Friday, October 24, 2014

Fall Illustrating Frenzy

After many weeks of hard work, I'm very happy to say that my fall illustrating frenzy is now complete!  It's been a busy art-filled season with a big array of projects.  So here's a rundown of what I've been up to:

Every fall I look forward to attending the Northern Ohio SCBWI Conference up in Cleveland.  This is the first year I was brave enough to sign up for both an Illustrator Intensive and a Portfolio Review with an art director.

For the Illustrator Intensive, we were assigned a picture book manuscript and asked to create a double-page spread for any scene that inspired us.  The scene I picked was about a little boy who imagined dinosaurs waiting to walk him to the park.  I've never drawn dinosaurs before and had an absolute blast creating this illustration.  (Especially that little T-Rex guy.   I just want to hug him!)

Preparing my portfolio was a teensy bit stressful, but an awesome learning experience.  I decided to finish a few extra illustrations to round out my art selection, including a silly fruit bat I started back in July as part of my Animal Sketch Project...

...And a black and grey illustration of a sad puppy.

The black and grey puppy was actually inspired by a story I wrote in third grade called Tippy.  It was about a family called the 50's (yes, their last name was a number, and always spelled with an apostrophe "s") and their dog, Tippy, who gets lost then has to find her way back home.  As you can tell, it was pretty epic.  I've wanted to do a "Draw This Again" meme for a while now, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.  So, ta-da!

I think I improved just a bit over the past 20 years.  ;)

The art director had a lot of encouraging things to say about both my Illustrator Intensive piece and my portfolio, and his feedback was so helpful.  The conference definitely left me feeling inspired!

My brother-in-law got married the same weekend as the conference, and my new sister-in-law asked me to create some illustrations and signs for their big day.  I created signs for their cake pop table and candy buffet--which were both just as delicious as they sound!

The next project was my illustration for the COSCBWI 2nd Annual Member Exhibition.  The event is in the same vein as last year's (when I drew the piece with the mice and mushrooms), only this time the writers did their portion of the project first.  I was assigned a middle grade jacket copy written by fellow COSCBWI member, Kristy Boyce.  My job was to create a cover illustration to go with her hypothetical novel.  I would love to illustrate my own middle grade manuscripts someday, so this was great practice!

We were asked to first create an illustration without words.

And the second step was to superimpose the title and author credit over our art.

Both versions will hang in the final gallery alongside Kristy's jacket copy.

I've never done a project quite like this before, and I had a great time playing around with fonts and adding my own embellishments.  The focus on a human character also made me really step out of my comfort zone.  Drawing more humans is one area of my portfolio that I've wanted to plump up since I'm much more comfortable drawing fuzzy critters.  My little sister was a huge help, letting me borrow her for a reference photo shoot.  (And she was a good sport, too, posing in full winter-gear in 90 degree weather!)

Following the exhibition piece was a goofy monkey illustration for a conference thank you card.  Finding a printer that won't chew up card stock is driving me bananas, but the bananas themselves were fun to draw!

Lastly, my hubby and I painted our big, fat, stupid deck.  It may look nice at first glance, but don't be fooled; it's ginormous and dumb and poorly crafted, with a bagillion rails and annoying lattice work all along the bottom.  We've spent more time fixing it over the past six years than everything inside our house combined--which explains why all of our canned goods are currently on our counter and not in our broken lazy Susan.   I realize this isn't a real art project, but it took 18+ hours and involved using paintbrushes, so I'm counting it.

Next time it needs repairs, we're hiring professionals.  Or burning it down.

And that's everything!  Now you know why this blog has been filled with the sound of cricket chirping since August!  ;)

On a personal, sappy note, the past few weeks have made me realize how awesome people are.  I couldn't have done all this frantic illustrating and met all these deadlines without the help of many people including: a co-worker who likes me enough to go home in the middle of the day to bring me cutting supplies; a sister who had the perfect knapsack and football-sized M&M for reference photos (and oodles of patience for her finicky photographer); another sister who has scrapbooking supplies galore and remembers to pack her camera when I forget mine; a third sister who kept me laughing on the phone at 2:00 in the morning; a stranger who let me commandeer her phone so I could keep time for the art director during the Illustrator Intensive; a puppy who gives me snuggles and kisses whenever I need them (hey, if deck painting counts as an art project, she counts as a person); and a husband who always loves and supports me, even when I drag him out of bed in the middle of the night to help me cut mat board.    

Now it's time for a nap (and maybe a Netflix marathon), then on to new projects!  

Note: "Draw this Again" meme template was created by Bampire on deviantArt.

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