Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Daring Adventure by Sheralyn Barnes

Spring is finally here and my thoughts have turned to greener pastures....and my portfolio. We are less than two months away from the incredibly exciting LA SCBWI conference. Which also means that I have been spending all my extra time since the conference last year trying to tighten up my portfolio with all that I have learned and absorbed from so many wonderful people in the children's book world this past year. It seems that all the valuable information and commentary that I have received has finally begun to sink in and I've had some major epiphanies about my work recently.

One of these epiphanies is just how few children (and human beings in general) there are in my portfolio. As many of you well know, it is filled to the brim with sheep. So, I decided to set a challenge for myself this month and pursue drawing children and other animals with renewed determination. 
I've made a point to hang out at the local zoo on school field trip days so that I can study and draw them both. This has been incredibly enlightening, fun, and a great excuse to get out of the studio.

Here are some sketches of some of the kids....

I also decided that I would use Illustration Friday as my catalyst for making up scenes for my mystery child and mystery animal. For anyone who isn't familiar with Illustration Friday, it is a site that gives you a new topic on which to draw every Friday and you have one week to post an illustration that embodies that topic. 
Of course then I had to come up with a child character and an animal or animals to interact with her/him.  I'm a bit of an over-thinker and like to build special relationships with all the beings in my two dimensional world, so that took a little time. Thanks to the Natalie Merchant song "The Dancing Bear" coming on my Itunes shuffle one day, I discovered my characters and their premise for meeting..... A little girl who has run away to join the circus and a performing bear who wants to run away from the circus. Then I let Illustration Friday call the scenes.

For this first one, the topic was "Asleep"

For the second...."Shadows"

I can definitely see the character development take shape in the second. I'm amazed how much my confidence in drawing the little girl grew in just one week (which is pretty apparent in the illustrations... although I am also drawn to the simplicity of the first). I love having a deadline to work within thanks to Illustration Friday. It's making me work and learn at a faster pace, which is also helping me to hone my computer painting skills. Most of all I am very excited to see what journey this little girl and bear (and Illustration Friday), are going to take me on!

Thanks so much for checking in! See you here next week when Hazel takes the stage for your incredible enjoyment!


  1. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that second illustration!

  2. The bear and the little girl are SO awesome Sheri. The leaps and bounds in your skills with photoshop are awesome!! You go girl. I hope you make this one into a mailer.