Meeting other Artists!

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Today I went to a critique group for children’s book authors/illustrators in Stuttgart for the first time. I had connected to them via facebook and was excited for the day ahead. I had bought the train ticket, made sure I was at the station early and that I had everything ready.

But things don’t go as we plan them.

I knew that it would take a while to get from my house to the Stuttgart central station, but there were some unexpected train delays, so that it took me 2,5h instead of 1,5h to get there. The delays and circumstances were so confusing, in fact, that half-way through the journey, I found myself waiting on a cold bench in a small station for the next connecting train, all together questioning the sanity of my endeavor.

But when I finally did arrive at the Stuttgart Library, the “endeavor’s” sanity was restored and I could immediately see that it was worth the trouble. The meeting was inside the children’s book section on the 2nd floor, where we were a total of 10 authors. Some wrote for younger children, others for older children, some were also illustrators. We had people from all sorts of backrounds, ages and ranges. All of them creative.

We split up into 2 groups and looked over each other’s manuscripts and illustations and gave each other feedback. I found it very inspiring and fun!
Afterwards we had lunch at an Asian restaurant across the way from the library. And a few interesting conversations and encouragements later, I made my way back home.

Feedback and other artists are encouragement, and encouragement is encouraging :)
I hope you have people to inspire you where ever you’re at, it really helps. It can often feel easier to “do your own thing” and ignore feedback, but in the end I think it is better to have an honest critique, even if you don’t agree with all that was said. You learn to not only take feedback, but also give feedback, in a considerate but honest way.
So thanks to all the “critics” out there! And thanks to people who dare to be creative. And to everyone else: thanks for reading and for being “you”.

In that sense, be inspired, and have a great day!

Ready to go!

I got my manuscript ready to send to 10 different publishers by mail and another 3 online.  Each of the envelopes includes a query letter (a formal way to ask them to take a look), a short biography, the manuscript, in some cases a German translation and several copies of the illustrations and sketches.

The manuscripts will be sent all over Germany, one to the UK and another to the US (Michigan). You have to send out a lot of submissions, since only 5-10% of manuscripts get accepted. Dr Seuss even had to send 28 submissions before he got accepted with his first children’s book. Having endurance and determination pays off in this business!

I am confident and not in a big hurry. Seeing the stuff looking so nice is amazing!

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Painting “on the Road” and a little Drama

I started work on a small painting of a dutch barn while I was still in Holland. I want to do the same picture in big, so this could be considered the “study version”.

But for a short time I thought I wouldn’t be able to paint at all, hence the drama: I thought I had lost my paint brushes (the set in the picture) in Holland. It’s not that I don’t have more brushes, but this was my complete set of oil painting brushes. They are firm, sturdy and also quite expensive. So when the canvas and paints showed up without the brushes, I was left a little worried. Luckily my dad found them this morning. When I asked where he’d found them, he said they had been in a trash bag in the car. Don’t ask me how they got there!

Lesson to be learned: Don’t leave your equipment unattended and realize how stupid stuff can “throw off your groove” real easy. Planning is good, but it isn’t everything!

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New Paintings!

For this spring break I challenged myself to complete 5 oil paintings and enter an illustration contest.

As far as oil paintings go I finished one and am working on the second picture. The finished one is called “Mountain Town Café” and is about 3’x4′ in size. Number two is not titled yet.

I ran out of time for the contest, but I did manage to complete an illustration in the style and tone of the project. The contest is every 2 years, so that gives me plenty of time to come up with detailed concept sketches, characters and of course the final illustrations.

So I guess you don’t always end up doing what you set out for, but it’s still good to try to touch the sky isn’t it? You get more done than if you hadn’t tried.

What kind of goals do you set up for yourselves? Leave a comment if you like, I’d be interested to hear about them!

 

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Mountain Town Cafe (2015) -$1200-

 

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Illustration “Somehow something is missing!” (2015) -$200-

 

Patreon and Fundraising for Refugees!

Hi Everyone!
Here is my new Patreon-site! It’s a crowdfunding platform where you can support creators and their content. I will use it for my art, but the first $2000 I make will go to the FRRME, because they are an amazing organisation that makes a big difference in Iraq. (Details on the site)

So if you want to sponsor a really cool cause by supporting my art, go check it out! Feel free to share this with anyone you know! :)

Patreon!

Here is my all new  own Patreon-site!

Patreon is a crowdfunding-platform where people can support creators of any kind. And when you support creators, you get rewards back!
I will use this site for my own support in the future, but first I want to use it to sponsor refugees. So the first $2000 will go to the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East (FRRME), run by Canon Andrew White. They help people in Baghdad and the region with food, medical supplies and reconciliation work. (www.frrme.org).

So if you want to support me, the FRRME (or even just get rewards…), go check it out!