Hello dear bloggy friends, it's been far too long and I apologize for such a delay between posts.
Truth be told, I've been offline ever since I posted my last "100 day" sketch because after that, I prepared for a fantastic family vacation right before school started for my kids and then it was right back to school and two huge deadlines for work and I'm finally able to come up for air. It had been five years since our previous vacation, so I focused on really enjoying the time away with my family. I can't tell you how absolutely beautiful and calming the entire trip was and I highly recommend taking breaks from work to recharge and rest. :)
|The beautiful views in Kauai - McBryde & Allerton Botanical Gardens, Polihale St. Park, Poipu, and more...|
Two weeks ago, between projects, I was able to prepare very quickly, a printed booklet of the "100 day project" so that I could bring it to the 10th Annual SCBWI SF Illustrator's Day in San Francisco. I had a few hours Thursday night to print, and then a few more on Friday, the night before the event to create the book. YouTube has it's merits, I must say..and this super video by Sea Lemon inspired me on Thursday night to go run out on Friday to buy some waxed thread, an awl, and some curved bookbinding needles. Friday evening came quickly as I paused, played, paused, played the video to finally stitch up my book, and here it is..it was actually quite meditative once I got the swing of it!
Moving on to the portfolio, for every year, because we've had the fortune of being critiqued by panel members in the industry, and especially from Professor John Clapp, SJSU, who stated that year after year, we should have fresh new work to show, I scrambled to print the latest work since showing my work last year. Thankfully the NYSCBWI conference I attended in February pushed me to create new work and so some of the pieces stayed in this latest book. My goal in preparing this book was to bring pieces to discuss with my paid portfolio critquer, the amazingly inspiring Marla Frazee! When the guests were announced for this year's event, I immediately signed up and chose Marla as I have been such a big fan of hers for many, many years. Her technique, her stories, her breadth of work continues to inspire me, and after spending the day listening to her, her amazing editor, Allyn Johnston, VP & Publisher of Beach Lane Books, a San Diego-based imprint of Simon & Schuster's children's imprints, and Ann Bobco, Executive Art Director overseeing picture book design in three of S&S's children's imprints: Atheneum, Beach Lane, and McElderry Books, I am even more inspired.
I passed out late Friday night, and was back up early to head to San Francisco (about a 2 hour drive), and was so happy to see my friends, author/illustrators Tracy Bishop, Laura Zarrin, and Joy Steuerwald at the reg. table. They saved seats for me and author/illustrator Laura Lee, a friend from the NY conference up front which was fantastico! As I settled in, I said hello to a woman a few seats away, Debbi she said, and it was noneother than Deb Pehrson Haun! What a treat to get to know and meet Debbi as we've been online friends for some time now. During the day, I was thrilled to see my friend, Bethanie Murguia (my roomie from the NY conference) and catch up with her, and friends Susan Rankin-Pollard, Josh Nash, Brian Bowes, as well as meeting Elizabeth Stevens Omlor and many others. One of the highlights of these events is getting to see friends and meet new ones..I highly recommend getting out of our bat-caves! :)
|Debbi and Laura|
|Debbi, me, Elizabeth, Josh|
|Laura, Phyllis, Tracy, Joy, Sue, and me|
|Lea Lyon and I|
and her team: SCBWI SF/South RA, Naomi Kinsman Downing, SCBWI SF/South ARA – Tim McCanna and SCBWI SF/South ARA – Kristi Wright, was held at the Fire House, Fort Mason, San Francisco. What a fantastic venue each year!
We started the day listening to Allyn and Marla speak about how they create their books together and were treated to many great background stories of how these books came to be: A Couple of Boys Have Best Week Ever, The Farmer And The Clown, Is Mommy? and Boss Baby.
All The World, Is Mommy?, The Man in the Moon and more!
Boss Baby, and the sequel, Bossier Baby. We are all SO thrilled for Marla's upcoming film in March, 2017!
After another break, the panel commented on participating attendees' "first look" assignment, which was given earlier in the summer, a series of three sequential illustrations interpreting a passage of one of Lyle Lovett's songs but the only part of the song that should be interpreted is the excerpt provided below. The rest of the song is not to be considered. These lines can be a launching off point to whatever story the illustrator wants to tell.
If I had a boat
I'd go out on the ocean
And if I had a pony
I'd ride him on my boat
And we could all together
Go out on the ocean
Me upon my pony on my boat
It was a fascinating part of the day, hearing all of the feedback from the panel's perspectives. From considerations of color, design, book considerations, i.e. gutter, page turns, etc., we learned a lot and were able to get feedback from the experts. I always get so much from these "first look" assignments!
The day wrapped up with the announcement for Portfolio awards, and surprising to me, I won one of the two Honor awards! I must say, I was in complete shock, a happy shock, and was asked to stand as Lea announced that I had one "something" :). Grace Chen won the other honor award, and the Grand Prize winner was Miya Huang! I am so honored by this acknowledgement, especially because the portfolios were judged by such an esteemed group: Marla Frazee, Allyn Johnston, Ann Bobco, Kristine Brogno, Children's Design Director, Chronicle Books; Danielle Smith, Agent, Red Fox Literary; Simon Stahl, Art Director, Creston Books; Julie Downing, Author/Illustrator & Children's Lit Teacher; Dr. Mira Reisberg, Award-winning mentor, Director Children's Book Academy.
I had a very, very helpful and insightful review with Marla..I cannot thank her enough for her advice and feedback! Marla pointed out areas of my work that were and weren't working as well, and her thoughts about how to approach my work to "play to my strengths". I have definitely been struggling but was able to have a few pieces that she spoke to where I must "go to" when creating..the pieces that have emotion and energy, and the ones that I spent less time fussing with, and just completely enjoying, so that was HUGE for me. :) I can't wait to dig in!
|Thank you doesn't say enough, Marla! What an honor!|
I hope everyone's been well and hope that I can come up for air again sometime soon. I'm currently working on two books, and sketching for a third. I'll be sharing more as soon as I can. In the meantime, I am writing and working on stories for my own books and hope that I can push those forward in the year ahead. Have a wonderful FALL coming up, everyone! My best to you ~ Shirley
|This little one's got a story to tell...|