Sep 30, 2009

Analyzing Portfolio

I visited fellow illustrator's blog, Wilson, and read his Wisdom Wednesday post this morning finding a link to Scott Franson's site. The reason for the link was Wilson was talking about reviewing and analyzing your portfolio (there's more to the story, you'll just have to visit his blog to read more back story). Anyhoo I visited Scott's site. Love it! Enjoy this creativity, and his spunk! Found the analyzing portfolio pdf that Wilson was talking about, what?

See this is where I get stumped. I'm staring at this sheet and it occurs to me that I've seen it, and printed it off before! The reason I haven't used it do I use it?! I don't know about others, but to stand away from my own portfolio and analyze it isn't one of my strong suits. Give me anyone else and I'll have a blast! But my own?! I don't know if what the first impression of my portfolio is, let alone score it based on a 0-5 scale. How do I know if my characters have credibility of expression and body language. I know the narrative, so when it comes to who does what to whom...I'm going to automatically know that.

You can't go backwards from what you already know and pretend you don't know it. At least..I'm not one who can. I can see giving this to another artist for critique, and believe it or not I am going to take this to my art group on Monday and see if we can't use it to support one another. But I would love to use this one my portfolio. :/ I know my portfolio, although pretty, needs A LOT of work. I'm so behind with becoming a children's book illustrator.

Sometimes I wonder if this is what I'm meant to do, or if there's something else. It's kind of scary being almost thirty and still not knowing where your work fits. Nothing has really moved me in any direction. I've illustrated two self publishing books...enjoyed both of them, but wonder if I could really do a true blue published book. Or if I'm fit for editorials.

Thus, I want to know where my portfolio stands. If I know where I'm lacking I can work and train on it more.

Sep 29, 2009


I have a membership with and really haven't taken advantage of it since I signed up, which was a month or so before my wedding. Last night I was going through my online galleries and visited EBSQ. They have month shows that members can enter and was curious to know what was up. I found that a topic I could easily approach was rodents.

I have always drawn my mice in a more cartoon form, but after reading the guidelines for the show I took it as no imagination involved. This is up for debate...because what they said is it must be a real or was alive rodent. A wee bit confused, but was stricken and immediately started to draw a small mouse. Also last night I ate some almonds...and when I was drawing I was drinking coffee. Thus, we have a small white mouse, eating almonds, by a coffee mug. Huh. Ever wonder where artists get their ideas? :P

Visit the show, members and non-members can view it. A good friend, Carmen Keys, has also submitted her ADORABLE works. No wonder she wins a lot of these shows...her work is just so soft, full of light, and precious.

Sep 23, 2009

IF - Infinite

"The Infinite Star" | watercolor 2009
Every person dreams of something impossible or irrational. But when that person continues on with life and forgets to dream, there's one night they look up and see a star. That star brings back the memory of dreaming. It never fails, always shining, it is infinite.

YATA! And it's only Wednesday! hehehe ;P yup, that's what I got to say today.

Sep 22, 2009

World Habitat Day

The United Nations has designated the first Monday each October as
World Habitat Day.

This year on Oct. 5 in Washington, D.C. and around the world, please join Habitat for Humanity in support of this global observance as we come together and declare that the lack of decent, affordable housing is unacceptable.

According to the United Nations, more than 100 million people in the world today are homeless. Millions more face a severe housing problem living without adequate sanitation, with irregular or no electricity supply and without adequate security.

Worldwide, more than 2 million housing units per year are needed for the next 50 years to solve the present worldwide housing crisis. With our global population expanding, however, at the end of those 50 years, there would still be a need for another 1 billion houses. (UN-HABITAT: 2005)

Raising awareness and advocating for change are the first steps toward transforming systems that perpetuate the global plague of poverty housing. World Habitat Day serves as an important reminder that everyone must unite to ensure that everyone has a safe, decent place to call home.

The U.N. further states that both developed and developing countries, cities and towns are increasingly feeling the effects of climate change, resource depletion, food insecurity, population growth and economic instability. Rapid rates of urbanization cause serious negative consequences - overcrowding, poverty, slums with many poorly equipped to meet the service demands of ever growing urban populations.

