Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Finishing 2009

Looking back on 2009, I have made a lot of growth as an artist and learned way more about publishing children's books than before this year. Some highlights of the year:

- I had the opportunity to do freelance work at Piggy Toes Press for about 6 months, which has grown me in many, many ways.
- I wrote my first children's book (all by myself!), illustrated it, and made it a book dummy that I sent out to publishers. (Still hoping to hear from them...)
- I found and refined my drawing technique for colored pencils.
- I graduated collete with a B.F.A. in Illustration!!
- I learned Dreamweaver all by myself and redesigned my website.
- I traveled to Israel! (Not artistic, but still very exciting!)
- I attended Illustrator's Day for the first time and was a winner of the Judges' Choice Portfolio Contest!

And there is SO much more...

It's been a great year of firsts, finishes, and transitions, and I hope for the same for 2010, except even BIGGER things....like being published, maybe???.... (fingers crossed!)

Look out 2010, Here I come!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Moon Girl

Don't ask me why, but I decided do a little drawing on some Hot Press board. I love the texture and vibrancy of the Pastel Paper I have been using, but it doesn't always allow me to put in a lot of fine detail, and I sort of miss it.

So here we go...A little moon girl, wishing upon a star. I have some wishes for 2010, maybe if I wish upon the evening star they will come true. As sung in the beginning of The Princess and the Frog:

"The evening star is shining bright
So make a wish and hold it tight
There's magic in the air tonight
And anything can happen..."

Sunday, December 27, 2009

New Sketchbook!

I started a brand new sketchbook today! For some reason I always get really excited about new sketchbooks. Maybe I see all the blank pages and imagine them full of great ideas and doodles that have the potential to become great illustrations. Whatever it is, I'm excited. So here are some sketches found on the first few pages of my sketchbook.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone! Hope you are all having a safe and joyful holiday! As the turkey cooks away in the oven and the rest of my family is in the livingroom attempting to set up the new Blue Ray player, I thought I'd play with some of my new toys while I was waiting around.

Two things I'm pretty darn excited about from Santa are:

1. A new (and much needed) digital camera! A Panasonic Lumix ZS3 (in red!) I took the picture with my old Nikon Coolpix camera...alas it will probably be the last picture it ever takes...and it's a picture of it's replacement...how ironic and sad. Oh well! It was time to get a new one.
2. Some art books! One on Georgia O'Keefe, and one on the Norman Rockwell Museum (I REALLY want to go there!!!) But I was even MORE excited about the two volumes of "Drawn to Life" by Walt Stanchfield. An amazing animator and teacher at Disney that taught many of today's great animators. They are all the handouts he gave to his students over probably 20 years of teaching. AMAZING!! Can't wait to start reading!!
Of course, I already have a huge list of books to read. Some on beauty, some on life, some on art, and some terrific children's books to study and enjoy. So I'll have to add them to my list (the TOP of my list...heehee)

Dear Santa,

Next year I want....a bigger bookshelf!....

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Ant and The Cricket - Final Drawing 1

Well, December is almost over and I only have one final drawing complete. Oh well, I am still going to finish them all, but I'm not going to rush it. I have a lot of work ahead of me that I am still motivated to finish, so that's good! That was partly why I gave myself that goal.

Here's the Title Page with a new Typeface. I think I like this one better. If you hadn't noticed or guessed already, I'm taking inspiration from the style of the 60s/70s (or "hippie" times) and Woodstock. So I thought it would be appropriate to use The Beatles' "Abbey Road" cover to inspire one of my images. I also found it convenient that they are called the Beatles and it's a story about bugs. Heehee. I also have a VW Beetle in some of the other images. It just seemed to work!

I might get another one done before the New Year, but we'll see. If not, then as soon as January starts, it's back to work...double time!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

December Goal - Part 5

Cover sketch done (It's a variation on one of the spreads already in the book)! That's my last sketch!! YAY! Now I can start on the final drawings. EEK! It makes me a little nervous whipping through these drawings so quickly, I've never done this before! But I think it will be good for me to just do it.

