Monday, December 27, 2010

Redesigned Website


I finally got some time to rework my website and make this Monday and Marketing Monday. I took some inspiration from reading Holli Conger's blog A Girl Who Creates. Great stuff on her site. She is posting for every day in Dec. a tip on illustration biz. I find it really inspiring and motivating. I feel like in the past I've been really spotty when it comes to promoting my work. I'm going to try and do at least one thing each Monday to promote my work.

I think this rework in my site Nancy Miller Illustration makes it clearer that I work in pastels as a children's market illustrator. I also updated my portfolio images. I combined some pages to make it cleaner.

Oops! Forgot to embed the fonts. I checked it on my other computer and realized what I'd forgotten. Fixed it.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Illustration Friday - Winter


Here's my illustration friday piece for winter. I used this illo for a promo card last xmas.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Edgar Allan Poe Portrait


This didn't turn out as well as I would have liked but it was a final assignment for the illustration course. I enjoy Poe and read him during Halloween. Not fond of color pencils. I find them to be a lot of work. My original sample for this piece was stronger.

Pol Turgeon Technique Update


Completed a finished illustration for the Pol Turgeon technique.

Flower Samples




Did some samples of various flowers from the course I took. Some better than others. Used techniques from Mark English and CF Payne.

Southern Breeze Illustrators



Nice to get some additional web coverage from the Southern Breeze Illustrators Corner.Wonderful showcase of Southern Illustrators.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Next Book "Rock-A-Bye Jesus"

Can't wait to finish class so I can get back to work on my next book project. It's been so busy trying to keep up with work and class.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Spam

I never got spam before but boy is it racking up these spam comments from other countries.

Working Differently 2



Had to try a new technique. Try Pol Turgeon's. He's a great illustrator, but boy does the stuff he uses stink to high heaven. Just the smell of the L&B cracking varnish just about did me in. It's made out of ox bile. Ugh. When you cover your painting with it and use a blow dryer it creates some amazing cracks on the top. After that he goes back in with oil paint and rubs it off. The oil paint stays in the cracks so you can see them. It was interesting.

Here's a close up of the cracks:


The cracking varnish costs about $9 for a small bottle. Lefranc & Beourgeois. They also make an aging varnish but I really didn't think it made that much of a difference. Could have saved $9.

Working Differently


I am such a creature of habit. Working in a different materials besides pastels is like having my teeth pulled. Figuratively. After working in acrylics which I haven't done in 13 years it made me appreciate my pastels even more. I'll be glad when I can get back to my pastel for the next picture book.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Graduate School

I started a graduate course for my masters. I realize after starting it that I'd rather be spending the time and energy to finish books. I think after this one course I'll be back to focusing on my illustration work more. I may think about other programs that may suit my focus.

Monday, May 31, 2010

June Library Visit


I'm looking forward to a local library visit for the month of June. I'd say this is my first visit with a drawing demo and art project for the kids. Should be fun!

Southern Breeze Illustrator Show 2010


I'm so glad I got the chance to participate in the Southern Breeze Illustrator Show at the Little Shop of Stories. I couldn't make it in person but it looks like everyone had a great time.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Book related visits


It's hard to get noticed in the biz. I guess what I mean is even when I tell book stores, schools, and libraries that I'm available for signings and visits they think I'm a nut job. I speak to them on the phone, meet in person and send letters. No luck. It took me 3 months to get a book signing with a major chain. Took 3 months of persistence to get the visit at a library. Which I'm exciting about the library visit. It's a chance to hone my skills at working a crowd. It's also a chance to give back as a volunteer. My local library has provided the majority of my language art tie in w/my Kindergarten curriculum. Children at that age just love to be read to. As long as the book is interesting the kids they listen. Use the silly voices for each character if it's appropriate. The kids like it. Cuts down on behavior problems in the first 10 min. of class.

I've been checking out other children's book illustrators/authors site to see how the handle such events. I got some great insight from some of the blogs I visit. Click on the name to visit their blog.
Elizabeth Dulemba
Don Tate

I've been a K-5 art teacher and I will say that really helps being around kids and teaching art to get a feel for what children like. I'm used to being around children and parents. I still get some butterflies but nothing like prior to my student teaching days. You also get a feel for improvising. Children are all different, and each event is slightly different. Prior to that I would have been hiding under a desk. It's exciting when the kids love what you teach them. Can you beat a standing ovation from a class of kindergartners. Plus shouting "You are an artist!" It warms the heart and soul. With the biz of children's books being so full of rejections it's a nice change of pace.

When working with kids here's something I've learned from being a teacher. Say the group you have is a bit on the rowdy side and you need them to focus. You can always find one child that is doing what you want them to be doing and compliment them. Are they sitting quietly and waiting. "I really like how you are sitting here quietly and waiting for me to start". Do it loud enough that the other kids can here. Majority will get the idea and follow along. No matter the age we all love to be complimented.

If you are teaching kids to draw break things down into steps. Include questions for the kids to respond. Guide the questions if you are trying to get a specific response. Also try and come up with analogies that the kids can understand. They really like food analogies. Oh that's like a shape of an oreo cookie. That's helpful if you need them to draw things a specific size. Kids generally tend to draw things on the small side. Also if you intend the kids to draw save passing out the pencils or crayons for last. It cuts down on pencil twirling and drawing when they should be listening.

