Friday, August 8, 2014

SCBWI Tomie dePaola Contest entry - Curious what you think this sequence is about! :)

Each year, the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI.org) sponsors the Tomie dePaola Award, given annually to an illustrator of promise chosen by Tomie himself. I have entered for the past 4 years as I have found that it's been a great opportunity for me to work on something that could become a new portfolio piece. I really enjoyed working on this piece because I have been writing a bit more, and trying to develop characters and stories, and this exploration of a character-driven prompt was right up my alley!

This year's prompt was to create a visual sequence of a character..here is the brief:
Visual sequence is key to conveying feeling, action, storyline, interest and character, especially in children’s book illustration.
One of the hardest things to do is to know your character so well—what he, she, or it looks like, how they move, how they project emotion, and at the same time to make the character immediately recognizable and consistent —all without resorting to a generic depiction, but making sure your character has charm, individuality and special qualities that make young readers fall in love with them. All of this is the same whether your character is human, animal, and yes, even vegetable! (Maybe inanimate as well)
The task is to create a six-panel sequence that has a beginning, middle and an end that is obvious, featuring a character of your own invention. It can be funny, sad, dramatic or ordinary, but interesting and with lots of invention and finesse.
I understand that there are computer programs that make “sequence” easier than good old-fashioned drawing. But, I don’t know any of them. I leave it to you.
SPECS:       4 to 6 panels – illustrator’s choice
SIZE:          8 ½” x 14” – horizontal or vertical *Please note–this is the size of the entire piece, not the individual panels.
COLOR:      B&W or Full Color – your choice
NO WORDS 

Please view the Unofficial Gallery here, for all (most of?) the entries to this year's contest, and here for the 10 semi-finalists, Mr. dePaola has chosen to move on to the finals. Best of luck to everyone!

Curious if you can tell what's going on in my word-less sequence...your feedback would be greatly appreciated for my personal development as a visual storyteller...so please, be as critical as possible, I can take it! :) And thank you! ~ Shirley

9 comments:

  1. I read this wordless sequence as... a child born with a tuneful voice, always singing or humming, or communicating with song. Even charming the animals with his tuneful words or sounds... but Mum who has heard too much too often, says Shhhhh!
    And without his singing, he has no more joy (colour) in his life - hence the b&w visuals.
    I hope he finds a way to sing again :) He looks too sad in silent movie mode.

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    1. As always, June, I SO appreciate your visits and comments..thank you so much! YOu are SO right in the storyline..and the story doesn't end there...I just have to get on this one too! And Rhino and Girl :) Thanks again!

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  2. Shirley, I think your illustrations are wonderful here... so colorful and your character has such great expressions and you can tell he's the same person in each panel. I'd say the only thing that seemed a bit off (and might be the reason Tomi passed) is that the third "row" is really another 10 different panels if you think about it. It has that same character in 10 different poses/actions. Plus that third row uses a different artistic treatment than the other (white background, no frames around each action, etc.) Adding what's really two frames at the bottom, this is actually a 16-panel set! I think you would have been just fine nixing that third row of 10 panels altogether... because it's clear that this kid really likes to sing and has liked to since birth... until Mom puts the kibosh on it in the last two panels. Then you'd have a nice and tidy six and that clearly tells a story. Hope that makes sense! Like I said, though, the illos are great... I really love your style and I totally see you getting published (if you're not already!) Cheers!

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    1. Thanks so much for your comments and well wishes, Kim! I appreciate you taking the time to write your thoughts about this. Wish I could ask Tomie, myself! :) HA! I thought it was a clear panel break (being that it was on the white background) but I can see your point! Now you have me wondering.... Thanks again!

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  3. I see the same story as June says above. I feel so bad for the little guy! Great little story!

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    1. Thank you so much Lynn! I appreciate that!

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  4. I think it's about a boy who started singing and was musical since he was a baby.He sings during the days or daydreams about music and ends at night with a song to his special stuffed animal
    friend. Am I close? By the way, I just looked at your website.You are so talented and skilled! Good luck.

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    1. Awww..thanks Janet! I appreciate it..and yes, you are close :)

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  5. Sorry, I posted a comment days ago, but guess blogspot will never really like me! I agree with the others about the third panel, but I doubt that would be a reason to pass. I also doubt there is any rhyme or reason to subjective choices, but you aren't looking for that are you? If this were just a piece you put up in our crit group, I would commend your loose collage-like style, cheerful colors, good expressions, and ask if you would consider omitting the 3rd row so you might add to the ending the sequence on a higher, more satisfying note, maybe with a hug.

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