Tuesday, December 29, 2009

holiday business and good times

Pin It Now! Argh, it's been far too long since I put up a new blog post. Since my last post--which was after the summer SCBWI conference in LA, I've had a few things going. First, I've been working on some line drawing art. I'm trying to get a black & white line drawing portfolio going. I've had it in the back of my mind for a long time, but I'm taking some action on that. I'll try to put up something soon. Secondly, I've been producing some beginning stage work for a small publishing project that came out of the summer conference--Woo Hoo! I don't want to say too much about it since it's still in early stages but I'm very excited about it. It has to do with mythology which I love!
Besides that, I'm teaching my usual art classes at OC High School of the Arts. It's great and I feel privileged to be there, but I was really ready for the holiday break. I had a very nice Christmas--stayed here instead of flying back to see family in NY--and had a good time with friends here. I'm planning on visiting NY in the summer instead since that is the time of year I love the most back east.
Hope everyone has a great New Year's!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

back to reality, and on to new heights

Pin It Now! Well, I'm back now from the SCBWI Summer Conference... it ended yesterday. I thought I would write some of the thoughts and information I took away from it.
First of all, it was a really fun experience. There's nothing like being surrounded with about 1,000 people who are excited about the same thing you are--creating words and art for children & young adults. It makes you feel so empowered, like you have all these people behind you. You're not alone in what you're trying to do. And the speakers are one inspiration after another. A good place to see some photos and commentary of the conference can be found at the summer conference blog here.
Here's some of what I listened to:

-Stephen Malk (agent) talk on "How To Build Your Illustration Career", which included practical advice like subscribing to the Horn Book Magazine on publishing, finding a career model to look at, different ways of getting my work out there using the web, etc.
-Editors Panel that talked about the changing market and current success stories
-Elizabeth Parisi (Exec. Art Director for Scholastic) talk on Book Covers, which talked about how book covers have become more simple and iconic. Also talked about how most middle grade covers are illustrated, but Young Adult tend to be photo.
-Karen Cushman (author) talk about her way of creating. Some good advice like instead of the old "write what you know", write what you wonder about.
-Krista Marino & Anica Rissi (editors) talk about what's successful in the teen market right now and how the business has changed in the teen realm.
-Holly Black (author, Spiderwick Chronicles) talk about creating good stories
-Alice Pope (editor) talk about practical online promotion: blogging, Facebook, etc.
-Richard Peck (author) talk about why we do what we do.
-Marla Frazee (illustrator,author) talk about creating pictures from an author's words.
-Susan Sherman (art director) talk about looking at great master's art of the past to inform our present work.
-Karen Cushman (author) talk about researching for historical stories.
-Kathleen Duey (author) talk about how to use what we've learned at the Conference after we leave.

As you can see, quite a lot on information. I also participated in the Portfolio Showcase. It was a great opportunity to get my work seen by lots of people, including editors and art directors. I hope to see some good things come out of it and I had a couple of good conversations with people about my art.
I also had a really good time over the whole conference in being there with some of the members of my monthly illustrators' group, OC Illustrators. In fact, our little group is gaining more recognition. Last year's winner of Best Portfolio in the showcase was one of our members, Pat Cantor! Well, this year's winner was our very own Israel Sanchez! Israel and I were both at CSUF together and his work is so good though very different from mine. Congratulations, Israel!! He will be flown out as Pat was to NY to meet with art directors and I expect big things to come of it. I'm definitely in the right illustration critique group!
Well, that's the wrap up. Time for me to try to process some of what I learned and get some stuff done.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

preparing for the SCBWI Conference in LA

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Well, I'm finally managing to post a new blog. I've just been really busy with a lot of new work--yay!--and haven't had much time for anything else except sleep and work. I'm teaching a summer art class for kids every morning and afternoon during the week at OCHSA that lasts for 6 weeks. Next week is the last week...goes by so fast! It's been really fun actually and the kids have been great. They have a bunch of classes the kids can choose from and I'm teaching beginning drawing & painting. After classes though I've been beating it home to work on my illustration portfolio. I'm going to the annual SCBWI Conference in LA and I want to dazzle! I went to the conference last year (I also went a couple of years before that for the first time) and came away resolved to refocus my work and push myself to the next level. My porfolio this year is all new work and I'm pretty excited about it. The conference is right around the corner now--it's August 7-10--so I'm hurrying to prepare the best I can. The task that remains at this point is updating my website with my new work. I'll be getting that done in the next couple of weeks. Wish me luck!
P.S. Here are a couple of the new pieces that I've done lately--they were both painted digitally.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Catching Bernie Wrightson at Gallery Nucleus

Pin It Now! Hi Everyone,
  I'm very sorry I have put any new posts up in a while.  I have been doing some new artwork.  However, for this post I just wanted to tell about a really cool artist I was able to see present his work today.  The artist's name is Bernie Wrightson and I've been a fan of his work for a long time.  He is most known for his gorgeous pen & ink renderings for an illustrated version of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, as well as for the comic book series Swamp Thing.  Attached here is one of the Frankenstein illustrations.
  The talk Mr. Wrightson gave was up at Gallery Nucleus in Alhambra.  This is actually the second time I've been able to see him present his work since he presented a few years back at Cal State Fullerton.  I've been a fan of his work though since my freshman year studying art in Indiana back in '94 when my drawing & illustration professor used to project slides of his work to illustrate principles of composition and values.  Because of that, it's really pretty cool for me to get to see this man in person whose work I admired so much in my classes.  He's very humble and personable and it was quite informative hearing him talk about his process and how these iconic pictures came about.  I definitely left inspired!
  Getting the chance to feed my artist's brain with such great visuals once again is so necessary as I keep plugging along trying to get better on my own stuff.  Great art cannot happen in a vacuum.
  Keep finding inspiration to feed your life.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mist Rider painting

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  Here is the acrylic painting of the rough comp I did a little while ago.  I'm not sure what to call it, so for now I'm calling it "Mist Rider."  I plan to go back and work a little more on it later on, but for now I'm setting it aside.  I think I want to go back and make the sky a bit more dramatic, as well as to resolve the horse more.  I'm pretty happy with it though.  I think the mist really added to it, after not having it in the rough comp.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Rough comp of dragon picture

Pin It Now!   Here's a rough comp version of a dragon painting I'm working on as another cover illustration.  For this one I had a sketch I was pretty happy with, then I made a little clay model of the dragon so I could light it.  I then painted it in Photoshop.  I'm working on the acrylic painting of it now, which is almost finished.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Rough Comp of Horse and Rider cover picture

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Here's a rough comp done in Photoshop of a new piece I'm working on.  I'm actually working on the acrylic painting right now.  Once again, it's a cover picture but not for any particular story.  She's some sort of Celtic-ish warrior woman I think.  I haven't done many horse pictures before, and I haven't done too many action pictures either so I thought I would try that.  I like horses in fantasy and mythology so I hope to put more in pictures in future.
  Speaking of horses, I was back in Upstate NY visiting my family over Christmas and I was able to do a little riding.  My cousin Sarah operates a horse stable and riding arena (handy!) so while I was there I got a chance to take one of her horses out for a spin.  I rode for quite a few years when I was younger.  I used to compete in English style and do some jumping.  But that was many years ago now.  I was so rusty and those muscles you need were really not there anymore.  I definitely enjoyed it--I was riding a beautiful and big horse named Paris--but I was very saddlesore for the next few days!