The Boy Scout Motto “Be Prepared”

Sketching at the Days of 47 Parade

Sketching at the Days of 47 Parade

 

 

 

 

Packing your sketch book around is a great idea. There is always that question, “Do I bring it or not?” “Will I have time to sketch?” Will it just get in the way?” I’ve found it’s better to have it on hand. If something comes up, I’m ready.

On the 24th or July our extended family stakes out a spot at Liberty Park for the Days of 47 Parade. It’s a great opportunity for picture taking and sketching. Below are some examples from the day.

Kids love to have you draw their picture

Kids love to have you draw their picture


I
t’s also a great way to make new friends. People often ask me, “How do you draw people? My answer is get a sketch book and start sketching people from life. You will teach your brain and your hand to see.

 

 

 

Sketches can catch the personality better than a photo

Sketches can catch the personality better than a photo

These sketches are in your book for reference on future projects.

These sketches are in your book for reference on future projects.

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Blog Tour: Writing Process

Shawna Tenney

Shawna Tenney

Shawna Tenney invited me to participate in a blog tour about my writing process. This should have been posted  a week or so ago but here goes. First I introduce Shawna.

Shawna Tenney graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Illustration from Brigham Young University and started illustrating as a freelance illustrator a year later. Since then, she has created artwork for 18 books along with children’s magazines, charities, educational materials, religious materials and theater playbills. Her primary medium of choice now is digital. Lately her focus has been writing and illustrating her own stories.

Besides the process of making art, She enjoys being involved in the art community and has been running a monthly local illustration critique group. She is a volunteer at SCBWI and also enjoys teaching kids art and visiting children at local schools to talk about being an illustrator.

Shawna lives in Utah with her two very artistic little girls and a very sweet and supportive graphic designer husband. shawnajctenney.com

Now about my process.

First I transfer my character to my watercolor paper.

First I transfer my character to my watercolor paper.

1. What am I working on?
A Picture Book. I am always working on a picture book. I love combining the pictures with the words. It is a journey that bounces back and forth from idea to book dummy to revisions of words and pictures.
A watercolor painting. One or two watercolor paintings bubble around in my brain. The paintings are fun to work on because you use your whole arm to put paint and water on the paper. It is a good break from the picture book puzzle. I just sent an entry to be juried for the National Watercolor Society’s International Exhibit. There’s always another painting to paint. It seems to be a good combination, the picture books and the watercolor paintings, because both projects need to be put aside to view with a fresh pair of eyes. The picture book is like a puzzle that finally comes together in a book dummy. I work on it until I feel confident about sending it to my agent. I am currently working on a Halloween picture book.

 

I start with the lightest watercolor making sure I save the whites.

I start with the lightest watercolor making sure I save the whites.

2. How does my work differ from others of this genre?
I work with brushes, paint and paper. I love having a physical copy of my illustrations when I’m done. A lot of illustrators use the computer. The computer is a useful tool that I use for book dummy’s and checking out values but when I’m doing the final illustrations, I use the watercolors. I also use my sketch book as a tool where I can record ideas with words and sketches.

 

I start adding darker watercolors adding depth to the character

I start adding darker watercolors adding depth to the character

3. Why do I write what I do?
The ideas for picture books seem to come flying out of the atmosphere and I catch them with a great deal of excitement and quickly get them down on paper. That is the initial idea. Then the work comes. I capture that excitement and put it down on paper. Sometimes the words come first. Sometimes the pictures. I work on what current idea has come flying at me. There are a ton of ideas out there.

Adding a bit of background color.

Adding a bit of background color.

4. How does my writing (illustrating) process work?
When the mornings go the way I want them to, they start with some contemplation, some physical activity of some sort to keep my heart beating and then a walk up the six stairs to the studio. When I’m working on an illustration project with a deadline, I schedule out how much I will do in a day so the finished illustrations will arrive on time. When I’m working on my own projects, I work on a story board and move to the book dummy. I usually have several book dummies by the time I arrive at the final one. While I am working on projects I’m also collecting sketches and ideas to use on future picture books and paintings.

Finished Character study.

Finished Character study.

 

Well, there is my process and here is my finished character study. Now let me introduce you to my friend Susan Detwiler. She is the SCBWI Illustrator Coordinator for MD/DE/WV and a great illustrator. Her new book is coming out in September. 

