Monday, June 9, 2014

Putting Myself Out There!

Well, I'm following up on my list that my professor had me make this past semester of things I can do to get my illustration career going!

This post is about my first official submission to a professional publisher!  During the semester I met a local publisher by the name of Buffalo Heritage Unlimited.  They have an imprint that publishes children's books called Paper Rock (Safety) Sissors…..don't you love that name! Well, I contacted them after my semester was over and discussed my work and my interest in being a children's book illustrator.  They reviewed my on-line portfolio with me while I was on the phone!  They were very complementary and said they would be interested in seeing more from me.  I told them about my book dummy and they seemed even more interested…'s getting exciting, isn't it!  So above you can see the promotional packet that I sent them for review.  It includes a cover letter, bio and resume, a tear sheet of illustration samples, my character development from my book dummy and the book dummy itself fully mocked up.  I created custom labels for the folder and for the envelop I sent everything in.  The whole project helped put me well on my way to developing my branding as an illustrator.  Before this semester I was nervous to do such a thing, but with encouragement from my professor I realize that I have to start somewhere and I have created enough work so far that I might as well jump in and start putting myself out there!

I'm on my way and excited to hear what they have to say:)  I'll update you when I hear back from them.   In the mean time I think I need to put together another promotional packet…..

Friday, May 23, 2014

Color Finishes

So here is the moment you have all been waiting for……my color finishes or final art.  At least it's final for now until I get some feedback that makes me decide to change them:)  My professor helped me chose the 4 strongest compositions from my dummy book and those are the ones I finished first.  I had done the cover illustration last semester so I include that with these since it set the color pallet and tone for the artwork.  As I mentioned before, I have three more I want to finish off.  They are the "cow" scene, the "dog and squirrel from above" scene and the "boy flying" scene.  You can check these out in my color studies post which preceded this post.  I figure these additional scenes will give me a nice variety of angles, perspectives, and characters to chose from for the final 5 that I will use in my final thesis.

These are mixed media paintings done on illustration board.  They all measure 12"H x 22"W.  I little bit about my process…

I transfer the drawing onto the illustration board with graphite.  Then I paint in local colors with watercolor to get the values and approximate colors.  I know I can always change these a bit so it helps me to see whether I have made them too saturated or too light.  Then I put an oil wash over the whole painting and remove it with tissue in areas where I don't want it, paying attention to shadows and form. When it's dry I go back in with oil paint preserving what I like from the underpainting and covering up or enhancing areas where I want to draw the eye.  I then use prisma color pencil to add the fine details I can't get with the brush.

So here they are!  Let me know your thoughts.  I'll post the next three when I have them done.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Color Studies

Here are the color studies I did for my picture book "The Swing".  Some are done in prism color marker and some are done in prisma color pencil.  I think I like the pencil versions better so that may be my tool of choice for future projects.  I didn't do a color study on every page yet, just the ones I want to take to finish.  I'll eventually do them all so I can show it to a publisher, but for now here is what I have.   Let me know your thoughts.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Book Dummy

Ok, so many of you know that I am working on a picture book as part of my studies at AAU.  I actually will illustrate three picture books in total, but only 5 fully finished illustrations from each manuscript.  One picture book, however, I have a personal soft spot for and so I decided to illustrate the whole thing!  That means I need to create a book dummy for the whole thing.  A book dummy is a value study layout of each page.  It helps you to see the flow of the book, determine she sequence of images and maintain the consistency of the characters.  I worked for most of the semester this winter/spring on creating my book dummy.  It still needs a few tweaks, but at least for now, it is in a close to finished state so I thought I would post it for you.  I'll post the whole dummy as a storyboard and then each page so you can get a feeling for how the book will flow.


Copyright and Dedication Page

Title Page

Wordless spread to establish environment

Wordless ending page

I'll post my color work next time!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Busy April and May

Wow!  I can't believe I haven't posted since March!  It has been a very busy April and May and I have so much to tell you, but I just haven't had the time to sit down and write.  In the last month I finished up teaching at my college, which meant final exams and final grades.  I also finished up my semester at AAU which meant final exam and final projects.  Plus Mother's Day, basketball tournaments with my older son, volleyball tournament with my daughter,  and a crossing over ceremony for my younger son who became a boy scout!  Whew!  It was a lot.  Now I have some time so I thought I'd catch up on my blog.  Rather than inundate you all at once with what I have been doing I thought I'd do a couple of posts over the next few days so you will have something fun to look forward to each day.

