Tuesday, June 30, 2015


Saturday, May 24, 2014

Painting My Studio

I am painting my studio-to-be. It's a small bedroom that's still full of furniture and boxes from when we moved here in October 2013.

I bought the paint at Home Depot. It's supposed to be paint and primer in one, but I've still needed two coats. John said they may have accidentally used a transparent base instead of white. I'm painting the room a bright cheerful yellow. It makes me happy. The previous color was a brownish beige, seemingly formulated to induce depression and nausea. Some colors give me an emotional response.

When I stood back and looked at my work, I was surprised to see narrow slanted stripes showing through. Was there striped wallpaper under the beige? Maybe peeking through because the wall was wet? But the wall is too textured for wallpaper. And an angular striped wallpaper like that would be very odd looking.

I called John in and asked his opinion. He was as puzzled as I was. We supposed that I may have to use three or more coats of paint to cover this pattern.

That evening, the stripes seemed to have disappeared. It was a relief.

The next morning, the stripes were still gone. They reappeared in the afternoon.

Later, I realized where the stripes came from. The sun had bounced off the house next door and made a vague shadow of the venetian blinds.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Spring Fling

This is my first blog entry in over a year and a half. I missed you. A lot has happened to me and my husband, and perhaps I will tell you more about it later. Right now, I want to tell you about what happened a few days ago.

I attended the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Spring Fling Conference in Citrus Heights on Saturday. My portfolio review was scheduled for 8:00 am on the patio. Remember the patio, it's an important part of the story. I had been very nervous about it all week. It's hard to believe I paid money to be judged by strangers. And until a week before the conference, I could not find my portfolio in the chaos of boxes and furniture that has been my life since we moved in October. And I could not find my sample book mockup until that Friday afternoon.

I left home early, and was a couple of blocks away when I reached for my prescription sunglasses. I then realized that I had forgotten my purse. I turned back, grabbed it, then set off again.

I signed in for the conference then went out to the patio. It was ten or fifteen minutes early. I set up my stuff on a patio table and waited for the guy I was scheduled to see.

A few other attendees came by tried to go in through the patio. That's when I realized that the door had locked behind me. And it was cold out there.

Eight o'clock came and went. I thought the guy was maybe a few minutes late. I decided not to make a big deal about it. It happens to everyone.

I re-read the guidelines and noticed that portfolio reviews are exactly fifteen minutes and are tightly scheduled. I realized that I might only get five or ten minutes. I was alarmed that this guy was so late.

Finally. at 8:15 I banged on the door until someone let me back inside. I didn't know what to do. I told the lady at the sign-in desk what happened. I told the lady guarding the portfolios where they were laid out for everyone to see. I struggled to contain the panic that was welling up inside me. She came out into the hall and pointed out the gentleman I had been scheduled to see. He was sitting in the hallway going over someone else's portfolio. He was actually sitting just a few feet from where I had been waiting, out of sight from the patio.

I didn't want to interrupt the other artist's portfolio review. And I was too panicky to approach them anyway. I went into the ladies' room and had a good cry. I seriously considered the option of just going home. No, I was trying to be a professional. I was afraid, ashamed, frustrated, and panicky. I poured my heart out to a sympathetic woman in the ladies' room. I had a headache.

I struggled to calm down and be professional. This is no big deal, I told myself. I swallowed an ibuprophen and blew my nose. I took deep breaths. I went out in the hall, feeling a little better, and waited for the gentleman to be available. I sat on a bench with some other artists who were waiting for portfolio reviews. I thought I was fine.

Then a woman, who was apparently in charge, approached the review in progress. I heard her say something like, "She never showed up? Well, I guess she missed out."

I ran over there. I thought I was in control of my emotions, but, when I spoke, I sounded like I was crying. They looked at me like I was a pathetic crybaby.

ANYWAY, he rescheduled me. And it turned out to be okay. Dan Yaccarino was really very kind. He gave me insight and information that I needed. He told me something about his work. I admire his illustrative style.

I thought I was okay, but he kept telling me to calm down. At one point, he said I still looked like I was really upset. I told him I couldn't help it, this is just what I look like. Because I really did feel fine. And now I was more self-conscious.

