The latest book I illustrated, Goodnight Football, is set to come out in August, but the publisher, Capstone, has already released a trailer! I think it looks super cool and I can't wait to see the final printed book. I love what they did with the last few seconds...
I'll be starting on illustrating a new book soon and it's time to experiment with some brushes in Manga Studio!
So I spent the last part of 2013 illustrating a book which will be released later this year. Goodnight Baseball (Capstone, 2013) proved to be a home run, so I was recruited to illustrate the next book in the series, Goodnight Football! It was quite the crash course in the rules of the game, but I can safely say I now know how to draw a football helmet from any angle! I'm looking forward to seeing the final product as it's currently being printed up and getting ready for the world to see. Keep an eye out for it as the fall season kicks off later this year!
And since spring is here and little league season is in full swing, take a look at the trailer to Goodnight Baseball:
Hello! What a lovely spring day it is here in southern California! It's 75 degrees and the birds are a' chirpin'!
Now about the "buy a print and help some kinders" part. We all know how gnarly (in a bad way) the current economy is hitting our education system and my son's school is no exception. We enrolled him in an exceptional local charter school with an all-day kindergarten program which gave him a TREMENDOUS head start as he heads into first grade. However, the funds currently available in the school budget has to go toward funding other exceptional programming at his school next year including a separate physical education teacher and a science lab. Unfortunately, the all day kindergarten program is on the verge of disappearing! If we meet our fundraising goal by the end of the school year, however, it can be saved! We would love for all incoming kindergarteners to get the same high quality kindergarten experience as those who came before them did.
So. What is our fundraising goal, you ask? Well...it's...$112,000 dollars. No biggie, right???
Right. So, in order to do my part in helping to meet this goal, I'm going to be donating to our school foundation 100% of ALL proceeds from print sales in my Etsy shop that are sold between today (May 23, 2013) and May 31, 2013.
You can visit my online Etsy shop I recently opened here. I'm hoping you'll browse around and find something you like! :D
I posted a quick video painting demo over on Simply Messing About, a group blog I am proud to be a member of! You can check it out here:
Hello! In case you haven't heard, I'm a participant in a new group blog called Simply Messing About with three other very talented illustrators: Laura Zarrin, Tracy Bishop and Renee Kurilla. We decided to create the blog to share the journeys along our paths of artistic exploration. For myself, I've started to feel a tad disenchanted with creating my illustrations 100% digitally. I'm ready to explore the spontaneity traditional media can bring to my work.
Today, I posted about my interest in writing AND illustrating picture books and the little gem of a book that is helping me along that path. Go check it out! There's tons of amazing information my friends are sharing!
I was recently tagged by the wonderful Courtney Pippin-Mathur to participated in a global book tour called The Next Big Thing. The idea originated in Australia and is basically a cool way for authors and/or illustrators to promote their next or latest book.
On to the questions!
1) What is the working title of your next book?
The title of the latest book I illustrated is "Goodnight Baseball" (Capstone Young Readers, March 2013).
2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
"Goodnight Baseball" book was wonderfully written by Michael Dahl, but I can tell you some of the ideas that went into the illustrations! The book is written in a way that evokes childhood memories of a day at the ballpark, so the Art Director really wanted to incorporate an overall vintage look to the book while keeping it contemporary at the same time. One of the main ways we decided to do this, was to use a color palette similar to that of old baseball cards and other baseball ephemera.
3) What genre does your book fall under?
The book is definitely a picture book aimed at little ones aged 4-8. It's a perfect bedtime read!
4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Oooh! Such a great question! There's only two main characters: I think the dad would be played well by Adam Sandler (not in super-silly mode) and I'm sure there's no shortage of cute little boys out there who would be ideal to play the main character!
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
"Goodnight Baseball" is a warm and gentle book portraying the bond between a boy and his dad as they create life-long memories during a day at the ballpark.
6) Who is publishing your book?
Capstone Young Readers published the book in March of 2013.
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
From the illustration end, this book was done on a pretty quick turnaround. It was somewhere in the region of three months from start to finish.
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
There are a few books "Goodnight Baseball" would pair up with wonderfully. Obviously, "Goodnight Moon" is one and "Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site" is another. All great books for winding down the day.
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
As the illustrator, there were a few things that constantly played in my mind. One is the movie "A League of Their Own". The color palette of that movie screams "vintage baseball" to me and I used a lot of similar reds and greens from that movie in my illustrations. Another inspiration was the memories I have of spending time at Dodger Stadium with my family. Attending baseball games at dusk during an awesome summer evening in Los Angeles provides some serious inspiration!
10) What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?
The book really is designed amazingly well. The Art Director, Bob Lentz, really went to town adding really great details and touches to the covers, endpapers and title page. Also, the story is really so sweet, it's going to make the reader want to snuggle up to their nearest loved one!
