May 1, 2023: Grateful thanks to all who participated in my annual NAPIBOWRIWEE event from 2009 – 2019. Although this event has permanently ended, I encourage everyone to explore our archives of children's book author Q&A interviews and picture book writing tips. Happy Writing!
2018 NAPIBOWRIWEE DAY 2 – Meet Guest Artist Colleen Kong-Savage!
WELCOME TO DAY TWO OF THE 2018 NATIONAL PICTURE BOOK WRITING WEEK EVENT!
Wow! I am so impressed by everyone’s enthusiasm and hard work on Day One! Thanks for all your comments and progress reports. I will try my best to reply and comment each day as well.
My Day One got off to a late start – because of work schedule conflicts, I didn’t get a chance to start writing until late last night.
As I have said before in our “rules,” you are allowed to brainstorm ideas and even do research and take notes before May 1st. So I had already figured out a couple of book ideas I wanted to pursue for this week.
But wouldn’t you know it… instead of working on one of these pre-planned ideas, I impulsively came up with a cute poem that dealt with the theme of bossiness. It was a fun writing exercise and I loved my character that I came up with. It made me realize… perhaps this is actually a chapter book?
THIS is why I stress the importance of FINISHING a rough draft. Once you get to the END, it can help you realize whether or not the picture book genre itself is the best way to tell your story.
I am first and foremost a long-form writer of novels and screenplays. I find writing picture books to be incredibly challenging… and ultimately rewarding. Less is more! 🙂 So what I love about NAPIBOWRIWEE is that it allows me the freedom to write a very rough first draft of a picture book so I can then step back and decide whether or not the picture book is the right way to tell the story.
I still think there’s a way to keep my Day One draft as a picture book, but hmmmm…. I may be revising this later in a differennt format. Who knows? 🙂
For Day 2, I defintely plan to work one of my pre-planned ideas. I have been wanting to do another biography picture book draft and I had a new idea of how to tell that historical subject’s story for a VERY YOUNG audience, so I definitely know what I write today WILL be a picture book. I can’t wait to get started!
Until then, as you know, this is my TENTH annual NAPIBOWRIWEE, which I started in 2009. So to celebrate ten years of our National Picture Book Writing Week, I’m delving back into the archives to share some of our GREATEST HITS from years past. So below is an oldie but goodie guest illustrator blog from 2011 featuring KEN MIN!
NAPIBOWRIWEE FLASHBACK POST FROM MAY 2, 2011:Meet 2011 NaPiBoWriWee Guest Artist Ken Min!
— When you write and illustrate your own picture book, do you write the story first or do you come up with a certain image first? I’m curious to hear this process.
When I have a concept in my head, I start to sort out the bits and pieces, trying to find a through line and get an outline going. How does it begin? How does it end? And what are the bits of business in the middle. A lot of this happens in my head and when I feel like I have something interesting, I’ll start to jot down notes. I’ll also “see” specific images, which I’ll also scribble down as thumbnails. So, much of the time, I’m working back and forth once I start conceptualizing- scratch out an image, writing down a line of text- all in longhand on several sheets of paper.
When I have something plotted from beginning to end, I like to set it aside for a few days.
This allows me time to look at it again with fresh eyes and decide if it is worth pursuing or if it is the ravings of a tired mind.
If I still like it, I’ll start to thumbnail it out across a 32 page picture book format and to jot down lines of text as I go.
Once I have something satisfying, I’ll run it by my critique group and get their feedback. I think it’s important to run stuff by other people. Sometimes if we’re too close to things we like, we become blind to possible faults or deficiencies and it helps to have another opinion.
I don’t know if I answered your question properly. For me, it goes back and forth a lot. One time I could type out the story first or I’ll see a series of images flicker in my head. But I guess for me, I like to think that it’s the idea that excites and spurs all the other actions in whichever direction it goes.
And now, welcome back to 2018! Here’s our Day Two interview with this year’s featured guest illustrator, COLLEEN KONG-SAVAGE!