With over half of the world’s population currently living in urban areas the U.N. believes there is no doubt that the "urban agenda" will increasingly become a priority for governments, local authorities and their non-governmental partners everywhere.
U.S. Housing Facts

*About 95 million people, one third of the nation, have housing problems including a high-cost burden, overcrowding, poor quality shelter and homelessness. (National Low Income Housing Coalition: 2004)

*One in three American households spend more than 30 percent of income on housing, and one in seven spends more than 50 percent. (Joint Center for Housing Studies: 2006)

*The number of low-income families that lack safe and affordable housing is related to the number of children that suffer from asthma, viral infections, anemia, stunted growth and other health problems. About 21,000 children have stunted growth attributable to the lack of stable housing; 10,000 children between the ages of 4 and 9 are hospitalized for asthma attacks each year because of cockroach infestation at home; and more than 180 children die each year in house fires attributable to faulty electrical heating and electrical equipment. (Sandel, et al: 1999)

Global poverty facts

*By the year 2030, an additional 3 billion people, about 40 percent of the world’s population, will need access to housing. This translates into a demand for 96,150 new affordable units every day and 4,000 every hour. (UN-HABITAT: 2005)

*One out of every three city dwellers – nearly a billion people – lives in a slum. (Slum indicators include: lack of water, lack of sanitation, overcrowding, non-durable structures and insecure tenure.) (UN-HABITAT: 2006)

*UN-Habitat has reported that because of poor living conditions, women living in slums are more likely to contract HIV/AIDS than their rural counterparts, and children in slums are more likely to die from water-borne and respiratory illness. (UN-HABITAT: 2006)

*Housing formation generates non-housing related expenditures that help drive the economy. (Kissick, et al: 2006)

*Investing in housing expands the local tax base. (Kissick, et al: 2006)

The theme for World Habitat Day 2009 is "Planning our Urban Future"
Celebrations of World Habitat Day in Washington, D.C. will be an excellent opportunity to foster global discussion and raise the profile of shelter and urban issues at the national and international level. Events in the United States and around the world include policy forums, award presentations, luncheons, dinners, house-building and exhibitions.


ADVOCATE for decent housing for all by submitting a photo of yourself holding a sign that says “It all starts at home” and submit it to Habitat’s photo petition on Habitat’s goal is to collect a minimum of 500 photos to deliver to the White House. Submit your photo by Friday, September 25, 2009.

Today, 1 billion people live in slums, and that number is growing rapidly. The U.S. can be a leader in the fight to help reduce global poverty and improve the lives of people living in slums. Urge your legislators to support the Shelter, Land and Urban Assistance Act of 2009. Tell Congress to pass the SLUM Assistance Act!

EDUCATE your community with Habitat for Humanity’s World Habitat Day handbook to learn more about the importance of secure tenure and neighborhood revitalization. Get even more information about the issue of insecure tenure by reading Habitat’s Shelter Report: building a secure future through effective land policies.

ways to get more people involved. Learn from the successes of last year’s campaign, and come up with brand-new ways to celebrate and publicize the important work of Habitat for Humanity.

Take a virtual tour of the Capotillo informal settlement in the Dominican Republic and put yourself in the shoes of those who live in a broken community of violence, poverty and danger.

LINK to Habitat for Humanity’s World Habitat Day 2009 resources page on your social media pages, personal web site or blog to spread the word and raise awareness.

DONATE to be a part of making the world a better place and support Habitat’s efforts. Donate online today!

Read more and find resources!

IF - Infinite sketch

Stars symbolize infinite possibilities, and so does the imagination.

Icky Cobwebs!

I look at my planner, and get a lump in my throat. "So much to do! So little time!" my brain says. It's true, that saying, but it doesn't have to be a damper. I'm struggling to get past the ho hum stage of my to do list. I think once I finally have the schedule working and down I'll feel better. As you view the updates (that is, if you go to the site) you might notice my signature has changed. I am referred to as Sara.B. I think in time everything will be switched to that instead of Sara Butcher. It's complicated when you get married and you make a living from your name. Sara.B is a nice in between, a compromise that people might still be able to recognize. I suppose we'll see. :)

For the past two days I've been dusting off the cobwebs in my site. Refreshed the look (as I always do) and made a mental list of things I need to work on with it. Updated the "What's New" and the "Shoppe". The look has basically a new background image and sidebar image. Other than that, same layout. Ditto with the Shoppe. Same look and template, just more items added. Today is not a website day, although I did upload it this morning and update the "What's New". But I have made it Mondays to be the day I update my site and online galleries. Today is Tuesday. Time to draw.

I pray for the best today, your scribbles, your thoughts, and your interaction with life. God bless.

