Sunday, September 22, 2013

Illustration Friday: Together

When I saw that this week's Illustration Friday topic was together, this was the first thing that came to mind. I did this sketch one day at work on a lunch break for mother's day.  I have no idea where the sketch is, so I just posted the instagram version with all the filters and such.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A #twoodle for this Wednesday!

Here it is! I know you've all been chomping at the bit to see another one, am I right? (Chirp, Chirp) Anyhoo, I probably over did this week, but went with "Pelican" from David Uhlig (@deuhlig) and "goggles" from Vanessa Roeder and tossed in "frog" from me for good measure. David is pretty much a king of twitter with something like 25,000 followers (how do you do it?), and Vanessa has just absolutely beautiful illustrations (psst I'm jealous)!

I had a ball mixing in real images into the sketch. Wasn't planning on it at first, but thought it would be fun to do.

Friday, September 6, 2013

A new portfolio piece!

I tried a little something new for this one. I used a few textures and images in the background, and I thought it turned out kind of nice. I may use more mixed media in the future, but we'll see.

Currently I'm still working on my mailing list. Tweaking, adding, subtracting. It's seems like it's a living creature, always changing and growing. I'm going to guess that it'll always be like that. Publishing houses are constantly changing and growing too. It's hard to keep up! 
I should have my postcard finished by the end of this month to send out sometime mid-October. I didn't get a ton of hits from my 1st one, so the next one will be a bit different.

Hope everyone likes the new work, I think it's snazzy! :)

Until next time, 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Twoodle Time!

It's been a month since I've posted anything on the blog...yikes! Summer is almost over and the days are sure to slow down. Kids are almost back to school and daycare and that = normal routine again. Hopefully I'll get back into blogging more frequently when that happens.

I'm throwing the rules out the window today and I'm posting a quick Wednesday twoodle on a Thursday. I took twoodle words from Takako Fisher (Oops!) and Kimberly Lampers (Chipmunk). Both artists are awesome, so you should check them out!

So...if you don't know anything about me, I'm just this person trying to find her way through this thing called children's illustration. You can follow me on twitter and sign up at the right to follow my blog.
Happy Twoodling!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Twoodle Wednesday!

This week's is a combo of "Monster" from Wendy Caston and "noodles" by C.S. Jennings. You should check out their work too; very cool!

I agree that the noodles look a bit like worms, but hey monsters can eat worms if they prefer.

I've been working on random different things, so it seems like I'm all over the place and can't get anything finished. Here's one piece I'm working on and it's based on a previous twoodle I did a few weeks ago. I'm hoping to finish up my alphabet in a couple months and might even make up some prints to sell.

Have a great rest of the week and weekend! I'm heading to Hershey Park this weekend with the kiddos so it should be fun. My daughter has asked more than once if the pillows will be made of cotton candy. Wouldn't that be awesome if they were!

Sign up by email if you want to tag along on my children's illustration journey so you don't miss a thing!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Illustration Friday - Protest

Here's a little piece I worked up for IF yesterday. I've had an awesome week of vacation with my mom, but now it's back to work. I'm guessing I'll have a busy work week ahead of me.

Here's the sketch I started with:

And here's the final:

Who likes peas and carrots anyways...

Check out my other Illustration Friday Submissions here. Sign up for email updates if you'd like to follow me on my illustration endeavors.

Have a great week everyone!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Once again, it's Twoodle in color!

That's right I did some color work on these guys. I colored it in photoshop because it was quick. This week I went with "risky" from Takako Fisher, "mini-car" from C.S Jennings (both of whom are crazy talented, so you should check them out!) and "poodle" which was my suggestion. The poodles started to look a bit naked after staring at them awhile so I drew some shorts on them. Maybe I should have gone with tutu's though?

The Flying Frenchies need a little help if they're going to make it in the big top...

Aren't these twoodles so much fun?? If you would like to join in check it out here! Follow me on twitter to see my twoodles every week! @amandadsorenson
Also if you're new to children's illustration check out my aspiring children's illustrator, self mid year review ;)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Aspiring Children's Illustrator: Mid-Year Progress Report

Sounds pretty fancy doesn't it...mid-year progress report. It's smart though having goals to achieve and actually achieving them. I don't have anyone telling me what needs to be done and by when, so I need to figure that out on my own. The reason for goals is to make them achievable, while still making them challenging.

