Well, it was May of this year that I signed on to illustrate “Alphabet Adventures” by Kathy Joneja, and I wrapped up final illustrations on Halloween! My work on the book is done, and now it’s in the publication pipeline at Beaver’s Pond Press. The art director and editor are hard at work polishing the book. I don’t have a publication date yet, but it took the Tooth Fairy about a year from final illustrations to release date — I’ll post the date on my website when I know! Here’s the final cover:
In other news, I left my job at the art center! Surprise…! I was having trouble juggling my three part-time jobs (registrar at the art center, professional transcriptionist, and freelance illustrator), plus being a full-time mom, so I decided to cut something. With my two kids (FINALLY) both in school, I’ve decided to really go full-throttle with freelance illustrating.
This is HUGE. I started illustrating for children five years ago, but it’s always been a side job, something I fit in after scrambling to work a day shift, entertain a pre-schooler all day, etc. Now it can be MY JOB. I’ve got the time, the energy, and I’ve been building my portfolio for five years and slowly improving my technique and skill level to the point where I’m marketable as a professional illustrator.
So, what’s next? I’ve been taking a little breather in November since I finished my book to do some typing projects, catch up on video gamin’ (I have about 30 Steam purchases that I’ve never installed…whoops), and “up” my game as a parent/partner in general (just served up breakfast in bed this morning to the guy who actually makes the money — homemade breakfast sausages and croissants – YUM!)
Now I’m ready to start up on my illustration syllabus again, and I’ve been working to flesh out my goals. In short, I have two main goals:
1.) Find freelance work.
2.) Polish my Space Plumber book dummy and find a publisher!
In order to find freelance work, I need to create a mailing list and send out postcards to editors and art directors at various children’s publishing departments. Basically, they collet postcards, pin ’em up on their bulletin boards if they like your style, and throw you an email if a project shows up that you’d be a good fit for….IF your postcard is amazing enough to make it out the slush pile. 99% of your postcards go straight to recycling, but that’s the name of the game. It’s very competitive, so we’ll see. Since 2015 I’ve produced one book per year, and I’m hoping to keep up that trend, but I need to put my boots to the ground and find my own work now.
You may have noticed that my website now has a LOT of new illustrations, many pulled from Alphabet ABC’s. If you haven’t looked yet, take a peek by clicking here! I’m super proud of my new book, and what I’ve created. Next, I’m going to create a postcard (either an ABC image or create a brand new one) that showcases my style, flair, and ability. In January, I plan to partake in Story Storm (previously known as PiBoIdMo [Picture Book Idea Month]), restart my lessons on SVS (I realized I’ve been paying $15.00/mo. without actually using it for like four months straight), and completely re-imagine and re-draw certain spreads for the Space Plumber dummy based on tons of incredibly helpful feedback I collected from many illustrator friends.
WHEW! I have a lot to do. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention this other goal I’ve been throwing around…
3.) Possibly maybe pursue my teaching licensure and becoming an art teacher maybe???
I have been inquiring at local colleges (U of M, St. Kate’s, Augsburg) about getting my teaching license to become an art teacher in the state of Minnesota, but I’m still on the fence here. It’d be a big expense, take a lot of time (about 2 years), and even then, a position in a junior high or high school (the age groups I’d want to teach) isn’t a guarantee and could be difficult to find. For now, I’m just gathering information, but it’s exciting to think about.
Either way, thank you for following along on my adventure!