I’ve been writing for years now, and I believe it’s been 10 years (on and off) that I’ve been tinkering away on picture book and chapter book manuscripts. I’ve been telling people I illustrate, and I did actually illustrate 3 small charity press picture books, but they are no where near the level of illustration I believe I could and should be working at. In addition to all of this, I’m dying to find an agent and market myself as an author/illustrator, author AND illustrator. Before I can fully submit myself to agents as all of these, I need to build my art portfolio in addition to my polished pieces of writing.
The challenge, as with any creative activity, is to find your voice – that style that is nothing other than YOU. I paint all of the time, but those are not illustrations, nor are they the style I want to illustrate in. So it’s been bogging me down – how do I build a really great portfolio? What do I include? How do I do this and not lose focus, when I’m working full time, side-jobbing part time, and now have a new (awesome) baby to be Daddy to? The answer struck me a couple of weeks ago, and fermented in my brain:
One illustration a week, for a year.
Yes, you read that correctly. I am committing to producing a MINIMUM of one QUALITY illustration per week, for a year.
The end goal is to have enough high quality pieces to build a portfolio that I can use when querying agents and publishers, but also I am hoping that much like PiBoIdMo does for those of us who do it (Picture Book Idea Month – 1 idea a day for a month), it will kick-start my creative brain and focus me in on producing. Once producing, I will certainly produce some garbage (just today I spent the afternoon TRYING to create … it didn’t work … but I tried …) and will eventually produce my voice on paper, visually. I’ll be posting them here as a motivator to keep me going. It’s a game I’m playing against myself! Your feedback will also come in handy (but be gentle, please!)!
I will organize these by having a focus per week, which will help me to build the sections of my portfolio. They include:
– black & white (chapter book illustrations)
Sub-categories could include any of the above (ie., Children is the category, but there was also a focus on the setting, like a barn or field, etc.), and things like: high-action, holidays, music, etc.
During this, I hope to illustrate for my own pleasure and practice, the lyrics to some of my favourite songs by Angus Stone, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes, and The Beatles.
I’ll post my illustrations on Saturday mornings, for the next year. By (Canadian) Thanksgiving next year, I hope to have a lot more to be thankful for than I already am!
Now, while Kingsley sleeps, it’s off to the drawing board – literally. Look for my first illustration on Saturday, October 18.