Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Jackets as far as the eye can see

Since I'm taking a little creative break at the moment, I thought I'd fill this empty blog time with some oldies but goodies. Issues that I didn't really have the time to blog about whilst in the midst of painting like a madwoman. So I thought I'd show the sketches leading up to the final jacket for Bea!

Here are the first 3 sketches that I sent in:

I liked #3, and so did my publisher. But, as a book designer I know as well as anyone that these tides are ever-changing. A few months later, as I'm heading into the thick of things, I was asked for some new jacket sketches. One reason (which I suspected myself) was the problem that hand-drawn type nestled in with a bunch of art could create. If, say, my book were to be translated into 17 different languages (fingers crossed), the jacket art would be a problem. Plus, they wanted to see Bea & some sheep up close, for some more personality to show through. Here's what I came up with:

Not so good, right? What's up with that Brady Bunch version? I don't know why I was so adverse to putting the type in the sky- it was the obvious solution, and one that required the insight of my art director & editor to point out to me.

Round 3 of sketches:

This last one was the one everyone liked. With some final discussions about Bea's wardrobe & the facial expressions of the other sheep, here's what I did for the final:

...and the back cover.

And there you have it! For now, anyway!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Boy howdy!

These have been some crazy two weeks!

Last things first, this past weekend I spoke at the Nashville SCBWI conference. Look at the grandeur:

Very beautiful city, very fun conference, VERY talented attendees! I gave my standard go-to talk about the behind-the-scenes machinations of an art department, as well as a brand new talk on picture book dummies. If any attendees have recommendations for either talk- things you wish I'd covered, burning questions you didn't get to ask in the Q&A, please let me know! I'll try & include them in future talks. My one disappointment of the weekend was that I did not get to taste any chess pie. Alas. The excitement of meeting so many great illustrators made up for it. 

This weekend getaway served also as a mini-vacay-- a reward for handing in all of my artwork!! That happened on Thursday. Here's the heap o' sheep:

I meant to spread out all the pictures real nice to see them altogether. Instead, I took this "oh-man-it's-4-am-please-just-take-the-picture-and-go-to-bed" picture. I got to hand in the art in person, which was fun. Bloomsbury is in the Flatiron building, and I always feel very New York when I go in there. It's been kind of a weird feeling, not having anything to do when I get home from work! I was able to watch the premiere of Heroes last night! (review: confused). I got to scrub the bathroom like I wanted! (review: squeaky clean). Now what?!? Good thing I have another SCBWI conference this weekend to keep myself occupied!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Calling all Nashville SCBWI attendees!

And Philly attendees. And Minnesota! Are you an author and/or illustrator and/or fellow presenter who also happens to be training for a marathon?!? I'll be speaking at all of these conferences in the coming weeks, which just happens to coincide with peak marathon training. Being a bit of a chatty Cathy runner, I'd love to put in a nice leisurely... 13 mile or more run with fellow SCBWI-ers! C'mon, it will be fun! We can talk about children's books hours before the conference begins- think of the head start we'll get!

So, shoot me an email if interested- and please pass on to anyone you think might be keen! Gracias!

(Do you notice my abundance use of exclaimation points?! To convince you that running 13 miles will be fun!)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Pictures from my Staycation

Thank you, Lynne Rae Perkins, for the title.

Well, it's almost done now. Art for Bea Rocks the Flock is due next Thursday! Here are some of the memories I made over my Staycation:

Alls I have left to finish are the jacket, one interior piece, and a few more spots. I have been entertaining myself by fantasizing about all of the things I am going to do with my newfound free time after I'm done! Of course, this list consists of the most banal activities ever. The first 3 items on my list are, I kid you not:

1. Get haircut
2. Give bathroom a really good cleaning
3. Get cat shaved

Apparently, when pressed for time, it is personal & feline cleanliness that is the first to go.

But do you know, I find myself getting a little misty-eyed at the passing of this era already?! For nearly 5 years now, in one way or another I've had the story of Bea flitting through my mind, and now it's sort of sad to think my work is almost done! Even with a hip new coif and a freshly shorn cat, I will have a sheep-shaped hole in my heart.