An Artist Abroad
Hello all! Sorry I haven’t posted much in the last few weeks. I was traveling abroad with my husband in the Cook Islands and got to spend an amazing 3 weeks there. My husband is looking to set up an archaeological research project there in the near future and I came along to help make contacts and have a bit of relaxation time. Rarotonga is a beautiful and inspiring place to say the least. I was thrilled to see unique wildlife (including several geckos, a squid, many starfish, and 2 sea turtles!), coral reef, and the enchanting cloud forest that looked like something out of a Miyazaki movie.
I was able to fit in some painting and drawing during the trip, though not quite as much as I would have liked. I gave most of my paintings away as presents to many of the wonderful friends and contacts we made in our time there. I was also lucky enough to work with a local artist, Michael Tavioni, drawing some indigenous patterns for a book he is working on about the cultural meanings behind these patterns.
Overall the trip was absolutely amazing and I will be able to draw inspiration aplenty from it in the months to come. I’m hoping to begin work on a Rarotongan Maori language counting book sometime soon. I came back home to a full schedule of work, which is a very good thing!, but it doesn’t leave much time for personal projects. Hopefully I will be making a return trip to the islands in the next few years, there’s much more to discover!
An Artist Abroad
You can see my illustrations this Sunday, June 15th, in the “Smithsonian Young Explorers Fact Book & Floor Puzzle: 50 States”, published by Silver Dolphin Books (Baker & Taylor) in partnership with the Smithsonian! The book is available at Costco and will be available at other stores soon. I’ll put up a link to buy it on the Silver Dolphin website when it becomes available.
This is the first time my illustrations will be featured in a full length picture book (and puzzle!) so I am very excited about it’s release!!!
So I have some great news: I just recently signed a contract to be represented by Bright Group-International! An illustration agency that represents many talented artists from around the globe finding them work with awesome clients! I’m very excited to start working on some projects with them in the near future.
Stepping out of my comfort zone
Last Wednesday I was asked by my mother to design and illustrate a postcard announcing my youngest sister’s graduation party. And she needed it by the end of the week! My sister wanted symbols from her favorite TV shows as part of the design as well. I rarely draw people or pop culture references so I was feeling very much outside of my comfort zone. It took me a bit of time to figure out how to combine all of the elements they wanted into the image. I managed to pull something together by Thursday evening and sent it over to my family, half expecting them to hate it. Quite the opposite happened and after a few small changes the postcard was designed and ready to order.
This was just a small project, but it taught me some valuable lessons about working with subject matter I don’t normally pursue. While this isn’t my greatest illustration ever, it did make my family very happy and I learned how to be flexible as an illustrator in order to meet the needs of a project.
Is there a time you had to step out of your own comfort zone during a project? How did it go and what did you learn from the experience?
Sara Lynn Cramb
'Sea Monsters of the Atlantic' - I wanted to create a cuter/brighter version of the old world ocean maps. I used a number of online and printed references to develop the map and creature sketches. The final art was created in Illustrator and Photoshop.
Feel free to contact me at saralynn.creative(at)gmail.com for freelance and commission work.
One of my favorite pieces is being featured today on Designers of Tumblr :) Yay! http://designersof.com/
The Squid and the Whale!
I finaly finished my piece for the 2014 SCBWI Tomie dePaola Illustrator Awards in which a 4-6 panel story was to be created for the prompt. I enjoyed creating a number of digital brushes and tried out some new techniques with this piece. I’m really happy with how it turned out and I’m excited to submit it soon!
I’ve been working on a new piece for the upcoming SCBWI Tomie dePaola Illustrator Award for the last week or so. Here’s a sneak peek at the first storyboard and first in-progress panel. I’m trying out some new techniques for this to get a vintage picturebook-like effect. I’ve really enjoyed making textures on watercolor paper and scanning them in to make my own brushes. Excited to show you all more during the coming weeks!
Playing Around in Sketchbook Pro
Hello again! Sorry I’ve been a bit absent as of late. I’ve been working on a number of illustration projects I hope to share with you soon!
I bought Sketchbook Pro for my tablet recently and have been really enjoying playing around on it and learning about all of the different features. It’s somewhat similar to Photoshop in that you can work on multiple layers and there are a variety of brushes and effects you can use to create your work. You can also export your work as a PSD file to continue the project in Photoshop.
While it is somewhat similar to Photoshop, I much prefer to work in Sketchbook Pro on my tablet. I’ve found that, being left-handed, working directly onto the screen is a lot more intuitive for me. I’ve been importing my favorite sketches from my real-life sketchbook and experimenting with adding color. I really enjoy how easy it has been to just pick up and use, although I’ve just scratched the surface on what this program offers and discover something new every time I draw. I’ve just been using the standard pen tool that came with my tablet case, but I’m wondering if a higher-end pen would offer more possibilities.
What’s your drawing program of choice? Do you have any advice/questions about drawing digitally? Feel free to leave your comments below, I’ll be sure to read them :) See you next week!
SCBWI Southern Breeze Illustrators Day 2014
I attended my first SCBWI conference at the end of last month and found it to be one of the most rewarding experiences of my professional life. Illustrators Day is a great opportunity for illustrators that takes place the Friday before the annual Springmingle conference in Atlanta (which I also attended). As one of the first attendees to register I got to display my portfolio during the conference and take part in portfolio critiques. Here’s a quick overview of the day’s events:
We had some amazing speakers present on a variety of topics in children’s book publishing. Cheryl Hudson, Art Director of Just Us Books, enlightened us about the importance of showing diversity in illustrations, and inspiring change in the industry to be more inclusive of all people. Ruth Sanderson, a very talented illustrator, gave us great tips on creating storyboards for picturebooks. Elizabeth Dulemba, also an excellent illustrator and author, shared helpful advice about working with self-published authors. Lucy Ruth Cummins, art director with Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers and Paula Wiseman Books, gave us wonderful ideas for self-promotion, getting the attention of art directors, and most importantly, showed us photos of her new dog Penny!
The talks were followed by a lively panel discussion with the speakers, which covered topics such as marketing, the state of the children’s book industry, and how to make your work stand out from the crowd.
One of the most exciting, and nerve-wracking, parts of the day took place during the quickfire portfolio reviews. This was a 60 minute session in which the speakers spent 2 minutes reviewing the portfolios of 30 lucky attendees. Even though this part was a little intimidating I would highly recommend taking part in a similar event, I learned as much from my own portfolio review as I did from watching the reviews of others.
This was followed by a cocktail party in which the illustrators displayed their portfolios, along with postcards and other takeaway items, for perspective clients.
Overall this was a very inspiring experience! I was overjoyed to be surrounded by people that truly understood my obsession with children’s books. I made several new friends, got tons of helpful feedback on my work, learned a wealth of new information on children’s book publishing, and got to network with illustrators, writers, editors, and art directors I wouldn’t normally have access to. If you have an event like this in your area I can’t recommend highly enough that you go, you will not regret it. Also, if you are not already a member of SCBWI then join right now!
See you next week!