Blogging - a motivational tool?

Since January I have been blogging pretty much on a weekly basis. In the past I have always found it hard to keep up with a journal. I got bored. Somehow I was never comfortable with just writing down my stuff in a little book, and then putting it away in the nightstand drawer. In fact I found it downright embarrassing and oddly uncomfortable.

So why does it seem so much easier to blog? Is it because, on the odd occasion, someone, somewhere on the web reads my drivel and leaves me a comment? Totally narcissistic. But, you know, talking to what may (or may not) be an imaginary listener has really made me focus on what I am chattering on about. In the end of the week round up of news I look back on what I've achieved (or not)and what (if anything) I am looking forward to in the week to come.

When I re-read I have a real sense of what I was thinking about several months ago, and I can also see if what I planned went the way I thought it would or whether the tangents I zoomed off on have led me down a more interesting path.Perhaps this is just the same with a private diary, but blogging, well, you have to mean it somehow!

And therefore, in an odd way, the weekly blog is keeping me motivated. I like to have something to talk about and pictures to show you (and me!). And this blog-writing-time let's me gather my thoughts and gird my loins to get on with the tasks ahead.

When I started the blog I thought it would just be a way of letting people know about my illustrations and drawing. And 'something you have to do' in these technological days to build a so-called 'platform'. I had no idea I would ENJOY it.

I held out on Facebook for a long time too ... and now I love it (probably too much!) I have made some excellent contacts on FB, found new and sincere friends, and learned a great deal. It too is a source of inspiration and motivation.

Unlike a lot of bloggers, and many in the children's lit and illustration world, I am not good at gathering and sharing huge amounts of information and links and what-not. I just hope that my bumbling posts may help in some way other's on the same journey. I hope they make someone smile now and again and perhaps entertain.

But most of all I am thankful that I can make my art better and be a small part of this great tradition.

Right. Enough of the euphorics.

I went sailing this week! (Did you miss last week's blog?? TSK TSK) Here's a pic of the students I taught in an art cruise on Isaac H Evans Windjammer Cruise last week. They came from as far away as CA.

That's me in the middle with Capt Brenda. It was a great time ... we sailed around the Maine islands, but, oh, did the wind give us a good going over! I'll say! Here are few more of my sketches and photos ...

 You can find more on my FaceBook Fan Page.

I am still working on the 4 math PB layouts ... 2 down, 2 to go. I have had some great feedback from a few cool illustrators and writers and I thank them bunches for their help! It never fails to surprise me how nice folks in the children's illustration world are ...

Oh yes, the MANUSCRIPT is here for THE BOOK I will be working on this next couple o' months. So this weekend I will going over it and planning out the spreads. Really looking forward to getting my teeth into it.

Tomorrow off to see an exhibition of Whistler's prints in Waterville, Maine with some other artists, so that will feed the mind.

And before I forget, maybe you will tune in (or download) Red River Radio prog I am on next week chatting about illustration ... here is the link ....Dellanis Tea Time

Cheerio till next time!
aka The Wacky Brit

PS .. nothing new on the bedside table ... oops.

Dummy (plural)

Dummy. It's a funny word when you think about it. The dictionary describes it as 'general style of a contemplated piece of printing.' Which is indeed what I have been working on this week. Of course it 'informally' can mean a somewhat stupid person, and sometimes that applies to me also. What a versatile language English is! 

So, yes, Dummy's. (Or should it be dummies?) Whichever, I have been working on the math book layouts (aka T'he Dummy' for those not in the terminology).  I have pretty much finished Bear -

And Aardvark -

Next the Dinosaur and then Dragonfly layouts. Each one seems to be taking 3 days to get into shape ... I already had a rough layout done and some sketches. I have been adding shading to the sample coloured pages and putting the text in speech bubbles, as it is all direct speech and makes more sense. Doing some revising and adding in bits and pieces like end pages and title page ideas and stuff. 

