, maybe it’s a “remember this important thing to write about” (I forgot what it was) maybe it’s ” Did it take Ebony Davis 358 licks or 537 to get to the center of the Tootsie Pop in 3rd grade? Maybe I should count and see.”
The truth is, I’m pushing my brain boundaries more these days with learning new programs and finer points of design. But that’s just the hard part of learning stuff-the brain works to dig new pathways for the information and habits to travel. Every time I reinforce my learning through application, it’ll get easier. Until the neural highways are clear and running smoothly, there’s going to be a few detours now and then. Basically, practice makes easier. I’ll regain my focus-well, mostly focused – I’ve always been a little distracted.
Maple Lam recently posted on KidLitArtists.com a wonderful article about getting ready for the 2014 Summer SCBWI conference or #LA14SCBWI if you read “hashtag”. I love this post because I have very similar goals and action plans. I really, really want to attend this conference, and I promised myself I would do what it takes to get ready.
Gail A. Buschman shares some notes in her blog from her portfolio review from Mr Giuseppe Castellano, an art director at Penguin. I really appreciated that she shared this, because it made me look at my work with fresh eyes, and I realized that there are some similarities that I need to work on too.
(here is a new sketch I did this morning!)
My plan is to join the thoughtful ideas from both women. I’m going to work on 1-2 portfolio pieces a month, including more completed illustrations with my characters in environments. Also, I’m going to create more drawings with children featured as the main characters. So a LOT of drawing in my future-which is awesome!
I’m also going to follow Maple’s plan to read, draw, write, promote and connect, but I’m also going to include learning. I have learned so much from fellow illustrators, from getting helpful tips on Twitter, going to #kidlitart chats Thursdays at 9:00pm EST, taking an online class or just getting an email response. In the last year, I feel that I have learned as much as I did in my 4 year program at college. That’s thanks to generous sharing information in this professional community.
Which I’m going to take a moment to share an instance going on now where two people abused that generous spirit of this man Francesco, and his fight to protect his work. He was smart to save all his correspondence and publicize what was happening. It is one thing to become influenced by someone’s work, it is quite another to steal it. Even though this happened to him, he still continues to help others and give them helpful advice. It’s that spirit of openness with information that made me realize how much I love this community.
I recently had the pleasure of completing this for a friend/client. She wanted a portrait of her boys as a seal and a penguin to put in their room. It was a fun but challenging task. She was happy with my work and gave the go-ahead to share it with you! When I finish a paid project like this, I think “comMission Accomplished!” C’mon, you think it’s funny too, eh? EH? Hey, where are you going?
Joking aside, here it is
As an adult, I still sometimes have nightmares that really freak me out. Usually involving something very, very silly, but still disturbing like I forget to lock the door and there’s a raccoon in the kitchen. I used to have nightmares all the time about that creepy giant face thing in Time Bandits, and once, I had a nightmare about a rain cloud in the house that yelled at everyone.
But thanks to some awesome parenting, I learned that I could summon help in those scary dreams. Like a My Little Pony to ride away on, or my teddy bear would become a GIANT BEAR and attack the scary things (this is why Hero Bear is so awesome to me) So nightmares aren’t so scary anymore!
What do you do when you have a bad dream?
Below is a rough sketch of a little girl sleeping. I hope you like it. Have a great day and sweet dreams
The elephant has long been a favorite animal of my mother, and as an adult, I have developed a fondness for elephants myself (although my favorite animal remains the Duck).
I find that my mother often comes out when I speak. Especially with my nephews:
“No, two cookies is a good snack. Have some fruit if you’re still hungry.”
“Look with your eyes, not your hands.”
“That’s okay, try again! You’ll get it.”
When I drew this, I just talked to my mom about some things that have bothered me. She gave me comfort and practical advice. I felt so much better, that I wanted to illustrate that feeling of love and support.
My characters tend to appear from an emotional place. Whatever I’m feeling at that time tends to show up in my drawings. At the same time, my characters can really cheer me up when I’m feeling sulky or sorry for myself. Pippa the Hippo (above) is such a character. I was grouchy (read: hungry and/or tired) and my dad and I had a talk when I said something about a pink hippo with spots. ”I’d love to see that” he said.
While I was drawing, she decided to dance on the page to say hello. I was grouchy, she was whimsical. She was nothing that I planned, but I like her all the more for it. She cheered me up with her silly twirling and was very adamant that I show her off while she was doing a very difficult twirly move. And she wants cake. (waits patiently for cake to arrive)
No? You didn’t fall for that? Dang! oh wait, yeah it was cookies! That’s right, cookies!!
(waits patiently for cookies)
Man you guys are tough!
Confession: I used to hate Thanksgiving. What a silly holiday to hate! I hated the chaos, I hated the stores being open earlier and earlier for Black Friday, and I hated all the food that went with it.
But I didn’t really hate Thanksgiving. It never did anything wrong. The thing I really hated about Thanksgiving was that I felt like I was missing out on the best parts, and that I rushed through the process. My former job’s schedule meant I drove home Wednesday night exhausted, have Thanksgiving with my family, and then drive back Friday or Saturday to work again. It was a good job, but the quick turn around made me grumpy.
Now that I work from home, I never miss the best part of Thanksgiving the Preparation! No more driving hours to visit my family. Now I am a part of the planning and preparation (I’m baking one of the desserts!). On Thanksgiving morning, I’m not exhausted or rushed, and I can watch the parade while drinking coffee with my family, and there’s no worry about driving back to work.
Also, I learned that being grumpy solves nothing.
SkADaMo is here!
I am very happy to throw my hat in for the month and sharing a sketch a day for as many days I can in November. I missed the first 4 days working on a project with a deadline. I am happy to tell you I finished ahead of schedule and ready to get cracking here!
I plan and sketch in quiet. I turn off my music, turn off my audiobooks, and I sit in a quiet room and just draw until my brain settles into a quiet hum. I center on my task and the noise outside the world and inside my head fades away. I focus on the character’s emotion and often find myself taking on the pose while I sketch. Most of the time though, I end up hunched over my sketch as if I’m trying to enter the paper. On a really good day, my sketch becomes a character and starts to help shape itself. On a bad day, I’m just drawing loops and sticks until it’s clear that the character is my distracted and worried mind. Whether I’m drawing something I love, or that I end up tearing to bits, I draw in quiet.
Now, once the first planning stages are complete and the process of colors comes into play, I really enjoy an audio book. I let my subconscious play with the colors while I listen to the narrator talk in a soothing tone.
How about you? Do you work best in quiet or do you like listening to something while you work?
Here is a sketch I did in Procreate today for Halloween! Does everyone have their candy ready? This year I’m going to my brother’s house to eat delicious chili made by my sister-in-law, watch my awesome nephews get dressed up, and eat a peanut butter cup. I predict this Halloween will be the Year of the Tutu.
Have a safe and happy evening!