 

 

 

 

 

Susan Detwiler

Susan Detwiler

Susan grew up in Maryland and was educated at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, where she and her husband and two sons now live. Besides books for children, her illustrations have been used for advertising, merchandise, and greeting cards.

www.susandetwiler/susanblog/

http://shawnajctenney.blogspot.com

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Paintings Off to Capitol Reef

 

"Trail to Hickman's Natural Bridge" 15"x22" watercolor

“Trail to Hickman’s Natural Bridge”
15″x22″ watercolor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Back Lit Grandeur"  15"x22" watercolor

“Back Lit Grandeur” 15″x22″ watercolor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These two paintings are on their way down to Gallery 24 in Torrey, Utah. One of the prizes for the Grand Prize winner in the 1st Annual Arts and the Park Light on the Reef was the chance to display three paintings down at the gallery. If you are in the area, stop by and take a look.

Gallery 24

Utah Watercolor Society

Capitol Reef National Park

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Three ways to Get out of the Studio

Utah Watercolor Society Small Works Show

Utah Watercolor Society Small Works Show

One: The Utah Watercolor Society Small Works Show is hanging up at the Logan Fine Art Gallery. The opening was last Friday. It is one of the finest small works show the watercolor society has hung. You can see it until the end of July along with some other fine art in Logan.

 

 

 

The Illustrator's Mini Worshop at the Writers & Illustrators for Young Readers taught by Sherry Meidell

The Illustrator’s Mini Worshop at the Writers & Illustrators for Young Readers taught by Sherry Meidell

Two: This is the group of illustrators that attended the illustrator’s mini workshop at the Writers & Illustrators for Young Readers Conference that I taught in Sandy on Tuesday. It was a great group and fun to get to know them and share some ideas with them. We discussed the design behind the story board and character design. There was a lot of creative energy in the room. The conference is open to the public on Thursday June 12th at 2:15 for the plenary session with Cheri Earl “Cold, Hard Readings and Critiques” in the auditorium and then the keynote address will be given by James Dashner “Writing Commercial Fiction” after James there will be a book signing for those who want there books signed by the faculty of the conference.

Illustrator at the Writers for Young Readers Conference

Illustrator at the Writers for Young Readers Conference

Published Children's Book Writers and Illustrators from around Utah meet amongst the books

Published Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators from around Utah meet amongst the books

Three: The published writers and illustrators in Utah were invited to a pot luck get together at the Kings English Book store last night. Since the weather had turned wet and cold and snowy in the mountains the pot luck was moved inside where all authors and illustrators should be, in the middle of some great children’s books. It was great to get to see old friends and meet new ones.

Utah Watercolor Society
Logan Fine Arts Gallery
Writer & Illustrators for Young Readers
The Kings English Book Store

 

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Watercolor meets Red Rock and Navaho Sandstone

 

The 30 participating Utah Watercolor Society Artists at Robber's Roost Book Store in Torrey Utah

The 30 participating Utah Watercolor Society Artists at Robber’s Roost Book Store in Torrey Utah

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was one of 30 watercolor artists from the Utah Watercolor Society who were invited to participate in the first annual Arts and the Park Light on the Reef at Capitol Reef National Park.

First day and first painting.

First day and first painting.

 

The first day and first painting was a short afternoon hike up Capitol Gorge.

 

 

 

 

The light was perfect

The light was perfect

 

Cliff Shade

Cliff Shade

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The second day, second painting was a short hike up Sunrise Point off of the Gooseneck Road. Dave and I found a good spot and then he took off to explore and take a hike in the National Park.

Gnats

Gnats

 

There were two kinds of gnats, the ones that randomly fly into your eyeballs and die and the ones that bite. Both kinds were out in force.

 

Dave hiking out

Dave hiking out

After a morning of gnats and painting, it was nice to have the help of a pack horse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Third day, third painting

Third day, third painting

Third day, third painting was no hike, painting one hop skip and jump from the van but an early start to catch the light.

 

 

 

 

 

Morning light hitting Navaho Dome

Morning light hitting Navaho Dome

Becky Hartvigsen painting at Navaho Dome, Capitol Reef National Park

Becky Hartvigsen painting at Navaho Dome, Capitol Reef National Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One solution for gnats was this lovely painting attire.