DAY 2 – GUEST ARTIST Q&A WITH COLLEEN KONG-SAVAGE
“My name is Colleen Kong-Savage — yes, as in King Kong was a Savage beast. This June 2018 I make my children’s book illustration debut with Helena Rhee’s The Turtle Ship, published by Lee & Low Books (woohoo!)”
— What inspired you to write or illustrate picture books?
Who wouldn’t want to create something with so much love between its pages??? Picture books are gorgeous, or they are funny, or they make your heart skip a beat. There’s chemistry between word and image, a perfect nugget of story that can be read again and again. They have such personality. I love creating characters, experimenting with their expressions. Sometimes I cackle as I draw them.
— Do you write or illustrate in any other genres of writing or art forms (acrylic, oil, watercolor etc.)? If so, what and why? Any preferences?
I have a favorite Pentel brush pen. I love the bold movement of its line, but I can’t do detailed work with it. Sometimes I scan a brush pen drawing and bring it into Adobe Illustrator to add color. But that flattens the line and turns the drawing into cartoon, which speaks differently.
I also do watercolor and color pencils, but I can’t get my images as rich with those mediums as with paper collage. The strength of wood/linocut print images also appeal to me, but illustrating a whole book in woodcuts would give me tendonitis. Regardless of medium, almost everything starts with a pencil sketch.
— What do you like most about picture book writing/illustrating versus other genres?
I love looking at picture books, sometimes more than paintings. Picture books are more intimate. You hold them in your hands and share them with kids. A story pulls you through images, and you see your subject from many angles. The rhythm of words is in your ear. The art is direct because its creators want you to understand. Fine art is sometimes so opaque, I get annoyed by its enigmatic, self-indulgent nature.
— What is the most challenging part about writing/illustrating picture books?
I am learning to not dread backgrounds, which is basically interior design, architecture and landscaping. I look at the infinitely detailed environments that Studio Ghibli rendered in its films and comfort myself, thinking “at least my canvas size is limited to a book, not the entire world of a movie screen.” And the more I do them, the more I realize that environments are just another opportunity to express a mood.
— Tell us about your first published book or first art assignment – what inspired the idea for the book or how did you figure out how to approach the art for the author’s text?
The Turtle Ship is my first assignment. It dropped me down a rabbit hole of researching 16th century Korea: clothing, architecture, nobility, warships, and the legendary Admiral Yi Sunsin. I “nerded out,” as author Helena Ku Rhee said, visiting the Korean Cultural Center library, the Met museum, spending hours online. I watched Korean blockbusters, The Admiral: Roaring Currents and The Face Reader, to help me visualize the era.
Just as important as the time period were the characters. I wanted characters to charm the readers, have readers connect with the characters, so that they invest in their story. I wanted Sunsin’s spunk to come through in his expressions. And I had fun with that turtle, who emoted like a human, but never got bogged down by people problems.
I learned so much from this first assignment. Lee & Low pushed me. For example, one scene was a naval battle of 13 Korean turtle ships fighting over 100 Japanese warships. I have no idea what 16th century maritime warfare looks like. My solution was to zoom in on one ship ramming another.
(Please note: Click on the image for a larger version.)
Buuuut kids like to read things literally and will look for 13 ships, said my editor and art director. So maybe try a bird’s eye view, showing everything? Solution 2 was to use a graphic style, where I represented the ships as simple shapes in formation across an ornate map.
(Please note: Click on the image for a larger version.)
Buuuuut this style was inconsistent with the rest of the book. Finally I gritted my teeth and sketched out the inevitable illustration I was avoiding: rendering over 26 ancient warships, knowing I would be cutting and gluing more itty bitty paper oars than I cared to count. However, I am glad I was pushed because I love the end result.
(Please note: Click on the image for a larger version.)
— How long did it take to write (for artists – or illustrate & write)?
About ten months. With guidance from the art director and editor, I went through four rounds of sketches before settling on the compositions and executing the final illustrations. With the actual collage work, each spread took 5-14 days depending on the complexity of the image.
— Any fun or interesting details about the road to your first book’s publication?
