Tuesday, November 24, 2009

CBIG: Birdie Family

The prompt this month for the CBIG blog (Children’s Book Illustrators Group) this month is family. The birdie family from my portfolio fits this theme well. Mother Goose is protecting her five goslings from the rain:

Birdie Family

Birdie Family

Speaking of CBIG, I have new images up in my CBIG portfolio, including the two elephant illustrations I did recently. Click here if you want to check it out.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

IF: Musical Elephant

The prompt for Illustration Friday this week is, “music.” I remembered a small elephant sketch I did a long time ago (I think it was with a crayon on a paper table cloth at a restaurant). I found the original sketch, which was okay, but I felt it needed a bit more. Here’s the sketch:

Original Trumpeting Elephant Sketch

Original Trumpeting Elephant Sketch

Here’s my updated version (note – it looks small compared to the original sketch, but it’s actually 22″ long!):

Trumpeting Elephants

Trumpeting Elephants

I had so much fun doing this and I like how it turned out. I’m going to put it in my portfolio the next time I update it.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

week four (4 week novel) interruptions

Week Four of the 4 Week Novel*: Sometimes you’ve got to concentrate on things other than writing, like Thanksgiving and family, or laundry that needs to be done. But don’t forget about your novel; you’re in the home stretch now! Try to set realistic goals for how much you can write by the end of the month.

If there’s no crisis and you’ve got clean socks, then go eat dinner and get back to writing. Ask someone you love if they will do the dishes for you :)

Don’t forget to resolve the conflicts and storylines you started. They don’t need to be wrapped up with a bow, but they should have some sort of resolution so the reader will be satisfied with the ending. If you can’t figure out exactly how to end your book, don’t worry. That’s what revisions are for.

*The 4 week novel tips are designed for NaNoWriMo, but could be used any time of the year if you are trying to fast draft a story. This is the sixth post. The others so far were: NaNoWriMo Thoughts and Tips, prepping for the 4 week novel, week one – ready, set, go, week two – getting unstuck, and week three – halfway there!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

IF: Unbalanced Elephant

The prompt for Illustration Friday was unbalanced, which totally cracked me up. I had lots of funny image ideas, but finally settled on this unbalanced elephant who is getting ready for a birthday party.

Unbalanced Elephant

Unbalanced Elephant

Update: I liked this image, but I didn’t think the cake worked and the background was too plain. The cake was a good idea, but was too small compared to the packages and made the elephant look more balanced than unbalanced. So, I revised the image, and I think it works better, sans cake and with a more textured background. What do you think? The new version will be going into my portfolio next time I update it.

Unbalanced Elephant Take 2

Unbalanced Elephant Take 2

Sunday, November 15, 2009

week three (4 week novel) half way there, maybe

Week Three of the 4 Week Novel*: You’re half way there! If you’re not (like me) keep going! You can still catch up, and so can I! You can make it to the end of your first draft if you Just Keep Writing!! Trust your vision and your creative talent, and whatever you do, Do Not Listen To Your Evil Inner Editor! 

If you’re getting stuck on what happens next, try the tips from week 2, or blow something up and see how your characters react.

I know someone is going to say, “but I’m writing a romance, I can’t blow anything up!” Yes you can. You can blow up their relationship. Jealous ex-boyfriend (or girlfriend), someone flirting with someone they shouldn’t be flirting with, or everyone gets drunk and isn’t sure what happened.
Blow something up for real, or metaphorically. It’s fun to make your characters miserable, because later you can make things better … or not, it’s all up to you :)

*The 4 week novel tips are designed for NaNoWriMo, but could be used any time of the year if you are trying to fast draft a story. This is the fifth post. The others so far were:NaNoWriMo Thoughts and Tips, prepping for the 4 week novel, week one – ready, set, go, and week two – getting unstuck.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Teaser Tuesday – NaNo novel excerpt

My NaNoWriMo novel suddenly changed from third to first person (I usually write in first, so not a shock). I also deleted one of the characters. Since NaNoWriMo is all about forging ahead and upping your word count, I decided not to go back and fix/change things. Instead, I just jumped in with the tense shift and wrote this bit to explain the character’s absence:

“It feels like we’re missing something, or someone.” said Lexa. “Didn’t we have another friend before?” 

“Before what?” I asked.

