Thursday, January 31, 2013

Starting something new...

Always exciting, always slightly scary. Tonight is the first class for the winter semester for my Continuing Ed class at Pacific Northwest College of Art. The class is writing and illustrating children's books, and it's one of my favorites. Since the class is about taking nebulous wisps of ideas and turning them into concrete stories- I thought I'd share some of my process!

So, I turned in my graphic novel about 2 weeks ago- and I knew during my month or so "break" I'd need to start thinking about my next project. The only problem- I HAD NO IDEA WHAT I WANTED TO DO. I had a few ideas, sure... but I wasn't sure which was the right one to pursue. Cue a week of slight depression, grouchy disposition, and lots of naps. And I mean LOTS OF NAPS. I always feel guilty during this time in the process, because to the untrained eye, napping does not look like working. However! I find that my mind is most free while in that sleepy/half awake phase. Slowly, slowly, one idea began to dominate over the others, and I found myself thinking about those characters more and more as I drifted off and woke up. I started doodling more and more, and after a well-timed trip to the library for inspiration... Bingo! I was on my way.

*Something* just clicked. I don't know what that *something* is, but whatever it is, it made me happy, it made me want to draw instead of nap, and it made me giggle when I thought of something new. My "sketches" during this time tend to look something like this:

Basically, like the ramblings of a crazy person. But that's OK, it doesn't seem crazy to ME. When I needed to take a break from crazy rambling, I did some watercolor sketches of the characters- another one of my tricks to free my mind and think about the story.

So, that's where I am now! What does YOUR creative process look like?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Dear Diary #3

Another illustrated excerpt from my 1989 diary. You can see previous entries here!

Thursday, January 17, 2013


It's been a long time since I've done an Illustration Friday assignment! If you're not familiar, Illustration Friday is a website that gives a weekly assignment (this week's is "Ocean")- and illustrators then submit their solutions. Since I turned in the first draft of my graphic novel on Tuesday (WHAT??! More on that later!)- I had a little extra time on my hands this week & gave it a go:

I based the illustration on a series of books I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE: The Ingo books, by Helen Dunmore

I first learned of these books when I was working at HarperCollins, and I was instantly taken by the jacket designed by Christopher Stengel (now with Scholastic. I couldn't find a website for him, but you can read an interview with him here.) Anyway, they are lovely books about a girl named Sapphire and her brother Conor, and their adventures under the sea with the Mer people. That's a lame summary, but they're really good books. I've read them countless times by now- when I find myself in the position of having finished all of my books from the library (the horror!), I'll reach for this one. Sapphire is a fiesty character, and if I could I'd name my first daughter after her. Unfortunately, this has already been nixed by my husband (and pretty much everyone else I know), saying that Sapphire is a stripper name. Whatever. I'll have to settle for naming my scooter Sapphire.

Sapphy and me

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Etsy and me: a love/hate relationship

Every 6 months or so, I think to myself, "Vicki, you're poor. Why not try and make your millions on Etsy?" And this sounds like a great idea, and I start picking out the color of the Mini Cooper I will buy with my earnings. And then, eventually, I remember why all of my Etsy Get Rich Quick schemes fail: 1) I hate selling things, and 2) I hate the post office. 

My first Esty outing began with my Derby Dolls. They actually sold pretty well! But because of the aforementioned reasons, I never restocked my Etsy shop & still have a big pile in my closet.

Then, this holiday season I thought of a new Get Rich Quick scheme- custom portraits! I used to be a portrait artist on a cruise ship, after all. Since it was the holidays, I made a few portraits for my friends and family members:

Yes, my friends and family DO have exceedingly cute children! 

And now, the holidays are over, and there's no reason NOT to try the Etsy thing again... but the truth is, I love making things SO much more than I love selling things. Any of you other creatives struggle with this, too? How do you get around it?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

New Year's Resolution!

You guessed it- it's to update my blog more often! I've been working working working, and so very thrilled about it. My first draft of my roller derby graphic novel is almost-kinda-sorta completed!!!

Maybe this will be news to you, but guess what? It turns out graphic novels are a TON OF WORK. Who knew? But I am so grateful to have the opportunity to work on a project so near & dear to my heart. I'll post progress reports as the year goes on, as I feel like I'm just making up a ton of stuff as I go. So please- join me in the year 2013- the year of the graphic novel! (for me).

And, just because... some bunnies on a Vespa.