Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tomie de Paola award entry, update and previously hidden sketch revealed!

Oh, the intrigue! The drama!
I have completed my piece for the T. de P. award.... well, in any case, I'm done with it. I had been considering the possibility of re-doing it completely with a different colour scheme, about doing it again in a different style... but in the end, I wound up fussing with it so much, I couldn't tell whether it was good, trite, dull, a mess, abysmal, an insult, what have you... but I really wanted to move on to something else. I went to the SCBWI site to check out the entry process...reread the passage selected...and realized, to my horror, that, although I HAD read the passage, I had rather inconvienently forgotten one of the few indications of any kind of specific colours to be used in the composition. I had made her scarf blue, when it was specifically noted in the passage that it was red. I had made one of her dresses red. And so, work continued... and I have learned a valuable lesson. Do not trust that you 'know what it says'...even if it IS something that you have read more than once or twice...print it out. Sigh. Repainting over gouache is not the best thing...but think that this colour scheme is perhaps better than the original- it's not actually much different, although the blue of her dress is brighter than the original blue of her scarf; I like it more.
And so... for your amusement-
First, a cropped scan of the pencil drawing. (As you will see, I am still not sure where to 'cut' this piece)- looking at this crop again, maybe this would be the best? Hm...

And first the WHOLE page, and then a few different crops of the final painted piece (original colour scheme) (sorry, didn't make any scans in the interim!):

...and now, after the colour adjustment:

That last one is the closest to the cropped version in pencil above...I'm definitely leaning towards it or the second-last one; definitely not the full page. I like the increase in verticality in the last crop (I've always been partial to the tall and thin picture- one of my Asian influences, I suppose) and the minimization of the adult figure. In all of the versions, the perspective is somewhat unusual (you don't usually see a cut-off figure) and I think/hope that it emphasizes the child's perspective- and also the arbitrariness of her experience (led by invisible adult forces who knows where). As I've said though, I've lost all perspective/objectivity when it comes to this one...what do you think? (Here I am talking to actual readers, not the internet robots who spam me mercilessly with pseudo-information about any number of drugs that I could buy online!).
I have been thinking about- and the next post will feature some experimentation along these lines- doing some work in a slightly different style; a style more like the way that I sketch (what my first-year university prof Tony Doctor referred to as my 'El Greco' style).
More to come!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Tomie de Paola award entry, progress

I am somewhat hesitant to post all of my work in progress for my entry- can't decide whether this is reasonable or paranoid.  A little of both, mayhaps?  I really got down to work this week, believing the deadline to be the 5th of December, not the 15th- which, as I discovered today, is the actual deadline.  Deadlines really work for me... when I have a deadline, I make decisions, I get things done- not that I don't without a deadline, but I somehow find a way to prolong things...not through any lack of motivation or effort.  My book, for example- I fuss and fiddle and put things aside so that I can 'think' about them and ostensibly find the 'perfect' solution...and I never, ever manage to just bang out a page within a day, or two days the way I can if I HAVE to.  I don't really know how to make my self-imposed deadlines as REAL to me as an externally imposed deadline, I really don't... Anyone else have this problem?  Any suggestions would be muchly appreciated! 
In any case, I am quite pleased with my progress thus far.  I am going to incorporate a pattern, surprise surprise... I envisioned what I realize are actually quite eastern european flavoured floral-botanical patterns, although Heidi is set in the Swiss Alps, I still think that  it works...here are some of my pattern experiments:

I tried turning this into a regular repeat; this attempt shows just the framework and no petals, leaves, etc.:

However, I realized that this was too 'regular', not quite what I had envisioned.  I want to use this pattern ON the mountain they are ascending, so I wanted it to look a little more like actual plant life... something more like:

That was more like it... but finally I decided to go with this one:

I've since transferred it to the drawing...which no, sorry,  I've decided I'll wait to show you in its various stages only after it's all finished and sent in.  That will be soon enough; I'm ready to make with the gouache.  I'm going to (try to) pretend that I don't realize that the deadline is actually the 15th.  I'm having fun with this; it's going well.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The brilliance of Otto Dix, beautiful architecture, general discouragement, new and ongoing projects

 So...as you can see, I'm posting once again on my OLD blog... it doesn't seem as though I'm getting quite the same traffic on my new blog attached to my website...but if you want to read the posts that you've missed AND subscribe to/bookmark my 'new' blog, here is the link:  NEW BLOG (and I will be unspeakably pleased as well!)

