Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Debbie Ohi's Free Picture Book Thumbnail Templates for Writers and Illustrators

Check out this amazing resource: Debbie Ohi's Free Picture Book Thumbnail Templates for Writers and Illustrators

The 32 thumbnails is very useful (and arguably better than folding a piece of paper into 32 rectangles,

but it's Debbie's Reference Layout that feels innovative—especially for illustrators, with Debbie giving you space to sketch options for each spread!

She even shares the above example of how she uses the template.

It's a great and generous public service to her fellow writers and illustrators—you'll find these picture book thumbnail template resources that you can download yourself here.

Thanks, Debbie!

Illustrate and Write On,

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Hashtags for Illiustrators - Some suggestions (add your own in comments!)

#childrensbookillustration (note that with 297,466 posts as of this week, #childrensbookillustration it is different than #childrenbookillustration, which has 54,108 posts)

There's #picturebookart, #picturebookillustration, #childrensillustration, and so many more...

Some have over a million posts already (like #illustratorsoninstagram) and some are much more specific, calling out the medium/materials, (like #fountainpengeeks or even super-specific like #pilotfalcon, or the process (like #foundobjectart).

A good suggestion over at CreativeHowl is to separate the hashtags from the description with a hard return and a few lines of dots, so it seems more tidy (a big block of 10-30 hashtags can be visually intense.)

Perhaps the coolest thing about hashtags is you don't even need to be signed up for instagram to watch the flow of creativity - just go to instagram and search!

Do you have other good illustrator hashtags to share? Please do so in comments! Thanks, and

Illustrate On!

Monday, January 7, 2019

The Free Writers Happiness Challenge (Five Minutes a Day for Fourteen Days) Starts Today!

Lori Snyder, a writer herself and the leader of yoga and mediation sessions at the SCBWI Summer Conferences for many years, is once again leading her fellow writers on a "Writers Happiness Challenge."

As Lori explains on the signup page, the Writers Happiness Challenge takes five minutes a day, and is a
“series of curated daily exercises designed to help you expand your happiness, access flow states with greater ease, and create more space for and around your writing. It’s for all writers of any kind, and it’s free.

These exercises are not writing prompts in the traditional fashion. Some of them don’t even involve writing, though many of them do. They are happiness prompts written specifically for writers, designed to help create a baseline of happiness to lead to more creativity and innovation and a deeper joy around life and your writing.

You can do the challenge on your own, with your writers group, or with a writing buddy. It’s free and accessible to all.”
What does happiness have to do with writing? Lori shares,
“new studies are showing that the best emotional state for innovation and creativity is a state of high energy and positivity. In other words, it’s looking as though happiness fuels creativity more than any other emotion. Happiness does lots of other happy things, too. It makes us more able to see ourselves, our art, and our lives with more clarity, thus allowing us to see how and when we might fit in pockets of writing time. It reminds us what we care about most and how to make space for that. And, not least of all, it feels good.”

It sounds like a wonderful way to start a creatively fulfilling 2019!

You can find out all the details and sign up here: http://splendidmola.com/writers-happiness-challenge-2019/

Illustrate and Write On,

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Creative Goals For 2019

Looking to the year ahead, think about what elements of the process you control. And then, based on those parameters, consider setting some creative goals for yourself.

Maybe one goal is input - time put in, i.e, I'm going to write two times a week. Or for two hours a day. Or, two weekends a month—whatever is right for you.

Maybe another goal is creative milestone-based, i.e, I'm going to finish five new pieces for my portfolio, or I'm going to finish this new draft of my manuscript, or I'm going to revise my NaNoWriMo rough draft, or  I'm going to write twelve new picture book manuscripts, one a month, like the 12 x 12 challenge.

Maybe your goal is community-based, i.e., I'm going to find a writers group, or I'm going to attend a conference, or I'm going to make time to go out for coffee with a creative colleague once a month to feel connected.

Maybe your goal is marketing-focused, i.e., I'm going to make a bigger effort to interact with my readers on social media, or I'm going to reach out to ten librarians about my book, or I'm going to build that website I've been talking about, or I'm going to prepare and pitch to speak at a specific event.

Maybe your goal is putting your work out there, i.e., I'm going to submit to five agents, or I'm going to enter the SCBWI Work-In-Progress grant competition, or I'm going to submit my art for a portfolio show at a conference.

Maybe your goal is to learn more about your craft, i.e., I'm going to apply for that MFA program, or I'm going to listen to all the SCBWI Podcasts interviews with illustrators, or I'm going to submit my work to a freelance developmental editor to get take-it-to-the-next-level input.

Maybe your goal is finding a mentor. (We all could use one!)

Maybe your goal is being a mentor. (There's so much we gain when we give of ourselves and our expertise!)

Take a few minutes and set some creative goals for yourself for the year ahead. You don't have to share them with anyone, though you're more than welcome to share them here in comments or on social media!

Again, I won't ask you to do something I wouldn't do myself, so here are mine:

Lee's Top Three Creative Goals For 2019

1. Write Three Times a Week
2. Complete my current YA draft
3. Make time to be social with my group of kid lit friends

Now it's your turn. What are your creative goals for 2019?

Illustrate and Write On,

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Goals for 2019: Gratitude as Preparation

There's been a meme going around on social media, list five things you love about your current work-in-progress.

I think this is a great exercise to remind ourselves about the heart of our story, and to keep us on-track as we go through the process of conceptualizing, drafting, and revising!

To not ask you something I wouldn't do myself, I'll go first — oh, and remember, there's no right or wrong answer. This is for YOU, and you don't even need to share it (but, of course, you're welcome to share it here in comments or on social media if you'd like.)

Lee's List of 5 Things I Love About My Current Work-In-Progress

1. I love the multiple meanings of my working title
2. I love that it's an action-adventure with gay teen main characters
3. I love that there's a romance
4. I love that it references a genre I love
5. I love both of my main characters, and for different reasons.

It's a useful compass for the journey ahead.

So, as we look forward to our creative work in 2019, consider making a list of the five things you love most about your current work-in-progress.

Illustrate and Write On,