Monday, December 16, 2013

Tomie dePaola Entry 2013: Sneeze

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - © Kelli Thrasher-Brooks - - - - - - - - - - - -

I finally put down the pen & watercolors & sent in my entry last week... I thought long and hard for a month or two about this composition, and in the past month the image really came to fruition. She had 3 different style pony tails until they made sense... the animals sitting at the table transformed from several different characters until they seemed to balance out and made me smile... and I went through several canvas boards and paint until I found the perfect hue and grain/texture to use as a foundation for this digital painting.

I originally created the Illustration for the 2013-2014 Tomie dePaola Award Competion, but it was more of a personal challenge for me, because I have been trying to add more narrative into my Illustrations since I got back from the Highlights Advanced Illustrator Workshop in August. It's a win for me no matter what the outcome is. I really appreciate and look forward to Tomie's challenges each year because they really get you to think outside the box a little and push you even further from your comfort level! Can't wait to see all of the creative submissions and interpretations of this poem!!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

SkADaMo & PiBoIdMo Day #28

I feel like a kid at Christmas with anticipation of the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, coffee by the fire and waiting to see how much snow has fallen. (Hoping for at least 6" but it's probably around 3-4" right now).

It's 1am now and since I can't sleep, this character came to mind when I started sketching and thinking about the 20 lb. bird that will feed all 12 of us tomorrow. A story began to evolve, even before the beginning lines of this character.

Hope everyone has a very Happy Thanksgiving!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, November 2, 2013

SkADaMo and PiBoIdMo Day 2

Spent the afternoon sketching more new characters and a Picture Book idea that my kids have been helping me develop. Decided to play around with watercolors and salt for cool effects. This is part of what I came up with...

- sent from iPhone

Friday, November 1, 2013

#SkADaMo and #PiBoIdMo: Day 1

I am excited that November is finally here! Without giving too much away, here is a sneak peek of a new character development that was created during my Sketch a Day and Picture Book idea. He is full of personality and suspense...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Kicking off November with a big ole' LINK-FEST

November 1st is finally here with SO many great personal challenges and ways to spark your creativity. I feel like a little kid at Christmas! It is also National Picture Book Month! This is my first year participating in PiBoIdMo & 2nd year for SkADaMo. (A lot of portfolio pieces were born during SkADaMo last year...)

There are several other personal challenges to look for throughout the year as well. Some have even continued for several months in a row like Doodle Day May & Illustration Friday.

Here is the breakdown & links for anyone interested:
• PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month, by Tara Lazar)
• SkADaMo (Sketch a Day Month by Linda Silvestri)
• Sweet Squares (Experimenting in a square, by Diandra Mae)
• Doodle Day May (Daily Doodle Prompts, by Alison Hertz)
• #Inktober (sketch a day in INK during October, by Jake Parker)
• Illustration Friday (word prompt each friday & links to many great Illustration Blogs!)

* * If you are participating in PiBoIdMo & SkADaMo at the same time Jenn Bower whipped up this fabulous WORKSHEET to help keep everything organized! * *

There are wonderful online classes out there all year long:
Chris Oatley Academy:
Chris Oatley generously offers a ton of great tips, and for $18 for 18 months, you can learn about great ways to paint digitally!

School of Visual Story Telling:
Many classes offered throughout the year by Jake Parker & Will Terry

How to become a Children's Book Illustrator: Mark Mitchell offers a wonderful class to help you get started in the industry

And another fun class I stumbled upon recently...
Koosje Koene: There are 2 classes offered- Just Draw it & Character Design

You can find more online classes at Folio Academy, Schoolism, Skillshare, & Nicole Classes.

There are SO many helpful resources out there, but here are just a few:
SCBWI has been such a blessing with workshops and conferences all over the US. They just updated their website too!

The Highlights Foundation has played a large role in my journey. There are workshops for Writers & Illustrators and also plenty of educational workshops for teachers as well! Worth the cost & a beautiful trip out to the Poconos.

Harold Underdown is a man of all resources! I refer to his website often to keep up with the kidlit world and changes in the industry.

Joanna Marple offers a wealth of knowledge each week & Debbie Ohi always keeps things cheerful while sharing her experiences! I also frequent the blogs of Kathy Temean, Julie Danielson at Seven Impossible Things, & Elizabeth Bird at Fuse 8.

