Monday, October 19, 2015

Julie in the Studio

Photo credit: Phyllis Meredith Photography

I have a friend, Phyllis Meredith, who is a wonderful photographer.  She was interested in taking a series of photographs of artists in their studios.  I was one of her lucky models.  This one (above) is my favorite.  In a situation where there is so much color (like the painting and the palette) I wouldn't normally be drawn to a black and white image.  But I love how Phyllis captured the light and the tone, and my focus.  When I'm really into my work, I'm in a quiet place.  I think she captured that beautifully here.

Also, it reminded me of an old photograph I have of my grandfather, Frank Phillipps, working in his studio.  (He had an advertising agency, so that's where he is in the photograph, doing ad art.)

Here are the rest of the photos from the Phyllis Meredith shoot - well, not the rest of the photos.  She took quite a lot.  I whittled them down to my favorites.

Photo credit: Phyllis Meredith Photography

Photo credit: Phyllis Meredith Photography

Photo credit: Phyllis Meredith Photography

Photo credit: Phyllis Meredith Photography

If you're in the Connecticut area and you want a photographer for family photos, senior pictures, or whatever, check out Phyllis Meredith Photography.  She's lovely and she does fantastic work.

In other news :

I have a few events coming up.  I'll be doing a monster hunt for the town's Halloween Stroll.  I've made 30 monsters to hide and about 15 to sell.  I'm told there's an average of 2000 people who come to this things, so let's see how that goes.

Open Studio Hartford is November 14 & 15th.  I'm getting all my ducks in a row for that.  Mostly I have to mat a bunch of stuff.  Cutting mats is not a perk of the job - but it must be done!

Finders Keepers.  The WeHa Artists Emporium is doing Finders Keepers again December 1 - 12th.  (31 days was crazy long last year.  We're making it more manageable.)  And on December 13th we're doing a Holiday Pop-Up Show in town, which is basically a smaller art/craft show in someone house.  It'll be fun!

That, in addition to picture book work, is keeping me pretty busy these days.  It's a good thing I've already started my Holiday shopping.  :)

Thanks so much for stopping in!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Picture Book Summit

This past Saturday, I got to do something really great.  I attended an online conference.

Conferences are great for anyone who writes, because writing is such a solitary job.  It's nice to connect with other writers who are struggling with their work, who share their inspiration and craft, who get excited about the same things I do, picture books.

And - bonus - it was online.  I didn't have to drive anywhere.  I didn't have to book a hotel.  And I could pop in and out throughout the day.

Some people can handle two days of info-dump, but I can only do about 3 hours and then I'm fried.  I need to let that info sink in and take root, then I can go back for more.  This online summit was taped, so I watched a few presentations that day and I can catch up on the recordings of the rest - brilliant!

I also loved that it was specialized.  All of the conferences I have been to before cover Kidlit on whole, meaning picture books, early readers, chapter books, and young adult novels.  That's a pretty vast field.  So if you're an author illustrator of picture books, like me, you might not need a workshop of crafting the perfect hook for a science fiction YA romance.

What I'm trying to say is, this thing rocked.

Since I spent the better part of last year perfecting two manuscripts that were in a holding pattern with an editor for 9 months (then were passed over,) I am now chock full of other story ideas.  That can be good and bad.  It's great to have a lot of ideas, but it's hard to know what to focus on.  Or how to focus at all.

While listening to all the tips and wisdom at the Picture Book Summit, I took a lot of notes.  Some notes were general things that speakers were saying.  But as they spoke, I also got a lot of specific ideas for the manuscripts that I'm currently working on, and that's exciting.

I think most people think writing a picture book manuscript is easy.  (Celebrities certainly do.) Writing a mediocre picture book manuscript is easy.  Writing a great one is very, very difficult.  I'm aiming for great.

And when I'm trying to write the best picture book I can, there are many, many levels of revision.

This is where I flounder.  It is difficult to maintain the energy and fun of an idea after it's been poked and prodded for months and months - sometimes years.

So one of the best things to come out of the Picture Book Summit, for me, was a new sense of enthusiasm to get back to my projects and keep going.

I'm absolutely sure they will do this again.  If you're a picture book author/illustrator, go find Picture Book Summit on Facebook and become a member so you can get in on it next year.  And for those who put it together: Katie Davis, Jon Bard, Laura Backes, Julie Hedlund, and Emma Walton Hamilton (and all the tech people) THANK YOU so much!

Thanks for stopping in - I know I don't blog as much as I used to, but that's because I'm busy writing.  :)
Have a great week everyone!