Sep 18, 2009

Welcoming - finished

"Welcoming" | watercolor, ink, acrylic | 2009

As I sat inking and painting this piece I thought of Beatrix Potter. I have always adored her work and her stories. About a year ago I watched the film created to tell her story and fell even more in love with her work. Whether her personality was as whimsical as the movie made it out to be, or not, I like to think it was. It shows in her work, and as one who illustrates the imaginary as well, we tend to be animated and whimsical. I hold her as one of the stars I look up to when created illustrations for children, especially those with animals.

I'm pleased with how this piece turned out. And even tho it's finishing touches weren't done in time for Illustration Friday, I'm glad to have finished it today. :)

Welcome - sketch

The first thing that came to mind was a little old lady letting a stray child into her home. She would be full of warmth and welcome. But as I started on the tracing paper she wasn't an old lady anymore, but an old lady rabbit. I can't remember the last time I painted an animal. As I redrew this on the tracing paper a few things changed. The main one being the direction of the wind is now going right...which to me just works better.

Before I go into nothingness rambles, I look forward to posting the final piece. I started painting it last night, but alas last night was the beginning of a new season for "The Office", and it couldn't be missed. "Community" wasn't too bad following either. :)

Sep 17, 2009

Sneak Peak

I'm so excited about what's been happening in the studio for the last couple of weeks. I'm filled up with ideas and inspiration, pray I follow through!! It would be a shame and loss if I don't.

After buying the Epson I know prints are comin' back. Thats project one...I'm thinking of a different system to go about selling there's any other system. But bookkeeping for the IRS is not one of my strong suits. But request after request has been given for prints and for some reason people prefer buying from me than from ImageKind or ArtWanted. Dunno why...but that's how it is.

Also while in Galena, IL on our honeymoon, we walked into an adorable shop called...yikes, I don't remember the name of it, bummer, but it was full of art supplies, stamps, scrapbooking supplies, just a wonder of a place! Brian and I visited that store twice! And while he was purchasing his feather and ink pen in a box I was scoping out ideas for my work. What could I make for would I make it? I found the memory squares, or just squares/rectangles of glass that you can buy in packs. Grabbed some foil tape, and some glue...walking into territory I know very little about. I got the crazy notion to make charms, or trinkets with my artwork behind glass so others can make more interesting items out of them. There are a few ways I want to go about this after making several. It's a beginning...but I enjoy making them and have all kinds of ideas floating above. After the wedding I rediscovered my love of crafting. Tho I'm no pro at it, I can do for now on I'm going to have a craft day once a week. :) Hopefully. :P

I'm looking forward to sharing these with you on my site, blog, and etsy. Etsy needs a facelift, and so does my site! So does every site I'm a part of. Somethings gotta give, and it's my drive and schedule. ;)

Sep 10, 2009

IF - Strong

Yay! I made it!!! whew. :P

Runnin' like the Rabbit

Yay, I can post pictures again.

Since the wedding (Aug. 29th) Brian and I have been trying to get this wee apartment comfortable for two. We were very happy to see some of the gifts we received, many of them provided a starting point in rearranging. Then out to Target to make our studio/clothing room work for us both. The reason is because Brian, my husband, was living in a suitcase! Just couldn't have that. We bought some "put together yourself" drawers, brought in his shelving, his bulletin board, and also made him an office space. Brian gets the couch and coffee table in the studio. I have my corner, which is pictured. I brought in a few items on the walls to get everything off of my table. Now if I want to work large I can. Doing all of the wedding projects I realized I had too many things on my desk.

(forgive me if this all makes some little sense, I'm kinda out of it this morning...)

Moving on...
After a long while I think I have a system with my inspiration boards too, which has always bothered me.

On another note, while at Target we found this Epson printer for only $30. I said no way, and researched the lil' guy. It's an Epson Stylus NX100 with durabrite inks. The only negative reviews I found on it were the typical Epson reviews. Eats up ink and is loud. Not to mention you have to have everything moving and going if you want one thing to work. Ya, it's an all in one, but eh, who cares. Brian's actually excited about the scanning feature since he can hook this guy up to his laptop and not have to deal with my whole computer set up.

I'm pretty pleased with it...for only $30. In my mind it was a waste of money not to try it out. The ink situation is something I took care of a long time ago when my R2400 was running. Buy compatible inks online. Can always find ink selling for less than half the price Epson charges, and no microchip to say you're out 3/4ths of the way through. :)

I say, if you really need a printer now, grab the Epson Stylus NX100 at Target for $30. It's a great little guy. Yeah, he snores and makes loud noises (Madie seemed entertained), and he might eat a lot (go on the compatible diet), but definitely worth it.

