Sunday, May 29, 2011

CPSA Meeting: Plein Air Drawing in the East Mountains

Yesterday I took a drive up to my friend Betty's house, were our local CPSA chapter was gathering for our monthly meeting. Usually we meet in town, but this month Betty invited us out to her house to do some Plein air drawing. We were invited to trek around her property, but being a rather warm day (up to 104°F in town -- WHAT, already?! It's not even June 1st yet), most of us opted to stay in the shade and sketch from her porches. Can you believe this is her back yard?

(the view from the front is equally impressive… frankly, her 360° views are impressive).

And then I started drawing the yard/mountains. (… well, I did a little illustration sketching first… more on that in a few days). These were pretty quick little sketches in my moleskine sketchbook, so I didn't really put time/effort into my full-on burnishing technique. This was mostly just fun practice… playing with line and color. It was so nice to just sit with a group of people and draw together, chatting about this and that - including our mutual love of colored pencils.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Bella Sara Prints: Now available in my Etsy Shop!

Hi, Bella Sara fans! I am now selling signed and dedicated 8x10" glossy prints over at my Etsy Shop. At the moment, I only have Anemone (from the Royalty Series) listed, but any of my Bella Sara characters can be requested, check my Bella Sara page for a full listing!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Illustration Friday: ASLEEP (1)

Hello IFers! I'm planning to do some new original sketches for this theme later, but I couldn't resist posting these two pieces for this week's topic "Asleep". Enjoy folks!

"Deep, dark, sea sleep."
The bowhead whale catches
winkson drifting arctic waves.

"Cold, cavernous, huddled hibernation."
Kodiak bears sleep through chilly winter
months in comfy dens on the islands of
the Kodiak Archipelago in Alaska.

New Print Available at my Etsy Shop: Aesop's Fables

My little Aesop's Fox is for sale as 8x10" prints (with or without title treatment) over at my Etsy Shop! Check it out! Thanks to all the wonderful #NESCBWI11 attendees that voted for this piece!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Announcement: My Etsy Shop is OPEN!

I have an Etsy Shop! Well, I've HAD an Etsy shop for many years, but I've never actually listed anything in it. Today I posted my first four items, all of which are Original Illustrations. You can click on the image above or the My Etsy link in the sidebar on this blog. I have plans to add more prints of my work soon! Check back often!

Whew! It's been a lot of work, but mostly just because it's something new!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

New Work: Sticker Sunday - "Class of 2010"

I apologize for missing Sticker Sunday last week - but I was a little busy. ;)
This week, I'm posting a graduation themed sticker sheet… even though it's from last year's graduation season.
As you can see in the sketch, it started out being a numbers game - a customizable design that would be timesless. But this typical approach to the graduation theme, it just looks boring. Somewhere in development the decision was made to make it specific to 2010, and I really like the results, even though it only got to sell for one season. I'm never actually seen one of these sheets in person, I wonder how the production materials turned out. Guess I'll never know, now. :(

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Life Drawing: In the Southwest

My local CPSA District Chapter had our monthly meeting at the Masterworks Show at the end of April. Among other activities, we had the opportunity to sit and sketch a still life that had been set up by members IN the gallery. It was really quite fun to draw for a bit, get up & walk around the show, and sit back down and chat with other members.

I didn't use my colored pencils, I haven't quite wrapped my head around life-drawing with colored pencils - it's such a graphite or charoal type thing… although I did try it a couple months ago for another life drawing session DC Meeting.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Illustration Friday: SAFARI

Wanted to get this in… just under the wire (in my time zone anyway). This is a fun little idea I came up with that I'd really like to expand on… more to come.

Monday, May 16, 2011

NESCBWI: Aesop's Fables -- Award Winner!

I mean… WOW.
What a whirlwind of a weekend at The NESCBWI Conference: Celebrating Milestones. This was my second visit to the NESCBWI Regional Conference and I have to say it was the most fun, the most informative, most everything SCBWI Conference I've ever been to - and I've been to some great ones. It really does make me feel like New England is my home and I belong there… I've just gotta move back some day because these are my people. (they like me, they really, really, like me!)

