This year Traci joined me, Mark Mitchell and Mira Reisberg for a Google Hangout. It was great to to see Traci and to talk to her in real time. I was slightly shocked that she didn't have a dragon on her shoulder (her dragon is probably shy). Traci has been so supportive to throughout this whole event. I feel so blessed to have Traci on my blog today!
Check out the awesome prize Traci's offering after this post!
Dani: It's been a year since Smart Dummies. What have you been up to in that time?
Traci: Wow, time flies. It has been a busy and productive year for me. First, I finished the illustrations for the picture book I had mentioned in my post last year and was doing the dummy for during Smart Dummies 2015, Cody and Grandpa’s Christmas Tradition written by Gary Metivier, Pelican Publishing, September 15, 2016. [Link: http://www.pelicanpub.com/proddetail.php?prod=9781455621705#.V92vsIVlGOd]
With my husband and partner at Imagine That! Design [link: www.imaginethatdesignnyc.com], we’ve illustrated 3 books (and we’re finishing a 4th) for Booker T. Bear Let’s Go Series written by Jen Miller, to be published by The Library Store. The first will be released in December 2016, I believe. We’re also working on a new website with them for the series.
I am working on several picture book stories of my own. One of them, Don’t Fret, Fred, I have out on submissions. If time permits, I’m hoping to be creating a dummy for another story along with all of you brave souls.
On a different note but still kid lit related, I am in the last edits for my MG fantasy, Dragon Dilemma (title still in progress).
And on an even slightly different note, but still kid related, my husband and I have designed and illustrated four family games for Roosterfin Games [link: https://roosterfin.com/] this year. They will be released hopefully by the end of the year and early next year.
Phew, it has been a busy year.
Dani: What's changed for you over the last year?
Traci: Let’s see, I’m a year older, I’m still working my butt off trying to make a living but getting to do what I love every day. With all the illustration work I’ve had, I’ve learned a lot and developed my skills, techniques, and process quit a bit, although I still love to explore and always will. I like to shake things up a bit, or, like my husband thinks, make things hard for myself. The best change this year is that I’ve have had more work come to me vs. having to go out and pitch for jobs on freelance sites so much. What hasn’t changed is that I’ve been delinquent in sending out more promotional postcards.
Dani: If you could re-illustrate any picture book (or fairy tale) which would you choose and why?
Traci: Aesop’s Fables because when I was a kid we had a record of the Smother’s Brothers reading them. I have very fond memories of fun times with my family and my older brothers in particular listening to those. Plus the fables are silly fun.
Or Cinderella because there is so much fun and whimsical things happening and a mix of interesting characters. I have sketches scattered through my various sketchbooks, but have never pulled anything together.
Dani: Do you have plans for any changes in your illustration for the future?
Traci: Yes, I need to work faster and with more purpose, and I think to do that best, I need to sketch better, take more time in the sketch phase before rushing to the next stages of the process. I also want to sketch more of different age groups, cultures, characters with a focus on consistency in the characters and style of art for each book and project. I’m always playing around with new styles and different media to tell the stories I’m bringing to life in the best way. I also want, no need, to create more of my own picture books. I’ve got a bunch of stories that are just waiting, calling, begging me to illustrate. I need to hunker down and do it.
Dani: Is there any advice you could give the people working on their dummies?
Traci: Don’t feel like you need to be perfect when you start out. That’s too overwhelming. Go with a doodle at a time to find your characters and your story. Sketch fast, loose, have fun, explore, let your characters free, and don’t rush the initial stages. Play with layout, points of view, angles, shapes, and lighting. Once you have a solid idea of your overall story in thumbnail form (it can be loose as hell), then the sketching stage can go more smoothly, and you’ll be able to set those ideas free. But the most important thing of all is to have fun!
The Mermaid’s Gift, Pelican Publishing, September 2015
Nelson Beats the Odds, Creative Medicine, September 2015
Tameka’s New Dress, Creative Medicine, July 2016
Cody and Grandpa’s Christmas Tradition, Pelican September 2016
Booker T. Bear Let’s Go Series (4 books), The Library Store, Winter 2016 / 2017
children’s illustrator: http://www.childrensillustrators.com/illustrator-details/TraciVanWagoner/id=2876/
Celebrate the Little Things blog: http://tracivanwagoner.blogspot.com/
One lucky winner will win a Full Dummy Critique from Traci!
In order to win this prize you must comment on this post.
It would also be lovely if you shared this post with your friends.
Winner will be chosen from those who win Smart Dummies.