Website Updates

I’ve been working on the office parts of my job for the last couple weeks, which is why I haven’t really been posting anything here on the blog. I have a whole list of things I want to draw, but I can’t start on it until I get through the neglected administrative tasks. So, anyway, I’ve been spending time updating my mailing lists and updating things here on the website,

But now I think I’m done with the website, and I thought I’d share and ask for feedback. Please take a look around and let me know if anything needs changing. (Especially if you find a typo!)

I completely changed the portfolio section based partly on advice I received at a recent portfolio review. I came up with a “Top 10” selection of images, then linked to additional, targeted portfolios in text links under that main portfolio. (Also accessible through the menu bar.) I did it that way because it I was really putting way too many images on my portfolio page. I mean, I love sharing all my work because I figure you never know what sort of images a client might be looking for. But it was just too much for one page. Anyway, this new way I still get to share all my best work for people who are interested in it all, but I’m not overwhelming art directors who just want a summary of my work. It also lets me point specific art directors to particular targeted portfolios if I think that will fit better with what they’re looking for. Or, that’s the intent anyway. I’ll see how it works when I start sending out my promo emails on, probably, Friday

I also drastically slashed my super-wordy Intro page to just the bare bones. And I added some new graphics that I thought were fun.

I’d love it if you’d go take a look at both pages and let me know what you think.

Oh, and here’s one thing I did make today. A drawing of the wacom stylus that I use with my cintiq.

SCBWI Illustrator Day

I just finished attending a webinar hosted by the KS/MO chapter of the SCBWI. I have been doing illustration long enough now that a lot of these seminars (in person and online) are sort of reviewing things I’ve already picked up. But I did get a few points that were sort of new, or at least good to be reminded of. And it’s always good to get out there (metaphorically because it was on zoom) and actually discuss things.

The subjects were picture book dummies and working with art departments.

There was a lot of information, but the advice I took away was:

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The Neighborhood’s Night – Page 15

Page 14 doesn’t have an image, so we skip on to page 15 from The Neighborhood’s Night by Juliana Catherine. This is the last illustration and the end of the book.

It’s not a completely happy ending because, even though Leena’s back in her own home, Amaya’s family lost their house. This is supposed to be a “tough subjects” series, so a not entirely happy ending is appropriate. But it’s not all bad because Amaya has sent Leena a letter saying how they found a place to live and are doing okay. They even sent pictures.

I made sure it’s the same couch and wall as page 4 so it’s definitely the same house. It comes full circle.

An illustration for page 15 of The Neighborhood's Night by Juliana Catherine.  A girl curled up on her couch leans back against her mother who is sitting beside her.  The girl is reading a letter and the mother is looking at some photo prints.  They are both smiling.

The Neighborhood’s Night – Page 10

Here’s the 8th illustration for the book project I just finished for Learning A-Z. Page 10 of The Neighborhood’s Night by Juliana Catherine.

This is the only close-up portrait in the story. The two moms are leaning in close together discussing what’s happened. They’re both tired and very worried.

This image is also used on the title page.

An illustration for page 10 of The Neighborhood's Night by Juliana Catherine.  The two moms lean in close together discussing what's happened.  They're both tired and very worried.

The Neighborhood’s Night – Page 9

Here’s the 7th illustration for the book project I just finished for Learning A-Z. Page 9 of The Neighborhood’s Night by Juliana Catherine.

Here Leena’s family is getting settled a bit when a family they’re friends with shows up. The woman, Saanvi, is wearing a sari because I’ve seen Indian women in my neighborhood wear these, but I’ve never actually drawn one. So, when the client said they wanted me to make her Indian, I decided to go ahead and give her this traditional outfit while I was at it. It was fun to draw. I kept the decorative pattern really simple, though, because I didn’t want her clothes to have way more detail than the clothes of the other characters in the story so that it looked inconsistent. I do hope I drew it right.

It just occurred to me that I don’t think I drew anyone with glasses on in this story. I should have done that. Oh well. Mental note to self to put some glasses in the drawings for my next project, if possible.

An illustration for page 9 of The Neighborhood's Night by Juliana Catherine.  Leena's family is just starting to get settled on the cots in the gym when a family they're friends with walks in.

The Neighborhood’s Night – Page 8

Here’s the 6th illustration for the book project I just finished for Learning A-Z. Page 8 of The Neighborhood’s Night by Juliana Catherine.

Here Leena’s family makes it to the emergency shelter, which is the gymnasium at a school a safe distance from the wildfires. The important points of this illustration are to show the three families standing in line at the front, that they’re in a gym, and that there’s a crowd of people already there. Since I didn’t want the crowd to make the background too busy and distract from the foreground people, I made them fade from minimally colored at the front, to completely gray at the back. The color in the room also fades a bit as it recedes into the distance.

It was important to the client that I show diverse families, because they wanted to show that all sorts of people had been displaced by the wildfire. That’s why, in addition to Leena’s family, one family group consists of two women and a child and the other has a little grandmother and her grandkids, including one in in a wheelchair. The characters are a bit small to really show racial traits, but they do have a range of skin tones and hair color to indicate diversity. They also are diverse in the amount of stuff they managed to bring with them, either by affluence or by luck, it isn’t clear. One family group has several nice, big, rolling suitcases while Leena’s family just has some duffle bags and the third family doesn’t have any bags at all.

An illustration of page 8 of The Neighborhood's Night.  The scene is a school gymnasium set up as an emergency shelter with a crowd of people around cots set up on the floor.  Three displaced families stand in line in the foreground.  A woman at a table seems to be handling sign-ins.