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Friday, December 20, 2013

Through 1st Round World Watercolour Competition!

Very good news, I'm ONE of 600 artists selected from all over the world! WOW!! I got through the first round for the world biggest international watercolour competition held by "The Art of Watercolour" magazine!!!

The submitted works are two. The letter does not tell which got through. 

The notice is below. 
"Dear Artist friend,
The first selection stage of the World Watercolour Competition is now over. You were approximately 2,000 artists from 80 countries to take part in the competition.

The significant number of participants shows how much you were involved in this event aiming at highlighting watercolour and watercolour artists throughout the world. We deeply thank you for it.

After the first validation of the registration forms, we are pleased to inform you that you have successfully passed the first selection stage of the World Watercolour Competition organised by the magazine The Art of Watercolour."

Here's the info. I'm certain many blog friends have seen this ad on net, haven't you?

This is the wesbite on the comp. Big prizes, offered articles+exhibition for winners.

Q&A = entry condition
yes, they do until 4 rounds.

In addition, the competition entry condition is very tolerant.
1) any subject, any style will do
2) watercolour dominant but also with any medium use will do
3) works created in the past five yrs
4) 2 paintings
5) anyone can submit work
6) no fee for a first round
I'm certain so many, really tens of millions watercolourists, armatures, other medium artists tried. 

Oh, too good to be true. Pinch me! Ouch!! Yep, true! 
Then, a second round will soon start in a next year. Only 250 will be left for a second stage.

What a wonderful way to end the year and start 2014. 
This achievement encourages me so much. (*They do selection until five rounds. So, I do not expect I will get through them. But very happy, I'm one of 600 prestigious and honoured artists in the world!)

I've been working on the picture book project as you know. But I want to work on figures, too in 2014. 

Friends, thank you for your warm cheers that have enabled me to go forward in 2013. Oh, I cannot depict with a language how much blogger Friends, YOU have backed up me. My achievements are, in fact, yours, too. BTW, I have a sore right hand and will consult a specialist in 2014. So, please allow me to take a rest well and keep patience for a new post in 2014.  
Wish you a Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year!
Friends, Happy, Happy Painting!



Saturday, December 14, 2013

Christmas Carol & "Fair Go" Sketching

I've submitted colours done so far. A short break! Yey!
Now, a Christmas season! I love listening to Christmas carols, especially, organised by school kids! Oh, their voices are so cute and beautiful. (*I personally believe their chant is an angels' hymn!) Audience appreciate their singing and dancing. Certainly, children have practiced for so many hours. We should say special thanks for teachers, too. 

When school children realise my sketching, they have a great interest in me. Some pupils nudge each other and wave at me. (Hey, kids, look at your teacher, not me!) After the choir, they dash to me. 
"Can I have a look?" Sure, why not!
They try to guess my models and tell each other, "That's you." I was sure that modeled children would be happy and not focused kids could get disappointed. That bummer was easily gussed before sketching. So, I did a bit "trick"!

BTW, Friends, have you ever heard of a "fair go"? In Australian English, "fair go" implies equal rights and egalitarianism.
According to a Macqrie dictionary, 
In Australian and New Zealand English, (Colloquial) 
Noun 1. a fair or reasonable course of action :
Eg) Do you think that's a fair go?
2. a chance to get on with something without interference or distraction :
Eg) The chairperson pleaded for silence and a fair go for the speaker.
Interjection 3. an apeal for fairness and or reason.
Eg) Fair go, mate!
Friends, do you notice something in the sample sentences above, particularly, in conversations? Yes, a speaker asks/demands a information reciever to do a right thing in a speaker's disadvantaged contex and unfairness.
Now, you get a phrase, "fair go" user actually wants for justice, equality and accesibility of resources. So, a "fair go" comes up in a welfare, a social system, politics, sports and almost in any Ausrtalian social phases. It is an interesting expression and a controversial topic from time to time in Australian society. 