Let's start with my raven study, which is where I left off.  At the beginning of April my good friend and fellow artist Jen Seth-Cimini and I made a little retreat to a cabin for 24 hours of painting.  Jen found us an adorable little cabin at Beaver Meadows, an naturalist site near us in Western New York. We brought our food, chocolate and cookies and drinks, our sleeping bags and our paints!  We had a blast talking and drinking and painting till all hours of the morning.  It was wonderful to get away, no kids, no meals to cook, just painting and laughing.  I do a ton of both whenever I am with Jen.  She is such a great friend and artist:)

Here is Jen and our cabin...

Here is Jen set up in her space

And here is one of her paintings that she was working on there…a view out of our cabin window.

We ordered in some food including cheese and bacon covered french fries!  Yummy!  I wanted a little salt to go with them and the bar maid at the restaurant/bar we went to gave us the whole shaker!  We laughed for hours about that and brought it back to paint a picture of it.  Here is the photo reference we took for the painting.  Painting to come:)

We made a camp fire that night outside in the fire pit and sat around it in 22 degree weather looking at the stars and listening to the boy scout troupe that came to use the observatory on the property for their own star gazing.  The next morning was beautiful so we went on a walk…

And here is the painting I worked on…another raven study.   I started another painting but did not finish it and haven't worked on it since that weekend.  When I'm done with it I'll post it for you.  

Hope you enjoyed the story of our little retreat!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Raven Study

For the picture book I am working on I have included a raven as a character.  In preparing my character studies, my professor suggested I study ravens a bit so I can understand their shape, coloration and character.  I did a lot of internet research on all kinds of image sites and found many pictures of ravens. They have a very distinctive shape and I was intrigued with this.  They are also portrayed a lot in artwork, and are revered by many cultures and people groups.  

Here is a list of roles of the raven from the blog

Since man’s earliest history the Raven and Crow have held a high and honored position in our mythology and spirituality.
The Norse God Odin had two ravens, “Thought” and “Memory”, which he would send to fly around the world each day so they could report back to him events as they unfolded.
Native American tradition holds the Raven~Crow as the courier of energy flow that brings about change and creates new realities. The raven, being black, is associated for them with the “void” from which all energy flows.
Northwest coastal tribes believed Raven was the creator of the Heavens, the Earth and the Sea. It was he who brought forth the light and lifted us out of the darkness. He was very wise but he was also known to be a “trickster”.
Aesop's "The Crow and the Pitcher" illustrates Crow's intelligence and how "necessity is the mother of invention".
For Southwestern Native Americans the Raven~Crow was their “Storyteller”. Passing down knowledge and wisdom from generation to generation through myths, stories and parables. Listeners beware! Raven was also a trickster, one could never be sure if the story he told was a simple truth or held some more mischievous lesson....
Ravens are considered by many to be the most intelligent of the birds, and they are known for collecting bright, shiny or colorful objects to decorate their nests.
The key Raven/Crow holds symbolizes the opening of doors and the welcoming of positive change into our lives.
When Raven/Crow is perched on a ball he serves as a representation of living in balance.  If he is perched on a heart, it is to help us remember that which is most important in our lives.
Raven/Crow sometimes holds a pair of dice to symbolize chance or fate.  If he holds an old watch it is to remind us of our place in the universe and to live in the moment.  Of if Raven/Crow holds a compass it is to help us find our way or to give us direction.
Based on all my research, I did a few paintings of ravens last week.  I was focusing on their shape and variation of color.  While they are generally black, upon further study of them you find blue, purple, magenta, and even some green in their feathers, picking up colors from things around them.  I have one more raven on my easel but thought I'd post these for now since I haven't posted in a while.   Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Mountain Cabin Studio

Local artist and my friend Sherida Holland embraces the digital age as she seeks to use crowd funding and her original art to save her family’s historic log cabin in Montana for future generations and artists retreats.  She recently returned to Melrose, Montana to find the 133 year old cabin boarded up and in bad disrepair.  She had always imagined the cabin being around not only for her own grandchildren, but also for other artists who might like to retreat there to take in the beauty of nature and be inspired by the bounty of Montana. 

Sherida has the skills to create new floor plans and renderings of a revitalized cabin, but she lacked the funding to save the cabin. Thus was born the idea of using crowd funding (the practice of funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet) to raise the necessary capital to restore the cabin and turn it into an art retreat where she could share her Montana “slice of heaven” with others.

Her campaign, with perks of her art painted in Montana, and future stays at the cabin, launches today!  Please check out her site which has all the details of her campaign plus pictures of her wonderful art that she is giving away as her perks.  

You can also check out her website where she is keeping a blog on the progress of her campaign and the developments at the studio.