Friday, April 28, 2017

Revising Myself

The 12-week class that I mentioned in my last post finished last night with an interactive discussion with Editor Kate Farrell. I don't think it's an exaggeration to say the class has been life-changing. The instructor, Arree Chung, spent more time focusing on our creative process than anyone I've ever taken a class from.

He's the sort of person you can't say "can't" around without being told not to limit yourself. 

Isn't that the coolest book trailer? 
Arree worked for Pixar before he started creating picture books.

I bought into his class with the expectation that I'd complete my first picture book dummy by the end of it. I'm coming out of the class with so much more than that. 

Yes, I completed (and revised) my first picture book dummy, and I learned facts about design that will forever change the way I approach my picture book manuscripts.

I also gained an amazing critique group that will continue to meet, good friends whose work I believe in.

But my most important takeaway has been a change in the way I approach my work, both writing and illustrating. The morning pages Arree had us write clear away my anxiety, making it easier to work, and I'm finding solutions to story problems through taking walks and through drawing. Meeting regularly with a group of people who are working toward the same goals has been incredibly motivating. It's a healthier approach to creating stories. 

I feel like I'm revising myself as much as I'm revising my stories. It's a great feeling.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Crafting Outside My Comfort Zone

So, I did something kind of crazy today. I signed up for a 12-week picture book author/illustrator class where (if I understood correctly) I'll share picture book dummies with my instructor and a critique group every other Thursday. The class starts this Saturday. 



I am not an illustrator. 

BUT, I've been doodling and sketching for as long as I can remember, and I've wanted to learn how to make picture book dummies for years. I've attended workshops on it. I've purchased how-to books. Last year, I even joined a picture book critique group composed of mostly author/illustrators to push myself in that direction. 

But I only shared manuscripts.

I'm totally a chicken about sharing any sort of art with people. I can share my writing. But I have this block about art. My older sister is the artist in our family, and she's amazing. My style, if you can call it a style, will never be anything like hers. 

Maybe that's okay. Maybe that's even a good thing. I'm excited (and apprehensive) about where this class might take me. 

Are you trying anything this year that's outside your comfort zone?