What has been going on? Well, I’ll start where I left off- I was anticipating my visit to the Otto Dix exhibit now up at the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts. This is a show that I have been waiting and hoping to see for twenty years, and it was as good as I was hoping it would be. I was happy to see several luminous and beautifully detailed not-quite caricature portraits that I had never seen in reproduction, and I was particularly impressed by a striking series of etchings inspired by Francisco de Goya’s Los desastres de la guerra (and, more importantly, by own experiences during WWI). VERY good show; I will certainly go back for another look. I have always loved Dix, I admire his astonishing talent too much to even be able to be envious of it.
Then… I was off to Windsor and Detroit to run the Detroit Marathon (no, no, du calme…I did NOT win)…however, it was a great experience and I’ll certainly do it again. Besides the run, though, I had a great time as a tourist in Detroit- the day before the race I was able to go on a tour of my very favourite building in the world, the Union Trust Guardian:

…and here I am with the enthusiastic, witty, charming and knowledgeable head concierce of the Guardian Building, Mr. Christopher Roddy:

Have I mentioned how much I love Detroit? We stayed in the recently restored Book Cadillac Hotel (now the Westin Book Cadillac); the exterior has been beautifully restored; the interior, while not restored to its former state, is chic and modern and tasteful- it’s fine. We also went on a tour of Hitsville U.S.A., the Motown Museum (something that I’d meant to do for years and years while I LIVED in Windsor, but you know how it is when you COULD go to see something ANYTIME!), which was also animated by a tour guide who was, well, ANIMATED. Love Motown. Finally, a bus tour of the course covered a large swath of the city….a great, great day.
Since my triumphant return I’ve been continuing to work on sending out packages to publishers- I’ve been doing research on some smaller publishers, which might be a better fit (and more likely to pay attention to/consider me). I’ve been continuing to work on my Montréal card/print project, with somewhat disappointing-to-me results. I’ve become quite discouraged over it, in fact… I’ve been feeling recently that I haven’t done anything that I really think is good in a while (sigh). So, I’ll put that aside for the moment. I’m beginning work on an entry for the Tomie dePaola award given by SCBWI- the gist is that you produce one illustration for a passage chosen by the illustrious Mr. dePaola. This year’s passage is the opening passage of Joanna Spyri’s classic, Heidi. So, I’m now percolating ideas for that- the deadline is the 15th of December. After that, I’ll continue working on the book dummy. As a matter of fact, SCBWI has another annual competition- this one for a grant- for an unpublished book dummy (or series of 10 completed illustrations). The deadline for that one is in February. Plenty to keep me busy for the next little while. Must also get back into diligently ‘building my web presence’ and recommence my pestering of various people via email in earnest. Wish that I had an agent to do all of this self-promotion stuff… it’s a grind. Alas.
Stay tuned for sketches for my Heidi submission!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

...a couple more sketches for Montréal project

The past couple of weeks have been busy, busy, busy...have started a new (day) job whilst still employed at the old one; seems pleasant enough so far but am suffering a bit of mental overload due to lack of time available to devote to illustration projects, i.e. my REAL work. Nonetheless, I am finally posting another couple of sketches that I managed to execute:

 This is the old Orange Crush factory on avenue du Parc, between Van Horne and Bernard. This is the kind of detail that I love the most- this was a factory, a no-nonsense building with a purpose and no practical need for ornament- and yet here it is. Beautiful. I'm definitely going to include this.

 This one is an okay sketch but an unsatisfactory scan- apologies! But I'll describe what is lacking- the sky actually extends quite a bit (vertically) beyond my scanner's capability, shading into a deep blue. Not sure about this one yet. We shall see. Tomorrow will be the last day of a ten-day stretch of working at the day jobs; Thursday, finally, I will be able to get back to some serious work. I want to complete a project that I'm working on for a friend for the 31st (I'm planning to enter it into a contest; the deadline is the 31st), so that will be a priority. After that, it will be all Montréal images for August- to be completed in time to order prints and cards for an art fair at the end of September. Must confirm turnaround times, too, of course... much to do! Bed now, though.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Montréal cards project, progress so far...

