Monday, January 28, 2013

Owl Be There For You

I'm soaring along sketching out my next book published by Dunrobin Publishing. This is a debut children's book by author Jason Todd. I think we are going to see a lot more of his work in the future!
His writing is light, flowing and although the text is not written in a rhyme there seems to be a rhythm to his work. Phrases like, "He scampered and skipped and fluttered and flew..." dance across the page to a silent drum beat.
Refreshing and insightful you won't want to miss H-Hoo's There? set for release late summer 2013.
Here is a sneak peek of Caleb the main character. Can you tell what type of owl he is?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Help "I'm Lost"

This piece is entitled "I'm Lost." Obviously this is a scene from Red Riding Hood. If you could please take a look and let me know of anything that could make this piece better I'd appreciate it.

This will become, I hope, the front of a post card to be sent to publishers to get my name out. I want it to look great!

I washed the background to really make the foreground pop. Does it lack something? I also tried kept the piece simple light and airy. Is it to boring?

 Help! Help! Help!

Your advice is greatly appreciated! Thanks!-Julie

Friday, January 4, 2013

Gettin' Fresh!

It happens every year at this time. I take down the Christmas decorations and suddenly my humble abode seems huge and expansive. I love the feeling of open space, of freshly painted white walls, new fallen snow, and blank canvases. The possibilities seem endless at these times and so it only seems natural to reassess my illustration goals as well. To fine tune them and weed out the unnecessary blocks in the way. What once seemed like a great opportunity now seems like something to fill in a slot in my calendar or a box to check on a to-do list.

So here it is "Gettin' Fresh" list in 2013 (please hold me to it!)
1. Take more jobs that get exposure to the masses. Better to work more on my portfolio than to work for less than I'm worth. This does not nessesarily mean money but I wouldn't turn it down.
      I know illustrating, for the most part, is not a lucrative biz. There is a reason we are called "starving artists." I'm just stating that I have set my sites on the next step up on the illustration success path and I don't want to go down a ladder rung just so I'm busy.

Extra Extra!
2. Send out those postcards, submit to agents and publishers and GET SEEN!
      I have this thing I do... I make a postcard/portfolio/tear sheet and by the time it is at point where it looks like what I had envisioned in the first place I hate the art on said materials. I then start work on a better idea and don't send anything out because the cycle keeps repeating.

3. Fine tune my digital art. 
    I will watch more tutorials to see how other artists get the look I want in my work. (If you have any good ones please post them for me!!)
    I will ask for more critiques rather than live in my head so much. 

So there you have it I'm gettin' fresh with my art. Starting right now. No excuses! This year I will work for these goals even if it means a lot of down time in my calendar.

Friday, December 7, 2012

What a sketch.

Thought I'd give you all a sneak peak into the book I'm working on right now. I've finished sketching out the pages, I've picked my color palette and I'm ready to start coloring!

The book takes place on a beach and it has been a lot of fun putting in creatures, figuring out what my characters will wear, and getting some movement and whimsy into the scenes.
Wanna hear something funny? This girls hair was actually inspired by this picture of Jennifer Aniston.
 I loved the way it swept across her face.

I'm sure once I start finishing things up my sketches will have to be altered a bit but I love when I get to move on to the different stages of the book.

I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way - things I had no words for. -Georgia O'Keeffe

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Fancy Free (free stuff that is!)

I am very excited to report that this month I had two books that I illustrated come out! Very cool indeed. 
Santa Ate My Gingerbread House written by Mark I. Sutherland 
Birds In the Flower Basket written by Mary Jean Kelso

I am feeling quite good so I wanted to make you feel good too! Here is a free set of gift tags for the Holidays or anytime of year! Enjoy!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Beyond Coffee- What gets me going

So I thought I'd write a bit about what inspires me and gets me illustrating. As a creative person sometimes we can tend to be... procrastinators. We need somethings to give us the proverbial kick in the butt. Here is my first Aid kit for creativity.
1. Comfy clothes- I need to be able to feel cozy but also have a balance of feeling cute. I DO NOT wear yoga pants. I feel they are the 21st century sweat pants and to that extent do not look good on most people including myself. You will usually find me wearing a nice pair of jeans, an adorable top, and accessories (scarf, earrings ect.).  Look good, feel good do good!

2. Music- Because I am easily distracted I must only listen to wordless music or music sang in another language. I love Pandora! I listen to music that fits the feel I want to portray in my work.  So if I'm working on a Christmas book I will not be listening to Tim Burton Soundtracks,  though they are awesome, but you guessed it Christmas music! But perhaps it's an earthy piece with snow and fairies. I suggest Enya, Loreen McKennitt, Yo Yo Ma, Jean-Yves Thibaudet or just nature sounds. You get the point no Metallica for a Teddy Bear Picnic piece unless it has a twist. That would be interesting!

3. Pintrest- I use Pintrest to pin all my ideas for present and future pieces. I may pin a hockey player, a cute baby or a tree that I can incorporate into an illustration. Somethings that I pin in my Illustration Ideas folder just make me happy! I picture is worth a thousand illustrations.

4. A clean house or at least my room- If my area is not clean I have a nagging urge to do it while I'm working. No, I'm not a clean freak. Not by far. But it just clears my mind and if I do it before I start working it really helps.

5. Snack and or coffee- I LOVE coffee, hot tea, almonds, cheez-its, and apples with peanut butter.

6. Window Seat-  In the life of a creative person you can feel alone. I have worked in many places and have found sitting by a window is best. Even if I have to work non-stop for 5-9 hours to get a deadline at least I can see the world, even if I 'm not in it.

7. Friends- Find other artist friends even if your just FB friends. The FB artist friends thing is new for me. But I find that the more I see other people working on illustration projects the more I want to work on mine. Kind of like accountability. Also, again you don't feel so alone. Look me up!

8. Tutorials- I recently needed to find a tutorial on how to make my digital work look more like watercolor and found these gems Dani Draws or watch this one by ClaudiaMSutton. There are some great ones out there just google it.

9. Visit other artist's blogs or websites- yep

10. Goals- Write it down small goals on your calendar and stick with them. I have to make an art work schedule otherwise when I'm not working I feel guilty and when I am working I feel guilty I'm not with my family. Schedules let you off the hook, or at least me.

11. Stretch before and after- Don't become the Hunchback of Illustration. Get up stretch, take a walk, or  just adjust how your sitting. Here is a youtube on chair yoga

And there you have it! Just a few things I do to get me going and staying strong as I illustrate children's books. What do you do?

Strands of Thought

Hey all! I got interviewed by the lovely Kai Strand! Wasn't that nice of her?  The interview was really fun! Check it out here!