Friday, December 29, 2017

Unexpected Surprises

2017 was for me a year of unexpected things that took me by surprise. My little dog Maggie almost died because of a bug that devastated her gut and the cost of vet bills became overwhelming. But she pulled up after six months of vet visits and many tests and a new diet of boiled chicken breast and kibbles has calmed her gut into normal function again. The only thing that came up in tests was something called Cryptosporidium and I have no idea how she got it.

Then my dentist announced I'd need dental work to save my health. So I went ahead with that.

I sent two manuscripts out to a publisher and an agent. I had no feedback from the agent which meant no interest in my Cherry Pie Girl manuscript at least from that particular house of agents. I was not crushed but I thought at least they might send me a note. But nothing means no so there it is.

Then I had a form letter back from a publisher for a picture book manuscript I sent in. A polite sorry but it is not a fit. I am not crushed. But I should be sending my stuff out to more people and maybe I will do this in 2018.

By the time I heard back / not heard back from these people, my life had moved into realizing that as a retired person with a small pension with benefits, I needed also to get a job to pay for having a dog as well as maintaining my teeth. So in August I put my energy into a job search.

To my surprise I got a lovely little part time job working with kids in a school and on the playground. I have now become a part of a community of teachers and children and other support staff. It is quite lovely to be with people and socializing every day in the real world. I know so far this choice is a good one for me at this time of my life. The kids are amazing and funny and wonderful to observe from a research point of view and I have been coming up with more ideas for picture books. It is such a privilege to be with them.

So in 2018 in January I am signed up for Tara Lazar's Story Storm, which is inspiring writers to gather up an idea a day for the month of January.

Last spring I must not forget that I worked with a grade four class creating animated videos with iPads. In the process I developed a detailed lesson plan and I found a great number of resources and I learned a great deal about building small sets and making characters out of plasticine, wood and fabric and also learned how to creat inexpensive sets with file folders and paper. I think my lesson plan might have some value for other teachers. So this is a positive thing and I might work on this in 2018.

In 2017 I wrote a number of picture book manuscripts while taking a course with Picture Book Blueprints. This is a great program and well worth the cost. I also have begun a Middle Grade Blueprint writing course.

So this year of 2017, for me, was full of unexpected surprises. And of course if one looks at the whole world politically and in general, it was filled with many unexpected and most not so welcome surprises. Now onward to 2018.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Brushstroke App

I have an iPad Mini and I kind of love it and I wish I could tell the world how much fun it is to play with. Recently I found an app that turns photos into beautiful oil paintings and it only takes seconds. I thought I'd post a few here in case there is anyone out there who might find this of interest.
The app is called Brushstroke and it has many variations. If you click on the images you can see them larger on your screen.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Drawing an Elephant Experiment

I was in a funk and had some time to try to see if I could make this work. The Program is called Art Rage and the brush is rainbow. I recorded it with Corel Video Studio Screen Capture and uploaded it to youtube.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Free Continuing Education from FutureLearn

I recommend Future Learn online courses from the UK. They are free and every course so far has been chock a block full of information, with fabulous links to what is happening now around the world in the fields of your chosen topics.

Courses I've been taking over the last year are
Film Making And Animation In The Classroom    - The British Film Institute
Teaching Literacy Through Film
Explore Animation  -  National Film & Television School UK

The Enterprise Shed, Making Ideas Happen - Trinity College Dublin (I think this one is closed now so I don't have a link)
Digital Story Telling - University of Birmingham
Writing Fiction  - The Open University UK

These are small characters of plasticine created for a project creating animated movies using iPads, iMotion App, and iMovie with grade fours at Lord Nelson Elementary School. I was able to share what I learned from Future Learn with the children. My lesson plan reads like a book now. Now there's another idea. I wonder if teachers would want a lesson plan for this topic?