Saturday, April 26, 2014

Alison Hertz - Doodle Day


Alison Hertz
Today on my blog I'm interviewing Alison Hertz. She is the the creator of "Doodle Day". Alison posts a list of daily doodle prompts every month on her Facebook group. Members of this group then post their progress daily and there are some wonderful results.


It is very important that I make this post this week, because it is the last full week in April. Next Thursday starts the first anniversary event for Doodle Day (originally Doodle Day May) and I'm very excited to take part in this event. I will Tweet some reminders on (and before) Thursday so everyone can remember to join in the fun. You can check out the Facebook group here:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/DoodleDay/




Dani: I think it would be nice to start out by talking about Doodle Day, so could you let us know how this all started?

Alison: I was inspired by Debbie Ohi’s fabulous daily doodles that she shares on Facebook so I started posting daily doodles of my own in October 2012. I continued to doodle each day and share my doodles when I participated in Linda Silvestri’s SkADaMo in November 2012. I had soo much fun creating these quick sketches that weren’t for editors, art directors or even for my portfolio that I continued to create a daily doodle everyday through December, January and all the way through April of 2013.

Doodle Day Badge
My children often gave me suggestions of things to doodle and on April 30th, my daughter who loves to draw and paint (then just 5 years old) asked me about my doodles during our drive to pre-school. Holding her pink sketchbook in her hands, she explained to me that she wanted to draw with me everyday in May and that she thought it would be fun if we could draw the same things. We decided to call it “Doodle Day May” and as she was getting out of the car, she said that I should “blog about it and invite our friends to doodle with us.” 

Well, I did blog about it and invite our friends that day and you can see that original post here: http://www.alisonhertz.blogspot.com/2013/04/new-challenge-doodle-day-may.html. At 6am the next morning, I had received more than 60 emails from people all over the world who were interested in participating in Doodle Day May with us. I created a Facebook group page and posted a blog each day with a doodle prompt along with links and information about how to approach drawing that prompt. At the end of May, Doodle Day was about to end but the participants asked me to continue posting prompts. Doodle Day continued through June, July, August (dropped the “May” part of the name in there somewhere) and on through the rest of 2013 and into 2014. The Facebook group is now up to more than 250 members and there are many more doodlers who are not a part of Facebook who email me their doodles.


Dani: What is it that keeps you doing doodles every day?

Various Dog Poses
Alison: My drawing arm is permanently injured from a car accident years ago and the effort required to illustrate FLAP, my debut picture book, was very painful. Pain took the fun away from drawing for me and I vowed that in 2013, I was going to strengthen my arm and figure out a way to make illustrating fun again. Doodling everyday helped me figure out my style and change the way I draw so that I can sketch for longer periods of time without discomfort. Doodling is freeing and relaxing and fun – it is a way for me to express myself artistically without the fear of being judged, graded, or critiqued. Since doodles can take anywhere from a couple minutes to a half hour, I can always find time in a busy day to sketch the prompt of the day. Doodle Day participants are not required to use the prompts but they are there every day to inspire and challenge and to take the pressure away from staring at a blank page and wondering what to put on it.


Dani: Does your daughter still do doodles with you every day?

Alison: Erin draws every day and paints most days. She doesn't use the prompts much anymore because she finds inspiration in her own imagination, at school, and in her surroundings.


Dani: How easy is it to come up with so many illustration prompts?

Alison's Facebook Avatar
Alison: I came up with the daily prompts for the first few months of Doodle Day and in September last year, I created a Character Challenge within Doodle Day which was a month dedicated to working on drawing human characters in different age groups and understanding the subtle differences between them. After that, we (myself along with Doodle Day participants) came up with themes for each month and I posted a file in the group’s page so that other doodlers could add prompts to the list. November was Animals, December was A-Z Underwater/Ocean theme, etc…




Dani: You have some big changes this year for Doodle Day, what prompted these changes?