I've been asked by a few people if I'll be submitting this to anyone or maybe self-publishing it when it's done...I don't know yet. It's a 16 pages book, which really isn't standard for children's books. Plus, illustrators usually don't complete all the drawings before sending a dummy to a publisher. Maybe I'll do a second Aesop fable that's another 16 pages to make a complete book...who knows? If nothing else, I'll have 10 more illustrations for my portfolio, which isn't a bad thing! Any thoughts or suggestions on where you think I should go with this project?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

December Goal - Part 4

Two more sketches done. Now I just need to do a cover. I'm working on it at the moment. Of course, that's a very important image, so I'm not going to rush that drawing. Next week I'm going to do a few small experimental drawings since I'm still figuring out how my colored pencil technique works....but then I will start on the final drawings! Yay!


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

December Goal - Part 3

3 more sketches done! 3 more to go. I'm starting to lag a little...When setting my goal I failed to consider days that I would be real busy and not really have time to do a whole sketch. As well as to consider Christmas day...when I will not really want to spend my time drawing in my room, alone. So maybe I'll have to push my deadline back a little. But that's ok, because I'm the boss! So I can do whatever I want! I still want to get it done as soon as I can, so maybe just an extra week will be enough. We'll see how it goes. Stay tuned!



Friday, December 4, 2009

December Goal - Part 2

Four color/value studies down, six more to go. Then the final color versions!

I'm wondering if I should have the gusts of snow or not, and how to have them look. I'm also wondering how I will go about drawing it with colored pencil. It's easy to do it digitally! Traditionally...it's a little different. I'll have to do a little experiementing. What do you all think? Keep the gusts of snow (like in the second image)? or take it out? or draw it differently? More stylized? More realistic? Put it in the first image too?

Thoughts and suggestions are welcome for all of these sketches!! Especially since they are still in the sketch stage. Once I do the final drawing, it'll be a harder to make changes without redoing the whole thing.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

December Goal - Part 1

I have made a goal to finish off the year. I want, nay, I WILL finish all 10 drawings for my new version of "The Ant and the Cricket", in color! I would have liked to get it all done and even make it into book form before Christmas, but I decided on this goal a little late. If I am doing the math right, I get 3 days to complete each image, which entails making the final sketch, color/value study, transferring the drawing onto the final paper and complete the final colored version. For each image I'll do the final sketch and color/value study in one day, and give myself 2 days to do the final drawing. I think it's do-able, but I have to stay focused and diligent.

So far I have 2 final sketches with color and value studies done for the first 2 spreads. And seeing as it's the 3rd of December, I'm on track!

I will keep you updated on my progress, so you can all help me stay on track!

I'm excited to end 2009 with 10 new drawings!


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Even though times are rough, there is so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Take a few minutes to stop and think of the things you are thankful for, even the little things. I bet there's more than you thought. As artists we have been given the gift of creating beauty and what a special gift that is! Be thankful for that privilege and use your abilities to their fullest.

I'm still working on my own version on "The Ant and the Cricket". Here's a very rough sketch of the ants feasting on the grain they gathered all summer. I thought it would be appropriate for today.

I'm very thankful for the artistic community I have around me, and how encouraging they all are. Thank you!
Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Preserving My Drawings

I have mentioned before that I have had problems preserving the color in my drawings. After a while (sometimes a few days, sometimes a few weeks) the color in the drawing starts to fade. Especially the dark colors. Sometimes it fades so much, it's really not even worth keeping the drawing because if looks nothing like it originally did. Of course, this is terrible! I can't let all my drawings "die" and have no original drawings to show. So I set out to find a solution. I'm still not sure if I have found it, but so far what I have discovered seems to be working very well (YAY!). So for the time being, I will stick with that.

It was a long journey of testing papers, colored pencils, fixatives, varnishes, and other such things to find out what worked best. The first thing I tried was new paper, because I thought the reason the color was fading was because the wax in the colored pencils didn't like the rough texture of the paper I was using (ColourFix Pastel Card) which feels kind of like sand paper. I tried some other textured papers, Arches Watercolor paper, Canson, but they just didn't have the same effect of popping the colors off the page as the Pastel Card. I also really liked that you could get colored Pastel Card so you can have a dark ground color and work from dark to light instead of the other way around.

