In Beijing and Greece

13 04 2010

detail from illustration

The week of break is over, and I managed to get a lot of work done, though, of course, never quite enough. I’ve done some research for nearly all the places, and have planned out at least 5 of the 7 country page spreads left. (Ask me if that makes no sense.)  I’ve also almost finished 4 of the more narrative-focused pages. My art advisor, Jillian, took a look at what I’ve done so far and seemed generally pleased, which was a great relief. This is by far the most difficult creative project I’ve ever taken on.

The most exciting things that happened last week were my interactions with two people. One was a guy who works in Beijing and has taken some really good photographs that he’s volunteered to share with me. He may also have a story to tell about a person in one of the photographs and is willing to answer my questions. Pretty great. You can see some of his awesome photos on his flickr:

one of Vikki's pictures

The other is Vikki, who is ½ Greek, and has agreed to be a character in the story, along

with her family. She also sent me some great photos, told me some good stories, and suggested that the characters encounter a wedding while in Greece. I think this is a very fun idea!

My plan for the rest of this week is to get some school essays out of the way, and then try and complete 2 more page spreads. This will be a miracle and a lot of hard work. Haha.

A cool thing I found this week was these yummy-looking flags: As I’m trying to include flags from each country in my book, as well as food from some places, something like this might actually be a fun way to include both.


Full Steam Ahead

6 04 2010

the room in the art building that I've commandeered for the week

It’s full steam ahead on the ol’ picture book project. I’ve got the week off school and have

managed to put off or get done early all my other class assignments so that I can focus solely on the picture book.

If you’ve got any pictures or stories or cool information to share about any of the countries the characters go through, now would be a great time to drop me an email at meganlittle.artist Due to time constraints, I’ve put off the pages about the USA until this summer. So right now I’m primarily looking for info or pictures from Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece, Albania, Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, China, (particularly northern China and Beijing), North Korea and Japan. I’ve bolded two I’m super eager to hear about, but if you’ve got anything on any of the above, I’d be quite delighted.

Speaking of gathering information, I got an email from Vikki who is a friend of someone who heard about my project and who is from Greece. She is from Kassandra Chalkidiki which is a spot the characters travel through. She sent me some information about Greek people, and also some basic Greek phrases, such as “Δεν μιλώ τα ελληνικά = I don’t speak Greek.” Very exciting.

So, now that I’ve actually got a chunk of time to get things done, I’ve almost finished 2 page spreads, which you can see in the pictures in this post. All that needs to be added are the characters and the text. Oh, and the second one needs some boats too, which I’m working on. Let me know what you think of them in the comments below.

4 pages on top of each other in 2 page spreads

Today, I’m planning to get to this stage on two more page spreads. I’ll be illustrating their journey across the Atlantic, and then working on my illustration for Italy. Hopefully I’ll also have time to start glazing the ceramic tiles I made for Portugal. At least I should have the stencil, which I’m going to use to put the pattern on the tiles, all cut out and ready to go.

Well, back to work for me! Wish me luck!

Here are some cool websites I found earlier this week:

When I start feeling overwhelmed about how huge the project I am working on is, all I have to do is go to this artists site, where he his drawing a picture of everything.

Flickr Colour selector. This site allows you to select a color and then it shows you a bunch of Flicker pictures where that color features prominently. I have no idea how it works, but it’s very cool.

Oh, and I stumbled across the Oliver Jeffers’ website. He’s an artist/illustrator and I particularly like the look of his children’s books. I’ll have to see if I can invest in buying one this summer.

Check List

15 03 2010

Ceramic tiles made and now sitting between slabs of dry wall to dry (for three weeks!).  Check.

Reference pictures of characters taken. Check

Illustrations started. Check

Text started. Check.

Not nearly as far as I should be. Check.

Life way too full. Check.

So, I wish I had a better report to make to you today, but I don’t, and that’s a fact. 2 part time jobs, 3 classes, and 3 other big events/trips have made this semester the busiest one of my life. But, not to worry you, I have not given up on the book. I’ll keep giving it as much time as I can, and then, I have an Easter break that is over a week long. It is going to be the most productive break of my life. Then I’ll have about 3 weeks (where very little else is going on besides studying for exams) to fill in all the gaps and bring this whole insane project to completion.

Wish me luck!

While learning about Italy, I came across this nice little blog about an “American mama” living in a small town in Italy:

While taking some reference photos of kids for my picture book, I managed to snap this lovely picture:

Right now I’m researching Italy: got any stories to tell of travels there? I’d love to hear them!  Drop me an email or reply in a comment to this topic.

Up and Away We Go

8 02 2010

Wow! It’s been an emotional roller coaster the last couple weeks getting this project off the ground. One moment I’m so terrified I’m afraid my shaking is going to knock my socks off, the next I’m as giddy as a woman about to meet her first grandchild.

The most time-consuming thing has definitely been the visuals. Creating a suitable banner, an outline, and an intro video all add up to some serious time-gobbling business. It was my first time making a video, so I had to struggle through finding an appropriate video editor, figuring out how to make the quality of the video adequate, and, of course, the ‘filming’ itself takes a while. Then, the sketch-up of an example two page spread took quite a while too, between trying to decide what it should look like, creating the art, and writing the text.

Other progress includes reading up on Portugal, China and Japan in the library and getting some ideas about what I need to research and look for in those places. I also started a draft document for the first few pages of the book. Experimenting with tone and characterization is tricky business. Along with that, I did some very rough sketches for the first 4 page spreads and brainstormed the format for the book.

early format sketch: 4 pgs.

And now it’s time to start my weekly blogs, kicking it off with this one! The plan is to post blogs updating you on my progress and sharing some of the cool stuff I’ve discovered and people I’ve met. You can expect to see them on Saturday or Sunday.

What are my goals for the project this week?

It’s time to get the word out there. My goal is to contact no less than 100 people and invite them to join the project in some way. I’ll tweet through the week to let you know how I’m doing. I also plan to do further research on some of the countries.

Now, for a few of my fun finds of the last couple weeks: – Paint Map: a very cool community site based of google maps where you can upload paintings/art you’ve done by location. I’m hoping to find some fantastic artists and also get inspiration for my own paintings for the book. – The Universal Packing List: definitely going to be helpful as my characters figure out what to pack for their very very long journey. – this is a bit crazy, but people post if they are willing to carry people in their cars, and the locations they are traveling from and to. They can charge if they want. It’s a cool idea, but it just doesn’t seem very safe to me. But what do I know? – Last, but not least, we have Matt, dancing badly around the world. Great project. Very funny.