When Nature Strikes

I already had an impossible deadline for the release of Ooooooh, It’s Halloween, written by Barbara Poor.  I mean, come on, giving me less than 5 weeks to have an entire book from scratch done?!?! INSANITY!

Then…..only a week and two days into the project, mother nature decides that Florida has simply gone too long without ample tragedy.  On the heels of hurricane Harvey’s devastation of Texas, my fears were great, to say the least.

As a life long Floridian, I am certainly no stranger to hurricanes.  I was smack dab in Andrew back in the 90s.  This time however, this one, felt….different. Whether it was due to the fresh images of waters rushing homes in Texas or the fear I held for friends living in Texas, I was terrified.  I have never been so scared. The minute I heard about Irma and a possible projection toward our coast, I told my husband to prepare.  We set up an evacuation to a hotel 5 days in advance.  I began bottling water and packing. My husband began boarding windows and purchasing enough  food to sustain us throughout any power loss.  With one hurricane a few years back, we had a full 31 days without power.  So, this time around, we decided to be better prepared.  A good portion of my mind fully believed we would have no home to return to sadly. I was praying for the best, but preparing for the worst my mind could imagine. I am not negative, but I am a realist.

We took our dogs to the local boarder as one has severe storm anxiety.  I knew the vet could give him something to calm him if the need be.  I simply could not imagine how stressful it would have been on the dogs to be shoved into a tiny motel room for days on end with possibly no power or water source, other than our bottled water.

We left at the last possible minute Saturday afternoon. There was a strict order to be off of the roads by 8 PM.  We sat waiting for our room to be ready, for what seemed like hours. It was not the Ritz, but it certainly felt safer than home.  We still have roof damage from hurricane Matthew last year.

This beast called Irma was larger than our state. The early news reports showed Brickell Miami, where I grew up.  The streets looked like a raging river.  My fear grew.  I suddenly felt trapped.  I had wanted to leave the state but traffic was at a virtual standstill from days earlier and gas was almost gone.  I kept eye on the clock.  Flash forward to Sunday. We knew it would be here by about 2 AM.  By 8 PM the power was gone as had the water. Our cell phones became our life line. Of course Sprint did not care about that and was quick to slow speeds down to 2g the millisecond our data hit the cap.  Have got to love that!  Nonetheless, we were blessed to have a connection to the outside world amidst the next hours that were to become, for me personally, hellacious. I suddenly began to realize every tree outside, every chair and the hallway full of furniture and florescent bulbs that the hotel staff did not deem worthy of locking up….I mean literally, just laying on the floor, were projectiles.  As the winds picked up and the light of the sky turned to black, my heart began to pound.  Alerts on my phone were non stop. Posts on Facebook of friends who live in towns to our south describing what they were hearing , it was scary.  A bit much for me evidently.  I found myself to be the only one fully awake just sitting on the bed staring at the door and curtains which covered the window.  And I sat. I sat and I waited. I am not sure what I thought I was doing to be honest.  I know the sounds were terrible.  I cannot imagine how my family slept through it.  The gusts, I literally felt them.  We were on the 2nd floor. Each gust felt like a slight nudge. Perhaps this was all my imagination, I thought.  That is until the curtains began to move with the gusts. The wind was quite literally punching the windows and doors. This went on for hours.  When the sun came up and we knew the storm was well over, I fell asleep.  I managed an hour or so before my husband felt the need to go home. Once the county gave the go ahead for citizens to drive safely on the road (noon) we made the short trek back. The hotel had no power or water so it seemed essentially useless to stay there, even though we had paid through to Tuesday. When we arrived home, everything was as we had left it.  We had minor yard debris and the mini fridge which held my insulin had died. Our power was out.  As we have a well, this also meant no water.  We thankfully had filled plenty of bottles and totes before we left, just in case. My husband set up the generator.  Oddly enough, everything in our freezer was still frozen.  I suddenly felt foolish for throwing all of the perishable refrigerator food out that before we evacuated.

We unpacked and I began to finish the book.  I worked non stop. I not only made the deadline, but I exceeded it. Working by phone and generator was not easy but it helped keep my mind off of the disaster around me.  We were spared, by the grace of God, not everyone was as lucky.

I will evacuate a million times, and if each time it is for nothing, I will be fine.  It is better than staying once and being wrong.

Advertisements

For The Love Of Markers

Azile Marker art

Markers have certainly evolved since I first used Crayolas as a child. I fondly remember my first set of markers. I also remember the devastation I felt when they dried out.  As time passed my art evolved.  Occasionally I would use my Micron pens, but markers were mainly used to decorate handmade cards or packages. I seldom created art with them.

The more I delved into digital art, the more I longed to return to organic art.  Illustrating books, creating book covers as well as the advertisements and book trailers thereof left little time to do so. I could make a few smaller paintings, but drying time and such delayed any true sense of gratification. My graphite sketches and Micron ink drawings seemingly lacked. Then…. I discovered ….. Chameleon Pens.  I believe I first saw the video on Facebook.  No doubt my bestie had tagged me in the post.  It seems when a new art product arrives I am always tagged about it.  If only I had the luxury and wealth to buy these items. I remember sharing the post with my husband.  The idea of blending markers and one marker providing seemingly limitless colors was simply awesome to us.

Then came Valentine’s Day. My darling husband surprised me with the 22 box set. The rest of the available colors came shortly thereafter as an Easter surprise.

Chameleon Marker Art

I never thought I would enjoy markers again.  But I love these! They make creating art as fun as I remembered it. I have many other top brands of markers as well, but I always seem to go back to my Chameleon pens. They flow beautifully.

