Sunday, November 6, 2011


It's been a busy time around the blog. I've added a sale area to cut down on the distracting extras in my studio. Enjoy my post on NaNoWriMo and if you have time, I hope you'll head over to the studio sale on my blog and check out the cards and prints for my botanicals and Faery Medicine characters. They're going fast and I've heard a rumor that the gift giving season is right around the corner...

I generally illustrate best on assignment from clients. I like the challenge and having a well developed story to work from makes a big difference. Right now though, I don't have any assignments. That's why I'm taking full advantage of National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo. It's time to take the challenge and write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. This is a great opportunity to create characters for my illustrations.  By living with my characters and going on this journey, I really get to know them and it gives me plenty of material to illustrate in the slow months.

I won't have to illustrate a generic child swinging on a swing or running through a field to show that I can draw a child in motion. I'll have characters that are ready to go when I need them - all with names and reasons for doing what they're doing. Not only that, but I'll know all their idiosyncrasies like whether they're deathly afraid of kittens and whether that's a secret they're willing to share. All these details affect how a character moves in a scene and relates to everything around them. Yuyi Morales taught me that well developed characters can lead to illustrations with more depth. Feedback from my portfolio critiques definitely supports this. 

Is it necessary to write a 50,000 word novel to get to know your characters? No, but it's a challenge I love. It also keeps my portfolio fresh and I'm always surprised at the amazing places my characters take me. Join me?