Thursday, February 21, 2008

I'm leavin' on a jet plane...

I'm off on the annual trip with the Father in law! Surf-sand and sunburn here I come. Hope all is well 'til next week. Here's where I'll be...

Monday, February 18, 2008

Just when I think I'm out...They pull me back in.

I have more character design work. Work is good. Being paid to draw is- well- pretty damn good. I just had decided to focus on a book, so now my focus is pulled back to character work. Part of me wants to say no, just to be selfish and do what I want to do. The other part wants the cash. Here's some freelance. This is for a Tea Shop. I love tea. It's in Painter. Not quite done and needs some type too. I'll put up the finish when I'm thru.
I have to say yes or no to a big project tomorrow. All I have to do is blue lines- and they are willing to pay me a great fee for each of them. It won't help the portfolio, but it may be fun.
If only I could make a decision!
I joined "jacket Flap" If any of you are on it, or know what it's all about, let me know! -Kel

Thursday, February 14, 2008


It's Valentines Day. All thoughts turn to love. Those of us that feel they have their full and those who feel they are lacking...we all think of it today, either running to CVS for cards or grumbling about this as a manufactured holiday... I ofcourse love my hubby and my daughter, but I was thinking as I sketched today about other types of love.

I have had 2 lifelong love affairs: Art and music. I write here all of the time about art. So, I'm thinking to day about music. Music that takes you through the moments of your life and that you return to time and time again, winds it way into your heart. And when you hit the play button, it washes over you in a flood of emotions, memories and experiences.
I have been so busy since the BNL cruise that I haven't really reflected on it. To spend thousands of dollars to have 3-4 days with a band, is a form of love.

The cruise was great. But I came off of that boat with musical whiplash. It was sensory overload. Guster was sing along fun as usual but I most enjoyed hiding inside the quiet moments of Joe Pisapia's set. Barenaked Ladies consistently make me fall in love with them again and again.

I have not stopped thinking about Steven Page, the lead singer of BNL since. I have always favored him a little, tho I don't want to have his baby or want to lick his sweat off of his body(yuck-did I write that?) I got that out of my system with Simon Le Bon. But I admired his singing. I dug his "John Lennon-ish" sardonic wit and seemingly tempermental, literate, artistic countenance. His retro tinged clothes and clean cut appearance perhaps suggested he was a safe version of a rock star. The funny guy you want to hang out with.

So, on this years' cruise- the dude was different. He looked different, dressed different... was different. And then there was "Bartles". His musical alter ego. Richard Simmons meets Mike Reno. He wore a wrestling unitard and green socks with a red satin jacket and headband. And candy cane sunglasses. He did a hip shaking boogy-down dance with manic intensity. His smile was euphoric. He sang so hard his voice broke all over the place. He was transformed. He seemed - free.

I was transfixed watching him. I know he's had big changes in his personal life. I really shouldn't know or care about it, since I don't really know him. But after all of these years of following this band around, I do care. Plus, when someone brings you joy and makes the music you turn to often to help navigate the twists and turns of life-- you want them to be happy too.

In analyzing my bizarre fixation on the "Bartles" - and indeed, I do need to get over it- It forces me to analyze myself. I've figured out it's about age. I'm 37 too. Mid- Life. How did I get here? Staring down the barrel of 40 forces one to ask those questions like.."What am I doing with my life?" "Am I happy" "Where do I go from here?" - maybe in our late 30's; We all should put on some spandex and satin and shake our hips and sing til our voice breaks. Feeling a little free, maybe you can figure it all out a little easier. I hope he does. I hope I do.

So for Valentine's Day, I'll put on some great music tonight with the hubby and make some memories.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

“Ready are you? What know you of ready?"