Alison: The changes to Doodle Day this year have been with our themes. At the end of last year, Doodlers expressed that they often focused on developing characters but gave little attention to the rest of the scene – to giving the character a location so the theme for January 2014 was Backgrounds and Scenes. Doodle Day participants have also expressed a desire to work on character consistency so we had only four prompts for February and we focused on a single character each day for a week at a time. We continue to doodle every day in Doodle Day but we are focusing the monthly themes on the specific needs and desires of what the participants want to work on. As always, though, doodlers are never required to use the prompts. They are there for inspiration and challenge but if someone is inspired by another subject, he or she is always welcome to doodle that and share it with the group.
Angry Faces



Dani: I hear that you have a book called FLAP could you tell us about your wonderful flying adventure?

Alison: I wrote and illustrated FLAP and was published through a traditional press in November 2012. The premise is that when Max and Katie decide to teach their little sister to fly, they quickly learn that telling her to flap just isn't enough. The story is an example of perseverance as the siblings try to figure out how to get their sister off the ground. FLAP is available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indiebound, and on my website. I enjoy doing author/illustrator visits with libraries and schools as well as speaking to other groups about writing, illustrating, and not letting obstacles stand in the way of one’s goals.

Dani: Do you have any final inspirational words for all the doodlers out there?

Alison: Yes, Dani, here is a bit of what doodling has taught me. Drawing everyday is the best way to improve. Doodling without thinking that every drawing has portfolio potential opens doors to trying new media, playing with different styles, experimenting with both traditional and digital methods of drawing, etc… Don’t over think the subject matter – not every drawing has to be something concrete. Just put your pencil to the page and see where it goes.

Connect With Alison:
Twitter: @AlisonHertz 



Wednesday, April 23, 2014

What's Up Wednesday! All the Things

David's oral surgery went fine. He now has a bit of bling in his mouth. There really wasn't much of a recovery time. He was back to normal within a couple of hours after. Preventative measures were taken and with any luck there will be no more cavities!

This week is already going better than last. I remembered to post a drawing, I did some artwork today and I have three interviews lined up for the next three weeks.

What I'm Reading
I've been paging through a few non-fiction books lately. These are the books I've leafed through lately:
Novelists Notebook by Laurie Henry, How to Write and Sell Greeting Cards, Bumper Stickers, T-Shirts and Other Fun Stuff by Molly Wigand, and Drawing Comics is Easy! (Except When It's Hard) by Alexa Kitchen. They all have their good points. I've yet to read any of these from cover to cover (though I really should). I'd highly recommend these to anyone working in these areas. There may be a bit of info that's outdated, but not enough to keep you from buying these books!

What I'm Writing/Drawing 

I still can't believe I wasn't able to post anything much in the last couple of weeks. I'm really happy about the interviews coming up. Friday I will have Alison Hertz (Doodle Day) on my blog! I can't wait.. there are lots of great illustrations to go along with this!

I'm working again on my Pattern Pals Web Comic. I think I've completely let this slide in recent months, WELL NO MORE! Today I worked on getting some of the houses more detailed. I could technically start drawing now, but I'd rather have the environments down pat so there are fewer inconsistencies later on. 

The start of the day was collecting a bunch of pictures of whimsical houses on Pinterest. It's really given me some great ideas for my Pattern Pal's houses (though I think I did a great job of making my things original). Also I think this will be highly useful in the future:  http://www.pinterest.com/daniduckart/whimsical-architecture/  I made a board for whimsical furnature as well, but I only had 16 pins for that. (If you find more cool furniture let me know!)

Every Day Possible
-  Portfolio Work

Wed 04/16
- Post What's Up Wednesday Post - done
- Worked on Pattern Pals Webcomic

Thursday 04/17
- DEALING WITH INSANE TODDLERS

Friday 04/18

-Doing some artwork

Saturday 04/19
- Things and stuff

Sunday 04/20
- Craziness and artwork

Send out interviews

Monday 04/21
- 42

Tuesday 04/22

- Sunshine and lollipops!

Wednesday 04/23

- What's Up Wednesday!

What Inspires Me Right Now

Ice cream and cookies that I can't have right now. ARGH!

What Else I've Been Up To

Toddler Minding 
I was up all night with him. I think it's night terrors.

