Saturday, January 22, 2011

You're invited!

I love encouraging people to dive into the creativity pool. Sometimes all that is needed is the invitation. Consider yourself invited.

I carry my paper and paints everywhere I go and people get curious as to what I am doing - whether in a restaurant, a cafe, an airport, a plane. After showing them what I am working on, I will often slide a piece of paper in their direction and hand them a pen or brush. I love the look on their faces.

Well, kids of course - they light up!

Adults looks shocked and nervous.

"I can't draw." I smile at the response.

I gently invite them to give it a try - many times offering to make it a collaboration. After all, a party needs at least two people to really get going.

So, consider yourself invited. Whether it is the dusty piano that hasn't been plunked on for years, or the camera waiting to be taken on a safari through a city, or the empty sheets of watercolor paper aching to be splashed upon, or that fancy journal someone gave you that has seemed to precious to make a mark in... consider the invitation to plunk, play, sketch, write, draw, paint, and dream.

And then...

invite a friend or two.

Enjoy the pARTy. : )

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Front-line Inspiration

I get quite a few folks asking me how to get started writing for children - something I love to hear because I DO feel that all of us has a story or two (or perhaps a trunk-load) to share with those around us. By the way, when I say "with those around us" - that could be our children, nieces, nephews, - and "grown up children" among our friends, family, and colleagues.

I sense that many aspiring childrens' book creators want to "make it big" by being published worldwide. I like to remind them that it's not necessary to "hit it big" with the Big World.

Sharing with your Small World is a wonderful place to start.
(You can keep that vision of world-wide distribution, but just tuck it out of view for a bit.)

Some of your best "critical friends" will be children. My own Small World is exquisite "front-line inspiration." I'm very lucky to have my very own book and toy store which I opened with my family in 2004. The photo above was taken in our workshop room. I was teaching an animation class using a program I created called Animation-ish. The two kids in the photo are both amazing spirits. Both are artists- and both inspire me.

Being around kid-energy is, for me, like breathing a special kind of oxygen. Ideas spark easily and rapidly. I keep my journal handy, as I teach, to capture the ideas for later pondering.

Kids often will tell me their ideas as they share their art and animation. My jaw drops at their originality. I often joke with them that they have 10 years to develop their ideas into books, but if they forget - their idea is MINE to run with! Their eyes get HUGE as they realize they just struck gold. That feeling, that an idea is precious, that it has merit and magic, is powerful. That feeling inspires an artist and author to stay close to their idea, the way a bird stays close to the eggs in its nest, tending it, patiently, until ready to be hatched and shared with the world - the Big World - or one's very own wonderful Small World.