Tuesday, September 30, 2008

New York Trip

I just got back from a whirlwind business trip to Manhattan! MB Artists had it's annual party (which was actually a series of several parties). I had never been to New York before, and was really glad that my husband and our friend Eric came along for moral support (and to help me navigate the subways....and to carry my bags).

On Wednesday night, we had cocktail party #1 at Moore Brothers wine shop. This was a meet and greet for the artists. I was amazed at how diverse the represented talent was! I met artists who had flow in from England, Mexico, and Argentina, as well as people from all over the United States!

The next day, I met with Mela to talk shop and go over my portfolio. We had talked a lot over email the phone, but it was great to meet her and the rest of the MB Artists crew in person. Also, her apartment is in an amazing location overlooking downtown Manhattan, so before our meeting, Jon (her assistant) took Rome, Eric and me up to the roof to enjoy the amazing view! Later, we ran through Central Park, had a few minutes in the Met (we'll have to come back to enjoy it properly), ate NY hot dogs for lunch, and then I went to my group appointment with HarperCollins. Over the course of the next 24 hours, the MB Artists group had appointments with several other large publishers as well! It was kind of surreal to present my portfolio to so many people from these houses, and obviously a wonderful opportunity. I was really proud and humbled (if that makes sense), to be able to show my work next to the other talented artists in the agency, many of whom are very well published and experienced. Thursday night we had cocktail party #2 at the Spice Market. Wow! All I can say is Wow! Lots of clients and publishers came for drinks, hors d'oeuvres and little desserts. You had to be there. It was an incredible event, but a little intimidating. Fellow artist Tammie Lyon was kind enough to let me hang out with her, meet her clients and eat pineapple wontons with her most of the evening.

Friday was packed with appointments (I was really glad I had postcard give-aways and business cards printed!). After all of the appointments were over (it was a great but intense day), Rome, Eric and I went to Bubba Gump Shrimp for dinner in Times Square, and then went to see The Lion King on Broadway. What an amazing show! I had not seen it before, and was very very impressed by the music and the costumes especially. It was a great way to end the trip!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Gossip in the Locker Room

Ah, middle school.... Not always the most enjoyable period in a kid's life. Honestly, I would have to say that most kids in middle school find that the experience ranges from "confusing" to "cruel." Plus, that's when your body typically starts to rebel. Zits, deodorant, weird vocal intonations, braces.... It's as if in order to make the transition from "cute kid" to "sophisticated adult," we must first sped a few years in an awkward stage. What single scene can embody all of the insecurities of this life stage more than the locker room? Frankly, being the artsy-non-athletic type myself, the locker room was an especially unfriendly place. So for all of you nerds, fear not! I am living proof that middle school DOES end; math WILL come in handy, and you CAN get contact lenses. And for you few who are at the top of your game in 7th grade, be careful. Someday someone might paint an illustration about you.

So there is the inspiration for this piece. Otherwise, I had fun playing with the camera angles. Originally, I had placed the camera in a more typical position, showing the locker room scene as one would see it in real life. However, by adjusting the composition so that the camera is inside the locker, the illustration tells more of a story. We get to see the personal items that give us more insight to the main character's personality. Plus, this arrangement allows for the gossiping girls to be placed directly behind the main character, really giving that "talking behind someone's back" feeling. With all of these elements, we can begin to infer "story." They are in gym class, and the main character obviously feels awkward. What are those two girls planning? There is a note with a heart on it in the locker. Could those girls be spreading a rumor about our main character's love life? I found that as I worked on this piece, I started feeling a sense of "story" develop, and chose to add or take away details to allow that emerging scenario space to breathe.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Pirate School 7 Released

Just a short announcement that Pirate School 7 has been released today! This book is the Christmas story of the series, and tells the adventures of Pete and his friends as they sail to the North Pole....and get stuck there! This project afforded me many opportunities to draw my favorite character Inna in her new holiday outfit. The most challenging image, though, was a small spot image of the ship mast decorated like a Christmas tree. Well, the mechanics of that required a bit of creativity. How do you make a long wooden pole look like a Christmas tree....and using only supplies found on a pirate ship? Luckily, I live in Indiana, and every Christmas, Indianapolis lights its "Christmas tree"....the huge monument in circle in downtown Indianapolis. Really, they just string Christmas lights from the top of the monument downward in the shape of a cone. This served as inspiration for the mast-christmas-tree, only instead of creating a cone of electric lights, I used fish netting a roping from which the pirate kids could then hang ornaments. You'll have to look for this little spot art in the book! As for my favorite image in the book, that would have to be the one of Vicky and Aaron swashbuckling in their PJs on Christmas morning. If you would like to purchase your own copy of Pirate School 7, please visit my store, and scroll down to the Pirate School 7 purchase link.