Valerie Bean Illustration

April 3 - April 9: this week at Valdraws

The flu! Yes, the entire family had it, so I haven't done much this week. I did get shipping supplies for the notebooks I'm making for my Etsy shop, but I thought it best not to do any cutting/punching/binding in my flu-induced stupor, so I haven't made the notebooks yet.

I worked on this series of spots a little bit:

and decided to revisit some of the SVS lessons I haven't looked at in a while. Sometimes I feel like I'm regressing, so I think it's a good idea to review and brush up by working through some of the workbook assignments that go with the lessons.

Not a terribly productive week, but I'm sure once the flu-fog clears, things will improve! See you next week!

March 28 - April 2: this week at Valdraws

I didn't do a ton of drawing this week, but I did change my little monster yet again to make him less eggplanty:

Now he looks like a fat pickle.

Now he looks like a fat pickle.

I worked on the companion piece, which is three little spot illustrations:

I like the look of the unfinished monster with the pencil sketch showing, so I think going forward I'm going to experiment with leaving more of my initial sketch visible in the finished art.

I had planned to work more on these spots this weekend, but I got five orders in three days in my Etsy shop and got inspired to work on the notebooks I've had in the works for months. I got the covers printed and laminated and printed a bunch of lined paper for the insides. Hopefully, I will get the rest of the cutting and binding done next weekend, take photos the following weekend, and get the notebooks, and my mugs, listed the weekend after that.

I also signed up for a Dribbble account and uploaded a few "shots" as they call them. I've also been stalking my web stats obsessively since my postcards went out. Gotta stop that.

That was my week in a nutshell. See you next week!

March 21 - March 27: this week at Valdraws

This week I gave my little monster a bit of hair and some horns. He seemed like such an amorphous lump and I decided he needed a little more character. I had tried to keep him simple so his feet would stand out, but he needed more character so he didn't look like a green eggplant:

Green eggplants.

Green eggplants.

My monster looking slightly less like the aforementioned green eggplants.

My monster looking slightly less like the aforementioned green eggplants.

I also did a little more sculpting of models. I got some armature wire and built a simple armature for a revised monster sculpture:

and smooshed together six kneaded erasers and started a crude sculpture of my monkey knight:

Messy, but considering my fingers were my only tools, not too bad.

Messy, but considering my fingers were my only tools, not too bad.

I also worked on adding value to this piece:

and I worked on another manuscript and dummy. I've got four different stories in various stages and I keep going back and forth trying to decide which I should give my time to right now. There just aren't enough hours in the day for everything I want to do. I seriously need a time machine.

I got my postcard on Friday, the one that was part of the mailing of 150+ cards I sent to the names on my mailing list. My fingers are crossed that that I get a little bit of traffic to my site from it. I'm not expecting to get work from one mailing, but I hope people like it enough to want to see more.

That's about it for this week. See you next week!

March 14 - 20: this week at valdraws

Here's what I did this week:

I finally sent my postcard out into the world; it drops tomorrow. I hope it gets a good reception. 

I also decided to revisit this piece:

I'm still working on it; I just wasn't satisfied with the monster, especially his mouth (his face felt really flat) and his feet. I wanted to change the position of this feet but I was having trouble visualizing them, so I got out a block of modeling clay I've had lying around for ages, and made this (don't laugh):

Okay, you can laugh. As rough as it is, it was still pretty helpful in getting the new position of the feet blocked in. I want to make more models in the future, so I ordered some armature wire in the hopes I can make some that are poseable. We'll see.

I also worked on sketches for Once Upon A Mixed-Up Time (I'm a very messy sketcher), and got the text all typed up and almost completely polished:

Last but not least, I bought a new book called The Nuts and Bolts Guide to Writing Picture Books by  Linda Ashman. I haven't finished it yet, but it's very good so far. Very clear, with straightforward, actionable advice on writing and improving picture book manuscripts.

And that's it for this week!

This week...

I finally finished this piece... I think...

The monster got a lot darker, so I may go back and brighten him up a bit.

I also got my sample postcard. It was WAY too dark, so I lightened the image and I'm trying again. Thank goodness you can buy single postcards from Amazing Mail for less than $1.50.

I finished cleaning up my existing mailing list and ended up with 158 names to send postcards to and another 10 or so to email. Once I get the postcard image printed the way I want, I'll send those out.

And I worked on really rough sketches for the mixed-up fairy tale that my daughter helped me storyboard:

And that's about it for this week. See you next week, same bat time, same bat channel!

Another week closer to death

Oh, alright, I did a little more than just get seven days older this week, but I'm feeling extra curmudgeonly today. Anyway, this week I didn't spend a ton of time on finished art, but I did work some more on this piece. Right now I hate the monster's feet, but I'll figure it out:

I did super rough sketches for the first couple spreads for one of my picture book dummies:

and I designed a monkey in shining armor for yet another picture book I've got in the works:

I also finished adding names to my mailing list so now I have to go back and try to figure out if there are any old ones that I need to get rid of. Also worked a bit on my postcard. Waffling on the logo/name/text right now, and of course agonizing over my choice of images:

There's some weirdness going on around the image on the back, but I'll fix that before printing.

There's some weirdness going on around the image on the back, but I'll fix that before printing.

And now I have to go help save a child whose day is ruined because she spilled almond milk on her taco. See you next week!

This week at

My daughter had Monday off from school and her afterschool daycare was closed so we stayed home together. I decided to sneak a little work in by getting her to help me with the storyboard for my latest picture book idea. I drew out the pages on a big sheet of paper, made some very rough sketches, and she colored them. It helped me work out the pacing and some story points I was having trouble with, and it was fun for my daughter. Here's what we've done so far:

I also worked some more on the illustration below. It's coming along, slowly but surely:

I also updated my mailing list with the latest Children's Writers' and Illustrators' Market and The Book from the SCBWI. I currently have about 180 names on my list and I plan to send out a postcard next month.

Oh, I also changed my Twitter profile to include the word "curmudgeon." I think it suits me:

That's it for now; see you next week!