Saturday, December 01, 2012

PiBoIdMo 2012 - Winner!

I do solemnly swear that I have faithfully executed 

PiBoIdMo 30-ideas-in-30-days challenge,

and will, to the best of my ability, 
parlay my ideas

into picture book manuscripts.

My third year of participating in Picture Book Idea Month (#PiBoIdMo) was another success. And, once again, I find myself thinking… this is really something I should do more regularly – keep a PB idea list going all year long. I still haven't found a way to make it a regular practice, but I think it'll definitely be on my 2013 Resolutions to find a way to make this happen!

And of course, I'm interested in the follow-through of the these ideas. Even if they're only dummies, turning these ideas into completed books is the next big challenge!

I can't believe it's been a whole year since the last PiBoIdMo, and here we are at the end of another one. I've done a lot in the past year, including completing my first finished picture book (as illustrator only), signing on with an illustration agency, visiting the SCBWI-LA Conference for the first time (and as an SCBWI Volunteer), and reading over 200 picture books (as a self-study project to just read more PBs regularly - I posted about it here and here). I did start writing a few of my own picture books, but haven't gotten very far with them yet. I keep stopping myself. It's the one step I haven't figured out how to approach, but I  continue to try and in the meantime – I'm keeping the new ideas rolling in and ready for me when I do figure out the right process for myself, to write AND illustrate my own stories.

Friday, November 09, 2012

New Work & Show Opening Tonight!

Hello!… 3.75"x3.75" - a brand new mixed media experiment.

It's time for our local New Mexico CPSA District Chapter Annual Show again, generously hosted by the Old School House Gallery! I submitted three pieces this year, including my Sleep Bears piece and these two new pieces. I hope to see a great crowd there tonight!

Snow Buddies… 5"x7" - some of you may recognize this as the
original drawing used for my Christmas card last year.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Pencil Nubbins: What to do?

I'm giving the advice/tutorial blog post a try – let me know if you like it!

nubbins, nubbins, everywhere

Being a colored pencil artist, I've developed quite a collection of pencil nubbins - you know, the stubs left over when you just can't sharpen them anymore? For most colored pencil brands, this generally isn't too much of an issue, they're pretty cheap and easy to replace. But there's still a lot of waste involved, not only in the nubbin ends, but tip breakage and leads that creak inside the barrel. It's frustrating!

In the last few years though, I've upgraded my pencil stock to Caran d'Arch's Luminance 6901 pencils. These are the créme de la créme of colored pencils (IMHO). There are all kinds of technical and longevity benefits to using these pencils, besides the brilliant smooth color and ease of use in burnishing and blending. They have the best light-fast ratings on the market (probably the #1 reason color pencil is looked down upon as an artistic medium) and there's a lot less breakage inside the pencil. Unfortunately, these advantages show through in the price, about $4 per pencil. It usually adds up to a  a small fortune for me when I'm restocking. So I want to save & use every little bit I can.

There are lots of pencil extension tools on the market, but most of these products can be made from household items and scraps if you have the drive, know-how, and time to experiment and find what works for you.

some current consumer products to aid in pencil extension
the tools i use

I've always made my own pencil extenders from used-up ball point pen tubes. Just remove the pen tip & ink well from one end, and the cap from the opposite end. These tubes are general a bit smaller that the barrels of colored pencils, so depending on your level of comfort, you can either chew the end of the pen tube until it's flexible enough to wedge a pencil in (just let it set for a bit and you can easily exchange pencils) –or– use a candle flame to soften the pen-tube ends and expand them with an awl or screw driver and gradually enlarge the openings on either end, until the pencil fits snuggly. As long about about a quarter inch of the pencil fits in the tube, it should offer sturdy use.

