Saturday, March 30, 2013

Computer Crash: Day 9

March 30, 2013

Today it seems even my phone is against me.  It almost would not let me send you this message. How much longer things will be this way... I know not. I hope for my sake and yours that the tides will change soon.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Computer Crash: Day 8

March 29, 2013. You never know how much you miss things until after they are gone. Like being constantly Rick Rolled...

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Computer Crash: Day 7

March 28, 2013.  If not for my iPhone I think I'd have gone mad by now. I do indeed know that I should replace my old computer. I know that even if my computer were fixed it would never be the same.  I could never ruin my computer's memory by using new parts in its old frame. Besides, it has only lived a year in my presence and that is unacceptable. I don't think I'd could brin myself to gaze into its pale shell day after day.  No, I will instead wait until I can replace the old computer.  Thus the waiting begins. Let us all hope my phone battery has some life left in it...

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Computer Crash: Day 6

March 27, 2013. I completely lost touch with the Internet world yesterday. Could there be any crueler fate known to mankind?  It is all but evident that no part of my computer can be saved. The hardware, the memories, the video game save files... Gone. I don't know how life can ever be the same.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Computer Crash: Day 4

March 25, 2013. Day 4 of no computer. My computer is still dead.  I have a small hope that the vital information on the hard drive can be saved. My hope is dwindling with time. I don't know what I'll do if all that information is lost...

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Computer Crash: Day 3

It has been three days since my laptop crashed or at least thats what i gather according to the suns ive seen. I meant to have posted sooner, but there is little sense of time here now.  Far off in the distance I know there is a timepiece, but is a rough trek, so I prefer not to venture out.  I have a small time piece on that which I write this mesasage, but a small crazed local steals it from me every chance he gets.  I don't know how long this will take, but if you are reading this: PLEASE SEND TECHNICAL HELP!


Friday, March 22, 2013

Major Malfunction

So I've made posts from time to time on my iPhone.  I don't like doing it because it takes a lot more time and the spell checker can be a terrible thing.  Thursdays I'm supposed to post about a blog/webpage about a writer or illustator, but this week is different.  How is it different?  My Laptop crashed hard.  Tells me there is a hard drive failure.  So now I'm stuck without a computer and while I love making my posts about the blogger of the week it's just not going to be possible this week.  So computer failed (might have lost tons of important things), baby is still sick an lots of other things that I'd rather not mention by name have made this a very bad month.  What else is going to go wrong?

Dear Karma,

I think I've earned enough credit in this month alone to deserve a new computer.

 Lots of love,

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Writing Tips from Jen Neilsen

Hi everyone!  Just wanted to make a post to share some great writing tips from author Jennifer Nielsen (Author of The False Prince). Lots of great tips so take a look! Http://

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Watercolour Painting

I only got one watercolour painting done last night but I wanted to share the results with you. This was done in a Moleskine notebook on regular paper, but I'm not sure what the specifics are on the paper. It's a yellowish paper with a bit of weight to it, and it's not for watercolour but works in small images. Technical definition that was.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Lots of Fashiony Sketches!

Sorry about yesterday! It took me almost as long to scan my art as it did to draw them in the first place! All of the clothing is my own design. Some of the elements of these drawings were inspired by other designers. I'm posting these in order that I started drawing them. Sorry they are so light... I didn't want to go too dark because I'm going right to watercolours instead of inking. I couldn't get much contrast out of these, but it will be much better when I go to watercolours! I hope you like them


Why No Post

Sorry there wasn't a post for the 17th! I was busy on a project for my fashion illustration class! I didn't get the work done soon enough. Good thing is that I will be posing the pencil sketches in the morning! Night, night owls!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Game of Rejection

Do you like Bingo? Do you collect a lot of rejection letters? Well now the rejection letters can be fun. It's called Rejection Letter Bingo! It is in the March/April 2013 issue of Writer's Digest. Want a copy? Just go here

Friday, March 15, 2013

Workshop: The Agents of the Erin Murphy Literary Agency

There are a few workshops that the A Path to Publishing is offering on their website. These workshops are video learning tools that may help you on the path to publishing. For prices and more info please click the links. Sorry that I didn't get this info sooner, because there are three workshops already sold out! They claim to be able to have 24 people sign up with no lag time in picture or audio. The following are workshops that are currently not full:

The first is from the "Agents of the Erin Murphy Literary Agency: on April 24th:

This workshop starts with you being able to talk to other writers before the presentation begins. Then a 60 minute presentation by the staff followed by a 30 minute Q & A. This is not where you can pitch your book, but you can learn a lot from this agency.

