Getting down to it

Deadlines are good things. They make you stretch yourself. You achieve things you thought were impossible. Sometimes things are even better because you have to work quickly. I relish them and - I dread them. But I know I am happier when I have them, than when I don't. I think that's one of the reasons I enjoy working in the illustration field. Mostly you are working for a client, and that client has expectations - after all they are putting food on your table. I often hear freelancers (in all kinds of work) saying that they have a hard time getting motivated. My advice: get yourself a deadline. And if you don't have one, create one for yourself.

The reason I am rattling on about deadlines is that there's a few on my calendar. This is excellent, means I am busy. Who doesn't want to be busy? I handle my deadlines by making a written calendar, right now it goes until August 31. I have 2 manuscripts to illustrate by then (the next two books in Anastasia Suen's cheerleader series for Kane and Miller publishing). Before you 'gasp' they are black and white with colour cover, so it's not colour double spreads!)

Mid way through this is wham bam ... SCBWI Summer Conference in LA. Just to make things difficult for myself I've decided to redo my portfolio with totally new pieces. So that's F-I-V-E weeks away. Plus I want to take 2 dummies with me. I will be entering the Portfolio Showcase again ... this year I feel like I know what I am doing. Well, more than last year anyway!

As I said, nothing like a deadline ... here's one of the new pieces with a more whimsical style than usual.

On the board for next week I also have designs to do for a pottery company in CA, they produce planters for the trade market (Target, Lowes etc). I used to do a lot of work for them, and was lucky enough to go to China to the trade fair and factories several years ago ... and then the economy nosedived. It's a good sign they are sending me work again. Of course, you can't choose when it comes along, so hence the planning calendar.

I guess I will be working some late nights on the portfolio!!

As a nice treat at the end of August I get to teach a drawing cruise on the Schooner Isaac H Evans. It's shaping up to be a busy, fun and fruitful summer.

The trip to LA will be welcome - a big conference like this is always intense, as you want to hear all the awesome speakers and still network. (And have some party time). Bring it on. Last year I knew very few people ... this year I feel like I am going back to family. In the lonely life of the freelance illustrator I think that's an unusual feeling. If you are an aspiring children's illustrator or writer - make sure you join the SCBWI and go to conferences and workshops!

Talking of deadlines, must get back to them.

Just want to say many thanks to everyone who sent me sympathy on the loss of my dog ... it's been a hard week.



PS - Congrats to Margy Hayes who is 100th member of my blog. She will be receiving an original piece of artwork!