However, no matter what you use to extend your pencils, you eventually get to a point where you can't sharpen them anymore, they're just too short to hold AND turn a sharpener. I've ended up with tons of little nubbins of the colors I use most. *I never throw them away - I've used them in craft projects and various other things… but ideally, I'd like to find a way to use them up in my artwork! When I saw the Glu-it To-it product online, I thought it was a pretty clever solution, but being the thrifty/crafty artist I am, I thought it might be a pretty easy thing to make myself (and by that I mean I KNOW someone that works with wood regularly, has scraps and know-how – and I asked him if this would be a relatively easy project: he did, thanks Dad!). 

It's a simple concept, a narrow wood block with a pencil-barrel-size channel cut in it, and one area hollowed out as a waste/glue-drip well (so your pencil doesn't end up clued inside the channel). Simply put a little crazy glue on one end and hold the ends together until the glue sets (which is pretty quickly). Now you can keep sharpening the nubbin all the way to the end!  

this is how it works

There does come a point when there's so little of the glue left that the joint breaks, but in my first try it lasted until the very tip, which saved me about ¾" of pencil. That doesn't sound like much, but I either go through a LOT of pencils where these nubbins add up (white for instance, I probably have one or two whole pencils worth of white nubbins) … or I run down to a nubbin of color I'm currently using and I need to order another that will take a few days to arrive – using this technique just might hold me over until the replacement arrives!

So, did you find this post helpful & informative? I hope so… because I really should be working on a few other projects and the "procrastination blog-post monster" took over! ;)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

PiBoIdMo 2012!

So, I haven't posted in a few weeks, it's just been madly busy. But it's that time of year again, and time to spread the word — PiBoIdMo 2012 is upon us! 

So get out your pens, notebooks, or computers ready and head over to to find out more about PiBoIdMo. This will be my third year participating. I'm not much of a writer (yet), but I'm so thankful the month-long guest blog posts, inspiration, and support PiBoIdMo provides. I have 60 ideas just waiting for me to turn them into amazing books thanks to the driving force of this event and I'm about to add 30 more. I can't wait!

Sign yourself up here or just follow-along privately on your own.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Reading & work… reading & work…

It's been a pretty hectic week… I'm working on several rather large illustrated map projects – which I love, but they seem to be all-time-consuming, leaving with very little energy to check in here and often as I'd like. That and I've been going through an "I-hate-everything-I-draw period" which is always frustrating.

But in the meantime, I've still been reading plenty of picture books, more than 10 this past week.

  • DANNY AND THE DINOSAUR – Syd Hoff  *from Steven Malk's list (LASCBWI12)
  • THE PHILHARMONIC GETS DRESSED – Karla Kuskin / Marc Simont *from Steven Malk's list (LASCBWI12)
  • THE SNOWMAN – Raymond Briggs Classic, what more can be said? *from Steven Malk's list.
  • CHRYSANTHEMUM – Kevin Henkes *from Steven Malk's list (LASCBWI12)
  • I'LL FIX ANTHONY – Judith Viorst / Arnold Lobel *from Steven Malk's list (LASCBWI12)
  • MISS NELSON IS MISSING – Harry G. Allard Jr. / James Marshall *from Steven Malk's list (LASCBWI12)
  • TED – Tony DiTerlizzi 
  • WILD ABOUT BOOKS – Judy Sierra / Marc Brown 
  • BADGER'S FANCY MEAL – Kieko Kasza 
  • THE DOG THAT CRIED WOLF – Kieko Kasza 
  • SCAREDY SQUIRREL – Melanie Watt 
  • TOOT & PUDDLE, A PRESENT FOR TOOT – Holly Hobbie *from Steven Malk's list (LASCBWI12)
  • WHAT NEWT COULD DO FOR TUTLE – Jonathan London / Louise Voce 