After some research online I discovered that some of the fading was due to Wax Bloom. Wax bloom is a white haze that appears on colored pencil drawings, especially when heavily worked, as a layer of the wax medium rises to the surface. It tends to appear once the work has been sitting for a week or two. So after this discovery I decided I couldn't give up on Pastel Card because that probably wasn't the problem. It doesn't matter what kind of paper I used, it was a matter of finding the right fixative to stop the "blooming". So I moved on the trying different fixatives and sprays. I have tested fixatives before and chose Kylon Kamar Varnish, which satisfied me enough, but still didn't really preserve the color like I wanted. After talking to a fellow artist who uses the same Pastel Card as me, I was encouraged to try Blair Clear Matte Spray, which is more of a fixative (even though the can doesn't say it is a fixative). I bought it and tested it out and liked the results better than the Kamar Varnish (there was less glare on the paper). Eureka!!

SO...I have concluded that I will continue to use ColourFix Pastel Card, because I love the texture and how the colors just pop off the paper. I like the dark colored paper so when I add light colors or highlights they REALLY pop! But when I want to do a spot illustration, I will use white Pastel Card and use chalk pastel pencils to put down a ground color only in the areas of the drawing, leaving the area around the drawing white (to match the white of the page). For now, I am using Carb-Othello pastels only because I haven't searched for my favorite brand yet. After finishing a layer of pastel, I will "fix" it with a layer or two of Blair Clear Matte Spray. Then I will go in with my Prismacolored Pencils. Once the drawing is finished, I will fix it again with a layer or two of the Blair spray. Then, I will do a final coat of UV Resistant Clear Coating, which also helps with fading. VoilĂ !! Done, and ready to store with some Vellum paper over it to protect from dust and dirt.

It is very relieving to have found a artistic process from myself, especially after having to watch some of my drawings fade and die right before my eyes.


Here is a (spot) drawing I recently finished using my new process. And I am pleased to say that after 3 weeks, the colors are still just as vibrant as when I first drew it!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Facebook Fan Page

So, I made a Fan Page on Facebook. I was trying to hold out on this for awhile since I JUST started a Twitter account, but somehow I woke up this morning, and I just started making a page! I don't think it will be too difficult to keep up, but it's really just one more thing to check and update. However, I know it is good and important for getting my name and work out there for people to see. Networking is a big part of an artist's responsibilities so I'm going to be a good little artist and do what I can. Become a fan and share with your friends!


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Entering The World of Twitter

After resisting the push from so many of my friends, I finally gave in and got a Twitter Account. I guess it doesn't have to be such a bad thing. In fact, it can be a very good thing, if used properly. I intend to use it as a networking and promotional device and not something that will be a distraction. As long as I am careful not to play on it all day, thereby not getting any work done, it should be ok. Actually, I am hoping it will help me be more productive, so I will have something to "tweet" about, and I wont have to post things that really don't matter. So here we go on a new adventure of navigating through Twitter and learning to network with other artists!

Follow me on my Twitter page. Lauren Gallegos

You can also stay updated on this page by checking the sidebar panel regularly, or view my account and follow me by clicking on the link.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hands and a Frog

I have been thinking about style, and specifically, ways to improve mine. After some thought, feedback, and encouragement, I think I need to simplify and stylize things more, especially the way I draw people. I know that is a very broad statement!...Believe me, I wish it wasn't so broad! But I think it is necessary. It's going to take some experimenting and testing to figure out how it will look, but there's no time like the present to start! Here are some hands I did trying to simplify them but not be too cartoony.

