Oh I forgot the first step is to let go and write a story. My best stories happen when I let them.
In between the painting I tweak the story.
Next I scan the art, enhance color and remove the backgrounds. Finally I create a digital layout of the book and paste everything in.
Last I choose the font, layout, cover and color.
Next is the wait. I take a break, then come back with a fresh pair of eyes, grammar and theme. Is the language right for the audience? I analyze the characters and several rounds of editing. I get why other artists say that not every part of the process will be fun. This process is so emotional.
I just hit the submit button, on my third book. As I read the final words, my mind wandered.
I’ve spent a lot of time on this book. I rewrote it many times Ana was originally supposed to be a bee.
George well he was inspired by Elvis. He still is
That all changed.
I’m happy with the final edition. I keep thinking about how much work goes into writing a book. I can’t imagine authors who write chapter books. How do they do it?
I know more than every, that once you start writing the characters, and the story takes on a life of its own. Its like this force takes over . You have to write. You’re tired and your eyes hurt but you have to finish it. I think I even dreamed about these characters.
I want to gaze upon a rethogot tree. I want to attend the jolly jam. I want to paint more trees.
I’m not an illustrator. I am not a hand letterer. Wait a minute, did I just write that? Yeah I did and its forever on the last page of my journal entry. Something feels wrong about this. I feel limited.
So then I go and listen to an awesome The Nose Knows Podcast. Jon Contino answers the question, when can you call yourself an illustrator. “It’s all in your head he says. You don’t need for someone to tell you, a degree or instagram likes…”
Not exactly his words but yeah that’s what he said. He’s right.
I don’t need a contest on instagram to tell me. For some reason I did look to this contest as a way to prove myself in a sense. I don’t need to do that. It was awesome to be part of this project. It was awesome to share my project. I am happy for all the winners! I’m happy that I was able to put this poster together. I am growing and working on amazing projects. Yes every now and then it is awesome to have a MOMA artist like my work. I’ll take that.
THERE YOU GO. I am an illustrator. Sure my are isn’t like the cool illustrations in a Curious George book. Nor do they have to be. That’s the point. I am an illustrator and a hand letterer. There are different styles and mine IS MY STYLE. I mean its my voice. Lots of people draw letters, with quotes, about life BUT ITS HOW YOU SAY IT. Shouldn’t I be telling my story? Yes.
All this goes back to the movie A STAR IS BORN and the phrase I learned from a character who when the world shouts impossible she says
…there are no impossibilities. She says it a smile.
You gotta make that story!–the email that I literally just read. Well, not exactly but the subject line singled me out. I’ve been thinking about this dream of making money doing what I love. I love art. I love art so much, I realize teaching 1st grade at an art program school isn’t the option for me. I love kids. I love learning but that’s not my story.
SO I sat thinking about the first days of my guest teaching. What’s changed since then? I check in, give my all and CHECK OUT. I check out, go home and paint.
What exactly have I done since them? Have I been running in the same place? I have but wait…I’ve painted hundreds of times. I’ve learned to trust my ideas…
The eraser tool has become such a friend! I draw and draw.
If I make a mistake who cares. I ‘ll make it work.What a relief.
I’ve learned that one idea leads to who knows where.
I’ve got this new talk of the town collection I’m working on. I keep jotting down ideas for books and yeah… the BEST PART OF ME IS I’M A CREATIVE WRITER. I’M A PAINTER. I love love love writing books. I had no idea how to publish a book and Wise Trees is done!
I will do the paper work to make it official and once in for all publish it. I’ve been doing a lot of writing since then and THE TIME IS NOW. NO someday I’ll wish upon a star, as Judy Garland sang. The time is now. No holding back. Back then, I lingered in someday and today I’m shouting THE TIME IS NOW. I have grown so much and I’m excited for the future because…
Seriously writing a book is hard. I love the painting. The stories practically write themeselves. BUT it’s the editing mind games that twist you up. Do I keep this? Who are these characters? What’s the message? Will I make the kids smile? Bartholomew makes me smile?
At some point I began writing because this story was filled with lessons I need to read, lessons I need to live.
Ana and Geogre Book Ending
What a lesson to learn from. Some dogs want to fly. Some foxes want to sing. Some bears want to paint. Some rabbits rather grow strawberries. Why not. For when you explore and listen to the voice that tells you the truth, you discover there’s a world of wow-a world of no impossibilities.
I have two books written. What I love most about these book projects is that I am learning to let lose and just create. I am learning to listen to curiosity.
I am not happy with this tree. I knew better. How could I not mix up the perfect brown?
SO I repainted over it. I had to make it work and I may have…
I’m not liking the dark areas, especially the left corner. I do love the idea. If there’s time I will repaint this exact tree.
use green and orange to make the perfect brown
Why did I mix the wrong color? Maybe It’s time to clean my palette?
add more blue
test out other brushes
an angle brush works good
do I want to have leaves go in all directions?
It’s great to paint with a brush any other way except for the “right way””
Wait I should try this exercise?
I realize that all of my trees are whimsical. I question why I painted all the trees without dirt or grass–except for a few.
I thought about changing this but why should I. Maybe it brings home the idea that each tree is valuable. That individual value has to come first before the worldly value comes. YEESSS. I knew curiosity had a reason. We are almost done.
Just now I had a aha momet. I’ve never seen a hand written dictionary before. The writer must be obsessed with words. WAIT! I used to do the same with my dictionary. Not excatly, but I too love words. I’d read lots of books. And every time I came across a beautiful word I’d highlight it in my dictionary. What happend to my dictionary? I gave it away. Why?
I have always loved words. I wanted to preserve beautiful words like unmistakable or frolic. Hand lettering. Quotes. Books. Music. Wise Trees. I could go on but it all makes sense. I will write all of my book ideas, ALL OF THEM…
for a crazy week. Sometimes I feel like I’m running around with to dos AND THAT’S WHAT HAPPENED TODAY. Then I sat down to repaint Ana and George’s hot air balloon.
I sketched this new design. Just a pencil. No eraser. It turned out beautiful. And the quote is exactly on point. That’s probably what gave me the idea to draw this today. An Alice in Wonderland color scheme? Yeah this is going to be great!
SO I set up my supplies and began painting. I mixed up the paint. Things were feeling good. The more I painted the more I made mistakes. I tried to make it work. IT DIDN’T. I just kept imagining this balloon on the cover of my picture book–the adventures of Ana and George. I just wanted to crumble up the paper and call it a day. Any little thing was about to set me off. And then I said,” Look you drew the awesome sketch so just paint. Just paint. And I did, but my painting session had come and gone for the day.
And still I wonder, was that session a total waste? Of course not! I still have to edit wise trees and add the remaining trees. Now I have all these books to write.