Wednesday, August 26, 2015

dog day, pictures of people, portfolio tips, and other news

Today is National Dog Day! This day is to help bring awareness to all the dogs that need rescuing. It seemed like a good day to do some dog sketches, so that's what I did. Here's a sample:

The Illustration Friday prompt this week is: people.

This is a great prompt for me as I've been working to add more people to my portfolio (right now I have a LOT of animals in my portfolio, and a few people too). I have a few new pieces that I'll be adding to my website soon. Until then, I'll give you a sneak peek here. I had two postcards printed for mailing and for the SCBWI LA conference. Both sides of both postcards had people on them! Here's the color postcard front:

And here's the back:

Roberta likes robots and ballet, but isn't as fond of taking baths! She also likes to draw. Here she is drawing on the front of the black and white postcard:

The back of the black and white postcard featured a different girl sharing her snacks with her puppy (which is perfect for national dog day):

I really like the pretzel stamp on this card! I like the robot on the other card too. Too bad the ones I mailed had to have the stamps covered up, but I don't think the post office would mail them with my stamps.

Working on a portfolio?
Here are a couple of posts I've written that might help:

* If you're having trouble figuring out what to draw, here's a post on ten tips to help you choose what to draw and ten ways to find inspiration.

* If you're just starting out, or are trying to get your work to the next level, here's a post I wrote for illustrators on five things that helped me (and will hopefully help you too) on my path to my first picture book.

* If you're an illustrator (or writer) and want to write a picture book, but aren't sure where to start, here's a post on how to write a picture book in twelve easy steps (the title is tongue in cheek, but the post is hopefully helpful)>

In other news:

* Mr. Schu and I talked about picture books, art, reading & EWE AND AYE.  It was fun to finish his sentences!

* Author / illustrator Eliza Wheeler put up an amazing post on moving forward in your art, having fun, and banishing feelings that your work sucks. A must read for artists (and writers) who are having doubts about their work or are trying to push through to the next level.

* Author / illustrator Dani Duck is hosting Smart Dummies in September. It's a month dedicated to helping illustrators create picture book dummies. There will be guest posts (including one from me) and prizes too! Sign up here.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

close encounters of the fur kind and world elephant day

Today is World Elephant Day, a day to bring attention to the plight of Asian and African elephants and help to protect them from the dangers they face. Elephants need our help. One thing you can do to help is to create elephant art and share it on social media (use the hashtag #elegram). The Nature Conservancy is asking for 20,000 handmade elephants and is working with donors to match your artwork with at least $150,000 to work with partners on the ground to protect elephants. You don't have to be an artist. You can doodle, make a sculpture, use cut paper, or any other art materials. More details here.

This is my baby elephant for World Elephant Day and elegrams (it's a 2" x 2" painting I did a few years ago that I still love:

 The Illustration Friday prompt this week is: pointy.

The chicken wouldn't be quite so alarmed if the aliens didn't have pointy ears and teeth, which remind her of storybook wolves. The aliens have pointy teeth (the better to eat you with), and pointy ears (the better to hear you with), and if you could see them, they'd most likely have pointy tails too (the better to thwack you with).

Or maybe she's just the chicken who cried wolf.

This is from one of the new portfolio images I did for the LA SCBWI conference last week, and also from a story I'm secretly working on (though since I mentioned it just now, I guess it's not so secret anymore).

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

ten picture books with art I love

Today* is the annual Picture Book 10 for 10 event (on Twitter: #pb10for10).

 It's hard to choose just ten picture books to showcase! I decided to narrow it down with the theme of books with art I love, which was still hard to narrow down! So, here are ten picture books on my desk** with art that I love:

1. ORANGE PEAR APPLE BEAR by Emily Gravett - I love the seeming simplicity of the word play and the art, and how something that seems so simple can be so rich.

2. NOT A BOX by Antoinette Portis - This is another deceptively simple concept that is anything but simple. It captures the art of imagination in a few lines of text and art.

3. THE GREAT GRACIE CHASE by Mark Teague - I have to admit that this is my favorite book by Mark Teague. There's just something wonderful about Gracie and the way that she and everyone else in this book is painted.

4. WAVE by Suzy Lee - If you've ever been to the beach, this book will bring you back while flipping through the pages. It's the next best thing to being at the beach.

5. MISS HAZELTINE'S HOME FOR SHY AND FEARFUL CATS by Alicia Potter, illustrated by Brigitta Sif - So many awesome cat drawings! A must read for cat lovers and cat artists.

 6. ARE WE THERE YETI? by Ashlyn Anstee - A great title + fun art = a book that begs to be read.

7. COUNTING CROWS by Kathi Applet, illustrated by Rob Dunlavey - The art in this counting book is stunning, from the limited palette (black, white, and red), to the crows and cat.

8. THE BEAR ATE YOUR SANDWICH by Julia Sarcone-Roach - The art in this book is absolutely gorgeous and the story is really fun (and not at all spoiled by knowing who ate the sandwich).

9. WHEREVER YOU GO by Pat Zietlow Miller, illustrated by Eliza Wheeler - This book is a lovely journey both in text and art, and I am in awe of how Eliza's bicycle riding bunny drawings.

10. SUMMONING THE PHOENIX: Poems And Prose About Chinese Musical Instruments by Emily Jiang, illustrated by April Chu - The art and text bring music and Chinese instruments to life.

There's another book on my desk with art I love, but it's not on this list, because I'm totally biased. It's EWE AND AYE by Candace Ryan, illustrated by Stephanie Ruble (yep, that's me - told you I was totally biased). - It's about a sheep and a lemur who both dream of flying, but aren't able to fly until they work together.

* Technically it's still Monday the 10th on the West Coast, and since I just got back from there yesterday, I'm still on West Coast time.

** The picture books on my desk aren't always the same. These are the ones on my desk right now with art that I love. Next week or next month there could (and probably will) be different picture books with art I love.