Thursday, September 24, 2009

writer/illustrator olympics

"You have two brains: a left and a right. Modern brain scientists now know that your left brain is your verbal and rational brain; it thinks serially and reduces its thoughts to numbers, letters and words... Your right brain is your nonverbal and intuitive brain; it thinks in patterns, or pictures, composed of 'whole things,' and does not comprehend reductions, either numbers, letters or words."

The Fabric of Mind, Richard Bergland, Scientist and Neurosurgeon

I have finished another revision. I submitted it to my critique group and am awaiting their feedback before I do more revisions. I designated the interim as time for illustrations.

Easier said than done. I'll compare switching from serious writing to serious drawing to the Olympics. After training exclusively for the figure skating competition, what makes me expect I'll ace the hundred meter crawl (even though it was my event before I took up figure skating)?

The above quote explains why. Betty Edwards, who wrote Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, also discusses the science behind drawing and writing requiring different hemispheres of the brain, with the drawing, or visual side, being almost wordless.

I am glad to know why transitioning from one talent to another is so difficult and I'm sure it's unreasonable to think I could just step off the ice and jump in the pool and swim a graceful hundred meters. But I still find it really frustrating that I can't.

Any transitional tips out there from other athletes competing in multiple events, or writer/illustrators managing to produce within each craft?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

color monday: distillation of summer and chemistry

Chocolate cherry, Brandywine, Yellow Pear, Sun Gold, Green Zebra. All summer, the sun and soil have been interacting with my tomato plants to produce a variety of beautiful fruit with the most amazing skin

Their colors astound me. How do you talk about the way skin reflects a whole spectrum of color on close examination but looks uniformly red or yellow or pinky brown at arm's length?

I've always thought the secret of being a great artist begins in actually seeing the world. And I mean really seeing, not just that a tomato is red, but what kind of red is it made of?

Does it have a rose pallor like the Brandywine, or does it blush green on a pink mantle like the Chocolate Cherries which is impossible to capture here because that color is so dynamic. And there is such a thing as a truly red tomato, like the brilliant Sweet Million, uncompromising in its redness.

I love the names of the tomatoes and I love their colors — a vivid distillation of summer and chemistry. This palette is derived from them.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

what would nancy drew do?

If Nancy Drew were still sleuthing, would she invest in the new, affordable night vision goggles, however great the risk of seriously mussing her carefully groomed, titian hair?

In my current graphic novel, our heroine Nik, who doesn't invest much effort in her hair at all, is on a ranch in Mexico. At the moment, she's in the stable, listening to an argument between two thieves. Nik is unseen — safe behind mounded bags of feed and the additional cover of a black night.

She says under her breath: I knew should have traded that first edition of _____ for those night vision goggles!

The night vision goggles she's talking about are only $80 and marketed as a toy (the photo looks super science fiction because I tweaked it — a lot).

Nik does not have a pair of night vision goggles, but that night in the barn is not the first time she's wanted them. After all, she is an aspiring teen sleuth, but I don't want her interest in them to make her seem weird or creepy. Honestly, night vision goggles are weird and creepy, even when marketed as a toy.

I am hoping for feedback on this one. Do I ditch her desire for night vision goggles or can it coexist with a the image of a wholesome teenage sleuth? What would Nancy Drew do?

Monday, September 14, 2009

color monday: hydrangeas & honeysuckle

Spring symbolizes new beginnings and green is its color. But I also look forward to new beginnings in Fall, when hot colors blaze like embers.

In the same way trees discard their leaves and gather nutrients deep inside their roots where no one can see, so do we have new beginnings in shedding what's no longer needed and turning inside to find where we will begin again.

What new beginnings to these colors suggest to you? Pruning your hydrangeas, making a quilt, taking down a jar of summer picked raspberry jam?

These colors were inspired by a fading peegee hydrangea, a still blooming honeysuckle and a maple leaf so darkly green it looks like I'm seeing it by moonlight.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

internet anonymous

The latest Bellingham shmooze, hosted by Kjerstin Anna Hayes, promised a discussion on Keeping All Hats in the Air: How Do You Juggle All the Aspects of Your Writing or Illustrating Career?

A small group gathered for a lively and enlightening journey into this tricksy topic, all of which was valuable. But the most effective commentary for me had to do with internet habits and the realization that too much of a good thing is not a good thing (Kjerstin has a nice post on the hats in the air part of the discussion).

My online habit saw me logging on first thing in the morning. Between my own blogging, reading blogs, reading email, sending email, etcetera, POOF! My morning was gone. I had invested my most creative hours online. The shmooze helped me realize my internet habit needed an overhaul. I made a rule: no more internet in the morning — I will devote these hours to my creative life. The limits I set are working for me, but some people may need more help.

Enter Mac Freedom. This software turns off interent access for up to eight hours! Harsh, but sometimes that's necessary. To read more about it, there is a good article in Salon. Unfortunately, Mac Freedom is only available for mac users. For an article from CNN Health about why moms are particularly susceptible to internet addiction, click here.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

color monday: september garden

Color tells us things. What time it is, and what season we're in. Color can warm us, then shift, and turn cold. What do these colors suggest to you, on these last waning days of summer?

These colors exist in our September garden. The coral bark maple leaves play the spectrum from
yellow-green to knock-out orange punch. The stewartia's leaves turn a brooding, russet-red, while the fuzzy leafed fucshia still invites hummingbirds to sip from its glorious, inverted cups.