SCBWI Canada East Blog

October 19, 2018
Inktober Round-up: Week 3

Here are some more fantastic pieces from the third week of Inktober:

Post for “Chicken, Spell, Drool”

Post for “Roasted”

Julie Prescesky - Intagram @julieprescesky

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October 12, 2018
Inktober Round-up: Week 2

Here are some more fantastic pieces from the second week of Inktober:

Peggy Fussell - Instagram @peggyfussell 

Here's my response to the prompt: spell
Alice Carter
- Instagram @alicecarterillustration 

Based on the prompt word "spell".
Laani Heinar
  - Instagram @laani_

Posts for the Inktober prompts of poisonous, roasted, chicken and spell.
Susan Todd
- Instgram @suetoddillustration

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October 5, 2018
Inktober Round-up: Week 1

Inktober is off to a great start! Check out some of the wonderful pieces from our members from the first week:

Following the Procreate Inktober prompts, Danette is featuring her dog Mumford all month. Day 1 was 'House plant'.
Danette Byatt - Instagram: @anikaandthewolf

Inktober post for the first day’s prompt “poisonous”.
June Steube - Instagram: @junesteubeart

 Ink painting done with Inktense blocks and ink pen.
Heidi Larkman

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October 1, 2018

Hi everyone,

October is here! As many of you know, October means it's time for Inktober. Every year during Inktober, artists all over the world participate in the challenge of making an ink drawing every day during the month. The main goals are to improve your drawing skills, develop positive habits, and most of all - having fun.

For those unfamiliar with Inktober, here's a link to the rules, and some prompts for things to draw ( Some participants create a new drawing each day, some only when they have time during the month. The topic prompts are only suggestions, and not strict guidelines to be followed.

On our blog this month I will be doing a weekly round up of Inktober artwork. If you are creating a new drawing every day, or even if you only create one drawing for the entire month, please feel free to email one of your ink drawings to our Blog email: (with a link to your social media where you've posted it). Every Friday this month I will post a round up of all submissions for that week.

Remember - You don't have to be an illustrator to participate. Inktober is a fun challenge for everyone!

Best wishes,
Stephanie, Catherine, and Chris
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September 25, 2018
Back to School Round-up


Back-to-School by Chris Jones

The weather is cooling, the kids are on the bus, and the air is full of the back-to-school feeling. It's time to start new projects, plan new creations, and put your nose to the grindstone to get things done this fall. 

If you’re looking for a little inspiration and knowledge for your next writing or illustration project, take this advice from our Canada East SCBWI members:

  • Hit the Books

From Beth Elliott:
Steve Kaplan's THE HIDDEN TOOLS OF COMEDY provided me with the concrete tools I'd been seeking to write something that is actually maybe hopefully funny. Kaplan's resume is impressive and stems mostly from his television and movie involvement, but don't let this fool you -- the tools in this gem apply to children's writers, too! It’s a humorous read that will round out your 'to watch' list of movies for the next year. 

From Kathy Berklund-Pagé:
I have been subscribed for several years to the free Advanced Fiction Writing ezine and consistently find it helpful. Every month the author offers thoughts on organization, craft, and marketing. It’s a fun read that often hits me right where I’m struggling. He is perhaps best know as the Snowflake Guy, which if you haven’t heard of it, actually has to do with writing!

  • Attend a workshop

From Aimee Reed:
When I wanted to go "back to school" to up my plot-crafting game, I attended the StoryMasters workshop run by FreeExpressions Seminars and Literary Services. The workshop featured three plotting experts: Hollywood executive Christopher Vogler; author James Scott Bell; and agent Donald Maass. StoryMasters helped me hone my ability to apply structure to story development. I highly recommend Free Expressions workshops to other writers. Your brain will be full, and you will be inspired. 

From Elaine Kachala:
Struggling with the challenges that a new writer typically experiences, I recommend three courses that have helped me over many hurdles:
  1. Vermont Writers Roundtable (creative non-fiction); 
  2.  The Insider’s Guide to Writing and Publishing for Young Readers, presented by Humber College and the University of Prince Edward Island; and
  3. Writing Children’s Fiction 1, taught by Ted  Staunton through George Brown College.
  • Take Online Advice

From Anika Wolf:
SVSLearn, an online school for children's art, has helped me immensely as an illustrator. It's membership-based, so you pay a low monthly price to get access to all of the classes. You can join the forum for free (without having to have a membership!) and network with other super-friendly artists and post your work to get feedback. 

From Lauren Soloy:
Jonathon Auxier's “After the Book Deal” guest post on the “Novel Novice” website has been incredibly helpful. I found myself referring to this post frequently as I updated the “About Me” page on my website. I highly recommend it!