I also did a frog just for fun, because I am really excited about "The Princess and the Frog" coming out in December! I am so glad Disney is doing another traditionally animated film. Oh, how I have missed them! I only hope they continue to make more. My fingers are crossed!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

SCBWI Illustrator's Day (Update)

This last Saturday was my first time attending Illustrator's Day and it was a great experience! So many talented artists were their displaying their portfolios and the speakers were informative, helpful, and fun. A lot of great tips were given on ways to promote yourself and be seen by publishers, so I took lots of notes! I was also able to have two portfolio reviews, one by Illustrator Adam McCauley, and one by Chad Beckerman, Art Director for Abrams Books for Young Readers and Amulet Books. I got some great feedback and constructive criticism to work with.

Then, to conclude the awesome day of meeting fun people and seeing great art, it was announced that I was one of the Judge's Choice winners for the portfolio contest! What an unexpected and pleasant surprise!! It certainly made my day!

See more photos on the Illustrator's Day Facebook Page

Here's another piece I did (the day before the conference!) that was included in my portfolio. It goes along with a Limerick by Edward Lear:

There was an old man with a beard,
Who said, “It is just as I feared!
Two owls and a hen,
Four larks and a wren,
Have all built their nests in my beard!"

Thursday, November 5, 2009

SCBWI Illustrator's Day

This Saturday is Illustrator's Day for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators!

The event will include speakers like Chad W. Beckerman: Art Director, Abrams Books for Young Readers and Amulet Books, Erika Howard: Art Representative, Shannon Associates, Adam McCauley: Illustrator, and Mary Peterson: Illustrator and Social Networker. It should be a great time to learn, network, and have fun!

I have also been putting together my portfolio for the portfolio contest and review. Three new pieces will be included in my portfolio. I still have one more to finish, but here is one of them for you to enjoy. I will let you all know how it goes!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Harvest Festival

I was recently asked to help make a game for a Harvest Festival. The game was Ping-Pong Toss with a circus theme. I used a vinyl table cloth and painted with acrylics. Then I glued on felt pieces so the velcro ball would stick. It was a fun project and I think the kids really enjoyed it. I know I did!




Monday, October 12, 2009

Recital Poster

I recently did a poster/postcard for a friend for his Senior Guitar Recital. Thank you to Aaron Delani for helping with the photography!

Stay tuned! Many more projects (personal and commissioned) to finish in the next month.

Monday, October 5, 2009

On Beauty and Being Just

I just finished reading a great book "On Beauty and Being Just" by Elaine Scarry. It's a great little philosophical book on the topic of beauty and it's connection to our search for truth and justice. I highly recommend this book. It went a little over my head at some points but a challenging book is good for the mind. How else are we to grow and learn?

We often times overlook beauty that is right in front of us and fail to realize how seeing something that is beautiful can give us life, excitement, and peace. It welcomes you into its world where we can feel equality, selflessness, and the sense that the world isn't all about us. To behold something beautiful is to be humbled. Seeing something beautiful also inspires us to create, or recreate that which is beautiful.

Spend some time observing the beauty around you and let it inspire you to create!

Monday, September 28, 2009

FYI: Website address change!

For all of you who have my website bookmarked/linked, please make sure that it is www.laurengallegos.com, not .net. I previously had it set up so that when you type in .com it automatically redirected you to .net, but now it doesn't and eventually the .net site will expire and not work anymore!

Again, if you have my website bookmarked, make sure the web address is www.laurengallegos.com, not .net.

Thanks! Sorry for any confusion!

Here's a sketch for your enjoyment.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

New Pearl Diver

I finally finished my revised version of the Pearl Diver! In many ways, I believe this one came out a lot better than my first version (I'm sure you would agree!). See it here. So I think this one is worthy of my portfolio, and website!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Psalm 1 Acrylic

I got to do a project this last week with Acrylics. It was nice to use them again, but I definitely want to work on my technique with paint (acrylic and oil) and on controlling my color saturation! I think this painting got a little out of hand in that area.

The painting was inspired by Psalm 1. I should be doing more like this in the next few months. It'll be fun and a good experience.

Psalm 1
Blessed is the man
who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
or stand in the way of sinners
or sit in the seat of mockers.
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.

Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff
that the wind blows away.

