Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Greeting Cards

The Picture Bookies Showcase theme for the week is "Greetings" so I thought I'd post some of the greeting cards I license. I usually license between 4-6 greeting card designs a year. This image is a small sample my previously licensed cards. Click the image to see the cards large enough to read.

I've just removed my whole greeting card section from my portfolio website, because I want my portfolio to focus more on illustrating children's books, specifically trade books. For trade, I'm gearing my portfolio both toward picture books and toward chapter books, although I haven't yet done any jacket art samples. I guess that should be next on my portfolio sample list.

I also do a fair amount of educational illustrations, so I included a black and white line art section on my website. That kind of work is fun, quick, and pays well. I love creating lots of new characters in black and white line, especially kids of diverse ethnicities, and to create personality in a character with the stroke of a pen (digital pen that is).

My two current goals are to find more clients who need line art and to break into trade publishing. I've just sent out lots of postcards (see my last post) and I'm already getting the next postcard sample ready to send out.

This morning I read a great post on what to include and not include in your portfolio by Cheryl Klein, an editor for Arthur A. Levine Books (Scholastic). I'm looking through my online portfolio a bit closer. Do you see anything I should remove on www.kristivaliant.com? Some of the pieces that I feel are weaker, others have commented on and said they love. It's hard to know what the art directors will think. I'm constantly changing out the pieces in my printed portfolio. What do you think is my strongest piece? Weakest piece? Anyone?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Promotional Postcard

(Update: I've created a newer blog post on promotional postcards going further in depth on the subject)

A few days ago, I sent over 300 of these postcards to publishers, editors, and art directors. This is a 5"x7" postcard and I placed a label with the publisher's address in the center of the blue tablecloth. I usually get my postcards printed at www.vistaprint.com, but since Vistaprint doesn't do 5"x7" postcards, I had this one printed at www.printplace.com.

Right now, I'm working on illustrating a series of 6 easy reader books. They'll be published this summer, so it'll be a little bit before I can show you a peek at the artwork. It's a really fun series with a theme I really enjoy! I'm also working on some black and white line drawings for educational purposes for another publisher, and I'm trying to find time to work on my picture book dummy for one of the manuscripts I've written. Lots of work at the moment - yay!

Friday, April 04, 2008

Illustration Friday - "Save"

How do you save a crate filled with top secret stuff from the bad guys? Hop on it and slide...

I created this illustration this morning based on the Illustration Friday theme of "Save". It's another sample piece for my middle grade book portfolio.

I just finished reading Max and Maddy and the Chocolate Money Mystery by Alexander McCall Smith. This illustration is sort of inspired by a scene from that novel. In the story, there are dogs who are running alongside the children and helping the children. I thought it would add more drama to have creatures chasing them along with the bad guys so I drew it that way.