Ect.
NO CARBS MAKE DANI WANT TO SMASH!

*What's up Wednesday is part of Jamie Morrow's summer writing intensive: "Ready. Set. WRITE!" There are other host blogs including: Erin L. FunkAlison MillerKaty Upperman, and Elodie Nowodazkij.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Ice Skater -- Mini Drawing

Hi Everyone,

Last week didn't turn out like I wanted. I was hoping to do a blog review but I got sidetracked doing some illustrations. I will be posting at least one of them soon.Later on this week I will have an interview with Alison Hertz creator of Doodle Day. What is Doodle Day you ask? Well you'll have to come back Friday to find out! Today I have for you one of my 2.5 x 3.5" illustrations. This one is of Tri. I recently re-worked this illustration. I'm still not sure if I like this version better than the original. I think I like the original better on the computer but this one better on paper. Ah well, I hope you enjoy this little ice skater!

Lots of Xs,

Dani

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What's Up Wednesday! Getting Back in Gear

It's been a bit of a sad week. Not much done all week, but I think it's a bit of a backlash from last week. Tomorrow David (my three year old) has to go in for oral surgery. It's just some cavities that need to get fixed. He has to go under because he's too young to do it any other way. It's a bit scary, but everything should be okay.

What I'm Reading
I've not been reading a lot. I did read a couple of books to my son yesterday. One... I think the title was "I Ain't Gonna Paint No More". It was a beautifully illustrated picture book. The kid in the book wasn't supposed to be painting because he made a huge mess. He gets into the paints... he compulsively needs to paint just a little... soon he ends up painting a lot!

There was also an easy reader that we found about Spider Man. As much as I'd like it to be more comic book like in the layout of the book, I think overall it was a decent book. The words flowed well (can not say that about the lego books) and the pictures were good. David kept saying "I like that!" which is a pretty good complement coming from him. The book held his attention the whole time I was reading the story.

What I'm Writing/Drawing 

I'm slowly getting back into gear. Last week was a wash, but this week there will be more posted. My husband has a three day weekend so I should be able to do some artwork!

Every Day Possible
-  Portfolio Work

Wed 04/16
- Post What's Up Wednesday Post - done
- Worked on Illustrations - just did a tiny bit today, but still progress!

Thursday 04/17
-Hoping David's surgery goes well.
-Working on my online comic with my husband.
-Working on Artwork and enjoying family. 

Friday 04/18

-Maybe finding an Easter Event with Family.
-Getting all the art things done.

Saturday 04/19
- Getting things done!
- Doing artwork.
- Easter Event with Family.

Sunday 04/20
- Loving Easter!
Send out interviews

Monday 04/21
- Insert activity here.

Tuesday 04/22

- Hoping for good weather so David and I can play outside!

Wednesday 04/23

- What's Up Wednesday!

What Inspires Me Right Now

Wonderful people who are helping or have helped me edit my current manuscript. Karen Konnerth, Rene Aubre, Robyn Campbell, and Cecilia Clark. Thank you! 

What Else I've Been Up To

Toddler Minding 
He has grown out of his size three outfits. Almost overnight too! Glad I've been telling people he needs size four! He was barely in size threes. 

Ect.
Not eating many carbs and feeling okay about it. Well I had some cake on Monday, but that doesn't count. It's birthday cake. I'm pretty sure all low carb books have birthday cake down as not counting.

*What's up Wednesday is part of Jamie Morrow's summer writing intensive: "Ready. Set. WRITE!" There are other host blogs including: Erin L. FunkAlison MillerKaty Upperman, and Elodie Nowodazkij.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

What's Up Wednesday! I Wish I Stayed In Bed Edition


This has not been a great week for me. It's been hard for me to focus on things lately, and I haven't gotten much done. To make matters worse my husband, Peter, just had his Grandmother pass away last night. Needless to say I didn't get much art done today even though I had the day off. I spent time with my MIL (which was nice) and just a bit of time went to painting. I regret nothing, though. I was glad to get to spend time with her today. We spent time at the mall buying things for Peter's birthday party.