Let's take a look at the goals I made at the beginning of the year:

Strenghthen my brand - Design a logo, redesign my website, redesign my blog - Completed
I created a simple logo for my business and gave it a pop color. I also completely overhauled my old website and streamlined it, to make it more art director friendly. My home page is my portfolio; I have my email address on every page making it easier to contact me, an About page focusing on not only my background, but including my strengths, and a fun page that I can play around with and give a shout out to some other great illustrators. My plan is to also include some freebies; digital downloads, coloring pages, etc. so it's not so static. I decided to switch my blog from the old Wix flash site to blogger, and I'm really happy that I did. It looks much better, and I can now track views and comments.

Join SCBWI (Doing this today!) - Completed
I joined SCBWI in January. I've been pouring over the book, soaking up any information I can and collecting a ton of names to send out promotional materials to.

Go to Regional SCBWI in Syracuse (planning for March) - Completed
Had a great time at this mini conference. There were only about 20 people there so it was very hands on and I learned a ton of information. Presenters were Suzanne Bloom and Ellen Yeomans. They brought years of experience and a wealth of information to this "Nuts & Bolt's " conference. Suzanne and a small group of illustrators gave me some great feedback on my portfolio. I think I was the only one who didn't have a book dummy to present...

Save money to go to the Winter or Summer International SCBWI in 2014 (NYC or LA) - On-going
Saving, saving, saving...

Complete a consultation with Holli Conger (planning for April/May) - Completed
This was amazing and I learned so much from her. I won't elaborate on the details, you can read about my whole experience here.

Strenghen my portfolio (currently working on this…OK, always working on this) - On-going
Yep and still working on this. Before the end of the year I'm going to get some black and white pieces done and finish up my alphabet series.

With a stronger portfolio I'll join the Children's portfolio site - On-going
At this point, I'm not ready to join yet. I need to step up my game if I plan on doing this so I don't waste my money. Want to see some great watercolors, check it out!

And if I'm really ambitious, I'll create an Etsy site. (This is really an extra goal so if I don't get to it, it'll be OK) - meh
This is looking less likely. I'm not sure I have enough time to focus on this and keep working on my portfolio. There's always next year.

Wow, I completed most of my goals! Time for more...
OK, so let's see:

Continue to strengthen portfolio
Add some black and white pieces, more kids and finish my alphabet series.

Keep tackling social media
At least 1 blog post a week, keep tweeting daily, try to twoodle every Wednesday, keep connecting with other illustrators, update facebook regularly, continue participating in Illustration Friday

Send out another postcard and email promo around October
Wait and see how the response to the first postcard goes before designing the next one

Well I guess I have enough stuff to keep me busy so I better get to it!

Any thoughts on more goals to add? What did you have to do to get where you are?

Thanks for the read everyone!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

It's a twoodle!

My twoodle this week is a combination of cowboy from Casey Girard and pool from Karen Kalbacher. Well kind of. She had some twoodle words, but in her tweet she said twoodle pool, and well I got this image in my head so I went with it! One of these days I'll get one colored. As always if you want to know how it works, check out Alicia Padron's blog about twoodle here.

After a long day wrangling all those cattle that cowboy just couldn't resist! He needed a new pair of boots anyway...

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Bedtime Book Review: The Perfect Bear

Probably one of my favorite books to read to my daughter is "The Perfect Bear" by Gillian Shields and illustrated by Gary Blythe. Not only is this book touching and heartfelt, the illustrations are just phenomenal. I don't think there's another children's book that has made me cry (well maybe Sylvester and the Magic Pebble too).

