Portfolio Prep 2, Multiple Styles

Having multiple styles in a portfolio is a blessing and a curse.

Sure this can indicate that you are versatile with medium/material and yeah this also means that you can illustrate different genres too and that’s fun.

However most publishers/agents/whoever you are showing your portfolio to doesn’t want to see too many styles. They want to know what they’re paying for. Consistency and an organized portfolio is the key to multiple styles.

Consistency in multiple styles? What I mean is make sure you can pop out that particular style anytime. Eliza Wheeler had a similar problem but she ended up owning those styles with a beautiful, prize winning portfolio awhile back.

Here are a few styles that I’ll have in my portfolio:

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They are each pretty different huh?  The first piece is digital and I tend to work obsessively over details when I work digitally. The middle is watercolor with photo reference, with some composition and color changes, of my cat. The next one is in watercolor as well however it’s more from imagination. I tend to want LESS with watercolor.

 

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Even with my black and white I can still see that I apply a similar “paint” texture. And my shapes and drawing stays the same.

 

 

 

Ultimately I think it’s how you place each style next to each other that will make all the difference. Tell a story with your pieces. Use one piece to progress to another. Or if you are working to illustrate multiple genres split the styles completely in a creative way, that’s what one of my critique members did.

Just for laughs, here is one of my “older” styles…

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Yeah, I’ll be having that in a separate portfolio haha.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mini Project

 

In the middle of reading mentor picture books and writing manuscripts, I come to appreciate mini critique group projects like the one below.

This comic is a little looser, but I enjoy working this way.

*sigh* I hope this isn’t another style change .-.

 

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A Sick Day for Amos McGee

Amos McGee loves visiting his friends at the zoo while he works. But one day the zookeeper wakes up sick and his friends the elephant, the tortoise, the penguin, the rhinoceros, and the owl decide to visit him instead.

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The Stead’s work brings you a wonderful story with a great friendship, splendid pacing, cute animals, and the charming Amos McGee all rolled into one. With Philip C. Stead’s wonderfully written work and Erin E. Stead’s beautifully illustrated woodblock printings and pencil, you have a timeless work of art here.

Now I’m going to be steering a bit from my usual review formula because it is the month of STORYSTORM. These are the books I love and cherish.

I would like to start off with looking at the great characters, the main character being an elderly man instead of a child and IT WORKS. There are tons of children’s books out there that have animal and child characters that work but not many with an elderly old man who is sick for a day. During the thousand times I’ve heard or read that I need only children and animals (that’s it!!!) in my illustration portfolio, I always think back to Amos McGee and remember there are exceptions.

Aside from great characters (hey the animals are great too) the pacing is wonderful. I’m talking mainly about the images below…UGGGGG 7.jpegUGGGGG 8.jpegUGGGGG 9.jpegUGGGGG 10.jpeg

Only nine words here and that is eight pages worth of story and it is the best thing these creators could have done. Sometimes when there is a turning point in a story, the best thing is to allow the illustrations take control to set the mood. Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen, also does something similar with their turing point. I will show that later.

And to wrap up, the Steads’ work really is a timeless story. Most people who do read pictures books (teachers, parents, kids, book lovers, creators…) have read this book. And if you haven’t and you are interested in writing and/or illustrating picture books I highly recommend it.

The good list:

  • GREAT bedtime story
  •  Short, sweet, to the point
  • Illustrations are marvelous
  • Good story time material as well I would think
  • Lovable characters
  • Pacing is good enough for taking notes on a way to pace a story
  • The story is simply about a good friendship.

That’s it for today! Hopefully these images remind or inspire anyone who is reading this and is doing the STORYSTORM challenge. They most certainly inspire me!

Oh! Philip Stead’s website

 

Shape Shift (Yes, More shapes, I Love Them)

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Just look! Shapes are all around you. You can just observe them or you can shift them, change them, rearrange them anyway you’d like! You could make a crescent and a trapezoid look like a fish. You could turn a rectangle and a circle into a car. You could even make a clown upside down, if you wanted, it just takes some looking and a bit of creativity. With Hesselberth’s fun, simple, and colorful illustrations, the reader will learn about the many shapes around them and how to see them differently. Each page provides questions that reach for answers and participation from the audience. This concept of participation and learning is great for school circle time or can simply be for fun. Hesselberth’s work is recommended for ages 4 to 7.

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Christy Ottaviano Books/Henry Hold and Company, Ages 4 to 7, $16.99

 

The Good/Bad List (and a story!):

  • Good: Love abstract, simple, colorful, and textured illustrations. Love the layout/design of the book. The illustrations made me (and the parents I showed Hesselberth’s work to) want to turn the page and see what the shapes created.
  • Good: There are many questions, sounds, and little bits that call for participation.
  • Bad: In the manuscript, there were certain parts that vaguely rhymed (or at least had a rhythm) that I enjoyed a lot, but it wasn’t consistent enough for me personally (though the parents didn’t seem to be affected in anyway, I’m probably just picky)
  • Bad: Story time! So one lady who has a grandchild  with a speech impediment says he has a problem pronouncing S and F. She told me that the first thing she thought about Shape Shift was how her grandchild would not be able to pronounce that correctly… meaning that he would accidentally say a curse word instead of the word “shift.” I did not think of this AT ALL when I saw this book, but when that was mentioned, the two other parents nodded in agreement. O_O this is probably not that bad, but it is worth mentioning.
  • Good: It think this has some re-readability. I don’t think this has the ability like Pete the Cat does or Dragons Love Tacos but for a shape learning book, I think it’s fun enough to read again.

That’s all Folks! If you would like to look at Hesselberth’s work, go here.

 

 

 

 

Things Everywhere! Shapes

WEDNESDAY REVIEW! (Well, maybe I really should just move to Fridays…)

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Lizelot Versteeg, Board Book,  978-1-60537-241-9

SHAPES! They’re everywhere.

Arcs, rectangles, circles, squares, triangles, all of the many different shapes are found everywhere everyday, one only needs to look to find them. Each page has lots of shapes relating to different situations one goes through in daily life such as getting dressed in the morning, supplies at school, bath time shapes, playthings, and kitchen things. As the reader goes through each page, they must find the specified shape. Versteeg also created a little more challenging side activity that encourages the reader to find the different colored clocks throughout the pages as well. First published in Belgium titled Allemaal Dingen; Vormen and translated from Dutch to English, Versteeg’s cute, simple, and colorful illustrations directly interacts with the reader by asking questions about the daily activities involving the different shapes. This playful board book is designed to help the language development toddlers ages 30 months and up and is recommended.

 

OKAY, I reviewed a board book, technically not a picture book. BUT it has pictures and words right? So it’s a picture book, right? (wrong haha)

I had this review lined up and after talking a little to author/illustrator Joyce Hesselberth at the Baltimore Book Festival  this past weekend along with award winning  Jan Spivey Gilchrist (both fantastic illustrators, both very different in styles of illustrating) I realized I needed to get back to reviewing books for kids.

I hope (or will, I WILLL) write reviews for books created by both illustrator/authors. I bought a copy of Shape Shift from Hesselberth (so this is what’s up with the shape board book!) and WILL write up a review on here Shape Shift. 

Until next time~ (Friday maybe? Friday. FRIDAY)