On the Farm · Picture Books

Meet Vincent, the Inspiration

I talk about him all all the time, but I should probably actually introduce you to our goat, Vincent van Goat. He is the star of three picture book manuscripts I am preparing for submission.

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If you were meeting in person he would nibble your clothes and expect a treat. Peanut butter filled pretzels are his favorite. And yes, he really is interested in painting.

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We let our goats out of the pasture when we are outside working. They are very curious.

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Developing Vincent as a character wasn’t hard at all. So much of what I write is very true to him.

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We adopted Vincent and Pi in May of 2018. We dreamed of having goats for years and we love having these cuties. Their previous owners had given them these names and we love them!IMG_7179

But no one loves them more than my 1 year-old daughter. They are so sweet to her.

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Looking Forward to 2019!

Last post I shared my goals from 2018, but it’s time to up my game.

In 2019, I’m really hoping to improve my visual storytelling by creating “dummy” picture books. (FYI, A dummy is a story told in sketches of pages and how they will be formatted in a finished book. I’m not calling names.)IMG_7990

This year I plan to complete 20 picture book dummies, which will pace me at a 2 page spread per day (with wiggle room).

I am also going to continue to write a new manuscript each month. 12 new manuscripts by the end of the year.

And then we come to submissions… I have no idea what to place as my goal here. My motives this year are to learn and grow in the process. When I have 3 dummies ready for submission, then I will submit to agents.

 

 

 

What I'm Learning · Year in Review

2018 was Only the Beginning

Thinking back on this year, a lot has changed. This year was the beginning of me getting down and doing the work to make my dreams happen.IMG_7193

I set goals…

At the beginning of the 2018 I set out to write 12 picture book manuscripts, pacing myself to about 1 a month.

I also wanted to get 1 submission in by the end of the year. To get me prepped and in the mindset that these stories weren’t just to sit in a drawer. I wanted them to get out of my hands.

I also did Storystorm in January and generated 30 new book ideas.

And one of the biggest game changers was participating in a writing group the met each month. This supplied motivation and much needed feedback to push through and make my writing so much better.

 

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Now as I look back on 2018…

I have a lot more in my toolbelt than I did at the beginning of last year.

I have the support and network of people who know my ambitions and are supportive of my writing/illustration. Family/Friends/Writers thank you!

I have goats… which have led to much inspiration visually and story-wise. And are a dream come true in themselves.

I have confidence in the process of showing up and working through iterations of story drafts and illustration ideas.

I have a vision of what I’m trying to do, and I know the steps of what I can do now to work toward that vision.

I’m breaking down walls of perfectionism and enjoying the process of growth and learning.

I’m investing time and money in my development. No longer do I use the excuse of not enough time.

In 2018 I met all of my goals.

I nailed them and now I’m looking forward to challenging myself even further in 2019.

I’m so glad that this book dream isn’t a “someday” goal. I love doing it now.

What goals are you setting for this year? I’ll share mine next week 🙂

choosehope

 

Read Alouds

What Should We Read Next?

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My oldest son has been absolutely entranced with the My Side of the Mountain series by Jean Craighead George. We’ve been reading them aloud over the last couple of months and as we get to the last pages of the 3rd book, Frightful’s Mountain, I asked him what he would like to read next.

His response?

“Let’s start all over again!”

Oh boy!

I’m feeling the need to branch out a little, simply because this isn’t the easiest narrative to read aloud. It is a fascinating series with so many detail and descriptions.

This is also a genre that I’m not as familiar with from my own childhood readings.

My buddy is interested in nature and survival and soaking up informative facts.

So what should we read next for our read aloud?

I pulled up the website whatshouldIreadnext.com and typed in My Side of the Mountain and it came up with a whole list. Many are not what I would choose, but it did come up with a couple I think are worth trying.

Sign of the Beaver

Cricket in Time Square

We’ll see what hits us right. It can be hard finding the right book after enjoying a good series for so long.

Other places I love to go for recommendations are readaloudrevival.com and jennyphillips.com has an incredible book list.

Other books I plan to share with this 6 year old of mine… Half Magic and Frindle

What books are you and/or your kiddos reading? Any in your To Be Read pile that you are dying to get to?

 

 

Picture Books

No limits

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Last summer when my baby was tiny, we would load up in the car and drive through the forest tunnel to the little library in the village near us.