Here's what google books has to say:
Shields's affecting tale chronicles an arrogant toy's transition from revered object to beloved companion. Upon his arrival at the home of a young girl, the stuffed bear—very conscious and proud of his immaculate finery—is appalled when his new owner wants to actually play with him. With sly humor Shields details the bear's disgruntled indignation as he endures being splashed with paint, given an impromptu bath and the like. However, when the now shabby bear becomes separated from his girl in a store, he experiences an epiphany, discovering that a person's—or stuffed bear's—worth cannot be measured by such superficial merits as their appearance. Blythe's full-color oil paintings are brimming with rich detail and texture. His expressive illustrations of bear employ subtle nuances, which perfectly illuminate the bear's persona and his emotional transformation. At the center of this whimsical tale is a gently reassuring message regarding the nature of love and acceptance that young readers will embrace.

Gary Blythe brings life to a stuffed bear and makes us believe that a little girl loves him and in the end he loves her in return. I can't say enough good things about this artist. He has a wonderful style. You can see more of his work here. He has some weird stuff going on too. This is his full portfolio. You can see many of the images from the book in his general portfolio.

So I highly recommend this book for anyone who likes a good story and isn't afraid to shed a tear over a children's book. Any good children's books that made you cry?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

My Illustration Career Consultation with the fabulous Holli Conger

About 9 months ago I made a decision. I was going to be a children's illustrator. Simple as that, right? OK, wrong. How does one even begin? Well as people often do, I googled it. What comes up? Why, its "Becoming an illustrator" blog by Holli Conger. Perfect. I can do this. But wait…how do I do this? Lucky enough Ms. Conger offers illustration career consultations. 

Sure I tried to go it alone. I got a twitter account and followed illustrators. I got a Facebook business page and tried to get new likes. I bought my domain name and created a website. But how would this get me any work…I mean really? I felt like I was playing pin the tail on the donkey, someone just spinned me around and I was just wandering around blindfolded with my arms out trying to find that darn donkey.

Enter stage right, Holli. With a strategic plan, we were able to get all my ducks in a row. She helped me define a clear marketing strategy, while providing tips on social media, website development, and some insider secrets. It's all done online through emails, which is perfect for me. I have 2 kids and a full time job, so I could work on assignments between all that. After 8 weeks of assignments and a ton of random emails with questions from me, I now have a new website, a relevant portfolio, email promo, and postcards, along with over 200 names to send them out to.

My new website

Postcard I'll be sending out

Holli tailors each consultation to the individual she's working with, so if you're more interested in licensing, she can do that too. I highly recommend her if you need someone to help you in the right illustration direction. 
You can read all about it here.

I certainly understand that the road I'm on is a very long one, but from what everyone keeps telling me that if I stick with it, things will happen eventually. I've also been told that my journey is a magical one, but maybe that's from lack of sleep.

Ok right then, I'll be going back to drawing, and more drawing, working on my portfolio, more drawing, blogging, more drawing...

Oh and most importantly, thank you Holli for heading me in the right direction!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Twoodle Wednesday!

Here's my twoodle for this wednesday! I went with Queen from Lynn Adams and Hamburger (well I made it a cheeseburger really) from David Uhlig. I'm going to try and color it up eventually. If you would like to participate in twoodle Wednesday's take a look at the idea from Alicia Padron here.

There's nothing more enjoyable to the queen than a nice juicy hamburger. Elbows are allowed on the table, but you must keep your pinky's up at all times!

So what's your Twoodle??

Friday, June 7, 2013

Illustration Friday - Children

I'm currently getting ready to send out some postcards (for the first time!) to various art directors, art buyers, and other creatives. I made this piece to go on the postcard with the word LOOK! on the front. Hopefully it will work and I will get work! If you have any feedback I'd be glad to hear it. Wish me luck!

Here's the postcard

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Illustration Friday - Sweet

I'm posting a WIP (work in progress) this week for Illustration Friday. My son  is just learning to walk and he loves walking over to me and falling into my arms. I  miss it already, but I'll never forget it. It still needs the background, and when that's done I'll add it to my portfolio.

Any of you Mama's out there have any milestone sketches of little ones? I'd love to see them!

