Saturday, January 31, 2015

Friday, January 30, 2015

Perfect Picture Book Friday - My Love for You is the Sun

It's been quite a while since I last did Perfect Picture Book Friday.  I was starting to miss my fellow bloggers over at the Susanna Hill community so I've come back.  Here is my pick of the week.

Title:  My Love for You is the Sun

Written by: Julie Hedlund

Illustrated by: Susan Eaddy

Suitable for ages: 3-7

My love for you is the sun.
Rising in your tender heart
It shines on you when we're apart.

Brief Synopsis:  This is a lovely rhyming "I love you" kind of book.  Perfect for reading to kids before bedtime.

Why I like this book:  There is a natural rhythm to this book that makes it a joy to read aloud.  The clay made illustrations by Susan Eaddy are gorgeous!

A quick side not here.  The illustrator, Susan Eaddy, is the illustrator coordinator of the Midsouth SCBWI group.  She has given me a great deal of advice and encouragement throughout my journey as an illustrator. She is a lovely human being.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

An Invincible Summer

As I'm working to build up my portfolio I decided to illustrate one of my all time favorite quotes.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Going out on a Limb

“What do you do?” It’s a common question. People ask it at playgrounds, parks, parties, everywhere. I dread this question.

“I am an children’s book author and illustrator.” That’s all I have to say. Why is that so hard? When I am brave enough to admit I’m an illustrator I get two kinds of reactions. Some people’s eyebrows go up in surprise. They say, “Oh really?” They are impressed. They have all kinds of questions. Are you published? What made you decide to go into illustrating? How long have you been illustrating?

Other people just nod and move on to the next topic of conversation. They show absolutely zero interest. It’s as though I said I worked at Walmart or a fast food restaurant.

No matter what reaction I get, I always feel incredibly vulnerable. Illustrating is deeply personal. I’m sure other creatives out there know exactly what I’m talking about. Musicians, artists, writers, dancers, etc. You put your heart and soul into your work. It is an expression of yourself. That is why it is terrifying.

D. W. Winnicot, a famous pediatrician once said, “Artists are people driven by the tension between the desire to communicate and the desire to hide.” This is exactly the way I feel. The urge to share my work is overpowering. I crave praise. I long for admiration. I am desperate to be noticed. But my heart beats furiously whenever I prepare to push those post, publish, or tweet buttons on the computer. It’s not that I’m afraid people will openly criticize me or anything. People are always very kind. It’s just that I feel so utterly exposed. I put myself out there for people to judge. This scares me.

As hard as it is to share my work online, it is even harder to share in person. I recently illustrated a picture book for my Aunt Linda. I spent hour after hour working on it. When it was finally finished over 30 people bought a copy, including a friend who came to game night at my parent’s house one evening.

He said, “Hey! I got your book in the mail!”

“Oh yeah?” I said. I was starting to blush.

“Yeah! It’s great. You are so talented.”

“Thanks.” I said. “I’m so glad you liked it.” By this time my face had turned completely red. I suddenly became very intent on the game I was playing and put my hair down to cover as much of my face as possible.

Why did I react this way? I’m still trying to figure that out myself. It’s not that I’m ashamed of my work. I felt that it was decent enough. I guess I was just taken by surprise. I wasn’t prepared to talk about it. I don’t know. It’s the kind of thing you have to prepare yourself for mentally.

Vulnerability. This is the price we artists pay to do what we love. We put ourselves out there. It is hard. It is nerve-wracking. It is absolutely necessary. To be successful at this job I have to be willing to get hurt. I have to take risks. I have to go out on a limb. It’s not easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Illustration Friday: Passion

It's time for me to start doing Illustrator Friday again.  This past year I've been so busy with moving and commissioned jobs that I had no time for it, but nowI have a lot more flexibility so I'm diving in to this week's topic "Passion."

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Allow me to introduce you to Owl

Meet Owl, a character from a story I'm currently working on.  She's peering inside a window hoping you'll let her in and protect her from the cold.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Victor's First Pumpkin

When a client asked me to do an illustration for his novel about a vegetarian vulture I was intrigued and gladly accepted the challenge.  Vultures are often portrayed as vile, ugly creatures and I was eager to show a different side to these truly incredible birds.  How cool is it that I get to work with such delightfully unusual projects! I seriously have the coolest job in the world.