Tomie De Paola submission

So I decided to create a piece for the Tomie De Paola award - an illustration brief that Tomie sets each year, and the winner gets free accom and tickets to the NY SCBWI conference!

This year's task was to "to cast yourself, as a child, in a picture book. Show your autobiographical character in a scene and make sure to convey the emotion of your character. The viewer should be able to read the emotion of the character immediately and clearly. No words or captions are allowed in the image."

This is the first sketch I did. Now don't feel too sad for me! It's not that bad, really. But moving to a new city, state, country and continent has had its challenges, and there have definitely been moments of sadness, and questioning. Mostly I wanted the feeling of this world going on around the character, and her trying to figure out her place in it.

I remember this feeling when I moved to Australia 15 years ago-- I was looking for work, and I got on the bus one day and thought, "Wow, that bus driver must be so happy to have a job, to have somewhere to go, to be depended on!" !!

And now here I am doing it all over again.... Funny, life, isn't it?

I submitted my initial sketch to my online critique group and someone mentioned it looked like the girl was looking at the pigeons, which seemed strange to them.

So I redrew her a bit - and added a cloak with ears. :)

Once I had the sketch finalised it was on to painting!

Light layers first...

Then adding shadows...

I use watercolours and coloured pencils for the linework. I think making the splatters is one of my favourite parts.

And ta-dah! There she is. She is currently in Tomie's hot little hands, so fingers crossed!