I was always more of a "Cabbage Patch" kind of a kid. But when I found this giant dollhouse at an estate sale, some latent childhood need came out. First I had to cut into some walls to make it easier to play with, and add some fun latches and secret entryways. Next up, my daughter and I will be painting and designing miniature food out of PaperClay. The dollhouse also reminded me of these books I loved as a kid. Still spooky!
Is there a right way to buy a book these days? I say nope, because every book matters. But if you're wondering how your purchase matters to moi, the author, read on.
Authors and illustrators get an equal percentage of every book sold. Since printing costs of picture books are high, that percentage is usually about 10% of the list price, split between them 50/50. Which means for every $10 book sold, I would get $.50 for the hardback, or $.30 for the board book. As you can imagine, the goal is quantity, and any way you buy is good for me in the long run. For example:
What about e-books?
These generally function the same way as paper books do, though authors and publishers have been arguing about e-book royalty rates. (Creators believe that the lack of printing costs should translate to larger portions for them -- the standard split is currently 12-20%, which would be halved with the illustrator.) Since board books like Go, Bikes, Go! are made for toddlers, they are not usually offered as e-books, and e-book sales for picture books still make up a small percentage of all sales.
I have been trying to streamline my planner, journal, and to-do lists for years. Because surely, if I could only get organized enough, life would roll so smoothly. I had seen friends "doing" bullet journals before, but didn't understand the theory until I read Ryder Carrol's Bullet Journal Method. An adaptive way to organize your planner -- and combine/organize all your lists and notes, the biggest change for me is writing in months and weeks as I go, which means my pages adapt to the week's schedule. For example, here is what my planner looked like before (notice all the white space.)
And here is what it looks like after. I am trying to sketch and write in daily reflections, which is also part of the theory -- that events and thoughts have the same priority as to-do notes.
Plus if I go on vacation, I can scrap the planner structure altogether and just have fun:
Other additions that are helpful are an index and future log at front and a series of 'icons' that send your to-do lists in different directions. You needn't be an artist to use the system (Ryder Carrol isn't), but the artists have certainly taken to the journals in droves. Just check out pinterest for ideas and tracking systems. And, since I'm always looking for the "perfect" pen, here are my current favorite supplies.
When I moved to Portland fifteen years ago, I owned only a trunk-full of essentials, and the next few years were one of the most creative and expansive times of my life. Now I have a house, a career, a family, and a stability that still surprises me. (Am I now part of the establishment?)
I also have a growing collection of stuff, and am having to learn a different lesson. In short: Don't take it because its free and might have a use someday. (I found these two books pretty motivating in that direction.) So I've been purging my broken furniture and unfinished projects. And I cut down my scrap wood pile to make this headboard (with integrated side tables) and this coffee table inspired by Pinterest. Here's hoping I can pass up the next free box...
This is the cover for my newest board book (to be released to the public in Spring 2019!) Illustrated by Alexander Mostov, published by Little Bigfoot, Go, Bikes, Go! celebrates the variety of bikes and bikers I have seen in my rides around Portland --where an estimated 3.5% of our citizens commute by bike. (Which seems low, until you compare it to the national average of .4%.) But don't mistake me for a hard-core, lifelong biker. I grew up on a gravel road miles from pavement. No, I didn't really ride a bike until I was twenty-five. Here's the story.
When I moved across the country -- from Washington, DC to Portland, OR, at age twenty-four -- my one and only aim was to "be an artist." Thus starts my fifteen years of teaching jobs and art shows, public projects, rejections, and picture books, the building of my current life. On that fated journey West, I made the very bad decision to buy a new car -- a silver Honda Civic whose interior I can still almost smell. In my second year of "being an artist" and all the part-time, low-paying jobs it entails, I couldn't pay my debts. My student loans got deferred, my credit cards got cut up, and my cute little car got... repossessed. (A relief, by that point.) A friend gave me a bike.
I remember my first ride, guided by my friend Beth through Portland's streets. I remember her saying, "don't weave in and out of cars, stay straight and in the view of drivers." I remember wavering when I turned corners, sweating profusely, and generally hating it. That was before the rainy season. I don't remember if it took weeks or months to really enjoy biking. But I spent the next three years commuting solely by bike (and bus and borrowed friend.) Those rides are some of my great moments in Portland. Once I found a free drawing table that I balanced all the way home. Once I felt like I was riding straight into the moon (the basis for the painting below) and it was magic. Many times I felt connected to my fellow riders, strong in my own skin, and just happier to be alive. (Something I've never felt in a car.)
I am on my third bike now, and the first one I actually paid for -- $150 on Craigslist. These days, I share a car with my husband and turn out to be naturally lazy. I bike less than I should and gripe about how busy Portland has gotten. But sometimes still, I feel the magic. Go, Bikes, Go!
Its taken five years to create a completely functional studio. Starting with the blank box of an attached garage, I enclosed the narrow ends with floor-to-ceiling storage. Then came the fun stuff, like these efficient design projects.
Easiest to Make: These picture ledges hold canvases and work in progress, and were made with 1x3s and 1x4s.
Most Trial-and-Error: This large magnet board. Metal sheets were too small to hold much, and magnetic paint was too weak. But lots of recycled jar caps glued to a piece of free shower vinyl --and spray-painted white -- is both strong and cheap. Plus I'm really impressed with myself every time I look at it.
My massive worktable holds paper files on both sides, with drawers built into the top. Key to the design are large wheels that make it movable, and the 36" height, useful for standing work or a bar stool.
And here's a Before Picture of the same view.
I had many fears when I got pregnant, but the biggest and scariest was this: I thought a baby would usurp my creativity. Not in the practical sense of taking up my time and energy — more that the process of birth would shift something inside, and I would trade some essential part of my artist soul for motherhood. I didn’t tell anybody about this fear, but I carried it around with me those eight months. Read the Post here.