Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Prepping For New York



© 2012 Russ Cox | Smiling Otis Studio

Well, it is that time of year that many illustrators and writers in the children's book market begin prepping for the New York SCBWI conference at the end of the month. I have joined their ranks and begin putting my portfolio together for the conference. I decided to show around 12 pieces in my book. Many of them were created within the past few months. I am moving into a new style direction with my book illustrations. By using Photoshop instead of Illustrator, I am getting the traditional look that I have been yearning to achieve. Plus the comments that I have received over the past year have pushed me into a new and very freeing direction. Many have told me that they like my sketches and drawings better than the final vector pieces I was producing. They felt my Illustrator style was too clean and I need to loosen up a bit, especially for children's books. So I have taken these words to heart and begin experimenting with Photoshop. I will not abandoned working in Illustrator, which I still love. It is still a work in progress but it is getting there.

Back to putting my portfolio together. I noticed there was a hole in the story telling part of the illustrations and needed one additional piece that would help showcase the storytelling aspect of being a children's book illustrator. I spent about a week coming up with various concepts and sketches trying to get a visual story working. Thus "Wendell Takes A Ride" was born. The goal was to draw the viewer into the piece and have them asking "who, what, where, why, when, and how", hopefully that was accomplished with this illustration. As I worked on the piece, a full story started developing which I need to address once I have completed the story in the works at the moment. Details for that story will be talked about on a later posting. 

Since the conference is a week away, I need to run off and get cracking on some paying work and get those off to the clients. When I return, I will give you a full report, with photos, on the conference. I am looking forward to seeing old friends, meeting up with some of the Pixel Shavings gang, making new friends and contacts, and taking in the city for a few days. Until then, ciao.

"A book, being a physical object, engenders a certain respect that zipping electrons cannot. Because you cannot turn a book off, because you have to hold it in your hands, because a book sits there, waiting for you, whether you think you want it or not, because of all these things, a book is a friend. It’s not just the content, but the physical being of a book that is there for you always and unconditionally." ~ Mo Willems




16 comments:

Miranda "Sibo" Paul said...

Your new technique looks GREAT! Have fun at the conference this year. I won't be there, but maybe LA later on in 2012. Really enjoyed your illustrations here and glad to have found you through the Comment Challenge.

Blessy Mathew said...

Hi Russ! I'm so glad I stopped by your blog today! I enjoyed reading this post about your process, and your illustrations definitely bring out that "inner" child in all of us. Good luck with your conference submission. BTW, loved the quote by Mo Willems.

Helena Juhasz said...

Great post and beautiful work as always. Enjoy the conference! Love the Mo Willems quote too and will share it on my facebook if you don't mind :)

Russ Cox said...

Thanks everyone! Please do share the quote.

k.h.whitaker said...

I'm loving the new direction Russ. Have fun at the conference! I never can seem to get to one :( I'll just have to live vicariously through everyone's posts until I can :)

Bill Kirk said...

Stopping by during the Comment Challenge. Otherwise, I would probably never have come across your blog. The New York conference sounds like it will be a lot of fun. I'm not an illustrator/artist. But I can only imagine the creative energy there will be in the room.

Michelle Cusolito said...

I love your profile pic!

I haven't made it to a national conference, yet, though I hope to some day. I've been attending our regional NE-SCBWI conference and it's always fantastic.

Patricia T. said...

Russ, thanks for stopping by my blog. This is the first time I've seen your illustrations and I love the technique. They look fun. And, I enjoyed hearing about your process. Good luck at the SCBWI winter conference. I made LA but am not attending NYC.

Russ Cox said...

Thanks everyone from the Comment Challenge for stopping by to say "hi" and the very kind words on my illustration work.

Nicole weaver said...

Wow! your illustrations are simply the best! I am hugely impressed. thanks so much for stopping by my blog to comment. I love that you fought back those that made fun of your accent. In my case, I could not speak English , so I could not defend myself. I am so happy you stopped by.

Nicole Weaver
Trilingual Children's Author
http://mysisterismybestfriend.blogspot.com
http://marieandherfriendtheseaturtle.blogspot.com

Beth Stilborn said...

Love those illustrations, Russ!

Have a wonderful time at SCBWI -- if it's anything like SCBWI LA, I know it will be an incredible experience. I'll be looking forward to reading your report when you get back!

(Thanks for commenting on my blog post so that I'd "find" your blog!)

Annie said...

Based on the pictures in this post, your portfolio looks awesome!! Have fun at SCBWI.

Lee Wind, M.Ed. said...

Fun to see the inner workings as you get ready for #NY12SCBWI - thanks for sharing! (NIce Mo Willems quote, too!) And thanks as well for being part of the 2012 Comment Challenge.
Keep on commenting,
Lee

Carol A.Bender said...

What a great post about your process and progress. I hope you enjoy the conference. I wanted to go but life got in the way - maybe next year.

MotherReader said...

Enjoy the conference in NYC. I wish I were going, but had other obligations at home. Good luck!

Donna Martin said...

Hi Russ!

I just wanted to let you know that I have awarded you the Liebster Blog Award and gave you a shout-out on my blog (http://www.donasdays.blogspot.com).

 
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