I am the Illustrator Coordinator for the the Southwest Texas society of children’s book writers and illustrators. We held a sketch crawl at the San Antonio Zoo. We spent the morning sketching all the different kinds of animals. Here a few highlights from our day.
Come and join me and several other bovine artist for a paint out! The American Society Of Bovine Artist Show in Gruene, Texas this Saturday and Sunday, October 22-23. We will be on the grounds of Cactus Jacks in Gruene. Check out my new painting just for the show!
I am so glad to be back home from our 4500 mile trip across the western states! We went to Carlsbad Caverns, Disney, California Coastline, LA, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and the Grand Canyon. What a memorable trip!
As some of you know I am working on illustration and writing children’s books along with my painting career. During our road trip, I attended a conference for children’s book writers and illustrators. Here are some of what I would like to share from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators conference in LA. It was their 40th year for this conference. I met so many incredible writer’s and illustrators at the conference. My head is still spinning. Here is the link to the blog if you would like to hear more of what I learned. http://scbwiconference.blogspot.com/
I made some best friends also while I was there. Lisa Medway and Jerry Bennett were first time attendees also. Lisa is a professor and a writer. Jerry is an illustrator and the Illustrator Coordinator for the OK-SCBWI. At the 2011 Golden Kite Awards Luncheon, other attendees at our table asked how long we had known each other. We all said, “Only 3 days!” I guess we are kindred spirits, because it felt like we had known each other for much, much longer!
The first speakers that I met were Pat Cummings is and Illustrator, Writer and Instructor at Parsons. Priscilla Burris is the National Illustrator Coordinator for the SCBWI. They both were a wealth of information. Both of them had some great advice; make your characters charming and memorable, send new postcards with your name on the front every 3-4 months and never send the same image to the same person twice. These are things that I will keep in mind as I search for my own “Editor Soulmate”.
We all loved hearing the keynote from Libba Bray Author of Going Bovine and Beauty Queens. She is a interesting character, I am sure her books are quite interesting. I bought one for her to sign. A quote from Libba, “We are our stories, successful stories will come from ourselves. Be true to yourself.”
Paul O. Zelinsky has illustrated some beautiful books. One being the book Rumplestiltskin. His advice, “research all possibilities and find the right person for your character.”
Another Keynote speaker was David Small. He has several Picture books and a new graphic novel out called Stitches. What I really enjoyed was meeting his delightful wife Sarah Stewart when I was getting David’s autograph. She is a wonderful soul with an amazing outlook on life.
Our surprise speaker was none other than Judy Bloom of the Judy Moody book series. It was a delight to hear about how she became a writer/illustrator. She was a mother and had done everything right. She had raised her kids, been a good wife and paid her taxes, but felt there was something missing in her life, that is when she began to write. Judy, I can relate!
Other speakers that I had the privilege to hear where Laurent Linn; Art Director most notable for his career designing puppets for Jim Hensen’s studio, Gary Paulson; author of Hatchet, Jon Sciezska; author of Space Heads, Steve Malik; writer and illustrator agent, Martha Rago; Associate Creative Director for HarperCollins and Richard Peck; professor and writer of many books.
Even though I missed hearing Jerry Pickney‘s speech, Emma and I did get his autograph. He even drew a little mouse next to his autograph. I’m beginning to think it is better to be a little person when getting autograph from writer’s and illustrators. Jerry has been illustrating for over 40 years. His images are beautiful.
Mary Pope Osborn was missed also, but I got her autograph for my little girl. She is the author for the Magic Tree House series. All my three children have enjoyed her books. How wonderful to have gotten to meet her. She also autographed a book for my daughter’s preschool teacher thanking her for sharing her books with her class. What a nice lady!
Last but not least, I put my portfolio in the showcase. There were 1500 at the conference, 200+ Illustrators, and 180 showed in the showcase. I am glad that a few people picked up my promotional cards.
What I learned from this conference is that I will have to go above and beyond to get noticed. I am a little neurotic when it comes to my work so I should do fine. I am looking forward to giving it my best and making connections in the children’s book industry. It was an amazing experience that I will never forget. Can’t wait for the next conference!
I will close with a quote from Richard Peck, “Unless you find yourself on the page very early in life, you will spend your life looking for yourself in all the wrong places.”
I had a very enjoyable show in Blanco, Texas during the Lavender festival. I even finished a painting during the show. Many people stopped by to see the progression of my dog painting that I did.
This show is up through July.
This is a painting of my dog Lumpy. We named him that because he was such a lump at birth. He was the biggest of the litter and just seemed content to just sit around. He is a 6 years old Pyrenees. This breed of dog is so loving and laid back. We have 4 dogs now. Two of them, Ozzy and Lumpy, protect our yard and the other two, Lily and Angel, that protect our livestock.
It is amazes me how the livestock dogs work together. One of them may go out with the sheep while the other will go out with the goats. If Angel comes up to the house with the goats earlier than Lily then she will bark to call Lily to bring the sheep. What an amazing duo! I hope to paint them sometime soon.
I am diligently painting for a show that will take place during the Lavender fest in Blanco, Texas.
Come and join me at the Uptown Blanco Art Center on June 10-12. My daughter will also be showing her ceramic animal whistles and rattles. Everything will be for sale.
Here is a little preview of the things I have been painting:
Here is a photo of our cat Callie. She is the subject for my next painting. I will show you the process that I go through to get a completed palette knife painting. This painting is a 20 x 20 inch square. It took me about 4 hours to complete. I have to work quickly in order to get anything done. I like to be able and finish what I have started in one afternoon. I have a difficult time coming back to something. There is always something unexpected that comes up and I wouldn’t know when I would be able to return to my painting, let alone have the inspiration to finish it.
Now that I have put on the base coat for the ground I will work on the trees and the sky. I make sure that I add color to the sides of the painting also. The brush strokes can go any direction. They will be covered once I start to add the paint with a palette knife. The base coat just helps to cover areas that I may miss while I am painting with the knife.
Now she has a face. There is still a lot of detailing to add. I am careful with where I add color at this point because the paint is very thick. Especially if I want to add a lighter tone. This is why I don’t put color on the canvas where there may be white. If I put too much of a color I don’t want I will just scrape it off with the palette knife and start over on that section.