I recently joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, aka SCBWI. It’s been something I’ve toyed with for many years, but I finally took the plunge and paid for a membership. After all, I chose to complete a master’s degree in library and information science because of my love of children’s literature. My first professional job was as a children’s librarian. My home was full of picture books – before I had kids. There is nothing more important to me than reading high-quality literature to children – especially toddlers and preschoolers.
No longer am I just consuming or recommending good books, I’m learning about how they are made and who is making them. I am enjoying this “other side” of children’s books. I am gobbling up books by editors, enthusiasts and authors; it feels like coming home.
So it’s no surprise that I wanted to flex my dusty art skills and take up their March illustrator challenge. Each month, talented illustrators submit a picture based on a prompt. Last month’s prompt was LOVE. This month, it’s MARCH.
Practice, Practice, Practice
I wouldn’t even consider myself in the same league as these talented illustrators (which is why I didn’t actually submit my drawing). Rather, I am just happy for the inspiration. It took me awhile to figure out what type of picture I wanted to draw and then I had to figure out how to properly draw a child’s face — something that I haven’t spent a lot of time doing. It wasn’t always easy to find the time, or to get my sketch transferred just right. I also think watercolors would work better than color pencils, and perhaps I should do a few more facial sketches. A lot of the uploaded illustrations looked digital and I’m definitely not ready to go there yet. I need another year…at least.
I think that’s why I liked meeting this prompt. The very act of doing it forged new pathways in my brain. I already see where I need to practice, and the new techniques I need to learn. Interestingly enough – this hasn’t scared me off. In fact, I’m looking forward to it.