Thursday, September 5, 2013

SCBWI Published my Article!

Check out page 10 of the just-released Fall 2013 Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators SCBWI Kite Tails!

My moment with Henry Winkler (the Fonz!) has been immortalized - as well as my experience at the conference. 
You will also see my friends and fellow illustrators, Linda Silvestri and Heather Soodak and a few peak scenes from the 2013 summer SCBWI conference.

Read it here:

Here are even more of my favorite photos from the SCBWI Conference:

Henry Winkler and Laura Hoffman, August 2013  SCBWI Conference

Scenes from the Black & White Ball:

Rejection Letters
Rejection Letters
Black and White Ball Antics
Katy Betz looking awesome as a Zebra
Eliza Wheeler, Heather Soodak, Katy Betz, Linda Silvestri and Laura Hoffman, Illustrators.

Friday, August 16, 2013

So an illustrator goes to a SCBWI Conference….

….And comes home inspired. I am not alone.

After finishing the whirlwind of energy, learning, camaraderie and parties that was my 4th consecutive SCBWI conference since 2010, things are finally sinking in. Every year, I find myself in a different place in my journey as an illustrator, and the conference experience has helped me on my way. The more I attend these conferences, the more humbled I become, being surrounded by a sea of talent. 

Illustrators at the 2013 SCBWI Luncheon, 8/4/13

Illustrators are solitary creatures that hole up in our studios, balancing deadlines and practicing our craft so we often don’t get out much. Then suddenly—in a span of four action packed days, we take part in a shared experience with hundreds of like-minded people. We get a chance to view other visual artists’ portfolios, share our process and concerns - and find out we are not alone. I find that I learn as much from my fellow SCBWI attendees as the award-winning authors and illustrators, top editors and agents that speak to us.

Linda Silvestri & Laura Hoffman, Illustrators, 2013 SCBWI Conference

Eliza Wheeler, Heather Soodak, Katy Betz, Linda Silvestri & Laura Hoffman, Illustrators at the Black & White Ball

Where else can we learn from the genius of the imaginative illustrators as David Wiesner, hilarious John Scieszka and Jarrett Krosocza, as well as many others? Where else can we illustrators get our portfolios in front of top agents, leading art directors and publishers? I became hooked on the conferences by my second year of attendance, when I was “discovered” by my publisher; we have since created three books together - now read by tens of thousands.

Laura Hoffman's sketches and paintings show up for Learning A-Z's presentation, 8/2/13, SCBWI Conference.

At this year’s illustrator intensive, we had the opportunity to see where selected illustrators’ work fits into the children’s book market. I never want to miss the intensives – here is a day devoted just to our concerns. I felt like we were getting the “insider’s view” of what editors, art directors and agents really look for in hiring us, where we fit in and it can be very specific. Still, we were exhorted to break through boundaries, not limit content and it’s “OK to be scary.” One art director, Giuseppe Castellano, gave us this entirely refreshing advice, “Don’t focus on genre…. be who you are.” Oh, and they still want us to send out those postcards to remind them we are out there. 

Scene from Illustrators Intensive, SCBWI Conference 8/5/13

This year I came away with far more focus. I must have an “original voice” in my work. Fundamental craft, such as drawing skills, trained use of form and composition, as well as thoughtful choices of color palette are expected from us as narrative artists. We are challenged now to know our market—our target audience—and make pictures for them. And it goes beyond that. In this age of the constant onslaught of stimulation from media, video games and other unceasing distractions, our artwork must grab attention by providing extraordinarily unusual points of view, story telling, unexpected perspective and originality. Illustrators that stand out have a “signature style” that defines us. And humor, emotion and heart go a long way.

Thank you for reading my account in 500 words or less—now I’m going to go off and draw.

Next, I'll post my favorite highlights and photos from the award winning illustrator David Wiesner keynote and break-out meeting. I draw my greatest inspiration from him. Look for fun photos from the big Black & White ball that happened on Saturday night.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Wait For It....

At last, my final painting told me: 'Ding!' It's done. I asked my friends on Facebook for suggestions on the title - the working title was The Treat.

Wait for it. Mixed Media Painting By Laura Hoffman

So far, my best friend, Jean Pasco, suggested my favorite so far, which is Wait For It....
which is exactly what these two ladies are doing. The gold is in hand, and it's all about IT, the goal, the treat.

I am getting ready to show new work over the weekend at the annual summer SCBWI conference that begins tomorrow! This painting will be part of the Penelope series.

Lately, being surrounded by wiener dogs (dachshunds) has really affected my choice of subject matter. We paint what we see, what we think about and what we love. This series will end up being part of a book - a work in progress coming to you soon.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Does a Painting Say 'Ding' When it's Done?

I've been painting this straight (kind of realistic) and have let this artwork sit for a couple of days.

My Mom and Dad's dog is in the background, with our Penelope dog in the foreground. The treat has not yet been visually revealed to them yet the scent has their complete attention.

These two are mature lady dachshunds who excel in the doggie-art of sleeping, cuddling and eating.  Now the promise of food is all there is.

Now I'm back at it, painting away on The Treat. Here is the work in progress:

The Treat (Work in Progress) by Laura Hoffman

This will evolve, this is just how the painting looks right now.

My ever present question remains: When do you know this is done? When to stop "dipping the brush?"

Here is the sketch:

Clean Pencil Sketch for The Treat by Laura Hoffman

OK, back to it....

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Dust Bunnies Sweeping up Awards

Dust Bunnies, a painting for the Idioms Project just swept up a second award at the OC Fair. This was a nice surprise. The fair is happening now through August 11.

2013 OC Fair - Laura Hoffman and Dust Bunnies
Run - don't walk - to the OC Fair and treat yourself to the usual indulgent food (chocolate covered bacon! Deep friend avocados and more!) and feast your eyes on award winning photography and fine arts.

Congratulations to all my students who placed and won awards!! The photo exhibit this year is worth the trip to the Fair. And please stop by and say hello to the Dust Bunnies.

More art is coming....

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

My New Postcard!!

I am very excited!

I just received my printed postcards for the upcoming summer Society of Childrens Books Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) conference. Sometimes, I get nervous when sending artwork out for print.

This time, I am pleasantly surprised - these look great! I used Overnight Prints.

Dust Bunnies is part of the Idiom Series. I have plenty of these guys under my bed and in corners and do my best to capture them before they multiply.

Dust Bunnies has won several awards, including a Certificate of Merit from the Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles (SILA West) and an Honorable Mention for the 2013 OC Fair Visual Arts. I will be back at the OC Fair for Judge's Night this Thursday, July 25.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Frisbee Dog

Frisbee Dog by Laura Hoffman  

I was going through my portfolio and found this beginning of an "Action" painting and decided to rework it today. Check out the Easter Egg in the frisbee - I was having fun. 

Just realized just about all of my portfolio pieces have animals in them. My love of animals - especially dogs and cats - is spilling over into my work. Being the youngest of three kids, I didn't have the chance to grow up around little children - instead, we always had dogs (dachshunds, can you tell?) and some feral cats as pets, and would draw wiener dogs and cats all over everything. Think I will never outgrow this habit.

Figuring out if this is finished enough to release into the wild.