Saturday, January 4, 2014

Looking forward to 2014

As I thought about writing this post, I became very hesitant. Openly sharing my goals for this year means that I actually have to stick to them because you all know what I'm supposed to be doing with my time, and you'll know if I fail. But that's all the more reason to put it out there for all to see, so I can be held accountable for the things I say. So here goes, if I don't do everything on the list, fine. I'm sure there will be a fair reason why. A human can only do so much! But it's something to strive for and it gives me motivation every morning to work my hardest throughout the day. If I want to grow as an artist I must push myself.

  • I already have one project going and 2 potential projects coming, so my first goal is to complete those projects to the best of my abilities. No shortcuts, and no "just get it done" mentality. Just because it isn't personal work, doesn't mean I shouldn't put my whole heart into them.
  • Read more books! Picture books and middle grade books (I've already read The One and Only Ivan and I'm onto The Land of Stories!) I really enjoy reading but I consider it leisure, therefore I push it aside so I can get my "actual" work done. But it's important to know the market I am working in and what else is out there. Plus, it rejuvenates me, and I need that often!
  • Create a dummy. I have a picture book story that I wrote last year and I want to make it a full dummy to send out. This time it will be much less involved...I spent too much time making my last one. I need to find a happy medium between finished sketches and rough sketches. 
  • With this dummy I want to do another round of agent submissions. I've got my list going so I just need something new to submit! To tack onto this goal, I also want to submit my dummy to publishers. I didn't do that last time and I should!
  • Start writing new stories...and finish them! I'm going to keep this goal pretty broad because writing is still so new for me that getting anything to a finished level is a huge accomplishment! I'm just going to go with ideas when they come and see which ones catch my interest more than others.
  • Character development. I want to spend more time developing my characters and just letting them live in my sketchbook for awhile. Draw them in different situations and let their personalities grow and develop.
  • Drawing kids. I have already started this goal after the SCBWI Conference, but I want to keep it going. I am interested in moving into some middle grade content to broaden my opportunities so drawing kids is very important!....and doing more black and white spots.
  • More time for personal work. This is difficult to balance because bills need to be paid and I need to feed my husband, but I recently read a blog that talked about the importance of always doing personal work. So, for me that means taking a character, or a few, and making a short series (3-5 pieces) with them. Hopefully that will help me build my portfolio and give it some variety. It will also keep things fresh and manageable between working on huge, long-term projects.
I do have many more goals and sub-goals that go along with each of these goals that get into more detail, but I think this is enough for you to keep me accountable for. Of course I hope and plan to accomplish all of these, and I also realize that it probably wont happen. And that's ok. It really is. I have the rest of my life to get them done. It's not meant to be a list of stresses and worries.

Happy New Year, I hope and pray that it will be a year of big steps forward and growth for all of us! Who's with me!?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Looking Back on 2013

I woke up this morning and all of a sudden I realized that 2013 was gone! What happened? It seemed to just fly right by without slowing down and now it's onto another year. Hopefully this one will take it's time and linger awhile because I have some big dreams for 2014!

As fast as 2013 came and went, there was a lot that happened and I am so thankful for and didn't expect. There was growth and new experiences, as well as a lot of waiting and hoping and trying and failing. Next post will be looking forward to 2014 and all the goals and dreams I have. For now, here are some of the highlights from 2013:

  • I started my journey to learn how to write, in addition to illustrating children's books. I absolutely still have a long way to go but I did write 2 picture books, one of which I made into a full dummy. I admit that writing isn't my first love and it's more of a struggle than something I find pleasure in, but it is something that I want to get good at and eventually be able to communicate effectively and artistically. I made Zulu into a full dummy and was able to get some professional feedback from editors, which was also a first. I've never had my writing critiqued. A great learning experience! I also used Zulu to submit to agents. No bites yet, but my search will continue. I'm not ready to give up yet!!

  • I had the opportunity once again to have a solo art show at Cal State Fullerton thanks to the Art-4-Health team at the school. It is a lot of work putting together a whole show, but you end with such a sense of accomplishment seeing all your work hanging on the walls. It puts into perspective how much work I have completed. AND I sold 4 original artworks! 

  • I finished a project that was 2 years in the making and is now available online! Dimplemeyer's Design was started in 2011 and the very gracious and patient author, Al Weiss, was so kind to let me take some extended breaks from the project whenever something pressing came up...and there were quite a few things. But it is finally done and I think it is a quality book that I am proud to have my name on.

  • I was surprised to find that Vulture Verses was awarded the PubWest Design Silver Award for Children's/Young Adult—Illustrated Book! 

  • I finished illustrating Kobee Manatee, an educational book by Robert Scott Thayer. The book has already accomplished quite a bit of attention and was even a finalist in the 2013 USA Best Book Awards - Education Category!

  • I attended the huge SCBWI Summer Conference in August. This is always a huge event and a time of much growth and inspiration. I got to have my portfolio critiqued by an Art Director and come away with some big goals and lots to work on. Read more about my experience at the conference here. One of the things I decided to work on was focusing on drawing more children and even venturing into the middle grade genre. This will be an ongoing goal.

  • I had my first experience being a panelist on a Children's Book Panel at Cal State Fullerton along with 4 other fantastic illustrators! I had such a great time at this event!
    From Left to Right:
          Wendy Grieb :
          Jennifer Wood :
          Jennifer Gray Olson :
          Lauren Gallegos : 
          Rodolfo Montalvo :

  • I also got to work with on a Early Reader project called Stone Soup. It was a great experience and I would be very glad to work with them again.