June 20 - June 26

This week I ordered a couple sample postcards which should arrive by the end of the week. Hopefully one will look good and I can get the mailing sent out next week.

I also did these sketches for the dummy:

I'm not satisfied with these, so I'll be revisiting them, but I want to keep moving forward and then go back and look at the dummy as a whole before I make corrections.

As usual, I didn't get as much done as I would have liked, but I'm slowly making progress.

That's it for now. Until next week.

This week at Valdraws: June 13 - June 19

I spent a lot of time just staring at things this week and I felt pretty frustrated at times. I didn't get a ton done, but I feel pretty good about the way I resolved some of the problems I was having. I made some changes to my mini book promo, and finished several pages of sketches for the dummy:

The first two images were too similar, so I combined them, and also changed the composition for page six.

The first two images were too similar, so I combined them, and also changed the composition for page six.

After finishing sketches for pages 10 and 11, I can now say I've completed one third of the sketches. They will probably need another pass of refinement when I'm done, but it feels good to get this far!

After finishing sketches for pages 10 and 11, I can now say I've completed one third of the sketches. They will probably need another pass of refinement when I'm done, but it feels good to get this far!

I'm really starting to love my dummy. Sending it out is going to be scary, because I'm becoming very attached! 

I slacked on getting my next postcard out this week because I really wanted to spend my time on my dummy. I WILL finish the postcard layout this coming week, though, and get a sample printed.

That's it for now. Until next time...

This week at Valdraws: June 6 - June 12

I see the dates on my weeks have shifted from Sunday through Saturday to Monday through Sunday... oh well, that's not really important... okay, on to this week's work: 

That's what I've done so far on my mini book promo piece. I'm a little concerned that the first three images might be too similar; maybe in the second image she should be setting her bag down and reaching for yarn. I'm going to have to think about that a little more. Overall, though, I'm pleased with what I have. I think it's best to set it aside for a bit and let my subconscious work on it while I turn my focus back to my dummy:

Played with a watercolor effect on this sketch

Played with a watercolor effect on this sketch

I had hoped to get a bit further on the dummy this week, but I'm glad I started the mini book. It helps to have a second project to switch to when one of them starts to make my brain hurt.

So that's it for now. Until next week...

That time I Googled "midlife bitterness"

I'm 50. There, I said it.

I've been keeping that a secret as I pursue my goal of being a professional illustrator. I wasn't lying about it, but I definitely wasn't sharing it.

I had this fantasy that after I became what I considered "successful," I would share the fact that I did it after age 50. But something changed.

This week I listened to Chris Oatley's Escape From Art Jail #9 and #10, How to Become a Competitive Professional, parts 1 and 2. I pondered how to be a purple cow, and really couldn't figure out what, if anything, made me purple. And then I felt sorry for myself; I felt bitter about the choices I've made, things I haven't done, like not going to art school, and about how far I am from where I want to be. I felt bitter about competing with so many incredibly skilled artists, many much younger than me, and many with the foundation of an art degree. Not being a total idiot, I also recognized that bitterness was only going to keep me stuck, so I Googled "midlife bitterness," hoping to find a way to put my regrets behind me and focus on the future. 

I ended up on a site called Life After Tampons (love that name!) where I read a piece entitled My Deepest Regret about how the author repeatedly gave up the pursuit of something she loved when success seemed just within her reach because she was scared. Oh, how familiar that sounded; when one of my promotional mailers finally brought major publishers to my website, I stopped sending mailers for almost 5 years; when one of my Etsy shop items was included in an Etsy Finds email, and visits to my shop and sales shot up, I let my shop languish. Seeing my own story of fear and regret in someone else's experience, and the comments from other women with similar experiences, made me realize that this journey I'm on is worth sharing, regardless of what my destination is, if there even is a destination.

So, taking some more advice from Escape From Art Jail (Episodes 8 - 10), and modifying it a bit, I've decided to make a weekly blog post where I gather together everything I've done in the previous week: social media posts, sketches, pieces I've finished, progress on WIP pieces, story ideas, podcasts I'm listening to, classes I'm taking, and anything else I can think of that is part of my journey toward my goal of being a professional illustrator.

I'm not quite sure that being 50 and a not-traditionally-schooled neophyte makes me purple (maybe a nice shade of lavender?) but it does make me different from all the young art school grads out there and when I decided to embrace that difference instead of hiding from it, my bitterness evaporated.

So without further ado, here's what I did this week:

The week started with a brand new idea for a PB that's a twist on the standard prince-rescues-princess fairytale, but since the self-rescuing princess idea has been handled quite nicely by many others before me, my focus is on the prince; what's a prince to do when princesses don't need to be saved anymore? I'm also having some fun with the picture book form and plan to have the characters physically interact with the text to change the story. Here are my rough ramblings:

I also finished these two pieces and added them to my portfolio:

And did some sketches of squirrels in preparation for designing the main character in the picture book I'm working on for the PBDummy Challenge:

And worked on this portfolio piece from yet another picture book idea about a monster with not-scary bunny feet and the knitting, crocheting new friend who helps him with his problem and who has a secret of her own (still very much a WIP):

And as I mentioned, I listened to two Escape From Art Jail podcasts, and finally posted in the SVS forums, although I still have yet to officially introduce myself there.

So that's my artistic week in a nutshell. I'll be back with a new post next week and in the meantime, you can find me on FB, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn (links are at the bottom of the page). Thanks for visiting!