Sunday, September 25, 2011

2012 N. Ohio SCBWI Calendar Contest

This weekend while attending the Northern Ohio SCBWI conference, I received some great news: my illustration was chosen to be in their 2012 calendar!

My submission: "A Brave Voice Conquers The Beast"

The news was a bit unexpected--prior to the judging, I had no idea how I would fare in a contest with actual illustrators.  I hoped I'd be considered one of the 12 best entries who made it into the calendar, but I've never competed in anything like this before.   This whole thing started a few weeks ago when I heard that the Northern Ohio SCBWI chapter was holding a calendar contest for illustrators during their conference.  The theme was "Discover Your Voice" and anyone could enter.  The prospect made me go, "Hmmm....I would very much like to be an illustrator!  This could be fun..."  Then again, that little voice of doubt in my mind said, "Who are you kidding?  You're not an illustrator.  You can't compete with professionals.  You're a cotton-headed ninny-muggins!"  And so, I internally debated but ultimately decided, what did I have to lose?  (Remember my favorite 80's song motto by the Psychedelic Furs?  "You can never win or lose if you don't run the race?")  Well, boo-yah voice of doubt!

It took me a while to decide how the heck I was going to depict the "Discover Your Voice" theme.  (Voice can hardly be defined as a writing concept--it's even harder to draw!)  Ultimately, I thought up the idea of a mouse reading a lion a bedtime story, calling my piece (with a hint of irony), "A Brave Voice Conquers The Beast."  (Apparently, drawing those 30 Simbas in 30 Days this month rubbed off on my subconscious!)  But the idea was only one piece of the puzzle; if I was going to pull this off, I was going to have to actually create it--and that meant learning Photoshop FAST.

Over the past week, I taught myself Photoshop and worked non-stop on my entry.  (Hence the lack of blog posts recently--many apologies!)  I made a lot of stupid rookie mistakes (a word of advice: LOCK YOUR LAYERS), but learned so much along the way.  I also found a lot of great Photoshop tutorials on deviantArt and doubt I would have gotten very far without those great resources.  In the end, I lost a lot of sleep (and meals, and patience, and my sanity), but I'm quite happy with how it turned out.  Are there things my inner perfectionist wants to fix?  Of course, but I'd say it's not too shabby for my first Photoshop piece.  :)

Now that I've dipped my toe into the illustration pool and found it didn't get bitten off by sharks, I'd really like to dive deeper into my art.  It may be tiring and full of frustrations, but it makes my heart happy in the end.

The other contest entries were all great, too, and I can't wait to see everyone's art in the finished calendar!  Just a few more months until 2012!    

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