Sunday, September 22, 2013

Disney Bound!

After surviving a few crazy weeks of tax season, illustrating, and conference preparations, I'm happy to say...


My hubby and I are celebrating our 5th anniversary with the big mouse, and we're pretty excited!  We've been planning this trip for several years, and we can't wait to unwind and spend some quality time with each other.  (And Donald...and Minnie...and Pluto...and...)

Since I don't have a super-phone, I'll be offline all week.  But once I'm back, I'll be all rested and ready to blog again!  :)

See you in a week!

Note: Simba is (c) Disney.  Drawing was done by me from my "30 Simbas in 30 Days" project back in 2012.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Sept 2013: Illustrator Meeting

This month's COSCBWI Illustrator Meeting focused on submitting artwork to the SCBWI bulletin.  Members of SCBWI receive six bulletins per year that are filled with wonderful articles about writing and illustrating.  The bulletins also contain illustrations submitted by members which are used as spot-art throughout the articles.  (I always love seeing the little illustrations in each issue!) 
COSCBWI's Illustrator Coordinator, Nikki Boetger, discussed the bulletin submission process.  Submitting pieces to the SCBWI bulletin can be a great way for new artists to gain exposure and dip their toes into professional illustration.  There is no limit on how many pieces an artist can submit, and an artist may even have multiple pieces accepted for an issue.  Any accepted pieces come with a small stipend, but the real reward is being able to use the experience as a publishing credit on your illustrating resume.  It shows you take illustrating seriously and want to send your work out into the world.  And since the bulletin goes to all SCBWI members, MANY people will see your published pieces!   (Plus, you never know who might take a liking to your art, check out your website, and decide you're the perfect illustrator for their agency/project/etc.!)
Nikki had us browse through the magazines and come up with some common illustration themes.  Of course, writing, illustrating, books, and kids were popular subject matters!  But there were also snowmen, dinosaurs, bunnies, and everything in between, so you never quite know what the bulletin editors are seeking.  Nikki also pointed out some frequent bulletin articles and topics, including:
-News and Notes
-Book Reviews
-Legally Speaking
-Publication Corner
-Art Tips
After brainstorming some illustration ideas, Nikki reminded us to check the national SCBWI website ( for the the latest submission guidelines.  She also discussed the importance of preparing an online site or blog BEFORE submitting work anywhere.  (You don't want someone who sees the bulletin to search for your portfolio or website online and not be able to find you, right?)  Lastly, since it may take a while to see if your illustration is chosen for the bulletin, Nikki recommended keeping all submitted illustrations together in one file so it's easier to keep track of them.  And if you send in an illustration that doesn't get picked, don't give up!  Keep drawing, submitting, and doing everything you can to get your art published.  :)

If you want to learn more about COSCBWI, you can check out the (new) group website at or "like" the group on Facebook.  I hope to see you at the next Illustrator Meeting!

Monday, September 2, 2013

COSCBWI Meeting August 2013: Creating Critique Groups

August's COSCBWI meeting focused on creating critique groups.  Critique groups are very important for both writers and illustrators.  In addition to gaining valuable insight from your partners, it can also help you stay focused on your goals.  During our meeting, we discussed some points to consider for creating a successful critique partnership.  These included:
-Think about where you are in your writing and what sort of feedback you'd like to receive.  Are you a newbie looking for general feedback on your story, or are you a seasoned writer who wants line-style editing?  
-Consider how much time you have to commit to a group, and how you want to share your work.   Will you critique an entire novel at once, or share chapters each month, or plan on writing so many pages between meetings?  (Or anything in between!)        
-Also consider how you would prefer to meet. Some groups like to meet face to face, while others prefer online correspondence. 
-Be respectful of the other members of your group, and remember that sometimes critique partnerships simply don't work out.  Try trading a small amount of work first, such as a first chapter or one picture book manuscript.  If you all find each others' feedback mutually helpful, great!  But if not, it's okay to part ways and try to find a better fit.
-Honor your commitments.  If you agree to critique someone's manuscript, be sure to follow through.  Critique groups can't be one-sided, and everyone needs to do their share of the work.  
-Give the type of constructive critique that you would like to receive.  Not only will your partner thank you for it, but you will benefit from the process, too, and learn how to better critique your own work.

After the discussion, members participated in critique group "speed dating."  The members dispersed into smaller groups  and "interviewed" potential critique partners.  It was all in good fun and very casual, and gave members the chance to see if other COSCBWI writers would be a good fit for a critique relationship.
After the "speed dating," Regional Advisor, Linda Miller, talked about the COSCBWI Member Exhibition that will take place in November.  Now that all the illustrators have done their part for the gallery, it's the writers' time to get creative!  Each illustration has been put online at COSCBWI's temporary website,  Writers can choose one piece and write a short work for it.  Guidelines are also on the new website under the header "Exhibition."  The deadline is September 30th, so it's time to get writing!  ;)
If you would like to learn more about COSCBWI, you can like the group on Facebook or visit the website listed above.  The next meeting for illustrators is September 11, and the next general group meeting is September 25.  I hope to see you there!