One solution for gnats was this lovely painting attire.

 

This is how I looked when I met the car load of ladies from China and the bus load of people from France and the people from Germany and the Netherlands and several random bikers.

 

 

 

The ladies from China

The ladies from China

The bus load of people from France.

The bus load of people from France.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After three days of painting, the watercolors were framed. Morning light at Navaho Dome was framed thanks to Ray Conrad, one of the artists showing at Gallery 42 in Torrey. He took a screw out of one of his paintings to give to me so I could attach the wire to the back of my frame. The kit was missing one screw. (Note to self, next time bring extra framing hardware.)

The paintings were displayed at Robber's Roost for judging and auction.

The paintings were displayed at Robber’s Roost for judging and auction.

Some of the crowd at Robber's Roost.

Some of the crowd at Robber’s Roost.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Morning light at Navaho Dome

Morning light at Navaho Dome

With so many amazing artists, I was thrilled that the painting received the blue ribbon. A big thanks to the Entrada Institute, Capitol Reef National Park, Robber’s Roost and Utah Watercolor Society who made this weekend so special for all.

Utah Watercolor Society, Entrada Institute, Capitol Reef National Park, Robber’s Roost, and Torrey, Utah

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Enjoying the Ride

John Salminen at the Utah Watercolor Society Workshop

John Salminen at the Utah Watercolor Society Workshop

Sometimes things get so busy that you forget to enjoy the ride. I was able to take a watercolor workshop from John Salminen and his wife Kathy with the Utah Watercolor Society. It was an intense workshop. We spent the week working on a city scape and learned a ton of great information. I don’t take many workshops and so when I do, I am hoping it will be a good one and I was not disappointed. John and his wife were great teachers. Here is the watercolor that I worked on during the week.

So when you are busy and involved in great things that have you running one way and then another, don’t forget to enjoy the ride. That’s what I’m doing today and I hope you enjoy your ride too.

Utah Watercolor Society       John Salminen

Destination New York watercolor on paper.

Destination New York watercolor on paper.

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Plein Air Painting vs The Bus

Gallery stroll Scottsdale, Arizona

Gallery stroll Scottsdale, Arizona

I recently went down to Scottsdale, Arizona to the Western Federation of Watercolors Societies Show where I received signature status.

 

 

The Utah Watercolor Societies Attendees

The Utah Watercolor Societies Attendees

 

 

This is the fine group of ladies from Utah that made the trip down to Scottsdale for the show.

 

 

 

 

Sherry Meidell's by "Tulips at the Gate"

Sherry Meidell’s by “Tulips at the Gate”

This is the painting that made it into the show.

 

 

 

 

 

Receiving signature status in Western Fed

Receiving signature status in Western Fed

To get signature status, you need to be juried into four Western Fed Shows.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grace from my sketch book

Grace from my sketch book

 

One of the highlights of the trip was meeting Grace Haverty. She did a workshop on sketching for anyone  that wanted to attend. We traveled from the hotel to downtown Scottsdale. Grace always carries a sketch book bag in her car so she’s ready to sketch at a moments notice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Downtown Scottsdale

Downtown Scottsdale

I set up my paints and paper and started sketching a street in Scottsdale and was about half way through my painting when the scene changed.

 

 

 

 

The Bus blocked the entire view.

The Bus blocked the entire view.

You expect the light to change with clouds or wind but this time a big bus pulled up right in front of me and parked. A group of young interns slowly got off the bus. One intern said sorry as they spread out into the streets. I was worried that the bus had found a good parking spot for ever but luckily he pulled off and I could finish.

 

 

My sketch of a street in Scottsdale.

My sketch of a street in Scottsdale.

After the workshop we ate lunch with Grace and she invited the Utah group to her studio to take a look at her paintings. I guess our group was crazy enough to stick around til the afternoon when it turned into a downpour, another hazard of plein air painting.

www.gracehavertyart.com

 

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Color on the Wall

 

Dipping in the paint

Dipping in the paint

Adding color

Adding color

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The boys watched intently for one and a half minutes as I opened the jars of paint. Rule # 1 separate the boys and their blankets from the paint. If a white canvas is intimidating, then a whole wall is insurmountable but I dived in. That’s the best way to get started.

