A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to get a critique from the awesome illustrator Will Terry. You can watch it here:
Since the video was posted, I've really wanted to get back to my tortoise piece and make some edits.
And then, life.
Long story short: I have a toddler and we are in the midst of buying our first home. (All two people who regularly read this blog already knew that, thus the lack of post explaining what was going on ;-) So, I found a few little chunks of time where I was able to do a little editing on the piece, but I was only able to make two of the three suggested changes. This was a couple weeks ago, and I kept delaying posting it, thinking that I would finally find time to make the last change, but I'm realizing that with everything going on right now, I won't be able to get to it for weeks. The tail in the foreground to this second remains untouched. So, I'm going to post what I have, and then once I make final edits in a few days/weeks/months/centuries I can post then too.
I posted the edited piece on the SVS forums and the changes were met with mixed reception. Several people admitted that they really liked the original piece and felt that it looked more like the way an actual tortoise walked. Others pointed out that the way a tortoise actually walks looks really strange to those not familiar with it, so the edited version *seems* more correct even though it isn't.
As for me, I like things about both. It's a cop-out answer, but as the artist I can't look at them without bias and I can't really choose between them. I'm not sure there is a good happy medium between the two, you just have to make a choice--would you like something truer to nature that might seem wrong to some viewers, OR, would you like something that *looks* right to people but actually isn't? Were this a real assignment, I think that is a choice the Art Director / Client would have to make, because there is no one right answer and, as the artist, I see merit in both.
This was a great (if still incomplete) exercise in taking suggestions/criticism and applying them to a piece. It was also encouraging to see that my crazy many-layered illustrator files are actually not that difficult to dive back into and make edits to the right paths--all that effort at layer organization was successful!
But, back to our main topic. I'm curious:
Which piece to you prefer, and why?
With one more completed illustration, my Friendly Monsters dummy is complete! Just in time for the #pbpitch party on twitter tomorrow... nothing may come of it, but then again, something might!
I left the text/speech bubbles off of this one. What do YOU think they are saying?
Theres someone I'd like you to meet--or should I say, someones.
These are the friendly monsters! (If you follow my instagram, you've already met them :-) They star in my latest picture book dummy. This is one of those ideas that hit at 4am (I was up thanks to a hungry baby) and just WOULDN'T LEAVE ME ALONE until I put it on paper. I jotted down a few lines and then was finally able to get a bit of sleep.
The first draft came out pretty easily. I let it sit, did some edits, and then I sent it off to a few different friends (and the 12x12 community) to get feedback. I love having different places to get feedback from, because I feel that when I just get it from one critique group they hear the first person's comments and then everyone just ends up agreeing with that person--not always, but fairly frequently. I like having different places to get feedback so people are thinking up their comments independently--I feel they're more helpful that way.
I don't know where I first heard this thought on critique, but its something I generally live by: If one person tells you something, its an opinion and you can ignore it if you choose. If two or more tell you independently that it is a problem (not just critique group partners chiming in, people critiquing who don't have any access to the comments of the other) then it is something you need to take a look at.
In the case of this story, having multiple critiques... didn't backfire, per se, but it did give me directly contradicting advice. From one friend, "There is too much X! I think you should take out X completely." From another "The X is nice, but I think you need even MORE X."
Oh, the joys of navigating critiques. I've at least got plenty to think about with this story, and I'll do my best to be true to what I loved about that idea at 4am.
As far as the art goes, I'm trying a slightly different style here, and LOVING it. Seriously, why didn't I try working this way before! I'm still using my cutaway linocut vector process, but really minimizing the linework. Instead of starting with the lines and then filling in the shapes and colors, I'm starting with the big shapes and adding lines only where necessary to define the form. I'm using the shadow layer to create texture instead of the line layer as I usually do. I really like how it came out. I think I'll definitely still do linework-based illustrations, but I want to do more of this approach as well.
As usual, progress images of how this one came together. What do you think?
As you can probably see in the sidebar, I am now an INPRNT artist! Previously I had used Society 6, and I still like their variety of products and have my tshirts on in that shop. However, I had heard that INPRNT was a much more artist-friendly printing service, and so far I'm finding that to be true. The site is curated so only high quality work is shown, the uploading process is simple, and I have more control of pricing. I'm sold!
There are only a few pieces in the shop so far. If there is a piece you are interested in that isn't in the shop, let me know and we'll see if I can get the piece you want uploaded.
I really want to get a couple prints of my work to see the print quality for myself, but I want to have a location in mind for where I'll hang the piece, and I don't want to jump into that too soon because... we're thinking about moving! Not far, we're just thinking it might be time to be paying mortgage instead of rent ;-).
The internet is doing better today, so I'm posting the progress images of my "Luck Favors the Prepared" illustration. Maybe I'm the only one that enjoys clicking through these, but I think it's interesting to see the steps a piece goes through as it's completed.
You can see here that I fiddled with the color scheme as I worked--from the beginning I had purple, green, and gold in mind for it, but as I got further in I realized adding red and a grey-brown would help round out the color scheme. I'm happy with what I worked out with that.
Here, on Facebook, and on Instagram people expressed interest in this image and inquired about the possibility of getting a print of it. I'll admit, part of what I imagined when I had the idea for this piece was getting a print for my own wall! So, I have opened an account at INPRNT.com and made this image available: https://www.inprnt.com/gallery/sarahluannperkins/luck-favors-the-prepared/
I'll be getting a few more pieces into the shop soon, but I started with this one since it's the one people were asking about.