I’ve been trying to break into picture books for years. The process is like running a marathon in the dark. I’d send out work, showcase my portfolio at conferences, meet other creatives, gather information and hope, then keep plugging along. I got nibbles, but nothing came.
Soon after my first LA conference, my agent forwarded me an email chain between her and Lee & Low Books, which had begun in March. It was now August. The publisher asked if I’d be interested in illustrating a book about a Korean boy who was inspired by his pet turtle to design the greatest battleship in history. At this point I would’ve illustrated a book about paint drying, so a unique story like The Turtle Ship was a privilege. I celebrated.A week later, I got this lovely email from a writer who had seen my portfolio at the LA conference. She wrote, “Just wanted to give you a heads up that I’ve sent your website link to my editor. A NYC publisher just acquired my picture book text (it’s a book about a turtle).”
I responded, “Is your publisher Lee & Low?”
“Yes! How did you know??”
Neither Helena nor our editor knew the other was also interested in me. They found me independently of each other. This is kismet in its finest form.
— Do you have a favorite picture book or a picture book that most inspires you with its writing and/or art? If so, which one is it and why?
Chris Raschka was my favorite illustrator when I decided to pursue picture-bookmaking. My style is nothing like his. I simply admire his mark, so loose and juicy. I think Mysterious Thelonious and Charlie Parker Played Be-Bop are brilliant in the way they communicated the spirit of music so succinctly through the art. Another favorite is How Little Lori Visited Times Square by Amos Vogel, illustrated by Maurice Sendak. It’s one of the funniest books I know. The pacing is spot on, and I love NYC. I buy it for every other kid I know.
— Where is the best place for you to write your books or to do your illustrations? (If you are an illustrator, are you hi-tech or low-tech? Do you use those fancy computer programs or do you sketch/draw by hand on paper/non-computer materials?)
My favorite—though infrequent—place to work is in a cafe with a sketchbook. I like the quiet energy of others around me as I work. I often use cheap paper for sketches. I make several copies of the drawings. Those copies are templates for the shapes I cut from decorative or handmade papers. If I could, I’d take the snipping outside the studio as well, but that process is like dropping confetti everywhere. I want to use a digital drawing tablet as well for other illustration styles, but computers are making me blind.
— If you weren’t a writer/artist, what would you be?
A pastry-chef because I have a sweet tooth and like to play with my food—when my kid was younger we’d nibble the pre-dinner bread into various shapes just to keep him entertained at a restaurant. Baking gingerbread cookies is sculpting with edible clay. And I love what people do with fondant and caramelized sugar.
— Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know.
For some reason, I fall asleep whenever I sketch with a pencil, which is obviously VERY inconvenient in this line of work. Maybe it’s because I often struggle to resolve a drawing. Rather than rising to the challenge, my brain goes on strike. An artist friend theorizes that I’m sleep-deprived, and because drawing relaxes me, it acts as a tranquilizer.
— If you could give one piece of writing or illustrating advice for our NaPiBoWriWee participants, what would it be?
I’m a proponent of “Fail fast, fail often.” Or rather, make lots of stuff, knowing most of it will be mediocre crap, but occasionally you’ll hit a gem; and meanwhile your skills improve with every “failed” manuscript. I think the NaPiBoWriWee challenge of blasting out seven manuscripts in one week aligns with this creative philosophy. Making books is a marathon: you’re not creating one fantastic work, you’re creating 10-20 works in hopes that one shines bright enough for a publisher to snap up. And that’s the other numbers game, asking publishers or agents to look at your work. Illustrator David Gordon says it beautifully, “The amount of rejection you can endure correlates directly with the amount of success you will have.”
– For the artists: When you write and illustrate your own picture book, do you write the story first or do you come up with a certain image first?
The first manuscript I ever wrote came from observing my son as a toddler, endlessly harassing his dad for stories about the subway. In that case, the text came first. However, usually I’ll write a story because my agent or a publisher says, “What a great image! Is there a story that goes with it?”
— There’s been a growing demand for more diversity in children’s book publishing for women and people of color either as book subjects/stories/characters or for diverse writers/illustrators. What are your thoughts on that, if any?
