Speaking at the Blue Ridge Writers Conference

This was a wonderful first experience. My talk was "Picture Books and the Journey - PB&J." Everybody was extremely respectful and nice. I didn't get cornered by anybody. There were a few bees (hovering, waiting). I noticed them because, well, I’ve been a bee too. There were probably about 100+ people there total, and I met several fellow writers. We ended up talking quite a bit while waiting for our time slots. I sold a few books and signed a few autographs (so strange). I felt pretty comfortable giving my talk and the audience seemed appreciative of the information I shared. I don't know if it all sank in, but they've got a great resource there if they keep the notes. I tried to be honest about how hard the business is, but encouraging too. It's a fine line. I would love to hear some direct feedback though. All in all, it was a wonderfully gentle and positive break-in to talking at conferences. So, all good!

Illustration Friday, Theme: Bloom

Okay, I'm confused. Did the week with the "Fragile" theme already end and a new week begin? Was I really that busy that I didn't notice the time moving forward? Craziness. Anyhow, this is Gonzago with his seed packets. The blooms are still in their "potential" stage.

It has been an insanely busy week, I must admit. I got a project off to my agent yesterday, and I'll be speaking at the Blue Ridge Writer's Conference tomorrow. "Picture Books and the Journey - PB&J." I'm just arrogant enough to think I have something to share with these budding writers. Actually, I put together an outline of information it took me three years to gather. It may not all sink in, but I wish someone had handed me all this info when I was starting out. I'm pretty excited about it.

Robots - The Movie

We saw ROBOTS last night. This is the second movie by the creators of ICE AGE. While ICE AGE was wonderful, but obviously a beginners attempt (beginners - yeah - I'd like to see me do that), ROBOTS shows a huge leap in skill and story. It does begin with an opening cartoon with the hero from ICE AGE - the squirrel. Loved that squirrel.

It's amazing to me that I look at the computer animation as an afterthought. It's so amazing looking and yet I take for granted this has only been around for about 15 years. (I'm remembering the early days of Pixar.) Anyhow, while I don't believe any script could be more perfect than FINDING NEMO, this one comes close. It still relies on cliché a little more than I'd like. But I love these movies that obviously have intense brain-storming in the background, popping funny references in every other second. There are some hilarious moments in this movie. The greatest was when I found myself laughing out loud (couldn't stop), only to notice there was a little boy sitting close by laughing just as hard as I was - he was probably about 8 years old. This is a great movie. Your kids will love it, but so will you. I will definitely be buying this on DVD when it comes out.

Harry Potter 6

It's coming!! Here's a preview of the book cover (via Publishers Lunch).

Illustration Friday, Theme: Ancient

I'm getting mine in a bit early this week. This isn't anyone I know, I swear.
Several of you have asked how I did this. With this piece, I started with a pencil sketch, scanned it in, and rendered it in Photoshop. Thanks for all the nice comments.