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.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Transcript: 5/27/10; plus takeaways!

Many, many thanks to guest host Alicia "Kat" Dillman (@KatGirl_Studio), without whom we would have been chatless this week--we love you Kat! Looks like Wendy and I missed a good one.

TOPIC: Standing out in a Sea of Awesome. How do you promote yourself and your art?


Suggestions for promoting yourself:
Networking through online communities
Joining professional organizations
Participating in local events
Volunteering at SCBWI
Taking advantage of conferences for face-to-face meetings
Postcard mailings
Web site
School/library visits and signings

Always have handouts available for in-person meetings

It's okay to add a personal dimension with blogging, website

When presenting yourself to an AD, be current: discuss what's out there, recent conference presentations; your favorites

Face-to-face may be most the effective way to promote, but you must be prepared to handle rejection

Mailings, web site and email are a boon to introverted illustrators

For many illustrators, work would not be possible without internet and emails


Both definitions of "branding" are becoming more important for illustrators: creating a consistent, identifiable style, AND designing a "look" (studio colors, logo, etc.) for your promotional material:
Escape from Illustration Island has podcasts on style, and what ADs expect
Zero2Illo is conducting a 12-week challenge focusing on creating a business model for illustration (emphasis on marketing)

Tweet of the night:
@kellylight on face-to-face marketing:
"no fear of rejection--only fear of regret."

Full transcript follows. (This transcript was generated by wthashtag.com, whose time stamp seems a bit wonky.)

#kidlitart 5-27-10

Friday, May 21, 2010

Transcript: 5/20/10; plus takeaways!

TOPIC: What makes a character come to life for you visually?

Details that help set a character:
facial expression
body language/posture
distinctive item of clothing
hands and feet
quirky touches/flaws

How to achieve:
Draw characters over & over until you "know" them
Draw in many different poses, fram all angles
@wardomatic shared a sketch sheet from his book on Michael Phelps:
Practice gesture drawing; animators' "line of action" to set gesture for entire body
Play with shapes: sharp angles for harsh characters, rounded shapes for soft characters

Google images
@KatGirl_Studio shared this transition from Google image to illustration:
http://www.exoticleatherrugs.com/images/tigrillo.jpg to http://fav.me/d1xds10
kids' catalogs
old yearbooks
hanging out with real kids
How to Draw Animated Cartoons, by Preston Blair (Walt Foster books)
Scott McCloud's books on comics

Tweet of the night (a twofer):

"A character comes to life when you can see them breathing on the page. There is almost an aura around well drawn characters."

"I don't think in advance what a character should look like. I let them tell me."

Full transcript below:

#kidlitart 5-20-10

Friday, May 14, 2010

Transcript: 5/13/10; plus takeaways!

TOPIC: What are your best habits to maintain professional client relations?

Communicate clearly and in a timely manner
Respond to emails promptly
Post a breakdown of commissioning information on your web site
Clients expect honest input: be flexible, but don't be a pushover

Set up a project schedule at the outset
Set realistic deadlines for illustrations and approvals
Emphasize that deadlines cannot be met if client does not respond to preliminaries as scheduled

Work only under contract or an illustrator agreement w/invoice
Sample form: http://melindabeavers.wufoo.com/forms/proposal-acceptance-form
Another resource for forms: Breaking into Freelance Illustration, by Holly DeWolf
Contracts can help you filter out non-serious clients and offer some protection if client refuses to pay for work

Insist on staged payments
Half up front; or partial upon completion of sketches, upon approval to go to color, and upon final approval

Don't be tempted to take a job you know is not right for you, just because it's offered

If a client makes a bad decision regarding art, or requests something you feel will not work, try reasoning: your opinion is one of the reasons they hired you
One suggestion: prepare two mockups, to demonstrate your point
If all else fails, ask client to sign off on request

Document everything
Save emails, notes, reference sketches, preliminaries, everything related to a project, and back up your files

Tweet-up, SCBWI-LA 2011 . . . start saving up now! :-)

Tweet of the night:
@reneekurilla summed up the advice this way:
" . . . be honest about how long it will take you to make the art and don't agree to anything crazy!"

Full transcript below:

#kidlitart 5-13-10

Friday, May 7, 2010

Transcript: 5/6/10; plus takeaways!

TOPIC: Do you participate in online challenges such as Illustration Friday or NaPiBoWriWee? Why or why not?

Ongoing challenges
Illustration Friday
(good for networking and building a portfolio)
Sugar Frosted Goodness (must be a member to participate)
They Draw and Cook
Bonus: links to @joystewy's entry and @kellylight's entry
(closed for submissions--but fun browsing!)
Watercolor Wednesdays
(must apply and be accepted to participate)
Monday Artday
(must be a member to participate)

Other kick-starters
101 Projects for Artists and Illustrators at DaniDraws

personal challenges, such as @lyonmartin's Daily Doodle and @magelly's Utopia Moment

One-time or once-a year challenges
Zero 2 Illo's 12-week challenge
(going on now--focus on business model approach for illustrators; site includes a forum for participants)

Paula Yoo's second annual NaPiBoWriWee
(May 1-7, 2010: write a picture book a day for seven days; site includes a forum for participants)

Tara Lazar's PiBoIdMo
(November, 2009: month-long challenge to come up with a picture book idea every day; coincides with NaNoWriMo)

Challenges are great for networking, exposure, practice, and jump-starting creativity. Downsides are that they can distract you from "real" work; the rush to post can result in quantity over quality; and there's an overall danger of spending too much time on the internet consuming rather than producing. Suggestions for counteracting negatives are to post sketches to meet challenge deadlines, follow through later if project warrants; download challenge prompts to do on your own later.

We're apparently all in "web design hell" (except for @KatGirl_Studio, who offers this link to the template she used successfully to build her site; and @wardomatic, who favors iWeb)

Another site-building resource mentioned: tutorial at Escape from Illustration Island.

Chatters were reminded that ADs now search via iPhone and iPad--so to make sure formatting of site is compatible with those platforms (no Flash elements). Wordpress interface said to be easily adaptible.

Tweet of the night
@lyonmartin, voicing a common affliction among creative types:
"I need discipline . . . I have shiny thing syndrome."

We'd like to post a more comprehensive list of online challenges. If you have others to add, please list them here in the comments, or DM us on Twitter (@BonnieAdamson or @lyonmartin). Thanks!

The full transcript is available in the Scrib'd reader below. As usual, all comments and suggestions are welcome!

#kidlitart 5-6-10