Hi all!  It's been a hectic couple of weeks, what with moving preparations.  Happily, our stuff is now in our new (brighter!) apartment, but we've had to vacate for a few more days while our floors are sanded and varnished.  So work has been on some kind of hold for a bit...still, I did manage to make a few sketches for my "Montréal card' project...

This is just a quick one of the warehouse water tower at the Van Horne underpass.... but I still want to fiddle with it a bit...I want the water tower featured prominently, but also the 'La Maison de l'Aspirateur' sign which is one of my favourite signs in the city...

...more like this, though this is even sketchier, complete with notes and sketch-within-a-sketch etc... I think that I'll wind up placing the water tower farther over to the left and making it smaller, leaving a larger sky area (which I'll pattern somehow interestingly).

This one is a winner- I think that I'll do this, the 'minaret'/bell tower of St. Michel's church, almost exactly this way.   I'll position it so that there is more sky area- and again, sky patterned interestingly.  I did another sketch of this church, from the other side...I like this version more (more interesting, unusual vantage point) but I'll show the other because I used it to work out a possible leaf/ivy pattern that I will likely use on this one:

... a few more ivy and leaf sketches...:

And another that I like, but will adjust somewhat-  an example of the beautiful  cornices that are to be seen in great variety  throughout Montréal:

I think that this one could be adjusted to be more compositionally interesting... again, I'd like to increase the 'sky' area- perhaps reduce the scale of the cornice so as to include a greater length.
I have several more ideas that I will pursue as soon as I return to Montréal!  I want to complete this project within the next few weeks.  My aim is to produce scenes of some of the features of  Montréal that I know and appreciate, unusual sights and details, not the tourist-postcard images.  This is why I'm depicting St-Michel's as the tower from the north side of St-Urbain rather than an image of the facade (much as I love the facade!), for example.  More to come!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

new blog, new site, new projects! More to come....

Hi everyone!

So sorry about my rather protracted absence.  First, a little news...My new site is now up and running, and I have a new blog there.  I've transferred all of my extant posts from this blog to the new blog's archives.  As I have some followers here who may not immediately be aware of the switch (and also because it will take me a while to change over my 'networked blogs' etc., I'm going to simultaneously post on both blogs for a little while....To all of my lovely followers!  Please come and look at the new site.  (I would invite you to subscribe to my rss feed on my new blog, but I've not yet succeeded in placing the 'feed' button satisfactorally. ) (arrrrgggh!) (It is registered on feedburner, though, as AmandaCrawfordIllustration!)  The new blog is here!

  So-this post is the essentially the same post as the first post to appear on my brand-new blog which is now part of my website, which I won’t say is finished yet…but all of the general components are there.  Oh, it has been quite a new experience, to say the least.  I’m getting tired of fussing with it, but the closer I get to ‘completing’ it, the more things I find I would like to change just a bit…if only these little things were as easily done as said!  Maybe for some, but not for me- not yet, anyway.  It’s quite like working on a drawing or painting- the last 20% is really 80%, if that makes any sense.  I have yet to add analytics codes to all of my pages, add (in a way that seems pleasing and harmonious, no white boxes please!!!!!argggghh) social media icons and an rss feed icon to my sidebars, move my tagline over just a little bit (the urgency of this diminishes by the minute, though!), adjust my gallery of thumbnails so that I can add individual url links to each image (this may necessitate re-doing the gallery AGAIN!, so I’m making it a low priority!)…oh, there’s more.  I just can’t think of the rest right now.  Add to that list the task of looking up how to do all of those individual things….computer programming genius, I am not that.  I’m pretty pleased with the site, though- I have ‘contact me’ forms now, the lack of which is what started me thinking that a more customizable site might be necessary, and the design is nice and simple and clean.  I’ll continue to play with it but for now I’ve had just about enough…

I’m finally starting work on a project that I’ve wanted to begin for quite some time now- my ‘Montréal cards’ project.  In fact, in the plan that I wrote for an earlier week of the 12-week challenge, I’d planned to have it done by now.  (Unfortunately, I did not factor into my plans completing the various tasks of the 12-week challenge!)  So, I’ve taken some photos, and I’m starting drawing this very evening.  I’m quite excited about this project, and have come up with some other, similar ideas that I’d like to do…please let me know what you think of these ideas! The first is a series of prints/cards depicting my favourite overpasses of the 401.  The other is a series depicting Windsor scenes.  Like the Montréal series, these have a fairly ‘local’ appeal…but more so, I think… Anyhow.  I will post sketches of the Montréal series very soon.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Website overhaul in progress! 12WC weeks 7 & 8...