A big "thank you!" to Courtney Pippin-Mathur for inviting me to participate! Check out her new book, "Maya was Grumpy" in stores now!
To keep the ball rolling here, I'm tagging my wonderful fellow SCBWI Mentees Eliza Wheeler and Andrea Offerman.
Eliza is very, very close to the birth of her book, "Miss Maple's Seeds" which she wrote and illustrated!
And Andrea recently illustrated "The Broken Lands", written by Kate Milford. Go check them out!
Hello everyone! I've been having a great week, how about you? I've had some fun things going on lately: the latest book I illustrated, Goodnight Baseball, was officially released, I landed a fun, new project (I'll talk more about this later) and an interview I did is out!
The fabulously talented and crafty illustrator Jane Smith interviewed little ol' me on her blog! She's doing an amazing series of monthly interviews of which I am so happy to be a part of. She asked me lots of questions about illustration stuff, like process, agents and balancing life and work. Check. It. Out!
Her blog is at birdmeetsworm.blogspot.com and you can find her fun art at superjane.com!
Also, this Sunday I'm going to be attending the SCBWI-L.A. Writer's Day event. It's my first writing conference (I've been to lots of illustrators events though) and I'm super excited to learn from some pretty amazing industry folks!
I've spent many years now trying to figure out how to illustrate. How to create imagery that captures imaginations and emotions. But until recently, I'd never given much thought to writing. I'm an illustrator.
I always had the mindset that learning my one craft is hard enough. Attempting to try to learn a whole new craft? Nope. Don't have time for that--I'm trying to PAINT here, people!
But during the past year or so, my own stories began bubbling up, festering there in the back of my mind. But, as is typical of my personality, I thought of every reason why I couldn't do it: not enough time, don't know where to start, I'm still trying to figure out this whole "illustrating thing", I'll suck, etc., etc. I knew tackling writing was going to be a hard road. And I was never ready to take it on.
But, lately there have been a lot of signs from the universe that writing is something I should try. (People straight out TELLING you that you need to start writing is a "sign", right?)
So, I finally signed up for a two hour picture book writing workshop at the Huntington Beach Library with Laurie Knolwton. The utterly genuine, generous Laurie Knowlton. She literally handed us gems of invaluable information for the ENTIRE two hour workshop. Really. I've got pages and pages of notes to pore over. Laurie is amazing. And generous. Amazingly generous.
At the end of the class, Laurie had us write down a goal list. And so far, I'm halfway to meeting my "writing" goal for the week! The first order of business was to check out and read a bunch of books from the library. Done. Baby steps, people!
My next order of business is to type up AT LEAST twenty existing picture books that I like (I'm aiming for 50 though). I'd heard before from friends that doing this is a great exercise for the budding writer, but I wasn't ever ready to accept the challenge. Now, I'm ready. I need to learn how to write a story from the ground up and I can't write a proper story until I really get into the nuts and bolts of successful writers' stories. This will be a study with the masters of picture book writing, if you will.
How do I even begin to form a chain of unforgettable words, unforgettable ideas, unforgettable concepts and sounds? And how do I create characters who just might stay with the reader for-ev-er?
Uh, I need to learn a lot.
But I'm ready.
Some people make the mistake of thinking that writing a children's book is easy. I've been to enough SCBWI conferences to know it's not. The fact that picture books contain so little words doesn't make it easy--it makes it HARD. To to be able to tell an engaging, lasting story in a small space is an enormous challenge...an amazingly rewarding one!
So I've got my pile of books ready to be typed up and studied. Here we go!!!
Lately, I've been creating art on my iPad using an app called ASKetch. I stumbled upon this drawing app one night and pretty much fell in love with it. It gives me the outcome I feel I'm missing in my regular work: spontaneity. Lately, I've been struggling with allowing "happy accidents" in my client work and fear that my illustrations are becoming stiff and overworked. This could be a result of becoming co-dependent on Photoshop and it's magical "Ctrl-Z" key combo. I'm know it's also a result of my artistic insecurities, as I spoke about in this recent blog post.
Using ASKetch completely takes me away from overdoing a drawing to the point of it being too slick and polished. For some, that's a great goal, but lately for me, experimentation and getting messy has been a real priority. It's time to branch out and let loose!
The result I get from using this app is a sketchy, charcoal-y piece of art that is a lot more free than my usual work...and I LOVE it! There's a vibrancy,movement and spontaneity that I can only otherwise find using real, tactile media.
My late-night iPad sketches are definitely helping me move in a new and exciting direction! Onward and upward!
Give ASKetch a try--it's fun!
I am an illustrator for the children's market as well as a mother of two little ones. Sleep is for suckers!
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