Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Work in Process ... Making Changes.

I went back and made a few color changes to the illustration roughs I have been working on for my latest book in the works.
I felt the original color roughs didn't really depict the feeling of night time that I was envisioning... I felt the moon appeared almost to sun like! Not really what I was trying to show.
Original illustration rough
Revised illustration rough
The change is maybe subtle but I think I'm getting closer to giving the illustration the night time feel I want to get. I did the same with the illustration below. The moon didn't actually look very moon like...I knew I needed to do something! I may even eliminate the face images directly below the moon as they appear to be to busy for the illustration.

Original illustration rough

Revised illustration rough
These roughs will all be rendered in acrylic for the final illustrations. I will be able to get deeper colors and better detail with the acrylic...but I also want to retain some of the earthy charm the color pencils gave the illustrations.

I will admit that I am definitely taking my time with these illustrations. I feel no rush to submit this to publishers at the moment...I really want to get this one perfect!!

Stay tuned for more updates soon!

Monday, May 23, 2016

A Work in Progress

It has been a slow start...but I have been gaining some momentum.

Today I would like to share with you some of the work I have done on "The Scarecrow's Halloween".

I started with a simple mock up of the book with only the text placed where I wanted it to be. From there I sketched illustration ideas into notebooks...several notebooks... trying to create the best image for each set of words on the page. Sometimes these images came easy, sometimes not so much, a lot of scribbling goes into making a book!
After choosing what I felt were the best images for each page and then drawing each one into the mock up in pencil... I then set about to use color pencils to bring each image to life. This part of the process has been most enjoyable to me.

I will admit that these illustrations are still quite rough, but they are good guides for me in capturing the color and mood for the book.

Once I am satisfied with each rough illustration, I will start to do the final illustrations in acrylic on watercolor paper like I have done with all my book illustrations.

I still have a lot of work and changes to do with this book, but for me... that is where the fun is!
So I would like to thank you for checking in on my progress so far. I have other completed roughs I would like to share later...once I convince my daughter to take some more pictures with her phone!! But rest assure I will try to keep you posted.

Will all this work ever get published? I sure hope so! But for now I am just enjoying the creative process and doing my best to bring this story to life!!

Take care!!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Starting over...again.

On July 1st  2013 I wrote a rather dismal yet heartfelt post on this blog...I had lost my passion and my drive.

Trying to figure out what went wrong is one thing, trying to get my creative passion back is another.

I am slowly working on getting some form of ambition back, trying to rework some old projects and ultimately getting published again. This is no small undertaking!!

My last book entitled "At the End of the Day" really didn't go anywhere. That could have been the fault of the publisher, but most likely it was my own fault for not promoting this wonderful book more strongly.  I had let my newest creation down!!

I started a somewhat ambitious....maybe somewhat lame challenge on my Greg Budig Author & Illustrator Facebook page  to have my friends and followers request a copy of this book at their local library. I received a lot of wonderful responses and hope to see it's circulation grow in the library world. But people won't check it out if they don't know it exists. Is it too late to promote a book that's four years old? Hhhmmmm.....that is the question.

So my next plan of action is to finish some of the book projects that I had started years ago, some of which are actually quite good. I am currently revisiting and working on a Halloween themed book based on some decorations I made for our front yard, the book is entitled "The Scarecrow's Halloween"

The joy of creating seems to be returning...I'm actually feeling excited about this idea!! It needs to be revamped, reworked and redesigned in places, but over all it has good structure. I just need to get busy with it!!!

So this is where I am at right now. Hopefully a little more positive and hopefully a lot more ambitious than the last time I posted on here. Will this feeling remain? Like I said last time...I kind of hope so!!

Monday, July 1, 2013

"Whatever Happened to....Oh Yeah... That Guy!!"

Seems not that long ago I was full of ideas and optimism about writing and illustrating, somewhere along the line that passion seems to have died.

How do these things happen? How do we allow ourselves to suddenly seem to give up? I guess that after my last book more or less tanked before it left the publisher...I suddenly realized that maybe my whole "career " was pretty much a fluke.

When I got the call from Stemmer House Publishers back in  2004 about publishing my first book, I felt that the sky was the limit!! Feelings of excitement and endless possibilities raced through my mind...I had Caldecott dreams and visions of starred reviews in my head! Then the realities of the book business floated to the surface of my tranquil, little,  children's book pond.

Due to circumstances beyond my control, the book was released nearly a year and a half late and in paperback...not the hardcover version with dust jacket as I was promised. Apparently big name book reviewers, libraries and the Caldecott award committee aren't that interested in soft cover books...in fact soft cover books aren't even eligible for the Caldecott. Suddenly all my dreams of overnight success and glory started to get a little hazy.  I was still proud of my accomplishment, but I also felt a little disappointed. Where were all the reviews and promotional help I expected from my publisher? Nowhere to be found it seemed...

Granted I had moments of praise for my books over the years. I deeply appreciated the kind words I received from people around the world about them, but it was during the production of my last book that I suddenly stopped enjoying what I was doing.

The editor selected to work with me on this book seemed disinterested, like she really didn't understand my lyrical style of writing. She seemed to be spending more time dissecting each word instead of grasping the message I was trying to convey. The whole process seemed to destroy what little passion I had left for writing... I really didn't feel it anymore.

I suppose I could list for you the many personal reasons for why I just seemed to suddenly stop writing and painting, but that would be nothing but mindless chatter and complaining, nobody wants to hear that! I guess it all boils down to one simple thing...I just didn't feel inspired anymore.

