Happy 2014! Where has the year gone?  We always ask that at this time of year. Sometimes I still want to date my checks 1999. But as I looked back, I can't believe that my last post was in May. Really? May?  Yes, May.

All in all, I am glad we are moving on to 2014.  Overall, I have the usual things I didn't get done. Lose ten pounds. Hmm, not so much.  Exercise more. Sigh, maybe next year.  Although, I've written more, which is a good thing.  But when I was having the conversation in my head about how to get more done this coming year, a small voice said, "Get up earlier." I wanted to ask, "What time exactly?" But I didn't.  The thought of early rising scared me more than losing weight or exercising more, the usual resolutions.  This is sleep we're talking about. Truth is, I am a night owl.  I would never call myself a "morning person".  I like morning, but the problem is that it happens way too early in the day for me.  

But it got me thinking about my habits and if I could change. I don't think that people can really change too much of who they truly are, but, could I learn to love the morning, could I actually like morning?  You know, be one of those people that are cheerful in the morning, the kind that smile and want to talk to others? The kind that wake up at 6 o'clock without an alarm. I wondered.
 
I am not making any grand statements.  But I am getting up earlier. Last night before I went to bed, I set the alarm for 7:30.

And when it went off, 
I hit the snooze button.

But I did get up a half an hour earlier than I normally would.  
Tomorrow I will get up a half an hour earlier again. And, maybe next week, I'll move it up an hour. Baby steps.

Happy New Year to you!
 
 
It's Illustration Friday again this week.  The topic is "Liquid".  I recently sent out my promo postcards and this is the image that was on the back of the card.  I think the image works for the topic this week. 

This image also brings up  my need for Photoshop.  I am kinda old school when it comes to technology.  I bring my artwork to a printer, have them scan it and design my postcard.  I am not a technology wiz.  I like pencils. I like paper.   The fact that I have a website and know how to work it, is amazing! I am thankful that the technology keeps improving for those of us who need it to be simple and easy.  
But after the arrival of this postcard, I decided I need to get Photoshop.  
The image above is on the front of the postcard.  
The one on the left is the original image.  
The one on the right is the scanned image that appears on the actual postcard. 
They look different but the same.  You be the judge.  Which do you like better?  The original is softer with more subtle shading, the scanned image is bolder.

And below is the comparison of the images that are on the back of the card.  
Again, the left is the original and the right is the scanned image. It looks like there is no shading on the elephants head on the scanned image. And that is after I had them darken it. 

Can I fix it with photoshop?  I think it may be worth the investment.  I can sit and play with the image.  Darken, lighten, print out a bunch of different versions and not have to pay a designer by the hour.  I can take some tutorials.  And I will take notes, with paper and pencils, of course! I'll let you know.  
 
 
This week’s subject for Illustration Friday is Farewell and it was suggested by Penelope Dullaghan.  Penelope is the founder of the site and it is fitting that she suggest the topic as this is her last week manning the reigns.  She is also a talented illustrator herself.  She started the site almost ten years ago.  I am sure that she had no idea how many artists she would inspire over those years.  It has grown to an international home to many illustrators.  It is a place that gives us a "lurking deadline" which is sometimes what we need to get work done.  Without her giving us deadlines, many of us would not have completed the beautiful work that we have done.  Even though I just started participating this past January, I have found it to be an incredible networking site that I have found to be immensely encouraging and far reaching. When I started participating, I thought that it was simply a way to get me to complete work.  But it is more than that.  Many of us wake in the morning after posting to the site the night before and find interesting and encouraging words from artists from all over the globe.  Without IF, that would not have happened.  I don’t know if we can thank her enough.  She has given us a home to share our creations with others.  Thank you, Penelope.  We are grateful to her and thankful that she allowing the site to continue and is passing it along to Thomas James from Illustration Age.

I am currently working on a postcard which I will post next week.  But I dug through my portfolio and decided to post an image I had done of Tom Sawyer for the Tomie dePaola award.  Tom is on his way though the dark night, unsure of what lay ahead.  I am sure that Penelope feels the same way to some degree.  

Penelope, 
We wish you smooth sailing and a strong breeze to carry you to your next destination.  Let all the good wishes from the participants at IF fuel your sails. Like anything in life, you will have days filled with rough seas and grey clouds.  Don’t worry about those. They are always followed by beautiful afternoons with sunshine and clear blue water.  Learn from them all.  Soak them up and move forward.  Enjoy the time away from the screen and have fun laughing and making memories with your family and friends.  We wish you all the best.  Bon voyage!

 
 
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Recently I attended a portfolio workshop with Ruth Sanderson that was throught the NE SCBWI.  It was a fantastic day and Ruth was so generous sharing her knowledge and time with us. She is so talented so please check out the link to her website above.  During the workshop, she sat with each of us and reviewed our portfolios.  When she saw this piece in my portfolio, she raised the question as to whether this was the style my other people were drawn or was it a caricature?  Hmmm.  I thought it was the same.  But later, I decided she was completely right.  (This always happens on the ride home from critiques!)  So I decided to change the people but keep the same locale.  Can you see the difference?  I also changed the woman's clothes after it was pointed out by someone in my family that her shirt looked spray painted on her.  Hmmm.  Also, completely right.  And, of course, I added glasses since that is the theme this week!
 
 
This is my post for Illustration Friday this week.  
Here are two pages from a dummy I am working on about the death of a family's dog. * Sniff, sniff.*
 
 
This week the topic for Illustration Friday is "Wheel".  I did this piece a few years ago but when I looked at it, I knew it needed a little work.  The colors needed a boost so I went back in and reworked a few areas.  It is a large piece so I also zoomed in and wondered about the composition.  You can see the edited versions below.
Last week's topic was "Wings".  It was a busy week and I didn't post anything.  But I realized I should have posted this piece which is a piece I did in watercolor.  It is based on a photo I took in Nice, France on a hilltop.  A beautiful spot.
 
 
This week the theme for Illustration Friday is Myth.  Last week I did a piece showing an underwater circus.  Is this seahorse trotting around the ring under the big top?  A snail riding a seahorse?  Maybe it is just a myth...
 
 
Here is my entry for this week's Illustration Friday.  The topic is "Ocean".  Since I posted last week's entry so close to Friday, I almost reposted the one from last week since it had a boy standing at the edge of the ocean.  But, no. I decided to carry the story further and see where the boy was going.  Maybe for next week, I will have us see what is under the big top.  To see all the entries, go to lllustration Friday.  
 
 
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Here is my piece for this week's Illustration Friday. The topic is "Edge".
 
 
Happy New Year to everyone!  I have started a blog.  Not a really bloggy-type blog, just a place to visit where I can show some new work.  I will be participating in Illustration Friday and look forward to joining many other illustrators in coming up with some new ideas.   To see all the work, check out www.illustrationfriday.com. Cheers!