Wednesday, October 29, 2014

copyright Julie Ann Duris
"If you find yourself asking yourself (and your friends) "Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist?" chances are you are. The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real on is scared to death." - Steven Pressfield, The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles.

The last few months I have been working on my illustration portfolio and writing story ideas for picture books. 
Through out the process I've been doing research on what goes on inside the head of a successful KidLit author and or illustrator by reading blogs, watching interviews, and joining Facebook groups. 

All of this research and connecting started out being very useful...I really enjoyed watching the author interviews and such but after a week I started feeling like I was in an information overload. 

The KidLit Facebook groups constantly had a new post about somebody or something that pulled me into reading yet another blog post, a new book release youtube video or peruse over another illustration portfolios. Email daily notified me of new info from the handful of sites I had subscribed to.

Procrastination can be sneaky. It can take a good attribute like the desire to learn and subtly turn it into a way to avoid actually doing the work.  I had allowed myself to be sucked into the social media vortex. I hadn't made time management boundaries and it was killing my productivity.
"The most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying." - Steven Pressfield, The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles.
The other side to this was reading about way too many other authors and illustrators.  The immense talent pool displayed in the web-o-sphere was actually making me feel like I might be trying to achieve a livelihood that was out of my league.

Oh, comparison. You thief of joy. 

There are a couple of blogs I want to follow. There are still interviews I have waiting to enjoy. But I realize for me to concentrate on my own work I need to quiet down the noise. Less exposure to the big ol' wide web world and more focus on what I want my own creative voice to say.
"If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud."  -French author, Emile Zola 

Monday, June 30, 2014

Me and Laura Ingalls Wilder

Rough sketch with quick Photoshop paint.
Laura Ingalls Wilder and I have a small but significant connection. Well, we will have a connection. 
For about 10 years she pursued having her now much loved Little House of the Prairie books published. Laura became an author at the age of 65. She finished her series at the age of 76.

I have a dream that's been dormant for quite awhile. I'd really like to illustrate and write children's books.
However, if I were to receive a contract today I would be 59 when my debut children's book would be on the shelf. Two years the average time for a book to go from signing the contract to shelf display.
Not everything is quick and techy in this day and age. 
Publishing still takes time; and for good reasons. 
- Usually a year to send writing/illustration edits back and forth. 
- Final draft sent to China for printing (maybe on a slow boat)
- Then there's all the marketing stuff which includes scheduling a book's arrival to book sellers.

So...realistically I'm going to be like Laura and be looking at the 6-0 or so before I'm published. It took her 10 years. Hopefully, it will work out better for me.

At first this kind of bugged me. 
Why didn't I get started earlier with this dream of creating children's books? 

Gee, maybe because I was busy doing lots of important, wonderful things. 
Through it all I've gained the kind of confidence, determination, inspiration and insight to have the disciplines needed to be a free-lance illustrator /author. I'll have to make that poster for my office so I can remind myself of that.

And through it all it's brought me to now. 
This is my time for this dream.
It was all the timing for Laura Ingalls Wilder too. Her stories were not received well in the modern '20's but in 1932 during the Great Depression publishers knew that readers would love the nostaglia and sweeter, simplier times of the Little House stories. 

Now, my thoughts have flipped.
A fresh goal...a new way to stretch myself and fulfill a dream-
What a great way to enter in to my 60's.

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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Project Complete 

It's been almost two months ago that I posted the first two of five typography design pieces depicting the 5 core values at East Hill Church.

Ta! Da! Now they are all finished! This was a fun project.

Through some not to be mentioned mistakes too complicated to explain I've learned a few things about color and blending and transparency modes and stuff I thought I already knew. That was an awesome run on sentence.

Clue: the printed versions came out greener than I had anticipated. 

All is well.
I delivered them today. They were received with satisfied smiles. They communicate what we, as a church, believe are very crucial.

They are all displayed in the office lobby and have a lot of impact. Especially, with all the photos surrounding them. Photos of our church family illustrating the value.
I was happy to see that many of the photos had been matted...on green.

See, Julie. It all works out.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The project that never ends...

I began this piece of work this Spring but I just haven't been able to finish it. Chalk it up to starting it over completely after I finished it because I didn't like the end results. I decided I needed to change the look a little. See my post from May 25th
Which isn't frustrating to me because I learn a little more each time I do something.'s really time to finish this up and move on.
The last step has been to scan it into Illustrator and begin the exacting but satisfying job of drawing it over with the pen tool.

Though I love the hand-drawn work I just really like the smooth, cleaner lines I get from turning my work into a digital piece. I guess that's the graphic artist in me. It takes longer, and I'd like to work a little faster so I can produce more work (to sell someday) but the pace I'm at right now is how it will have to be for awhile. I just haven't come to a place where I can commit more time.

I have been reading more about working more efficiently, and with more discipline so I've been carrying these ideas around with me and slowly adding them to my routine.

No matter what I do, there's always a learning curve. Time to process the information and time to implement it.

Anyway! I am getting excited about the end result!

This is my hand-drawn piece scanned in. I was lazy and didn't completely finish the design work. The really rock star digital artists finish the hand-drawn piece in detail before they start on the digital drawing...oh, well!

Here's a screenshot of what I'm doing in Illustrator. The little blue lines represent where I just drew the heart. I use my scanned in work as the template.

This kind of project gives me the best of both worlds and the most satisfaction.

I would like to make this poster available for purchase eventually;
But that's a whole different project.

Monday, August 12, 2013

An earlier post that should really be on this blog. This was my first piece of work after a long sabbatical. Thankful to be moving forward.