Monday, November 13, 2006

Portfolio Review

I worked like crazy to get ready for my portfolio review - 12+ hours a day for a week, and even turning down fun things, like having coffee with Sascha. But it paid off.

I had reviews with 2 people, and they both went well, but one of them was the best portfolio review I've ever had! Not only did the AD like my stuff, but...

I made the bulletin board!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, being on the bulletin board is a huge deal - way better than having your samples on file. If your postcard is up, all the editors and other ADs can see it when they walk by. If they are looking for an artist and your art catches their eye, there's a good chance you could get asked to illustrate a book!!!!!

But even better than that, we went through my portfolio and talked about what worked and what didn't work for children's books, and why. So now I have a direction to go with my art and 2 styles that work for children's books! It was great to get concrete answers on my artwork, as I've struggled for a while to find a style that works with children's books. Yay!!!

Saturday, November 4, 2006

Character Names

Do you have a specific process for naming your characters?

I used to name my characters the first thing that popped into my head. They were usually generic names or people I knew.

Then I started to check popular first names from roughly the same age as my characters (or maybe a little younger, to factor in time to get the story published). This allows me to pick a name that's right for the character and also one that might be the name of the child reading my book.

You can check out popularity of names in the US here: http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/babynames/
It also has a nice feature where you can look up a specific name and see how popular it was in which years.

After I have a first name, I make up a last name. Sometimes I'll look up the last name here: http://names.mongabay.com/most_common_surnames.htm to see what I find.

Lately I've added a new naming twist. I look up the full name on google - to see what comes up. If the name is famous or associated with adult themed things, I pick a different last name and start over.

And sometimes I still pick names just because I like them, whether they are popular or not - some names just fit certain characters.

So, how do you name your characters?

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

vampire song

Vampires!
Hope you all had a Happy Halloween! We stayed home and gave out candy to gobs of trick-or-treaters, and I made up a Halloweenie song. It's been going through my head since last night.

(sing to the tune of We Are The Champions, by Queen)

We are the vampires, my friend

And we'll keep on biting to the end

We are the vampires

We are the vampires

No time for mortals

'Cause we are the vampires

Of the dark