My ONE WORD for 2017 is #BEYOND. I want to go beyond my comfort zone and try new things; play with new ideas and develop stories. In one sitting I filled an entire sketch book page with goals. I gave each one a #hastag.
#PRACTICE and #PLAYMORE were my inspirations for this illustration. I want to get better at creating without a preconceived sketch and to be more comfortable with letting the "accidents" happen. I "built" this piece by painting the shapes before adding any line detail. Letting the feel of the brush lead the way is difficult for me. I am a perfectionist to the point of overworking my art to death. But I did it...and I like how it turned out :D
Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!
Postcards are a tried and true way to market yourself. It’s economical and convenient. Design it, print it, stamp it and hand it to the USPS for delivery. Easy-peasy, right? Right??!
Does the “design” part get you?
Do you get stuck?
Did you let that 5x7 inch easy-peasy idea overwhelm you to the point of an ugly cry and 3 glasses of wine?
Out of desperation (and wine), along with the SCBWI LA conference on my heels, I needed some inspiring accountability…
The SCBWI Carolinas 4 Week Postcard Bootcamp!
I have an amazing opportunity as the Illustrator Coordinator for the SCBWI Carolinas Region (NC and SC). Through our Working Illustrator Network (WIN) Facebook group, I decided to have a quick, 4-week postcard bootcamp – open to anyone who wanted to join in the fun. The breakdown goes like this:
May 4 - Refresh your memory and read Creating a Postcard Mailer located on the WIN page of our website. Link is below. If you look at our banner above you can see a few examples of past postcards. You can visit our Carolinas Postcard Gallery for other inspiration. http://scbwicarolinaspostcardgallery.blogspot.com/
May 11 - Share your sketches on the WIN FB page. Ask questions, provide feedback, etc.
May 18 - Share your progress/updated illustration
May 25 - Share your final illustration that's ready to print and send!
May 31st - GRADUATION! Send a JPEG copy of your postcard design to me at Carolinas-IC@scbwi.org to be placed on our SCBWI Carolinas Postcard Gallery page. This will be shared with art directors, editors, etc. via Twitter, Instagram and others! YAY!
Hastag your image on social media #SCBWICpostcardchallenge
Remember that ugly cry of frustration and empty wine bottle? Not on this challenge! Sharing my work to get feedback from my Carolinas tribe was worth it. They pointed out things that I never would have seen myself. Sometimes, a different perspective is all we need to get the wheels turning in the right direction.
I began with my original sketch:
The feedback I received enabled me to place my turtle in a more dynamic position.
I followed with this revised sketch:
Next, the painted version:
Satisfied, but not quite, I sent this version to my daughter, Kellie, also an illustrator and designer, and got the comment “it looks like the fish is eating her fingers! Nom, nom”. (Not fishie kisses through the glass?! The college tuition paid to James Madison University has paid in spades!)
Next revision (yep, getting tired...):
Ugh! After all of that, it looked flat and lacked depth. I had spent so much time and energy on this one design but I refused to give up. My daughter, again, gave some good advice, to make the girls recede more to the back.
And this is the final:
Do you see the change? Making the background darker gave me the separation and depth I wanted, but didn't see myself. So, don't be afraid to share your sketches! (Thanks Kellie, and everyone who commented on the WIN FB page!) I am happy with this version and calling it DONE!
Note: I didn’t build in a space to add my name to the front, so the choices are to leave it without, or place my name in a transparent colorful strip along the bottom. Decisions, decisions...
Don’t forget to design the back of the postcard!
I always include an image for the back side of the postcard. It is small, a 2x3 that ties to the front illustration. I liked my original back sketch so much I expanded the idea and created another card. They are still in progress and I’ll post the results when they are finished.
Next Thursday is the Bootcamp Graduation! For those who are participating, you will get your new postcard added to the SCBWI Carolinas Postcard Gallery and Social Media blasted several times over.
If you came late to the party, no worries! You can follow the Postcard Bootcamp guidelines at anytime or date. To get the full benefit, remember to share your sketches with your trusted tribe. You never know what they might see that you don’t!
I keep all of my past postcard designs available on my website!
Thanks for reading! If you found this post helpful, please like and share!
PS: The WIN FB group is for active members of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Carolinas region. If you aren’t a member of the SCBWI, check them out at www.scbwi.org. There is a chapter in every state and across the globe, so no excuses! If you have questions about them, please ask. I will find you the answer!
Inspiration can happen anywhere. I'm thankful for my iPad Pro and Procreate to capture my thoughts and ideas, no matter where I am...like riding shotgun to Mt. Airy, NC and the Yadkinville Wine Festival!
This lil' guy is a super-cute QUOKKA (rhymes with "mocha", or "wokka, wokka" - your preference). Mental Floss shares 6 things about this interesting furball.
This past weekend I took my first trip to Mt. Airy, NC - also known as Mayberry, the town where Andy Griffith grew up. In addition to visiting the Andy Griffith Museum, and other local shops, I went for the heart-burn gold and ate (half) a fried pork chop sammich from Snappy's Lunch cafe. For all of the details on this cute mountain town, visit the website here: www.visitmayberry.com
...is one I get to see all the time!
I live 2 miles from this beauty and her RIverwalk Trail. The Dan River can be temperamental and fussy, but tonight she was calm and inviting. Enjoying God's beautiful handiwork was the perfect way to close a busy day.
#Ephesians2Ten #DanvilleVA #RiverwalkTrail
Two of the most frequent questions I am asked are "what tools do you use?" and "can you share your process?" I created two pages on my website to help answer these specific questions. The process page shows how I use my Apple iPad Pro to create sketches in Procreate, which I then export into Photoshop as a PSD file.
I STINK AT BLOGGING.
I had every intention to start 2017 being a better blogger. I've had a Blogger account for almost 10 years and, while it's fun to go back and see the progress I've made in my artwork, I haven't made much progress with anything to do with blogging.
I want to do better!
Step 1. Change the old habits that didn't work. I began using the blog page that comes with my Weebly website and retired my original Blogger site - for now. I have it on good authority that it's really easy to use...and even might help get me in to a "blogging rhythm"...
Step 2. Write something interesting...
POSTCARDS! Have you designed any lately? Do you know they are one of the best tried and true marketing materials for your illustration? If you don't believe me, ask Giuseppe Castellano! Begin by reading his post on the subject, POSTCARDS AND THE 10%
I will follow up later...as in this week...with my current postcard design process...and believe me, it's been a process! And, if you are part of the SCBWI Carolinas, there is a current postcard challenge for you, too. If you missed it, message me for details.
Until later...keep up the great and amazing work you do!
Deb Johnson is an illustrator and writer for the children's market. She loves character designing and story weaving...and is excited to see what God is knitting together in the process! She launched her dream in 2020 with her first self-published book and imprint Flannel Moose Books!