illustrator self promotion

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...

This week at Valdraws: May 30 - June 4

Most of my time this week went to working on sketches for my dummy. I'm a bit slow, but it's coming along. I did these this week:

I also got inspired by this mini portfolio by illustrator Stephanie Graegin, and I think I'm going to make a mini story to send out as a promo piece. It will take awhile since I'm determined to stayed focused on this dummy until it's done, and I'll need about eight pieces for the mini story, so I'm tentatively planning it for December's mailing; it's about knitting and crocheting, so it seems like a good time of year for that. In the meantime, I'm going to continue to send single image postcards with existing work from my portfolio; I'm scheduled to send one out in a couple of weeks. I think this time I will just put contact info on the back, including social media links, and not do a second image.

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

March 7 - March 13: this week at valdraws.com

I don't have a lot to show this week, but I did get quite a bit done. I got my lightened postcards back and they look a lot better. I decided to change the image on the back, though, and spent some time pulling some characters out of a full illustration to make a spot illustration to put on the back:

Assuming the sample postcard looks good, I'll be ready to order postcards and send them to my mailing list by the end of the week.

I also started sketching 3 spots that will make up a companion piece to the sad monster piece I recently finished, and started to very, very roughly storyboard it. Here are the sketches; there's not enough to the storyboard yet to make it worth showing:

I waffled a bit about whether the girl should be knitting or crocheting, since I do both. I searched for "knitting and crocheting in picture books" and found a lot that showcase knitting, and none (so far) that showcase crochet, so I went with crochet. Why should knitters get all the love? It might also make a good hook (pun intended) to help sell the book to a publisher. I could see promoting it through crochet magazines, podcasts, etc., and given the shortage of crochet in picture books, I could see plenty of crocheters with little ones in their lives wanting a book like this on their bookshelves.

I also watched the new Business of Illustration class on SVSlearn.com, and started using the Pomodoro Technique. I've heard of it before, but never really succeeded in applying it, so I tried it again, and felt pretty productive. Even bought an app for $1.99 to help me track my progress.

On a less productive note, I was charged a renewal for 5 years of service by a webhosting provider I no longer use, Webhostingpad. When I contacted them and asked for a refund, they refused, so I've had to dispute the charge with my bank. They came back with "we'll win the dispute and send you to collections." Who does business that way?! Anyway, if you're looking for a web host, stay FAR, FAR away from Webhostingpad. There are numerous complaints against them with the BBB and lots of angry people venting all over the web about them. Hopefully my bank will reverse the charge, and if they send it to collections and it ends up on my credit report, I'll just dispute that too. Ugh, what a waste of time!

Anyway, on to happier things; I'm going to go work on polishing up these sketches and keep forging ahead! See you next 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!