Monday, December 31, 2012

Reflections and Resolutions

Well, 2012 is coming to an end and it looks like we've all survived the end of the world! So let's spend some time reflecting on this last year and make some changes and improvements for the next.

Highlights from 2012:
  • Biggest highlight of the year: completion and release of Vulture Verses: Love Poems for the Unloved. My first professionally published book by Prospect Park Books in Pasadena.

  • Book cover illustration for Be Little. My favorite manuscript out of all the books I've done so far. A great book about bullying.

  • Went to my first book signing events with author, Diane Lang, and Terra her tarantula. She did a fantastic job sharing all her nature knowledge with the kids and keeping it interesting!

  • Started working on Kobee Manatee: Heading Home to Florida, another educational picture book, which will be finished and released next year. Written and published by Robert Scott Thayer.

  • Attended the SCBWI Summer Conference for the 2nd time and had my first portfolio critique by Art Director, Ms. Cecilia Yung from Penguin. Very informative and encouraging! She definitely gave me confidence but also some specific things to work on.

  • Attended Illustrator's Day in L.A. and was critiqued by Art Director, Merideth Harte from Sterling Books, who showed interest in my work and gave some great, encouraging words.

  • Went to the Chemers Gallery Children's Book Art Show and got to meet my most influential illustrator in person, Chris Sheban.

  • Took a month-long trip to backpack Europe with my husband and got to experience some of the most beautiful masterpieces of all time! Incredible! 
Improvements/Changes/Goals in 2013:
  • Finish Dimplemeyer's Design and Kobee Manatee picture books. Dimplemeyer, although I love the story, has been a work-in-progress for a year and a half. It's about time to get it finished!

  • Start and finish Cinder and Ashes, a picture book by Liza Ramirez. I'm excited to work on this book!

  • On February 3rd, from 1-6pm, I will be having another Solo Art Show at CSUF. Please come and see some new art from the books I am working on.

  • Read more books and have more balance in my life. I spent most of this last year working, and feel like I haven't been able to balance it out with personal time and simple rest. It's time to take a break and slow down. I want to read more children's books (I got Pinocchio for Christmas!), but also more books about art, and also some classic literature, like some Charles Dickens, for example. First book it ordered and I plan to start reading it as soon as it arrives: The Christian Imagination: The Practice of Faith in Literature and Writing. It includes reflections by C.S. Lewis, Francis Schaeffer, J. R. Tolkien, George MacDonald, Annie Dillard, T.S. Eliot, G.K. Chesterton....just to name a FEW. It's going to be inspiring, I know it.

  • Write (yes I said write. It's a terrifying word) and illustrate my own children's picture book. I have a few story ideas tucked away and this is the year to bring them to life and send them out! I've put it off for far too long. Something I learned this last year at the SCBWI Conference: write the story that the 10 yr. old "you" would want to read. Aye, Aye Captain!

  • Spend more time focusing on value and color before moving on to the final illustration. I do not feel confident in my color choices and application which makes me try to focus on it so much that I forget about value and it just all falls apart from least that's how I feel. :)

  • Sketch, practice drawing, sketch, and sketch...and practice drawing.

  • Do 3-4 postcard mailings to publishers. This is not a change from last year, I was successful at accomplishing this, but I want to make sure I continue to do it, so I'm writing it on my blog, so I have to do it!
What are your goals for the year to come? Make them big yet reachable! I would love to hear what you are all planning to accomplish in 2013. Let's make it a great year!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

"Momentum: Finding My Stride" Solo Art Show

I'm happy to announce that I will be having another Solo Art Show on Sunday, February 3rd, 2013! Thanks to the people in charge of the Art-4-Health show at Cal State Fullerton this will be the second time I will have had this opportunity. I was awarded the Best in Show Alumni at the Art-4-Health show and the award is a Solo Show in the Titan Student Union. Just another reason I love being a part of the Art-4-Health show every year and why I am so thankful for the opportunities they give.

The show will consist of some of my recent and current Children's Book projects: Vulture Verses, Dimplemeyer's Design, and Kobee Manatee. A lot has changed since my last show 2 years ago and I feel like I'm finally finding my stride and figuring out my work flow, and I want to share that with all of you! 

The show will run from January 14th - April 5th, 2013, but the please join me for the Opening Reception on Sunday, February 3rd from 1:00pm - 6:00pm. It will be held in the Chapman Atrium in the Titan Student Union at Cal State Fullerton. Parking is FREE on weekends. Come enjoy some refreshments and art, and please invite all your friends! If you can't make it you can go any other time that the Titan Student union is open.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Chemers Gallery Children's Book Show

Every year the Chemers Gallery in Tustin has a Children's Book art show with several, talented illustrators and all kinds of activities to go along with it, something I look forward to every year.

With all I have going on this year, I was planning on skipping it. But when I found out that Chris Sheban was one of the illustrators, I HAD to go!

Chris Sheban has been a huge inspiration to me as an illustrator. Actually, his art is one of the main reasons I wanted to illustrate children's books in the first place! I saw one of his books in the store and I fell in love with his elegant, soft style. So much so that I wanted to copy it. I went searching online and contacted him via email, and to my pleasant surprise, he answered! He told me all about his technique and process and was very encouraging. That was when I got started on my colored pencil style.

Unfortunately, for various reasons, I decided to switch to acrylic, but that's another story for another time.

So when I got to the gallery last weekend, I somehow found the courage to talk to Chris and made a sad attempt to tell him how much of an inspiration he has been to me and how much I love his work. Of course, he was very kind and friendly and was so glad to meet me. He did a short presentation on his process which I found very interesting. He is very low-tech (no Photoshop!) and works very slowly. About 1 book a year (I sure wish I had the privilege of only having to do one book a year!) He starts off with a dark blue water color wash for the background and adds colored pencils in to build up the lights.

It was SUCH a delight to finally be able to meet one of my favorite illustrators and someone who has influenced me so much. I hope to keep in touch with him via email and maybe I will see him again someday at a SCBWI event! (I tried to convince him to become a's didn't take much convincing...)