The second is called "The Plot Whisperer+10 hour Agent Workshop:

With this you get a workbook to help you in your process of plotting your book. You will develop your book over these 10 hours just like an in-person writing workshop. Plot consultant Martha Alderson and Literary Agent Jill Corcoran will help you on your journey!

The third and final workshop is a 1 hour consultation or 1-on-1 critique group with Literary Agent Jill Corcoran:

This is just what it sounds like. Want to share the cost (and the time) with a few friends? You can do that here! Jill Corcoran will be critiquing your manuscript/concepts or talking about anything you wish to talk about.

If you do take any of these workshops do let me know. I will not be able to participate due to time restraints. I do not know if they will be hosting more workshops, but it doesn't hurt to go to after these workshops are completed to see!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

PaperFashion Illustration Course: Project 1

So a few weeks ago I told you that I was taking a fashion illustration course with Katie Rodgers (@paperfashion on twitter). I am so excited to be in her course! I would like to share with you the project I'm working on. Now I thought that I couldn't share everything with you here, so I started creating a Pinterest  board with all the gowns I was using as inspiration. Now I find that I can give you the direct link! This is just the inspiration portion of the project. When I actually do drawings I'll post them here directly. I'm going the lazy way and just give you the link:  Tell me what you think!

Wendy Martin

Wendy Martin isn't just a talented illustrator, but she is also a designer as well. You might think these are similar fields, and you aren't wrong, but just because a person can do one, it doesn't mean that they can do the other. I spent some time in graphic design myself, and there is a lot of technical information you need that is different than that of what an Illustrator needs to know.

With all the things that she has taken on, I'm shocked that Wendy has time to work on her blog at all. Yes she does design and illustration, but she also works in fabric as well!  How do I know this? I snuck onto her facebook page and got all the dirt... actually clean details. Unfortunately there was no dirty secrets there, just a lot of links to her Corsets, Masks, Steampunk Clothing, Home & Garden items, and of course links to her blog. She has a lot of cute items and fun fantasy clothes she sells. Don't believe me? Check it out here:

Wendy's blog mostly focuses on her own illustration and interviews with other illustrators. Reading the interviews will give you a lot of insight to the book industry as well as a special look at great artists. Wendy has a large amount of drawings that you can print out and give to a child to colour. There are also a lot of nice sketches from when she did a daily sketch month.

If you are browsing Wendy's website you will see a lot of illustrations that are whimsical and many are fantasy based. She has illustrated more than a few books and there are lots of illustration samples from each. I said that she did a lot of design work and these include: Cover Art, Fine Art, Banners, Art Licensing, Logo and Icon design. Honestl,y I don't know how she does it all! (She says how here: but it's still hard to believe!)

You are going to find a lot of information when you browse Wendy's site. On her webpage: (you wont find it if you are on her blog). You will find a step by step process on how she created her earthworm picture under "About the Artist" you will also find a book about creating picture book dummies (but only on her blog) if you click on the same link on her blog. It's a great price for invaluable information! Also don't miss out on her FAQ this information is information you NEED to know if you are in the picture book industry.

One last link for you to look at: if you want to follow Wendy on Twitter!  I hope you enjoyed this review! Next week I'm reviewing Catherine A. Winn. Is it silly to say that her blog is win?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

First Five Pages Workshop

Struggling with the post tonight, because I left my laptop at work. Writing this on my phone. I would write a poem tonight but my heart isn't in it. Also my brain isn't working because I almost typed my hear isn't with it and while I'm sure that's true I dunno what that means.

I want to show to you this neat contest that I found online.  It's called the "First Five Pages Workshop". It's more of a workshop than a contest.  This contest has a lot of rules. I guess what makes it more of a contest is that people get disqualified by not following the rules or by not submitting with the proper format. From what I know of something with this strict of rules, at least half of the entries will be disqualified because the format is incorrect. While it may seem painful to enter it does seem like a wonderful learning exercise.  You can view it here for yourself:

Monday, March 11, 2013

Very Sick Today

Very Sick Today

I`m very sick today
I want to hide away
Under blankets so warm
I just want to inform:
I want to be alone
(So you don`t hear me moan)

This poem is loosely based on a true story.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

What I Was Going to Say

What I Was Going to Say

I can't remember what I was going to say
I think it had something to do with today
Maybe tomorrow I'll remember what's what
Now I've forgotten, so I'll keep my mouth shut.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Tired Eyes

Tired Eyes

My eyes wont let me see
I try to beg and plea
But I can't count to three
Before they close on me

Friday, March 8, 2013

Asking the Wrong Question

So I'm going through training to be a Financial Advisor this weekend. I expected to learn a lot this weekend, but I didn't expect it to apply to Writing and Illustrating. It's funny how things connect when you don't expect them too.

