A big goal of mine was to complete a portfolio update. I'm attending a regional conference with the Society of Children's Books Writers and Illustrators next month, where I will get some feedback on my work so far.
It's both nerve-wracking and exciting to put creative work out into the world, asking for feedback. But, that's the best way to grow and get better.
I made this video (click on link to see) for you guys to let you see how the update came out. Thank you to everyone for your support & encouragement over the past 4 months. It will be fun to look back at this a year or two from now and see how much it changes (hopefully in a good way).
Click to see Video on my Facebook page
Contests are a fun way to build your skillset and portfolio. This piece was created in response to an illustration contest by the Kidlit411 website.
My entry is ever-so-slightly difference than the example you see here. The entry had the website name on the green banner, instead of the "Everyone is a Reader" motto in the picture. Results will be posted about February 9th & my entry wins something, I will be sure to let you all know.
I had a great time creating each little character and now they are clamoring to find a place in a story somehow. Not a bad idea...hmmm. We'll see what happens.
How I came to love reading:
I have my parents to thank. Dad was the one who read to us, mostly adventure stories from the latest Reader’s Digest. He acted out the “I survived a bear attack” narratives (which appeared in the magazine with alarming frequency), complete with growling effects and side commentaries.
The voice in my head when I read to myself as a child was often that of my father.
Mom loved books too. She finished the piles my sister, and I brought home in night-long, marathon sessions. However, I don't have many memories of my mother reading out loud to us, nor of her teaching me the alphabet. What I remember is sitting on her lap.
To explain: My folks were not religious initially, but having a family changed that. The denomination they chose suited their tastes with its emphasis on the extensive study of the Bible and Bible-based literature.
As a toddler, I sat on my mother’s lap for hours during meetings, watching her finger move on the page while hearing the lines read out by various speakers. My mom only intended to keep a restless three-year-old occupied through hours of church.
She ended up teaching me to read.
"The rhythm of these sentences is regular; it is the rhythm of the skiers’ movements; the repeated “ess” sounds evoke the swish of the skis on snow...What we hear in Kate’s words is as important as what she makes us hear in between the words — the space, the hush of this winter landscape."
This is a wonderful article, using Over and Under the Snow as a case study in the principles of language & art used in picture books--take a look:
Every artist has a process that is unique to their aesthetic and their chosen media. I'm a "traditional" artist, working with real world materials. In my case, that is mostly cut paper, watercolor pencils, and ink. I thought it might be fun to take you guys on a behind-the-scenes tour of the creation of one a recent portfolio piece.
I chose the German fairytale of the cobbler and the elves. You'll remember that it's about a poor shoemaker, desperate and hungry, down to his last pieces of leather. He had just enough to make one more pair of shoes, the sale of which were all that stood between his family and starvation.
Miraculously, elves come in a series of nights, making shoes so magnificent that the cobbler is pulled up out of poverty. In gratitude, the shoemaker and his wife make clothes for the elves, after which the elves leave and are never seen again.
In deciding on the composition, I took a bit of inspiration from Alfred Hitchcock. I remember watching a documentary about Hitchcock's ingenious ways of getting an audience engaged in his movies. One scene in the film stuck with me, one where there is a woman sitting on a bed, talking on the telephone. The way the scene was shot with the view of her inside the scene partly blocked by a doorway.
The Endpapers blog has been on hiatus for about six months due to a family situation. I'm happy to say that the blog is up and running again. There are a lot of cool things to share with my own work, as well as those of other aspiring author/illustrators. Coming soon will be a post about creating this fun piece, as well as some new interviews. Stay tuned!