Friday, April 29, 2011

Middle Grade vs. Young Adult Novels

Yesterday was my glorious critique group day. I look forward to this meeting every two weeks. Maybe it's because of what I learn from them, but mostly it's how good it feels to be around people so passionate about the same things.

We had a discussion on what genre our current WIP should be under--middle grade or young adult. We tossed around the notion that the protagonists age could determine the audience, but pointed out several books where that didn't work. We thought about word choice and dialogue, and that seemed to vary significantly between the two types.

The area we all agreed upon is the degree of complexity of content between MG and YA. What the protagonist is going through and how they grow throughout the book, will often determine the ages of the largest target audience. I know I don't want my MG reader to be absorbed in a book involving sex, adult language and violence. There will be plenty of years to read, witness and understand the realities of our imperfect world. If I can help her maintain her innocence for a wee bit longer, I'll do it!

I came across this article on the Guide to Literary Agents blog and thought it was a great resource for this continuing discussion. "Five Articles on the Differences Between Middle Grade and Young Adults."

Sunday, April 24, 2011

My Article Dot Painting with Kids on the Artists for Conservation Blog

I'm a bit late in promoting this article I submitted for the Artists for Conservation blog, but hey, better late than never. I've been a member of this organization for two years. Some of my most inspiring fellow animal artists belong to the group. I am so proud to be included on an artist list that has names such as Robert Bateman, Guy Coleleach, and John Banovich. I hope you check out my article.

Monday, April 18, 2011

YouTube Showed me How to Paint Clouds

Clouds in my "Great Indian Bustard" painting
Landscape painting scares me, mostly because I don't know how to do it. 

In my next picture book, "Through Desert Eyes," I am really pushing myself outside my artistic comfort zone. I'm not going to ignore the place these magnificent animals live in, which means I must embrace painting landscapes...ugh.

So, today I went on YouTube and started off with how to paint clouds. I just spent the past two hours painting the storm clouds in the piece above, and I actually like it.

I'll be spending some more time on the details of the clouds and rain, but I'm pretty happy with what I've got. My parents spent all that money to send me to college, where I majored in art and graphic design, and I'm learning technique through YouTube! Ha!

Tomorrow, I'll be going back to YouTube to learn to paint the rest of the landscape.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Earth Day Coming Up

I visited a first grade classroom last week to celebrate Earth Day -- it's coming up on April 22nd. I read my book and then created the handout you see in the photo for the kids to paint in dots.

If you would like to download this outline, to dot paint I've uploaded it on my Web site. I've got several other handouts there as well.

I will have to think of something special to do with my own kids on that day to celebrate the importance of respecting the Earth. I'll blog about that when I figure it out;)

Happy Day to You!