Book progress

I am eating my lunch – chicken gumbo soup; fascinating right? – and am putting up a quick post. I love to document things on this blog. I love to look back and see what I can accomplish over time. It is a marathon, not a sprint – a mantra I tell myself over and over when I get frustrated at times. When I look back over all the entries over all the years I have been writing, I can see it all so clearly. It can be so hard to recognize it in the daily grind of the day at times.

I can say that I am truly in love with the process of my career right now. I just layed out all the spreads for my dogs book. I am picking the color palettes so the flow is what I want it to be. There is a wonderful anticipation going on in my little studio right now. The second that brush hits the paper, a flow will happen. I will get in a zone. I will paint hours at a time, not noticing the time. I will paint late into the night and can hardly wait to get at it in the morning. Days I have ‘work’ will be all I can do to get through my office hours and back to my studio. I can hardy wait for the Christmas break and all the days in a row of uninterrupted painting time. There is a peace that comes over me, a rightness with everything when I am painting. When I paint the outlines that finish up each of my paintings, the feeling is…almost impossible to describe. Satisfaction. Joy. Happiness. Fulfillment. None of those words are right and all of them are at the same time. I love that my busiest times for painting always coincide with the holiday season. It puts me in exactly the right head space and not the frantic shopping rush so many get caught up in. Sure my house may not be decorated to the nines – there is a Santa here and there and the tree will go up Monday – but it sure FEELS filled up with Christmas cheer in here!

Well, my soup is done. Time to get back at it. I hope to be painting until late into the night. Here we go!

Here is my book minus a few spreads that didn’t fit. ‘A before’ shot if you will.

And I must take this time to publicly thank my amazing husband for being so low key and easy-going that he let me turn our formal living room into a studio this past year. Especially since I am not the most neatest or organized of sorts. Of course he did insist on french doors that can be closed to hide it when need be. 😉

A charming new world

I am taking a quick (do you hear me universe, I said QUICK! I am not going to finish this and get on FB or surf sites! Promise!) break to eat lunch and let you know about something that had me grinning from ear to ear last night. I have been working on pet portraits and illustrations for my two books which have a fast approaching deadline if you consider the holidays this time of year. EEP! And I totally did NOT take that last minute pet portrait yesterday even though I PROMISED my hubbie I would not. Ok, maybe I did, but lordee the dogs were cute!! And um, the painting will pretty much cover costs for the presents for the kids. Hello people, I am a mom – and while we all of course want to just go flitting about painting and being happy, the money does come in to play. Just sayin’.

Ok, so back to my point. Right. Last night I saw the Ruckus Media Group has a new app by author and illustrator Mike Austin for sale. (I can’t find Mike’s site or I would link to it, but here is his wife’s completely gorgeous site!) Ruckus makes digital versions of picture books. And after 10 years of trying to break into this business and finally getting a book deal, I would be lying if I said that this whole digital thing doesn’t have me a little, um, SCARED. I LOVE picture books. Adore them. I have a beloved collection of them. I add to it all the time. There is no greater joy for me than when I go to a book store and find that one that sings to my heart, or I order one off the internet and it arrives in the mail. I love to hold it. I love the dust jacket. I love the swoosh of the page as I turn them and feel the pages slip between my fingers. I just got goosebumps as I wrote that. Yes, I adore picture books and how they feed my soul.

So this digital realm scares me. I mean, HELLO! I JUST now FINALLY got someone to make two of my books and we are moving to digital? Slow down world! I am not ready for this! What does it mean for my books? For the touch between my fingers? To feel the weight of the book on my lap? Well, last night I had a revelation. I bought the new app. It is for an ipad which I happen to have. I purchased A Present for Milo and waited as it loaded. Then. I clicked. OH. My. Goodness. SMILES!

I was delighted! I was grinning! I found myself excited to find every little secret the screen held on each page. I swooshed the pages back and forth – repeating pages, watching again. I watched the adorable animations over and over. Just so clever! Just so entertaining! I got it. I understood. The digital books are not so much competition to my beloved paper books, but a new baby sister or brother. And my heart doubled. I have just as much love for these new digital books as my paper ones. I can love them both equally. And I would be lying if my brain didn’t suddenly burst with ideas on how one of my books ideas would be PERFECT as an app!

I think Mike Austin’s illustrations are deliciously charming and completely engaging. The mouse in the spaceship just about killed me with cuteness. I kept on clicking it over and over until my hubbie politely told me to put in earphones so he could watch Ghost Hunters. Heh. Congrats to Ruckus Mediaand to Mike for having the insight and imagination to bring us into this new time for childrens books. I thank you for opening my eyes to the delights of digital!

So while I am painting away these next few weeks on my book illustrations, I am already orchestrating ideas in my head to pitch an idea I have. I even emailed my agent about it already – excited much, Michelle?? Maybe one of these days soon I can have an app out there to delight and make people grin! 🙂

Now, go check out A Present for Milo and buy it!!! For $1.99 it is a crazy good deal!! And also check out Ruckus’ other apps! Kudos and well done to all involved!

Now, back to my painting! I promise! Except to post this link on twitter and facebook. But I promise, no extra reading. Really. 😉

Works in Progress

The next 8 weeks are going to be super busy with the books, work, the holidays, family visiting and commissions. Here is the painting in progress I am doing for the lab rescue. I already know I will love it and it will be hard to see it go. But I know it will help raise money for one of my favorite breeds! The chocolate lab is going to be looking of at cherry blossoms blowing off a tree. Makes me so happy! hope you r days are filled with happy and busy too!