...and oh, such a taxing of my brain!  I'm beginning to 'get it'...I think.  CSS code is even starting to make some kind of sense... not that I can make it do what I want most of the time, but....even so.  Still, progress has been made:  Here is a new logo that I made for my new site (I'm thinking that it will work well too on the reverse side of my new business cards!):

I've put it on my new site, which you can see here.

It's far from being finished, but I've made great progress over the last couple of days.  I won't bore you with the details of my agonizing struggles, but I've found that what I would have assumed to be the simplest things to do are actually quite complicated to make happen.  For example, I've spent a LOT of time trying to centre my image gallery on the home page.  I've followed several pieces of coding advice to the letter, only to wind up with a left-justified column of thumbnails.  I've put them back in a table, but I'll keep working on finding the solution.  At least the column is gone!  (I was somewhat relieved to see that many people in the Headway forum had the same problems!)  Arrrgh.... enough with slaving over a hot computer, already.  Back with more progress soon!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

12WC week 6, part two

This is the second illustration for the Arab folk tale I described earlier.  Again, this is just the pencil stage; I haven't quite finalized things yet- for example, the flower-like scribbles will actually become flowerlike flowers.  I'm not quite sure yet about the position of the eyes- but I like the way in which they appear to be looking past us, past the boy, off to the distance (towards the wronged fiancee?)...I may return the solid wall (which I will texture when I paint it to look as though it is worn stucco) to the way I had originally sketched it, ending a bit past the shutters- this would necessitate another colour/background behind the boy and the eyes- but another colour might be good.  The inside of the room will be a darkened colour (still thinking about the colours for this one) with a small pattern on the wall.  I was thinking mustardy-ochry yellows/browns for the wall.  More progress soon to follow!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

12WC, week 6, part one

Ok, so I'm giving up on pretending that it is still week 5, 'part two'... I could have posted the first very very rough pencil sketches of my Arab fairy/folk tale as week 5, but find that I am still unwilling to let anyone else see them... so on I go to week 6, which is this week, so that works out quite well.

First, a quick synopsis of the story for which I am going to be executing two illustrations; the title is "The girl who spoke jasmine and lilies".

 There were once three sisters.  The youngest replied to a question posed by their father with a rather self-righteous and contrarian response, which I assume is supposed to be interpreted as indicative of her goodness and piety.... her father casts her out, and she wanders out and marries the first poor labourer she encounters.  They have a daughter.  It is this daughter who is the focus of the story.  She is beautiful and good, and miraculous, too- when she washes her face in a basin of water, the water that has touched her skin turns to gold coins.  When she opens her lips, jasmine flowers and lilies tumble out.  News of her beauty, goodness and other special qualities spreads, and she is soon engaged to marry a prince in a nearby kingdom.

Her aunts hear of her good fortune, of course, and are jealous.  It seems wrong to them that the daughter of a poor labourer and their outcast sister should be so fortunate.  So they scheme.... they arrange it so that one of the aunts and her cousin (the aunt's daughter) should accompany her on the trip to the kingdom to be married.  On the way, the aunt deprives her of food and water, insisting that her cousin needs it.  She finally allows her a few drops of water in return for first one, and then the other, of the girl's eyes (which she cuts out, literally!).  Now that she has been blinded, the aunt turns her out of the carriage to wander alone, while they continue on.  The cousin pretends that she is the prince's fiancee, but he wonders about the lack of jasmine and lilies and the fact that she looks different, etc.  The cousin gives some inane excuses.  He remains suspicious.
In the meantime, the blind girl obtains some employment and disguises herself.  She fills a basket with jasmine and lilies and asks a flower seller to go into the kingdom and call out that he is offering jasmine and lilies for sale.  The wicked aunt hears this, and is eager to obtain them in order to allay the prince's suspicions.  The seller will only accept one eye as payment for the flowers.  What else is to be done?  The aunt cuts out her daughter's one eye and gives it as payment.  When the prince comes home, she shows him the basket and says, "look at the flowers that tumbled from my lips when you were away."  (keeping her bandaged eye turned away from him.)  The next day, same thing.... The seller brings the eyes back to the blind girl and she puts them into her eye sockets and she can see again... The prince follows ? the flower seller and discovers the girl, quickly realizes who she is, and all is put right.  The aunts and the cousin are not particularly punished, as far as I know, although the cousin does remain blind, apparently.