Bedtime Book Review: Sylvester and the Magic Pebble

So we got this little treasure awhile ago and it's been buried in my daughter's book shelf for quite sometime. I say treasure because first of all it's a wonderful book that has earned a Caldecott Medal, and second, I had to dig it out of a Cheerios box. What an awesome freebie! Better than those cheap toys that break in seconds. Sure it's only about 6"x4", but the story packed inside is an amazing one. It even has it's own Wikipedia page!

Here's what Amazon has to say
Sylvester the donkey finds a magic pebble and unthinkingly wishes himself turned into a rock when he's frightened by a lion. How Sylvester is eventually reunited with his loving parents is a tender, magical tale of the transforming power of love. This Caldecott Medal-winning book is a modern classic beloved by children everywhere.

Author/Illustrator William Steig (1907- 2003) won numerous awards for many of his books. His classic style is indeed timeless. Fun Fact: Willian Steig wrote Shrek! in 1997, which of course became a major motion picture, plus a lucrative francise, a decade later.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Bedtime Book Review: The New Adventures of Mother Goose

Well to get back into things I've decided to review some of my favorite illustrated children's books. I've spent many a night reading these stories to my daughter, over and over again. First up:
The New Adventures of Mother Goose
Created by Bruce Lansky
Illustrated by Stephen Carpenter

So maybe the traditional Mother Goose is a little too scary for your little one? Never fear! The New Adventures of Mother Goose takes those antiquated creepy stories and turns them into gentle rhymes for happy times. My 5 year old loves this one and it's often in the pile of books to read before bed. My favorite rhyme:

There Was an Old Woman
There was an old lady who lived in a shoe,
which wasn’t too bad when the winter winds blew.
But the strong summer sun was too hot to handle,
so she packed up her stuff and moved to a sandal.
                       —Larry Cohen and Steve Zweig
The illustrations by Stephen Carpenter are bright, colorful and engaging. With more than 20 books by this author/illustrator team, The New Adventures of Mother Goose fits right in. Read what the creator, Bruce Lansky has to say here.

So if you're looking for some nursery rhymes a little more friendly than the traditional Mother Goose, this is it!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

What's a Twoodle?

What's a Twoodle you ask? A Twoodle is a tweet and a doodle! The idea was thought up by the talented Ms. Alicia Padron. Through out the week artists can tweet random words using the #twoodle hashtag. On Wednesday you can choose any two of the words tweeted during the week, make a doodle and tweet it out... and you got yourself a twoodle! So here's my first ever twoodle. I went with dragon and teapot.

Annie is not too happy with her dragon for ruining the tea party. Poor Mr. Bunny will never be the same again.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Check out the new look!

So what do you think of the new blog?? Isn't it pretty? A lot easier to use than the last one.

Along with the new blog I have also completely redesigned my website. Take a look! Enjoy to view. On the fun page I have a twitter feed, instagram feed, and links to awesome blogs and illustrators. Eventually I'd like to add things like Free downloads (coloring pages, printable cards, etc.) and sketches; and maybe even a newsletter.

Let me know what you think. Any feedback would be helpful; I'm always open for suggestions!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Illustration Friday - Liquid

Here's my Illustration Friday submission this week for liquid…

So I know it's a bit of a stretch, but pirate ships sail on liquid right? It's part of my alphabet series that you can see here.

Happy Monday everyone!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Woo hoo, I won!

Recently I entered a contest by Illustrator Cally Johnson-Isaacs for a signed copy of her 1st book "Elephantantrum" to celebrate the launch of the paperback edition. And guess what, I won! 

Here's what Amazon has to say about "Elephantantrum":
There's tears and tantrums in this humorous picture book about manners when Ellie is tired of playing with her toys. Ellie has everything, but she wants more. She wants an elephant. And she won't eat or sleep or brush her hair until she gets one! But when she finally gets her wish, the elephant decides to teach Ellie a thing or two about manners!

It sounds so fun! I can't wait to read it to my 5 yr old daughter; she loves books. Actually she'll probably read it to me as she's pretty much got the whole reading thing down.

