Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Just for Fun . . .

I did have fun drawing comic "shorts"  I will be doing a few more just to practice timing, layout and angles then I will start in earnest on a new graphic novel project.

I still haven't come up with a snappy title for a lactose intolerant Humpty or a militant mouse so if there are any suggestions let me know.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Portfolio Advice

I recently (as in 20 minutes ago) joined the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).  In addition to the networking and conferences available there are also smaller meetings designed to critique portfolios and/or manuscripts.  I found this link particularly useful and timely since I will be attending my first critique this weekend.

SCBWI  SoCal Tri-Regions


Promotional Cards

Well, that sounds like I have something to promote.  Maybe a better term would be "here I am, publish me" cards.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Rejections, uh, what are they good for?

Absolutely (a)nothing (b)everything (c) somewhere in between? I am not jaded by rejections, yet, and read from the right point of view they can be pretty helpful.

Last week I received another rejection from an agent that I have been in contact with. Don’t worry mom, I won’t be dropping any names or burning any bridges. This isn’t the first rejection I have received from this agent and I am sure it won’t be the last. For now, I won’t dwell on the down side of the rejections because that just doesn’t help at all.

While the rejections (from this agent) still mean that the story was rejected I have been able to use them as a positive impact on my stories. Let me explain. I have been fortunate enough to find an agent that has taken the time to review work from me, an author who isn’t a client. He not only reviews my work but also takes the time to write a critique. The professional critiques have been very helpful.

Excerpt from my first rejection: “I think there’s much to admire here, but I think the story is a bit too simple as is…I like the simplicity of the words and the art, but there just isn’t enough narrative”

This was my first submission to this agent and my first professional critique. I took to heart that my work wasn’t complete junk and that with a rewrite I could extend the story. I put the book away (figuratively) knowing that my brain would work its subconscious magic and figure out a way to extend the story. It only took about a month for my subconscious to work its magic and in the process of the rewrite I reworked every illustration and added about ten pages to the story. The resulting story and illustrations were so much better than the original. Now it is time for a re-submission.

Excerpt from the newest rejection: “While I know this style of illustration is popular, I’m afraid I’m just not taken with it…With the less realistic look, it was more difficult for me to sense the fear of the dragon’s scarier parts”

OK, what positives can I take from this rejection? I look at this as a rejection of the concept/story not the art. I know he didn’t care for the art but I think with a rewrite can make a big difference. After all, there were only eight different words in the whole story. I know I can expand the text to accentuate the illustrations to better convey the sense of fear that was lacking in the original version. Again, I am going to put this one away (figuratively) also and let it simmer. I am certain that the “true” story will emerge.

Yesterday, I submitted my third story proposal and time will tell if I will have yet another rejection to reflect on.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Blog sites

It has been a busy week. Most of my “work” time was spent prepping for a six year old Harry Potter birthday party. The clip art today was a drawing that was repeated throughout invites, a marauder map prop and name plates. It was a lot of fun watching three boys and their Potter dramatic play.

Since the party decorations fell directly on my shoulders I didn’t have a lot of energy or time to do much illustrating or submission work. I did manage to get a submission sent out today but for the most part I was reading through a Google search of illustrator blogs.

I came across the Purple Crayon by Harold Underdown. This is a good blog for a beginner such as myself. There are many articles ranging from basic information to self publishing. Each heading contains many links written by Harold and when appropriate other blog authors. I haven’t made it through the whole site yet but so far I really like what I have seen.

That is it for now and my first resource link but I always looking for other resources and I am sure I will post many more.


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Outta Nowhere

Nearly two weeks ago I was prepping for a trip back to South Dakota. I was organizing files I intended to use on a new graphic novel project. I figured I would be pretty busy but if there was any spare time I would be ready to go. Best laid plans and all.

The first diversion was a game called “Things…” by Hasbro. A Google search will turn up some sample questions. This game should be called is “Titles for your book…” We played the game on two separate occasions once with adults and again with my kids. Probably the most surprising comparison between the two games is that the answers to the questions were not all that different from each other. Innuendos? Now that was a different story but I came away from those two sessions with half a dozen answers/titles that are begging to be used.

The second diversion happened a few days later while I was drawing with sidewalk chalk. I was decorating the driveway of our hosts with mushrooms. Why mushrooms? My kids had discovered my first generation GameBoy and they have been playing Super Marioland like it was going out of style. I am not sure why they are so fascinated with the grayscale display or bad graphics but I am thankful for it now. I thought I would draw a few Mario-esque mushrooms to commemorate the rediscovery of retro gaming systems. As I was adding details to the mushrooms they started looking more and more like people.

That’s when I became consumed with this new project. I spent the rest of the day drawing new characters. Then I started with a story idea spawned from “Things…” It all came so easily that I couldn’t turn it away. I am hoping to get the preliminary art and dummy done in the next few days so I can start submitting this to agents and/or publishers.