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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Kevin Returns. Julia Loses! Exclusive!!
Hi, Friends, some information on the content. 
Kevin Rudd(@centre) has reclaimed the prime ministership taken from him three years ago by Julia Gillard(@right hand) (Australia's first woman prime minister) = Kevin beat Julia in Labour party leadership. Tony Abotto(@left hand) is the Leader of the Opposition. All happened last evening and at night.
So, it's quite a drama for us, Australians.


Monday, June 24, 2013

Sketching is a Hand's Thinking

Thank you, Friends, for a big response to a last post. I'll update the process of picture book illustration from time to time. Stay tuned.  
BTW, how do you use a sketch book? Let me hear your ways. I use a sketch book for two main purposes : practice/experiment and an illustration idea storage, not for a simple record. And of course, they are all for fun! Sketching is my hand's thinking. Active thinking does not need to be perfect. 

 (I sketched a presenter on "social media" at a meeting) 
I'd quote these : 
“It's not about perfect. It's about effort. And when you bring that effort every single day, that's where transformation happens. That's how change occurs.” Jillian Michaels
"If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done." Ecclesiastes11:4  ("Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant. If they watch every cloud, they never harvest.") Perfectionism gets us nowhere. In my view, Jillian's say "fits to all" or any area in life.   

(Above, 3D understanding of the head)
Regarding a sketch book's "practice" nature, daily sketching is very much like "strength training" in athletics. If we don't do it, we'll lose muscles. Similarly, drawing skills are fundamental for any art. Without drawing skills, it's impossible to learn other techniques. No excuse. Thank goodness, I love drawing since childhood. Everyday sketching is not a pain at all. Draw, draw first, before my findings/emotions will be gone -- is my motivation.
Drawing is my hand's thinking. No, my brain thinks nothing. I "feel" something and get on work. Instinct. In experiment, I go out of my comfy zone and enjoy something new. Experience is the best teacher. Theory follows Experience. So, I try something first.  My hand remembers sketched subjects well. The more experience, the better my eyes remember subjects.
Talking of "illustration idea storage," a sketch book has a more experiment nature. Very adventurous, more wild and messy. I cannot upload too many attempted drawings with notes and glued pieces etc, etc, on pages. One day, if I could organise them, I might upload it? Of course, I make TONs of mistakes or messes! Sometimes, it hurts me. I feel sad.
But I want to fail better and challenge it again. Make sense? For me, words are empty. No magic, but practice. My hands will find answers. Hands trained by sketch books can enjoy new techniques and express more on papers. Precious fruits, learned skills will never leave an artist. Further, it will open another door to take a higher road.  

I know all my illustrations have been born from daily sketches. Friends, I'm nearly finishing up a black and white storyboard, in the middle of  travails. I'm struggling, working very hard and learning lots. Thank you very much for your big cheers. I'll foster this new born baby to be a picture book! 
Friends, you, too, Happy Painting!!!  


Monday, June 17, 2013

New Story Board & Creating Dummy Books!

I've finished a "text placement" for a new story board. Feedback is very positive from a publishing team. Oh, I'm so happy (got relieved!). Page division and making a solid story board is a first big task in the process of making a picture book. Another big name illustrator celebrated, "All the work you did came together well. Congratulations." Yey! I'll work on the storyboard and creating more images (=roughs). Also, Friends, my cold has finally gone! Hurrah! Now, bits and pieces of cut-out images and a chopped text are here and there with glue and tapes on my messy desk
Well, picture book illustration requires hard work "more" from this stage. Based on the divided text, I'll create a black & white story board. Then, I'll make several dummies and compare them all. (So, my dear friend and big name above said, "All the work you did came together well.") Yes, I've already created many images in both black & white and colour for old storyboards. I did research well. Probably, I need some more new images or merge already created images and must choose appropriate ones from the already-made roughs. Go, Sadami! Drawing is my favorite and strength. 

Now, I'm making both : a miniature and a real book size one. A miniature is handy to check information flow. A real book size sb is essential to examine design and balance. Very energy demanding process and time consuming work. I'll do my best! 

Mutual help is the beauty in our industry or an Australian picture book illustration industry. Even super big names struggle in creating a storyborad. (*as far as I know all famous people are so humble and great learners.) When we get together, we enjoy a chat over how to make sb and exchange information. Experienced illustrators and established authors kindly help me. So, big names show me a favourite and unique way to create a dummy.
For example, my wonderful mentor, Ann James makes several small dummies at once.  Shaun Tan uses a binder for a dummy (*once he encouraged me and gave me his very cute self-portrait cartoon in turn of my sketch of him at his book launch,  "The Arrival" in Sydney uni). Our lecturer,  Donna Rawlins said that Robert Ingpen creates a small storyboard, but its content is exactly the same to a real size work. (wow, I want to have a look of his little sb in my eyes!). Another big name makes a big sb and moves around cut-outs on large watercolour papers. It would be a great fun, if picture book illustrators exhibit storyboards together at one place.  
I'll work on the storyboard and roughs. My caring mentor Ann says, "Glad to hear a little mini sb is born and look forward to how it grows up!" Yey!! Today, colours have come up very playful in the sketches above. Oh, I've been working so hard for these months. I'm Happy, Happy Sadami with the team's nice comments. A school girl above and I have become friends. It's good to have time to relax myself that gives inspiration. I hope inspirations will keep tapping my heart and hands.
Friends, you, too, take care. Thank you for big cheers in my tough time.
Happy Painting!!!


