This is my journey in creating concepts, writing, illustrating, finding a literary agent, and becoming a published children's book author and illustrator for the picture book genre.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Newest piece...

The woes of moving. Yes, we are moving. It will all be over soon. The moving truck will be here on the 29th and my family will be dining at the finest of establishments that have playgrounds. It isn't easy to move a family of 5 with 3 VERY active boys, but we make it happen. Unfortunately, the stress is paramount. I have kept a small area available for me to keep up my art and in hopes that long awaited email will arrive. So, I keep drawing and creating. As I referenced before, a cute black, stray cat came our way and found comfort on our porch for a couple days. He has since left but makes the occasional visit for cat food if his travels allow for it. He allows me to pick him up and snuggle him while I am whisked away to happiness by the lullaby of his purrs....
He inspired the drawing below and his wayward life inspired surrounding  background. Perhaps he need the kindness of others to help remind him that there is love in the world. Perhaps friendship is the key to kitty happiness. Or perhaps it is about a small, kind gesture from one who should keep his distance is the one friend who helps Sparky find his place or a family to belong to. Perhaps that sweet bird is his family??? Here is the primary sketch below:

In practicing with the method of illustrating, I decided to take above sketch and draw it out on 11x15 watercolor paper. I needed to re-draw that sweet cat in the same manner that I had done with the sketch.

After the sketch was done, I tried to critique it before I began the color process. What was occurring in the illustration? Can you identify the relationship between these two characters? Something was missing. I needed an action. The relationship was apparent, but I needed a reason for that bird to be there. I drew in a flower between the beak of the bird. Now the action is VERY apparent. Bird is gifting cat with a flower. It is a kind and peaceful interaction.

Now comes the color commitment. I want to stay true to what i have learned from the conferences and critiques. Larger paper- CHECK! Clean drawings- CHECK! Background detail not at the forefront- CHECK! I am trying to utilize my background to emphasize the characters. It is like the purse and shoes for the main-event dress. I decided to try to paint the background first and work inward. So far, the results are good. I am utilizing W&N cotman and Gouache as well as Prismacolor watercolor pencils.
I will post more pics as I start to make progress. For now, I really need to pack...and make dinner!

I really adore gouache paints. They offer a brilliance and creamy texture that is pleasing to paint with!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Creating my new character

Meet sparky! A little stray kitty has adopted our porch recently. He is such a sweet and magical black kitty with pretty green eyes. I brought out my sketch pad and started creating the magi-cat sparky!

This is still in the sketching and outlining phase, but this little magi-cat has won my heart and I hope he will win yours!


Here is another Sketch of Sparky sweetly hiding under a blanket like cats do . The second was color edited via photoshop. I just wanted to get an idea of colors, etc. He is such a sweet cat. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Do you have a writing buddy?

I have been invited to join a writing group by someone whom I met on my Facebook page. She is a self publishing children's book author who gave me some lovely compliments about my illustrations. we have continued to keep in contact as our lives continued to go their ways. She is a lovely person and has a great talent. I was hesitant at first. My experience with writing groups has not been the best. As a person who is primarily an illustrator, groups aren't near as helpful as conferences. Unlike writing, illustrators complete their work...and it is a done deal. Sure, the computer age has brought digital illustration to the forefront and allows for edits during the process, but traditional media tends to be a throw away process. Sketching helps with this, of course. Also, art is subjective. The conferences tend to offer the objective form of the industry. What sells and what is trending is discussed like a broken record. With writing groups, feedback never really helped but enabled the creative process. It isn't as black and white as writing. You can't fix grammar in an illustration. Conferences offer feedback from art directors from established publishing businesses or established artists who are active in the industry and current on trends. The beauty of what they critique is technique. The best advice I have received have been to change my paper size or try a different angle to achieve the desired affect.
This group may help me get back into writing while offering me input based on their experiences. Illustration is my strength and I really love it, but writing is how I started. I often consider rewriting Andy based on all that I have learned. I can then illustrate it using what I have also learned. This may be the platform for that to take place.
 In other news....
The recent edition of the SCBWI Southern Breeze came out and my article was on page 5! It is a short piece that was about the quickfire portfolio review. Those two minutes still make me want to cry. Having your work reviewed in a forum of this set up is hard on your ego but an amazing lesson to be learned in the world of art directors and editors. Here it is below:

Page 5- Summer edition Southern Breeze SCBWI 2014
*illustration used in Summer issue*
The Portfolio Quickfire:
Two Minutes that
Changed My Life
Cassaundra Dunbridge

It was my first Illustrators’ Day, and the moment I’d
been looking forward to—and dreading—had come. My
anxiety rose to new heights as each name was announced
and portfolios were brought to the art directors’ table for
their review.
The faculty panel thumbed through each portfolio,
moving at a rapid pace, marking the pages they thought
were the best.
Then my name was announced. I wanted to cry. They
did not know me and I knew them only from having
listened to their sessions that day. They flipped through
my pages so quickly.
At the end, I heard one sentence clearly. Someone
said a flower was interesting. at was it. A flower in
my portfolio was the only positive I could hear.
I felt confused. Did I fail? I felt as if all the answers
I craved were unattainable and my dream was a
nonsensical illusion ending in sorrow.
en, I changed the perspective. the answers were
there. They were right in front of me and these critics
gave me a gift to ignite my passion. is is how an art
department evaluates incoming work. I was a part of
that process. My flower stood out.
is was not a competition, but a collaboration; not
a judgment, but an opportunity to learn how to sell
my work. My skin grew a bit thicker that day. I lost
my insecurity and gained a like-minded community.
ere is strength in community. I now know how to
achieve my illustrating dreams.
*illustration considered for cover of summer issue*

Cassaundra Dunbridge resides in the lovely city of Rome, Georgia with her darling husband, three young and charming boys, two demanding felines, and one canine princess. She is a whimsical illustrator and author for the 
picture book genre.

I had a sketch and an illustration used in this edition, too (as seen above). This was my first time having my work used this way. I love being a member of the national SCBWI. It has afforded me opportunities to meet others that share the same passion. It is a great tool to help a person further their ambitions! I have also learned that it is important to make connections outside of SCBWI. Everyone has an experience and advice to offer. I enjoy the opportunity to learn from the masses.

As for that writing buddy, I have one at home who sits by my side. He is a children's story just waiting to happen. Meet my buddy, Bacon.