I attended some of the other classes, and I made myself feel better by blowing off the scheduled luncheon, which was another scary social event, and taking myself to McDonald's for comfort food. I felt a lot better after that.

Later, looking at the portfolios on display, I was very impressed by the caliber of talent in attendance. Then I recognized the work of one of my Facebook friends, whom I had never met. Josh Nash has some very impressive illustrations. I left a note on my business card in his portfolio, in case I didn't find him in the crowd.

I did find him in one of the afternoon sessions. It wasn't very hard, because the overwhelming number of attendants were female. I introduced myself. He turned out to be a really nice young man.

I had such a sense of relief when the conference was over. I was so glad I didn't just go home when the stress was so overwhelming at the beginning of the day. I learned something about the business, and everyone was so nice.

I rushed home to my dear husband and took him out to Dickey's Barbecue Pit.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Life in July 2012

The First New Post In Quite A While

I don't know if some of you wondered what happened to me. I haven't been here and I've rarely been on Facebook. This usually happens when a person is too busy living their real lives to be bothered with their online lives. There have been changes, both professional and personal.

First, and most pressing, my mother is now in hospice. This means she is getting ready to pass away. Doesn't that phrase sound a little bit easier to take than "dying"?

You may know that she has degeneration of the cerebellum, and also alzheimer's disease. Two degenerative brain conditions in one! I quit my "day job" eight years ago, before the economy crashed, because my father had a stroke and couldn't take care of her alone anymore. Daddy passed four years ago. I have been her sole caregiver ever since.

She has had trouble swallowing for years. I had to puree her food and thicken her liquids. Then, a few weeks back, she stopped swallowing. I would spoon food into her mouth and it would fall back out. She wouldn't suck on a straw. The doctor told me to take her to the ER. After an eleven-hour wait, they admitted her. They gave her IV liquids and released her the next day.

When I brought her home, she seemed so much better. She ate well. I tried to feed her the most fattening and nourishing things I could find. I made milkshakes with Ensure Plus and Carnation Instant Breakfast powder with fruit and ice cream. She ate better for a while, but then she stopped swallowing again.

They told me earlier that they might have to install a feeding tube. I decided that it was either do that or she would starve. At first, they wanted to set up an appointment for the following week to evaluate her for the feeding tube. I explained that she was already skin and bones and probably wouldn't last that long. They told me to take her back to the Emergency Room.

More IV fluids. They made her look a bit more fleshed out. Then they said they couldn't install the feeding tube the way they usually do for reasons that I don't have the medical knowledge to understand. They said she wouldn't survive the surgical alternative.

So now I have her home with me. She probably weighs eighty pounds. Hospice nurses keep coming over and checking her and writing things down in their notebooks. A really kind young lady comes over and bathes her for me. A social worker came over twice and made me and my sister cry. He said things that take away all hope.

Yesterday, I got Mom to eat some of a chocolate Frosty from Wendy's. I plan to buy her another one today.

This is a picture of my mom. It was taken sometime in the early nineteen fifties. As was the custom of the day, she gave up her career when she got married. She was always there when I got home from school. I have never known her to drive a car. She is still a beautiful woman.

I am going to wait for another day to write about some of the other things going on. This is enough for now.


Saturday, April 28, 2012

  I have joined SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators). And I plan to attend the local Illustrator's Day event in a few weeks. In preparation, I have re-done my whole portfolio and made a mock-up book of The Calamari Kid. (Right now, it's only a Kindle book.)

  I found some nifty portfolio thingies at a local art supply store. They have clear plastic sleeves to put the pages in. One was 8 1/2 x 11, and I used that one for my book. I even made a full-page sticker to make a book cover. 

  The other one was 9x12 and I thought that would make a good size portfolio. My old portfolio is huge and full of old stuff from the seventies. I was thinking I would be creating a bunch of new art for it. I even bought two 9x12 pads of smooth bristol board.

  But later I realized that what I needed to do was to make prints of my existing art. I have tons of stuff on zip disks, (some of which I can't open with my present computer). And, of course I couldn't find 9x12 computer paper! I started printing on the bristol board, and I was surprised that my printer took it so well. The prints looked great. But soon my portfolio was heavy and wouldn't close. And it was only half full!

