I am so excited to talk about Red Fox Literary! I recently signed with the very sweet and knowledgeable Danielle Smith. This partnership came about through a fortunate series of events. While researching agencies I was disappointed to find Red Fox Literary isn't accepting submissions at this time. Pondering how to get my in, I followed them on their respective social media outlets. Much to my excitement Danielle followed me on Twitter that night, and e-mailed me the next day asking if I was looking for representation. I was shocked at first, "how did the internets know?"
Well the team keeps an eye on their Twitter followers and once she saw me follow them she looked me up! More and more the power of social media, especially Twitter, in networking is demonstrated. There is no other platform where you can directly connect with artists, agents, art directors, editors, celebrities (at least I assume Miley is reading my fan tweets), etc.
I am really excited to work with Danielle and be a part of the Red Fox team. In an effort to continue on this roller coaster of illustrationing I am working on a new book idea. Below are a couple of color studies as I try to figure out the right palette. Poor awkward giraffe, he just doesn't fit in...
Posted by Neesha Hudson at 11:15 AM
Time for some self promotion! Quantity is my focus this time around so I came up with some simple, but personal mailers to send out. They started with some hot off the press postcards. I order mine from moo, I love their quality and quick turn around. Plus you can select up to ten images for one side of the card, which means you get variety in a single order.
A handwritten note stating why you think your work would be a good fit doesn't hurt either. There, all wrapped up like a cozy little illustration package.
Print the addresses right from my printer onto the manila envelope, and added a little sketch to grab the viewers attention (hopefully). I used my 2013 copy of the "Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market" to find which publishers I want to submit to. I only use the book to find publishing companies looking for illustrators. Always go to a publishers website to get the submission information. If possible, I will also check the art director's name on Twitter or Linkedin to see if they still work for that publisher.
I have these four little characters incorporated into my promotional stuff. So for each sketch on the front of the envelope, the corresponding sticker on the back to seal the contents safe inside. And done! Easy, relatively affordable, and personal.
Posted by Neesha Hudson at 1:10 PM
Making a mock up of the book using sketches from the storyboard as well as the few finished illustrations I have. The idea is to get a sense of flow of illustrations and story. Do I need to pause here, or speed up the action there? Since my actual text is very minimal (as in a little over 100 words) I also want to be sure the illustrations will carry their weight.
I plan on reading it to my 3 year old tonight. She will be my harshest critic so far...I'm so nervous...
Posted by Neesha Hudson at 1:12 PM
So last February I went to the Society of Children's Books Writers and Illustrators conference in New York City. Made the journey all by myself, leaving my toddler 871 miles away with daddy in Atlanta. The first night there I got food poisoning, forcing me to miss the entire morning session on Friday. Oh, did I mention I was 2 months pregnant as well? It was an experience for sure.
But none of that really matters. What matters is what I learned from the convention and what came out of it. I've wanted to attend for years and was not disappointed. Learned a lot, including how to approach my portfolio and branding for the next time I attend.
What's especially wonderful is how many art directors/editors are right at your fingertips. The conference allows for a lot of self promotion. During the open portfolio showcase, where you get to display your portfolio as well as leave out business cards and postcards, I had an editor ask me about one.
He especially liked the little girl and wanted to know if there was a story to go with her and if I would send it to him.
"Yup!" I replied. I did have a story, just didn't know what it was yet.
So after the excitement, nervousness, panic, and anxiety went away, I asked a few experienced illustrators and writers at the conference what I needed to do exactly. Elizabeth O Dulemba gave me some great advice. If an editor or art director asks you if you have a story, always say you have a story (check). Then take a couple months and write it. Editors expect it to take some time, and 2-3 months is not out of line. But make sure it is perfect! Illustrations to accompany are a bonus, but not necessary. He already liked my illustration style, he just wanted to know what it was all about.
So I followed their advice, kind of. Being pregnant and moving just a few months after the conference set me back a bit. Then a severe case of writers block set me back even more.
"You need to work on that story," my husband would often say.
"I know," was my only reply.
I have a lot of picture book ideas. I'm not saying every one is gold, but they are an idea, a place to start. But having an illustration and being told "come up with a story for this" put my mind in a fog I could not overcome. So I did the only thing I could do, took my time. Did research, had some creative procrastination and worked on the story little by little.
