Thursday, October 09, 2008

3 posts in a month? What the heck!

Here are my illustrations for the story, Elliot's Weekend. With some of the text that led to each. I'm sending them out today to two mags. Yeah that's right, I'm on a first syllable name basis with a periodical. What of it?

.. .Friday Elliot's dad picks him up from school. He gives Elliot crackers and an apple to eat while they drive and a bottle of water to drink. Elliot waits for the red lights before he unscrews the cap and drinks the water.. . Elliot's dad unpacks his pajamas and helps him change. They go to the bathroom and brush their teeth. Daddy is wearing his silly pajamas with the monkeys all over.

. . .and then the happy ending -

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Where I'm headed

Rough idea for an abstract. Done with Art Rage, a free program that mimics paint. Even has a palette knife effect. When I get it on canvas I want to experiment and throw some sand into the wet paint.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

I remember I have a blog!

I haven't been very blogtastic as of late but things are looking up so it's still worth checking back here, you know, like twice a year and I might have a new post or two.

Summer ended, school began, and my few hours alone each morning are a big happy.
I'm finally getting organized with my priorities and figuring out what I'm doing. It had felt before like I had to choose between painting and writing and I had been focusing most of my attention on writing but having finished a few manuscripts and done some research it seems like illustrating my pieces is fairly practical. If you look at my work it has more of an illustrative style than fine art anyway. The only difficulty is switching from oil to acrylic but that's more of a fun challenge than a problem. One of my favorite illustrators, Georg Hallensleben, is a former oil painter who now does Acrylic and his stuff rocks my world. Hopefully his style can inform mine.

The manuscripts:
I have one very short story for early readers about a boy's first weekend visit to his dad's new apartment, titled Elliot. I'm going to illustrate it with three small pieces and submit it to some children's literature magazines. It was doing the research about that market where I learned that doing my own illustrations makes sense. I had thought that it was just a conceit or vanity to want to see my artwork with my writing, but then it dawned on me -that's twice the paycheck because you're doing two jobs! I'm looking at the submission and rejection process as just that, a process that I'll have to chug through for quite a while before I begin to make progress but I'll be learning the whole time.

I have another small chapter book for late elementary to middle grade readers. I'm really excited about this one. Recently there was a writing competition here in Leesburg based on the American Idol show. 3 literary agents served as the panelists. They explained that more and more these days the fate of a book lies in the title and the tag line.
This was mine.

Learning Magic: A step by step guide for solving problems of sibling rivalry with curses, hexes, potions and spells.

Tag line:
Saddled with an unusual name, unhappy in her family, and escaping into the magic of books a bit too often, Dorcas Fidelia Meadows gives herself the task of proving that magic is real and then using it to fix her life.

Based on the tag line I made it to the Maybe pile. Later, looking at my query letter I was promoted to the Yes pile. All of the manuscripts from this pile were read out loud for a minute and a half and the audience of writers voted.

I won second place. The prize is to have my manuscript professionally critiqued by an agent. Yippee!

I have another small elementary age book, that I plan to illustrate with sharp well composed photos titled Woo.

I also have what could be a Young Adult or just plain novel titled A Fragile Collapse. -This is the one that's especially frustrating lately. 6 months ago it had sounded really cutting edge and interesting to look at a single mother convinced the next great depression was coming and preparing in more and more extreme ways till there is a breaking point between her and the teenage daughter.
The concept is still good, but less cutting edge. Now I have to focus on character development, plot and the rest of it instead of relying on clever concept.

I'm thinking I'll still use the Etsy site to sell prints of the illustrations I make. I might also offer a line of the abstracts I'm making. I did one for a friend as a house warming gift and it was so much fun I'm going to have to do more. This is 3 1/2 feet wide. It's supposed to be Rothko-esque but looks more like a frozen screen in an old school video game. Dig it I've got a new signature.

The kids are all doing really well. Emer is still taking Irish dance, plus skateboarding and piano lessons. Felix has been taking swimming lessons and has been panicking less in the water. He's reading like crazy and loves kindergarten and is also learning piano. Tully has a blast in preschool and the morning daycare with Ms. Wendy. She brings home all sorts of artwork and new songs and she's started doing a little Irish dance class too.