 

 

Art Appreciation

Art Appreciation

The boys wanted to help by taking pictures. Here they are discussing who get’s to take the first picture.

 

 

 

 

 

Starting at the top.

Starting at the top.

 

I used acrylic paint but it had a watercolor feel. It left some great textures on the wall.

 

 

 

 

 

If Grandma can paint on the wall, then I…….

If Grandma can paint on the wall, then I…….

Two hands and one brain

Two hands and one brain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everybody wanted to participate. It took two hands. He was really concentrating.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Painting the baby giraffe

Painting the baby giraffe

 

Going outside the lines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Painting the long necks.

Painting the long necks.

 

 

I worked a square at a time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Painting the Meerkats

Painting the Meerkats

 

The momma dived in to help with a meerkat and a frog. She is a great artist who usually paints with oils but the acrylics worked much the same way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lion cub

Lion cub

 

My favorite character was the lion cub.

Getting down low.

Getting down low.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can pull a pretty straight stroke if you use your whole arm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making a statement

Making a statement

 

Two hands and a foot placed on the wall as a permanent reminder of the day.

 

 

 

 

 

A good days work

A good days work

 

I had no clue how long it would take to paint. I was amazed to get it done in one weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The finished product.

The finished product.

 

And then the inevitable question, Grandma are you going to paint something on my wall?

 

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The WIYFR Conference

Illustrator Intensive from the New York SCBWI Conference

Illustrator Intensive from the New York SCBWI Conference

 

Today we have a guest blogger Melanie Skelton:  Raising six children gave me a good reason to discover the magic of picture books early in motherhood. You pull that busy toddler on your lap, or gather several children around and let them get lost in the illustrations as you read the story. Sometimes you pause to point out details, whether funny or interesting. Each page turn brings added magic to the moment as you delve into the life of a character and introduce these young pre-readers to the world of reading.

That magic is in the hands of the illustrator as they use their ability to bring the words of the author to life. Illustrators capture the details of a story and give it to us in a unique combination of lines and color. How does an illustrator step into that world to create the illustration that will hold the attention of those busy children who pick up the book? Sherry does this with her illustrations and will be teaching others the tools for accomplishing this at Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers (WIFYR) on June 17.

I am intrigued by her topic, “Stepping into Your Picture.” It reminds me of one of Sherry’s books. Although “The Day the Picture Man Came” is not about an illustrator, but an old time photographer, her illustrations do create that magic of people stepping into a picture.

In Sherry’s description of the WIFYR workshop, Sherry asks, “How do you put down on paper what you are feeling about the character and the story? How do you create motion and life in your illustrations? What does the setting say about the story and the character? Will use of color and design help to create a mood for your story?” These are the things that make picture book magic and will continue to pull generations of readers in before they even understand the words on the page.

 

 

Writing & Illustrating for Young Readers 

http://melanieskelton.blogspot.com/

 

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Getting Ready

Getting Ready

Getting Ready

It takes several sketches to get a drawing ready for the finished painting. This is a sketch for a watercolor I am now working on, “Old Glory”. I am also getting ready to present a mini-workshop at the “Writing & Illustrating for Young Readers Conference on June 17th. I am going to teach “Stepping into Your Picture”. That is something that we have to do as illustrators. We have to use our imagination to enter the picture we are working on and make it believable to those who view the picture. I am taking notes and pictures as I work through my current picture book project.

The WIFYR Conference has been a place where I have met and been taught by many great illustrators and writers. I took a workshop from the great writer Eve Bunting and the illustrator Eric Rohmann who did the Caldecott winning book “My Friend Rabbit”. It has been a place where you can be taught by some of the greatest in the country and not have to pay for a plane ticket and a hotel. This year I’m teaching the illustrating mini-workshop. So to live up to the great illustrators from the past I will be getting ready to make it the best experience I can for the illustrators that attend. When they leave, I want them to feel like they have learned and worked and received information that will change their illustrations. They are using my illustrations on the web site. For more information on the workshops that are available, check out  http://www.wifyr.com

Writing & Illustrating for Young Readers

Writing & Illustrating for Young Readers

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