Tuesday, November 29, 2011

PiBoIdMo Almost Over!

What a busy month for me! PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month), my birthday, going to Detroit for the Thanksgiving Day parade and general life around the Bear Track Studio den. PiBoIdMo was a blast and it all comes to a close tomorrow. I gathered many new and fresh ideas for future possible picture books. Here are a few:
The first colorful picture book character that came to mind was our new kitten who adopted us. Oskar Wilde Kat. OK, drawing him was like drawing a droplet of water bouncing on a hot skillet. Then I read about from PiBoIdMo folk how kittens and bunnies are overused in story land so I went on in my search for new, fun story characters. Ideas began to trickle in and then tumble in like crashing waves.

Nov. 11, 2011 "Pinky" Porcupine

One such idea stemmed from my birthday celebration when I spent the day with my granddaughter and son at Rain Forest Cafe at the Great Lakes Crossing.

Fortunately my granddaughter, Kyah, is full of songs and stories and made the day memorable. It began with her singing every verse of "I Got the Joy, Joy, Joy Down in my Heart..." and ended with ice cream at McDonald's because the mall had closed all of its ice cream stores and was far too crowded for our likes.

When I bought Kyah a blue-striped plush top hat with hot pink fur trim (snazzy, right?) it made her little six-year old going on seven day. She had been enumerating her first grade woes of not making many friends at her school. Ouch! That hurt my grandma heart. And so when she asked for the hat--what's a grandmother to do? She was wild with excitement and wore the too big hat in the mall making people smile at her. BINGO! Story gotten! Now I hate to use my lil grandpup's problems as a story but these are real big deals to kids her age and older. So I went home and sketched some scenes from our big, day out. I liked the idea of making us porcupines--one of my favorite animals that I've had a few run-ins with. Before I even wrote a single word the images came to mind. The hat, the day, the song.

Then along came Thanksgiving. It got me to thinking about being grateful and giving back. November was becoming an emotional month for me for many reasons and now was the time to be thankful for everybody and everything I have in my life and for who I am. So out popped, Pickles Possum.


Nov. 22, 2011 "Pickles Possum" is in the Pits
This time Pickles got more character development perhaps because the character was closer to home--me. I drew pages and pages and wrote words and dialogue and pretty soon a story was being born.

As the days went by I noticed things more, especially after reading PiBoIdMo emails and posts from other authors. From settings to unusual characters my mind raced. Which is why I haven't slept well in a month from my brain racing like the engine of a race car. Besides designing new creative art pieces for work I was doing this picture book challenge, writing the Holly Wild and prepping for an art show we are headed to on Friday--in the snow.

So I went for a short walk at Howell Nature Center in their Wild Wonders park and took photos of critters like opossum, coyote and beaver. Then went back the next day to draw the porcupine.

She and I had a nice chat on that warm day. Each of regarding the other. She hummed to me and I hummed back as I sketched. I must have bored her though as she yawned and stretched and turned her back to me. But then she looked back and gave me a nice profile. Porkies have an unusual face and oddly human eye and appearance as if she were wrapped in her quilt decorated with quills. After our session I left with sketchbook in hand to visit the flying squirrel. OK, so you can't actually draw a flying squirrel--he actually was like a drop of water on a hot skillet. Cute fellers they are.
So the month of story ideas nearly over has brought new settings;  Detroit, and weird characters; mosquito larva. Stories are buzzing in my mind and will boil over at some point--but for now I have them on paper--as sketches.