Till voila, I had an idea. Which developed into a story. Which has since become a world with characters and setting and concept. Here is a little peak.
Once the storyboard is finalized I will send it off to the publisher! Only 6 months late.
So because of these two...
...my work space went from this...
Here is how I have adjusted to a whole new situation.
I've been working from home for a few weeks now. There are some advantages and disadvantages to working from home. People love to comment on how great it is because I can roll out of bed and stay in my pajamas all day if I like. While that sounds great (and sometimes does happen), it could not be more counterproductive. In order to effectively work from home, especially with little ones about, you need to have a steady schedule and routine.
One that starts with putting on real clothes and maybe taking a shower. If not for anyone else, for yourself. There is something about getting up and ready for the day that puts you in the right mental state. A necessary place to be if you want to accomplish anything.
So how has work been with a newborn? Slow. I had to make a promise to myself not to expect too much out of the day. To start I was just happy if a load of laundry got done, or my daughter's room was picked up. Now I'm at the point I can get that AND a solid hour of illustrating in each day...and am thrilled!
Currently I am working up a dummy to send to an interested publisher. In college the only thing I needed to worry about each day was what I was going to eat, and what I was going to illustrate for an assignment. Now there are so many things to do in the day, I have to pick and choose. So what do I do with my one hour while both kids are taking a nap? Get a panel on the storyboard sketched out. Or pin some reference to my Pinterest board. Or post to my Facebook page. Something, anything, to keep the slow train moving forward. And I rejoice in my minor accomplishments, because even though I'm not moving as fast as I'd like, I am still moving.
Eventually my goal is to get back into the studio on a regular basis. But for now, I am enjoying the new schedule and relief it brings. Not putting pressure on myself has been a nice reprieve, and allowed me to enjoy the little loves in my life.
I mean who wouldn't want to spend all day playing with these two?
Posted by Neesha Hudson at 12:32 PM
Elijah Fox Hudson was born 10/10/14. Having a baby is such a singular experience. This time was completely different from our first. I was a lot more in tune to what was going on and listened to my body (and the midwife) for the right cues. The awareness that an epidural was on the way is what got me through most of it, and then when the epidural didn't completely take (thank you quick labor) I relied on the midwife and my husband to encourage me. I had an amazing team and couldn't have gotten through it without them!
Going through labor and experiencing the pain, movement, and fear, created such a strong positive emotion when I finally delivered Eli. Something I really feel the epidural blocked with my first. The euphoria continued while at the hospital, and even now that we are home and life has become hectic again, I feel it every time I look at him. Connected to my baby by the things we shared and the hard work it took to get him here.
Months ago I was approached to be a part of a very exciting international event in Atlanta, GA. Thousands of delegates came from all over the world to attend the International Convention of Jehovah's Witnesses and each delegate was given a gift bag filled with goodies. The idea was to showcase local flare so included in the bag were southern recipe cards, handmade soap, posters, etc.
My project was an 36 card memory game.
My daughter loves playing the game. She is getting pretty good at it.
My project was an 36 card memory game.
I illustrated 18 different North American animals and a quirky little Noah to go on the front of the box.
I was also asked to do an illustration of all the animals and Noah for a postcard.
My daughter loves playing the game. She is getting pretty good at it.
The postcard illustration and a few select animals are up on my site. This was by far one of the most enjoyable projects I have ever worked on!
Posted by Neesha Hudson at 1:19 PM
There is a lot to update and I have no idea where to begin! I've been working on a really exciting project that I can't share quite yet. It is going to print today! On top of that we moved in late May 1,200 miles up to Maine! Settling in is taking some time, but it has been fun. My work desk consisted of my daughters toddler sized table for a few weeks. My butt was so sore.
|I'd like to clarify that that is ROOT beer.|
Then here are a few new sketches. Not for anything in particular, mostly just fun.
Posted by Neesha Hudson at 1:38 PM
Check out my new site at www.neeshahudson.com
Posted by Neesha Hudson at 6:15 AM
The very talented Gretchen Ronnevik (aka Nerdy Gerdy) commissioned me to design a new header for her blog.
The original sketches.
Gretchen had a hard time choosing which direction she wanted to go, so I superimposed the sketches on a screenshot of her blog. That way she could get an idea of how it could look.
Tada! Check it out live at He Sows and She Sews.
Posted by Neesha Hudson at 2:39 PM