Category Archives: Learning Something New

A Holiday Wish

Hi Friends,

I can’t believe I have neglected this blog for so long. I wanted to update you with the fact that children’s book number two is coming along nicely.

The past several months I have been overcommited, leading to missed deadlines and ignored blogs. But tonight a friend sent me this chain letter. Please forgive me that I have copied and will paste it here. In light of the recent tragic deaths we cannot understand or cope with, I felt this was an excellent piece. It is rather long, but you will enjoy it.

I do not know who the author is, or I would certainly acknowledge and credit their work.  I have reprinted it here in purple.

DANIEL’S GLOVES Please take the time and read.
 DANIEL’S GLOVES
I sat, with two friends, in the picture window of a quaint restaurant just off the corner of the town-square. The food and the company were both especially good that day. As we talked, my attention was drawn outside, across the street. There, walking into town, was a man who appeared to be carrying all his worldly goods on his back. He was carrying, a well-worn sign that read, ‘I will work for food.’ My heart sank. I brought him to the attention of my friends and noticed that others around us had stopped eating to focus on him. Heads moved in a mixture of sadness and disbelief. We continued with our meal, but his image lingered in my mind. We finished our meal and went our separate ways. I had errands to do and quickly set out to accomplish them. I glanced toward the town square, looking somewhat halfheartedly for the strange visitor. I was fearful, knowing that seeing him again would call some response. I drove through town and saw nothing of him.. I made some purchases at a store and got back in my car. Deep within me, the Spirit of God kept speaking to me: ‘Don’t go back to the office until you’ve at least driven once more around the square.’ Then with some hesitancy, I headed back into town. As I turned the square’s third corner, I saw him. He was standing on the steps of the store front church, going through his sack. I stopped and looked; feeling both compelled to speak to him, yet wanting to drive on. The empty parking space on the corner seemed to be a sign from God: an invitation to park. I pulled in, got out and approached the town’s newest visitor. ‘Looking for the pastor?’ I asked. ‘Not really,’ he replied, ‘just resting.’ ‘Have you eaten today?’ ‘Oh, I ate something early this morning.’ ‘Would you like to have lunch with me?’ ‘Do you have some work I could do for you?’ ‘No work,’ I replied.. ‘I commute here to work from the city, but I would like to take you to lunch.’ ‘Sure,’ he replied with a smile. As he began to gather his things, I asked some surface questions. ‘Where you headed?’ ‘ St. Louis ‘ ‘Where you from?’ ‘Oh, all over; mostly Florida .’ ‘How long you been walking?’ ‘Fourteen years,’ came the reply. I knew I had met someone unusual. We sat across from each other in the same restaurant I had left earlier. His face was weathered slightly beyond his 38 years. His eyes were dark yet clear, and he spoke with an eloquence and articulation that was startling. He removed his jacket to reveal a bright red T-shirt that said, ‘Jesus is The Never Ending Story.’ Then Daniel’s story began to unfold. He had seen rough times early in life. He’d made some wrong choices and reaped the consequences.. Fourteen years earlier, while backpacking across the country, he had stopped on the beach in Daytona. He tried to hire on with some men who were putting up a large tent and some equipment. A concert, he thought. He was hired. The tent would not house a concert, but revival services. In those services he saw life more clearly. He gave his life over to God ‘Nothing’s been the same since,’ he said. ‘I felt the Lord telling me to keep walking, and so I did, some 14 years now.’ ‘Ever think of stopping?’ I asked. ‘Oh, once in a while, when it seems to get the best of me; but God has given me this calling. I give out Bibles. That’s what’s in my sack. I work to buy food and Bibles, and I give them out when His Spirit leads.’ I sat amazed. My homeless friend was not homeless. He was on a mission and lived this way by choice. The question burned inside for a moment and then I asked: ‘What’s it like?’ ‘What?’ ‘To walk into a town carrying all your things on your back and to show your sign?’ ‘Oh, it was humiliating at first. People would stare and make comments. Once someone tossed a piece of half-eaten bread and made a gesture that certainly didn’t make me feel welcome. But then it became humbling to realize that God was using me to touch lives and change people’s concepts of other folks like me.’ My concept was changing, too. We finished our dessert and gathered his things. Just outside the door, he paused, turned to me and said, ‘Come Ye blessed of my Father and inherit the kingdom I’ve prepared for you. For when I was hungry you gave me food, when I was thirsty you gave me drink, a stranger and you took me in.’ I felt as if we were on holy ground. ‘Could you use another Bible?’ I asked. He said he preferred a certain translation. It traveled well and was not too heavy. It was also his personal favorite. ‘I’ve read through it 14 times,’ he said. ‘I’m not sure we’ve got one of those, but let’s stop by our church and see.’ I was able to find my new friend a Bible that would do well, and he seemed very grateful. ‘Where are you headed from here?’ I asked. ‘Well, I found this little map on the back of this amusement park coupon.’ ‘Are you hoping to hire on there for awhile?’ ‘No, I just figure I should go there. I figure someone under that star right there needs a Bible, so that’s where I’m going next.’ He smiled, and the warmth of his spirit radiated the sincerity of his mission. I drove him back to the town-square where we’d met two hours earlier. As we drove, it started raining. We parked and unloaded his things. ‘Would you sign my autograph book?’ he asked. ‘I like to keep messages from folks I meet.’ I wrote in his little book that his commitment to his calling had touched my life. I encouraged him to stay strong. And I left him with a verse of scripture from Jeremiah, ‘I know the plans I have for you, declared the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you; Plans to give you a future and a hope.’ ‘Thanks, man,’ he said. ‘I know we just met and we’re really just strangers, but I love you.’ ‘I know,’ I said, ‘I love you, too.’ ‘The Lord is good!’ ‘Yes, He is. How long has it been since someone hugged you?’ I asked. ‘A long time,’ he replied. And so on the busy street corner in the drizzling rain, my new friend and I embraced, and I felt deep inside that I had been changed. He put his things on his back, smiled his winning smile and said, ‘See you in the New Jerusalem.’ ‘I’ll be there!’ was my reply. He began his journey again. He headed away with his sign dangling from his bedroll and pack of Bibles.. He stopped, turned and said, ‘When you see something that makes you think of me, will you pray for me?’ ‘You bet,’ I shouted back, ‘God bless.’ ‘God bless..’ And that was the last I saw of him. Late that evening as I left my office, the wind blew strong. The cold front had settled hard upon the town. I bundled up and hurried to my car. As I sat back and reached for the emergency brake, I saw them – a pair of well-worn brown work gloves neatly laid over the length of the handle. I picked them up and thought of my friend and wondered if his hands would stay warm that night without them. Then I remembered his words: ‘If you see something that makes you think of me, will you pray for me?’ Today his gloves lie on my desk in my office. They help me to see the world and its people in a new way, and they help me remember those two hours with my unique friend and to pray for his ministry. ‘See you in the New Jerusalem,’ he said. Yes, Daniel, I know I will. ‘I shall pass this way but once. Therefore, any good that I can do or any kindness that I can show, let me do it now, for I shall not pass this way again.’ My instructions were to send this to four people that I wanted God to bless and I picked you. Please pass this to four people you want to be blessed. This prayer is powerful and there is nothing attached. Please do not break this pattern. Prayer is one of the best gifts we receive. There is no cost but a lot of rewards. Let’s continue to pray for one another. God bless and have a nice day! ‘Father, I ask you to bless my friends, relatives and e-mail buddies reading this right now. Show them a new revelation of your love and power. Holy Spirit, I ask you to minister to their spirit at this very moment. Where there is pain, give them your peace and mercy. Where there is self-doubt, release a renewed confidence through your grace, In Jesus’ precious name; Amen.’ I sent this to more than four, but this story is so touching I felt each of you would enjoy it greatly. GOD BLESS YOU MY FRIENDS

WIP Drawings: FINISHED

Until I look at them all and decide something must be changed, again. At this exact moment there is only one page I am not fond of and it may indeed get some major adjusting. But for me, the most important part is: I COMPLETED IT!! Every single page for a 32 page children’s picture book. It does not include glue down pages 1 & 32, but it does include end papers, detail page, front and back cover and title page.