So:  here is the first pencil drawing, depicting the general state of things in the first part of the story- the loveliness of the girl, the scheming of her aunts and sisters:

The details of the drawing are not yet finished; I will elaborate the jewellery etc., also I will either draw the jasmine and lily flowers directly on the page or will do them separately to be added later...not sure yet.  The 'evildoers' corner' will be a darker blue, and the foreground will be a brighter, lighter colour- deep yellow perhaps?  Lilies and jasmine white, girl's garment bright pink.  I will add a background pattern but I will keep it simple; I do want to finish this someday soon....

The second illustration depicts the flower seller trading the flowers to the wicked aunt for the eyes.  I will post this soon.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

12WC: week 5, part ONE

Finished this page, hurrah!  I'm fairly pleased with it.  I'm still considering changing either the leaves or the grass to a darker, brighter green- they are too close in colour.  However,  I really like the contrast of the yellowish green against the blue sky; more likely that the grass will change.  For the moment, though, I'm leaving it alone and have started work on something else.  That 'something else' is the next two pieces, which will be illustrations for an Arab fairy tale.  I'll post the first (first presentable!) drawings for that within the next couple of days (who knows, I may even post some of the 'unpresentable' sketches- we'll see).

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

12WC, week 4

Oh..... this past week was hectic and I did not have a lot of time to work... the task was to complete 2 pieces.  I work so slowly as it is, what with the fussing and all... but I did manage to get a good amount of work done on one piece, and a sketch for another.  The first piece was another version of the page that I posted last (goldfinches flying over little girl).  Here are my drawings for the new version, first:

I used different (more interesting, I thought) poses for the birds, added berries to the leaves, and, at the suggestion of Justin on the 12WC forum, added some foliage to 'encircle' the girl... I took another piece of Justin's advice (thanks muchly, Justin!), and adjusted the position of the lead bird's head, thusly:

(now, it appears that he is looking at the berries, which are undoubtedly tasty and not poisonous!)

I've painted the birds and the leaves; that just leaves me the girl and a wash for the lawn:

(the girl is not visible here; she is still in pencil.  Just a reminder, she looks like this):

I am much, much happier with the birds in this version.  I love gouache!  I'm able to get such great detail with it, and the colours are extremely vibrant and I can mix any colour or variation thereof that I require.  Paint!  Coloured pencils are great, but I love paint...

...the next step once the girl & grass are finished (which won't take long) is the pattern.  The pattern must be transferred onto rice paper, painted, and then pasted on to the page.  Luckily, it seems as though it won't be a huge space that I will be covering...also, I'm considering the possibility of using the pattern itself as a 'cloud' motif- that is, leaving a certain amount of space as a solid 'sky'.  Work reduction, hurrah!  Once again, this is the pattern- remember that I will be painting it in colours; it will not be b &w as it is here:

I did change my mind after all about the second piece- I decided to nix the Hans Christian Andersen and go with an Arab fairy tale.  I'll post the pencil drawings of that soon, very very soon, along with a description on all the gruesome details of the story.  (Sorry, my sketches right now are not only very rough, I also cut a couple of them into pieces to try the different elements together- not very suitable for scanning!)
                     ...back soon!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A post on Tara Books on my other blog:

I promise not to do this too frequently, but for those of you who haven't checked out my new blog, I did a recent post on Tara Books, a fantastic and unique Indian publisher.  See!  Further beautiful images!  Read!  My superfluous gushing!  Discover!  A link to their website! Click the photo to go to the post directly!

12-week challenge, week 3!