It’s about time! I love that Lee & Low Books has a mission to inject minority voices into our American culture. Concerning the publication of women, it both peeves and puzzles me that 85+% of attendees at SCBWI conferences are female, but over half the illustrators on the bookshelves are male. It’s not like women are trying to break into an all-boys club because the gatekeepers, the editors, are mostly women. No one has a satisfactory answer as to why male illustrators have greater success in achieving publication than female illustrators. I hate that when asked what my favorite books are, I automatically thought of books by men. I want more Emily Gravetts and Sophie Blackalls in stores and libraries; more Anne Wilsons and Jane Rays so that names of women, not men, pop into my head when I am asked for my favorite picture book artists… Hmmm, I notice that every woman I just listed is white… My point is, I am happy publishers are now making a conscious effort to diversify the talents they push.
— There’s been increasing pressure for writers and artists to be active on social media. Are you on social media? If so, where can your readers reach you? Has social media helped your writing/art journey and career? Any advice for writers or artists who might feel overwhelmed by the social media “burden”?
I am not a social media butterfly, but do enjoy posting. I am just slow. I have accounts on Facebook (Kong-Savage Arthouse), Instagram (@kongsavage), and Twitter (@KongSavage).
I like sharing my work, others’ work, my thoughts, and accomplishments. On Twitter I found communities of talent, which inspire/intimidate/push me to keep growing as an artist. My ultimate goal is to build an online presence and catch the eye of a publisher who will say, “Wow! That Colleen Kong-Savage is fantastic! I want to work with her!”…… yeahhhh, that hasn’t happened yet. Social media can be a bit anxiety-provoking if I count how many likes/comments each post reaps to measure the worth of my content, however inaccurate the measure.
Suggestion to the overwhelmed: find one platform where you are most comfortable, and focus on that one. From what I gather, publishers and artists gravitate to Instagram. I like Twitter because you can easily discover new talent when people you follow retweet other people’s work, plus there are illustration groups like @AnimalAlphabets, @Clr_Collective, and @PinchPunchPost, which provide interesting drawing assignments for fun. I treat Facebook as my creative blog.
Wow Colleen! Thank you so much for answering our questions AND giving us a behind-the-scenes glimpse of how your art came to life. It was fascinating to see how you approached storytelling via visual art.
Good luck everyone today on Day 2! Please post comments here to be included in our contest drawing (winners announced May 8, 2018). Winners will receive autographed books from all our guests plus souvenirs from our store! If you post on Twitter, please use the hashtag #NAPIBOWRiWEE 🙂
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s Day 3 Blog featuring author RITA LORRAINE HUBBARD! Until then, HAPPY WRITING! Remember… WRITE LIKE YOU MEAN IT! 🙂
One down! Six to go! Reading these posts really gets me motivated to write. And I’m having that quote about rejection correlating to success tattooed on my face. That is such an encouraging perspective.
Yes! That quote is fuel for the engine while journeying on a road full of potholes.
Great post! I love the advice to “Fail fast, fail often.” I agree that quantity can help lead to quality. . . . Off to attempt my 2nd draft!
Thanks! “Fail fast, fail often” is my mantra and STILL I have a hard time failing fast and often–overthinking is such a hard habit to shake!
Even though I am a writer only, I love hearing about the creative process of an illustrator! It helps me think about the interplay between word and image, and it’s always helpful to read about how others get inspired. I found myself nodding along to so many points in this post— thanks, Colleen, for sharing your work!
Thanks for reading, Angela!
I swam through the sea of critical chatter in my head yesterday and finished a first draft on a new manuscript. Wahoo! My mantra– “it’s just a first draft, get it out” helped me push through the voices in my head (increase the tension, add an emotional reaction, is your motivation strong enough?, does the arc work?) Ugh– quiet inner critique!
Colleen– I love your thoughts about writing and illustrating: “Making books is a marathon: you’re not creating one fantastic work, you’re creating 10-20 works in hopes that one shines bright enough for a publisher to snap up.”
And so, today I will draft a manuscript that will hopefully shine … someday!
Thank you, Colleen, for sharing your insight!
Good luck with your PB Bio, Paula!
