This was the week I was waiting for in the Make Art That Sells E-course, creating art for the Children's Picture Book market. I have a long history with picture books. A love affair of sorts. When I was 19 I took a creative writing class on writing children's picture books. I totally fell in love with the process even though its probably one of the hardest things to write. The stories tend to be short and they have to appeal to adults and children. Not long after taking this class I began working in bookstores. The children's department was my favorite. I wrote on and off and worked in bookstores for 15 years.
I never dreamed of illustrating a children's book until recently. My artistic style is growing. A lot of people have said "I can see that in a picture book" regarding my art. Then this course came along. Our mini assignment was drawing snails. Snails? Yes, snails. A challenge for sure but if Dreamworks can do it, so I can. (The movie Turbo is coming out this summer).
So I had loads of fun creating whimsical snails. And then we got the assignment, "illustrate the cover or a two page spread from Hans Christian Andersen's The Snail and the Rose Tree". Can I just say, what a depressing story. I was totally stumped. No snail giraffe in this tale.
I figured out the grumpy snail.
And I thought I figured out a rose tree.
But I admit, I wasn't in love. Friday came and the kids and I hit the park. I brought my sketchbook and came up with this.
When I was creating the rose tree the previous day I kept looking at my art hanging on my wall. I realized I wasn't creating what I normally create; girls, cute animal characters and lots of color. I decided to scrap all the work I had done and start over. Then, later on Friday I got sick from a horrid migraine. I'm talking "do we have to get you to the hospital?" sick. No creating for the rest of the day.
Saturday, I felt a little better but took things slow and started creating. I was able to finish on Sunday and post my work. I need to improve my hand lettering. I would've played more if I had the time (and strength). I'm happy with my colors and characters though. This class is really, really pushing me. I'm surrounded by amazing artists and I am trying my best to learn from them instead of feeling intimidated. I want to stay motivated.
Here is the work as it progressed. I used my acrylic inks, paint and my Neocolor II crayons. All the old faves!
There are two weeks left to Part A of Make Art That Sells. I am really going to miss it when it's over. Part B isn't until October. I'll be spending the months in between painting, drawing and learning Illustrator and Photoshop. Knowing those programs will make me a better artist overall. It's exciting and scary but I know I can do this. I can become the artist I want to be.