Sorry if this post rambles. I'm under the influence of all kinds of antibiotics, vitamins, and whatever else you take when you've got goblins dancing in your respiratory system.
Let's see....Oh, how about this: I started a five week class for "Illustrating for Children's Books" this week. How cool is that? What's really cool is that it takes place at Austin's Art Museum at Laguna-Gloria. (Yes, I drive an hour and a half to go to art class. Some call that insanity. I call it dedication! hahaha) As I was walking around the grounds, I found I was drooooling all over myself. It's gorgeous!
Another cool thing is that the class is taught by illustrator Mark Mitchell, who's been illustrating for over twenty years, and is a member of the Austin chapter of SCBWI. (Which I've newly joined.) Mark is really nice and the great thing is, he's teaching this class in workshop format. So instead of all the students just drawing and painting each class session with the instructor giving pointers, we spend about the first hour talking about the children's book industry and what publishers are looking for, then do some art.
The first class we discussed all the different styles out there and how important it is to be able to do your thing. He stressed the importance of drawing well, and even recommended we take a life drawing class to freshen up our skills. Then we talked about book dummies and the format they should come in, and why it is that books have to be 32 pages- the mysteries are slowly unravelling! It's great!
Towards the end, Mark passed out copies of "Billy Goat Gruff" and asked us all to pick one line and illustrate it. When we were all finished, we laid out our sketches next to each other and compared styles and perspective. It was pretty neat. (I'll post my version later.)
I think what I enjoyed most was meeting our class "artist in residence" Theresa Bayer. I've actually been in contact with her, as she's the Austin chapter's contact. She participated in the class, and gave additional insight into the "bizness." I loved it. She's just started working on her first picture book contract and is very excited. She did some sketching in class and I was blown away.
The lesson reinforced in that class was that everyone has a unique style and you shouldn't waste your time trying to be like someone else- do what you do BEST. I know I've heard that over and over, but seeing it in practice helped drive it home.
Another thing I'm excited about this month is getting to attend my first SCBWI meeting this Saturday (That is, if I'm well enough- I better go take some more Vitamin C) and attending my first SCBWI conference. It's in my hometown, so I'll get to stay with my parents and avoid the whole hotel cost issue. I'm hoping I learn a lot. After reading Roz and Courtney's posts about their conference experiences, I have high expectations.
Okay, this post has gone longer than I expected and I think I'm going to take a nap. Oh, I know, go here and see who's won the Draw-A-Witch contest hosted by Penelope. No, I did not win. *sniff* It was fun, though and I got to scratch another goal off my list- yay!