  • IN THE RABBIT GARDEN – Leo Lionni 
  • THE ALPHABET TREE – Leo Lionni 
  • INCH BY INCH – Leo Lionni 
  • CYRUS THE UNSINKABLE SEA SERPENT - Bill Peet *I am a long time, huge, Bill Peet fan from childhood. Every time we went to a book store I looked for a new Bill Peet book. *from Steven Malk's list.
  • AUGUSTINE – Melanie Watt 
*I'm in the middle of one of my first official responsibilities as SCBWI-NM's Illustrator Coordinator: organizing a 2013 Illustrator's Day event for our region. Patti Ann Harris, from Little Brown and Company Books for Young Readers, has graciously agreed to come visit us in NM next year and we're currently planning the event together. As part of this process, I've been reading up on some of Patti Ann's other SCBWI appearances – including the big SCBWI Winter conference in New York, beautifully recapped by my friend Leeza Hernandez here, and SCBWI-Austin, as well as some of the books she's worked on:
  • SHARK VS. TRAIN – Chris Barton / TomLichtenheld 
  • DAVE THE POTTER – Laban Carrick Hill / Bryan Collier 
  • WHEN BOB MET WOODY – Gary Golio / Marc Burckhardt 
*Books I already own/have read, that are also part of Patti Ann's list:
ME… JANE – Patrick
DINOTRUX – Chris Gall

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Reading Picture Books, Sans Kid/s

So, I've be a "pre-published" picture book illustrator for more years than I'd like to admit (shortly to to be remedied, hangin' in until November-ish, I think). But after Steven Malk's talk at the the SCBWI LA conference since summer, I brought home his "30 PICTURE BOOKS THAT YOU NEED TO KNOW" list and I realized that I really don't read enough picture books. Sure I always pick up a few when I walk into any bookstore, but that's all haphazard and casual, not a conscious effort. So, along with a couple of my critique group partners, I've decided to work picture-book-reading-time into my weekly routine. The goal is at least 10 per week, but sometimes it's more and sometimes it's less, I just fit in what I can. The library is such a blessing. I have to say, the Hold/Inter-Library-Loan system makes it a lot easier for me, even if I do look funny running in and out of the library with massive piles of picture books and no kid attached. I hit the limit a couple weeks back when I checked out my 50th book (that's 50 books checkout AT ONE TIME … *although it took me a couple visits to reach that ;), oops!
So, here are some images to catch you all up on the several weeks this has been going…

Library session #1

Library session #2
+ a small Crockett Johnson book-a-thon

Library session #3
a MASSIVE Leo Lionni book-a-thon
*can you tell I'm also reading The Girl with the Brown Crayon?

Bookstore Session #1, for some fresh new flavors!

Library session #4
+ some more Crockett Johnson love
*starting to mix in suggestions/books my crit partners are reading

Library session #5
+ mixing in suggestions/books my crit partners are reading
*also re-read two childhood-favorite classics, just 'cause I love them

Saturday, September 22, 2012

iFri Afternoon (9/21)

Kind of a whirlwind week here … including fun design projects (super-cute booklets and maps!), quotes and contracts for illustration projects (not as much fun, cough-cough), and diving into the World of WordPress (not unlike some torture devices I've heard of)! AH!
I'm lucky to end each and every week with a scheduled Friday afternoon Illustration Friday session at a local coffee house with my colleagues at Tangerine Café. Although yesterday's #iFri session turned out to be more of a wordpress workshop, I'm not complaining – that stuff will come in handy!
I grabbed a new sketchbook (not moleskin, shocker!) and doodled until I filled a page, testing out some new pen & pencils samples I got last week at a CPSA meeting with Prismacolor Rep, Shelley Minnis. Most of this is stream-of-consciousness / idea generating chicken-scratch – but a solid idea did take root and I hope to keep working on it today at our regularly scheduled monthly CPSA meeting (CPSA-DC219, ABQ).

Sketching for #ifri for a change!!

