Thursday, November 12, 2015

Online critiques to watch (from real instructors)

My last post highlighted a piece I'm submitting for SVS's 3rd Thursday competition. I just finished watching their critique of last month's four pieces, and WOW! The information they offer is so helpful and generous! I'm hooked. I can't wait to watch more of them, but I've got work waiting for me . . .

If these are something you'd like to watch and learn from, here's a link to their youtube channel. Scroll down and look for the 3rd Thursday videos. (There's a lot more great stuff to learn from, too!) And they offer very reasonably priced classes to learn professional techniques.

And since blogposts are boring without something visual, below is a recent page from my sketchbook. Which leads me to ask, have you sketched today? Fifteen minutes a day can go a long way. (Hey, I sound like one of those commercials out there . . .)

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Something Completely Different

Okay, so I normally draw cute kids.

But today I got sidetracked into something much more experimental - and it was quick and fun. SVS hosts monthly competitions (this is a link to their website; look for 3rd Thursdays), from which they pick a handful to critique and offer prizes. This month's prompt asks for an Edgar Allan Poe cover featuring his stories. Well here ya go. I have to say that I love sketching, so doing a caricature of Poe was a lot of fun, especially since I didn't have to make him perfect. I also find it great fun experimenting with textures in a way that I might not typically do with my more traditional art. (But maybe I should . . .)

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Little Red Take 3

Here's yet another red riding hood, which again took so much longer than I anticipated it would! Keeping things consistent and helping what's most important stand out took some finagling. Hopefully I'll get better (and quicker) at doing this. I'm not sure it works perfectly, but my mind can't process what needs doing at present. If you have any suggestions, I'm open! I'd also love to hear which of the three Red Riding Hood pictures you like best.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Kids and Craft: Making Both Work

This blogpost ( by an author/illustrator friend, Jill Bergman, shares what it means for her to be a mother/author/illustrator. It made me think about an article I wrote months ago (see below). Although I speaks from my own mother/children's book maker perspective, others might glean ideas about making other chosen crafts work. I'd love to hear your thoughts. 

Kids and Craft: Making Both Work
Angela C. Hawkins

For the last ten years, I’ve opted to be a stay-at-home-mom. It’s wonderful, but it does come packaged in creative limitations. I’ve teetered between ignoring my craft until my kids grow older and growing my craft while ignoring my kids. It’s not a one-size-fits-all game, but here’s how I try to balance both:        

Most days have pockets of creative time. A writing professor knew a published stay-at-home mom who nabbed twenty minutes a day to write. Sometimes a mind-numbing break while my kids have napped, snacked, or played is tempting, but I've rarely regretted choosing to create. Much can be done in focused swatches of time.
 Notepads are essential. They’ve kept my creativity streaming while I’ve nursed, watched kids, and prepared food. They’ve kept me engaged and ready for those creative time pockets.

Watching kids is productive. Watching my children play has been an opportunity to soak up beautiful memories and improve my writing and illustration. It has flooded my notebook with story ideas, and my artistic mind has captured ways of working light, color, and child-like fun into my illustrations. 

A stay-at-home mom doesn’t have to mean a play-at-home mom. I do play with my kids, but I feel that all day play is misleading and debilitating for all of us. I try to show by example and expectation that lots of happiness can be found through ambition, hard work, sharing, creativity, and productivity.

Learn and create together. Although it takes longer, learning and creating in tandem with littler ones has honed my brainstorming, artistic, researching, and teaching skills.

Learn from kids. I’m often entangled in planning and details. My kids create uninhibitedly, experimenting easily with new ideas and mediums. It reminds me to let go and have more fun.

Daily reading is a boon. It’s important for my kids and my craft to read a lot – and I can accomplish both at once! Reading to them has fine-tuned my understanding of rhythm, rhyme, word choices, and pacing.

Kid perspectives are insightful. While reading together, I observe what engages their attention, finds their chuckle bones, or leaves them distracted. I notice which covers, titles, illustrations, and blurbs reach out to them.

Kids dish out great advice. When I've encountered story and illustration problems, my children offer meticulous advice from the way they see things. Since I am writing for kids, that perspective is a sparkling asset. 

Sharing my work with them is an investment. Not only are my children my greatest fans, but I love how my example inspires them to create. Which inspires me to create. Which inspires them to create. Which . . .

Since my family will always be first, there are days when I set my dreams aside. But with a little thought and lots of perseverance, on most days I can squeeze in both.