Monday, January 29, 2018

Process Post

 I put all of this up on Instagram as I was working on it, but personally I think it's kind of neat to see the process of a painting all together in one place.

This is the the first full sketch I did for this illustration. I think I have some roughs somewhere, but those are even worse than this. 

Here is the full final sketch I created before I went into colors.

I had a lot of trouble with the paper I used. The color was not soaking in and not working right in general! I did get the paper replaced by the company but it was a lot of work to do to start over.

I traced the image and started over. When I trace my own work I'm not just tracing. I actually make an effort to change things. Some things I will erase and change completely after moving them to tracing paper.

Here is the drawing on the paper. I transferred it by using a burnt umber pigment on the back of my tracing paper (this can be done with crushed graphite as well). The drawing I did looks lovely right down to the erased bits I forgot to brush away. 

I had to go over some of the lines with graphite because I couldn't see the lines Usually I don't need to do this. Before I started painting I put down some masking fluid.

At this point I have a lot of paint on the paper, but I'm not happy with the shadowing at this point so I had to go in later to adjust everything.

This is what the final illustration looked like before I added inks. I'm not as happy as I could be about the clothing, but overall I like it.

I've been told that I should try leaving out the inks, but I think I would miss them too much. I love how different an image looks when it's complete. I'm noticing just now that maybe the colors could be adjusted to see to show off the wings a bit better, but other than that I'm happy with how this turned out. 

I don't have a title for this painting yet, so if you have any suggestions visit my Instagram page and give me a suggestion for a title!

Monday, January 22, 2018

Save Money & Make Art

I did a post a little while ago about using the right tools for creating art. In this I talked about how you should use better tools rather than inexpensive ones. Using better tools will save you a lot of frustration and may actually save you money. This post will be about things you can do that will save you even more money (hopefully enough to justify those expensive supplies).

While typing this I realize that this post is going to be quite long, so this will be a 30 part series (or less -- likely 2 or 3 parts 😊).

Tiny art brought to you by scrap paper and sale priced
Daniel Smith watercolors!

Saving Money When Making Art

1. Buy Things On Sale 

I know you're thinking, "Well, duh!" This isn't always what happens, though. I'm the kind of person who loves a good sale. It's probably been 3 years since I've made the effort to buy supplies on sale. I usually wait until I urgently need supplies! This is not a good idea. It's better to wait until there is a sale (when possible) to buy your supplies!

BUYER BEWARE: Sometimes a sale item isn't cheaper/better. For example: I got a 50% off any one item at a craft store. I needed paper, but all the paper was damaged. I went to another store and found the same paper for half the price of the other store (and in better condition). This was the stores regular price and it made me very wary about buying supplies from this craft store again.

Be sure to compare prices at local stores and online. Sometimes you can save a lot of money by ordering online. When I lived in the States I loved but shipping charges here in Canada make buying from the USA (and sometimes even Canada) expensive! I can order things from places like and they will deliver free if I spend a certain amount of money. Both these companies have excellent customer service!

2. Never, Ever, Ever, Throw Things Out!

Made from a scrap sheet of Arches Paper.
Each of those squares is 1 inch. 

Okay, you can throw things out -- especially that stinky trash bag. There are art supplies, however, that you should never just pitch! One thing is expensive paper. I have several 22" x 30" pieces of Arches paper that I cut up. I cut out four pieces of paper out of this that were 11" x 13" (8" x 10" with a 1.5" border). I now have several pieces of paper that are too small for the images I want to create, but the extra paper could use to create smaller images, art cards, or be used as test sheets when I just want to try something out.

