Monday, March 31, 2014

Getting to the *Heart* of the Story

Taking some time off recently has allowed me the opportunity to see my work in a new light. So, I revised the The Little Artichoke and really nailed down the heart of the story (yes, right down to the artichoke heart).

Where before I was focused on the main character riding from one issue to the next, this post on pansters and plotters helped me to marry the strange gray place where character and narrative arc overlap. In a nut shell, Lisa Cron's post suggests that all events in a story should ride on the character's internal struggle. Ah ha! If you do that, then you have a work that's based ". . . why she (your main character) makes those decisions and how she (your main character) changes as a result."
Although the post is meant for longer works (aka novels), I still think it holds true for any story. I challenge you to try it on short stories, poems, comics, etc... See below, illustrations from my picture book, The Little Artichoke. Enjoy and A bientot!


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Big News: Blog Break

I am perched like Venus's Botticelli, on my clam shell ushering spring, and the cosmos. I am a creative vortex. I am pregnant.

I am taking a maternity leave from blogging to enjoy my time with this new little light. Fear not! I shall return to you all soon. Perhaps even before the break of winter, to usher in my own blog worthy spring.

A bientot and Happy Holidays!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween

Hello everyone:
It's raining today. . . will the orange and black celebration get runny and muddled into a swirl of murky brown? I think not! I got intensely crafty this Halloween. I will spare you most of my "witchiness."

And will however, share my leaf ghosts


and my magazine spiders

Happy Halloween to all!

A bientot.

Friday, October 11, 2013

My Sketch Book

Some time ago, I blogged about Danny Gregory's extraordinary An Illustrated Life. I was inspired to have a more designed sketch book. Here are some recent excerpts from my sketch book:

As an artist, it seems impossible to be satisfied with what you do. But for once, I am pleased with the organic page design I created. I didn't really think about what I was doing while I made these sketches- which I think can be my biggest hurdle. I tend to over analyze to the point where I am creatively paralyzed! Phew! Now, I shall confess no more.

I am eager to incorporate this into my own work and develop art books/picture books in this method. Now, does anyone have any ideas how I should apply this style? Leave a comment!

A bientot!

Related Posts:

Friday, September 27, 2013

Giant Dance Party Program

I created a program at my local library called Draw Out Loud where children are invited to hear a story then create an unconventional project based on the story I read.

Recently, I featured Betsy Bird's excellent and entertaining Giant Dance Party. After I read the story, we did some warm up exercises. I played music while the kids danced and when I paused the music,  all the kids froze into a pose. Then, one kid would hold their pose while the other kids ran to their pens and paper and sketched the posing kid. We had some good results:

Next, the kids traced their hands and feet, decorated them and trimmed out their colored hands and feet. They then used their cut outs to make up their own dances. Everyone created excellent posters, but I have to admit, the sideways tap dance was my favorite.

A bientot!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Character Design, Part 2

Last post, I introduced you to April Witherwell, a new character I created. Now that I have her 3 angles figured out, I thought I'd give her a little more zing.

I used the classic Disney flour sack animation exercise to get me out of my normal drawing routine. I love the "squash" and "stretch" terms that are used to add to "personality" to the flour sack. Fundamentally, though, it's about understanding how when you exaggerate one part of the anatomy what happens to the rest.

This is an excellent blog post about the topic of flour bag and how it is misinterpreted:

With this knowledge, I went back to April and painted her in my style.

A bientot!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Character Design

I've been drawing and writing a story about a girl who goes to a costume party. My main character, April, took some shape over the last month.

I got a great tip on character design from Kelly Light's fabulous workshop during the NJ SCBWI conference in June. She talked about using horizontal guide lines to help "rotate your character" on the page.

Kelly reminded me also to practice drawing from life. I've been doing sheets of eyes, noses, mouths, eyebrows, ears and faces from magazines, books and of course, life. Here's my "profiles" page.

I challenge you to design all your characters with all their angles, not just their the best poses in mind. And if you want to know more about April- why she's dressed up as a witch, where's she's going, what gets in her way . . . well, that's another post! A bientot!