Writing

Coughing and Writing

I’ve been sick with a cold for two weeks, and I’m pretty tired of feeling yucky. I’ve been sleeping a lot, and seeing how fast I can beat my last record of going through a box of tissues.

The good news is, I’m also writing a lot more. I have a couple story ideas that I’m really excited about, and so I’m writing my first drafts which are AWFUL, and that’s wonderful. If writing is like cleaning out a closet, the first draft is emptying the closet and throwing everything on the bed. All your ideas are out there, messy and disorganized, but once you work through it, you know you’ll have a good story/ tidy closet.

So far my writing process goes like this:

  1. Write two sentences
  2. Stare into space.
  3. Write another sentence
  4. Stare into space visualizing the scene and curse once I realized I stopped typing.
  5. Try to “rewind” visualization and type it out poorly.
  6. Make a cup of hot cocoa and wish it was the kind with marshmallows.

I’m having a BLAST. ๐Ÿ™‚

Writing

A thumb drive from 2011

About a year ago, I cleaned out the back of my closet and sorted through old boxes. There was this thumb drive that was covered in fuzz and dust and I almost threw it away, but thought “I better make sure nothing is on it.” And then I put it on my desk and avoided it.

I assumed that it would be full of old forms and documents from my working in higher education. My last job wasn’t a healthy experience for me, and I wasn’t ready to bring back memories and sort through the files yet. I wanted a cup of tea, a sunny day, and a good feeling.

Today is snowy, I’m a little cranky, and too impatient to make tea. My desk is cluttered and I better see what’s on this stupid thing before I throw it away. And I was surprised. There was a folder of old tax returns, a folder of work documents (already labeled) and a folder that said “Fun fun fun”. I opened it, and there were two stories. One had a brief outline and some thoughts and the other was outlined and 8000 words written. I vaguely remembered these ideas and checked the date: 2011, my last year working in higher education. I left my job at the end of the spring semester in 2012 to pursue children’s book illustration.

I had forgotten that I wrote to help escape my job. To just find some comfort. I also found a letter I wrote “To Future Me” and in it 2011 Me wrote “This is really happening.” and outlined all the horrible things that were happening on a regular basis at my work with a note of “Because you’ll start to forget and doubt if you did the right thing.”

I carefully cleaned off the sweater fuzz from the drive and put it away. I’m going to finish those stories for my past self. But first, a cup of hot tea.


Photo credit Autumn Seybert 2019


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Back from a short break

I went away to Florida for a week, and it was really lovely. The weather was warm, sunny, and full of warm breezes. Did I mention it was warm? Iโ€™ve sorely missed feeling warm. Even my toes felt warm!

Iโ€™ve been doing some unofficial polling, and the general feedback seems to be that weekly posting would be enjoyable, so I will endeavor to fulfill those wishes, kind followers.

You may have noticed some updates to the website! Iโ€™m working on making it user friendly. If you encounter something frustrating or have a suggestion to make, Iโ€™d love to hear about it in the comments!

The kidlit community is proud to support students around the globe who are on school strikes to voice their concern for our planetโ€™s future. The above image is my contribution- to find out how you can get involved, check out this website

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Bears for #kidlitart28

For the month of February you can follow me and a lot of other illustrators by searching for #kidlitart28. It’s a drawing challenge to keep you drawing every day and for the dreary winter days, I was pretty excited for it. The theme this year is “Draw what you love” After some consideration, I chose bears to be my “what I love” I don’t have a bear for each day, because I often went back to finish up a bear or add things here and there. This past weekend was the SCBWI* Winter Conference, or #Ny19SCBWI so that also took away from my daily drawing time ( but totally worth it! More on that to come)

This panda was funny. I enjoyed sketching him so much. He is the absolute picture of relaxation. So I wanted to draw him on vacation. Rough sketches, colors, and I still like the first sketch the best. I may need to revisit this one with traditional materials since it’s not working at all for me digitally.

Well, I am really tired from my trip, and I want to review my notes from the conference so I can share some highlights with you! Have a great day everyone!

*SCBWI stands for Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators

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Winter…

I always have mixed feelings about winter. Sometimes I love to get out in the snow and shovel it out of the driveway. I like snowballs and sound of the snow crunching under my boots. I love how quiet winter is. No one is mowing the lawn, the birds have flown south and the only sounds are the ice cracking in the sun.

Sometimes the sun hasn’t been out, and it’s cold and grey and COLD. Yes, it’s definitely worth saying cold twice. Because it’s not a cozy cold, it’s a bone-cold that turns your skin scaly like a lizard, and there’s just NOT ENOUGH COFFEE EVER.

And some days are compromises. A warm cup of coffee, sunshine, and bitter, bitter cold. These are the days for wooly socks, fluffy mittens hot coffee, and a good book to escape into. How are you staying warm?

Illustrations

Rhinocerunderpants

rhinocerunderpants

Have you made any resolutions for the new year? I usually have mixed feelings about making resolutions. But then the new year begins, and I get really excited about possibilities! This year, I have two resolutions: to take care of my health (especially after being sick since November-definitely getting a flu shot in 2019) , and to have more fun making art. ๐Ÿ™‚ LIKE RHINO IN UNDERPANTS!


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Ready for the New Year

This year was a difficult one. It was also one of the most heart-filling years for friendships and loved ones. I met some amazing people this year that I am happy to call friends, the friendships I had before felt more special to me, and my appreciation for family grew. So it was a hard year, and in many places, a sad year. But also a good year.

I often imagine going through my mental baggage at the end of each year and picking out the things I want to take with me.

This year, I’m taking a few things with me:

  1. The day is not complete until you’ve made at least 5 mistakes a day. Everything after that is bonus.
  2. It doesn’t have to be perfect, have fun in the process
  3. Friendship
  4. Forgiveness
  5. Confidence in myself to succeed.

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Tools

An Excellent Resource

Recently, I signed up for BluPrint, which offers online classes on all sorts of creative topics. If you are familiar with Craftsy, you might have already heard of BluPrint. I originally signed up for the class because Mike Curato was presenting a class on Picture Books. Mike was my mentor during my stay at Highlights Foundation this summer (which is another experience I highly recommend. Highlights is a wonderful retreat for the creative mind) Mike is an amazing author/ illustrator who has created the Little Elliot Books and illustrated some other amazing stories. He’s also just a super nice person and I think the world is better with him in it.

Now Mike’s class is not quite available yet, I was too hasty in signing up! But I’ll be sure to let you know exactly when it does. ๐Ÿ™‚

In the meantime, Shadra Strickland also has an amazing class about creating picture books, and this class was a wonderful experience. She takes her time and clearly explains how picture books work, and the steps to create a book for submitting to a publisher or just for your family to enjoy. Here is the link to her class.ย 

There have been some basic concepts to picture book illustration I kept getting hung up on. It’s probably my training in traditional animation, as Shadra uses an example from her student’s work who also trained in animation. I felt like this class was made just for me, but of course, it wasn’t- and it’s available to everyone. ๐Ÿ™‚

Below is one of Shadra’s books she illustrated “A Place Where Hurricanes Happen”

You can get a free week trial with BluPrint, and during their Black Friday sales, you can get a cheaper subscription rate.

I’m not getting paid for my recommendations, by the way. I’m just excited and want to share ๐Ÿ™‚