Monday, June 29, 2009

The Art of Self Promotion, otherwise known as Ugghghhhh

Dear readers, I'll admit it: I have been avoiding self-promotion like the plague. Now, Bloomsbury has a top-notch marketing team and they've done a terrific job so far. However, most authors I know put in a lot of legwork on their own, too. So far, I've left the extracurricular marketing to my personal PR team, aka, Mom and Dad. (BTW, Mom, did Oprah's people ever call back?) I KNOW that one has to be brave and present oneself to local bookstores and libraries- but I've been putting it off... and off... and off. Until I realized what was holding me back: 

Lack of a good crutch! I'll just do what I always do in times of trouble- let my drawings do the talking! Somehow I feel much more at ease with something I can hand out to folks as I meet them. Plus, why not put those graphic design skills to good use?!

This is the week, I can feel it! I'll print these puppies out, and then I head... Into the Wild.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Website Update!

Check eet out here! Or, I can save you the trouble and just show you the new images I put up on my website:

Switching out the images in my portfolio is about all my limited web skills allow me to handle. I am currently taking a Flash class so that I'll be able to really jazz up my website in the future. Of course, last week in class I barely managed to animate a bouncing ball, so it may be a while before I add the funk to Vee Jay Dot Com.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

This is TOO about children's literature!

So guess where I just so happened to stop on my road trip with the parentals last week?

You got it...  (fictional) Forks! Aka, St. Helens, Oregon.
Here's me intruding on someone's private property. Oh, don't worry- there was a sign saying it was OK to take pictures. I am doing the "Bella Scowl", in case you are wondering.

Was this where they bought their prom dresses? Hard to tell, with the magic of Hollywood. I am doing the Bella Scowl again.

And inexplicably, recreating the famous "alleyway scene" is the one where I'm laughing! Keep this one for the blooper reel!

My husband is now legally bound to take silly photos with me.

And just to prove I'm not a literary snob:

One-eyed Willie! Or, I guess I could still be a fictional character (Where's Waldo).

I can tell it was a good vacation, because now I am a-itchin' to get back to sketching & painting!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Pinch me, I'm about to fall out!

Could this be the best week of my life? First, I land the agent of my dreams. Now, I see that I am steadily climbing the ranks in my run for the office of Curly Girl Ambassador!

If you'd like to support me in my run for this prestigious office, you may vote here. It's time to get off that "'Straight' Talk Express"! Yes We Curl! * (* any resemblence to actual campaign slogans is clearly unintentional).

Plus, the parentals are coming in to town today, and we're planning a trip into Goonies and Twilight territory (or, the "Oregon Coast", as some like to call it) to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary! You are an inspiration, Mom and Dad.

So, have a good week, everyone!

Monday, June 15, 2009


This is Part IV in the continuing series: Me, Trying to Fix My Dummy So I Can Get an Agent.

Well, it looks like this is the grand finale, because guess what...


And this really is a dream finale for me, because I landed my dream agent: Paul Rodeen of Rodeen Literary. The talent of the illustrators he represents is a wee bit staggering- I have admired many of them for years. A fellow Rodeeni (??) had an interesting blog post this weekend: Lauren Castillo talked about her excitement & terror she felt in handing in her finished artwork for her book. I drank of this same terror/joy cocktail this weekend! It's funny how something you desire so greatly can bring such fear once you actually get it!! Let's just say that I did a lot of sketching this weekend, spurred by my desire to have a knock-out follow-up project to this one.

So Yay!, and thank you to all of my early readers of the dummy- you know who you are.

And because I always feel like I'm cheating if I don't post an image: here's a quick illustration I did this weekend. 

I don't know about you, but I'm not loving it! I'm still submitting it for this contest for Curly Girls, though. I could be a Curly Girl Ambassador! Take that, Jon Scieszka!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Herm Offers You His Protection

Oops, that's a Napoleon Dynamite quote! Well, the painting was a big hit:

Well worth all the hard work. I spent like 3 hours shading the upper lip. Oops, another Napoleon Dynamite quote!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


So, my "eureka" moment of a week or so ago was followed by a flurry of non-stop picture-making. I tend to get a little obsessed when I'm on a roll, and neglect other obligations (cleaning, proper nutrition...notice the Red Vines at the top of the picture). Here's a picture of my "think tank", aka "nest of mess & disorder":

I do all of my painting at my nice drawing board, but I like to be comfy when I'm working the ol' gray cells. So, I've gotten the dummy to a point where I am pretty happy with it. Now I just have to... show it to other people!! Gulp.

Luckily, I have a project to keep me from thinking too much about how other people will see it... for now. My husband's birthday is on Friday, and for 4 YEARS, he has wanted only one thing for his present... Get ready for it... A painting of himself as Napoleon, with a rearing horse in the background. Yes, I thought he was joking, too. But then he kept talking about it for 4 YEARS. And not just during birthday season, either. So now that we're legally bound, I figured it was finally time to give him what he wants:

If anything can take my mind off of the critiques to come, I think Napoleon's "mom trousers" should do it.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, he already has ideas for the next decade of birthdays- including, but not limited to: Tarzan holding hands with a monkey, St. George slaying the dragon, and one that he just calls "Outer Space". Yes, he's a weirdo, but that's why I love him.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


You may remember that a few weeks ago I posted, in the parlance of after school specials, a "very special blog entry" (see: "Pugs, and a Confession"). In this post, I lamented my writer's block as I was trying to re-work a dummy that I thought I had finished. Well, Hallelujah, I finally had my breakthrough, my Helen Keller moment. W-A-T-E-R! All of the pieces suddenly fit into place! I could see the light through the dark tangle of my story lines! Now I am possessed by a fever to get all of the new sketches done, so I can SEE what is going on in my head. I am also in a fever to pass this version on to my trusty friends & colleagues, to see if it really does make sense or if I have just been in solitary confinement with pigs for too long (too early for Swine Flu jokes?)

Here is a sneak peek at one of the sketches, one that doesn't reveal too much of the story:

There is an interesting blog discussion going on at Firebrand Literary about what motivates authors (and illustrators, I'm extrapolating) to keep working, when there's no guarantee that their work will see the light of day. For me, it's (party) this- the joy of struggling with a story and characters that you've had in mind for weeks (months? years?), and finally having a breakthrough moment, when everything seems clear and all is right in the world. 

Until the next round of revisions comes in , of course.