Sunday, October 20, 2013

"To Redo Winnie the Pooh..."

Just attended a great workshop sponsored by the Southwest Texas chapter of SCBWI in San Antonio. The guest was Richard Jesse Watson, who was a great speaker.

The fun, art part of this was re-imagining Winnie the Pooh in a different context. I thought of Winnie & Co. as Intergalactic Bee Keepers:

Not super happy with the coloring job, but I did what I could with the time I could spare...

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Why I haven't blogged (but with GOOD NEWS!)

Hey everyone! ...It's been quite a while since I wrote anything newsworthy.... so let's start at the beginning:

Last April, I attended a SCBWI conference, sponsored by the Houston Chapter. It had some really notable attendants, including editor Lucy Cummins (Simon and Schuster) and Caldecott Honor winner Peter Brown (Creepy Carrots)... it was a normally hectic day, as I had a critique with Lucy, and got to take part in the birdhouse auction and silent auction, in which I donated this piece for auction:

"Wonce Ug Ton a Tim"
The work on display

Amongst other work up for auction.
I had a great time there as usual. There is a great energy whenever I am at the children's book events. Just being around that many people dedicated to the craft is invigorating! I need to take more pictures next time I attend these events. I am notoriously bad at taking photos. Have been my whole life, actually.

my portfolio display

There was an assignment for the illustrators, and a special breakout session, where Lucy looked at a piece we did. There was the choice of a picture book spread, or a MG cover. I liked the haunting subject matter of the latter, so I chose that one. Here are some preliminary sketches:

and the finished work:

Honestly, I wasn't happy with it, but I figured I could just eat some humble pie and take whatever feedback was given. I like my idea, but I didn't like the execution.

Lucy giving her thoughts on the piece
. I considered my work a very rough piece but almost everyone there had very refined work, and I was a little disappointed in my submission. If I do this again, I would do a million things different... including not showing the piece if I am not happy with it. I don't consider myself a proud person, but if my work is not up to my standards, I probably won't show it.

Anyhoo, Great news....  I watched the bidding all day (I did bid, myself... only because I really liked the piece), and saw the bid go above $100.00! Which is awesome, because our SCBWI chapter got the proceeds from the auction items. The winning bid was submitted by the amazing (and obviously, very smart) Shannon Morgan! Shannon just also happens to be the Regional Advisor for the Southwest Texas chapter of SCBWI....

Thanks for helping support the SCBWI Houston chapter, Shannon!

Shannon and her prize

The sold piece

Shannon was kind enough to post some pix on her Twitter (@nomadshan), and showed where the work ended up. I am honored to have my work on the same wall as C.S. Jenning's art (For more of his work: Click here)

Well, You may ask, "What does this have to do with myself not blogging in MONTHS?!" 
Well, as a result of myself having monsters on my postcard (cuz seriously, I love monsters!)... I was contacted by Stephanie Hedlund, an Editor at Abdo Publishing ...who was also a speaker at the conference. I completely missed her talk as I was in a critique with Lucy at that time.

The bottom line.... I spent the rest of the summer (almost 4 months) illustrating 4 picture books!
I will post more later on the process and what not... but let's just say I would have been happy with just one interested person, let alone an offer for many books. Here is a sneak peek from them:

The Littlest Vampire's Story

The Littlest Werewolf's  Story
The Littlest Zombie's Story

The Littlest Witch's Story

I learned that doing one book in 4-5 months is one thing, doing 4 in 4 months is a completely different matter. It meant working for days on end, having good communication, and making sure every decision was swiftly acted on. It meant being efficient and was quite the exercise in teamwork. Stephanie was great... and when she left for another opportunity, Renee LaViolette stepped in without skipping a beat. I can't thank those 2 enough for being so great in this whole process.

So keep your eyes open for these for books in January 2014 from Abdo Publishing (Magic Wagon).... (click here for their site).

Okay, now that I am back, I have a lot of new art to work on, a lot of new books to review, and a renewed energy to kick out some new artwork!

Special thanks to:

Abdo Publishing
P. Abdo
Stephanie Hedlund
Renee Laviolette

SCBWI Houston Illustrators, especially:
Kirk Reedstrom
and all the others, who gave me incredible support!