I’d like to formally invite you to join my discord server! This server is for both writers and illustrators! This app can be downloaded to your mobile device (both tablet and phone), used in the browser or in the discord app!
If you are old enough you’ll remember chat rooms. Discord is like that, but better! It’s like a whole chat house of different chat rooms that only select people can access! You never officially leave the room so you can get messages that occur when you aren’t online. You can also share files, images and gifs.
I think this server will be a great tool along with our Facebook group to keep our community active and better connected all year round!
This is a Private server, so please do not post on Social Media. I would like to keep it to just Smart Dummies followers so please don’t hand this out to everyone. Here is the link to the server: https://discord.gg/JQHZefz
This link expires after 100 uses. If you find that it’s not working please go to our Smart Dummies Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/548159692008535/
Or Spring into Writing here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1117605075090170/
I would love it if you could come join me on Patreon! I am posting lots of videos and images and posts. Some of the videos are instructional, some are for fun and others videos of me creating art!
It’s just $1 a month for access to all these posts! It’s not much and you’ll be getting a lot of content every month. Please take a minute to check it out! I have more plans for both Patreon and this blog so stay tuned!
Below is one of the images I posted recently along with one other patterned image. I’m going to keep making more great posts here, and don’t worry I haven’t forgotten about this blog either. To see more go here: https://www.patreon.com/DaniDuck
The last couple of days I’ve been feeling really off. I’ve been tired, irritable, so and did I mention tired? I’m sick again for the 3rd time in 2 months (The first two sicks maybe should be considered 1 because I didn’t fully recover on the first antibiotics). In any case I’m not here to complain about my sickness but more to talk about what happens when I get sick.
When I’m sick I generally try to work through it. I have 2 kids and I have to take care of them if I’m sick and often I do the same thing when working on my art. This leads to me being sicker in the end and I actually get worse because I don’t take that break.
A bit ago I was worried about doing a book review. Part of the problem was that I don’t understand the full logistics of doing book reviews, and the other part is being sick is making everything harder. It may be that book reviews aren’t my thing and I will look at that again with a clear head. I also don’t HAVE to do a book review right now. It’s not in anyway necessary. I wanted that to be a regular part of my blog, but no one is depending so much on my book reviewing skills that it’s a necessity for me to finish this one review.
There are times in life where you will have to work through being sick. If you don’t have a strictly enforced deadline then give yourself a break! Only you know when you are sick enough to take that break. Many publishers and workplaces will give you a break if you let them know what’s happening.
If you are pre-published or working on your next book project then know you can and maybe should take a break if you are really sick. If you have a family emergency you are allowed to take time off. In many cases you will get more done and be under so much less stress if you give yourself a break!
Be nice to yourself my friends!
I am making some goals for the coming year. If you know me, you know that I don’t like making resolutions. They are pass and fail. I want to make goals that will help me in my career!
Are you making goals for the year? You should! Start by making a list of SMART Goals.
Specific- If your goal is to create some illustrations or some stories, that’s not specific enough. Your goal could be I’m going to write 4 stories. I’m going to finish 3 illustrations. If you need some ideas for stories check out Storystorm: https://taralazar.com/ it’s a great event for coming up with ideas!
Measurable- You can measure the amount of things you do physically and mentally. If you are doing something with no measurements involved you wont know when you have achieved your goal.
Achievable- You can send your work out to 50 agents. You can send your work out to 50 editors. You have no control over how those agents and editors will react to your work. At least you can do your best to make your work strong, but art is subjective and maybe someone else will like it and maybe they wont. Make sure your goals are focused on things you can completely control.
Relevant- Make sure your goals are relevant to your ultimate goals! It might seem like a good idea to write a short story for an anthology or help a friend out with an illustration, but neither of those things are likely to bring you closer to finishing your work!
Time- Try to have time limits for your goals! Make sure that you give yourself a reasonable amount of time to get things done, but do limit yourself. It will put some pressure on you to finish in a reasonable time.
Work on your goals for the coming year this week and let me know what you come up with!
I usually don’t do holiday things so early, so you’ll have to forgive me with this one. My toddler was watching a Christmas kitten video. One of those where kittens play and instrumental Christmas music runs in the background. If you want you can wait until December to watch the video. I don’t have a book review for this week so I thought this would be a fun replacement.
I’ll be finishing up this illustration as a Patreon exclusive! Go to https://www.patreon.com/SmartDummies to see more. I will be updating Patreon exclusive videos and images there. Before I did this video I had an image and the process didn’t get recorded. I will be posting that image as a Patreon exclusive as well!
I wanted to show a little bit of shading from flat colors. I used the same cat in all of the paintings and used flat colors as a base. These were all done fairly quickly in Clip Studio Paint so they are a little messy. I’ll be posting 2 more ways to shade a cat on my Patreon next month! https://www.patreon.com/SmartDummies
The first cat was created using the crayon tool. The second with the pen tool and blurring the edges with the running color on fiber blur tool. The third is with an oil paint brush and the blur tool.
