Saturday, September 26, 2009

Reach Out and Read

Last night I participated in a great fundraiser event for Reach Out and Read Indiana. The event was held at the Childrens Museum of Indianapolis, and was a great meet & greet time for the public and local authors and illustrators. There was a silent auction, raffle prizes, a buffet dinner, and crafts for the kids. Plus, the authors and illustrators took turns in the reading corner to read aloud from their books. I was happy to have my table by Terry Webb Harshman and Sharon Vargo, who are active members of SCBWI Indiana, and who I had met years ago when I was first investigating the world of childrens publishing. They had a group meeting for aspiring authors and illustrators to talk about their experiences in this business, and I was really excited to become an illustrator myself. It was great to re-connect with them at the event! I was also happy to see some children who recognized me from previous book signings, and they came to my table to buy some of the latest Pirate School books! All in all, it was a great evening for everyone! It was fun to see all the little kids excited about the books and the crafts (and of course the prizes!). Hopefully, I'll be invited to participate again next year!

Also, PS: Thanks do out to my wonderful husband who was my errand boy all night, bringing the other authors and me food and drinks and cake!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Projects and Previews

Well, I got back from vacation, and hit the ground running. Sketches needed to be done for the Katie Katie Cancer book; the Reuben Wells Picturebook needed a page tweaked, and my Korean client had a new unit of illustrations for me to work on (in fact I started concepting the thumbnails in the airport on my way back home). Each unit consists of 4 short stories, with 4 illustrations each for a total of 16 illustrations per unit. The stories are very quirky, so they are humorous to work on ("Yogurt in the Fog" wins for my all time favorite funny title). The turn around times are quick, so I've really been kept on my toes!This past week, I completed the sketches for the Katie Kate Cancer picturebook. While the client was reviewing them, I took that time to move forward with the final art for the spread that was already approved. I would really like to improve the color flow and unity of my artwork, and was glad that I had time this week to do some experimenting. First, I did a digital color layout, so that I could plan what colors I wanted the objects to be. Then, after I was satisfied, I did a test-run of the page at 25% scale. This was fun. It was a time to simply give myself the freedom to just make mistakes. So, since I didn't care about the possibility of wind splattering dirt or paint onto the piece,I took my paints outside, and enjoyed the sunshine while I painted. (and yes, I DID end up splattered in permanant rose when a gust of wind blew my pallet onto me and my painting). I learned a lot, though, about how I wanted to distribute the colors across the final painting (can the rasberry color be used to shade the blonde hair..?....will blue look good as a shadow on the wall...? will the pink look as a highlight in the gray?) So, then I started the next day fresh, ready to take what I had learned to the final art. I started my washes a lot lighter than I usually do, and tried to not focus on object-oriented painting. I was surprised how fast the painting went (although maybe the 2 rough drafts helped with that!). I am really pleased with the result, and the client was too! I think that the text will lay nicely on top of these softer colors. I can't wait to start work on the rest of the images for the book. Here's a sneak peak at that finished spread:As for the Reuben Wells Picturebook, I made the last revision (thank you, Photoshop!), and the final art is delivered and ready for printing. I can't wait to hold the finished book in my hands! I believe it will be released in early 2010. I'll let you know when I have more information.

Happy end of the summer, everyone!