Sunday, March 24, 2013

Hurray for Friends!

©2013 Russ Cox | SmilingOtis Studio

It is shameful that I have neglected my blog for this long. I am sure many of you have moved on and forgotten about it as well. Extra time has been very limited and tends to get away from me. Not that it has been all work and no play, that is not the case but some things are put on hold until those precious moments open up. This afternoon was an open moment.

I must first congratulate many of my friends who either have books coming out soon or they are already  in the bookstores. Their success is very inspiring and I am very happy for each of them. Some of the folks are Kelly Light, Debbie Ohi, Fred Koehler, Courtney Pippin-Mathur, Mike Curato, and many others. It is a pleasure to say "I know them." Be sure to check out the books they have illustrated and/or wrote. You will be hearing from them for years to come.

As for my world, I am reworking my Faraway Friends story as per notes from my agent and critique partners. We have changed the ending and are adding more humorous elements to entice boys to read it. Once the wording is finalized, I will start working on new sketches for the dummy. The overall character's look and feel will change as well. I know, I know, this will be the 4th round of character sketches but I do want them just right. This first attempt has lead me to begin working on a few other stories including one that is going to be an early chapter book. Writing is so new to me and a vast learning experience. In May, I will be at the NESCBWI conference and signed up for lots of writing workshops. Looking forward to improving that skill. I tip my hat to those who write on a regular basis. Blocking out time for writing is something I must do a better job of scheduling. As of now, I spend my Friday evenings at the library. It gets me away from my studio and allows me to focus. You cannot beat the reference material that one is surrounded with.

Islandport Press and I are teaming up to do a holiday book that will be out in 2014. The very funny and talented Lynn Plourde wrote the story. All I can say is that I will be wearing moose antlers during book signings.

The book I illustrated for Capstone should be out in June. Once it is printed, I can share more details. We had a blast putting it together and I hope that shows in the final product.

Amongst the other paying gigs, I found time to do a new promo piece. This was from an older sketch that was worked up into a full drawing and color added via Photoshop. I was working in Painter 12 but have decided to go back to Photoshop at least for the watercolor look. It does a better job of giving you that traditional look.  You can see the steps that I did in rendering the sketch. At the very end, I put an overlay of tan to pull it all together. This will be used on my next postcard. Now I have to do something for the back.

My wife and I will be heading to Pennsylvania in May after the conference. Our daughter is getting married. Her husband to be, Andrew, is a great guy and we are excited to have him join our family. He has no idea what he is getting into with this motley crew.

Well, that is it for the moment. Thanks for reading this far and sticking around. Until next time, I leave you with this.

"You can't do sketches enough. Sketch everything and keep your curiosity fresh." ~ John Singer Sargent 

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