Saturday, August 29, 2009
Enter Illustration Friday. A word is assigned, and participants illustrate the word. It's liberating not to have to think of a subject, and fun to explore ways to express the word. I am probably going to consistently use characters from the Nik Notebooks. I need to practice drawing them as much as I need to practice drawing.
There are a number of things about this illustration I'd change, if it were not intended to be an exercise, and if I wanted to retain my death grip on ideas of perfection. But I am learning how to get things done, and letting go of getting those things done perfectly. Perfection is a crutch, and I am tossing it out with the recycling.
So here, one day late, is my piece for Illustration Friday. The word is caution. That's Nik on the bridge, which is an engineering miracle. Maximo and Lulu are in the backpack.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
One of the many items on this revision's to do list was a word count. I want my book to be the same length and format as a Tintin. Sound stunningly original? Maybe not, but this is what my book needs to be, so no arguing.
First, I did a word count of Flight 714, one of the later Tintin books. Total: 10,800 words.
Then I did my own word count. Dialogue only. No stage directions or speaker designations — a graphic novel is often written very much like a script. Total: 9,300 words.
Close! That's only a 1,500 word difference. And Flight 714 is pretty wordy — see in the picture? But that is why it is so fulfilling to read a Tintin. Not only do you have amazing artwork, but you actually get to read it.
Monday, August 24, 2009
I'll number the posts instead of naming them after my inspiration, so as not to make this all about my experience. What about yours? Do these colors mean anything to you? Do they bring any feelings to the surface of your skull?
The story of these colors and my reflections:
These are the colors of our bathroom tiles. Rejected from several high end jobs, I gathered everything I thought could go together at a rejects sale. I'm reminded of semi-precious stones, hawaiian beaches and the sixties era swimming pool at the seattle ywca.
Josh Neufeld was in New York when the Twin Towers fell. Like millions, he felt helpless and angry. These feelings transformed themselves when Hurricane Katrina hit. This time, he realized, he could do something, and he volunteered for the American Red Cross.
Stationed in Biloxi Mississippi, Josh became a disaster response worker. He blogged about his experiences, and conducted interviews with disaster victims. Based on this extensive research, “A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge,” follows the narratives of seven people who survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Why three? Three is a good number, and I have to read their lists (or the books they have agented). That's quite a bit of reading, but to know an agent, you need to read their list. I can't imagine getting to know more than three people through this method at a time. Because this is not a cocktail party getting to know you. This is more like researching the person you are going to marry.
Thanks to Martha Brockenbrough, for pulling my post SCBWI Conference "What do I do next?" frenzy into this one clear focus.
So I begin the next phase of my quest to find an agent. Reading!
Monday, August 17, 2009
But I sit in front of the computer so much already. I forget that I am an artist too, who needs unpredictability, and accidents of color to bleed into something suprising on the scrappy surface of an of index card.
I first wrote my graphic novel on index cards, 4 x 6, in tiny writing, scene by scene, before fleshing it out on the computer. Why not turn a writing tool into an art tool? I work well with parameters, and small spaces.
So I sat down in my studio. Brushes, paints, pencils arrayed before me like an artist's smorgasbord. Inspired by lunch, I painted the colors of green beans, sun gold and chocolate cherry tomatoes, an unripe green zebra tomato, and one golden plum, all on a 4 x 6. Yum.
In order: sun gold cherry tomato, golden plum, chocolate cherry tomato, green zebra tomato and green bean.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
All that awesomeness is still with me, even though I'm back to work, and the daily routines of life. I made new friends, who will stay with me, and my heart is different. Maybe more mature, somehow. Maybe a little more luminous.
I think I went to the conference naive, and entered a rite of passage. All that talk about finding the agent of my dreams in one long weekend. Silly, but sincere. It just doesn't work that way. I'll paraphrase Kelly Sonnack, an agent at Andrea Brown Literary, who says the relationship she seeks to foster with her creatives most resembles a marriage.
We're not talking weekend fling. A marriage is a very big deal. It takes a tremendous amount of commitment, love, faith and perserverence. Isn't this what all of our creative endeavors deserve? Frack yes.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
I felt I had plenty of time to work on this revision because my critique group wasn't getting together until August 17th. But then I decided to go to the LA SCBWI Conference in hope of finding an agent for the graphic novel two weeks before the conference. And if that didn't require a marathon of maneuvering, I also got a job.
While I was watching Battlestar Galactica, with no travel plans or gainful employment, I should have been revising so as to be ready for anything, in this case, the conference. A friend asked, "Are you going to have your manuscript ready to hand off in case anyone asks for it?" And because I'd been watching Battlestar Galactica, I said, "Frack!" I'd forgotten about that part.
So it's time for a little quote from Seneca: LUCK IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN PREPARATION MEETS OPPORTUNITY.
I've got the opportunity, now I need to prepare for luck.
Monday, August 3, 2009
But sometimes the sunsets are so spectacular your jaw drops. Velvety blue sky above dusky lavender, and orange cherry red.
I tried to capture just such a sunset, that came and went yesterday, for this color Monday: jaw dropper.