Friday, September 4, 2015

Road Trip Time!

Projects are complete, automatic replies to work email turned on, dog sitters in place, laundry done, suitcase packed, writing materials ready, traveling watercolor kit secured, car washed, vacuumed and full of gas, because this road trip begins at 6:00am!

St. Paul to the Thousand Islands Region of NY with lots of stops along the way. Follow my Twitter and Instagram for images of things that inspire me, daily doodles and good eats. 

See you in the morning!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Practice Does Not Always Make Perfect

I've been playing around a little bit. You are not seeing the four flat out rejects. Seriously, if I paint this picture one more time I might go crazy. Or drink. Or both. 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The E.B. Effect

When I first started working with E.B. I was so nervous!  He is a Caldecott honor winner and illustrator of 65+ books after all.  Afraid to ask questions and sound like a completely insane, untalented person, I would just write down every word he said and obsess over them for the next week.  My family was close to killing me.  I drove everyone crazy with my insecurity and hundreds of thumbnails.  My critique group never blocked my calls or emails, but I wouldn't be surprised if they seriously considered it (at least a few times).  Thanks for putting up with me Carolyn Dee Flores, Laura-Susan Thomas, Akiko White and Eileen Ryan Ewen!!  I wouldn't have survived the last year without you ladies.  Your advice and critiques were, and continue to be my saving grace.

Beyond improvement in artistic skill, E.B. has taught me to trust my instincts, ASK those questions and embrace the insanity (for marketing purposes I call it quirkiness).  And never (and he means NEVER) say you can't.  The word just doesn't exist in his vocabulary.

I've been working with E.B. Lewis for a year now.  I've come a long way in that time.  I thought I would give you a bit of a visual journey, so you can see my progress.  

 This is my original drawing, before I started working with E.B.  I thought it was perfect.  E.B. asked me what the narrative was?  Where is the little boy?  Why do you have a floating (boring) window?  All extremely important questions.  That I had no answer for.

 I started with the interior (trust me this was not the first version).  The boy is in his room.  Yay! One question answered.  Who is this boy? What are his hobbies? I love dogs, plus I thought he added some emotion.  Questions were being answered left and right!  What is he looking at? A landscape, a road, so what?  Where is the anticipation?  What is next...  More questions!

This is the final version.  All questions answered. 

 E.B. has taught me you can't answer the questions, if you don't ask them.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Elvis Lives! AGAIN!

I am reposting one of my favorite posts.  I've been locked away too long in this Minnesota winter and need  people connections!  Enjoy.

   I was watching a documentary on Jerry Weintraub and he told the story about how he landed Elvis. I had heard of Mr. Weintraub before, but I never realized what an interesting life story he has. I highly recommend watching this insightful documentary about believing in yourself and making a connection with people. Yes, I mean real live people.  Mr Weintraub's success wasn't about focus groups, target audiences, and marketing strategies.  It was about his amazing ability to connect with people. Through his persistence and hard work he developed relationships, that would inevitably result in someone taking a chance.
     So I kicked off my blue suede shoes, sat on the couch with my hound dog and sketched while I watched the show and this is what I came up with.  Please, don't be cruel...

     Now suspicious minds would wonder why I was watching a documentary on Jerry Weintraub if I don't really know who he is, and I will admit to being a documentary junkie, plus the show expires 1/31 on HBO on demand, so I thought, it's now or never.   It was not a rag to riches story per say and Jerry (I think it's okay if I call him Jerry) did not start out life in the ghetto.  His father was a traveling salesman and taught him the importance of working hard for what you want and a never ending belief in yourself.
     One of the reasons I have a burning love for documentaries or even biographies about people (mostly successful, but not always) is they always seem to tell the same basic story that I think we forget nowadays.  HARD WORK, HARD WORK AND PEOPLE!! Also sprinkle in a healthy dose of self belief and a little good luck charm and you could be the next Jerry Weintraub.
     So whether I am working my "real" full time job or spending every free moment, drawing, writing, blogging, tweeting, facebooking, pintresting, reading and researching, (Funny, it sounds like I am trying to connect with people?!) I will continue to take time out for the occasional documentary.  I can't help falling in love with stories about people who surrender to their dreams and make it!
     For people looking to connect with another person (No, this is not a dating site, I have been happily married for 25 years) I am a hard headed woman with a burning love for children's books and I won't get all shook up if you don't like my sketch of a teddy bear.  Are you lonesome tonight? Tweet me.  A little less conversation? Follow me on Pintrest.  For fool's such as I, just can't help believin' that I will make it someday doing what I love, developing amazing relationships along the way and praying my promotional postcards and query letters don't come back stamped "Return To Sender."
     Off to spend time with my big hunk of love..... The best relationship of all!