Monday, April 28, 2014

#BNSelfie (a little fun & silliness)

Having a little fun at work… I've been madly promoting and selling my book (it's so awesome to be able to personally put my book in people's hands every week) —and last week at my Barnes & Noble, my little self-published book made the No. 2 spot on our store's top 5 bestsellers! Second only the the Disney phenom, Frozen… and beating out two wildly popular YA novels, plus a Pulitzer prize winner! #shamelessshelpromotion #bnselfie #ohyeah

Friday, April 25, 2014

The New Mexico Book Co-Op (April)

I can't believe it's been a month already… time is just flying by this year and I can't seem to keep up. So much is happening! I've had a crazy and busy week and I almost decided not to go to this NM Book Co-Op meeting, but then I remembered the topic of discussion: Book Sell Sheets.

I'd never even heard of a sell sheet for books until last month's meeting—and the timing turned out to be perfect for me since I ended up needing one for my own book—the very next day. But I had no idea what I was doing when I put that together and I wanted to find out more.

I have to admit, I was a bit late to the luncheon… I basically skipped the lunch part and arrived just as the talk was starting. This time the entire room was given a chance to introduce themselves and their books (if they had one). Then the guest speaker was introduced: John Hoffsis of Treasure House Books & Gifts, on the Old Town Plaza…

Mixing, Blending, and Burnishing: Colored Pencil Workshop

Photos my helper, Lynn Platow, took around and about the workshop day.

As in MY workshop! My very FIRST workshop.
And, MAN, was I nervous… it it all turned out to be wonderful. :)

The workshop was part of the MasterWorks Show here in NM, you can see from the pictures, it took place right in the show space—surround by gorgeous art to inspire us. I had 12 students, which was the perfect size class for the day. Of course, 3/4 of them were members of my colored pencil group, people whom I knew, and knew me, well. I knew they were all there just to learn how I do what I do, so that  helped ease my nerves I think.

Me and my table FULL of supplies and examples

Here's my class, hard at work!

Friday, April 18, 2014

SCBWI-NM Illustrator's Meeting, April (Illustrator School Visits)

Last week we had our SCBWI-NM Illustrator's group meeting for April.

As usual, at 5pm we started with dinner and socializing at a local cafe.
(My "dinner" consisted of sweet potato fries and a black&white milkshake—yay for special occasions ;) 
Of course, I didn't get to socialize much since I had to sneak away for a quick discussion with SCNWI-NM volunteers (lots of planning to do!), but I got a few minutes in.

At 6pm, the illustrators headed over to Alamosa Books, where Alan Stacy lead a discussion with us about school visits.  Alan grew up in NM, moved to Texas for several years, and recently came back to us. He's been deeply involved with SCBWI for years, and we were so honored he chose to lead this discussion with us.

Alan started doing school visits before he was even published! He was an artist and illustrator, he knew what he wanted to do, and he found a way to get involved—ahead of the game.
He has several recommendations for illustrator school visits:

  • Be prepared, call ahead and make sure the school has any support material you may need: projector, mic, various supplies, YOUR BOOK (if you have one).
  • Find out how much time you have, how many presentations you'll be doing, and how many kids there will be. Talk to the teacher/s, make sure they know as much as possible so they can prepare the kids for your visit.
  • Be interactive—kids crave excitement and attention. You are a ROCK STAR to them, do activities, get them involved, ask them to think!
  • Don't be afraid of failing, you are going to fail! But each time you go for it, you'll gain experience and be better prepared for the next time.
  • Practice: in front of a mirror or with friend's kids. If you're still nervous, work up to it, start with a kid's day or story time at a local library.
  • For K-1st, props work… puppets! Be silly and funny!
  • Leave 10-15 minutes at the end of Q&A or Requests (if you're doing demos/drawing).
  • Have SWAG handouts: bookmarks, pins, etc.
  • Don't limit yourself—think out outside the school; senior groups, convention demos, there are many places to present and get your name out there.

One of our largest groups this year, we had 13 attendees!
Alan has a simple pamphlet with his bio, contact, and descriptions of his
presentations to promote himself for school visits.

That night's Schmooze was focused on SCBWI-NM—who are we as a chapter, where are we're heading, how we might best reach our very diverse membership (from authors and illustrators just starting out to those very well established in the field). 
ARA, Caroline Starr Rose led the discussion; RAE, Chris Eboch, gave us a local history of the group (she's been involved; RA, Linda Tripp, talked about some of the guidelines we have to abide by as part of SCBWI; and I, illustrator coordinator for the region, touched briefly on some of the recent illustrator events and activities. 
I think it served nicely to familiarize our group with our regional history and activities—but when the floor was opened to discussion, we really didn't get much feedback. 
SCBWI is something like 99% volunteer run, we as a group can only get as much out of it as we put into it! I love our local group and volunteers, and I encourage as many members a possible to get more involved. You want something to change, you want a particular event—we want to hear your ideas! Volunteer some of your time, work with us, and make things happen—it will benefit the entire group. :)

A VERY large gathering at Alamosa Books' Reading Room—full house!!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Illustration Friday: ZODIAC

So, this is a bit of a repeat, originally created and posted for Alphabeasts—but totally worth it because I love this piece and it totally applies to this weeks topic. I'm still planning to try do to a new zodiac piece (perhaps a Chinese zodiac, it is the year of the horse!).

Monday, April 07, 2014


Still collecting my random Instagram screen-captures and thinking it's about time I share another batch… only this time, I had a really hard time choosing a theme. There are so many inspirational photos uploaded everyday. I actually ended up collecting a few ideas (and saving some for later), so today I'll share images of (relatively) recent artist workspaces.

I love seeming photos of messy artist workspaces, and not only because it makes me feel less guilty about my own. I just love seeing how other artists work! Materials on the desk/drawing-table, splashes and spatters of paint, whether they stretch their paper or not, or just how many times they draw and re-draw one thing—maybe even how it eventually ends up. And BONUS, workspace images usually include new works-in-progress or a progression of these pieces!

So, here are workspaces from 4 artists I admire greatly: Gina Perry, Julissa Mora, Tony DiTerlizzi, and Cory Godbey. (Singled out because they post on Instagram, I follow them, and they recently posted images of their workspaces). Gina's space looks a lot like mine, cutting mat and all. I love that Julissa is mobile, I used to do that a lot more than I do now and I miss it. I think it's so wonderful that Tony shares works-in-progress as much as he does. I love calligraphy & lettering as well, and the behind-the-scenes of Cory's current project totally feeds that love—check out his Kickstarter to fund this amazing project, Tales from the Wilder Forest. I also enjoy seeing the mess-and-trial of traditional lettering combined with the digital end of putting it all together. And I'm jealous of his cats, I have no studio companions at the moment. :(

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Random ABQ (The First)

So, this is one of the reasons I love my town… the random "strange & wonderful" things that happen. This is a photo I shot the other night, walking down Central Avenue (main street ABQ for the out-of-towners), and there are a couple horses hitched up outside a bar, in the city center, and a movie shooting down the street—not connected to each other in any way, they were just there. Gotta love it.