With help from the bear called Poppy, Rebecca offered a fun, practical, and fascinating step-by-step guide to illustrating a book along with her hard-won insights on launching into a new profession.
In this case, the book was The Shopkeeper’s Bear published in November. It’s Rebecca’s third book in print since she cast aside a decade of experience in graphic design to pursue her love of illustration four years ago. And her new career is charging ahead with middle grade readers and more picture books in the works.
Rebecca gave a detailed look at the seven stages she goes through to get ready to paint, and how each helps her to discover the special feeling, insight, and enjoyment she can add to the story:
- figuring out the page turns
- character sketches
- the one-page thumbnail layout of the whole book
- rough sketches
- tight sketches
Along the way she treated the dozen or so writers and artists in attendance to tips of every kind: what type of paper to use, the Ievel of detail in the writing that can help, not hinder the illustrator, how to add variety and create a compelling visual flow, and many more.
She concluded with observations on how to be discovered via the web, twitter, and other social media — and the importance of critiques and constant improvement to being prepared.
Red Canoe muffins provided a treat of a different sort. Run for nearly ten years by husband and wife team Peter and Nicole Selhorst, the bookstore café realizes her wish to share the world through books. “You don’t need anything special to see the world in a red canoe. Just climb in with a paddle and go!” she says. For Peter, Red Canoe is the chance to play with his food and discover delicious new flavor combinations and the rewards of growing your own herbs to make unique jellies and chutneys.
Both Rebecca and Red Canoe are planning encores this fall. Rebecca will speak at the SCBWI MD/DE/WV regional conference Sept 21-22 in Frederick.
Rebecca thanked Susan for being her first critiquer during an SCBWI conference. “I was doing everything wrong,” said Rebecca. “I think I might have given up if she hadn’t been so nice.”
Stay tuned for updates.