Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Win a masterclass with Melvin Burgess

Tracy Ann Baines reported today on her excellent blog, Tall Tales and Short Stories that Save the Children have teamed up with the best-selling author Melvin Burgess to launch a blogging conference where you can win a place on a masterclass run by Melvin Burgess himself. He writes brilliantly controversial teen-fiction such as: Bloodtide, Bloodsong, Nicolas Dane and Junk.

There are eight places to be won. All you have to do is attend the conference and write a blog post saying what you were born to do and why. The competition is open to all bloggers of all ages and genres.

The conference is being held at the Save the Children Head Office, St Johns Lane, London, EC1M 4AR on Saturday 26th February at 9.30am - 4pm.

To find out more details take a look at Are You Born to Write or, No Child Born To Die.

You can also create a Twibbon, like the one below, to express your support.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Anita the Artist

For Christmas, my sister bought me a beautiful sketch book and a set of Derwent Graphic sketching pencils. I have never drawn before - not really! OK! I've drawn a couple of pencil sketches to support features I've written that have been published in small press magazines! You can see them on my website in the photogallery. But, I've never had any training and I've never just drawn for fun. Sitting down and sketching for fun is something I've always wanted to try.

This is why, I decided to go to the SCBWI London Sketch Crawl at the Museum of Childhood at Bethnal Green. The museum has the largest collection of toys, dolls, doll's houses and games in the world. I met up with fellow SCBWI members and professional illustrators, Anne-Marie Perks, Clare Tovey and Bridget Strevens. We spent a few hours in the morning sketching the artefacts.

Here are the results of my little dabble at being an artist for a day. I have also posted photographs of the things I drew so you could see how close I got to the originals.

I found it was a case of drawing what you see. I tried to put the lines in the right place. Here you can see I changed the wing and the back rudder. I did this on purpose because I thought it didn't look right the way I had originally drawn it. I couldn't work out how to get the lines to look like a wing, so I made up my own.

The picture of the rocking horse took me nearly an hour to draw. I had decided before I went I was going to draw a rocking horse and I was determined to do it. I had also decided before I went (as I knew I was going to go to a toy museum) that I wanted to draw some teddy bears. Here is the result:

The last drawing I did was of a big red train:

As you can see, I had a few problems with the perspective with this one. The angle at the front is different to the angle at the back. I had been sitting still for quite a long time at this point and I moved half way through the drawing and then I couldn't get it right. It was also lunch time. I had arranged to meet up with the others for lunch and I was getting hungry so I did not really have time to fix it. It was quite apparent to me though I have no real understanding of perspective. I have so much to learn.

Here we all are with our drawings after we had eaten:

It was a great day out. It was a pity I couldn't stay longer but, I had to get home.

I recommend attending a sketch crawl yourself. SCBWI organise several across the UK.You may surprise yourself with your results. I certainly did!!!

Anyway, I hope you like my drawings. Please feel free to comment and give me advice.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Guess what?

I just found out there is a Stats Tab for my blog. People do read my blog after all. I am not writing into a vacuum.

Blogger has worked out how many hits I get for each post and which month my blog was the busiest. This is kind of cool. I found out the post with the most hits is: Agents who accept picture book authors. It has had 827 page views. Most of the hits came from the US. It was written on 15 Jul 2007. Not sure if I should mention or not, the information contained in this post is very out-of-date. For more up-to-date info I recommend you check out the most recent Children's Writers' Artists' Yearbook .

The next most read posts in order are:
This is quite interesting as they are all about writing forums. I think this tells us a lot. Maybe most writers are like me and try to combat the feeling of isolation by joining networking groups?

Even so, the fact my blog is fairly quiet is kind of reassuring, as I am less likely to be making a total fool of myself on a world wide scale. I have a nice select group of readers. Thank you. J

But, the best thing I found out was that I had 165 people attend my Virtual Book Launch last September. This made me very happy. I am hoping to have another virtual book launch very soon, as I have a few books coming out this year.