Yeah, I hear you on that inner critic—he’s so compulsive, I want to just give him a fidget spinner and make him sit in the corner, facing the wall.
Keep shining, Lauren!
YES! I love that idea. A fidget spinner and a corner for my inner critic! Perfect!
Scouring my StoryStorm idea’s to get a second story in the books now. Congratulations on your debut book, Colleen. I hope it does well.
Thank you much, Gregory!
I like my draft from yesterday! And now after Colleen’s inspiring post, and Ken Min’s from 2009, I’m off to write today’s draft. NaPiBoWriWee is such a wonderful writing event! Thank you Paula and all!
Thanks for reading, Darcee! I loved reading how other artists like Ken Min go about tackling their work. NaPiBoWriWe IS a wonderful inspiring event!
Thanks, Colleen, for sharing your process and inspirations with us. I’m blown away by all the work that goes into each spread. The result is absolutely worth it! I can’t wait to read THE TURTLE SHIP. And I love the quote you shared from illustrator David Gordon, “The amount of rejection you can endure correlates directly with the amount of success you will have.”
Thank you so much! I’m pleased with the way the illustrations turned out. And I’m so grateful that someone as awesome as David Gordon introduced me to the world of picture book making and offered me guidance.
I love your paper illustrations Colleen and have been following you for awhile. I was glad to hear your final spreads take 5-14 days – it’s not just me! Paper sculpture or paper illustration is definitely a slower medium, but the results are beautiful. I especially love the expression you are able to show in your animal characters. Last comment – your website portfolio is really interesting – I’ve never seen one laid out like that before.
Thanks, Joni! I caught a glimpse of some of your awesome illustrations, but I’m away from home this week with sketchy wifi so now I have to wait to check it out properly (argh). Paper sculpture sounds fantastic, but yeah paper illustration takes forever! Sometimes when I do a picture with just ink or watercolor, I’m amazed how little time it takes ?.
Thank you for sharing the illustrator’s journey. I am not an artist, so I find that side of picture book making magical.
(I think it’s a dud, but draft two is done!)
I’m not sure whether it’s more inspiring and motivating or more depressing to repeatedly read about the long and arduous journey to publication 😉 Today, I choose motivating and inspiring…so thanks for sharing!
I hear you, sister!
It was a pleasure to read about your journey. It underscored the fact that there is no shortcut to this business for authors or illustrators. There is just a lot of hard work and perseverance. I look for to reading The Turtle Ship.
Hi, Jane! Thanks for taking the time to read about it!
Thank you for sharing a bit of your journey with us Colleen! I Just finished my terrible draft. It’s at 587 words and I think it has potential. I’m actually heading to the library in a few minutes to get some mentor texts to help with revision. Fun!
I love burrowing into the picture books at the library. Work is such a great excuse to visit there. More power to you with them manuscripts!
Yesssssssssss for CHARLIE PARKER PLAYED BE-BOP. That book is INCREDIBLE and complex and totally accessible to a 2 year old.
And Yes on “fail fast, fail often” too. That’s what these 7 days are all about for me!!
I cheated and began on April 30 b/c I have an event this Friday that involves travel and I knew I wouldn’t have the energy for a draft that day, so I finished # 3 today. Nothing stellar, but as with the previous two there is the seed of something interesting in there… Time and revisions will tell!
Thanks Coleen — and congrats to both you and Helena!!
Chris Raschka’s work makes me happy.
I tried to cheat and start early as well since I’m doing an intensive workshop all this week… I failed at that too ?. Have to play catch up already on day 2 (but I still have 1.25 hours left!)
Loved this post. Colleen, you have a great voice, substantive and entertaining — the word “juicy” applies to you too.
By the end of last night, I was making very rough storyboards of idea #3, a shape and number concept book. I wrote the ideas for objects & entering characters on post-it notes and moved them around to create a logical order.
Today, outline of book idea #4 done; notes on #5. I think #4 might be an early chapter book, and #5 maybe an older NF picture book, similar to IT’S PERFECTLY NORMAL. This is the first time I’ve had any concept at all of what it might look like, so this is progress!