I was so hoping to get them finished and submitted by the end of September ... it's still doable, just. But next week I am teaching a sketching cruise on a Maine Windjammer (Isaac H Evans in Rockland). the weather is looking good, so hopefully we won't all be in the galley drawing bowls of fruit, and as soon as I get back I will have the MANUSCRIPT from the publisher for the BOOK and then it is full steam ahead on the illustrations for IT. So, maybe I will find a few late nights to work on the last two math books. I am SO ready to submit them. I am so fed up of working on them!! I thought I knew where I was going to send them. And now I might be having second thoughts. Well, whatever, they are getting off my desk in an envelope and on to some one else's desk.

And that's about it.  I haven't surfaced much from the attic. I see a bright thing rise in the East out the window, and set in the West so I know the world is still turning.

Just over a month until the conference in Nevada and first mentor session with Priscilla Burris .. looking forward to it, but there is another thing hurtling towards me at speed. What's up with time?? 

Looking ahead to next year I am considering applying for the Amhurst College Mass, Illustration Master Class in summer. That would be awesome (Americanism) and I hear Peter De Seve and Mo Willems might be on the faculty. Two of my fav illustrators. Not sure how much it might cost yet ... guess I will need to save my pennies and get some more work in!

Right, I am pooped. Going to watch some TV and drink some rum in anticipation of sailing next week. I will be taking my camera, so pics to come next time, I expect.

Casting Off!
aka The Wacky Brit

PS ... Nothing new on the bedside table. Rereading 'Elidor' by Alan Garner, because if there is anyone I wish I could write like it is the old master.

PPS If anyone has a recipe for no-sugar and no-fat cake please send it to me!

Art Directors, Agents and Authors. Welcome to the letter A.

And you can't have too much Alliteration in the title of a blog post. (Oh, Alright then, you can.) (Plus After reading my last blog post ... groan, barely literate in parts. I blame it on the boogey.)

ART DIRECTOR: Postcards do work ... sent out my latest promo postcard last week (if you must see it AGAIN, here it is - the poster from the NESCBWI conference, I know you are tired of it.)

Anyone who would like a postcard just send me an email with your snail mail Address to and I will gladly mail one to you. So, I digress; I received an invitation from a Smashing Art Director to submit sample sketches for a book they are working on. Hopefully I will hear next week if they CHOSE ME. Or not. Still, gratifying to be Asked. The main character is a teenage boy ... here's what I came up with  ... the one at the end is the one they like best (so far.)

Also they may want the whole book hand lettered and I would LOVE to do that!

AGENTS: Regular readers (hello Mrs Trellis from Wales!) may recall that I was in a state of high Anxiety last week Awaiting the call from the Lovely Agent (said in the voice of Father Jack - note to reader go rent 'Father Ted' from Netflix or similar). This Lovely Agent and I are not, Alas, to be married in Author/Agent bliss ... Ah well. NEXT!!

AUTHORS: (And Illustrators.) We had our second meet of ReVision (our Central Maine crit group). We met in Augusta and went to the Harlow Gallery for a talk by Author/Illustrator Jeannie Brett. Small Attendance, but lots of good information and it is Always a treat to rummage through the roughs and dummies of Another Artist. Five of us came along, and we swapped news and ideas before hand. It really is excellent to have like minds At hand - the energy created by being together really helps when you are back Alone in the Attic.

A busy week in All. A rainy sail on the Isaac H Evans last Sunday, but nice to be out on the sea, in the ocean timewarp. Met a fellow tin whistler on board ... so we had a little toot.

And I Am Almost done with 'Share the Bear.' all scanned in, text to be Added. You never know by the end of next week I may be ready to submit All four manuscripts to A Lovely Publisher. And then I can quit boring you with them! It will be a relief to get them out into the slushpile. Oh no. Then I will have to decide what to do After that!

Addled is what my brain is by the heat ... how About you? Although it's breezy today, for which I am thankful. Snow ... it seems a distant dream ...

Alas I must Away back to my layout now, and leave you in peace. (Did I over-do the Alliteration do you think??? Guffaw).

Adios mon Amigos
(AkA The Wacky Brit).

PS. 12 days to LA conference.

PPS. On the bedside table this week:
"Going Bovine" Libba Bray
"Imagine a Day" Sarah L Thomson/Rob Gonsalves
"The Circus Ship" Chris Van Dusen
"Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach" Melanie Watt
"Owen" Kevin Henkes
"Artist to Artist" Philomel Books