Tuesday, September 11, 2012

We are live!

As of yesterday my website for Universal Messages went live! For awhile I could not reach it and come to find out that Godaddy was hacked yesterday too! So I think they took the servers down to clean them up. Nevertheless, my site is alive now! Please go check it out!

I am still awaiting Red Cross to respond to my request to use their logo on my site. I decided not to wait for their response for the book. I guess this is something I should have started like 6 months ago because it feels to me like it will take them that long to respond.

I also have a blog section of the webpage and will most likely be discontinuing this blog and using that one primarily. We will be setting up a following there as well, so please, by all means jump over there to continue to follow our path.

Beatrice and Raymond will be coming out in less than 3 weeks now. Publisher won't give me an exact date, which is a bit frustrating, but I am going with it. And I am still awaiting my press release! I will share all news as I know it and I am super happy to have made it this far and can see the finish line. I'm already researching my next book and am looking for others to contribute ideas as well. See on the Universal Messages webpage where you can send me ideas. Together we can insure that none of these Universal Messages die out. This is only the beginning! :) 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Bullet Train

After what seemed like forever trying to get this project off the ground, I have reached the point where things are going very quickly lately, almost at lightning speed. The proof of the book is in my hands, electronically. The marketing consultant is calling me every few days. I received a new coordinator at the publisher 2 days after providing some feedback on the performance of my last one. I requested a consultation with the design team who did the layout and they called me this weekend (which they apparently don't usually do).  They normally go by email direction only. Once I decide on the final comments, there is only the final quality assessment and then it will be put in the line to be printed! I also discovered that the unusual accent, which I could not place, of my coordinator was due to the fact that she is in the Phillipines even though the publisher is out of Indiana.

I have consulted with a good friend of mine on marketing and decided to have her company help me with my website. Thanks to Facebook we were recently re-connected after 20 years! I bought a website domain name consistent with my company name. I used GoDaddy on recommendation from others. I need to sign up for web hosting. This is all new to me and I have no idea how much space I need. I most likely need to complete the layout to determine the space.  I will most likely go with the publisher's marketing deal for press releases in 5 major cities around the country. My friend will also tap her resources, and then there is the connection with the American Red Cross to make.

I am trying to control the speed of this train and make sure we don't hit any caribou along the way to the destination. And I am trying to keep my budget in check. I am starting graduate school in the fall and need to really take some time to figure what my budget can handle and how much I can put into it right now. For tonight though, this engineer needs some sleep. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Making Progress!

John has sent me all the final illustrations and I have sent them into the publisher tonight! Yeah! Editing is done, so now we only have to work with the layout designers to pick the font and place it! I have decided that the charity I will be sending profits to on this book is the American Red Cross. The theme is learning to accept change and the American Red Cross is there for people in the most tragic moments and helps them to deal with great change. So I feel this is a good fit.

Coming soon...my company logo! 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

It's Better If I Am Wrong.

This is the first book that I have done illustrations for. It is really amazing to be able to branch away from what I typically do as an artist, and to have an opportunity to stretch myself into an uncomfortable place to create something amazing. Though I had never attempted illustrations for a children's book, when I took on this project I had a really clear vision of how the process should go. I had ideas for the characters, how they would look and feel. I knew exactly how the background would look, and how the colors and shapes would come alive on the page. I knew the mediums that I would use. I knew the process that I would take to create these images as sketches and how I would bring them together in a final format. However, upon moving through the sketching process, actually bringing all of these ideas together in a final format was a totally different story.

One of my most valuable qualities is being wrong, and being opportunistic enough to do something about it. While this may be my first book this isn't my first creative project. I have learned to never be afraid of admitting that "Plan A" isn't working and that something needs to change. I had the ideas all sketched out and I was beginning to bring them into more of a final format. I probably could have been done with these illustrations a month ago but I wasn't fully satisfied with the way that the images were coming together. It was way too easy and comfortable. I didn't feel like I had put enough of myself into the project. That's not Art, not for me. I never let myself get away that easy. Every bit of my Art, whether commercial or personal, contains my brain, my blood, my sweat, my self deprecation. If I don't freak out at least once through the process then it isn't worth it. It is through telling myself "I suck" that I actually become better. If "Plan A" works every time, then chances are I am not stretching myself far enough.

