Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Color Me: Sunbathing Frog

I know I can't wait for this! Color in this coloring page and send it to me at as a jpeg or pdf and I'll post it on my blog! Happy Coloring!! For more Coloring pages click here.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Color Me: Father's Day!!

What is everyone getting their dad for Father's Day? Color in this coloring page for Dad and then send it to me at as a jpeg or pdf and I'll post it on my blog! Happy Coloring!! For more Coloring pages click here.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Piggy Wiglet Edited

Here is Piggy Wiglet fixed up a little bit. I added more back to mama cow which I do think helps lead your eye right to Piggy. I put a hill at the bottom of the barn so that the perspective looks like your looking up at the hill. Piggy's back leg has a little bit more curve, and I also lightened up the grass. I think it looks better. What does everyone else think?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Color Me: Bunny's Ribbon!

Color in this coloring page and send it to me at as a jpeg or pdf and I'll post it on my blog! Happy Coloring!! For more Coloring pages click here.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

NJ SCBWI Conference: Day 2

Day 2 of the Conference was such a great and informative packed day! I ate breakfast with some familiar faces and talked to some fellow illustrators. We shared portfolios and traded postcards. We listened to a panel discussion Q and A while we sipped our coffees.

I then continued my day and went to an agent panel discussion workshop and listened to what some of the agents had to say about querying and telling a good story. A lot of it dealt more with the writer's end which was interesting since that is a whole other item of exploration. The agents all agreed they were looking for stories with a good combination of narrative and conversation. I learned that a whole scene to a story will have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Go to the library and look at books to know your market, talk to librarians, and tell a story in your postcard!

I also attended Leeza Hernandez's Inspiration workshop. She said dress creative, it makes you feel better about yourself and enables you to work better. She also led us through some fun activities to get creative and brainstorm new illustration ideas. One key element is to take yourself back to a specific time in your childhood and remember the smells, the way things looked, the people you were with, and how you felt in a particular situation. This will help you to draw the inner child within and spark some great illustration ideas!

I attended another workshop that led us to develop ideas for successful school visits and how this can play a key role on the income of an author or an illustrator. Sudipta Bardhan as always gave a wonderful lecture on rhythm and rhyme shared some guidelines she follows to create a successful picture book manuscript. She said with picture book texts becoming shorter and shorter, one should aim at a 650 max word count and to include no more than one stanza per page.

I also had a portfolio critique with Scott Piehl of Disney Book Group. He offered me a lot of advice to improve my work and gave me some pointers when diving into future illustrations. The day closed off with some raffle giveaways and I am pleased to say I won two prizes!!! One was a pack of 5 autographed picture books and another was an early reader chapter book with an original piece of artwork from the book! Phew what a day! I am also happy to say I made some important contacts and had some important people show interest in my work that will hopefully lead to some future good yay!! (stay tuned!!)

I highly recommend going to any SCBWI event, especially NJ. The staff of fellow authors and illustrators went above and beyond to provide valuable information and priceless connections for people in or pursuing the children's book industry.

Friday, June 5, 2009

NJ SCBWI Conference: Day 1: Illustrator's Intensive Workshop with Tim Gillner

Today was a very fun filled day as I arrived on the Princeton Theological Seminary Campus this rainy morning for our illustrator's intensive workshop. I finally was able to officially meet two members from my critique group, wonderful ladies Penny Weber and Deb Cuneo. We split off into 2 groups of 10 for our critique. I was in Tim Gillner's group of Boyds Mill Press. Everyone brought with them a preassigned illustration in which we were given the opportunity to submit a sketch to the art director and have him make comments before bringing in the final art to the conference. I chose the story Piggy Wiglet, a manuscript about a little piggy who decides he is going to leave his pen, go out the barn, and into the city in an attempt to catch the sun. This is my first sketch for submission.
Afterwards I received these comments from Tim:
" Hi Christina,
Nice sketch,
I love the expressions on the cows. I am having a problem with the goose. It seems to be lost up there and it seems to be too far away from the text. I am not sure what to do here. Here are a couple thoughts which may or may not work.
1. Move the barn to the left into the valley to isolate the goose and move the piggy a little to the right.
2. See attached PDF. I just moved these around. you may have to change position and direction. This is just to give you an idea. ------------->

3. Leave as is.
You can do another sketch and send it to me or just make the correction when you do the final. It is up to you.


After reviewing these comments I then went along to the final deciding to take his advice from the PDF he had played around with.

It was finally my turn for a critique as I waited with anticipation second from last. Tim said "that it actually turned out a lot better than I thought it was going to be from the sketch" in which I responded "Thanks......I think". I smiled though because I knew this was a good thing for my finished piece! The grass may be too dark Tim said but can easily be fixed in photoshop. A few fellow illustrators also commented that perhaps I can add in a grass hill at the bottom of the barn to give it more of a rolling hills feel. Also a nice suggestion was that perhaps if the cows back is continued to the edge than it would take away that negative space in the upper left corner and, in turn drag your eye closer to the pig. (You can cover the upper left corner with your thumb and squint one eye to understand what I mean.)

I also learned some very valuable information such as it is always a good question to ask a publisher if your book will be using "perfect binding" in which they glue the spine of your book and you actually lose 3/16 " so it is wise in this case to add more illustration room to the gutter. Additionally, interactive websites are not always a good idea since the art director wants to just get to your work as soon as possible since their time is precious. This also includes seperating your portfolio into educational, picture book, and advertising categories so they can use their time more efficiently to see the types of portfolio pieces they would be interested in. Also the Highlights Foundation offers two workshops for illustrators in which you can apply for a scholarship to attend!

I then had a lovely lunch and was able to sit with a number of illustrators from critique group and was also able to have a little group chat with Scott Piehl of Disney's Group for Young Readers. I was also able to see my good college friend and fellow illustrator Olga Levitskiy.

The rest of the day was packed with wonderful presentations and inspirational speeches by Newbury Award Winner Richard Peck and award winning illustrator of 48 picture books E.B. Lewis. He explained when an artist struggles to find their voice and said "the artist is never supposed to be aware of their style- someone else comes in and recognizes the work. We are just producing." He also explained the difference between an illustrator and a fine artist. He said, " the illustrator is solving someone else's problem and a fine artist is solving a philosophical question for themself." I also admired his remark that "artists are the critical thinkers of society."

Overall is an informative, fun filled day and I can't wait to go back and see what's in store for tomorrow!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

New Painting!!

The Chase

I just finished this piece and hope to use it for a self promotional post card. Tomorrow is the NJ Scbwi Conference in Princeton and hopefully get some feedback from art directors Tim Gillner of Boyds Mills Press and Scott Piehl of Disney's Group for young readers. I also have another painting I just finished as an assignment for tomorrow but will post more on that later after my critique!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Color Me: Alligator and Squirrel Painting

Color in this coloring page and send it to me at as a jpeg or pdf and I'll post it on my blog! Happy Coloring!! For more Coloring pages click here.
News and Updates from Christina Ann Rodriguez