So consider this as a sort of feeble attempt at sorting it all out, trying to figure out the reasons for giving up on something that was truly important to me... trying to make sense of what went wrong. 

Maybe someday I'll be back... I kind of hope so! 

take care...


Saturday, February 18, 2012

"Oh The Places I Go!"

Working with the young artists.
 I recently had the good fortune of being invited to Pinewood Elementary School in Monticello, MN.  In life, sometimes one thing leads to another, and that's pretty much how this whole visit started. During school conferences last fall, my niece Tammy gave her daughters teacher Mrs. Stoick, a "glowing" review about me and my books. Her teacher was intrigued and decided to contact me about doing something at the school.
 I painted these canvasback ducks back in 1986!!
 Her class would be involved in submitting designs for the Federal Jr. Duck Stamp program. This program is based off the prestigious Federal Duck Stamp competition that is held every year here in the United States.  Artists from across the country are invited to send in their designs. From these designs, a panel of judges will select a winner which will be turned into a stamp. These stamps are then sold to hunters, conservationists and anyone else interested in helping environmental programs in the U.S.
The Jr. Duck Stamp program was started to let school age children get involved in the arts as well as a conservation based program. Mrs. Stoick thought I would be the perfect person to help inspire and teach her students a little bit about waterfowl and design.

Drawing some examples of duck bills.
I must admit my wildlife art skills felt a little rusty at first. All the paintings I brought were from the 1980's! Seems I've spent the last few years working mainly on artwork for book projects. But once I started doing a few simple drawings for them, it all seemed to fall back in place for me artistically.

Me and my great niece Savannah.
The kids were great! They seemed genuinely interested in my work and what I had to say. I explained a little bit about design and the differences between different species of waterfowl. They then worked on their own designs while I went around the room and gave them some help. I even got to sign some books for my great niece Savannah. All in all...it was a wonderful day!!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

"Lentil" by Robert McCloskey

 This is the third in my series of children's books that inspired me...
Robert McCloskey was born on September 15, 1914 in Hamiltion, Ohio. He is best known for creating such children's masterpieces as "Make Way for Ducklings" and "Blueberries For Sal". But it was this book "Lentil", his first book as author and illustrator, that first caught my attention as a youngster.

 McCloskey had such command of his artistry, his pen and ink work was remarkable! There was no need for color with pen skills like this.  As a child, I was drawn to the exaggerated expressions shown on the faces and in the body language of his characters, they nearly jumped from the pages of his books. There was such fluidity to his drawings, they had a rhythm and motion all there own...I found them to be utterly fascinating. There is a certain sense of timelessness that black and white illustrations can evoke, a feeling I tried to capture in my first book "I Hear the Wind". I wasn't sure if I had the patience to do all the illustrations in pen and ink like I first envisioned, so I rendered them in black and white acrylic paints. I was happy with the results!

"LENTIL" is set in the fictional small town of Alto, Ohio. (Which was loosely based on McCloskey's own hometown) The story involves a boy named Lentil who, because he could not sing or whistle, learns to play the harmonica. One day the town started to buzz with word that Colonel Carter, the town’s most famous former citizen, would be returning. Everyone was happy about this except Old Sneep, who was a very bitter and despicable sort of character.

All kinds of festivities were planned to welcome Colonel Carter home, including a brass band which would greet him at the train. When the train finally arrived, the only sound heard in the town was the sound of Old Sneep sucking on a lemon!  The old man knew this would make the musicians pucker up and be unable to play their instruments. A very confused and disappointed Colonel Carter stepped off the train, where was the great fanfare he expected? Not effected by the sound of the slurping Sneep, Lentil puckered up, blew on his harmonica, and filled the air with lively music! The story ends with Colonel Carter and the rest of the town continuing the celebration... even to the delight of Old Sneep!
Robert McCloskey died on June 30, 2003. He was a master of illustration. I will forever be inspired by his work and his contribution to the world of children's literature.

Friday, January 13, 2012

"Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak

Ah yes...books that inspired me, part 2. This one is pretty obvious, in fact, I'm sure 99.9% of all the folks of my age group will list this one somewhere on their all time list of favorites. Hey, what's not to like?!  

Released in 1963, this book revolutionized children's picture books. But the literary establishment of the day was not quite ready for this revolution it seems...the book was banned by many school libraries and at first dismissed by the critics. But somewhere along the line, someone in the establishment realized, "Wow! The kids really seem to like this funny little book about monsters."  Apparently opinions changed in the literary world..."Where the Wild Things Are" was awarded the Caldecott Award for the best illustrated children's book for 1964 and has gone on to be one of the most popular and iconic children's books of all time.
 As a child, I was mesmerized by this book. Maurice Sendak's illustrative style was so original and amazing. His use of line is so lyrical as it flows effortlessly across the page. I remember being impressed by his use of pen and ink, of how he as able to achieve such depth and fullness in his characters using a simple art pen and watercolors. His intricate use of detail is what inspired me to draw, his vivid imagination inspired me to see things in a different way.

Most children can see a little of themselves in Max, the main character in this book. Sometimes our playfulness could get a little out of hand, sometimes we needed a time out to settle us down...but what happens during that time out is left up to our imaginations. But in the end, after all our bad behavior, we would still be welcomed back home with our supper waiting for us...and it will still be hot.