This past week, the challenge was twofold- first, to research and create a list of potential clients to whom you would send your work.  Second, to plan six new pieces to include in said mailing/enquiry.  This I have already done, to some degree- but new research is always good, and I am now focusing (at least for the purposes of this exercise, & for the time being) on the children's market.  I got a little overly wound up trying to find the absolutely ideal dream clients (I do have a couple of those!), but eventually relaxed.  I can add to and change the list as I go along.  The six new pieces I've only loosely planned.  I'll do two or three more pages of my book, and the other three or four will be images from some kind of classic fairy tale.  I had Andersen in mind- he's still a possibility, but he's so melancholy (don't get me wrong, I love his Tales, but some of the stories...it's no wonder that the adaptations for children have been so heavily modified!).  I personally would love to do his very dark "The Shadow", but... I have doubts as to its usefulness in showcasing my ability to draw 'children's' art.  Grimms', too is a possibility... I like several of these... but what's really whetting my interest is arabic fairy tales.  A little exotic, with great creatures- djinns and ghouls!  Also would provide a nice excuse for elaborate costumes and allover patterns (as though I need an excuse for those!)

I don't like to write a post without an image, so here is the first of my book pages that I will do for the challenge- that is to say, I am dissatisfied with this piece, and am going to re-do it as part of the challenge.  The girl is quite good, but the birds have to be better- also, I did them in coloured pencil, and I've since changed the rest of the book pages to gouache- a different look:

Sunday, April 18, 2010

further progress on that most recent page...

So...as you may recall, this was the page in pencil:

(I heightened the contrast when I scanned it; I DON'T actually draw in black pencil!)

Then, I painted it:

(from now on this is new- promise!)
Next I drew a background pattern:

(heightened contrast again, of course...)

I painted the pattern:

...and finally:

I'm still not finished with the 'crib'- it needs some shading, and I'm still not sure about the background.  I do like the combination of colours, I'm just not sure that they're in the right places.  My predilection for green makes me want to put the light green as the main background colour, but I'm also trying to include a variety of colours and not use the same colours too many times on too many pages... Still, might do the background again... We'll see.... Oh, and must add the strings to make sure that it's clear that this is a mobile...

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Zero2Illo 12-week challenge: Week two!

This week, the task was to formulate an  OGSM, or summary of goals, necessary actions/strategies, and means of measure- essentially, a sort of business plan.  Here is mine as I posted it on the zero2illo discussion forum:

 I want to say first of all that although I thought at first that this was going to be somehow stressful, and that I was going to feel bad, or overwhelmed somehow by the evidence on paper of all the work before me, but in fact the opposite happened. I found it inspiring, invigorating and even comforting to organize all of the thoughts that have been swirling around in my head in a somewhat disorganized form...

Objective: To earn a good living through my work in the (general) field of children's illustration.

ULTIMATE objectives: To be a highly successful, in-demand book author-illustrator of many of my own books, represented by an (great!) agent and pretty much able to pick and choose what I would like to do.

Goals: -By end 2010, earn at least 500$/month from my illustration work and/or print/card sales.
-Earn enough by summer 2011 (1200$/month +) to quit my part-time job.
-Establish myself/obtain work regularly illustrating for children's magazines
-Establish myself/obtain work regularly illustrating books/book covers
-Have my picture book (the one on which I am currently working) published.
-Sell prints and cards online and in various boutiques, bookstores, toy stores.
-be represented by an agent (this one may be a 'later').

Strategy/Action: -Develop well-researched, detailed mailing lists for both the children's magazine and the publishing fields. Send samples, letters and follow up with mailings every 2-3 months.
-Further develop online presence/promotional tools (facebook, blogs, linkedin, bkiznik, at least three free portfolio sites, scbwi, my own website).
-Set up 'sign up' buttons on as many of these sites as possible to establish a mailing list for a monthly newsletter.
-Make a 'dummy' of my picture book to send out to publishers for consideration. I don't intend to begin sending it out until fully half of the pages are complete, though... (and as I complete more pages for this project, I will have more 'book' type work to show publishers I am approaching for consideration as an illustrator.)
-Contribute diligently to online forums. Submit news articles, etc.
-Update my blogs 2x/week, minimum.

-sell prints online through print-on-demand galleries such as thumbtack press et al.
-print my own cards and prints and sell online (through etsy and my own site?) and in various bookstores, toy stores, boutiques (research needed here).
-participate in local craft/art fairs (research needed...)

