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.....