Tuesday, September 1, 2015

September is the best month to be born….

…. I should know, I've had a September birthday my whole life;)

So when I learned that The Little Kids' Table's official publication date would be September 1st I was just tickled pink. And now it's here! "Publication date" means the book is in the warehouse of the distributor ready to be sent to bookstores, libraries, and laps full of bedtime reading material. I received my contributor copies a few weeks ago but waited to post these pictures until the actual publication date.

I once heard a friend of mine answer the question "what surprised you the most about being published?" At the time I had no idea how I would answer the question. Now I do. What surprised me the most about getting those boxes of books was being unsettled that I couldn't go back and change bits and pieces of the illustrations. Over this eighteen month process I've had many chances to tweak, to re-do, to think "oh I'll just fix that here and here." Now for better or worse, those images are DONE. Who knew that paper and ink could feel the same as being carved in stone?!

So to all my Virgo sisters and brothers, we have a new sibling full of carefully orchestrated details and organized chaos. HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY LITTLE KIDS' TABLE!

Friday, July 24, 2015

This is the kind of relaxation I wish I had

Our fat black feline, Moses, spends more time on his back than on his feet.

A few days ago I pondered the possibility that the reason Jim Dear and I feel like the summer has flown by is because through some twist of cat magic Moses actually pulled all the ambient relaxation out of the atmosphere around us. Then he sucked it into his skin and stored it up like a bear stores berries in winter. Therefore we get to spend all summer feeling like we are working hard, chasing kids and yard projects and Moses gets to open one eye and watch us once in a while.

Here's a few slices of work in progress:

Thursday, March 19, 2015

When the rain brings the weeds....

...the flowers are not far behind. A quick sketch of the day lily's tiny sprouts around my mailbox amongst the weeds I'll chase all summer.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Happy 33rd day of 2015

This is the 8th New Year's post I've written since starting my blog to chronicle my publishing journey. Coincidently five years ago I also skipped posting in the month of January and wrote my traditional New Year post on February 2nd, 2010. Know why I was late that year? I'd spent the previous twelve months being a mom to TWO kids, a situation previously undeveloped in my first two years on the blog. Somehow January just slipped through my fingers.

Also coincidently I'm late this year for practically the same reason. While the two children in question are of the paper, watercolor, and imagination variety they demand almost as much time, although they don't argue in the back of the car as much. And when I say two children, that's almost a misnomer for The Little Kid's Table which encompasses a whopping 13 characters. I like to think of The Little Kid's Table as being the Type A overachiever child - so many things to say, so many things to do, so many things to be right about. Kooky Crumbs, whose detailed sketches were just approved last week, is the quieter, artsier child. Right now it stands in the shadow of The Little Kid's Table on the drawing board, but as that one's deadline draws near Kooky Crumbs will get its time to shine.

Here are a few random pics that I snapped during the first year of raising The Little Kid's Table:

Character sketches and initial thumbnail layouts

close up of my initial thumbnail layout. Some of these stayed the same, some changed
My stack of discarded sketches

One of my favorite spreads

The line up. I kept several illos taped over my drawing table for character reference.

This one and the one above were some of the first illos I did.
I was trying to get the kids characters developed.

Finally let's have a look at my resolutions for 2015. I really struggled with these for the first year ever. Usually my resolutions revolve around professional goals but 2014 saw many years of professional resolutions bear fruit. After several weeks of letting resolution ideas soak in my brain I realized I kept coming back to work/life balance. I need to remember that just because I'm not dragging a pencil or paintbrush across the paper doesn't mean I'm not developing as an artist. So here's what I resolve for 2015:

1) stop thinking of chatting with friends on social media as "wasting time." Many of those same friends are illustrators or writers just like me, blessed with an abundance of ideas and projects, cursed with a lack of time and working in solitude constantly. Chatting helps.

2) In that same vein, stop thinking of sitting in my idea chair with a cup of coffee and a good book as wasting time. Reading good books is what gives me good ideas. Ditto on reading good books to my kids.

3) Make time to have coffee with friends that I haven't in a while, even if I'm on a deadline. A couple of times recently I've seen the theme of having an interesting life outside of the studio as being essential to being a great artist. All work and no play dulls the pencil. Seems like the universe is trying to tell me that I can't always rest on the excuse of "I'm on a deadline, I don't have time."

4) this one is the real kicker - don't feel guilty about keeping these resolutions.

If I go back to this resolution to listen to more music maybe I've been trying to do the art/life balance for a while. Here's to a year of letting the fulcrum tilt back horizontal.