TIME TO START COLOURING!
Well, I've found my 'chi', now it's time to perfect colour. My challenge for August and September will be to get into the colour and experimentation with technique mixing - more digital/traditional mixing and such.
The challenge for 52-week illo this week was to draw Sydney - easy… I love that city!
I'm nearing the end of the doodle day challenge of animals... I've skipped one or two, but I have to say, they've been a challenge and well worth the fun!
Thursday, July 24: OWL
Monday, July 21: HORSE, PONY, DONKEY, MULE or UNICORN
Tuesday, July 22: GRIFFIN
Wednesday, July 23: CHIMERA
I had such fun today... I took a few hours off to draw after a hectic week or so, and it was glorious!
Sunday, July 13: PANDA
Tuesday, July 15: CHIMPANZEE
Thursday, July 17: GIRAFFE (x2)
Saturday, July 19: KANGAROO
Sunday, July 20: LEMUR
Saturday, July 12: SNAKE
Monday, July 14: PARROT
Wednesday, July 16: ELEPHANT
Friday, July 18: ANY AQUARIUM ANIMAL
So, the doodles are catching on. The coffee shop where talented illustrator Carlos Mejia and I meet, gets us to illustrate on two or so cups per week. Now, the cups are being given away... hmmm... anyway, loads of fun and worth the scribble. This weeks cafe scribbles below...
ANIMALS: WEEK 1 PETS | WEEK 2 ANIMALS IN THE WOODS
Follow Doodle Day creator Alison Hertz
The SCBWI AUS AND NZ site has a great series of reports on the conference, so I'm not going to write paragraphs about the fantastic hotel (which it was), or my wonder of Sydney (which I have), or my awe of creative people who get themselves out there (which are many)... I will however just point out a few key things I learnt as a 'first timer', which certainly pushed me to look at my work, networking, and passions more closely.
1. It's SQUIDDY... warm, fun, loving, conversational, passionate... these people love what they do, and they're not afraid to show it - from writers, to illustrators, poets, publishers, editors, singers, dancers....
As a bit of a back story: talking to my son on the phone whilst at the conference, he asked me how the 'squiddy' conference was going, and I think it stuck.
2. It's SELF AWARENESS: knowing who you are just as much as who everybody else is...
How many of us creatives can actually talk about our own work, I wonder. At the beginning I found myself being talked to by people who were looking for common connections and possibilities to work together. They would ask about what I prefer illustrating, what styles I enjoy, illustrators I follow, writing styles I prefer... sheesh! Luckily I have my favorite illustrators, but styles, and preferences? I felt like I was doing what I've told my students not to do: "Oh, I'll do anything"...
3. Grab a CARD, grab a SEAT, and never skip a chance to chat... For an even slightly socially challenged person, networking, is like making a squid climb a great big mountain... backwards...
It literally took me days to talk to people, which is potentially too late. So speak and ask, and meet and talk. It's the only way you get to spend time with people who actually do want to spend time with you.
4. Find friendly faces...
One thing I would say on that 'tho, there are always a group of like-minded people who are more socially adept: grab onto them, watch them in action, and LEARN how to network. Don't always sit in the back, grab a seat in the front, do have your cards on you at all times...
5. ALWAYS show and tell... in a way that suits you...
I saw some illustrators walking around with their portfolios under their arms all day, every day. Showing at the first possible moment. I decided not to do this... instead I had 8 different postcards printed, at no extra cost, so I was showing writers and potential collaborators styles I'm currently working in and they took the ones that appealed to them. That seemed easier.
6. Take originals - for continuing the conversation...
I wanted some feedback... critique I guess. So, I did take originals. I left them in the back of my portfolio, and whenever the chance arose, I did show them. I felt serious about the conversations I wanted. Some people asked whether I was afraid of losing a piece. Seriously, I don't mind. If one goes missing, that means someone liked it enough to take it... and of course it's good for people to to be able to see what the original looked like for production purposes. I had a good conversation about some styles not being able to reproduce because of exactly that. If you can't scan or photograph a style satisfactorily, like anything else, don't put it in your portfolio, because the publisher might think the same thing.
7. Be happy with what you take to show... accept critique and kind words
I showcased in the portfolio review, I showed my portfolio to professional artists, and I survived.
I took roughly 14 pieces - they weren't as diverse as I'd hoped. BUT off I went, got them looking as good as I could, and pretty much learnt to 'love' my own work. Critique is good, but possibly not just about being overly self-critical. It's tiring.
Instead, I spoke to professional illustrators with years of experience, and they pretty much confirmed what I should do next - which I already knew, I guess I was waiting for some sort of universal confirmation.
So, no throwing away and starting again, rather expanding on my current skill set. I do like most of my work... there I said it.
As always, some pieces I can't look at again, but that's ok, I'm just preferring not to think about those.....
There were illustrators Sarah Davis, Marjorie Crosby-Fairall, Bruce Whatley, Stephen Axelson, James Foley and more- AND they are human!!!
8. Draw, draw, and listen.
The caveat to being an illustrator and sitting still in a marquee for 1 hour at a time (55 minutes precisely, with five mins break), is that my mind wondered incredibly....I would start writing, and then listen, and then lose interest in writing, and then start doodling, until the illustration took over the page. P.S. to speakers, that means I was listening more than if I had been trying to feverishly notate. Anyway, the SCBWIANZNZ Roving Reporters were documenting every speaker, so I figured live and let live.
The only issue I see with this was when someone who couldn't make that event asked if they could copy my notes... um... "I'll type them up...''
9. Listen to people - and COLLABORATE
Everybody there is PASSIONATE about what they do. Listen. Find out where they see themselves (that old gem) and see whether you could work with this person. Let conversations happen. Feedback, discussions, ideas for books and other projects came out of listening. And HOPEFULLY collaborations too.
10. LOVE THE SQUIDDY
Be involved. Become a member. Leave your social hang-ups at home....
Don't say you can't afford to go, SAVE for it - at least once.
This was a fantastic introduction to the world of publishing, collaboration, illustration, and writing...
Don't be shy.
GALLERY OF DOODLES
INTRODUCING THE ILLO LOGO FOR SCBWI - yes, it has tentacles!
I had wanted to rebrand this year - as the list of 'skills' evolved, but no time! And before I knew it, SCBWI was upon me. I still wanted to personalise the experience and my portfolio, away from the generic 'tanya hempson illustrator | designer', so I thought long and hard about what animals and stories I enjoyed the most… and the answer was a resounding monsters, aliens or octopus…. so I decided to go with a similar theme. Starting last Friday, I sketched out a variety of 'tentacles' until I found my ultimate. I then went back to my original brand elements and colours - I'm fond of them - and applied accordingly… so no, it's not a whole new brand, just an extension of the 'me' part of the promotion. And so, I give you 'TANYA HEMPSON illustration'… time to personalise even more.
Gearing up the folio
I've been working towards getting my portfolio done prepared for Sydney this week. Things are finally coming together!
I'd just completed this concept I had for 52-week challenge and I looked through all my work... and what did I find? But a fair few squid/octopus/alien type characters... so I decided to embrace it, and completed a logo for my portfolio showcase in Sydney.
Yes, the octopus has inspired the SCBWI logo!
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Tanya is a traditional and digital artist, living in Brisbane and inspired by all that is 'Art'.