If your scrap paper is too small to paint or draw on, it could still be used for collage. As could wrinkled paper, or even sketches/painting that just aren't up to snuff. If you are really good you could use your old paper to create new paper. It's a craft that needs to be learned, but the paper you get can be more interesting than the paper that you can buy in st

It's not just paper that can be saved and used again. Watercolor paint once dry is still good even if it's a rock in your tube. Useless colored pencils can be turned into a brush jar

3. Trade it With Your Friends!

Most art supplies tend to go down in price rather than up. You may have trouble selling a half used tube of paint, but you might be able to trade it to your friends. I don't know about you but I have TONS of art supplies that I never use. I may use them some day, but there are many things (like tubes of paint) that have a limited shelf life. Watercolors usually can be used later, but oils and acrylics separate over time. Why not trade these things for items you can use. Don't have friends in the area who have art supplies? Maybe use meetup or craigslist to plan a get together at a coffee house and trade away those supplies you aren't using. 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

My 2018 Goals

Here is a list of (at least some) of my 2018 goals!

1. Finish the WIPs for my Portfolio 

I need to finish the illustrations I started for my portfolio. The goal is to replace the work that's older than 2017 with all new work.

2. Complete at Least 5 Challenges

 I hoping this year to complete several challenges. The ones I'm hoping to complete are: Tara Lazar's Storystorm, Julie Hedlund's 12x12, Leslie Saeta's 30 in 30, Becky Fyfe's Chapter Book Challenge and Dani Duck's Smart Dummies

3. Send Out My Illustration Portfolio to at Least 12 Art Reps/Agents/Editors

This is contingent on my completion of # 1.

4. Find at least 12 Places to Approach for Freelance Work

Submitting work to magazines is included in this.

5. Complete at Least 3 Submission Ready Picture Book Dummies 

6. Send Dummies to at least 12 Agents/Editors

This is contingent on my completion of # 5.

7.  Keep up on my Instagram Accounts

I'm going to attempt to post on these several times a week!

8. Do at Least 1 Creative Project with my Kids Every Week

This can be big or small.

I may not be able to complete all of these, but at least I have my goals mapped out. I'm not worried about failure as much as not trying!

Saturday, January 6, 2018

What are Your Goals for 2018?

A few years ago I stopped making New Year's Resolutions and started making New Year's Goals. I'm making some new goals to help me through the year. I try not to do this on the first day of the year because I'm not making resolutions but goals.

I like to make my goals as specific and attainable as possible. Since I don't have a picture book published making my goal "Getting Published" or "Getting an Agent" isn't going to work. I make goals that I can make happen. I can't force someone to publish my work, or be my agent, but I can make myself polish manuscripts, create dummies and send out a certain number of query letters in a year.

Before I start listing my new goals I'll do a recap on my 2017 goals:

1. Win Storystorm I'm happy to report that I won Storystorm last year! I get so many ideas from this event every year. I'm taking part in it again this year! You can sign up here until January 9th!

2. Win the 12x12 Challenge 2017 was the first year that I was able to complete the 12x12 Challenge. I have learned so much being a part of this group. I now have a wonderful critique group that started in 2017 and will continue throughout this year as well. I can't have 2017 without this group in my life. Registration for new members starts January 9th:

3. Look for Freelance Illustration Work I did get some illustration work in 2017, but nothing that I went out and looked for. I will need to start looking for new sources of inspiration this year. 

4. Finish 2-3 Picture Book Dummies I was not able to finish any dummies last year. I focused my energies on other things. Maybe I can make this a goal this year.

5. Submit at Least 6 Different Manuscripts to Editors/Agents I wasn't happy with my work enough to send it out as is last year, so I did not do any submissions last year.

6. Spend More Focused Time on Social Media I started two instagram accounts this year, so that's progress. My personal illustrator's account: Where I post my artwork and different things about my artist life. And my Smart Dummies Challenge account: This is where I post blog posts, kidlit events and pictures from illustrators, writers and other people in (or that can be related to) the kidlit field. The tag for this is #smartdummieschallenge. The tag is to help me see your work so I can share it. I found I needed two accounts so my personal work didn't get buried in someone else's work.

7. Spend More Time With Family I did not have any freelance jobs around Christmas and I admit that it felt good. I was able to spend more time with my family and it was a crazy time. It was absolutely wonderful and I hope that future Christmases are mostly busy with family things.

SO that was my last year. How did your year go? What are your goals for 2018? Let me know in the comments!