Plan to gather and develop notes on #6 tonight, after an inspiring couple of hours with my 4yo grandson.
Next: drafts from notes… and what’s #7?
Thank you, Anne!
This week sounds productive for you. Kudos. And I, too, love that post-it note technique.
Anne so awesome to see you here! xoxo P.
Day Two got off to a good start, then I stupidly opened an email to find it was a rejection from an agent. Confidence dipped … why, oh why do I bother? But NaPiBoWriWee came to the rescue … finish that first draft – this could be THE story that becomes the polished gem that gets me a YES. Thanks for the inspiration to write, write and write some more.
Stupid rejection notes! Keep truckin’. Just do the work! And more power to you.
I’m going to go “off script” today, too. I hadn’t planned it, but there’s a small stack of used books I got for a story idea and they’ve just been sitting there (I think my husband has given up on my disarray). So, instead of the piBoIdMo idea I had planned to write about, it’s to the stack! Colleen talked about different angles in art perspective and it shook something loose.
Oh, but I think Colleen *has* achieved her goal of catching a publisher’s eye! I think it’s hilarious that she falls asleep while drawing. I sometimes write when I’m half asleep. ? I love Colleen’s cut-paper art and am looking forward to reading the book. Thanks also to Ken for sharing his process!
I wrote a 560 word draft yesterday but haven’t started yet today so off I go!
?zzzzzzz… whuh? (I also fall asleep at the computer when I should be in bed like right now), but thanks for the kind words!
Some tea and chocolate are in order to fend off those zzzz’s! Congrats on completing Day 2!
Colleen – what an amazing process you go through to create each wonderful spread. I love the story of being pushed through procrastination to create that final masterpiece of 13 boats.
Thank you, Lauri!
What a fantastic interview, Colleen! I love seeing your sketches and hearing about the (painful!) steps and progress to the final spread. I’ll have to remember not to specify numbers in future manuscripts, so as to make the illustration process easier!! So awesome to be on this journey together. And thank you, Paula, for inspiring us all!
Haha! Yeah, curse you, Helena, you evil picture book writer! ❤️
Mwa-ha-ha-ha!! (rubs cold, spindly-fingered hands together) That’s a cool idea…an evil picture book writer…!
Colleen, I read and reread your interview. Thanks for sharing your journey and artistic philosophy. I have so much respect for the research you did to truthfully show Helena Rhee’s The Turtle Ship.
Yesterday, I outlined a PB. I already know the MC well, since this is book 2 of the series. I will flesh out the idea now. Then I’ll move on to outline book 3 of this series. Book 1 is out on submission now. Thankfully Paula’s NAPIBOWRIWEE is keeping me from dwelling on things I can’t control.
Thank you, Manju! Sounds like it’s going to be a productive week for you, and—easier said than done—but I totally agree that we can’t dwell on things we can’t control. Our work is important, so we just need to do it. I just heard a talk by the woman who runs meetthewriters.org, an organization that inspires kids to read through writer’s visits to their schools. It inspired me. Kidlit is important.
Fingers crossed Manju on the Book 1 submission and keep writing! xo P.
I love the picture of Colleen cackling while she is drawing. And I was gobsmacked to read how much work she put into that one ship spread! I can’t wait to read the book! Today I took my critique partner’s advice, and I used a character I liked who was in a story that wasn’t working, and I put her in another, and I like the result. It just goes to show that you can mix and match old characters and new stories and vice versa. Happy writing everyone!
Cool! about your mix and match.
And yeah that ship spread was crazy!
So many helpful tidbits here, Colleen! I particularly enjoyed hearing about your research process. But chewing bread sculptures with your little one as you wait for a meal, may prove to be equally life-altering.
HAHAHA. If you start doing it too, we can start a bread-sculpture movement.
Thank you Colleen, for getting to know your process. Different perspectives in a story do surely bring the difference.
Thanks for reading, Agatha!
Thank you for sharing your story! I am definitely failing fast and often so it’s nice to celebrate that. 🙂
Hee hee! I also happen to flail fast and flail often. Thanks for reading, Lisa!