So, this talking about stuff I'm doing thing, here on the blog – do you like it? Is this stuff even remotely interesting in the least? I've never really used the blog of discussion before, it's always just been a way to share sketches and extras that aren't 'portfolio' work.
After a crazy-busy summer work schedule and ignoring my blog for 3 months, I'm trying to make an effort to post here more often – especially since I discovered I have nearly 40 people subscribed to it!  (thanks folks!) Let me know what you think. ;)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Conference Experience: SCBWI-LA 2012

Peace, Love and Children's Books… what a wild whirlwind ride it was. It started out with a couple amazing coincidences, like meeting one of my online critique group partners for the first time in-persion, Alice Rattarree, on my flight. The plane was packed, but we managed to get a whole row to ourselves as we poured over each others portfolios and giddily discussed our plans for the conference. Then we ended up on a shuttle with Deborah Underwood, author of The Quiet Book and The Loud Book… I mean come on, what a way to start!?

Fabulous Peeps: Alice Rattarree, Deborah Underwood,
Leeza HernandezDiandra Mae, and Amy Farrier

The moment I got the the hotel though, I was already late for the big RA meeting… oh, I don't think I ever got around to mentioning that here. I officially became the SCBWI-NM Illustrator Coordinator this spring. So, in addition to attending the conference, I was also volunteering and helping out – it's the best way to experiences these events, IMHO. ;) At the meeting there was a secret practice for our upcoming hippie-hop flash-mob… it really says something about these SCBWI people that just being around them totally motivated me to participate. ;)

Even more fabulous peeps: Kelly Light, Brian Bowes,
Bonnie Adamson, and Jennifer L. Meyer

Then came three fully packed/overwhelming/inspiring/motivating/exhausting days that I can barely begin to describe. It's taken a month and a half just to process enough to post about it!

I met two other Melindas, both writers. Melindas Unite!

The Hippie-Hop extravaganza, including (but not limited to)
fabulous peeps: Priscilla Burris, Sue Rankin,
and Debbie Ridpath Ohi

There was awesome Portfolio Showcase where amazing illustrator, Juana Martinez-Neal, took home the top honor. There were also amazing faculty members like, Tony DiTerlizzi, Arthur Levine, Dan Gutman, Antoinette Portis, Jon Klassen, Steven Malk, Laura Godwin, and Melissa Sweet and those are just the ones I got to see – there were so, so many more! About the only negative thing I have to say is that it wasn't possible to see and participate in ALL the wonderful events that happened at SCBWI-LA 2012.

From Tony DiTerlizzi's presentation

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Catching-up at Summer's End…

It's been a long, distracting summer here. There's been so much going on, I obviously haven't had much time to keep up with the blog. But here are some of the biggest news items…

I have a new agency representing me! I'm very happy to have joined up with the nice folks over at Beehive Illustration, out of the UK. I'll also have a page in their annual catalog coming out next year, featuring several new pieces from another project I finished this summer…

Beehive Illustration Agency, UK

The Zoo's Annual Piggyback Race is a picture book project I worked on over the summer. It was just so much fun, and the best part is being DONE! I did all the illustration, as well the layout and design. The book is currently in production, so stay turned – I'll be spreading the word when it becomes available for purchase.

New book work complete! Look for news later this fall.

New book work: sneak peeks!

And last but not least, I finished a private fantasy commission piece as well. At 16"x 20, it's the largest completely colored pencil piece I've ever done.

Fantasy commission
I also went to the big SCBWI conference in LA. I've been to the big NYC Conference and several Regional conferences before, but visiting LA was a first for me. But I'll have more on that in my next post… 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

I Miss My Blog…

I've been MIA on my own blog for about two months now. It's very distressing, but it's all for good reason. I'm madly working away on a picture book project! I can't wait to share it all, I'm actually working on the last few pieces right now.

I'm also getting ready for the upcoming Society of Children's Books Writers & Illustrators Summer Conference in LA - in less than two weeks!! AHH!

All this has really limited my time to work on personal projects, including my Drawing Morning Pages and my plans for Alphabooks characters.