   I solved this problem by buying a couple of pads of 9x12 acid free 70 lb. drawing paper.  

  I am pretty nervous about this Illustrator's Day event. It cost me $80 to join SCBWI and another $75 to register for this event. This is a lot of money for me. I'm sure I will be feeling better when it's over. 

Will they like me? Will they like my art? Will everyone else's stuff be a lot better than mine? I feel like a kid going to a new school or something. Social situations make me uncomfortable. Wish me luck!


Friday, April 6, 2012

Animation Art Auction for a Good Cause

Pink Slip Animation recently posted the following on their blog:

"BentoBox storyboard artist, Joey Adams, is experiencing the unimaginable.

To be brief, he nearly lost his twin boys over the Christmas holidays, due to a possible genetic illness. Two years ago, he and his wife Ginger, lost their daughter, under similar circumstances. The boys survived, but baby Ian is currently undergoing grueling chemo, while undergoing extensive genetic testing. He will need a bone marrow transplant, and his brother Henry may need one as well. Needless to say, all of the treatments, missed days of work, etc, have caused a huge financial burden for the Adams family (they do not have Motion Picture insurance yet).

Many in the studio expressed a desire to do something for Joey, which led to the idea of reaching out further into our animation community for help."

They are having an eBay auction of animation art as a fundraiser for this cause. Follow the link and take a look. They have wonderful drawings, cels, autographed posters, and even maquettes (sculptures). There are a lot of very nice pieces available.

Bid soon. Be generous. The auction ends on Monday.

Friday, March 23, 2012

One Morning in Kindergarten


I have always had trouble understanding the words of songs.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Up Up Ubi

I have mentioned on this blog in the past some artist tournaments that I entered on Facebook. I never won or anything, but the experience is pretty cool. The other artists were amazing.

I bring this up because the guy who organized the tournaments, Andrew Augustin, has started his own video game company. His first game is available for iPhone. I don't have an iPhone, but I wish I did.

He has a Kickstarter fundraiser going on to help expand his business. I wanted to post a link to try to help him. He's a good guy.

Most of my Facebook friends are cartoonists, animators, and other artists. It's a good way to "meet" other artists and look at each other's work. I know that some other people have had questionable experiences on Facebook, but the overwhelming majority are nice people. We say kind things to each other and gently give constructive criticism of each other's work. We encourage each other and pass along job opportunities.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

One Afternoon on the Beach


I know, it's about time I posted on my blog. I have been trying to work out in my head what should happen in my next book, THE CALAMARI KID IN OUTER SPACE. Like whether he should actually go to outer space, or maybe leaving the ocean be outer space for him. I have a few ideas I'm shuffling around on my story board. We will have the return of Nancy and Tina, the girls from out of town. And of course Joy and Eddie will be there, along with Penny the Bipolar Mermaid and the Calamari Kid himself! And I'll be introducing Tadpole, who is a younger mermaid. The cartoon above features Tadpole.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Children's Book Writing

Anybody write a children's book and know about age levels and vocabulary?

I had John look at my first book, The Calamari Kid. He pointed out that many of the words I used would be beyond the age level of a kid who would read a story like that. (such as tentacles, unpredictable, scheduled, skeptical, sodden, doubloons, etc.)

When I was a kid, I liked to read books that were challenging and look up words I didn't know. I thought everyone did that. I hated books that were condescending.
I'm working on the sequel now, and I'd like to do it right.

This book is published on Kindle. While I read over it with him, I found a couple of typos. This in spite of the fact that I proofread this thing so many times that I could have sworn it was perfect.

The errors are small, and I have not been able to figure out how to correct them. Just a sentence missing a period and one letter wrong in a word. (says HIM, should say HIS). If you read my previous blog post about this publishing, you will see what a difficult time I had. It looks like the only way to edit the book is to edit the original file and re-upload it to replace the original. I'm scared to death I'll screw up the original. I only vaguely remember how it's done.

I have decided that the best thing for me to do is to get the sequel ready and when I upload it, I will be reminded of the process. Then I will hopefully be able to make the necessary adjustments to the original story.