Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me by Sheralyn Barnes

Today is my birthday and I’m halfway to ninety should I get there. 
I really wasn’t planning to make a big deal of it, especially because I’ve been feeling older in body and spirit in the last few months. Also, I am allergic to a lot of foods. I can’t eat gluten, sugar, or dairy. This is terribly inconvenient for my poor husband who probably has one of the hardest wives to try to do something special for on her birthday. We usually just go out for Indian food.

So a thought occurred to me the other night. I was thinking about this upcoming post and how I’ve been feeling rather “un-fun” with my art lately. I was thinking how ever since I started creating art for money (and on the computer), a lot of the fun has gotten overshadowed by anxiety about doing a good job, my obsessiveness that accompanies working digitally, and navigating contracts. I started thinking about what a BIG deal your birthday is to you when you’re a kid and how you let EVERYONE know. So I told my husband we should definitely have cake for my birthday this year....on paper. I went out and bought crayons and some construction paper. I spent 3 hours literally sprawled out on the living room floor, crayons all around me, making myself a birthday cake. My husband made me one too (he burned it, but it’s still lovely). And my Pixel Shavings mates were incredibly kind enough to take time out of their (very) busy schedules to make me cakes as well. Debbie even took up my challenge of not doing it digitally for the thrill of it.

It was great to not have Control-Z as a safety net. It was great to linger aimlessly over paper on the floor using stubby little sticks of waxy color that seem to work best when held fist first. It was great to realize by middle aged body can still manage to sit on the floor for hours. But most of all, it was great to feel like a kid again and get lost in coloring for a few hours for no reason whatsoever.....except...

IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!

©2012 Sheralyn Barnes

©2012 Brian Barnes

©2012 Hazel Mitchell

©2012 Debbie Ohi

©2012 Russ Cox

Thanks to everyone for the loveliest cakes ever 
and for making my birthday so great!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Being an Idea Factory by Fred Koehler

Dan Santat illustrated like seven books in one year. My friend Janeen Mason told me she can have a dozen projects at various stages of development all up in the air at once. At a recent SCBWI conference I heard repeated again and again that successful writers and illustrators are idea factories.

So while book numero uno, DAD'S BAD DAY, is in full swing, I'm keeping up the writing and the sketching and the concepts. Here are a couple of recent ideas that I think have some promise.

The Pink Princess Problem - wherein a poor little giant is pestered by princesses who are kinda snarky, mean, and evil.

The Happiness Emporium - wherein a penniless boy encounters a curious shopkeeper with the secret to lifelong happiness, and it's for sale.

Thanks to all of the friends of pixelshavings, and check in with us next month!

-Fred Koehler