It was my first foray into digital art and like everything else in my life I had to learn by trial and error. I learned a ton. It is harder than I expected in some ways, easier in others. I have gotten comfortable with drawing from scratch on my Wacom tablet. I miss the feel of the paper, but don’t miss the pile of eraser crumbs. I also know my next book which has been impatiently waiting to be brought to life, will absolutely not be so detailed, will not contain multiple pages with several vignettes on each. It will love lots of white space, will be in a “sketch” style and will have shadows.

The first book was done by sketches, copied on a light box with pen, scanned, cleaned up and eventually every line erased and changed. That is part of why it took me so long, but mistakes and patience are your teachers, you just can’t give up but it will take a very long time.

Here is vignette #1 of three on this final page to complete, which is not the last page, but I did not always do them in order. If I had just completed a very complex page I would do something simple. I saved this to finish last because the previous page was very tedious for me. I had trouble remembering to pick the correct layer and some parts of some of the vignettes were on several layers. Not a good thing to deal with, but it was a great teacher. I shall never again forget to check which layer I am on…

Graphic of little girl dancing with a toddler.

Lexi dances with the “Binky Baby” as she refers to him.

So all that is left is to set the type on each page for the “dummy” copies and to make a few “books” just to be able to see, feel and believe that it will sell.

Thanks for stopping in.

Shari

PS Anyone know a good editor or agent you could recommend?

 

 

Another Page Illustrated

Good morning readers. Just because I have been busy with family and photos and work, I don’t want to let you think I have ignored my WIP. This is a portion of page 11 of the book. Since I am working on them in Dummy format this is the right hand side of the page and on the left side is page 22. I will split them apart later to re-set them up as double page spreads for any submissions. But since I am still vacillating between POD and traditional I chose to do the hard part first.

Amanda Twirls

It has been a learning experience. At times tedious and discouraging as I figured out how to create on my computer screen. But as I get better, the drawings improve and become faster to create.

I can visualize exactly how I want each page to be, but my skills have always lagged behind my vision. I wore out big erasers long before the pencils and often just had to start over and over again when I wore through the paper. At least on the computer I can work until I get it right, but boy am I SLOW.

I have discovered I am at times too detailed, but then some of the best children’s books are extremely detailed. My admiration for their work knows no bounds.

My favorite book for illustration is Children’s Book Illustration and Design edited by Julie Cummins and published by PBC International Library of Applied Design. It is a treasure trove of some of the best work by 80 renown kid-lit illustrators. I can get lost in that book for hours at a time. When the grandchildren were very little we would “read” the book by pointing out items they knew and telling them the word, that progressed to asking them to “find the kitty” and then having them repeat the word kitty. Not hard things or obscure items but ordinary things like; dog, cup, door, flower, car, etc. As they got older we moved into finding colors or shapes and the natural progression was to figure out what was going on in the picture. That was always fun as we would imagine or make up a story about what was happening.

For me the pictures have always been the most important thing. Even when I was very young I found the beauty there before I could read the words.  I would study the drawings for hours.

Bye for today. Wishing you all safe and happy days until I check in next.

Hugs,

S

WIP Part of Another Page

Things continue to be hectic, but I have managed to get in some art time nearly every day. This weekend I was the last in the family to succumb to the nasty virus that came home from school with our kindergartener and passed to brother, daddy, grandpa and just when I thought I had escaped…

I spent the weekend down as much as possible and mostly lounging in the living room in front of the fire with my laptop handy and my Bamboo tablet in my lap. Another full-page was completed, so being down for the count is not all bad. I cropped out a chunk of the page and am sharing it here with you.

