Friday, May 27, 2016

Getting Dummier

SCBWI members have the opportunity to query Zonderkidz all May. This is nice since Zonderkidz is usually closed to unsolicited manuscripts. At first I hadn't planned on submitting anything, but after noticing that they have a number of leveled readers, I thought about The Missing Smile. It was fresh in mind since I'd already been turning three pages into black and white samples for my portfolio (you can visit my website to see them if you want). I thought it would be a good project to give myself the month to redo the dummy and sample images (yes, this meant painting the same spreads I'd just done into color; it helped that all my values had been worked out). 

If any of these look familiar, about three years ago I worked on this dummy and created finished pieces for my then portfolio (you can see how they differ from today's here and here.) The Missing Smile was actually published in Clubhouse Jr magazine in 2007 when my youngest was a baby. Once he was in school and I had a lot more time to work on my career, I thought that this story was a good start for a leveled reader. So I did some tweaking of words and worked on the dummy (which was hard and satisfying work). It was my 3rd dummy, but I still felt very much like a beginner. 

This time around, I felt very confident in putting everything together. SVS has been integral in teaching me better ways of doing this, as has learning about Marla Frazee's process. It's kind of amazing what good instruction and a lot of practice can do!

And now, I'm on to my next dummy!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

3rd Thursday and Website

Whew! I've been busy refining my website and refinishing a personal book dummy (which I hope to submit by the end of the month). But earlier this week I realized that 3rd Thursday was fast approaching and, since I really enjoy participating, I carved out a day to put together the submission above. The prompt to was to illustrate a saying from a fortune cookie. My "fortune" (if you can call it that) was: Look to the future but don't forget to enjoy today. This is something I have to tell myself all the time, so the scenario I chose came rather quickly to mind! I opted to do it in black and white since I'm looking to add to the bw section on my website.

And speaking of my website, you might enjoy taking a fresh look here since it's new and (hopefully) improved. Thanks to a suggestion from my wonderful critique group friend, Sadee Schilling (check out her amazing work here), I added a section to showcase some of my sketches. I love sketching kids, so here's one I chose to include of my youngest jumping into the pool (thanks to my husband for snapping the shot).

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Visits to the library

Our family visits the library at least once a week, and this illustration is an accurate depiction of the affair. I always leave heaving a stack of picture books (perhaps not with quite as many as above) while my oldest grabs the latest mythological novels and my youngest seeks every computer programming guide available. My husband utilizes the library as well, but takes more advantage of their audio books than anything physical. Indeed, we are a book-loving family!

Since January, I've been focused on reworking my portfolio and website. It's now in a shape I'm happy with. Take a peek if you like (; you'll certainly recognize many pieces, and there are several others I haven't posted anywhere else. Now that that's done, it's time to dust off my personal projects and keep moving forward!