I've discovered that I've often been asking the wrong question in life. When I see someone successful I ask them how they got there, or I try to learn how they got there. This is a very important question, but it's only part of what I should be asking or finding out. A very important question is what inspired them and drove this person to be the person they are today. This way I could figure out my own "why". I can get all the how-tos for how to do art or writing, but if I don't have a strong "why" then I'll never be driven or inspired to get my work published.

I have lots of reasons why I want to become a Picture Book Writer and Illustrator, but I haven't written this down so I can remember when times are tough. I don't think my whole "why" is so I can afford for my son to  have all the things he needs in life. There are lots of ways to get to that solution, so I need to come up with something that gives a reason for me to specifically get published. I think I will work on this over the next few days and post the results here.

What is your "why"?

Jeff Carney

You can't visit Jeff Carney's webpage and not crack a smile (go ahead, I dare you). His warning alone sent me into a fit of giggles. I chose to ignore his warning and you should as well if you know what's best for you. Instead you should visit his website here: and the blog within the website here:

Jeff Carney's webpage has everything that an authors website should have. He talks about his terrible struggles in the morning, and his heartbreaking burden of having to listen to the same radio station every time he gets into the car! He is a great writer, though. You know how I know? It's because a cat loves his book. If you can get a cat to love your book then you are going right to the best sellers list!

Seriously (however slight that seriousness might be) Jeff is a great writer. The real reason I know this is because I read the chapter in his book and his blog as well! The characters in his story feel real, the writing is compelling and the words flow well. It also doesn't hurt that he has a great sense of humour and this shows in the excerpt he shares with us. My only regret in reading about his books is that Jeff's new book sounds awesome and it's not published so I can read it.

Jeff's blog is a lot of fun to read. He has spoken a lot about writing, but it's not his main focus for his blog. My favourite articles are the ones about impossible situations that people write about, but I digress... What is Jeff Carney's blog about? I'm not really sure, because it runs the gambit of all possible subjects. You'd think that a blog like this wouldn't make sense, but it's a perfect mash up of everything. Jeff's posts are witty, thought provoking and just plain fun to read.  

I have not officially read more than a chapter of Jeff's books, but I think his writing style is right up my alley. I can't wait to get a hold of a copy of his books so I can devour them. Jeff, if you are reading this: Go write a few more books for us to read! 

 I can't believe it I got to review another extremely talented person's blog. I'll have no luck next week finding an untalented person, because I have a great illustrator's site to review! Check back next week to see my review of Wendy Martin's Illustration website. It's going to be great!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Two Contests

There are two contests that I just have to tell you about today. The first is from Kelly Hashway's blog. She is giving away two YA novels "The Other Marlow Girl" by Beth Fred and "Advantage Heartbreak" by Kelly Hashway. Check that out here:

If you prefer picture books head over to Stephanie Ruble's blog! She's giving away a "When a Dragon Moves In" by Jodi Moore. She's also going to be giving away books every Wednesday!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Ninja Woman's Monkey Ono Giveaway

So anyone up for a contest? I know I am! Head over to Ninja Woman's (aka Julie C Phillips) blog and sign up! Her new book "Monkey Ono" comes out Thursday so she's celebrating with a giveaway. What do you win? And I quote:

"A signed copy of MONKEY ONO
A signed copy of ONE of the NINJA books - your choice
A pack of Monkey Ono GREETING CARDS
some BOOKMARKS!  (For those of you who still read paper books.)"

Good luck!

Monday, March 4, 2013



Cookies are my favourite treat
so small, sweet and fun to eat
If no cookies are nearby
I'll just have a piece of pie

Sunday, March 3, 2013

How Do You Make Your Online Friends?

This might seem like a strange topic for this blog, but if you know me you know that I'm a strange person. For those of us who network a lot we all have different tactics to how we make our online friends. Should I say "friends" since we don't always know one another well when we start.

When I was a lot younger I spent a good deal of time in chat rooms. If you find the right strangers the conversation in chat rooms can be a lot of fun. When I use to use chat rooms a lot I would rarely add someone as a friend. I would always wait until they added me. Since the rooms were always small enough I could be come well known without taking the first step. Wouldn't that be perfect if all social media was like this?

