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.