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Book Dummy

Today I mailed out my book dummy to 4 publishers! Now I get to play the waiting game and try to distract myself from thinking about it. So in the mean time I will try to stay occupied and work on some portfolio pieces. Here is one I'm working on. It'll be multiple images similar to this, so I can have a narrative sequence in my portfolio.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Art-4-Health Exhibit at CSUF

Cal State Fullerton's College of the Arts and the Student Health and Counceling Center is hosting the 3rd annual juried student and alumni art exhibit!

The Opening Reception and Silent Art Auction is this coming Friday, September 11, 2009 from 4pm-7:30pm

Yours turly has three art pieces in the show. Come and see, bid on a piece of art, and enjoy the talented artists that attend/attended Cal State Fullerton!

Following the show is the 26th Annual Concert Under The Stars just outside on the field. Enjoy great music from our performing arts department and a fireworks show to end the night!

It's ALL FREE so make a night of it!

Friday, September 4, 2009

COLORING!

Well, it worked! I went to get some art supplies and after I got home I wanted to color! This is just a practice and experimenting with colors and a new colored paper for my Pearl Diver drawing. Hopefully it will be done sometime next week.

More Sketches

Eventually I'm going to have to just sit down and actually color a drawing. Tomorrow I'm going to the Art Supply Warehouse for some supplies. I'm sure that will inspire me to color a drawing. Also, I set a new goal to make 5 new pieces to put in my portfolio before Illustrator's Day on November 7th. You can hold me to it!

In other news I got a part time job today! It's an after school program teaching art lessons to children. It should be fun! I'm just happy it's art related and I don't have to resort to bussing tables or serving coffee. And it gives me time to do freelance work too!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Character Practice

I've been contemplating a new story and it is slowly developing into something I think can be pretty good. It would be more of a fantasy story, which I've never done before, but could be fun! I don't have a storyline yet, but the world is forming, and soon characters will come alive. Here are some sketches of a possible character. I'm not sure what her personality is quite yet, but it's getting there. It was mostly just to practice drawing characters consistently and doing different expressions.

Monday, August 17, 2009

New Projects

The wheels are starting to turn and ideas are starting to pop up, so it's time to get sketching! After getting stuck in a rut for awhile after my trip, I'm starting to feel like myself again and my motivation has returned, so it's time to get cracking on some projects. First up is reworking the Ant and the Cricket fable I did last spring. I'm doing it in my own style this time but I'm keeping the Hippie theme alive.

Alongside of that project I will be working on other stand alone portfolio pieces, some emerging story ideas, and a painting series that I have been wanting to do for a few years now.

Let the drawing begin!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

I'm Back!

My apologies for not having blogged for the last few weeks. Yesterday I returned from a 2 and a half week trip to Israel. It was an unbelievable experience! I'm still processing everything I saw and did. It's going to take me awhile to sort through everything going on inside of me, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and artistically. Since this is an art blog, I will try to focus more on the artistic part, however it all connects and overlaps, so I will probably have to include a little of everything. Artistically, it was a difficult and frustrating trip because there really wasn't a lot of time to draw or even sketch because we were constantly busy. However, I did take loads of pictures and was very inspired by the landscape and sites I saw. Hopefully I will keep the inspiration and pull some ideas from my experiences there.

In the mean time, I have lots to do, including sending out my first batch of postcards! Hopefully I will have some ideas from the trip sketched out soon, and some finished drawings of sketches done before I left. In the mean time, enjoy some of the sites I saw in Israel!


Hey, that's me in front of the Dome of the Rock! We were asked to cover our heads when entering the site.


The West Wall/Wailing Wall. There were maybe ten Bar Mitzvahs going on while we were there.


In the Garden of Gethsemane. I love the olive trees there. This was one of my favorite places.


Visiting a Palestinian refugee camp and the wall that was built around it. It was very heart breaking to see.


The Jordan River. I had the opportunity to be baptized in the river. A wonderful experience!


The Sea of Galilee (which is actually a lake!) We got to swim in it as well as ride in a boat on it. Also, one of my favorite places.