Smart Dummies is winding down. I have a few more great sites for art tips and tutorials. I wanted to share these before Smart Dummies ends!
Instagram:Gabrielle Patrick: https://www.instagram.com/gabs_art_tips/Robin and Lorenzo: Eterington: https://www.instagram.com/etheringtonbrothers/Griz and Norm Lemay: https://www.instagram.com/grizandnorm/
SVS Learn has a #Inktober special on right now. Sign up in October and get 30 days for FREE: https://www.svslearn.com/
Mira Reisberg’s the Craft and Business of Children’s Book Illustration class has been delayed, which it means there is still time to sign up for the 2020 class. This may be the last live Children’s Book Academy class so sign up now! https://www.childrensbookacademy.com
- I have a couple of videos for you today! The first is a video of me inking an old painting. I go through the steps of first redefining certain areas of the drawing with pencil and then I go over it in inks. I like how Clip Studio has a vector layer that can be adjusted after drawing lines.
Mark Mitchell interviewed me recently about Smart Dummies. I thought you might like to see the video! I always enjoy talking with Mark. He has a great class! You can find out more about Mark here: https://howtobeachildrensbookillustrator.com/ A new semester of his class “Make Your Marks and Splashes” starts in a few months and I’ll let you know about that soon.
I hope you are enjoying Smart Dummies this year. I love helping out other people and I hope you are learning a lot, or at least getting a lot done this month. Smart dummies is not an easy event, so be nice to yourself and celebrate what you are able to complete.
Today is my birthday! What better way to celebrate than to update all my reward tiers and give presents to all my patrons on Patreon? I feel like I’m winning my birthday already: https://www.patreon.com/SmartDummies I don’t have presents on Kofi, but you’ll have my love if you can only make a one time donation there. https://ko-fi.com/daniduck!
It is not free for me to run this blog and the events do take a lot of my time. If you have the money, please consider helping me out. I will be working to giving you lots more value for your donations. Check out the new tiers and know that I’m open to suggestions!
Smart Member$1 or more per month
Basic Membership Includes
+ Monthly Art Process Videos
+ Monthly Challenges to help encourage creativity in your writing and art
+ Your name listed in a special post before Smart Dummies and Spring into Writing!
Smart Fiver$5 or more per month
All of the previous tier benefits plus:
+ Your questions answered on a short video every month.*
+ Extra entry on all Patreon giveaways and contests.
+ Your name listed in a future Smart Dummies/Writing Challenge Booklet.
*You ask me 1 question a month and I’ll give you a video answer of your question on Patreon. Access will be given to everyone in this level and above.
Smart 10s$10 or more per month
All of the previous tier benefits plus:
+ 1 Hour Chat with me and other Smart 10s every month.
+ Exclusive Smart 10s only content.
Want to make a one time donation? https://ko-fi.com/daniduck (This will not give you access to patron rewards, but I will love you forever. Even if you don’t donate.) Feel free to contact me about other ways to donate!
Before I show you some process posts I’m going to start with a poll I posted on social media. This was a question asked by Tara Santoro (@JerseyGirlDraws on twitter).
This is pretty reflective of the people I’ve spoken to. Most believe thumbnails are essential. There are a few that think they aren’t important.
There are some of you that hate thumbnails and think it’s silly to use them. I think not using them may be a harder path, but that path is up to you!
Initial thumbnails should take you no more than a few seconds on each one. It’s just to figure out proportion and where things go. More than a couple seconds makes it stressful. Too much detail in thumbnails can be stressful. Keep them simple, and if you want to do detailed thumbnails do that after!
Some Final Art Resources
Here are some resources you may want to look into before creating your final art! In fine art the idea is to make a beautiful piece that will last a long time. With kidlit your final art doesn’t necessarily have to last a long time (it does help, though). It does have to look good. Instead of giving you a bunch of resources for fine artists or illustrators, I’m going to show you some art projects that are mostly for kids that may inspire or inform your own art!
Want to find a process in your medium? Just go to Pinterest or YouTube and type in your art medium and then “projects”. You can add “for kids” if you want to find easier projects.
Watercolor Techniques: https://www.projectswithkids.com/watercolor-techniques-for-kids/
Blending Colored Pencils: https://www.mybluprint.com/article/blend-your-way-to-smooth-colored-pencils
Scraping Painting with Oil Pastels: http://krokotak.com/2019/06/scraping-painting-with-oil-pastel/
Acrylic Painting with a Fork: https://www.projectswithkids.com/palm-tree-fork-painting-for-kids/
Painted Collage Art: https://layers-of-learning.com/painted-collage-art/
Torn Collage Art: http://www.onecolorfulday.com/free-printable-night-sky-collage/