Moving up to Facebook was a bit more of a challenge. The people you already know and are friends with outside of the computer are always easy adds. You get into a group and start talking to people and it's a different story. Usually people are easy going about adding you as a friend, but some people are very restrictive to who they add. Here I generally add people according to who I would like to get to know better and already have had some interactions with on or off Facebook. . This can still be difficult for me, because there is always a small fear of rejection.

Twitter I find is one of the easiest for making friends (or "friends"). I add people even if I know very little about them here. There are some people who will add until that person follows them, and then stop following that person. I think this is a vain attempt to get a higher following rate than those the person is following. If your Tweets are interesting and you become popular you wont have to worry about this. For me I only add people who are interesting and share my interests. I wont follow someone who I don't like (or am unsure about). I also wont remove anyone unless I have a good reason. I do have a habit of un-following people by accident.

I think most of my best online friendships have come from either chat rooms or online message boards. I think it's very important to find people in which you share an interest so that it's easier to make the friendship last. Trying to make friends with people who have interests of which you know nothing about is near impossible. You need to have shared interests so you both can have an interest in one another.

That in a nut shell is basically how I find my online friends, how do you find yours?

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Printing for Artists and Writers

I'd like to do something a little different tonight. I'd like to share with you the experience I have gained as a student and graphic designer. Now I don't do much in the way in graphic design or printing, but I have learned a lot on the subject of printing along the way. This doesn't cover everything to do with printing, but it will help you out when you go to print anything.

1. Why Go To A Printing Company? 

Your home inkjet printer uses water-based ink while a printing company uses oil-based inks on their laser printers. My home-made wedding invitations smeared when they got wet! Not all inks are this bad, but if there is a chance that your manuscript or artwork might smear is it really worth the risk? Another problem is that your artwork is more likely to fade with an inkjet printer. A high quality inkjet (I love Epson’s printers myself) may give you a prettier print, but overall using a printing company is best for prints.

It’s actually cheaper going to a printing company for printing than using inkjet ink! You should have a home inkjet (lasers are expensive) printer for drafts and quick prints, but you will pay less for a prints at a printing company. Printing companies generally lease their equipment, so they not only likely have a newer printer but their printer has the ability to do higher quality prints than a home printer can.

Where You Should Do Your Printing?

Where you should get your printing done depends on what you want printed. If you are just making copies of your manuscript you can go anywhere that has a copier. If you are loyal (and friendly) to a local printer you are more likely to get discounts on your printing in the future. They may also give you discounts on website design!

If you are do any other printing use a local printing company that’s dedicated solely to printing. Companies like Kinkos, Staples, Office Depot and UPS may not have someone who is knowledgeable in graphics or printing.  These places have Copy Centers, but their focus isn't printing. Some places will print business cards on pre-punched paper, so they don’t have to use a cutter to cut your cards. The result? Bumpy edges, and an overall unprofessional look for your business cards.

How to Get The Best Results From Your Prints 

You may want to bring your artwork to the printer for scanning. This way if your digital file is bad, you can easily have it scanned. If you can help it don’t leave your original artwork at the printers because there is a chance it could be damaged. If you do bring (or email) a digital copy be sure to scan it into your computer at a minimum of 300dpi! Anything smaller is going to give you a terrible print. Scanned slides are really the best way to go, but who makes slides these days?

Don’t use Microsoft Word to create anything. If it’s not a text document to be printed it doesn’t belong in Word. I worked for a printing company for two years and I found that it is extremely difficult to make a print from Microsoft Word. It is more difficult to change (and for you to create) Word documents. Overall you might pay more for a document made in Word than if you let the printer’s graphic designer create it themselves. You can create documents in Word, but be aware that the graphic designer may just ask for your files your project can be recreated.

Be aware of bleeds and cutting! Bleeds are used when an image or colour ends at the edge of a document. If you are creating an image/colour that goes to the edge of your artwork, then you need to add (or bleed) an extra ¼” of the image/colour over the edge of the document. Anything bigger than the actual document size will be trimmed off. Also, make sure that you give at least 1/8” - ¼” room between your text/image and the edge of your document.

I hope this helps you with your next printing job, and if you have any questions feel free to email me at daniduckart(@) just remember to remove the brackets.

I Signed Up For #ChaBooCha

Yes, It's a funny name. Also yes, I need a another challenge like I need a hole in my head. However you look at it, there it is, I signed up for another challenge. This challenge is the Chapter Book Challenge.

This is a one month challenge for the month of March. I really don't know if I have the time to write a chapter book within the constraints of this month, but it's fun to try! It will likely give me a good start on my first Chapter Book. Interested in signing up? It's completely free! Just click on the link: If you sign up let me know. I'd love to hear from more people in the challenge.