What I'm Reading

I haven't set up a new thing to read so I haven't been reading. I did, however, recently download this really cool game. The game is called LoneWolf and it's for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Plus. The reason I bring this game up is because the game is very story driven. The game itself is rated 9+ but age nine might be a bit young for this depending on your own personal rules. There is a bit of animated violence and I don't see blood, but that doesn't mean to throw your kids at this game! Check it out yourself and see what you think first for sure. This game is free this week and maybe beyond... there are four more chapters that you do have to buy.

Why do I bring this game up of all things? Well it's basically like reading a fantasy book. You have pages you have to flip and they have lovely "inked" drawings scattered throughout. These drawings are animated in areas, but rarely fully animated. There are full animation sequences when you go into battle, but the battles aren't excessive. The story is very immersive and written in the 2nd person. It reminds me of the choose your own adventure books with a few additions that make it that much more fun to read.

What I'm Writing/Drawing 

I've made a decision about my blog this week. I know I change up things often here, so just prepare for another change! I'm going to combine my Interview and Blog Review days. I am not finding enough time to do both per week. I'm also sorely behind on sending out interviews (sorry about that!). What I need to do is take some time to focus my efforts so I can keep giving out good things on a weekly basis. This will also let me focus more time on actually working on illustrations and writing when I have time. 


Every Day Possible
-  Portfolio Work

Wed 04/09
- Post What's Up Wednesday Post - done
- Worked on Illustrations - just did a tiny bit today, but still progress!

Thursday 04/03
Hoping my headache goes away so the kids don't drive me insane. 

Friday 04/04

-Enjoying time with family.

Saturday 04/05

- Doing artwork.

Sunday 04/06

Send out interviews

Monday 04/07
-Finding a brain that's more focused than my last brain. They sell these on Craigslist, right?

Tuesday 04/08

- Blog review

- Insane toddler time outside... maybe without headaches.

Wednesday 04/12

- What's Up Wednesday!

What Inspires Me Right Now

My wonderful family.

What Else I've Been Up To

Toddler Minding 
My son is eating everything in site! He's three and ate a whole order of cheesy bread on his own & a glass of chocolate milk. His tummy hurt afterward and Daddy and I had to kiss it to make it better. I think a growth spurt will be taking place soon!

Ect.
Lost a bit of weight, but might have gained some back in the last few days... so maybe I broke even this week? Ha, ha!

*What's up Wednesday is part of Jamie Morrow's summer writing intensive: "Ready. Set. WRITE!" There are other host blogs including: Erin L. FunkAlison MillerKaty Upperman, and Elodie Nowodazkij.

Monday, April 7, 2014

On Blogging: What to Give Away

I'm like most people. I like getting presents. Some of the best presents are little things that I don't have to do much to receive. I am more likely to come back to a website/blog if I'm going to get something from my visit and most people feel the same. Giving away things on your blog is great for bringing people to your website/blog... except what to give away? Luckily I've read a lot of blogs and visited a lot of websites so I can show you the options that are out there now! Both writers and illustrators should be able to find information here to help improve their blog.

Chances are if you blog you are already giving out something for free and that something is information. I love book blogs and websites that will give me information on a book, author/illustrator, art/writing tips, process information, and finished artwork. These are all things that people generally have on their blog and I feel they should be included when talking about giving things away on your blog. These are all great and if you do a few of them you will have a solid blog, but what if you want to do more? Let's focus on the big things first and then go to the smaller things.

In order to do this post correctly I will give you examples of individuals who give away things for free. I want to start with the big things. By big things I mean things that take more than a week to create. These are things that you put your blood sweat and tears into making. You might only have one of these on your blog because they are so labor intensive. There are ways to monetize your blog from these, but I don't have the time to list them all in this post.

1. Novels/Books One of the ultimates in labour intensity. Novels take a few months to many years to write and it may seem like a mistake to give these away. If your book is good you could more easily get signed with a publisher for your next book. You might also get more fans. This is certainly not for the faint of heart! Ksenia Anske gives out her ebooks here for free. (You can also choose to support her by donating or buying the eBooks/paperback books). Amy Good's "Rooted" is also free. 