Here Comes the Bride

This is Amanda. As you can tell, she is a very sweet girl. The book is in 32 page format and the first and end page are glued to the cover leaving 30 pages for: decorations aka the “end papers” which are complete; the title page is complete; the info page, mostly only needs the official ISBN;  of the remaining 25, 18 are completed, and the most difficult ones I tackled first.

If I could be sick again over the weekend I could make really good progress, but then we are left with a house that needs cleaning and laundry a la mode, AGAIN. Tonight I have split my time between dinner, blogs, illustration, sweeping, and have half the laundry done…and..tomorrow is another day.

Looking at this portion today, it looks like the shadow is too aggressive, so it may not be done yet. My next book will not have such complex and detailed pictures. This book started out in watercolors. I had an editor tell me it was “old fashion” and all they were looking for was “purple dinosaurs.” Not sure why I listened to her because the next editor said she “love the pictures, but it would conflict with a book they already had in the works.” Why didn’t I listen to editor number two? Not sure.

Maybe because I wanted to learn to illustrate on my computer. I never expected it to take me 40 hours (or more) per page. A water-color takes a day. But I love the consistency of the colors, if I could get past being too detailed it would have been done, but when “detailitise” strikes it becomes impossible to know when it IS DONE. Digital art means you can make changes until the cows come home, but it will always need just one more tiny detail fixed.

It was handy to have my laptop and my tablet with me on the long days in the hospital and the never-ending ones while mom was in hospice, both times. She was sleeping so much of the time but was so comforted when she was awake that I was there. Mom was also pleased to know I was working, it was important to her that I finish.

January 2, 2012 Cheating or Catch-up?

I feel like I am cheating. There are so many things to blog about that have happened in the past few days. But all the fun meant no blog time. So a day late here are a few pictures which I did find time to snap for Jan 2, 2012.

A night with no rain and I walked around the pond in the dark to capture this photo of our house reflected in the pond. Unfortunately the slow growth of dirt and the beaver dams created an island in the middle. The reflection is no longer pretty like it used to be. Things are constantly changing. Maybe better, maybe not, but always different.

Our Backyard Christmas Lights Reflected in the Pond.

 

 

The is the front of our house with the walkway lighted to welcome our guests. The ones who love this the most are children and my brother. They just have gleeful smiles and giggles as they walk, skip, and run back and forth.

The White Snowflake Stone Road

 

 

Here is a picture of our front porch in its festive holiday mode this year. I like it better in the night lights which give it a sparkle. But in this view you can see everything more clearly.

Our Front Porch in 2011-2012 Holiday Cheer

 

But wait a minute. Where did that little guy on the bench come from? And what is he holding?

Will Work for Snow
This guy obviously is anxious for snow. We all share his wish for at least one or two nice big snows. It never lasts long enough for us to get tired of it, but who can resist the wondrous delights of seeing everything blanketed in white snow. It would be even more cool if it forced us to stay home from work foe a couple of days. A real SNOW DAY!!
Cheers.
Shez

 

 

Fun Photos with Rain and Lights

The camera experience continues. Last night on the way home, it was raining and dark. I was amazed at the beautiful reflections cast on the roads. Add to that the multiplication effect of rain drops on the windshield and I had a field day creating some new visual illusions.

Hopefully you will have a chance to check them out at the Totally Random Shez blog.

http://wp.me/1UxcC

Please drop me a note at either blog to let me know what you think of them. The header at Totally Random Shez looks like a New Year Celebration. And with that I want to wish you all a very Happy New Year.

Cheers,

Shez

PS Don’t be afraid to share the blog with others. If you enjoyed the photos, perhaps someone else will as well.