Spring Your Writing and Illustrating Forward:

Feature photo by chi liu on Unsplash

When pale green stems poke through the dirt, spring is just around the bend. And this season of renewal is the ideal time to refresh a passion for creating.

These five invigorating resources for kidlit writers and illustrators can rev you up and spring you forward.

The Children’s Bookshelf Newsletter

The Children’s Bookshelf from Publishers Weekly is a free, digital newsletter reporting semi-weekly on upcoming children’s books; industry, library, and bookstore news; interviews with book creators, agents, and editors; kidlit conferences and book fairs; and children’s book markets around the world.

Peruse a few rticles from recent issues: “Spring 2021 Children’s Sneak Preview, “Is Women’s Empowerment Coming to Publishing?” and “Hey, Grownups! Kids Really Do Like Nonfiction.”

MasterClass for kidlit

MasterClass is a treasure trove of lessons given by A-list instructors on subjects including music, cooking, writing, filmmaking, sports, and leadership. The online, educational platform, cofounded by David Rogier and Aaron Rasmussen in 2015, boasts “over 100 instructors with more than 16,000 minutes of content.”

Kidlit creators can take in-depth MasterClasses with iconic authors such as Judy Blume, Margaret Atwood, and R.L. Stine. I recently completed the Billy Collins poetry class, and next up for me is a photography course with Annie Lebovitz and short story writing with Joyce Carol Oats. A MasterClass subscription fee is $15 per month billed annually.

Book Friends Forever Podcast

On the Book Friends Forever Podcast, acclaimed author-illustrator, Grace Lin, and esteemed children’s editor, Alvina Ling, discuss the intricacies of the kidlit industry from both sides of the publishing fence.

Tune in, weekly, as these book buds since fifth-grade cover trends and changes in creating and publishing children’s books, challenges facing authors and editors today, the meaning and value of “own voices,” racism and sexism in iconic books, how to publicize during a pandemic, ways to help non-profits and indie book stores, what to do when a book goes out of print, the pros and cons of social media, and much more.

Don’t miss listening to enriching B.F.F. episodes on Apple Podcast.

Image courtesy of the B.F.F Podcast

Procreate for illustrating

Procreate, Apple iPad’s exclusive digital illustration is an application created by Savage Interactive in 2011. This technical marvel mimics the feel of sketching and painting on paper with the added benefits of revising, sharing, and portability. (Procreate Pocket for the iPhone is also available.)

During the SCBWI digital seminar entitled, “A Conversation with LeUyen Pham and Dan Santat,” two award-winning kidlit creators raved about the emancipation of producing art with Procreate. Dan Santat uses Procreate on his iPad Pro. It allows him to make his art at home or on the road, save designs to Dropbox, share presentation slides, and also exchange emails. LeUyen Pham added that using Procreate to illustrate her children’s books removes her fear of making mistakes and wasting costly paper.

For an orientation to Procreate, visit: “Intro to Procreate: Learning to draw on the iPad,” “Procreate 101: Everything You Need to Know to Get Started,” and “Which iPad should I get for Procreate?”

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Zoom grooming tips

Zoom, Teams, Google Hangouts — business meetings, critique groups, school presentations — writers and illustrators spend more time than ever on videocalls, but don’t necessarily project their best self. You know what I’m talking about: the ghoulish faces, cluttered spaces, and heads without a scalp.

Beauty blogger, Angie Schmitt, gives fabulous tips in her YouTube video: “How to Look Good on Video Calls.” Learn how to angle the camera inside your screen, locate flattering lighting, and minimize background distractions. Angie boosts Zooming confidence further with grooming and makeup tips.

Check out photographer Gia Goodrich’s YouTube video too. In “How to Look Better on Zoom,” Goodrich takes a deep dive into poor lighting and its impact on videoconferencing from home.

Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

Are you ready to spring forward? Try these revitalizing tools to help your writing and illustrating flourish.

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