My all-time favorite blog was created by the fabulous ladies over at Simply Messing About! I often refer to this page every time I need a refresher or to learn something new. They are all so talented and VERY generous in sharing their Illustration techniques and finds!

Monica Lee over at Smart Creative women is so cheerful & resourceful too. I love to listen to her inspiring interviews while I work sometimes...

Sorry this was so long winded, just wanted to share as many links as possible since there are so many resources out there. You may have already heard of all of these, but if not, I hope this helps.

* * If you know of any other great resources please comment below! * *

I leave you with this fun video created by the folks over at Book People Unite... their message is that One book can make a difference... So during November & all year long for that matter, never give up on reading books with your children, sketching a character that comes to your mind in the middle of the grocery store or typing up that manuscript even when you second guess yourself. These Monthly challenges are a great way to help plant seeds. These seeds may take years to grow, but with love, nurturing and a little wine... I mean water, they can become great things and hopefully impact the lives of many children for years to come!

Dream Big & Follow Through,

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Illustrator Interview by Joanna Marple

I forgot to post this a few weeks ago, but as I was cleaning up my studio I thought that my blog would be a good place to share the interview. I'm very honored that Joanna asked to interview me & I LOVE stopping by her site each week to learn more about great books, Authors & Illustrators.


Make sure you visit Joanna's Blog often to see more great interviews and helpful articles!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

#INKtober Day 1

I heard about a couple of sketch challenges this month and I have been needing a little extra push lately. INKtober was one of the challenges, and it sounded perfect! I love working with ink and lines. Jake Parker started INKtober as his own personal challenge and I decided to join along with many other Illustrators. Working in pen, sharpie or anything permanent forces you to give up the crutch of pencil sketches and commit to a drawing.

I used to always use ink in my drawings and loved the rush you get not being able to erase and go back when something sucks. You make different choices, your hand moves faster... with more confidence. I have personally grown fond of the pencil & digital pen over the years. I use them as my crutch because they are more forgiving and help me work out ideas (possibly even ruin good ideas, who knows). In order to grow though, you sometimes need to shake things up & push a little further... So on day #1 I grabbed my Moleskine sketchbook, a ballpoint pen & created this Octopus.

Looking forward to 30 more days of pushing in preparation for PiMoIdMo with Tara Lazar. And hopefully Diandra Mae will host another 30 day challenge as well.

Friday, August 23, 2013

New Dribbble Account

After a wonderful & resourceful #kidlitart chat last night on Twitter, I was re-introduced to Dribbble. I thought that I had signed up for an account back in January, but found out that you have to be invited from another member to start posting your artwork (or shots). Long story short recent pieces can now be viewed on my Dribble page. If you are a member as well please let me know.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search Entry:

I had the honor of participating in the Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search this past month. We were given a detailed creative brief to create a Journal using the theme of "playground". It was such a fun experience, but I had a hard time shutting the brain down with just one product...

My mind (and sketchbook) quickly filled up with textile designs, clothing designs, stationery and giftware too. So many possibilities when you are given creative freedom to run with and some constructive guidelines.

I took my love of the Sea, Children's Book Illustration, Tropical Climates, Sailing & Apparel Design and put a little spin on the subject that was given to us. I came up with a bright & fun Journal that I personally would LOVE to have a copy of! (I'm a little bit of a journal collector, you can never have enough Journals!!) :) Can't wait to see how everyone interpreted the assignment and created Journals that reflected their own personalities & styles!!!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Summer Updates...

Well, I tried to switch the blog over to my website and it was much more involved than just clicking on my blogspot app & entering data, soooooo we're switching back over to this site again :)

It has been a busy couple of months... Consulting with the lovely Holli Conger for 8 weeks, Doodling the entire month of May with the wonderful group in Doodle Day May started by Alison Kipnis Hertz, and spending as much time as possible outside with the kids.

I have been working away for the past couple of months on projects like this one for Highlights: Which Way USA (Check & Double Check) and also building on old portfolio pieces, working with new mediums, drawing in the sketchbook daily & reading, reading, reading.

Still have a lot going on the rest of the summer and into fall. I'll be attending the Advanced Illustrator Workshop again this year at Highlights and hope to take Will Terry's class (if he offers it again in October) over at School of Visual Storytelling.