So, I thought I post a little sneak peek preview from my book and post this little note to check in here, because I've been really missing my posts here!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

AlphaBooks A - Aravis Tarkheena

Monday marked the start of AlphaBooks, the new weekly challenge by Ben TowleAndrew Neal & Rich Barrett.

"AlphaBooks is the name of the game. We will be drawing ficitonal characters from books every week - one for each letter of the alphabet. On the first day (Monday, May 21), everyone will draw characters whose names start with the letter “A.”  The following monday, we’ll draw characters whose names start with the letter “B.” And so on!"

Continuing in the flavor of my AlphaBeast series of detailed black & white sketches with an element of story and/or background, I originally thought I would choose all (or mostly) animal characters from books… because, well… that's my thing. And although Aslan was on my list of ideas, I had accidentally looked at the AlphaBooks page and saw he had already been claimed… more the once. So I went for a lesser known, but still a strong character from the Chronicles of Narnia, Aravis from The Horse and His Boy. An exempt from Wiki:

Aravis is a young Tarkheena, a female member of the ruling nobility of Calormen. With her horse, Hwin, who is revealed to be a talking beast from the land of Narnia, she flees from her home, in her brother's armor, in order to escape an arranged marriage. Aravis is a strong character, whose confidence, bravery and loyalty are offset by arrogance and self-centeredness. She is also an amazing storyteller.
It's been years since I read the book, but it's one of my Narnian favorites. I knew I wanted to do more than just a 'portrait', but not necessarily a 'scene' from the book. After looking up visual references (below) to get the ideas for her overall dress going, I just started doodling and eventually found a pose/situation that suggested a more than a mere portrait would.

Rough Sketches, looking for ideas… "hit it" over on the right.

Original unedited scan, col-erase pencil
References include various web & movies!
Any excuse to watch a movie, I tell you. ;)

So, what do you think of my Aravis? Does she look like her description?

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Drawing Morning Pages (Doodle Edition 84)

May 04-07, 2012

Some Behind-the-Drawings Thoughts:

5/04 - An homage to Carter Goodrich, who I discovered randomly from an Amazon spam-mail. His background in in animation, but he's done a ton of illustration all over the place, from picture books to New Yorker covers. Really, really impressive work. In this particular piece, I love the monochromatic color of the background & the subtle textures. Lovely.

5/05 - My morning coffee in a giant M cup. Just playing around with markers and drawing from life. This happen to be the very last page in this, Sketchbook #7 of Drawing Morning Pages.

5/06 - A new Sketchbook (#8). I like to feature text a bit more on these first pages of a new book, mainly because this is were I put my contact information in case the book is lost or misplaced. I also like to note the time span the book will encompass (I've never actually counted, but it's 2+ months total - spanning 3 calendar months). So, often this layout ends up being very 'designy'.

5/07 - Illustration Friday, "Hitched". Two concepts I wasn't really wild about, but drew anyway. Just playing around - I never posted them.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Drawing Morning Pages (Doodle Edition 83)

Apr 30-May 03, 2012

Some Behind-the-Drawings Thoughts:
4/30 - Didn't have any ideas today, so I just started making marks on the page. I remember I was watching Bones on tv… and somewhere along the line it started to look like a board game. Where the mind wanders…

5/01 - April Photo-A-Day Challenge, my complete (Instagram) photos. Some of my favorites are the 'moth before the storm' (NM had record numbers of moths this year - swarms of them - I took this picture before the onslaught), the progression of my blooming amaryllis flower (I took TONS of photos of it, 2.5 made into the challenge themes), awesome NM Skies (always), Younger Me with the tomboy bowl-cut, and the stark electrical lines at sunset.

5/02 - This was an interesting one. I decided to try and draw without looking at the page. Instead, I felt my way around with my hand/palm. I wasn't trying to draw anything specific, just trying to get covered age around the page. They turned out to be pretty interesting abstractions… perhaps I should try it with color sometime.

