To join me on a virtual sketching trip, download a travel sketch-journal here.
I add tutorials to them so you can learn the techniques and details you see in the sketchbooks.

My former workshop students asked me to upload my workshop workbooks to make them available to everyone. So you can also download a workbook and give yourself a workshop! Enjoy!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Book Fair AND Sketch/Journaling Class, 11/7-9/09

Wahoo! I'm RICH!
Well, mebbe not rich, exactly. But I went to the Book Fair hoping only to sell enough to pay for the table ($50 for a 6' table), then sold enough books, outdated workshop workbooks, and prints from my book illustrations to make an extra $174, so I am ecstatic! As my friend Dan Jones says, that'll buy a cord of wood (more like just half a cord, Dan)!

I've done quite a few book fairs like this, and other trade shows, but the tweaking is always interesting. I started out as in the first photo, above, but I noticed that people were reluctant to paw through the prints, so I put a little sign on the front that read "Feel Free to Browse!" and had a little smiley face. Right away, people started looking through them and I sold two immediately.

Then I realized that no one had even asked to buy a book and I realized that I should have piles of books behind each display copy (I KNEW this, but I'd forgotten, since it's been nearly five years since my last book fair). So things got shifted and tweaked until it looked like the picture here. The big display behind the table is the info about our big Art Show and Studio Sale. (Click on any of these to get an enlarged view.)

Now that THAT's over, I need to get back to work to finish preparing for the Art Show and Studio Sale.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
But before I do that, I need to get up news about my last Sketch/Journaling Workshop. It was a good one, (although small, as is usual these days)(and made smaller yet when one student didn't show -- at least I still got paid for her!). Here we all are, and I must say, I really do love small classes. I can give more attention to each student, and everyone feels especially well cared-for.

The first order of business was to get everyone sketching, so we did leaves and shells and generally had a good time. For the Sketch/Journaling class, we don't concentrate so much on the drawing, but as you can see from the journal pages (further down), I do teach enough so that they can make a pleasing quick sketch, and if they work at it later on at their own pace, they will improve dramatically.

This was a nicely varied class of all ages, the youngest being a college student. I particularly love it when I get a good spread of ages. They come in with different viewpoints and backgrounds, and since there's a lot of sharing the experience tends to be richer than average for all of them. This was no exception.

On the second day, we engaged with the watercolor pencils and graphic elements, as well as writing creatively, and turning out some excellent haiku and poetry.

The creative writing really calls out to be shared, and as usual, I had people read their work to the rest of the group. They all have warning before we begin to not write something so personal they'd be embarrassed to share it out loud.

It's fun to watch this process -- sometimes people are shy at first, but as others read their work it becomes easier the second time around. This was a cozy group, evidencing NO shyness from the get-go.

I don't think these students are going to have a speck of trouble journaling on after the end of the class. They were getting a real kick out of the sharing as you can see here!

Of the second day, they produced the assignment of a journal page with a creative paragraph, a colored drawing, a poem or haiku, captions, graphic dividers, and had attached some ephemera (a memento of some kind glued onto the page).

While they were working, I produced a page, too, trying out a bunch of different techniques, lettering fonts, uses of color to divide the page, etc.

When I do a page like this with the students, I'm not trying to knock 'em out. We only have a short time, so I just do a fun page without too much attention to perfection. Because generally speaking, people don't "design" their journal pages so much as just try to get something written/sketched/etc. frequently.

So my demo page had some glued on leaves, a haiku, an experimental doodle with color, a painted leaf, a correction or two, etc. With each technique, I showed them a quick demo, and if they liked the idea they tried the technique on their own page. May page is not a marvel of good design, but it's kinda purty...

With only three people, I could sit across the table from all three and be able to give demos that were easily visible to everyone at once. Love that. And here are their final results. Nice, huh?

Okay. Next time I'll be talking about getting ready for the Art Show and Studio Sale. Till then!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Southern Oregon Book & Author Fair - I'm Ready!

