Hello — this is the first post on my brand-new illustration blog — welcome!
I've pursued a career in children's book writing and illustrating for quite awhile now — fitting it in as best as I could with the rest of my busy life. I've had some success (most notably, "Hug Hug!" a board book published by Little Simon (an imprint of Simon & Schuster) in 2008), and of course, some rejections.
The rejections have been really "nice" ones though, believe it or not — I've received some thoughtful, constructive comments from some wonderful editors over the years. I really have. But rejections, nice or not, don't pay the bills! I found myself becoming discouraged and burnt out. So, in the Spring of 2011 I decided to take a break. I stopped working on promo cards, didn't update my mailing list, barely skimmed through the copies of the SCBWI "Bulletin" that arrived in my mailbox every few months... I really slacked off!
That time off was just what I needed. I should fess up that I wasn't "slacking off" creatively — I just redirected my energy. I took up oil painting — it had been years since I had done that and it was wonderful to get back to it. I started a painting blog: http://rebeccamalonepaints.blogspot.com/, opened an Etsy storefront... and am happy to report that I sold a few paintings — the whole experience boosted my creative ego and inspired me in many ways.
This time spent painting opened me up to experimenting a bit more — reminding me to keep things loose and to play with composition — both lessons that I plan to incorporate into my illustrations in the future.
Regarding the future...I'm excited about it! My batteries are fully recharged and I'm ready to dive back in to this children's book illustration thingy and see what happens. Yay!
My first order of business in this new phase is to get myself an agent. That is where the sketch I've posted above comes in. This is a cover sketch for a book idea I have come up with called "The Beach Day" — the whole book has been sketched out, a dummy has been made... I'm really happy with it. The next step is to create a few spreads in color — and then it will be ready to present to an agent who will be blown away and sign me up immediately.
I have some other career-boosting plans in the works, but I'll save them for future posts.