Wednesday, June 5, 2013

OUAS Podcast on the Adobe switch to subscription

Drop by and check out our latest podcast. This month we have a roundtable discussion regarding the Adobe changes with Chris Jones, Mary Reaves Uhles, Donald Wu, Norm Grock and Wilson Williams Jr. Find out how we view it's impact on us and our professions as children's illustrators.

Link to podcast here. Be sure to find and subscribe to us on Itunes and Youtube.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

My Next Big Thing

The Next Big Thing is a global blog tour, started in Australia, to showcase authors and illustrators and their current work. I was tagged by the super cool and talented Chris Jones! Someone I'm looking forward to interviewing later this year over on my blog!

So now I'll answer some questions about my newest books, then pass the Q & A along to two others who'll pick up the tour next week.

1) What is the working title of your next book?

The working title is Kiss Kisses which is written by me!

2) Where did the idea come from for the book? 

The idea for Kiss Kisses came from observing my niece. I observed fact that every time she enters a room she is quickly prompted by my sister to go around the room delivering kisses to all her relatives. It made me wonder what a kiss would mean to her and how many different kinds she would imagine there were.

3) In what genre does your book fall? 

This book is an early reader. Primarily set up as a bed time story of sorts.

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Oh Wow! I imagine that I'd love for my niece to play the part but she is too young. So I think I'll go with a young Keshia Knight Pulliam. She played Rudy on the Cosby Show.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

From the time she wakes up till she falls asleep, Erica spends her day getting and giving different kind of kisses. Join us to see all the different kinds! What kind of kisses do you get?  (Ok, that's longer than a sentence. I need to shave that a bit!)

6) Who is publishing your book?

I'll probably let this be my first foray into self publishing, but I do have a couple of prospective publishers interested in e-publication.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

The first draft came rather quickly. The revisions on the other hand!! Heh!

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Hmm...I can't think of any in particular. My book is intended to be a bed time book but it doesn't focus on bedtime specifically. So it can be read anytime.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

My niece was my inspiration!

10) What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?

I think spending the day with Erica will help to fuel kids imaginations about the different kinds of kisses they get in their lives. Don't be surprised if your kids start naming the different types of kisses they get!

Thank you for stopping in here to help me celebrate my "Next Big Thing." Now onto the next three candidates who will post on the 23rd of this month. I'll update with direct links then!

Norman Grock
Kevin William Cross 
Mary Reaves Uhles

Friday, March 8, 2013

Daily Doodlers Disney

Day 3 of the Dani Jones challenge.

Day 3 is Disney! So I went with Gaston from Beauty and the Beast. "Every Last Inch of me's covered with HAIR!!!!"

The list and info in regards to participating can be found here.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

DailyDoodlers Captain

Day 2 of the Dani Jones challenge.

Day 2 is Captain!

The list and info in regards to participating can be found here.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Dani Jones just issued a daily sketch challenge and I, like a fool, am going to participate. I'll be juggling things for REAL this month! Ha! 

The first day is cat!

The list and info in regards to participating can be found here.

Monday, March 4, 2013

New Artwork!

A new cover I did recently for a Warner Press activity book publication.  Also the final cover for the coloring book I did that is available for purchase now, Peter's Promise . I love working on these! Tons of fun and Warner is a great group of folks to work with! Shout out to Christian Elden and Kevin Spear!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Bugs and Critters

Some insects from a recent project and these weren't the only ones!
Can you name them all?

Friday, January 4, 2013

Create Your Own Critique Group

Being a freelance illustrator can be a lonely and insular experience. One of the things I miss the most about working in an art department is the ability to stick my head over the top of a cubicle and say, "Hey, come look at this and tell me what you think?" Getting input from your peers is an invaluable tool that can help you catch errors that you've become blind to, give advice and help problem solve on issues that have you blocked, as well as give you ideas for new directions you can take your illustration that you may not have thought of on your own. Your peers can help your art grow and speed your development as an artist.

A great way to get this input is through a critique group. A critique group is a gathering of individuals who have agreed to share work with each other and get honest input on it based on their experiences, taste and talent.

I have been members of many and have enjoyed some and loathed others. The problem can emerge when you are dealing with other artists that you may not truly consider your peers. Most crit groups I have joined were with strangers. I wasn't familiar with them, there artwork or there temperament and they weren't familiar with mine. This can make it difficult to want to share your artwork and open yourself up to critical input. Many of us have very personal ties to our artwork and having someone tear it apart is like having someone criticize our children or a dear friend. (This is something we have to get over as professionals, but I acknowledge that many of us are still developing that thicker skin.)

The result ends up being that after a person posts an image, many are afraid to say anything negative. Some after posting an image and getting critical input will never post anything again. So how do you solve this problem and create a strong group of individuals to share your work with? A friend on Facebook inadvertently gave me the answer.

I've cultivated a number of relationships with fellow artists through social networks. Many I have to come to admire and respect as my peers and fellow professionals. One of them recently sent me a message that included five other artists. They were asking for advice on how to solve an issue they were having with their image. Within minutes a few had responded with advice and direction on the image. As they made the changes suggested they posted the newer images and we'd all continue to give input until the artist was satisfied with the image. Ladies and gentleman, we have a critique group.

I then tried the method myself. I went through my friends list and selected five or so members that I admired and respected and presented my image and asked for input on it. The response was immediate and hugely beneficial to the final product. As one person chimed in, others would react to their input, as well as offer their opinions and advice as well. It was like having a conversation amongst friends. (In a controlled manner!) I'll definitely be doing this again and I can only hope that the artists will return the favor and do the same with me.

The good thing is that your group is able to float. You can custom create your group for each individual problem or circumstance. If anyone you have messaged doesn't want to participate they can leave the conversation of their own accord. Details below!