I love Cally's illustrations. They're bright, vibrant, and make me smile. She has a unique mix of traditional and digital mediums. Originally an in-house illustrator for 6 years at Hallmark cards, Cally moved on to pursue her dream of becoming a children's book illustrator. That dream came true last year with her first illustrated book "Elephantantrum" by Gillian Shields. This year "Elephantantrum" is being re-released as a paperback. Her second illustrated book (also by Gillian Shields), was released in February called "That Dog!" She also currently does work for Penny Black, Inc.; they make everything from cards to scrapbook do-dads.

If you want to learn more about Cally I found a couple interviews by RWD Illustration, and Cupcakes for Clara. You can also see what she's up to at her BlogFacebook, and Twitter. AND if you're so inclined she's part of a fabulous group of children's illustrators called We Love to Illustrate. Phew! She's a busy girl.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Illustration Friday - "Train"


Here's a little sketch for Illustration Friday. I'm working on developing my children so I thought this wasn't half bad. I'm going to work on coloring this one and hopefully get it into my portfolio soon.

"Dragons Are Real"

Over the weekend I fortunately had enough spare time to swing by a local bookstore to catch a book signing "Dragons are Real" by local author Melinda Rabin and Illustrator Franklin O'Neal. I took the kids with me, but I think I enjoyed it more then them. My 5yr old was probably more excited about the cookies and punch. They were great to talk with and you can find out more about them here.

Dragons Are Real
"This first book in the Mad Maggie's Adventures series introduces Mad Maggie and her dragon Richard. They live a carefree life until one day a messenger comes to their little village and declares that dragons aren’t real. They decide to pack their bags and leave their home to go and see the king with the hope he will help them prove the messenger wrong.  Along the way they meet with bad weather and bad manners, but new friends come along and give them courage to continue. This story is about believing in yourself and never giving up even when met with adversity."

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Illustration Friday Submission "Wild"

It's been awhile since I submitted anything for Illustration Friday, but here it is. Just a fun little piece of animals gone wild. I don't know why I picked a tiger and a dog...I just felt like drawing them I guess. Anyways it's fun to just draw whatever comes to mind with the IF project and gets my creativity going. I wonder where these two are going...?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Happy New Year!!

Well another year has come and gone; 2012 was a great! The highlight of the year was the birth of my son in April and it seems like since then time started going in fast forward. My son will be 1 in a few months and my daughter is turning 6 in August.

My second highlight: Last September I started working towards becoming a Children's Illustrator. Illustration is something I've always been interested in, but felt that I just didn't have the time to devote to it. I thought it was something I could get into after I retired. But I just couldn't wait! I had an ever growing passion to do something more with my life.

Then I googled "How to become an illustrator"… Boom! First hit was Holli Conger's blog "Becoming an Illustrator". Talk about inspirational! Here was this woman with a full time job and a new baby trying to do the same thing! She found the time to work on her portfolio, market her work and deal with everything else that comes along with being a mother. I had to find a way too…

So I did.  When the kids go to bed I stay up for 3-4 hours working on my portfolio. I wake up early to create and update my website. I use my lunchtime at work to write blog posts (I'm doing that right now in fact.)

It has been 4 months now since I made that decision. I now have a Facebook pageTwitter Feed (with over a hundred followers, yay!), website, and blog. Not too bad for someone who only has about 20 hrs a week to work on them.

2013 here I come!

I completely understand that my road is a very long one. I don't have as much time as I'd like to work on my portfolio or update my website. I need to make postcards and marketing materials to get my name out there. It may take longer than a year to get work, but I'm in this for the long haul.

My goals for 2013:
Strenghthen my brand - Design a logo, redesign my website, redesign my blog
Join SCBWI (Doing this today!)
Go to Regional SCBWI in Syracuse (planning for March)
Save money to go to the Winter or Summer International SCBWI in 2014 (NYC or LA)
Complete a consultation with Holli Conger (planning for April/May)
Strenghen my portfolio (currently working on this…OK, always working on this)
With a stronger portfolio I'll join the Children's portfolio site
And if I'm really ambitious, I'll create an Etsy site. (This is really an extra goal so if I don't get to it, it'll be OK)

Well, I've got an exciting year ahead of me! I guess I'd better get to work…

What do you have planned for the new year?? New projects? New resolutions?
I'm always happy to hear from you!!