  •        Equip Yourself:

From Anika Wolf:
Astropad is great for illustrators who are used to working with Photoshop, but want the flexibility of working on an iPad Pro. It basically mirrors your computer screen and has some touch shortcuts as well. You must have a Mac with an iPad Pro to use it. It's not available for PC. (My WiFi connection is good, so I'm able to go to another room in the house, away from my iMac, and just bring my wireless keyboard with me. Can't be without cmd Z!). 

CreativeMarket lets illustrators sign up to get notified of six free goods every Monday. You may not want all six free assets every week, but there's some really great free textures, fonts, and Procreate brushes in the mix. 

  •        Get back to basics

From Sarah Sambles:
During a webinar I attended recently, a literary agent suggested going back to the ‘light bulb’ moment that got us started on our story. She was trying to help us get to the heart of our story, to find the hook. Once I’d jotted down my light bulb moment, I found it gave me focus and motivation for my writing AND the foundational stone for my marketing plan. So here’s a Back-to-School activity to help you reset:
  1. Grab an index card (or a large piece of paper if you’re so inclined).
  2. Set a timer for 15 minutes.
  3. Try to return to that moment when you got the spark to write or illustrate. (It might be the spark for your current WIP, or the moment you felt compelled to become a writer and/or illustrator, or a series of experiences that convinced you to create.
  4. Write down WHY you write or illustrate and FOR WHOM.
  5. Stick the index card in front of wherever you work. I hope it'll keep you focused and motivated.

And that's a lovely way to end the post, because that's what all tips and tricks and teachings come back to in the end: finding the motivation to put them to use.

We hope some of these SCBWI Canada East member tips might spark your creativity and help you learn your craft just a little bit better.

Cheers from The Blog Team 
(Stephanie, Chris, and Catherine)

Back-to-School image by Sue Todd
(Commissioned by Student Lawyer Magazine, American Bar Association Publishing)

Thanks to these Contributors:

Kathy Berklund-Pagé is the author of The Caves of Fire, a middle grade fantasy adventure. She lives in Montreal.

Beth Elliott writes funny picture books from her home in Ottawa. 

Chris Jones is an illustrator whose work has appeared in books, graphic novels, and magazines.

Elaine Kachala is an aspiring children’s writer who focuses on non-fiction (but every now and again, ideas for fictional stories pop into her head). 

Aimee Reid is the author of Mama's Day with Little Gray and four more forthcoming picture books. 

Sarah Sambles is a writer, blogger, and communications coach. Visit her blog for marketing tips.

Lauren Soloy is a writer and illustrator, and she is the Nova Scotia Coordinator for SCBWI-Canada East. 

Sue Todd creates linocut art for children’s books and editorial and corporate clients. Her latest book is The Wild Beast by Eric Walters, launching September 25th from Orca Book Publishers.

Anika A Wolf tells stories through illustration, writing, and graphic design. Her debut picture book, Rock and Roll Woods (written by Sherry Howard), is coming out October 5th from Spork/Clear Fork Publishing.

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December 3, 2017
Easy DIY Holiday GIF

I’d been thinking it would be fun to make a gif from one of my illustrations for a while & the Make Art That Sells Holiday contest prompt inspired me to make it happen!

 (MATS will have the winning entry animated but I wanted to try making a gif on my own.)

I'd love to see more SCBWI Canada East holiday GIF's! 

If you haven't done this before it's quite easy, all you need are your illustrations & some basic photoshop skills. To assist you (& as an aide-memoire pour moi) here is a step-by-step guide:

1. Add the elements you want to animate on separate labelled layers. For my illustration - the "glow" from the light & the steam. 

2. Open Timeline by selecting Window - Timeline. The timeline tool will open at the bottom of the screen.

3. Click on Create Frame Animation.

4. Click on the little bar icon just under the thumbnail of your illustration.

5. These little bars are the layers you want to adjust & arrange. 
You can drag the edges to make the bars smaller (less time or fewer frames). 

            You can also slide them apart so that the different layers appear at different times as I've done below.

6. Click the play button to view your animation. To have a continuous loop, check the Loop Playback box under the settings icon.

7.  When you're satisfied with your animation, select File - Export - Save for Web

8. This screen will pop up - Change the preset to GIF 128 Dithered. At the bottom, under animation select Forever for your Looping Option. Don't forget to click SAVE!

I painted my illustration traditionally using watercolour, ink, & copics. Then used a Kyle Webster watercolour brush & a Wacom tablet to add the "glow" & steam in their appropriate layers. Plan ahead and use those layers to your full advantage. If you look carefully I missed a light - luckily the rest of the strand still lights up despite the dud.

Happy Gif-ing!

And don't forget to share if you do one of your own. (To share on FaceBook you'll need an image url - paste that in your status update. I think it's straightforward to post them on Twitter but Instagram you'll need to do a work around.)

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