Hope everyone is having an amazing summer so far! And if you are looking for a little creative inspiration visit these 4 talented & generous ladies over on their blog Simply Messing About.

Cheers, Kelli

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Doodle Day May (Day 16-28)

Catching up on Doodle Day May...

Used 4 different iPad apps & limited each doodle to under a half hour ( some took only about 5 minutes) this has been a fun month of doodles!!! Thank again Alison for getting this exercise started!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Memorial Weekend Doodle

Still need to catch up on Doodle Day May, but decided to take a break from the computer & use raw materials like pen & ink, watercolors and pencil.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Doodle Day May (Day 8-15)

I have been posting these on the FB Group page, but have not posted them on here yet this week.

Day #8: Tree
Day #9: Critters
Day #10: One Continuous Line
Day #11: Give Me a Hand
Day #12: Mothers
Day #13: Through the Window
Day #14: Sun
Day #15: Heart

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Monday, May 6, 2013

Doodle Day May (Day 6)

Today was inspired by the fabulous Derby Hat from the weekend. I skimmed through a couple of pictures and then tried to design my own hat & dress for today's doodle. Since this is only a doodle I could not add a detailed background so I used a textured paper background to imply action without spending more than my usual 20 minutes on the doodle.

Day #6: Hat

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Doodle Day May (Day 5)

Catching up a little on Doodles, still have a lot of work to complete this week but today's topic of "Flower" was perfect. I happened to be working on a project that called for adding more flowers. I could not put just any flowers in the photo because of the region, so I found these little beauties called the Arctic Lupin. They are just as beautiful open as they are in the form of a bud.

Day #5: Flower

Doodle Day May (Day 3 + 4)

Running a little behind today. Lots of deadlines lining up, and new rounds of revisions on a new project. We took a break from Gardening & working around the house to go explore Philadelphia today & stop by Greg Pizzoli's book launch party. His new book called The Watermelon Seed is fantastic! It hit's store shelves on May 14th.

So I sketched a couple of people in Rittenhouse Square Park. I could sit there for hours just people watching. The sketch for day 4 was inspired by the excitement in people's faces as they saw different Brides coming into the park for photographs.

Day #3: Circle
Day #4: Face

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Doodle Day May (Day 1 + 2)

Going to attempt another monthly doodle challenge. Whipped up day 1 + 2 tonight. Alison Hertz started another great challenge and has posted a new word for each day to inspire. You can learn all about it and join along by visiting Alison's Blog.

Day #1: Zentangles of your name
Day #2: Monster

Catching up...

It has been a while. Have been busy working, consulting with the wonderful Holli Conger and working on some old and new pieces. Here is an old one that I finished working thanks to learning a great technique from Renée Kurilla. She posted a helpful video about how she took an illustration from her sketchbook and colored it in photoshop. Make sure you check out the long version too, if you have time. You can find both videos on her Group Blog. I learned a few new tricks!

Friday, March 15, 2013

#dailydoodlers/IF-Eye Glasses

© Kelli Thrasher-Brooks

This was an Illustration that I just did last night for @danidraws Daily Doodlers Challenge. The word was "Fairytale", but it also applies to today's word "Eye Glasses". I am in the process of adding colors today and fixing it up some but I still like the raw original lines.

(You can view more amazing artists work by searching hashtag #dailydoodlers on Twitter, Instagram & Tumblr.)

#dailydoodlers "Doodles" #2-6

I have been working on @danidraws #dailydoodlers sketch challenge this month. (I love challenges that really push you).

So far the words have been: Cat, Captain, Disney, Hand, Korra (who I was not aware of until this challenge), Last book your read, fairytale and today's word is Irish. I'll try to post a sketch from today later on.

Here are a couple of sketches that show how I interpreted those words. It has been a lot of fun seeing everyone's doodles. You can search Twitter, Instagram or Tumblr by by typing in the hashtag #dailydoodlers. It's not too late if you want to take on the challenge.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Oscar Inspired Doodles

Watched the Oscars last night and can't stop thinking about all of the beautiful fabrics and simple tones that made for an elegant evening.

- sent from iPhone

Thursday, February 7, 2013

#NY13SCBWI Recap:

So many wonderful experiences, not sure where to start. There are so many agents and editors and publishers that people are trying to get in front of, but the heart of this conference is all of talented people that make it all possible. I took a train in on Thursday hoping to have some free time in the city. After getting settled it was time for Pre-Gaming in the bar, as David Diaz phrased it. There were not a lot of people, so he and I just chatted for a while and I had a Ceasar Salad.