Thank you Yoda for the perfect quote. SCWBI conference, over. Head, spinning. Since I love a good quote, and I take notes in sound bytes...these were some of the best:

I most enjoyed the inspirational talks by Jerry Pinkney, Harry Bliss, Nicky Grimes, Holly McGhee, David Wiesner and Carolyn Mackler. I love listening to artists reveal their process and personal angst. The common thread I got out of it- stay true to yourself and work your ass off.
I was nauseous until the moment I dropped off my portfolio. After that, it was like it entered a black hole and resurfaced a few hours later. I would have LOVED some feedback.
I would say one of the highlights was the brief impromptu artist portfolio swap on the floor outside of the restaurant. I hope this can become a formal scheduled event for the artists at the conference. Much can be gained by seeing what others are doing and finding where you fall in the mix.
Another great result of going to the conference for me was sorting out my head on what to focus on. I had toyed with the idea of a graphic novel for kids 8-12. So, that's what I've decided to focus on. I asked my self, "Where is your heart?"- in cartoons...

Anyway, there were some things I was not as thrilled with. The conference on the whole was very writer-centric. I would have happily missed a breakout session for a workshop on thumbnailing or brainstorming, or anything art focused. A session with an artists's rep or an art director. Art specific. My morning session was almost identical to my afternoon one.

The art that won the portfolio exhibition was beautiful. AND very traditional, painterly, classical really in it's early 20th century - Parrish like imagery. Which, I love. But- it was diametrically opposed to what the publishers,editors,agents,marketers and publicists were asking for. Hmmm....interesting.

The other awards given, though the art was very nice, were for the most part, members of someone's master class. This only re-emphasized that no matter the industry, it's not always what you know as much as who you know. Schmoozing, connections, taking classes and workshops and having mentors...all as important as the art.

It was interesting to hear the state of the markets... and hear people say the report of the picture book's death has been greatly exaggerated... and it was interesting to follow the path of a book from concept to shelving in a book store.

I was dismayed to hear the emphasis on very little text for picture books. I love "Don't let the pigeon" books as much as everyone else, but I want kids to learn as well as laugh.

Blah blah blah, I go on. All in all,It was a tremendous learning experience. I met some nice people who are quite talented: Mercedes O'Connor Goldcamp(I owe you socks), Gina Pery, Leeza Hernandez, Joey Chapelle, Carrie Hartman(I owe you 4 dollars), Monica Scheliga Carnesi and some interesting writers too. I will post links asap. I'm not sure if I'm going to LA. I'll think about it. I've got a lot of that to do....

Thursday, February 7, 2008

And away....I go...

Panda Pile. Nervous doodling. Happy Chinese New Year. My husband's taking his daughter and the shiksa wife out for dinner. He loves the food of his people and deli too.

Tomorrow I'm off to NYC on the LIRR @ 5:45 a.m. I'm waffling between panic and telling myself "It is what it is".."It's a learning experience"...."Go, have fun..." and "What the hell are you thinking going to this conference???"

I know my portfolio is not where it should be yet, It's where it could be, by this weekend. I started working on this last summer by taking a SVA class. So, I can take a step back and say, it's come along since then. BUT, I still don't have full illustrations with a real sense of place/environment. I'm stuck on the characters and I need to work through that. My backgrounds/landscapes/story needs work.

My hope is to meet people, learn what I need to do, get inspired.. and, quite honestly,and immodestly, I'd like someone to tell me I'm good. Forgive my needy ego. I'll go into many details post conference, I'm sure. Fingers crossed!

Ps- me -goy, husband- jew, kid- half and half

Monday, February 4, 2008

Off the boat, outta my head

So we're back from the cruise with Barenakedladies and our other favorite band Guster. Good times. Brought back an extra special souvenier cold. Really sick here. Seems I have been sick for the last three months a lot. I'll be back at he Dr. after this weekend's SCBWI conference in NYC.

So a new Justin illo. I wanted to do another with his Mom, but I don't think that's happening by tomorrow. I have to get this stuff to a printer.

This way too cutesy illustration is of a story I've been telling my daughter for 4 years. We go to St. Maartin every year with my father in law to his timeshare. St. Maarten has a BIG stray cat problem. She became attached to one cat named "Pretty face" one year we went- cat was gone. Since it is surrounded by water...I told her I had seen her, she'd turned into a Merkitty, which is what the cats do here in St. Maarten when they fall into the sea. Not a great story idea but she EATS it up. I promised her a picture of it, like -years- ago. So I thought I'd do one for the portfolio. I don't really do fantasy stuff, this is the closest I come. Now, she'll ask me for a unicorn-just watch.

As usual, I am stressing out. I've got to get back to yoga.