Sep 9, 2009

Well hum

I was going to post and share pictures of my clean and rearranged studio but for some reason blogger won't let me upload images at the moment. darney. I'm running out of time since I fussed and fussed with it...even fussed taking pictures. blah. okie, will try again laters. :P Just wasn't meant to be I suppose.

Have a beautiful blessed morning!

Sep 8, 2009

Sneak Peak

Here is my current project. After doing a lot of research on Etsy and trying to find a new ground by which I sell my work, I'm going here. I look forward to finishing some pieces created before the wedding, but for now this is where I'm at.

They are three separate pieces...each a 2.5 x 3.5 card. The set is titled "The Three Princesses". Looking forward to inking and painting them this week. :)

Day two of the scramble

Yesterday I was in a funk all day. Blah! I hate those days. I hate the days where I'm snappy and rude to my husband, I hate the days where I feel like a pile of blah, and I hate days that I question my trust in the Lord. I cried myself to sleep praying. But, alas, a new day has started and the sun is peering over the horizon, I have my coffee, and starting to think how can I make something out of what God's given me.

I prayed last night for Him to reveal something to me in regards to where He wants my work to go. I'm sure He's showing me, but I prayed for me to see it. I know God is always working, I just have to stop, look, and listen. But there are times when I know my mind is so focused on other things that I miss Him all together. So I asked to see, hear, and know. I asked for peace. When I get frustrated it's like this surge that goes through my veins, and I can't contain my physical anxiety. Its difficult to not feel I ask for peace.

I have a sense of peace this morning. Though my brain is still body feels rested. I'm thinking about my schedule...gonna make that plan first. Then start working. Brian and I bought a $30 Epson All in One last night at Target. Kind of hard to believe...but I did the research and aside from typical Epson's a good printer. I'm excited because this means I can do prints again. :)

So here's praying for a blessed and God loving day. Just one at a time.

Sep 7, 2009


I love mornings. When the house is quiet, Madie has finally settled down after her "morning routine" of meowing, hubby still asleep, and the sun just pouring through the studio windows. I have my hazelnut coffee and researching what Etsy has to offer. I'm overwhelmed.

For the last six months I've been planning a wedding and all the jazz that goes along with it. Everything pretty much hand made, wedding favors, center pieces, programs, everything...made by me and those closest to me. Where is this rant going? I'm behind, way behind in my business. I have always felt behind in my there has always been something missing. But what?! For the researching and studying I've done I can't figure out what I'm skipping. Of course, anyone how knows me smirks because I start projects (big ones outside of painting) just great, but can never keep them going. That's gotta change, seriously. But then, how do I change that behavior?

I get overwhelmed with how much you have to do! Community, blog, FaceBook, post, relist, website to maintain, mail outs, THEN you gotta log, pay bills, finance, budget...all things my brain just can't wrap around...on top of everything else. Oh, did I forget to mention paint and sketch daily?


I feel behind and exhausted and it's not even 10am. I've been awake for only an hour and a half and I'm ready to go back to bed. My heart and mind is just fluttering with excitement to get started back on track with life and with my business. Only, I want to do everything all at once and don't know where to start.

I'm almost thirty and I've been on this path for five years...thinking it'd be something a bit more by now. Aww....I'm not moping...seriously I'm not. It's motivation to get my toosh into gear!

One of the questions probing my mind is "What's my niche?" I have always wondered that. There are so many directions I can go in, and most of the time try to, but I wear myself thin. So what's my niche? I've always struggled with this question since college...sophomore year. By junior year it seemed like all of the fellow friends and illustrators had found their niche. Mine...well I do a lot of fantasy art so I guess I'll do licensing. Um...ya...don't mind a bit of licensing but it's a sticky business to be into. Plus it's a slow one. There are children books from my past that I just adored. Heavy into detail fantasy paintings with simple text for the child to read. I got so lost into those books. But when I started to go into children's book illustration I feared that my work wasn't quite what publishers I started drawing cute animals. I LOVE drawing cute animals, but I also LOVE painting fantasy.

--_-- crossroad again.

I'm processing out loud because if I don't I loose it all, and hopefully something comes of this writing frenzy. What do I have that others need? Light? Love? Hope? Joy? Why would someone buy a piece of artwork? Hum...

So much to think about.