“Before this. Weren’t there three of us last night?” asked Lexa.

“Huh,” I said. “That sounds vaguely familiar. I think you might be right. Didn’t her name start with an I or something?”

“Yeah, I think you’re right.”

Lexa and I stared at each other for a while, trying to figure out who our missing mystery friend was. If we had been on a cartoon, they would have gone to a close up of our faces, then shown what was going on inside our heads. Tiny little hamsters running on wheels, around and around and around and never coming up with the answer to our question.

“I wonder what happened to her,” I said.

“Who?” asked Lexa.

“The girl we used to be friends with, the one whose name started with an I.”

“Good question. Maybe we’ll never know.”

Maybe plowing forward like this would be a good idea when not doing NaNo too. I love to go back and edit/re-edit so much that it’s hard to keep going sometimes. Plus this scene cracked my evil inner editor up so that he didn’t even mess with me. Anything that does that is worth trying again.

2 paintings: Puppy and Wild (chicken) Thing for WaWe

The Watercolor Wednesdays prompt for this week was to create a child or animal character. When I sat down to paint, this is who showed up.

Happy Puppy!

Happy Puppy!

Does he look familiar? I think he looks a lot like the puppy I did for the Frankenstein prompt and the Halloween character prompt and maybe a little like this puppy too. They are all supposed to be the same kind of dog, so maybe they’re different puppies from the same litter.

The prompt for last week was Wild Thing. Originally I was going to do an image of the characters from the book/movie, but then I decided to do something slightly different in the style of Maurice Sendak. It took a lot longer than I thought it would to complete this painting, and honestly I could have spent another week or so on it to make it look the way I wanted it to look. Since I have other projects that I need to get done, I cut a few corners to finish the painting. There are parts I really like and parts I wish I could have spent the time to do right. I think I’ll be using some of the techniques and the palette in future paintings to see what happens. So, here’s my wild (chicken) thing painting.

Wild Chicken Thing and Max

Wild Chicken Thing and Max

Sunday, November 8, 2009

week two (4 week novel) getting unstuck

Week Two of the 4 Week Novel*: Keep Writing! If you’re stuck, put in some backstory, do a bit of world building, or write a conversation between characters about what should happen next. All of these can be used to keep yourself going in the first draft (or for your word count in NaNoWriMo), as long as you realize that they might need to be cut later.

Or you could ask some questions to get jumpstarted again.
- What’s the main quest that your MC is on and how is she going to achieve it?
- Does your story have a theme or a question it answers?
- What’s the emotional tone of your story?
- Is your MC someone that the reader can care about and identify with?
- Can the reader identify with what’s important to your MC?
- What’s your MC’s secret? Do you reveal this to the reader?
- Do you know the ending of your story yet? Is it the logical conclusion to your story? Is it plausible?
- How does your character grow and change in the story, or do they not grow/change?

*The 4 week novel tips are designed for NaNoWriMo, but could be used any time of the year if you are trying to fast draft a story. This is the fourth post. The others so far were: NaNoWriMo Thoughts and Tips, prepping for the 4 week novel and week one, ready, set, go.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

week one (4 week novel) ready, set, go

Week One of the 4 Week Novel*: Start writing! Don’t stop, don’t edit along the way. Just Keep on writing! Unless …

… you like to edit as you go, like I do. This year during NaNoWriMo, I’m trying something new. I’m printing out my work at the end of each day. Any editing or notes I need to make will be on the printed pages and not in the computer so I can keep writing. I’ll also have a master document to paste my writing in at the end of each day so I don’t get tempted to edit on screen.

If you are like me and have multiple novel ideas you want to write, pick just one for the 4 week novel. Or pick a main novel and don’t work on the other one(s) until you’ve worked on your main novel each day.

*The 4 week novel tips are designed for NaNoWriMo, but could be used any time of the year if you are trying to fast draft a story. This is the third post. The first one was NaNoWriMo Thoughts and Tips, the second was prepping for the 4 week novel.

Flight of Bees

I finished another black and white drawing today. More bees. Lots and lots of bees! Buzz buzz ;)

Flight of Bees

Flight of Bees

Then I decided to add color to see what it would look like. I think it looks good either way. What do you think?

Colorful Flight of Bees

Colorful Flight of Bees

It’s time to get started on my NaNoWriMo novel, then more sketching.