Not only was it just an awesome conference experience: the gathering of like-minds, meeting awesome people, meeting several twitter friends in person, learning-learning-learning, absorbing, retaining (hopefully)… but I also earned myself some recognition! In the past, I've always been one of the many attendees, a face in the crowd - a face on an extra-tall frame, yes (I usually have a good view of all the other faces)… but for the most part, anonymous. And for the most part, I like it that way. It was a challenge making myself speak-up and meet strangers. But this year…

I knew a few people going in - People I met last year, people I met via email volunteering to help out with the conference promo art and registration banners (my name was on EVERY FOLDER label at the conference, how cool is that?!), I knew several twitter people that I had met previously, or I just knew would be there so I could look out for them… and I made myself do NEW WORK before I got there - especially my submission for the Poster Showcase Competition.

I've done these competitions before: Everyone comes in with big hopes and dreams (which is great, it's inspiration)… but (speaking for myself, of course) very often, I go in unsure of myself. I forget that there's limited room (submissions), limited time (for viewing/judging), and overall it's all hugely subjective - it has to be. I've often been completely deflated when my art didn't win or wasn't recognized. I've ended up walking away from conferences feeling hugely inspired, by also incredibly down on myself and my art. I was constantly setting myself up for this massive let down - I was taking it personally. The simple fact is, everyone can't "win".

And then I won. I got not one, but two awards. I received 2nd place in the unpublished category from the conference judges, and the HUGE honor of 1st place People's Choice - meaning everyone from the conference that looked at all the poster art submissions and cast a vote for their favorite. I mean, WOW. I could not believe it! I still don't think it's sunk in.

But really, overall… my conference experience was not much different than it's been in the past in the best possible ways: still great people, still awesome presenters & faculty, still making new contacts, still learning… always learning/absorbing. I think the reason I had such a great and what I consider, successful conference is not because I won some awards, but I felt more confident in myself and my work going in. I worked hard (even if it was last minute) and I truly liked what I'd accomplished (which doesn't happen every time - come on we all know every piece we work on isn't always our best) I wasn't afraid to speak to people (I couldn't hide from them really, I had what felt like minor celebrity - so many people stopped me to congratulate me and tell me they'd voted for me - I still don't have words!). I can't quite describe it, but I just felt like I belonged… and I'd actually done quite a lot to get to that point: being on twitter and cultivating relationships there, volunteering, joining a crit group of AMAZING illustrator peers (all of whom at any given time I consider better, more experienced, more confident, or more successful than myself (it's great to have your mentors all around you, calling you a peer. What a major confidence boost, right?).

It wasn't any one thing, but it all made a difference, and I can still feel it all changing me and how I look at things. And I'm still reminding myself that the 1st place winner in Unpublished also, won 3rd in People's Choice, and ALSO won the "Best in Show" award from R. Michelson Galleries, as well as a spot in their upcoming illustration show - Jeanette Bradley was a TRIPLE winner with her beautiful cover submission! ;) Congrats Jeanette, and all the other winners and participants as well! A bunch of brave souls that put themselves OUT THERE!

Monday, May 09, 2011

New Work: Charlie's New Friend

Last weekend, our local SCBWI Chapter sponsered a special Illustrator's Professional Development Day, with art director, Laurent Linn, from Simon & Schuster. It involved working on a picture book project, a double page spread from a text that Laurent Linn supplied (he sent all participants two manuscripts to choose from) -- in advance of the actual event. The process involved getting direct feedback from Laurent at the sketch stage and finished with a 20 minute individual critique on the day of the event.

I chose a story about a shy little pig learning to make new friends. I really wanted to get a strong portfolio piece out of this assignment, and I think I did. I have a LOT of photos and scans from the whole process, which I will post soon - but for now I just wanted to share this with everyone! Enjoy!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

New Work: Sticker Sunday - "Best Mom"

Happy Mother's Day!!
This is a design I did quite a while back but how could I resist posting it ON Mother's Day? It was such a joy to see the actual sticker sample in the shops - the shiny gold foil, the delicate layered vellum flowers, the embossed lettering on the trophy, the diamond gem - it's just so sweet, and perfectly detailed. Of course, I like the lettering I did better than what they used, but since this wasn't a project they asked me to take to vector, I didn't have a say in it. Oh well. Happy Day, Moms!

Sunday, May 01, 2011

New Work: Sticker Sunday - "Young Artist Supplies"

I think the only theme I got for this was "artist" (thus, the title worked into the design). But I wanted to get a little more specific so I decided to go for a generic (in a good way - more universal), elementary school, art supplies look. I wanted it to feel like these were all things you would find when you walked into an elementary school art room - except all these are clean and brand-spanking new supplies. LOL.