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Posts from the Blogged! Category

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Last month, I turned 30. My brother, Philip, journeyed from Hays to spend the weekend with us, my husband took me to Oceans of Fun, and my family treated me to The Cheesecake Factory.

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My “little” brother, me, and Aaron

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Mum and Dad in pointy, shiny hats!

They spoiled the pants off me. By night’s end, I had eight tubes of gouache paint, two Winsor & Newton Series 7 Kolinsky Sable brushes, a John Pike Big Well Palette, the Color Mixing Bible, and Color and Light: A Guide for the Realistic Painter. What more could an illustrator wish for?

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I put my new supplies to use for September’s SCBWI prompt word “Muse.”

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This illustration is approximately 5.5″ tall by 5.5″ wide, painted in gouache on hot press watercolor paper with a dash of sea salt.

The process was unusual for me. I decided on a water nymph the day the prompt was announced, but it was another week before I settled on the nine fish (one for each Greek muse) and arrived at a sketch.

I painted the first layer this past Wednesday, a second on Saturday, and a third on Sunday. Still, I couldn’t get the fishes’ texture quite right. I came back later to puzzle it out. The solution was to sprinkle in salt!

The beauty of cut paper collage is that you can pull everything apart if it doesn’t look right and put it back together. Gouache requires more consideration. While I can always rewet the paint or add a thicker layer, each color must be mixed, each brushstroke is intentional. As James Gurney says, you have to make a plan and commit to it.

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For August, SCBWI featured the best 20 entries for Write This! in an online gallery. The chosen descriptions are truly exceptional. My favorites:

The storm spirits were coming. They’d heard me. Far off poplar leaves danced frantically, silver side out. Seconds later I felt the breeze engulf the backs of my bare legs, softly, from the wrong direction, like the heavy, wet breath of a hunting hound. – Kari Percival, Website

For the past three days the sun had not moved from the center of the sky. Blood red, it glared at Spring Valley like the eye of an angry god, wilting the waist high corn and shriveling the hollyhocks. Everyone had the same question: Who was responsible?David LaRochelle, Website

I’m itching to read these books!

The September Write This! prompt is: In 50 words or less, give us a first impression of your character’s new teacher. Here’s my submission.

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Graphic courtesy of MorgueFile and QuotesCover.

SCBWI featured the first 500 entries for July’s Write This! in their online gallery. Submissions included frogs and witches, teachers and trolls, poems and prose, the sweet and the gross.

The August Write This! prompt is: In 50 words or less, create a narrative description of the weather which sets a mood for suspense, mystery, and intrigue. Here’s my submission.

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Graphic courtesy of MorgueFile and QuotesCover.

Last week Thursday (June 11th, 2015), Aaron and I marked our tenth wedding anniversary.

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We celebrated with a special showing of Jurassic World at Alamo Drafthouse Mainstreet in downtown Kansas City.

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We rode with raptors . . .

Jurassic World Photo Shoot from Alamo KC

. . . ate fearsome food . . .

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. . . and won tickets plus a bag of dinosaurs for impersonating a triceratops. Roar!

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Aaron gave me a multipurpose drafting table so I can paint and cut and collage without worrying about Godzilla cats or getting all creaky or spilling glue on the carpet. He chose one with a glass top and a clamp-on light so I can convert the surface into a giant light box whenever I wish. (Genius idea, right?) I adore my drafting table and look forward to many hours spent illustrating on it.

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As for my gift to him . . .

In 2011, I made a cut paper collage in the shape of a heart as a wedding gift for my friend Tiffany. Every so often, Aaron would hint for a Love Machine of his own, and I would promise to make one.

Only I’d forget.

Well! I finally remembered.

I didn’t want Aaron to know what I was planning, so I worked during lunch breaks and while he was busy writing, and hid the materials out of sight. We are just awful at keeping secrets from each other, but this surprise I kept.

Here is Love Machine AP6115.

This collage is approximately 3” wide by 4” high, made from Tim Holtz idea-ology scrapbook papers, a Monet waterlilies print, metal gears, and glue. Its design is based on a medical illustration I found online. I set it in a shadowbox so Aaron can take it out from time to time and hold it in his hand.

Because this is our “tin” anniversary, my friends Alesha and Ashley suggested I wrap the frame in aluminium foil. I presented it to my loverly on anniversary morning.

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I’m so happy he liked it!

Although . . .

I can’t imagine he likes it more than I like my new drafting table. Squeak!

Here’s to a lifetime more of memories with my favorite person.

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It’s a great time to be a member of SCBWI. They’ve now announced a new feature for writers called Write This!

Like Draw This! (in which I recently participated), Write This! is a monthly prompt to accompany the SCBWI INSIGHT report. The first 500 submissions will be featured in an online gallery to be perused by fellow writers and publishing professionals.

The July prompt is: “Write a description of a children’s book character using no more than fifty words. The prompt word is WART.” Here’s my submission, all dolled up for Twitter and the blog.

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Graphic courtesy of QuotesCover.

You can enjoy other wart-inspired entries at #scbwiwritethis. Many thanks to SCBWI for another fun opportunity to share our work!