5/03 - Watercolor. I don't often use it in these Moleskine sketchbooks (the paper just doesn't accept it well, coated), but every once in a while I like to play with water media. These are various items in and around my living room (including the amaryllis seed-pod… after the bloom). I really like how the watering can turned out… I like the idea of watercolor sketches, and the fact that I'm so-not-good at it makes me think I should try it more often

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Drawing Morning Pages (Doodle Edition 79)

Apr 14-17, 2012

Mind numbed - busy, busy, full-time drawing work days mean I just don't want to think during my DMPs. And yes, I actually, inadvertently drew Apr 16 upside-down.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Drawing Morning Pages (Doodle Edition 77)

Apr 06-09, 2012

Missed a day due to delay on starting a specific sketch… UGH the need for perfection is ANNOYING sometimes!

Friday, April 06, 2012

Drawing Morning Pages (Doodle Edition 76)

Apr 02-05, 2012

Some Behind-the-Drawings Thoughts:
4/02 - Honestly, I didn't have any ideas on this day. I did a blue and red border and left it for two days… then I started drawing in these banners. I'm working on a private commission that includes a flag with a message in latin, I love banners & flag messages, so that's probably where this came from… but still I didn't know what message I wanted to put on them. I finally visited the "Quotes of the Day" page and found a Paul Gauguin quote at the top of the list for April 2. I don't necessarily agree with the statement… but I guess I did technically plagiarize this quote. LOL ;)

4/03 - I was mentally exhausted on this day as well - I started doodling with my markers with no real idea where it was heading… when I finished I had a very nice "background" and considered leaving it as is. But it didn't feel "done" so I let it sit for another day and randomly lit on the idea of silhouettes - as I thought they were something that would work nicely with the decorative patterned background, without coving it up completely. I chose to do children because I have a goal to get better/more comfortable drawing people, particularly children. With photography such a ubiquitous tool these days, I miss the tradition of family silhouettes. I say, bring 'em back - handmade by a family member/s, people!

4/04 - Got some new inks today and just played with them. I made a little informal chart to document what the colors look like on paper and lo and behold, the Teal and Aqua are practically the same color - so I'll be returning the teal and getting either another purple or a brown - DECISIONS! Anyway, I pasted that paper into my sketchbook here, and did a wash on the opposite page. Later in the day when it was dry, I let the colors guide me in the direction for the drawing I did over it.

4/05 - Last weekend I did an observational drawing demonstration at a local independent bookstore. I've never taught drawing before - I didn't understand how to TEACH something I just DO everyday. I never thought about breaking it down into parts, from the beginning. So, in order to prepare, I read some online articles on teaching drawing, I found this one particularly useful. It served as a reminder for myself as well… and this day I decided to draw from life, an amaryllis bud I've been admiring everyday with multitudes of photos on my iPhone. I started with several overlapping blind contour drawings in shades of red - each one a slightly rotated version of the buds. Then I drew a detailed sketch on the facing page (using col-erase red & regular graphite pencils)… and used up a dying brown marker for the background. Lots of notes here too. Almost feels like an official nature journal!

Monday, April 02, 2012

Drawing Morning Pages (Doodle Edition 75)

Mar 29-Apr 01, 2012

Some Behind-the-Drawings Thoughts:
3/29 - I've been very busy and distracted with concepts and heavy thinking over the last few days… when that happens, lots of patterns & scribbles start showing up in my sketchbook. Less thought, more line.
3/30 - I drew this while watching some friends play poker. I'm not a poker player myself, but I was invited and I went. It was actually very interesting to watch and listen. It was also very warm weather, so my thoughts were of spring (or the lack there of - seems to be either summer or winter here).
3/31 - More heavy thought - I just wanted to fill a page here - I was playing with the line quality of my brush-tip fountain pen, then went back in with a charcoal colored brush marker. I just love the 'flaws' of a brush.
4/01 - I've been keeping up with the fat mum slim monthly photo-a-day challenges on instagram. A bit irregularly, but keeping up nonetheless. This is my third mini-photo spread of a month's worth of photos. I'm a very nostalgic person, I love looking at moments in time - and I'm actually really looking forward to rediscovering these collections years from now… and the sketchbook drawings too. LOL!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Drawing Morning Pages (Doodle Edition 74)