Monday, June 10, 2013

Get Out from Slump

Friends, thank you and I feel much better in this long weekend. BTW, aren't we sometimes in slump and hard to find a way out? Friends, a librarian's death has turned my doldrums into a "creative"  birth pain. It's very sad when people we love and cherish are taken from us far too early, but sometimes it forces us to enjoy the present and make the most of it. If you do not mind, let us share my story.
  Sydney Uni Quadrangle (*we called it "Clock Tower")
I often visit libraries to get inspirations and do research at such as uni, state and local council libraries. You know I've been at stuck and struggling hard to make a new storyboard. I was down and out these days. So, I popped up a library to lift me up from the slump. Librarians welcomed me and celebrated my good news, especially, an ongoing picture book project. Although the project is undercover, we enjoyed a chat. But I could not find a familiar face....

Another librarian said with sorry, "He passed away...." I cried a lot. The quiet and so caring librarian had always encouraged me, saying, "Let me know when you'll have an exhibition or a new picture book. I'll come!" Oh, no..., I kept on sobbing and regretted my "too late" good news.
But, grief drove me to be creative again. Right after leaving the library, I felt my sluggish mood changing into active. His death taught me "Time does not await us," and "Never waste your time." Then, I nearly made a new storyboard in a pub!  I felt, that was the only way to stop my regretting and would move on.
(*I go anywhere with my mentor's emails, sketch books and roughs. Often people ask me, "Such heavy stuff you carry!" professionalism.)  

A dear illustrator friend comforted me, 
"We are fortunate to have things to hope for and to work on."
True, it motivates us to live on and get out of slump. For me, picture book projects and portraits are hope and tasks. Sounds being contradicted that I languished in the picture book project -- in fact, I was blinded with ineffective ways and forgot an objective view about my old storyboards. I cleared up my sleepy head!  Now, I work on the storyboard well. Good!
Sure, I will make this project published next year! I'll invite familiar librarians, involved people, dear friends and of course, you, Friends, too.
I'll work on portraits, too. These days, picture book projetcs have occupied me. I haven't tried portraits for comps. No way! Sadami, never narrow yourself.

I also wanted to tell you this. Tell "I love you," for anyone who has cared for us, as many as possible and at anytime. 
Please take care and enjoy drawing!
Friends, Happy Painting!! 


Friday, June 7, 2013

1)Special Thanks 2) Washes

Hi, Friends, thank you for "warm" cheers! Finally, my cold seems to calm down, (although my voice still does not come up!) Ah, I can sit well. Phew!

Oh, I haven't uploaded washes for months! (*I have to admit picture book projects have occupied me so much.) Very thick and strong colours I made and used for washes. I played with colours and observed how they would "swim around" on paper. Yes, these techniques are for my ongoing picture book project, too. 

Accident. I made a bit texture on the paper below. It, indeed, not bad! So, I'll explore textures and patterns, onward. When I make interesting ones, I'll upload them. Friends, let's have fun!
OK! I'll take a rest well. Maybe, I'll listen to string instrument music.
Luckily, we'll have Queen's Birthday (Sunday) long weekend. 
I just want to say "Special thank you" for anyone who has lifted me up so much! 
See you soon.
Friends, Happy Painting! 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Ongoing Picture Book & Mentor

Hi, Friends, did you enjoy your weekend? I've got back to a trade picture book project and enjoy mentorship. A mentor from Melbourne and I got together in Sydney and discussed about the ongoing picture book project for "hours." A text analysis, interpretation, storyboards and technical stuff. Now, we're working on a storyboard again.

The text is difficult. With Author and Editro's help, I'm working on a storybaord. I feel this text is a poem rather than a story. That thought has inspired me.
A poem has beautiful "pace" in word. If this text is a poem, how I read out loud and illustrate it...? I, a book lover, do not like too much illo in any poems. Readers want to enjoy imagination and echo of words. Busy visual information is inappropriate. If I were a reader of this beautiful poem, what sort of images will be enough and necessary? Where will I stop and close eyes? Where will I look up a sky and enjoy the sounds of words? etc, etc.  Those thoughts help to re-organise a storyboard and I can be brave to cut off unnecessary images.

Also, yesterday, I saw my dear friend and very experienced picture book illustrator -- more than 30 yrs career. We chatted over picture books, the friend's rich experiences, knowledge, my storyboards, dummies and colour etc, etc for hours. Fabulous. The friend encouraged me so much and generously shared techniques with me. It's wonderful to chest off and have a nice frined!

Creating a picture book is a group work. It's brilliant to be well supported by a wonderful team and friends.  Honest, I feel it's a tough time. But I'd get through it.
The key is the information flow in pictures. An illustrator can change lots in illo at the stage of roughs and story boards.

In addition, if you are interested in what mentorship is and how you can make it work, this is a good guide. "Getting Connected -- Making Your Mentorship Work," written by Hunter, M. published by Ausrtalia Council for Arts.
Friends, I've got a cold right now. So, please give me a bit time to get well. 
Happy Painting and Drawing! 
PS .
...I love black and white, too. The book signing is Sally Rippin.