2Partial Books: This could range from anything from the first few chapters of your novel, or the first book in a multi book series. Dani Jones gives away a digital version of her graphic novel "My Sister the Freak" On her webpage along with other cool downloads. 

3. Interactive Webpages I can't say that I know of many of these. They are more difficult to set up, but are a lot of fun! I do know that Tiffany Stone has a wonderfully interactive page with some little games you can play. 

4. Podcasts These are a lot of work, but oh so much fun to listen to. The following are my favorite audio podcasts. Escape from Illustration Island is my ultimate favorite hosted by Keven Cross and Joshua Kemble. Chris Oatley's Podcast is great. Now Chris is working with Paper Wings Podcast and is no longer creating new podcasts. Thomas James' podcast is the first podcast I listened to, but unfortunately he's not doing anymore for "Illustration Age" or "Escape From Illustration Island". The information of Thomas' podcasts are still great information.

Now for some of the smaller things you might want to give away on your blog. It might not be a small task making these, but people will be encouraged to visit your blog time and time again to download, print, view these cool things! 

1. Short Stories and Poems These are things that might not require a download, but people love to read. They might take you a few minutes to several hours to write. Bisky Scribbles has a couple of short stories on her website.

2. Colouring Pages Who doesn't love a good colouring page? You can see my colouring pages here. Elizabeth O. Dulemba gave me the idea for my current colouring page format. She also has a widget for people to share her colouring pages on other blogs. Also don't forget to visit Wendy Martin's page!

3. Activity Sheets Oodles of fun for kids and adults alike. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Evelyn B. Christensen here. She has new puzzles every week on her webpage with a link to more. You will never get bored visiting her site. Chieu Ann Urban and Jean Reidy both have a lot of great activities on their sites.

4. Videos It's one thing to blog about something. It's a whole different ball of wax to make videos instead of a blog post. For the Illustrators may I introduce William R. Palacio and for the writers Amber from the Mile Long Bookshelf Christina Farley and Amy Good (yes again!).

5. Paper Dolls Okay, maybe this fits under the category of "Activity Sheets" but I love the idea of it so much I'm putting it here. I was only able to ever do one of these and I wish I could give you tons of examples of these. It took me a lot of time to get the clothes to fit on the characters. It hasn't put me off completely, but if you do this know it's a lot of work to get your clothes to fit your models! You can see my paper dolls here.

6. Contests/Giveaways/Events These usually come with a lot of prizes. They are not easy to set up, but they are lots of fun for the participants. Julie Hedlund has the biggest event I know with the "12 x 12". Shannon Abercrombie does "100 days of Summer" and "Start the Year Off Write". Other great events include Tara Lazar's PiBiIdMoMeg Miller's ReViMo, Angie Karcher's RhyPiBoMo, and Becky Fyfe's Chapter Book Challenge. A great site for general giveaways is Cherie Colyer's blog

Other Ideas: I do not have links to these other ideas but maybe something here will spark your interest. If you aren't the artist make sure you have the rights to distribute these for free.

1. Original Video Games/Book Apps

2. Wallpaper

3. Calendars/To-Do Lists

4. Bookmarks

5. Artwork to Print

6. Colouring/Activity Books

7. Web Comics Dani Jones has a few of these on her site.

There are as many things you can give out on your blog as the sea is wide. I can't possibly fit them all into this post, but I hope I gave enough examples for people to develop their own ideas. If you think of any more, or more examples of such websites please post them in the comments below!

Thank you so much to Jacqueline Bryant Campbell's whose question inspired this post!




Wednesday, April 2, 2014

What's Up Wednesday? EVERYTHING!