Back to the topic, sketching! I do fair go sketching for kids. How do I do it? I secretly mixed up some children's appearances and made one picture. I do not choose a specific child for a model! Yes, it means my singing child is no one in the choir. I keep it private for children and just let them guess as they like. (they are having a fun to guess who's who.)
A brave boy asks (commands?!) me to "Draw me!" Sorry, dear, I cannot pick up one person. "Fair go."
Regarding fair go, may that phrase will be fully achieved in society. Christmas is really a lovely time in a year. A city is full of love, joy and fun. We enjoy parties, catching up, family reunion, exchanging cards, charities and events. I hope we can keep this sweet feeling whole through the year, every day. May love, peace and fair go will pour out on the earth. 
Thank you so much for warm cheers and a great patience for a new post.
Friends, Happy Painting!

**In addition, a "Macquarie dictionary" is our nation pride! That's the best dictionary on Australian English and edited by Macquarie uni in Sydney. If anyone wants to study Australian English, look up a Macquarie dictionary! And my hidden hobby is reading dictionaries. Cheers, wink, wink.


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Picture Book Ilustrator's Essential Skills

The picture book illustration is at the stage of "colour", my most favorite work, even though sometimes not easy and quite demanding. The picture book project is ongoing with the publishing team's great support, particularly, Editor and Mentor. 

BTW, you may wonder what sorts of abilities and skills an illustrator needs. OK, in my experience, main essential skills for a children picture book illustrator are 
1) Interpretation skills of a text
2) Drawing/Art skills, 
3) Communication/group work skills, 
4) Guts and energy to get through a long term project.  

1) Interpretation skills
In interpretation skills, the key point is how uniquely depict a story in an original methods/style with a children-kind way. Information flow is critically important.
Have your vision in these elements : 
a) character design, b) setting, c) page structure & book design etc.
A picture book illustrator is much like a film director. 

In the portrayal of a story, an illustrator's originality and creativity comes up. A text analysis is a requisite ability, but not enough for interpretation. Based on a text analysis, an illustrator clarifies a theme, highlights a drama and, even, develops a plot. So, interpretation requires deep and broad knowledge in everything. In order to support your text interpretation, data collection is necessary. Good research skills are essential.

Also, a children centralised interpretation is vital. Observe how children respond to varied picture books at a library or else where. Some picture books win kids' hearts. Contrary, others do not please children. For example, look at different children picture books on a same story. Compare them and consider why some are more successful and why others are not. I carefully examine factors in picture books and learn lots. If you illustrate a story, how will you illustrate it in a children and young readers kind way? 

2) Drawing/Art skills
In order to express your unique concepts on papers, good drawing skills are indispensable. Illustration bridges between a text and imagination. Studying drawing is never-ending and daily exercise. You know I always sketch and do experiments on streets and in a studio... some of them have come up in this blog! 

3) Communication/group work skills 
Good communication skills are essential. Creating a picture book is a group work. An illustrator collaborates with an author, an editor, a book designer, sales and marketing staff. Each participant needs patience, energy and time. In the process of illustration, an order of "Change" or "Correct" an image comes up often. So, be open minded and flexible. Respect and thank for each team member. It's crucial to work closely and harmoniously with others. 

Now, you need...
4) Guts and energy to get through a long term project
Friends, love a text! Fall in love with a story!
A picture book project takes several months (minimum!) or always a year and often uses years. Sometimes, we feel down and out. A big name illustrator asked me seriously, "Sadami, tell me, how can you always keep yourself high? How could you be so happy to get on the work?" 
BECAUSE I love the given text, I can get back to the work with joy. 

OK, Friends, like we've chatted above, simply good drawing skills are not enough to be a children picture book illustrator. Must-haves are particularly, unique text understanding ability, deep and broad knowledge, distinguished art skills, practical social skills and enthusiasm. 
In addition, many editors are originally from education and linguistics. This is no joke that I've bumped into editors and authors through the network in linguistics and university academia. What a small world! Life long and incessant learning is essential, too.

Thank you for a big response to my last post. It seems you're very interested in the process of illustration a picture book. Although the project occupies me so much, I'd update my news "from time to time," hopefully, Monday. Please stay tuned.
Friends, Happy Painting!!