This is the blog home of #kidlitart, a live Twitter chat Thursdays at 9:00 pm Eastern, for children's book illustrators, picture book authors, author/illustrators and friends. Check back weekly to read transcripts, comment on previous chats and suggest topics for upcoming chats.

Friday, September 10, 2010

9/9/10: Guest chat with Jonathan Woodward

TOPIC: Please welcome zero2illo founder and uber-talented illustrator @jonwoodward!

Here is a distillation of the main chat in Q&A form. Jonathan's comments are in italics:

So, Jonathan--would you like to fill us in a bit on zero2illo?
I started zero2illo as a way to keep me accountable-I'd procrastinated for too long in my illustration aspirations. [It] was also way to share resources I found along the way that may help other aspiring illustrators too & it sort of grew from there.

How's it working so far?
It has sort of kept me accountable and in outwardly sharing my progress it has helped me decide where I want to go.

How does [zero2illo] work?
It started as just a blog where I would post progress pics and
share resources but then came the challenges!

How did you arrive at having 12 weeks for a challenge?
It was really my wife @leawoodward that was responsible for the 12 weeks - she got fed up of me always talking about becoming an illustrator and said get on with it or let it go - I couldn't possibly let my passion go though. Together we decided to give myself 12 weeks to really make a go of it & she suggested inviting everyone else along for the ride

So important to have a supportive partner.
Totally - my wife is amazing and definitely the brains of the partnership (and the looks too actually).

How do the challenges work? Do you set up daily, weekly goals...and then, what happens after you reach your goals?
First we mapped out 12 steps that would be integral to setting up an illustration business from the ground up. We then put a post (task) on the blog each week for everyone tocomplete & week 12 you'd have a solid foundation.

The only thing keeping me going is fear of failure . . . and not being able to pay the bills.
It's funny how we all work as fear of failure was what kept me from starting in first place - self doubt.

How did you get the message "out there"? that you were starting the challenge? 02illo obviously, any others?
It was just through the site really and the facebook page too - I announced it about a month before we started.People then started tweeting about it and blogging it on their sites and I was totally blown away by the response. I was worried I might only get the odd one or two people joining but it got into the hundreds which was very inspiring.

I read about it on FB and thought, why not? I am so glad I did!
The business plan (OGSM) week was one I was a bit concerned about as it was very business focused and wasn't sure what participants would make of it - but the OGSM(Objectives, Strategies,Goals & Measures) is a great tool.

With each 12 week challenge, do you have daily goals, weekly goals?
The challenges are weekly and sometimes broken down into a couple of tasks - eg. create 2 portfolio pieces.

Can you offer a link to all of this...or is it on your web site?
It's all on the website and we've actually just pulled everything
together into a handy ebook too. The weekly blog posts are all still on the site but the ebook gathers lots of extra resources too.

Here's the link for the 12 week challenge ebook: http://zero2illo.com/store/12-week-challenge-kit/

How does one get in on this and is it open to beginners or pros only?
The challenge is open to anyone from beginner to pro and you can do
it anytime at your leisure.

Is it hard for you to start this project and have your work become about the project and not about your art?
One of our main intentions for 12WC was to bring in ideas, technology & methods
outside of the illustration norm = like the OGSM. My wife was a management consultant so we used a lot of her knowledge to do things a little differently & set up a solid business.

That's great, a different perspective...Thinking differently than how an illustr8r would approach it maybe?
Exactly-my wife's a techie whizz too & I'm a graphic/web designer too so we mixed it all up into a pot & served it up.

Any success stories yet? Is it too soon?
We have a few people that have had there 1st professional illustration commissions which was awesome to hear about.

What would be the best tip for those finding their day jobs or life getting in the way of their illo goals?
I'd say 'how badly do you want it?' There is always extra time to be found in your day.

I've found I can get a lot more accomplished in 15 minutes than I previously thought.
Especially true when you have a baby. Don't know what I used to do with all my time before becoming a parent.

So how is your own challenge progressing? Are you meeting your goals?
My own challenge, hmmmm. I underestimated how much time it would take to run the challenge and so I fell behind.

LOL, so you still need to finish?
Well, my goals have changed slightly & that is due to taking part in the 12WC as made me focus on what I wanted. I'm no longer necessarily looking outward for someone to hire me - I have plans to earn a living from illustration by building my own little empire. I have big plans but it's so important to think big. I'm moving more towards creating my own products and marketing myself using the 1000 true fans principle: http://www.kk.org/thetechnium/archives/2008/03/1000_true_fans.php

You're also expanding into digital with your work. How do you like working in Photoshop?
Yeah - just started doing some collages digitally which I previously couldn't get a grip of. Really enjoying it now I've worked out my processes and methods of

Do you think a business plan is important for any creative endeavor?
I think it's vital for any business - that is why the OGSM is so great as it's fun to create and a one page doc.

I think I've reworked my OGSM 4 times since the #12wk :) It is a wonderful tool to have at your desk to stay focused.
It's designed to be a flexible document. Mine has totally changed since I did mine in week 2. [It's] the law of attraction. So many of us focuson what we don't want rather than what we do want.

One of my very dear friends always says we get what we think we deserve...I think in a lot of cases that's true...
I love the Henry Ford quote 'Whether you think you can or think you can't, either way you're right.' Find out what the blocking factor is and smash it to pieces.

Find out what that blocking factor is and smash it to pieces - good topic for a series! I had a block for nearly two years.
Mine lasted for about 10 - never thought I was good enough, always comparing myself to my fav illustrators.

Holy Smokes!! How did you function? How did you come out of that and the frustration?
You uncovered my secret earlier - a kick ass wife!! I'm a very lucky guy. My wife [gave] me a kick up the bum as she got so sick of me talking and never doing.

I've spent the last 5 years perfecting a unique style. Been waiting until I was 'ready.'
I can relate to that - the old 'I just need to do one more illo and then I'll be ready' syndrome. One thing we talk about in the ebook is looking at your consumption to production ratio - I was always consuming & never creating

Our time is almost up tonight--thank you SO much to @jonwoodward for elevating the discussion tonight!
Thanks everyone for being so kind - I wish I could join you all every week. Some of you may know that we are www.locationindependent.com too and basically travel around taking our business with us and we may well be heading over to the US next year so if I'm on the same time zone I'll definitely be back to join in the fun.

The Giveaway:
The winner of the zero2illo 12 week challenge kit ebook is: @jessicablank! For everyone else the promo code for $7 off the ebook is: kidlitart2010. The promo code is for anyone reading the transcript of this chat too that couldn't make it to the live chat. All you need to do is go to http://zero2illo.com/store/12-week-challenge-kit/ - click on buy now and then enter: kidlitart2010. (NOTE: Coupon expires Wednesday, September 15.)

Full transcript below:

#kidlitart 9-9-10

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