-some success in the above undertakings will serve to make me more attractive to an agent- I will do some research into representation and decide when/who to approach....

Measures: -Quit p/t job by summer 2011. (At 1200$/month mark- no, at this point I won't be rich-yet! But it will be just enough. And I badly want to be a full-time illustrator, and the free time will enable me to take on more work, yes?!)
-20 new subscribers to monthly newsletter/month
-100 followers on both blogs by end summer.
-complete book dummy by July/10
-send out first mailings to children's publishers/magazines by end May/10.
-design a set of 'holiday' cards, to be finished by June/10.
-choose images for 'general' cards/prints (print on demand) and design/choose new on ongoing basis.
-set up Etsy store July/10
-10 sales/month etsy
-place cards in minimum ten stores by December/10.

Whew! I actually DID write this out in the prescribed 'chart' format- but I did it on a piece of paper too big for me to scan! I hope that it's comprehensible enough.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

new version of another page (first couple of stages)

I'll post more over the next several days... I may remove the blue bird as his angle is a little off (he doesn't look like he's seen from below like the others).  Also 'crib' may go. We'll see. Next I'll do the background pattern....

I've been working away at online promotional stuff.  Not only am I working my way (slowly, arrggghh) (I am so impatient with myself!  But I deserve it, dammit!  Get to work!) through Alex Mathers' ' 10 steps to powerful online promotion...' , I am also participating in zero2illo's '12 week challenge',  which will be a series of activities/exercises intended to turn fledgling freelancers into veritable self-promotion machines!  Cyborgs, perhaps!  Should be good.  More about that later.  So that gives me another reason to park myself in front of the computer.  Amongst the things that I have done as suggested by Mr. Mathers is create another blog!  To which I will provide a link after I do another post, a better one.  That first one was just an introduction.  The next will be much more interesting!  I have also finally set up my facebook 'fan page'.  Still, so much to do... I have the feeling that somehow,  there is an ever-increasing number of things that I must accomplish before I am 'ready' to do the next thing that I must do.  These preliminary things just appear, rise up, like dust bunnies.  The next thing that I'll do is install a 'sign-up' box on my blogs so as to accumulate an email list for 'news updates' and the like.  It's not currently possible for me to install html code on my actual website (something of a problem, but which can be worked around right at this very moment), so I'm looking around to change hosts.  (You see? Dust bunny right there!)  Anyhow.  I think that that's all for now, y'all.....

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Breaking into Freelance Illustration

Oh, that reminds me... I do believe that I mentioned here that I was going to review Holly DeWolf's book, Breaking Into Freelance Illustration for the wonderful site Escape From Illustration Island? I'm sure of it, in fact. Well, I did. A month and a half ago, almost! I plumb forgot to post a link to it here. So, without further ado, a link to it here.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Powerful self promotion!

...is the newly released e-book by Alex Mathers, founder of the most excellent site the Red Lemon Club (and also of the equally great contemporary illustration blog, Ape on the Moon).

I have not yet finished the book, but am mightily impressed with how the individual steps he outlines REALLY and TRULY are step-by-step. I need that. For me, for whom the very word 'networking' produces a sense of horror and fear, such things do not come easily, nor is it in any way obvious what is the most effective way to go about it. It's intimidating! (Surely I am not alone here...!) But Alex Mathers has broken it down into concise, bite-sized pieces that don't seem quite so...overwhelming. So...I am impressed thus far. I have begun implementing his suggestions, starting with.... the facebook. (I won't go into the reasons for which, for years, I have turned my nose up at facebook.... now, at long last, I have seen the light, apparently.) I will be installing 'sign up' boxes for mailing lists on all of my various sites, which will help me in sending out newsletters (which I've been meaning to do for a while!)

But wait... there's more!

I will also be starting a new blog in addition to this one (which I will keep as my 'process diary'/general progress record). The new blog will focus on various aspects of book illustration, old and new. I have a number of ideas for posts already... I am hoping to make an inaugural post this weekend! I will let you know when. It will be here! (don't look NOW, there's nothing!)

This past week was busy; I worked on another page overhaul but haven't gotten very far. Why can't I be triplets? Oh, I would hate that... anyhow. Back with more soon!