Two PB manuscripts done! Five to go!
I loved hearing about your process, Colleen.The level of detail and thought that went into each illustration reflects your commitment to your craft. Congratulations on your debut!
Many thanks, Dana 🙂
Colleen process was inspirational….and thank you for sharing how much time and effort went into it. (Sometimes, I feel like I am going at a snail’s pace and this really helped me realize that I’m not….good work takes time)
My second draft is outlined and I should have the rough manuscript done by tomorrow morning.
Thanks for reading, Rebecca! And it sounds so much nicer to read your words, “how much time and effort went into” my work vs. “how excruciatingly slow” I am with it!
Paula, so grateful that you are pulling up posts from the past in addition to the current ones. I so appreciate the extra effort it takes on your part.
It is so helpful having a glimpse into the illustration process. Colleen’s honesty about her continuing journey puts wind in my sails. A couple of thoughts that stuck with me today: “Fail fast, fail often,” and “A story pulls you through images, and you see your subject from many angles. The rhythm of words is in your ear. The art is direct because its creators want you to understand. Fine art is sometimes so opaque, I get annoyed by its enigmatic, self-indulgent nature.” Yes!!!
I used to approach art as a fine artist, and I was so relieved when I became an illustrator because it saved me from the need to decipher work I did not understand. Thanks for reading, Susan!
Awww thanks Susan! It’s amazing to see the wealth of wisdom we have from 10 years worth of posts! 🙂
This challenge is so energizing, so far! The blog posts are an added bonus, as I love hearing “my journey” stories from other creatives. Colleen, thanks for reminding us to keep plugging away through whatever comes, and that our successes can one day mirror all of the sludge we had to get through, to make our big breaks!
Ever more power to you!
Thanks for a great interview.
I tend to get a visual image first and then almost a movie of some of my stories. This especially so for my novels.
last night at 3am the idea for today’s pb draft came to me and I had to get up and jot it down. This morning I fleshed it out.
I thought I was the only one who woke up at 3 to jot notes! Hello, fellow night owl! Congrats on completing Day 2!
Excellent–and I love it when those dead-of-night inspirations are still good ideas in the bright light of day.
Thank you Colleen for your inspirational post. and congrats on your book!
Including a post from the past is a nice touch to celebrate 10 years of inspiring writers to keep at it and create stories.
Starting my #2 now…….
Thanks for reading, Heather!
Thanks, Colleen. These posts are the encouragement I need to get through these drafts. So far so good!
Excellent! Yes, take that fuel wherever we can find it!
Great read! Love seeing the illustration sketches. This looks a beautiful book!
This is my first Napibowriwee and even though my first two drafts are pretty abysmal, I’ve found it a great opportunity to play with some different narrative structures. Good fun! 🙂
It’s all about that play.
This is so, so cool. I can’t wait to own this book. I love your description of picture books as art and totally agree with you. Great inspiration today, and I’m happy to report actual writing progress. I LOVE THIS CHALLENGE! (Okay, I won’t actually love it until it’s over because drafting seven of these things in a row is rather like doing P90x Yoga…Push hard now. Stretch yourself to the limit. Rest later.) Thanks, Paula!
Joanne, I got a great quote for you. I just heard it today from my teacher Peter Jacobi at the Highlight’s writer’s retreat. He said, “I love writing, but I don’t like it.” It speaks to me!
I love how the pictures lead to the story and sometimes its the other way.
I’m loving the challenge and thank you for reminding me that each failed manuscript are the steps in the staircase to success. Thank you.
That is a beautiful image of a staircase of manuscripts!
Colleen: I LOVE the cover art for your book; I CAN’T WAIT to read and VIEW it! I write and illustrate, so I especially appreciate not only learning from writers, but artists as well. THANK YOU for sharing your inspiration! From the cover of your book alone, it looks like you captured its heart!
Today I woke up not feeling my best, and DEFINITELY not feeling like writing. BUT I DID! BOOK #2 FOR DAY #2 WAS COMPLETED AT 9 A.M.!!! And you know, it seems like with all that pressure I had to work through, I enjoyed getting to the “finish line” even more. I’m hoping to remember that for the next time I’m not feeling in the writing mood!