There. A long, satisfied breathy sigh. I did it.

I've completed the first giant step, and I'm ready for tomorrow morning's 2009 Southern Oregon Book & Author Fair (Nov. 21, 2009) at the Ashland Springs Hotel, Ashland, Oregon from 10am to 4:30pm. Free public admission.

I've never done this particular Book Fair venue before, so I had to prepare from scratch. But I really wanted to do it because I can use it to announce the big Art Show and Studio Sale I'm doing with my friend, Cathy Egelston and her daughter Belle Mahoney, in December. And I can transfer a lot of the Book Fair prep to the Art Sale (more about that in a future blog!)

For the last two months I've been jamming on this duo ~ the Book Fair and the Show/Sale ~ punctuated by one Sketch-Journaling Workshop on November 7 (which I will also blog soon, maybe Sunday.)

It's a gargantuan task, preparing more than 300 original book illustrations and making reproductions of others to sell at the Show. Cathy did a smaller Studio Sale last summer, so she has some experience to guide us, and we've both been preparing steadily for a long time now.

The best thing about a Studio Sale is that it's informal. The art is not generally framed, although each piece is in a clear protective sleeve with a cardboard backing so it won't get bent. This saves a lot of time and money. Additionally, all that art that's been lying in cupboards gets a protective cover At Last ;^}

The Book Fair is first, though, tomorrow morning, and I wish I'd gotten time to blog it sooner. I'm going to send a link to this blog to all my students in hopes that it isn't too late for them to trot on down and say hi. But more importantly, I'm hoping to get people interested in the Studio Sale. It's not every day you get an opportunity to buy original book illustrations.

So I'm prepared for tomorrow. In case you are an author and ever have to do an author gig or even a craft fair, I will share my checklist to help you prepare. Of course, mine is all about me, but it should be a useful touchstone if you are headed in that direction. Here 'tis:

Book Show List

Easel (this is to hold the sign for upcoming Art Show and Studio Sale)
Dolly to haul books and supplies (it looks more professional than carrying boxes)
Cushion for chair (if you're gonna sit all day, be comfy!)
Camera in camera case
Backup boxes of books (these will stay in the car until needed)
Box of books to sell (5-6 of each to start off with)
Display books (one of each I'm selling, labeled "for display only") : Illustrating Nature, Beaver Year, Wild Babies, Redrock Explorer, Swamp Explorer
Book stands (I prop each display book in a metal bookend with the front edge curled up)
A brochure to lay open on table (in case someone wonders who the heck I am)
Workbooks in a display box (I'm selling outdated workshop workbooks)
Prints in a display box (I've made prints of illustrations from the books I'm selling)

Supply Box containing:
  • tablecloth (a new green one I just made with a woodsy fern pattern on it)
  • cashbox with 10s, 5s, and 1s (about $70 worth)
  • calculator (it's easy to goof in all the bustle ~ I don't even try to add)
  • personal kit box (aspirin, comb, mirror, breath mints, tape, scissors, Tums, etc.)
  • business card holder and extra business cards
  • sketchbook and pen (if business is slow, I'll sketch and journal)
  • eyeglasses
  • prints and book list (I'll check off every one I sell to make inventory easy later)
  • paper pad, 2 pens (people will want autographs -- always ask how the name is spelled, then practice it FIRST - if you muff it, the book is ruined)
Art Show Invitations (I'll put these next to the easel -- they're colorful with the location, date and time of our big show, and offer $1 off any of my prints they buy at the Art Show).

Signs in plastic holders
  • a price list (I'm giving a 25% discount off the retail price)
  • a warning about workbooks (workbooks with identical covers may have different stuff inside!)
Anyway, the Book Fair is tomorrow and I'm ready. If you're in the area, I hope you'll drop by. There are 60 Oregon authors, and there should be some great gift book ideas, most with hefty discounts.

Here's a grab-bag of other entries...

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