Sunday, September 20, 2009

Infinite (words!...I know it's a stretch) and Welcome (Illustration Friday, belated)

(click to enlarge if you'd like)

Hi everyone...
Warning...this is a LONG post...scroll to the end if you'd like. : )

I'm back and I've missed posting and checking in on all of you..I am hoping to catch up this week, definitely. A few wonderful things have transpired since my last post weeks ago...
here are the highlights:

1) After signing up with the SCBWI recently (a few months ago), I suppose my email address was sent to the Northern California SCBWI group, and I received an invitation to their 3rd annual Illustrator's Day up at Fort Mason in San Francisco. By happenstance, I had stumbled across an AMAZING artist's work at, and it turned out that Amy Bates would be speaking at the all-day event, along with Laurent Linn, the Art Director for Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. I encourage all of you to check out their work. Also to speak and assess work, were Kristine Brogno - Art director, Chronicle; Sara Gillingham, Indep. Art Director, formerly at Chronicle, Illustration Instructor - CCA, John Clapp – Asst. Professor of Illustration at San Jose State, and Abigail Samoun – Editor - Tricycle. They were all amazing to listen to, and I learned so much about the children's picture book industry.

It was truly a wealth of information, but mostly just an honor to be there listening to Amy and Laurent as they discussed working on books together and then listening to the entire panel as they critiqued (a "first look" panel) our group's work in a slide presentation which we could submit one piece anonymously to be critiqued by each person for a few minutes. Needless to say, I learned a lot about what worked as a "piece" for submitting to publishers that would encourage them to ask for more samples, and what didn't say enough.

The highlight for me was to have my portfolio (I had been working hard on putting together a portfolio of work (18 pieces) reviewed by Amy, herself. My goodness, talk about a wonderful person!..she is just the most down to earth, outrageously gifted and talented person I have had the honor of reviewing my humble work! She was incredibly generous with her comments and offered me helpful advice and critcisms..I learned SO much in our 30 minute review.

Needless to say, I was overwhelmed with the amount of information I received that day, that it's carried me forward with an energy and an even greater passion and interest for the children's book industry! (I am going to post about what I've learned this week...stay tuned!)

2) So, before the big event, working on the portfolio was #1 on my plate. I also decided that I should get some postcards made so that I could leave a sample behind for anyone who'd want any...and so I checked out Vistaprint (check them out...I have been happily surprised with most of their products!)..and for a small amount, I had a few postcards, and my business card to leave behind at the event. Anyway, the postcard project was another self-inflicted project, which I found challenging because it's hard to figure out what to print...I decided to print two pieces (Goldielocks and Baby Bear, and Something New). Anyway, I highly recommend seeing if there are promotionals from Vistaprint just to see something of yours printed. It definitely made me feel a bit more prepared on that day. : )

3) So going back to #2, the next big item on my plate was to get my website up and running, since I had placed my web address ( instead of my blog address, on my promotionals. Now, talk about pressure! I decided that for once and for all, I'd get my buns in gear and work on it. Now, I am not a web-designer, by any means. I own some amazing applications, took one basic HTML course about 7 years ago, and then decided that I'd just keep my web PAGE up for my site. Since I would now be distributing my postcards to prospective publishers and such, I decided I should really try to design and publish my website. Nuts, you say?...YES. Nuts I am, and was, for weeks. That's where I've been...pulling my hair out, and basically calling in my troops (namely my wonderful brother, Doug) who saved me from screaming my head off at Dreamweaver. So......

taaa daaa.... introducing (welcome, one and all!)

4) About these illustrations...the little girl planting her carrot garden is hopefully the start of a "book idea" that I'd love to keep working on..the style looks a bit different cause I'm using one of Amy's tips (thank you, Amy!) about bringing down the backgrounds in tone..I think I've overworked it I must keep practicing!), and then there's the illustration for "Welcome" which shows my little one welcoming her newest addition to her stuffed animal family....Pip!

Lastly before I end this very long post..I just want to thank all of you who have dropped by here, and have commented and encouraged me through these many months. I never thought that this blog would be as valuable as it is to me. Not value as in any monetary value, but in terms of what it means to me to be a part of a super kind and generous community of creative people. Thanks everyone! I always say, YOU ROCK!
: ) Now to visit all of you.....I've got a lot of work ahead... : )


  1. Shirley. You've been busy + productive! Congratulations on your professional looking web site.

  2. This is like the best news girly!!! I'm so dog gone proud of you my lady! Hard work yes, but the hardest you'll ever love and enjoy I promise you. I had to do the same things and though is seems like a whole lot, once you get it all done and up and running it goes smoothly. I'm so proud of you lady bug! Your site is wonderful. I have a site I haven't launched yet cause I'm super busy on few projects. I have so many question for you. Like, have you published a book yet??? Has anyone approached you from the conference about doing one???? Am I being to nosey???/ He he he! I just fell in love with you personality and you awesome delightful and fun illustrations! I want to see you in publication around the world. Do you have an agent?? Maybe I didn't see it on your site. An over site on my part maybe. Just interested is all. I hope to see you holding your own book soon.

  3. What a great post Shirley! How inspiring! I love your site, well done!

  4. Adorable IF entries! Thank you also for the inspirational post. :) Your new website is lovely!

  5. Hi Shirly, Wow!!! I'm sooooo excited and happy for you!!! It sounds like you have been so busy. I admire your talent and drive so much!! Your new pieces are lovely. Full of those gorgeous colours, expressions and lovely little details!!! Keep up the wonderful work and I'm so looking forward to watching your exciting journey!!!! I'm off to check out your new site!!! Yay!!!

  6. I am so so happy for you Shirley!!! I know how crowded that plate can be and how amazing it feels when you start knocking things off of it! Slowly but surely.

    Creating a website and printing your pieces for business cards and postcards is a great big ole serving on your plate! It's great to see you moving forward no longer in steps, but in strides! Bravo!

    I also can't wait to hear what kind of information you got from those wise illustrators you met!!! Congratulations sweety! :)


  7. So very busy!!! Good luck with your creative endeavors... your work is lovely!

  8. I love your site - it's so inspiring. The website looks lovely too. I really am wishing you well - you deserve great success! p.s. both of these illustrations are equally impressive. Love all the colours and composition!

  9. That's one enthusiastic post! I really like the girl and the teddy! Congratulations and your website is looking very cool :)

  10. Hi Shirley, thanks for your wonderful sharing :) Your excitement and motivation is contagious! :D


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