Mar 25-28, 2012

Some Behind-the-Drawings Thoughts:
3/25 - Didn't have a plan for today's drawing, so I decided to work on figures. I don't do that much, and I tend to draw very tight so I wanted to combine the practice of loose, expressive sketching with child figure poses.
3/26 - I decided to draw with a limited color palette today - three marker colors and and no pre-sketching with col-erase - and I just let the colors determine what I drew. I started out with the border and for some reason I felt a boat needed to be inside it… the boat led to the mermaid on the next page (that and I was drawing mermaids a few days ago … I'm toying with a more refined idea, and I think it's subconsciously coming out on these sketchbook pages).
3/27 - My neighborhood got new (massive) recycle bins today, that came with a specific list of recyclables and non-recycleables. So, in an effort to learn them, I started drawing and writing the DOs and DON'Ts here. Although I'm frustrated that I can't recycle glass anymore… that seems stupid.
3/28 - A long day left my mind blank today, but when I sat down to draw I flipped on a PBS show about new Mayan discoveries, it just inspired me to start doodling in that very distinctive mayan carving style.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Drawing Morning Pages (Doodle Edition 73)

Mar 21-24, 2012

So, on my last post I got some good questions from my friend John Lechner about my process on these sketchbook pages. So I'm going to try to answer them here…

How do you think of what to draw each day?
Well, usually it's pretty random. Sometimes I try to take the day itself into consideration… is it a holiday? Is it a special occasion? Sometimes I pull from things I heard or saw that day (on the radio, on tv, driving around town). Sometimes I start with a kind of theme in mind and just let the pencil go and see where it takes me… for instance, on 3/22 (the lounging girl above), I just started with a nouveau style border and NO IDEA what I was going to draw inside it. Sometimes I have an idea of something I want to practice, that's why I've been drawing a lot more people lately. I LOVE drawing animals, people have never been as interesting to me, but I'm trying to change that.

How do you decide what medium to use?
I really just try to keep things mixed up. I do admit, I prefer dry media - pencils, markers, etc. I break out the paints and ink jars from time to time… but I do have a tendency to be impatient with wet media. There's a certain lack of control that frustrates me… for instance on 3/23 I got the bright idea of drawing with some waste printer-ink (inkjet printers waste SO MUCH ink). I recently installed external waste-ink reservoir bottles on my printer because it's gotten to the point where the internal ones are filled and ink was regularly spilling out the front of it when I printed. These bottles make it really easy to see how much ink is being wasted and they're easily removed - so I can dip in brushes and fountain pens. It was kind of fun, but the ink SOAKS into the paper, have to be conservative with it on the page… it bled through in a couple places, so I was forced to use an acrylic foundation painting on the next page to cove up the spots. And of course, on acrylic I couldn't sketch out ideas first, so I just had to give a go at drawing some stuff out of my head in marker, with nothing to follow & no erasing (I'm listening to the Mansfield Park audiobook and went on a bit of a Jane Austen film binge over the weekend, LOL).

How much time do you spend on each one?
This is where things vary greatly… I can spend anywhere from 10 minutes to several days on each page. I think the average is between 1 & 2 hrs though. Guestimates for these:
3/21 - under 2 hrs
3/22 - 2+ hrs
3/23 - under 2 hrs
3/24 - under 2 hrs

What I find really interesting, is how I can develop ingrained associations with where or when or what I was doing while drawing some of these pages. Others I completely forget. When I reach the end of each book, sometimes I'll go back and make a little note on the pages that have strong memories of where I was or what I was doing (watching/listening to a specific tv show or on a plane, for instance) while I was working on it.