I am not sure if I am going to have an interview for this week. I allowed myself to get too far behind and the interviews did not go out as planned. On a good note I finished my manuscript for the Chapter Book Challenge (which is mostly why I'm behind). I wrote 25,052 words last month and I'm really quite tired. I think I kind of deserve a break this week anyway! The story I wrote was based off a short story I wrote for the Chapter Book Challenge's SuperHERo Tales. For the Challenge this time I wrote a YA novella. Though the story is complete I'm not happy with the story like it is. My two options are doing a YA novel or making it a Graphic Novel. The latter of which will take a long, long time to do (with my current time restrictions). I've got it in my proverbial drawer. Going to email it to myself now, so if something happens to my computer I still have it! A bonus to this event, I won my very own KINDLE! Yay me!

What I'm Reading

Finally, finally finished Julius Caesar Brown and the Green Gas Mystery by Ace Hansen. I was pleasantly surprised with this book. It was a lot of fun to read! I never thought I'd have this much fun reading a book about gas. Seriously, I have a thing against that, but I read the book and thoroughly enjoyed reading every bit~



What I'm Writing/Drawing 

I'm pretty burnt out with writing so I'm not sure how much I'll get done this month. Other than the YA Novella draft that I finished this month I also got a PB draft done! It's pretty sketchy, but it's still giving me a direction to go in the future. It is mostly wordless. The way I'm constructing it the story wont need words. I got 1/4th of the way through sketching another book last month, so I hope to finish it this month. I do not believe that one will have words in it either.

I was not able to finish my three paintings today. Somehow I misplaced my pallet of watercolours. I'm hoping I just put it in the wrong area. I do not want to find it in my son's room! I did a bit of sketching and painting, but didn't make any great strides today.

After I finish my 3 paintings I need to get going on some other projects to round out my portfolio. I'd like a few more black and white artwork pieces in my portfolio. I don't have any people in my portfolio so I may need to do a few colour illustrations of that (but I don't think I'm going to make this my first priority). The other big thing is business card, post card and portfolio web page design. I would like to do something to tie all these together, so to the drawing board I will be going. 


Every Day Possible
-  Portfolio Work


Wed 04/02
- Post What's Up Wednesday Post - done
- Work on Illustrations - Never done, but progress was made today!

Thursday 04/03
Hoping that the two Toddler Supermen in my life wont drive me completely insane.

Friday 04/04

- Getting a hair cut.
- Doing all the things.

Saturday 04/05

- Buying Art Supplies?

Sunday 04/06

Send out interviews
-Meeting with the SCBWI illustrators!

Monday 04/07
-Putting my brain up for adoption

Tuesday 04/08

- Blog review

- Outside, sunshine and hopefully peace

Wednesday 04/09

- What's Up Wednesday!

What Inspires Me Right Now

The amazing Chapter Book Challenge people! I know I've said it already, but thank you BECKY FIFE for creating this challenge. Also a great big shout out to everyone who wrote posts, gave prizes and was supportive in the Facebook Group! Love you all!

What Else I've Been Up To

Toddler Minding 
He is trying to make daddy and I his night time teddy bear! GAH!

Ect.
Hoping I can find people to take my classes. Also cutting carbs so you might not want to bug me for a while. :P

*What's up Wednesday is part of Jamie Morrow's summer writing intensive: "Ready. Set. WRITE!" There are other host blogs including: Erin L. FunkAlison MillerKaty Upperman, and Elodie Nowodazkij.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Jobs I Could Do From Stripper to Snowman

Usually I do a blog review on Tuesdays. I know it's really too late to do an April Fools joke, but in the spirit of the day I will give you a sneak peak of some of the things I would do if the whole picture book thing didn't pan out. I laboured on these for a whole 10 minutes... most of which was writing words on them in Photoshop and loading them onto this blog.



1.



 Snow Woman in a Snowstorm




Because I was too lazy to draw a fourth thing.

=====================

2. 



Bikini Model


A short lived dream for sure.
 =====================

3.


Astro Woman






Yes I would be this skinny. Even in my wildest dreams this wouldn't pan out. Instead imagine the background as a cardboard backdrop. I'm freaking out because that plastic headpiece has no holes so I'm probably going to die of asphyxiation. Yes, if I were an imaginary Space Woman I would be that thin.

========================


4.


Wait for it....




Stripper










You are a pervert if you thought anything different.