You do need to be energetic with young kids. I find that I have a certain style of talking with lower grades. You know the kind that your kindergarten teacher uses. The older kids you don't have too as much. Try to make sure that you don't talk to a 5th grader they way you talk to someone in Kindergarten. When kids are young saying their picture is nice and you like it is usually enough. When they are older be more specific about what you like about their work. Talk about lines, colors, shapes, principles of art. Otherwise they think you are humoring them.

If you aren't sure what kids should be learning at what age check your states Performance Standards for visual arts. All states that have art programs will have some type of standards that will give you an idea about what kids are learning about in the arts. If some concept is too high for them you'll know.

Kids of any age love games. Depending on the audience well known games modified for what you need such as Simon Says can help keep them interested. You can toss a ball to a student for a Q & A about what do they remember from the story or event. It's scientific that if you can coordinate body movement and learning there is better memory retention. I do dance and hand motions with students when they are learning about Mondrian and Broadway Boogie Woogie. I learned the lesson from my teacher while student teaching. A year later they still remember it because of the seeing, hearing, motion, and doing.

It's good to practice what you are doing. Practice makes perfect even if it's just in front of your mirror. Also I try and have a mini outline of what I'm going to do. Just so if I draw a blank I can refocus by just reading a line. Once you've done it a few times things get much smoother. Also really think about what you did that didn't work and correct it for the next time.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Dr. Suess


Read Across America is starting March 2nd, Dr. Suess' birthday! Some great free stuff on the National Education Associations Site.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Widget Box


I thought this was interesting you can make your widgets at Widget Box. Nice.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Good Review From Christian Children's Book Review


Got a good review on the first picture book I illustrated from the Christian Children's Book Review Blog.You have to scroll down to see it. Here's a screen shot of it.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Tim Burton at MOMA


I have a NYC friend of mine that just saw the exhibit and loved it. Check out the online MOMA site if you can't make the exhibit.

Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


A good read for Martin Luther King Holiday.

This picture-book biography provides an ideal introduction to this leader and his works. Juxtaposing original text with quotes from King's writing and speeches, Rappaport's (Escape from Slavery) narrative offers a pastiche of scenes from King's life, beginning with his childhood experience of seeing "White Only" signs sprinkled throughout his hometown. He questions his mother about their meaning, and she assures him, "You are as good as anyone." Listening to his father preach, the boy asserts that "When I grow up, I'm going to get big words, too." Rappaport also touches upon King's role in the Montgomery bus strike that followed Rosa Park's 1955 arrest for refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger and his subsequent efforts as a civil rights crusader. After briefly describing the circumstances of his death, the story concludes, quite abruptly, with the statement, "His big words are alive for us today." The author relies on her subject's own words, and his power, passion and pacifism shine through. Collier's (Uptown) striking watercolor and cut paper collage art feature closely focused, lifelike images of King and other individuals against an inventive montage of patterns and textures. The portraits of King exude his spiritual strength and peaceful visage. In the background of some scenes are intricate recreations of stained glass windows, which, Collier explains in an introductory note, he interprets as a metaphor for King's life. An elegant, understated pictorial biography. Ages 5-9.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

IF: CONFINED


This is an illustration I did for Summer Shorts Anthology. It's a scan from the book. It was a poem about having to go on the high dive. With all the other kids waiting behind you. I'd feel confine if I was afraid of the height and had only 1 way out.

Submissions for New Children's Online Mag

Berry Blue Haiku

Berry Blue Haiku is a quarterly digital magazine focusing on haiku for kids of all ages. In each issue, we will bring you contests, articles, lessons, as well as puzzles with haiku/senryu related-fun.

If you are a writer or an illustrator, please familiarize yourself with our submission guidelines before submitting.

If you still have questions after reviewing our guidelines, please contact us at berrybluehaiku (at) gmail (dot) com (email must be formatted properly to function).

Our first issue is due out in June 2010.

**Submission guidelines may change without notice.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

New Years Resolutions


I made some New Year's Resolutions to try and blog more. I was doing pretty well when I first started this blog but things got busy like family, school, work and freelancing. This year I'm going to make time for it. Plus be healthier when I freelance. I get so wrapped up into a project I forget to move. By the end of illustrating a book I feel like a slug. Not a good feeling. Plus I'd like to to do a mailing at least 2x a year and work up to quarterly. Make some tunnel books out of my illustrations. Also try and create a new illustration style that might work in more markets.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Andrea Dezso, artist



Love the work of this book artist: Andrea Dezso. Amazing tunnel books.

Tunnel Books New Ideas


I've been thinking about how I can make some more tunnel books. I'd like to make some out of my illustrations from the picture books.Especially after seeing the work of Chuck Miley. He's makes tunnel books and pop-ups from classical children's book stories.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

IF: RENEWAL


I geek my local library and love the renewal process! Visit the GeekTheLibrary site to geek what your interested in.



Here's an additional sketch with the two owls reading.

Friday, January 1, 2010

My Etsy Store NOW OPEN!


I finally got up and decided I need to sell some of my original art on www.nmillerillustration.etsy.com. Please check it out!