I brought the stroller, but not for baby girl. She wanted to be out of her car seat and looking around. So all the books got piled on the stroller. 

Still new to the area, I asked the librarian if there was a limit to how many books we could check out.

“You can have as many as you can carry.” she said. Then she saw the stroller full of books. “Which may not be a problem for you.”

We laughed and to this day, I check out so many books.

Gosh, I love the library.

There are no limits…

Only books 🙂

This quote says it all.

Libraries Rock

Picture Books

5 Reasons to Fall in Love With Picture Books

lovepicturebooksThere is something magical about the picture book. And that magic is not just for children. The joy and discovery may intrigue an adult, if they slow down to enjoy the beauty of this format/genre.

Here are some reasons to fall in love with picture books.

  1. Connection:

    Sharing a picture book and reading aloud with your child builds beautiful connections. Check out readaloudrevival.com Sarah McKenzie has so many wonderful ideas about making lasting and meaningful connections with your kids through books.

  2. Art:

    Art adds so much to a story. Admittedly I often chug through a book, zipping along the words but fail to pause and enjoy the pictures. Art adds so much to the soul. And cracking open a book can do wonders, especially if you don’t have the time to jaunt down to an art museum. The quality of art in many picture books is outstanding. Take time to find the good ones.

  3. Delight:

    There are so many delightful books. Many picture books keep me coming back for another read, simply because the humor is so fun or the poetic language pulls you in. There are a vast variety of picture books, and there is sure to be one that fits your interests. Picture books have evolved over time, gone are the didactic rhymes and welcome the imagination and creativity.

  4. Education:

    There is a lot you can learn from a picture books. Non-fiction books are great, but even in fiction books you’ll find yourself learning something new. Especially if the author has hit on a universal truth. That is good writing.

  5. Love:

    When you enjoy and love picture books, the listener will pick up on that. Reading together is a great way to show your love to your children.

My question for you is what picture books do you love? These could be ones you love to read now with the kids in your life, or from your own childhood.

 

What I'm Learning

Draw to Learn

I’m a painter. I love the swish of my brush in the water and picking up pigment. I LOVE mixing colors and applying washes. The details in the process of painting is what truly gets me excited.

But when it comes to drawing… I have a lot to learn.

But I had an epiphany the other day… and now I don’t need to stress out about learning to draw.

I can draw to learn…

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Yes, it sounds pretty much the same thing but stick with me. Drawing is something that will develop with practice. It’s a function in the brain, a matter of hand-eye coordination. If you draw consistently, you will get better at it.

For me, that means time in the sketchbook. A safe place for me to learn… but I have found I want to learn much more than just putting lines on a page.

I want to learn the shape of Hippopotamus ears.

I want to learn the way bones are structured in the hind legs of animals like frogs, horses, and rabbits.

I want to learn how to have characters look at each other and pose them to interact.

All these things can be learned through drawing.

In my sketchbook, I have a place to experiment. To find what works… and what doesn’t.

In my sketchbook, I find a character… who keeps popping and asking for me to write his story.

I draw to learn… which in the process is helping me to better learn how to draw.

And in the end, it’s a win-win 🙂

 

What I'm Learning

What I’m Learning: Spring 2018

img_6450I am learning that I am a writer and with that how I want to structure my life.

I am learning mini-habits to sustain me, take care of me and fuel my creativity. For me that means daily yoga, scripture reading, sketching, and making time to read books for my interests and learning.

I’m learning how to approach projects and break them into steps. This is helping my overcome procrastination and overwhelm.

I’m learning how to be mom to 3 kids, meeting them where they are and enjoying to process of seeing their story unfolds.

I’m learning how to tell killer bed-time stories or as my boys call them “made up stories”.

I’m learning how to make reading aloud a huge part of our day and something our family looks forward to and enjoys together… it’s been a process, but we are all on board now.

I’m learning how to plan meals for my family and encourage them to seek food that fuels our bodies and keeps us healthy.

I’m learning how to care for our gardens and animals.

I’m learning how to support my husband through his health challenges.

I’m learning how to ask for help from friends and family.

I’m learning how to take criticism/ critiques without being offended or defensive.

I’m learning that I have a lot to learn…

I’m learning to build my creativity and to work in stages rather than expect perfection.

I’m learning how to be an adult who pushes forward, is curious and willing to try new things and be a beginner again.

I’m learning that I love to learn.moana self taught