Inspiration right and left

Okay, I confess. I'm behind with my holly jolly goal. Here's what I've got: a pretty dang awesome drawing (or right now I think it is anyway.) I'm going to have to kick things up a notch. I'm also going to have to focus and stop being distracted by all the awesome distractions that have come my way this week.

What's been going on this week? Inspiration: right and left!

First I attended my friend, Jaime Temairik's art opening in Seattle at the North Hill Bakery on Capital Hill. Her holiday monsters roar in a good way. I've got a cupcake monster card that will be framed and put up every Christmas!

On Saturday I went to the Urban Craft Uprising and The Phinney Ridge Neighborhood Craft shows -- this year as a shopper, not a vendor (I haven't been a vendor at UCU, but I have been one several times at Phinney). I LOVE these two shows. The Urban Craft Uprising has to be about the most fun, hip and playful craft show I've ever attended. I bought quite a few goodies and was tempted by many more.

Some of my favorites from both shows:
World Of Whim -- Awesome and imaginative handmade toys and dress-up for kids. My sister and I picked out a very kingly crown for my son, which he adores.
Chikabird -- I now am the proud owner of an awesome rhino ornament. They also make super awesome t-shirts and hoodies and whatnot.
Marmalade Originals - Could there be cuter handmade skirts? I'm not sure. Plus it turns out the woman who makes these is an old aquaintance of my sister's from high school. She's super nice. And she uses awesome fabrics.
Voracious reader sculptures made with maps and old books -- enough said.
A potter who imprints bike cogs and chains into her pottery -- also, enough said
Silly Feet -- Frog slippers for the little ones
Scissors sweater -- I bought one. Big treat for me. I heart scissors.
Type-face belt buckle with a bike tire belt -- Um... super cool, what can I say?
The most awesome shadow puppets ever -- Santa oh santa, am I too old to write you a letter, complete with a frivolous wish?

And I could really honestly keep going on and on and on...
I felt super inspired by these craft shows. On the one hand I was kind of sad I did not partake as a vendor. On the other, I've gotten lots of illustration and writing work done because I forwent craft shows this year AND it's sooo fun to attend and check out all the booths and chit-chat with the artists. I'm a crafty lady by heart. Through and through.

And the inspiration doesn't even stop there, my friends.
On Wednesday night I trucked down to Seattle again to listen to the talented Laini Taylor speak about finishing a novel draft. Now, I am not a novel writer -- I write picture books. But I had heard universal praise for her talks and I LOVE her book, FAERIES OF DREAMDARK, BLACKBRINGER.

A small plug -- I'm not even a huge fantasy person (although I tend to like books that linger at the edges of the genre) but I'd say FAERIES OF DREAMDARK, BLACKBRINGER is one of my favorite books I've read in the last few years, or maybe ever. And I read a whole heck-of-an-almost-embarrassing-a-lot. READ this book. It's so good. I can't wait for the sequel.

Okay so anyway, Laini's talk just blew me away. I loved her photos. I loved her quotes. Her advice was sound and perfect.

I loved how she challenged us to be the sort of writers who follow through with projects and finish them. "If it's a battle between writer and book -- writer should always win... YOU are the method of propulsion." I loved that.

Also I loved how she suggested to pick a project and stick to it. Don't let a "slutty new idea" lure you away from your commitment to your WIP (work-in-progress). Slutty new ideas have a way of becoming new works-in-progress with their own problems that will rear their ugly heads and tempt you to leave for yet more slutty new ideas. And the cycle will go on and on and you will never finish anything. Stick with something and WORK THROUGH THE HARD STUFF. I love this. It makes me want to dump everything and only work on my current dummy.

Anyway, I'm rambling on and on. But if you have a chance to hear Laini talk, do! And read her book!

But the inspiration doesn't even stop there. I've had many friends with jump-up-and-down good news lately. My friend, Jolie, signed with an awesome agent last week. Yay, Jolie! Then, yesterday I attended my monthly critique group and I just am beaming at the edges for all of my fellow friends and critiquers. The stuff they brought yesterday simply rocked. It was so good. I really think there were several of my collegues who brought their personal best yesterday. It's awesome and inspiring to see that and watch people grow. I hope (and believe) I'm doing the same. It's great. And I brought my new dummy draft to the critique group and left with gobs of motivation to get back to the drawing board, to forge on, and to refine my own WIP.

But. First. I have this goal of getting illustrations done. And I need to get illustration samples done. I need to. So I've got to crack the whip. I've got to stop blathering on here and actually get to work. So off I go, with visions of sugar plums dancing in my head, back to work. Later folks!