I trashed what I was initially working on and began to take a few different approaches. What I have settled on has taken the process farther from just sketches and watercolor paintings. I am not going to detail the entire process here, but the final illustrations will be a fusion of colored pencil drawings, photography, and digital painting/manipulation. I have sent some working proofs to Kimberlee for approval to make sure that I was still on track, but even she hasn't seen exactly how everything will be coming together as a finished product, exciting isn't it?

Here a are a few teaser pics from my progress so far. No spoilers though :)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Book Illustrations are in full swing!

Hello All!!! I wanted to stop by and give a quick update. The illustrations have been in progress for a few weeks, and all of the sketching that I have been working on is starting to pay off. I am currently working on developing each of the characters. The process has been a little slower than I had originally anticipated. I started with a more cartoonish and simple style for the characters. The simplistic style proved to be too easy for me and I was not satisfied with the result so I have tried a few other angles until I finally arrived at the perfect combination of style for these characters. Now that I have found my stride I am confident that the rest of the design will come together really nicely. I am going to keep pushing this pencil around until the rest of it falls together. Perhaps we will post up some sneek peeks for you sometime soon :)


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Getting the Ball Rolling Again...

John is on the job, and editing has been in my possession for months now. No, for over a year! My publisher is calling again and it's time to get this book done! I am seriously shocked with myself that I have sat on this for an entire year.  O_o

Well, I had lost my way and needed to find a way to get the book illustrated.  I debated, had people suggest new artists, student artists, etc. But to me,  it didn't feel right. Destiny brought me to John and I decided to give him a chance. He has been in touch and has started on the sketches and I hope to see him soon. We set up a contract and I paid a portion to get started, I will pay a portion upon delivery of the sketches, and I will pay the final portion upon completion. He seems dedicated in everything he does, so I am hopeful it will work out.

As far as editing I have been dragging my feet. I did edit and address the editors comments months ago, but waited to send it back. I still find it is good to let things sit awhile with writing. I did get back to it today after getting yet one more message from my publisher. So, I re-reviewed and sent it in! It has one more editing cycle and then they shift me to the people who assist with the layout.

The marketing department called me last week from the publisher too which I think was quite nice. When I get closer to release they will coach me and assist in doing some things I am not, so as not to duplicate but to assist. They have big marketing packages, but since this is all out of my pocket anyway, I am going to take the best advice and leave it to faith, my friends, and any followers I may develop along the way.

I spoke with a CPA too about how to be able to take a loss before I make a profit. Again. I want the profit to go to charity and hope I can at least make back what I have put into it.

I also used a local company to help me design a logo for the book series/company.  I have sat on their suggestions lately too. So I plan to get back to that and will share that with you all once I decide on the best design. Deciding is the hardest part. For now though, I have set things back in motion with the universe. 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Introducing John!

John Garancheski III is my new partner on this book project and will be providing the illustrations for it! 

As I wrote previously, John got my attention when he produced a flier for a benefit I am assisting next weekend. After checking out his website, I was drawn to his passion for artistic creation and drive for living in every moment. His site stated, "86,400 Seconds in a day. What are you creating?" 

I perused his art and fell in love with the style of some of his sketchbook images, specifically ones with animals and flowers. (You can view here) http://www.johngarancheski.com/?page_id=2140

John owns and operates his own tattoo studio, Tattooed Heart Studios, in Glen Burnie, Maryland. He designs tattoos for each client individually, based on the client's own specific ideas and dreams. He has his own blog over at www.JohnGarancheski.com that you can check out, but he will be contributing here from time to time as well.

We just signed a contract together today and I get to meet him in person next weekend at the benefit in Maryland. I am super excited to have new energy brought to this project and cannot wait to meet John in person and see what he produces! 

Welcome aboard this journey John!