Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Get Thee to a Conference!

What a difference 2 days make - 24 little hours..... I am singing this a la Dinah Washington these days. The SCBWI Florida summer conference was great. Just what I needed. After January and the conference experience you all know about... this trip was a quicker picker upper.

The Faculty - Janeen Mason. Sometimes you meet someone and you feel a jolt- and you know this person entered your life for a reason. Last year- I met her and knew. She's a person so passionate about what she does she exudes it- she's like walking talking art. She gave me a wonderful gift of big vine charcoal sticks- to get my self dirty and play with the art a bit, which is exactly what I need. When I do it soon- I'll post the pictures here. Before I left I needed to tell her- she should know how she touches people's lives- and I meant it. She's like a fairy godmother of art - turning pumpkins into portfolios.

The Guests -Jarrett Krosoczka - Mac McCool - Mark McVeigh

Jarrett - Wow. Watching him paint a pig from Punk Farm- was amazing. His influences are almost the same as mine- but he had a lot of fine art training. Somewhere along the way in his brain, - John Singer Sargent met Charles Schulz- and fireworks went off. Brush strokes and paint smears where pencil and ink line used to define cartoon characters- it wowed me. His new series is a traditional yet uniquely him spin on comic books with his MG graphic novel series "Lunch Lady". I really like how budget limitations- begat color limitations- begat a cool look. Black/lunch glove yellow and white- with subtle gradations- of those colors. Gives it it's signature. - everyday is made better with tater tots. My daughter can't wait for these books - (me either) I gave her my post card. On top of his artistic gifts- he's got some real words of wisdom. Believe in yourself. It WILL happen.

Mac - huge surprise for me. HUGE. I told him he had me at "Terry and the Pirates" - he referenced the old paper comic strip and I felt a zing!- Oh My gosh!- I luv Terry and the Pirates- and Steve Canyon - and Wil Eisner- and comic books and anything drawn in frames... printed in a comic book... colored with little dots...

He gave a graphic novel workshop that 7 people attended. Every single person at the conference would have learned tons from him. Pacing- composition- economy of words - setting- mood- point of view....really- everyone involved in literature needs to get thee to the comic book store!!! It's all there- boiled down between soft covers- printed on newsprint - some of the best storytelling and art married together. Any way- I can't say all that I learned- but I did learn a lot. And anyone within a few states of CA should take his class at Cal State. I want to. Watch for him at local SCBWI conferences- he's like finding treasure.

Coming from him - I think I got the best compliment I've ever gotten "You can draw like mad." - I think I'll post that on my wall.

Mark- is a literary agent out of NYC. Formerly an editor @ Simon and Schuster - Scholastic - Harper Collins and Golden Books. Wow- that alone is muy muy impressive. Now he has started an agency to champion creative people and I think on a mission to elevate graphic novels. - cool huh? He had so much business information- and could communicate it to us in a direct - honest yet fair way. I'm thrilled to meet someone so experienced in publishing that cares about the art but will tell you if it will sell or not frankly and not harshly.

Plus- I got to see great friends - old ones and new ones. Some of the people who attended the conference have become friends also. I think the smaller conferences are where I feel more comfortable- but LA here I come.

Magical moments happened for me at this conference. Wonderful things were said about my work. Let me say to you guys out there - just when you're ready to throw in the towel- pick up the pencil. Just keep drawing. What I showed this weekend was mostly done in the last 3 months. It was also work I did for my own enjoyment. I remembered I love to make art- to make art. I like to tell myself stories- when I draw- and they make me laugh and that enjoyment comes out in the art. Take a deep breath and -draw.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Unfinished business

Off to another conference. I chose to go back to Florida this week. It's a great friendly-creative-workshop atmosphere lead by illustrator Janeen Mason. This year's guest is none other than Jarret Krosoczka of Punk farm and now Lunch Lady fame. I am so happy to spend time with Janeen again- she's an inspiration as an artist and a person. And Jarret himself told me "buck up little camper!" after the NYC conference and blog post of doom here. So meeting him will be a fun experience as well.

Recently - my daughter was in a horse show- she's nine. My biggest fear is that she will be thrown and get hurt. Right before she's about to ride- another girl, 7 years old (a tiny thing) gets thrown head first off of the horse. I think I screamed something like "HOLYCRAPJEEZAOHNO!"
She was ok- tho crying. The trainers scooped her up and put her right back on that horse- and I felt- like give the kid a break! Get her her Mommy! Get her some ice cream!- but the trainers said- You have to get right back on or you may never get on a horse again. - She rode on and finished the show. I've thought about that alot. I got thrown off for a while- but I gotta get back on the horse. I almost convinced myself to not get back on. But I am- I may not win a ribbon, but I'll finish the show.

So- finally finished this illo - got more to do before I leave thursday.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

If "Adapt"

"What are you gonna get today Maxine?"
"I don't know Patty. The Hay wasn't fresh yesterday. Ask the waitor if it's fresh hay."
"I don't know why we come here- we should try a new place."
"I could go for chinese."
"I hate Chinese."
"You're so picky Maxine."
"Where's the waitor? He's not getting a good tip today, I tell you."
"Pick something already - you drive me crazy."

"Ok, ok. I'll get the hay.
"Hay- again."
"I like hay- what can I tell ya?"
"I'll get the hay too."
"Where's that waitor?"

At the Bronx Zoo- there are two female Asian elephants named Maxine and Patty. They have shared a habitat for 30+ years. You can see them as you ride the tram in the Asia section. I would visit them each day last summer and imagine their conversations as they threw their lunch of hay around. Two old NY broads stuck together - on each other's nerves but in need of each-other's company too. Adapting to their daily schedule and the monotony it brings.