I Done Did My Dummy

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After months of working on my new book, I finally finished up my dummy and sent it off to my editor. I am pretty jazzed about it. It’s my baby. If you have ever had a baby, you are convinced that yours is the best looking baby around… while others are thinking… “What a funny looking kid”.  Haha!

I am hoping that others will love my baby too.  I made it for others to enjoy!  Parents reading to little ones, those are my target audience.  I can picture them reading this to their little one on a cold winters night before bedtime. I love the idea of wide-eyed little kids being swept into a story… walking into the very pages and settling in.  I hope my editor likes it!

(If you don’t know what a dummy is, it is a prototype or mock-up of a book).

Life As An Artist

Artists of the world, I appreciate you!  What a job we have. We create from our passionate hearts and then our creations are rejected. Still we continue to create.. It’s in our blood. It’s in our DNA. If we don’t do it, we get cranky and frustrated.

We may take a vacation, but creativity goes with us. Colors sing to us. Lines, shapes, ideas..they follow us…sometimes they holler at us to take notice.  

One time I was riding home in the car from a trip to the mountains. My husband was driving. I had my sketchbook on my lap and a magazine on top of that. Ideas began flowing as I flipped through the pages of the magazine and made notes in my sketchbook. From there, more ideas came. Without a word spoken in the quiet car, my mind was ablaze with activity. 

I stopped. I looked over at my husband. I asked him what he was thinking about. He said, “Nothing, I’m driving”.  I chuckled and told him he would be freaked out if he could get in my brain at that moment in time. Hahaha!  

It’s a gift to hold the creative gene. To see ideas flow from the viewing of a sunset or a passing snail. To be inspired by looking at an old piece of barn wood, a bolt of fabric, a skein of soft yarn, a tube of red paint, a song on the radio …etc. oh what a life we lead. 

My dream for all artists is that we find our way and create what we were meant to create to make the world a brighter and happier place. Will your art speak? Will it have a voice in the life of someone who needs encouragement, will it make a baby smile or a grandparent shed a tear as it touches their heart? Will it boost a spirit? Will it change a life? I hope so. Keep going! Keep creating. You are amazing! Sing your song! Have fun!!!

The Art Licensing Show Ribbon Cutting!

ribboncut Oh What fun!!!  The Art Licensing Show website is up and running today!!   You may ask, what is it?  Here is the explanation by founder Cherish Flieder.

ArtLicensingShow.com is a permission based, virtual portal where artwork can be reviewed privately by Art Directors who are looking to commercially license artwork. Authorized Art Directors may request to see art from a wide assortment of participating Artists and Licensors and highlight favorite art pieces, all with a single login.

It is an online directory where art licensing companies and professionals in supporting roles can be be listed and found with a simple search by name, keywords, subject and genre.

Lastly, it’s a a social gathering where industry professionals can network and connect with one another in groups, site updates, and via direct messaging to advance their goals.

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All of us on the site have been working hard to get our art up and loaded.  Today is our big day!

Am I finished?  Is an artist ever really finished?  There are always more things to do!  More drawing, more coloring,

more ideas, more more more!

Living in my Illustrations

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Being an illustrator is great fun.  Why?  Because you can use your imagination to go places you’ve never been and do things you’ve never done. For instance, I have always wanted a log cabin up in the mountains.  As a teen, I used to imagine having a studio up a flight of wooden steps to a big room. It would have rafter ceilings and a window seat for me to look out of.  It would be warm and cozy and I could sit and do my art all day long near a roaring fire in the wood stove.

When I began thinking of places for my character Burl the bear to live in, I made it just like “I” wanted it!  Warm and inviting!  When you walk through the doorway of my story, you will find a home that lives in my imagination. It will be a place that I love and I will revisit it many times as the story progresses. I must be passionate about what I draw or it becomes listless and boring. This process is what makes a story believable.

My experience tells me that children notice the tiniest of details.  I did a school visit after Peepsqueak was published by Harper Collins Publisher.  I read the book to the children and then we talked.  Through out the story there was another story going on in the book. It was a little tiny mouse who appeared on many of the pages.  The children did not miss it. They even commented on the mouse as I read to them.  I let them in on a little secret.  I named the mouse Elliot.  When I told them his name they all squealed with delight and pointed to the cutest little boy in their classroom who was named Elliot!   He was beaming.  Suddenly he became part of the story. He was so happy!

These are the things that make a story magical in the eyes of children and adults alike.  Its also why I continue creating images.  I love seeing characters develop.   I love finding their voices. .. what they are like… what they like to do.  It does not stop when I leave the studio.  I think about them all the time, until I finally know how they would react in any given situation. That way they become very believable creations and loved by all.

Stay posted,  Burl and Briley are growing on my heart daily.  I can hardly wait to illustrate the books that are in my mind!

BLOOM

 

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Artists live a life of wonder. At times, it’s wondering what to do next. I will not lie, I have been wondering this for the last few months. I am looking for the sweet spot! It’s my favorite place to be in Art. It’s the place where you are working and you don’t want to stop. I think it’s a divine place where God kisses your life with ideas that flow out in a steady stream.

A lot of things can bar you from this place. Looking in the wrong direction, self doubt, self pity, self self self. Ha! Get the point? You have to get rid of the”self” part. If the sweet spot is divine, then you have to seek out the divine.

A few nights ago I had a dream. My dad was in the dream. Someone had driven him to my house. He slowly came up the steps to my house and said to me, ” Bloom“. In a small whisper he said, “bloom where you are planted”.
Then he was gone.
I woke up knowing the “divine” had spoken to me.
No grinding out ideas, just let the divine IN me out… to make the art I was born to make.

A flower does not worry about the bloom. All the coding for that bloom is IN the seed. It simply drinks up moisture from above and the roots go down and the bloom comes.

So… BLOOM today! You were meant to be like none other.

Summers Bounty

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What a wonderful summer day! I spent the afternoon napping and reading a book. The clouds darkened the skies and a gentle rain ensued for the good part of about 6 minutes! I do love summer days and WEEKENDS!

Deadlines for art submissions have passed and there has come this summer season of looking for new ideas. Crunch time gives way to the relaxed season in which i can play with the wonders of my imagination.

How do I get ideas? I plow through magazines, books, stores, websites, looking for something to inspire. Color combinations, trends, shapes, textures charge me up! I am always careful NOT to steal ideas. But one idea may spawn a new one in my mind.

As far as writing ideas? They most often come to me on my walks. I have to be sure to bring paper and pen.

And so I thank you summer months! For your green leaves, spectacular flowers, fruits and veggies in the garden and warm moon lite nights. Summer bounty spills into my studio! I love it!

I Remember When . . .

1ropechick

Oh little Peepsqueak.  This picture of you reminds me of something that happened to me when I was little.  We were visiting an aunt in Washington.  She had a rope that dangled from a tree in her backyard. She also had a big DOG that came running into the yard barking at ME!  I jumped on that rope and UP, UP, UP  I went!  I did not even know I could climb a rope!  I just did it!  ha ha!

Most of my art comes from my imagination, but it is also from my memories and from my life experiences. All that being said, I think I can still climb a rope!