Friday, December 30, 2011

Organizing Art Supplies

Happy New Year Everybody
Today I'm organizing my art supplies in the studio
OK let's call this my New Year's Resolution.

Art supplies are expensive, but what good are they if always kept tucked tightly away in their original tins & boxes (reminds me of fine dinner china we bring out occasionally). That is not very conducive to creativity when it becomes a chore to open & repack art supplies. 
I'm looking for a better way...
So here it is, my new Philosophy, it's something to help me stay actively creative in my space. I'm going to start throwing away all the original packaging, boxes & tins that my supplies came in 
(OK store some & recycle others)......But my point is,
to keep them opened & available at all times...
no more unpacking & repacking. 
Besides, I can always tell when I'm not being very creative, because my studio is all neat & clean. Well,  I'm not against keeping my studio tidy, but not to the point I have been.
I will continue to search for more ideas,
for a start, here is what I did today; (double click to see full view)
Say goodbye to the tucked away storage concept
Invest in good open-storage systems
Find fun new creative ways to store supplies.
I used cute old cookie tins, jam jars & a Lazy Susan.

Now the pencils are at my fingertips.
 Unpacked my Golden's too 
Fun birds handmade by friend Kim Brian Sorden
owner of Magic Fairy Candles
 
Grab your party hats
Happy New Year Everybody
You can always double click to super size


Thursday, December 29, 2011

SCBWI Mentor Program



I'm Excited
I've been accepted into "The Rocky Mt. Chapter SCBWI Mentor Program"
 Woohoo! My application was approved!
I get to participate in the 2012 Mentor Program through
"The Society of Children's Book Writer's & Illustrators".  
My Mentor Coach will be the talented New York trained,
 Boulder based Illustrator, Roberta Collier Morales:

She will get me pointed in the right direction!!!

The Mentor Program was born from a desire among members, like myself, 
who would honor the opportunity to thrive & bloom
 in a 6 month intensive one-on-one craft focus.

A significant way to start my 2012 New Year
I am very excited & quite nervous too.



Monday, December 19, 2011

Cute Tiny Business Cards

A cool new idea, something different,  is to use small business cards called "mini cards",  they are 1/2 the size of regular cards. 

I found a company that I'm really pleased with called MOO.COM. I got 100 cards for $19.00, with an extra -10% off on my 1st order. The best part is they have something called "MOO Printfinity" which means you can have numerous designs (even up to 100) within your 100 card pack. Now that is cool! These Mini Cards are printed in full color, on both sides, with no extra hidden charges.

Check out my cards below on MOO proof sheets. It's so much fun playing with their user friendly software. Gee, I sound like a commercial, but I'm not affiliated with this company. I just found this company to offer top notch quality & I was impressed. Oh & my cards arrived in 3 days, now that's fast! 

So which one is your favorite? 
You can double click to get the full Zoom view




Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Merry Christmas Card


very 
Merry Christmas
especially to you.
My pen & ink drawing
made on watercolor paper.
Honor each & every day with gratitude

Friday, December 2, 2011

Face Study

See how my pencil drawing evolves;
Inside my art journal book, I drew this pencil study of a face using 2H pencil and then I colored it using mixed media, & with a dash of sparkle from Photoshop. 
I've been taking an online fabulous & highly recommended fun art class through Art teacher Suzi Blu (I just love her) called
Here is my today's assignment of a face I just finished. I'm learning how to draw a nicer nose, lips, & eyes too. Mostly because it has been years for me to practice using an old fashioned drawing pencil. This assignment called for a sexy look. Well, I'm still learning & practicing.
I dedicate the last piece to Suzi Blu
It is called "The Messenger"
... all about a little bird she found on her back porch.





Messenger
My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird —
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.
Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,
which is mostly standing still and learning to be
astonished.
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all ingredients are here,
which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.

Poem by Mary Oliver

~ Art by Laurie Jess ~



Wednesday, November 16, 2011

HapPiLy I pLaY

Interesting & All-Embracing!
I've been so busy lately taking 5 new online art & software classes; 
Suzi Blu, Gritty Jane, Folio Academy, Lynda.com & Willowing.org.
I've also completed a years worth of powerful workshops by artist Wyanne.

Life is good as they infuse my days with lots of new techniques & creative energy. Taking classes via the internet & Skype, & meeting new interesting people, while being taught by famous artist from all over the world is very powerful. To my surprise, much more effective than I first thought, oh ya, tons of fun too. This really is the way of the future for education.  
I will continue to seek out more top notch workshops.
Any suggestions from you out there? 