THANK YOU, Nathalie, for your generous comments! Dang, completed at 9am–I’m pleased if I finish breakfast at 9am. Started today’s manuscript on the 4 hour busride home–got another 3.5 hours to finish!
Hi NAPIBOWRIWEE FOLKS! I had a crazy work day and was unable to reply to everyone’s comments, and then I had to write my own Book 2 and then of course prepare tomorrow’s blog featuring awesome author RITA LORRAINE HUBBARD! I will play catchup tomorrow on the Day 2 comments and look forward to hearing how everyone fares on Day 3. You guys rock and congrats on surviving two days! Save your energy – we still are just starting out and have five more days to go! 🙂 but I know we can do it! More soon and HAPPY WRITING! xo P.
It’s great seeing the author side one day and the illustrator side the next. The two of you were definitely meant to be together. Huge congrats on your first picture book! It looks amazing, and I can’t wait to read it. 🙂
Yay for being productive, Paula. I can’t wait to hear what genre your first draft ends up in. It sounds like there’s an amazing spark to it already.
Two drafts down, and I’m already debating about fixing the second one up to share with my in person critique group next week. I think it has a really fun voice and lots of potential. 🙂
I’m planning to write one draft tomorrow but hoping for two because I’m going to be at a conference this weekend and really want to have 7 solid drafts by the end of the week.
Thanks, Mindy. It was really cool for me to read Colleen’s interview — I actually had no idea how much work went into a single illustration! The multiple rounds of revisions and complete overhaul of scenes…wow. And here I thought writing was hard work! Love your determination to have 7 solid drafts by the end of the week!
Thanks, Mindy! It’s no easy feat, turbo-writing and attending a conference, but it sounds like you’re doing great. May the Force be with you.
Just think about all the stories that might not make it on to paper if it weren’t for the inspiration and energy that this week provides! I’m commenting late but my draft was done before noon yesterday. This was a fantastic interview! Thanks, Colleen! Thanks, Paula! Bring on Day 3!
Thanks, Jennifer (I’m obviously commenting late, too)! Keep going and May the Fourth be with you (forgive me).
My theme for this year was try to do something different each day…so far so good
Excellent theme. Love it.
I love getting both side of the artist/illustrator story! Great interviews.
Thanks, Colleen, for reminding us of the “fail fast, fail often” motto, and that rejection is just part of the process! And thanks, Paula, for telling us about your Day 1 experience! Yesterday, for Day 2, I started what I think will be a picture book, although it might end up being a chapter book! I didn’t finish it yesterday, but I’ll try to finish it tonight. Thanks for hosting this great experience, Paula!
More power to you, Diane!
I’m so excited to see this work! Everyone in Korea knows about the turtle ship story and to see a pictorial representation of it and introduction to a wider audience is an amazing feeling.
Thanks, Kathleen! I hope readers will be as fascinated with Admiral Yi’s turtle ship as I was and am! The book is now available for pre-order on Amazon and B&N, and the official launch date is June 5! Happy reading + writing 🙂
Hi, Kathleen! Fancy seeing you here ?Thanks for helping me out with the pronunciation. I got a bunch of 3rd graders saying “Gobugi” with me ?
Testing the comment section. Nothing to read here. Move along. These are not the droids you’re looking for.
Chiming in a day late to say that it as an author, I found it really to interesting to hear about this upcoming book from the perspective of the artist. I liked learning details about how you work, Colleen!
Thanks, Teresa! The more kidlit people I meet, the more synergy I feel between the disciplines.
Playing catch up today and tomorrow so I can be on target. Thank you for your post Colleen and congratulations on your The Turtle Ship Book baby.
Fascinating! So much attention to detail! Thanks for sharing with us!
thanks for reading :)!
Wow, so many good snippets here, but perhaps my favorite was nibbling bread into shapes! Also, the final drawing with all the ships — I also love it!
Congratulations on publication!
Thanks, Trisha! Bread nibbling should be raised to a high art form. ?