"Lunch" © Kelli Thrasher-Brooks

Friday was the Illustrator Intensive. Shaun Tan, David Ezra Stein, The Hilts Brothers, Barbara McClintock, Mark Teague and my mentor from the Advanced Illustrator Workshop: Floyd Cooper were all there to share their stories. So much wonderful advice was shared. Too much for one blog post, but I left feeling inspired and doodled a few characters along the way. Who knows maybe they will branch off into stories down the road.

Friday evening was the Portfolio Showcase. Before we were able to pick up our portfolios at 9, a couple of friends and I hopped in a cab and headed up to the Society of Illustrators for the 55th Annual Awards. My other mentor from Highlights, Kelly Murphy was there and had a piece in the show. It was great to see her! We made it back to the hotel around 9, just in time to review other portfolios as well. I loved watching some people go by and flip through my portfolio, then pick up a postcard. Some read through my entire book dummy, giggled and then took a card. Others just grabbed a card, smiled, and moved on... I really enjoyed seeing other friend's work too. Such a talented group of people!
Saturday & Sunday was filled with wonderful speeches from Meg Rosoff, Margaret Peterson Haddix, Julie Andrews, Emma Walton Hamilton, Mo Willems, Shaun Tan again and a wonderful Panel who talked about the future of books, and what is the current trend. In the evening before the Gala we had a very casual portfolio showcase. I shared a table with Keith Frawley who was there with Rob McClurken. Both of them have talent beyond their years!

After the 2nd showcase there were cocktail parties and break out groups. I left the hotel with some friends around 8 to go to a private party not far away down on Park. It had just started snowing and walking down Park Avenue in the snow was absolutely amazing! Couldn't recreate that feeling again if I tried!

Sunday felt a little rushed because I was nervous about catching the train home and had to head directly to a Superbowl Party. It is now Thursday already, and I'm still processing everything. So much great advice and direction, and the most important thing to remember is that it is about the children... the messages that we are putting out there for them and the stories that are being created.

Well I think that's about it, I didn't get into all of the details of the conference (Not enough time in a day and that's why you have to pay to go... top secret good stuff! Just kidding, but it was VERY helpful!). There was so much going on, but every part of each day was wonderful. I highly recommend going to either the NY or LA conference as well as as many local conferences that you can join.

Please check out the links of a few very talented artists & friends: Lori Nichols
Debbie Ohi
Moira Birch Swiatkowski
Marcela Staudenmaier
Elizabeth Stanton Rose
Jessixa Bagley
Nancy Armo
Ruth Sanderson
Floyd Cooper
Kelly Murphy
Keith Frawley
Rob McClurken
Mike Curato
Fred Koehler
Kelly Light
Renee Kurilla
Jen Hill
David Diaz
The Brothers Hilts
Barbara McClintock
Caroline Hadilaksono.

There were so many more, but this should keep you busy for a while!

Looking forward to the NY Winter Conference next year again! Special thanks to Lin Oliver, Steve Mooser, Sara Rutenberg, Priscilla Burris, all of the local RA's from each regional division and especially Tomie dePaola for adding the "I" to SCBWI. We would not have experienced such an amazing weekend if it wasn't for all of you and everyone in between!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

#NY13SCBWI in less than 12 hours!

Haven't blogged in a while. Have been so busy preparing my portfolio and working on a picture book dummy.

Now everything is complete, except the packing... and we're off to NY tomorrow! I will try to post any highlight throughout the weekend. Cheers to a wonderful experience with old friends and new. Hope anyone else attending has safe travels and please make sure to say hello if you are going to be there as well! -Kelli

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Components of a Picture Book Dummy

I have been working on a picture book off and on for the past year for our daughter. It's a story I made up for bedtime (although I'm not a writer by any means), and she giggles every time I tell it. So over the past couple of years images have started to fill my mind with images to support the words.

For her 6th Birthday I am trying to get this picture book completed. Right before her Birthday is the SCBWI NY conference. I'm hoping to wrap up all of these storyboards, character concepts and words before then to include in the Illustrator Showcase. Here is a glimpse of a couple of the many components. It is further along than this photo, but it gives an idea of part of the process.