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…