Saturday, December 7, 2013

Calendar Promotion!

Over the summer I put together a calendar showcasing my Russian fairy tale paintings and drawings, with the idea that the calendar could be sent out to folks at various publishing houses as a self-promotion piece. Jump forward a few months and here I am, printed copies in hand, ready to send them out!

I ended up selling most of my first print run on Etsy (there are still a few left!). Thanks to my customers, the second print run (which will mostly be given away to publishers) has been paid for entirely by the revenue from my first print run! Thanks guys! Please note if you buy one on Etsy it will come in a protective bubble pack, not in the envelope below.

I am now prepping to send out a batch of calendars to art directors and editors. I decided not to waste any space, and printed a portion of one of my illustrations directly on the envelope, and added a couple of dabs of white acrylic paint. Magical!

Here they are all stacked and ready to be stuffed!

Each person will receive a calendar, personal letter, and business card.

And a sticker to seal it up tight.

I hope they survive the mail!

p.s. The printer I used is MGX Copy, based in San Diego. They were wonderful to work with - highly recommend!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Russian Fairy Tales and an MFA

Well, it is done! As of July I have finished the Low Residency MFA in Illustration Program at the Hartford Art School. Although I consider myself a student for life (there's always something new to learn!) it does feel great to have this degree under my belt, and I am thankful for the wealth of knowledge and artistic leaps that I gained through the program.

 My thesis show hanging in the Joseloff Gallery

The major project that I chipped away at for the entire two years of the program was the Master's Thesis. I chose to focus on Russian Fairy Tales, combining my love of fairy tales and folklore with an exploration of my Russian heritage. I spent much of the first year reading stories (and different versions of the same stories), and researching Russian history, politics, clothing, landscape, architecture, etc. I finally settled on a selection of eight stories for which I planned a series of paintings and drawings. The stories vary quite a lot in subject matter, but I generally looked for ones with strong female characters (I'm always a fan of a gal who doesn't need to wait around for a prince to save her), or plucky children who get themselves out of sticky situations.

I ultimately completed eleven paintings and about sixteen drawings. Here I have posted a few of the pieces from the project. You can find more on my website.

Frog Princess, magic dance, Russian Fairy Tale, Frog Princess Illustration
 The Frog Princess

The Witch, Russian Fairy Tale, Swans, Russian fairy tale illustration
Swan's Rescue - from the story The Witch
Baba Yaga, Russian Fairy Tales, Baba Yaga illustration, Russian fairy tale illustration
 Baba Yaga - a character who appears in many stories

Ivan, the Firebird and the Grey Wolf, Firebird, Russian fairy tale, illustration, drawing
 Prince Ivan and the Grey Wolf

Monday, June 17, 2013

My Next Big Thing: Brave Julia

My Next Big Thing

The Next Big Thing is a global blog tour, started in Australia, to showcase authors and illustrators and their current work. I was tagged by the fabulous Alison Davis Lyne.
So now I'll answer some questions about my newest book, then pass the Q & A along to  others who'll pick up the tour July 4th:

What is the working title of your next book? I am currently working on a book proposal titled Brave Julia.

Where did the idea come from for the book? As an illustrator who also comes up with story ideas from time to tome, my stories often emerge from a visual idea - a funny or sweet image that I want to create - and then I develop a story around it. I had an image in my mind for a long time of a little girl who is unafraid of the monsters who try to scare her at night, and I finally wrote it down!

In what genre does your book fall? This is definitely a bedtime picture book for young children.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition? Oh boy, that's a tough one, I wouldn't know where to begin! There is a little girl, a rabbit, and a whole host of other characters such as a queen and a horde of monsters. 

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? Julia has a wild imagination, which is loads of fun during the day, but a wild imagination at night can become scary... if you let it.

Who is publishing your book? I have just begun looking for a publisher.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript? The story evolved over the course of about a year. The first solid draft took about two weeks to write, but that was after thinking about it and re-working it for a year. Since I am also an illustrator, I have created drawings and paintings to go with the proposal. The initial drawings took about two weeks, and the paintings each took a couple of days. 

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? As a bedtime book involving monsters, I think it's easy to associate this story with the incomparable Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are (or at least, I would be thrilled if anyone made that association!).  

Who or what inspired you to write this book? As mentioned earlier, the inspiration came from a visual idea - one which just seemed to pop into my head - of a little girl who is not afraid of the monsters in her room. I think part of me just wanted to draw some wacky monsters. After that, I was encouraged to develop the story in a class I took with the wonderful Betsy and Ted Lewin, who have written and illustrated dozens of children's books. 

What else about the book might pique the reader's interest? There is a rabbit character who is also central to the story, and who is based on a real rabbit who lives with me and keeps me company in the studio while I paint!

Thank you for stopping by here to help me celebrate my "Next Big Thing." Now on to the next candidates who will post on July 4th:

Lee White
Monica Wellington

Monday, May 13, 2013

Post-it Tales - Who Poo? - Part 2

A while back, during spare moments at work, I started a story on Post-it Notes. I stuck the notes on the inside of my desk drawer, until it was filled, and the story ended. Here is part two of that story (part one here)...

who poo? you? (Click to see larger)

 To be continued...

Friday, April 12, 2013

Post-it Tales - Who Poo? - Part 1

A while back, during spare moments at work, I started a story on Post-it Notes. I stuck the notes on the inside of my desk drawer, until it was filled, and the story ended. Here is part one of that story...

(Click to see larger)

 To be continued...