I know I have been rather quiet lately……… But I have been working hard behind the scenes. Amidst the chaos that this time of the year brings, I have managed to eek out some art. Here are just a few. I hope everyone had an awesome Halloween and Thanksgiving! Hard to believe Christmas is right around the corner!
I have received and approved the proof copies from the printer and Ooooooh, It’s Halloween is now officially available!!!!
I have truly enjoyed working on this, my third, endeavor with the delightful Barbara Poor!
From illustrating the interior of this full color 40 page children’s book, creating the cover, editing and formatting, creating all advertisements to creating the book trailer, this has been an absolute adventure. It is always a delight to work with Barbara Poor.
On the heels of our two other collaborations, The Girl With The Curly Red Hair , and My Trip To The Library , Ooooooh, It’s Halloween follows the ginger headed, freckled cutie on a colorful journey through a parade of the delights and frights of costume choices available on Halloween.
It is always an epic delight for me to illustrate for the imaginative and creative Barbara Poor. Her words instantly conger colorful images in my mind and inspire me to draw. I look forward to many more collaborations in our future!
To see more of my work, please visit my website at: http://www.alysathena.com/
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.
Where has this month gone? I can tell you where, into the book I am illustrating! This drawing, *Discovering Piggies* is the only digital drawing I have done all month except for book illustrations! It was done 22 days ago. When I looked at the calendar and realized today was the last day of August, well, I freaked out! Granted, this month has been filled with insurmountable distractions. I have people I love and care about in Texas, so my mind and heart have also been extremely occupied. Add to that the pending deadline to have a picture book fully completed for a Halloween release date, and well, yes, I tend to lose weeks, not days! Add to this, I am ill post my thyroid ablation.
As I am averaging 8 hour days of illustrating digitally, my free time (okay, so there is no such thing as free time when you are home schooling a teenager) is spent fulfilling my other obligations. I also had two title logos to create. When I was not doing these, cooking, cleaning, or sleeping, I was drawing traditionally. Yes, it seems that art is my addiction. My schedule does not seem to be slowing down, either. It is a good thing I love what I do!
Here are a few of my late night doodles.
This is a mixed media piece. I sketched it out and outlined with micron pens, then colored some with Chameleon Pens and Prismacolor pencils. Finally, I used watercolor paint to fill the background.
I am not sure why this image is so large. I imagine I could have fixed it, as it looks blurry, but as I have said, I am pressed for time lately. I doodled this fella in graphite while the VMAs were on.
I hope you all are safe! Here is to hoping that September brings happier events this year!
Once again I have had the distinct pleasure of illustrating for the incredibly talented and remarkably kind, Barbara poor.
I was quite pleased when Barbara asked to use the same character that I had designed for the first book I had illustrated for her, The Girl With The Curly Red Hair.
I had a wonderful time illustrating, formatting, editing, creating the cover and trailer for My Trip To The Library.
Barbara is an absolutely amazing woman. I feel so very blessed to have met her through my art and now to once again be amidst illustrating for her with our third title together. Stay tuned to learn more about Ooooooh It’s Halloween, to be released this Halloween!
I would like you to meet Lucy.
Lucy is a character in my debut children’s picture book where, for the first time, I am both the illustrator and the author.
After years of illustrating, editing, formatting, creating all of the advertising, all the social marketing, creating book trailers, and cover art for children’s books, I have decided to go ahead and do the one part missing to a picture book’s creation, the authoring. I had been approached to do so on several occasions over the past couple of years. Not to mention several friends constantly asking why I did not just make my own. Within as much, I decided to dust off the old manuscripts I have had sitting for years.
Although I took Creative Writing in high school, and have always loved to write and create stories, (especially for my daughter at bedtime when she was younger) I never considered making my own children’s book.
I have decided, why not. If nothing else, I will have a hard copy of my own little story for my daughter, if no one else decides to buy it!
Stay tuned for more about “When Gray Was Blue“!
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.
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.
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!
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