Flight Of Colors Marker Art

It has not become my favorite late evening activity. I doodle with my Chameleon pens.  It is a welcomed break from the digital monotony that has become my world amidst illustrating children’s books!

Alaska Marker Art

I still paint, wood burn, sculpt, sketch, and draw using ink, of course.  However, the ease and instant gratification from using the Chameleon pens are wonderful.  I have enough time after work and preparing my family dinner to actually complete a piece of art.  Nothing compares to waking up the next day and seeing my doodle sitting there. Even if it isn’t perfect, I feel better knowing it is complete and I feel accomplished.

To see more of my art please visit my website at www.alysathena.com

Life As An Illustrator

Happy March!!!!!!!!!!

Well, normally I would be posting all the art I have been working on…However since I have been back to work post surgery, I have been quite busy.

Once again there were name changes….this resulting in me having to create yet even more new logos. Oh what fun……

I think I am burned out on the constant rebranding.  How many name changes does it take?

Anywho, so doing new logos and mascots has kept me busy and from the actual important work. With this new branding/logo I had to also edit former ads and animations.  I absolutely love having to edit 16+ layers of an animation and not get paid a penny more to do so.  Do you detect my sarcasm?  The rebranding has taken time away from the real work as I previously stated.  What is this real work?

Why illustrating of course!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am BEYOND excited to be working once again with the incredibly talented Barbara Poor!!! After our previous work together, The Girl With The Curly Red Hair, I am extremely excited to work with her once again!

I am up to 16 preliminary sketches for our next book! Although all the authors I have been blessed to work with are wonderful, I must say Barbara is the easiest to please! I have had zero revisions or redo’s for her to date! Any illustrator will tell you that is beyond rare! Barbara’s talent is unmatched, as is her kindness. You can learn more about Barbara by visiting her website here; http://www.joyofchildrensbooks.com/ To see more of my illustration work please visit: http://www.alysathena.com/

I am also busy creating relevant ads for all previously published books via FoxTots, which I am now fully in charge of.  Because I need more to do yet not be paid more….again denote the sarcasm.

 

//giphy.com/embed/l0IyfbLBdpzfBK1jy

I love making animations, unless of course I am remaking 16+ layers because rebranding (and not being paid more for this) is an ever occurring issue!

I also have had the pleasure of FINALLY receiving a digital proof of a book I submitted the art for last summer. I am extremely excited to see this project done. It seems there has been one delay after the other on it.  I never realized when I signed this contract that only I was given a submission deadline! Lesson learned and henceforth I will not be given a deadline unless all parties have one.  I have done unsurmountable hours of illustration work, which at the moment  is all completely unpaid.  The digital proof thankfully only had  minor errors which I assume shall be fixed forthwith, as again it has been quite a while in the making.

Hours Of Work For Not

logo

Imagine working for months on a project…….

Hours of work….

Then, as you recover from surgery, you receive an email stating your services are no longer needed as they have found a cheaper way to illustrate their comic books and graphic novel because they found an all-in-one shop artist who will also format the comic book.

Yup….that is what happened to me. So, I now have these characters I have created that need a new home, new names, and a story line!

On the bright side, they are portfolio additions….on the not so bright side, here I sit yet again unpaid for work.

I guess it is a good thing I love art.

anthro cheetah dinosaur man cypher thing neked guy with purple eyes dmus9702 dr ladybug girl grren guy matt-ridge-aka-warzone ugh soldierlighting man  google-plus-coverreveal

The City Of Ho Hum

city of ho hum available now

That is right! The City Of Ho Hum written by Penny Estelle is now available!!!

This is the second book I have had the pleasure of illustrating, formatting and editing for Penny Estelle thanks to Fox Tots Books!!! I absolutely LOVE Penny’s imagination.  This story is sure to be a big hit.  The City Of Ho Hum is a delightful tale to spark the imagination of readers young and old.

The City of Ho Hum is a magical place. Only the luckiest of children are able to find their way to Ho Hum. Will you be one of the lucky ones? The things you see will make your eyes POP! Take your own trip to Ho Hum and have the adventure of a lifetime! Shut your eyes, take a deep breath, open this book, and you are on your way!

I absolutely loved creating the artwork for this precious picture book. The timely release is perfect and is sure to add extra smiles to your holiday gift giving. Presently available for purchase here and releasing soon to Amazon.

Tiny Paws

I hope that everyone has a safe and happy Autumn. Remember to read!!! Here is the summer edition of Tiny Paws, a magazine I am the sole creator of for Fox Tots books! You do not need to have DropBox to download your own free copy! When the sign in pops up simply click or tap on “No thanks, continue to view” You are then able to view/download! It is packed with goodies and printables for the little ones!

Click the Tiny Paws edition picture below to be redirected to download or simply copy and paste https://www.dropbox.com/s/r8zx1z2xscayl36/Tiny%20Paws%20Magazine%20October%202016.pdf?dl=0 into your browser for your free copy today!

I have been quite busy lately.  Obviously I have been working on the Tiny Paws magazine. I have also been drawing the characters for the upcoming graphic novel, Origins. I am also amidst promoting the release of The Girl With The Curly Red Hair by Barbara Poor, which releases in just 3 short days!!! I have just completed all work on the upcoming release, The City Of Ho Hum written by Penny Estelle.

I have of course been promoting all the other titles as well. This really has not left time for much else. I am quite looking forward to a break in December!

Tiny Paws