These are the links to the online classes I've taken & highly recommend (no order);



Thursday, October 6, 2011

Good Advice from Tony DiTerlizzi

Bestseller, Author & Illustrator; Tony DiTerlizzi
You will love his artwork!
He answers a few of my compelling questions; 






Q. What sizes are your final images:
A. TD: Most of the time, my rule is to render an image 200% larger than it’s final printed size. But there are always exceptions: Most Magic cards are 11 x 14″. Some book covers can be as large as 20 x 30″.
Generally, most of my paintings are around the 15 x 20″ size and I usually gauge it by the size of the focal point in the image. In other words, I ask myself if, at 200%, this focal point is too small for me to get in there and render? If it isn’t, I enlarge the image until I am comfortable with the working space.
Q.Who are your artistic influences?
A.TD: This answer would be a very long list. But there are a few who really stand out that really affected me:
Arthur Rackham, E. H. Shepard, Norman Rockwell, A.B. Frost, Jim Henson, Beatrix Potter, W. Heath Robinson, Dr. Seuss, Edward Gorey, Harry Rountree, Maxfield Parrish and J.C. Leyendecker all come to mind as major inspiration to me and my work.
“Okay, okay,” you say. “But how about someone that’s alive and current?” Well, I have lots of favorites that are out there making art as you read this. Folks like:
Brian Froud, Alan Lee, Mark Ryden, Scott Gustafson, James Gurney, James Jean and Moebius are a few artists who have inspired me.
Q. What Medium(s) do you work in?
A. TD: Always on a path to further my understanding of art, I have worked with quite a few mediums. Here are some that you may be familiar with:
1992—1993: The Dungeons & Dragons books: Were permanent ball-point pen on laser bond paper. They were colored in alcohol-based graphic markers and detailed with colored pencils. I had no money at the time, and a lot of leftover art school supplies.
1993—1996: The “Planescape” years: Understanding mediums comfortable to my evolving style, I moved into working on both cold and hot press Bristol board (which I would purchase by the pad).
I upgraded to inking my work with dip pens (preferring the Hunt 102 nib and sepia FW inks). Images were then colored in watercolor and diluted FW inks, which were also run through an airbrush. Details were then added with Berol colored pencils.
1996—2003: Magic cards, Magazine covers and my first books: For my painterly stuff, I work with Holbien Acryla Gouache on Strathmore 3 or 4-ply plate Bristol. Sepia or Dark Umber Berol Prismacolor colored pencils are used for layout and detailing.
Pen & ink work is either done with the FW inks or Pilot microball pens. I no longer use an airbrush. Preliminary sketches are done with a standard #2 pencil.
2003–present: Children’s books: Nowadays, I use whatever medium will help me create the finished book I see in my mind. From The Spider & The Fly onwards, I started using Photoshop to help clean up my preliminary sketches and to fix minor errors in final paintings.
In 2005, I colored my work digitally for G is for One Gzonk! in an effort to recreate the spot color process that was prevalent in the 1940’s and 50’s. I continued this exploration with Adventure of Meno and with The Search for WondLa. Additional details about my process can be found on my BLOG.
I must say that my preferred mediums have evolved organically over years of trial and error. As an artist, you must expose yourself to as many mediums and art styles as you can to seek which work best for you.
Q. I want to break into illustration, now what should I do?
A. TD: If you don’t know, I started out as an illustrator before I evolved into a children’s book author and illustrator. I illustrated many fantasy game products like “Dungeons & Dragons” books and “Magic the Gathering” collectible cards. This led to illustration work for book covers and magazines. All the while, I was honing my storytelling ability to become a children’s book creator.
I was very overwhelmed with the prospect of finding work when I graduated art school back in 1992. One thing I soon realized I lacked were people skills and an understanding of business etiquette of breaking into the field of illustration. I contacted some established artists in the field and asked a lot of questions, which helped greatly. So, if you were to contact me,  here are some basic points that I think may help a recent art school grad.
(Obviously, these suggestions are based on my experiences and may not apply to all. Consider them starting points for entering the field professionally.)
YOUR PORTFOLIO
“Create what you like”
If you like to draw caricatures, and want to get work doing editorial illustration, don’t put your fantasy drawings in your submission portfolio. Have a focus of subject matter and illustration type.
This goes for mediums as well. If your desire is only to paint in oils, don’t put your pen & ink piece in your portfolio: chances are that’s the one style they’ll pick.
I remember a friend of mine who excelled at watercolors, but did a real nice pen & ink pointillism piece (for a school assignment) that took him forever to complete. Though he was happy with the results, they did not come easy or quick to him. He added it to his portfolio anyway, and guess what his first professional job was? A pointillism piece.
So draw subjects that you like, and play up your strengths.
“Less is more”
I’d rather see 10 amazing pieces of art than 15 with some mediocre images in them.
As for adding sketches to your portfolio, it’s a mixed bag: Some art directors like to see sketches, so they can see your thinking process, others may confuse them for finished pieces. If you really want to include them, your best bet is to do so as a separate section from your finished work.
“Apply your skills”
How will your art look in their magazine? How will it look in a book? In a game? Mocking up tear sheets is a great way to show how your art will work with their product. Don’t just show them your final art floating on a background, place it on the end product to make it easy for the client to visualize working with you.