I completed a new piece! This one was inspired by one of my favorite artists, James C. Christensen, who recently passed away. He often created images with elaborate ships, mixed scale, and clever sayings, often in Latin. So it was something of an exercise--not exactly a master copy, and not with the goal of being entirely in his style. I wanted something in my style, but inspired by his. I think I succeeded in that at least.
I have progress images (I always think those are fun to see, maybe nobody else does though) but that will have to wait until my internet is working better--its patchy right now for some reason.
It's almost February! Which means… time for New Years Resolutions! Right? Wait… I’m LATE? What do you mean late?
I’ve been thinking for a few months about what I wanted to get done in the next year, but life got in the way of me actually writing it out. So even though its “late” I wanted to get this post up, because it helps me to think things out, and also to feel accountable to all 2 people who read this blog. (Hi, mom!)
So, here are my goals for this year:
BE AN AWESOME WIFE AND MOTHER.
That, always, is the first goal. That takes precedence. But along with doing those things, I really want to push forward in my writing and illustrating this year:
Oh wait, this one is almost over? I know technically this is a challenge that takes place during the month of January. However, It’s been an incredibly fun and rewarding challenge for me--not only do I already have 32 ideas listed, I was so excited about 3 of those ideas that I already wrote rough drafts of them.
(I then later found out that one of the ideas had been recently been written and published, to be coming out in a few months. And in RHYME no less. I had the idea on my own, though (she whined). And I think I can still do something with the idea, I just need to let it roll around in my head for awhile until I know how to tweak it and make it my own.)
Anyway, I want to continue Storystorm through the year, with a goal of 100 total ideas in the year. Yeah, I did just come up with 32 in less than a month so I’m basically ⅓ there, but that was after not thinking about any or writing any down for a very long time, so I’m thinking they’ll be coming slower now.
The amazing teacher of my Childrens Book Writing class at BYU, Rick Walton, passed away recently. The first assignment for his class was to come up with 100 picture book ideas. It was an amazing class, and he was an amazing teacher and writer, and I want to get to 100 kind of in his memory. And its good to be in the habit of always looking for ideas, and then writing them down.
12x12 Challenge 2017
Complete 12 picture book manuscripts in 12 months?? I’m going to give it a try--I already have three drafts, as I mentioned, so just 9 to go :-)
I’ve really enjoyed participating in the 12x12 community and I’m really looking forward to the webinars--the first was AMAZING. So pumped for this year!
By the end of the year, I hope to have a few manuscripts I feel good enough about to start querying agents. Which is scary, but exciting. I can do this!
Smart Dummies 2017
I got my Finn’s Feet dummy put together last year thanks to this challenge, and I volunteered to help with running it this year. I hope to have a bunch of great manuscripts to choose from by the time September rolls around.
In 2015, my goal was to get together a portfolio I wasn’t ashamed of and then start my postcard campaign. I worked and drew, put together a portfolio I liked, and then August of that year I sent out my first postcard, featuring my Adventure image.
The month after, I found out I was pregnant. We were thrilled! But I decided it wasn’t the right time to be pushing forward with a full postcard campaign, so that was the only postcard I sent.
Well, the baby was born and is growing up and I LOVE being a mother, but it doesn’t change the fact that I love illustrating! And I would like to convince people to pay me to do it! Which brings us back to the postcards. I think it’s time. I’d like to send out 3 this year--tentatively I’m aiming for March, July, and November. It’s time to put myself out there!
I said I'd do it, and I did. Earlier today, I submitted the dummy of my story FINN'S FEET to the Little, Brown Emerging Artist Award. Thanks to all who commented on my last entry to help me find a title. Now my little story is going off into the world...
It was a big project, and the housework definitely got neglected as the deadline got closer, but it's done. It feels so good!
I only saved progress images of one of the illustrations, though. I was just trying to get them done as quickly as I could, so saving out periodically as I usually do just didn't happen.
This is a good start for my goals this year of pushing forward with my writing and illustrating this year, and actually submitting my work as well. Before doing this project I thought I mostly wanted to illustrate other people's stories, but putting this together helped me to realize that I actually really like creating my own stories too. I will definitely be doing more!
...a character who has been living in my head for a few years now. I finally have his story put together in a dummy book, and after I complete a couple more example illustrations, I'll be entering it in this contest.
I have one small problem, though. I'm having a hard time thinking of a title.
What would you call a story about a boy with very long feet? Any ideas? :-)
Sometimes, my baby sleeps. And sometimes she doesn't sleep on me. And sometimes when she's sleeping not on me, I get to do stuff. Like make pictures.
My dummy is still in progress! But I was feeling really bogged down in the sketch-tightening phase (my personal least favorite in the whole illustration process.) So, I decided I needed to do a quick piece start to finish to remind myself what it is like to actually do the final stage--which I really enjoy!
So, I put together a quick piece for the SCBWI postcard contest. I just threw together the first image I thought of, without trying to be super original with the concept or composition--I just scribbled a sketch and moved forward on it. It was really refreshing, actually. I felt more free, less attached to what happened, and since I didn't care quite as much I felt more able to experiment with things without being stressed about the experiments going bad. So it was a great piece because I enjoyed making it, whether or not its actually any good otherwise ;-).
I didn't save periodically during the process on this one like I usually do, because I was just moving through it and trying things, as I said. Here's how it turned out:
Want a Print?
Take a look at my print shop on INPRNT.com
My society 6 shop: