A Not-So-Accidental Blog Tourist Hop Stops Here

Welcome to this final cul-de-sac of one side road of the great wandering tour of blogs by artists – writers, musicians, painters, photographers, and more!

I was invited by Nancy Heard, a fellow North Texas illustrator, who in turn was invited by Bobbie Dacus, her good friend and another fellow artist.

You may make your acquaintance with Nancy at her blog: http://nancyheard.blogspot.com/

And, now a little about Nancy:

Nancy Photo - Bio

Nancy Heard is a freelance illustrator/artist. She has illustrated children’s books, activity books, and coloring books. She has designed/illustrated wallpaper, scrapbook paper, party invitations, and has also produced illustrations for corporations. Some of Nancy’s clients include: NRN Design, Glad Tidings, Sonburn, Ideal Publishers, Dominee Press, Rainbow Press and more. Nancy illustrated “The Tiny Ant” for Edupress, which won the Teacher’s Choice Award. Nancy currently resides in Dallas, Texas.

Now, for my part in the tour …

1. What am I currently working on?
I am writing and illustrating a re-telling of a classic fairy tale, and I am enjoying the challenge of incorporating American muscle cars and skateboarding into a beloved princess tale. The final product will be a juvenile graphic novel.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
My illustrations begin as ideas, and if the ideas do not eventually speak with their own strong voice, I discard them. I do a lot of discarding. Then, those that have potential become pencil sketches, then ink drawings on paper, in the tradition of Bill Watterson, Mercer Mayer, and Will Eisner. Finally, I digitally paint the drawings, aiming for the most expressive, luminous, painterly, and lush final product. It is the combination of solid ideas, deft draftsmanship, and painterly color work that gives my illustrations a shot at standing out.

3. Why do I write/create what I do?
A life of making is the life for me. I have always made things, as long as I can remember. If I do not have a project going, I get cranky. When I am working on something—a painting, a drawing, a story—I am trying to make the best thing I’ve ever made, with the goal of making something worthy of joining the work of artists who have made all the things that have so enriched my own life.

4. How does your writing/creating process work?
My process is pretty messy, though I am always trying to refine it. Most of my work is accomplished by brute force, lots and lots of erasing and re-starts. I meet with my critique partner—the very funny and smart Bill Burton—and we bounce ideas off each other and laugh. And, I riff a lot with my kids, one 1st- and one 6th-grader.

So, as I wrap up this leg of the tour, I would like to share a few sites of people whose work I admire and who also blog sometimes.

Diandra Mae is a fellow Texas illustrator from Houston. I met her at the great 2012 conference of the San Antonio SCBWI Chapter, when she had just been honored as SCBWI’s featured illustrator that month. Her illustrations feature the three legs of idea, drawing, and color that I aspire for my own work to stand firmly on.

Erwin Madrid is an artist whose work I follow for equal parts inspiration and humility. He is an illustrator and concept artist, and sometimes, when I look at his book jacket work and concept painting, I literally whimper.

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August Promotional Postcard

James Hough, artist • illustator • designer postcard, August 2014

My latest James Hough: artist • illustrator • designer postcards are in and will today begin going out to art directors everywhere!

SCBWI Picture Book Workshop in DFW, with Priscilla Burris

I’m passing along the details of this workshop—I’m looking forward to it, and it should be particularly helpful for aspiring illustrators. I learned so much from last year’s workshop with Dan Yaccarino.

Dear NC/NE Texas SCBWI illustrators,

Do not miss the April 20 SCBWI picture book workshop, BLENDING WORDS WITH ILLUSTRATIONS. We are lucky to host Priscilla Burris, a successful Southern California-based illustrator/author who has published many books for kids. She is also the illustrator coordinator for SCBWI.

As an added bonus, Priscilla will do portfolio critiques for the first eight who register and pay for the conference and a critique. There are still a few spots open, so send your registration form in by April 13 to reserve your spot.

In this full-day workshop, Priscilla will share her views on the publishing industry and what it takes to create a successful picture book. Targeted to illustrators and author/illustrators, you’ll leave with a better understanding of how to blend words with illustrations. There will be lots of hands-on work, so bring a sketch pad, pens and pencils as well as your favorite picture book.

WHEN: Saturday, April 20, 9 a.m.- 4 p.m.

WHERE: Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1330 S, Fielder Road, Arlington, TX 76013

WORKSHOP COST: Admission is $45 for members, $60 for non-members.

PORTFOLIO CRITIQUE COST: Admission is $35 for members, $45 for non-members. Go to http://www.scbwi.org/Regional-Chapters.aspx?R=47&sec=News to download the registration form.

Please plan to join Priscilla and other SCBWI members for a casual Dutch treat dinner Friday night in Dallas and/or Saturday following the conference in Arlington. Times and locations are on the chapter website).

We look forward to seeing you. Watch the chapter website http://www.scbwi.org/Regional-Chapters.aspx?R=47 for the latest news and events.