If it’s illustrating books you are after, make sure there is a book dummy enclosed, along with a few finished images from the dummy.
“Leave the goods”
I don’t know if art directors even look at a physical portfolio anymore. They take up a lot of space and are a pain to pack-and-ship. My best advice nowadays would be to create a nice postcard or brochure pointing the art director to an online portfolio. Keep the website clean and easy to navigate showcasing your work and a client list.
What I did back in the late-1990′s was created several portfolios (with color printouts/laser copies) that could be left with potential clients. If the portfolios came back, or were rejected, I sent them to the next potential clients. If they kept them, or I heard otherwise, I assumed they were filed. From there, I would periodically send updated images (prints, postcards, etc.) to keep my name fresh in their minds.
PEOPLE SKILLS
“Breaking in”
Breaking into the field is the toughest part. For me, Angela and I moved to New York City, and I solicited my work for about a year. Prior to that, I sent in numerous mailed submissions. But how did I figure out where and who to send my portfolio to?
First I figured out where it was I thought my work might have a chance of fitting in. And I tried to keep my goals realistic: I knew I wasn’t going to get my own children’s book series fresh out of school. I liked drawing fantasy stuff, so I thought sending my work to the publishers of the “Dungeons & Dragons” game was a worthy try.
Since I really wanted to create children’s books, so I started submitting to different publishing houses as well. I went to bookstores and looked at publishers who were publishing books that had similar themes to the work I was creating, not just in art, but story content as well.
As for getting the addresses of where to send my samples, most every publication lists their address somewhere on their product, just look for it. And, for getting an art director’s name, you can try contacting the publisher and ask for their submission guidelines and who to send it to.
For breaking into children’s books, there are organizations that are good for beginners. The Society of Children’s Books Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI for short) is one, and the student show at theSociety of Illustrators is another way to get exposure. There are annuals you can enter (likeSpectrum, or Communication Arts) and many children’s magazines that are usually more conducive to using new talent. All of this will help you get exposure and open more doors for you.
When I could, I tried to drop my portfolio of samples off in person. Even if it meant I had to make travel plans to meet the client (most are in New York City, so prior to moving there, I often stayed for a period of time, meeting with as many as would have me).
An art director meeting a potential illustrator is no different than meeting a potential friend—if all goes well, you will be entering a working relationship together, and it is good to get a sense of each other. Also, the quick contact could prove to create a memorable moment (something in common for instance) that may have you stand out amongst the hundreds of other people they meet and interact with.
“Following up”
When does a friendly reminder to an art director become an annoyance?Answer: pretty quick if it is done incorrectly.
The art directors I know are always busy. They are handling multiple projects, with multiple deadlines, and are working with multiple people all at once. Theirs is a very intense job. Therefore, dropping an email, or phoning up repeatedly can sometimes damage your chances.
If you’ve submitted work and haven’t heard back in 30 days, there is a good chance that they haven’t even seen your portfolio yet. Most art directors get numerous submissions a day and up to hundreds in a week!
So a friendly reminder can consist of a new postcard, a new tearsheet, or new personal piece, with a reminder that they can see more of your work on your website.
“Don’t call them, they’ll call you”
HOWEVER, many art directors do have assistants or secretaries. I found that talking with them (many recent college grads, by the way) got me much more information as to what to send and when to send it, while leaving the busy art director alone. If you contact the publisher for submission guidelines, ask if you can get the art director’s assistant’s name as well, that could be your one chance in.
Lastly, don’t give up. I was rejected many times with my artwork and ideas. But with each rejection my resolve grew stronger, my portfolio grew stronger, and I became more focused on what I really wanted to do with my art and my career. If it is something you really want, keep at it—you’ll get there.
_____________ 
LJ: Wow, This has been great Tony, very useful!
Thanks so much!
_____________
To view more of his Q. & A.  




Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Hanko Stamp Experiment


Experimenting 

Playing around, it's my 1st time to use my Hanko stamp into my painting, it's my signature logo. In Japan, they call this a "Hanko" and it is placed as a seal of authenticity. My stamp was hand carved from wood in Japan for me. I stamped it onto rice paper first and then stuck it onto this painting. Not sure if I will use it in this way. Maybe I should only stamp the backside of my paintings. Today I experiment with ways I can use my logo.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

MY VERY OWN STAMP

MY UNIQUE HANKO STAMP
Here it is, something I designed using my initials & it had to reflect my personality.
My very own stamp design!
My HANKO stamp was hand carved from wood,
 in Japan by a Hanko Master.
To my wild surprise, 
this was gifted to me by my special friend named MO, 
she lives in Japan.
Very generous of her, (they are expensive to have made) a cherished gift indeed! 
In the below photos, I was practicing,
 it gives a little whimsy to the backside of my business cards. 
I will use it to authenticate my original artwork,
 along with my hand signature. 
Thank You MO 
ℒℴve♡ it & YOU