My newsletters are a great place to get in touch. It’s how I let my readers know about new releases, of course, but I also want to hear from you. If you’re a teacher or librarian, I want to know about your students—what they’re interested in, what issues they’re facing. As a hybrid author, I can release work quickly, and can help you fill the holes on your classroom or library shelves in a timely manner. I also want to hear from my adult or YA readers—and aim to make each specific newsletter as interactive as possible. Sign up for the newsletter(s) of choice below:
Okay, it’s not specifically for writers, but I often get asked what programs I’ve been using to create my illustrated works for young readers. Clip Studio Paint (formerly Manga Studio) has been a godsend. Here’s why:
It’s affordable. You honestly don’t have to break the bank with high-end art software. Clip Studio’s fifty bucks, one time download. No monthly subscription.
It’s not overwhelming. Well, not that overwhelming. The first time you do anything with digital art, it has a definite pat-your-belly-while-rubbing-your-head feel. But if you’ve ever used any kind of photo editing program (say, GIMP), you can pretty much hit the ground running with this one. Sidenote: I’ve been attending webinars hosted by professional artists, and I’ve been surprised to hear many admit they rely on a fairly limited number of features, even when they’re available. Most average about five brushes, and one artist whose webinar I attended confessed she never used more than a single layer in her digital art. (Even pros find what works best and they stick with it!)
It has functions that feel word processor-y. I use the lasso, cut, and paste tools in the same way I use highlight, cut, and paste when I’m writing.
It includes character models. These are posable 3D models that you can place underneath your drawing layer. These models don’t draw your characters for you, but they can help with the proportions of figures, in order to speed your workflow. If that’s clear as mud, you can view a tutorial here.
It has some great vector tools. Specifically, line correction tools and eraser tools. (The eraser tool is especially important.) You can see more at this tutorial.
Authors who have expanded into the illustrative arena: are you using a different program than Clip Studio? I’d love to hear about your own experiences. Comment or reach me directly: hollyschindlerbooks (at) gmail (dot) com.
My picture book HOW BIG IS A HEART? is all about the arrival of a new baby and one little boy’s feelings about being the big brother.
The book really does make a great gift should you find yourself invited to a baby shower for a family where a soon-to-be big sibling (full, half, or step) is involved. You can give a copy to the soon-to-be big sibling, helping to make sure they aren’t feeling left out or overlooked.
But thinking about baby showers made me realize it could really become a family affair. So I added a few items to my CafePress store–tote / diaper bags for Mom featuring a HOW BIG IS A HEART?-inspired graphic as well as a few sweet “Put me in your heart” items (onesies, shirts, etc.) for the soon-to-be little sibling. Because that’s exactly what you want older siblings to do–make space for their little sister or brother in their hearts…
I’ve been working on expanding the offerings in my CafePress store, Holly Schindler Off the Page.
Well. Expanding and doing a bit of modeling. 😉
Quotes from my work –
I started with one of the most referenced quotes from my PLAYING HURT series. (“The heart is a compass…”) Here I am in a T-shirt featuring the quote:
Inspirational products for writers, teachers, grammar nuts –
This is my not-so-secret favorite of my new products: An I-am-going-to-turn-someday-into-today declaration that puts punctuation center-stage! (And, in this case, it’s on a coffee mug, so that’s an extra bonus.)
Whatever you do, make sure you shine!
If ever there was a single word to live by, it’s this one. It’s become something of a motto shared by teachers and young readers, as well.
Got an idea for a product you’d like to see at the store? Give me a shout: hollyschindlerbooks (at) gmail (dot) com.
I’m delighted to announce that my first picture book, HOW BIG IS A HEART?, is now available. The book centers on Gavin, a young boy who is facing the imminent arrival of a baby brother–all while believing that he’s fallen out of favor in his family in the midst of the new-baby bustle. An interaction with a grandmother with a sweet tooth (and slightly better insight than the rest of Gavin’s relatives) begins to convince him otherwise.
HOW BIG IS A HEART? features bright watercolor hearts and pages. But the goal with these illustrations is to highlight the story, not overshadow it. Also, the text of HOW BIG IS A HEART? is perfect for slightly older readers as well–those familiar with my MG THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY will find a somewhat similar voice or lyrical style in these pages.
The book is a perfect fit for those children who are also going to become big siblings (it’s even a nice gift to bring to a shower when older siblings–full, step, or half–are involved). But it’s also a sweet tale of love within a family, which makes it a good choice for any young reader. The book can prompt those readers to consider how they want to fill their own hearts.
Gavin doesn’t want a little brother.
His mother will have to toss Gavin out of her heart to make room for a new baby.
Yes, Gavin’s become a regular piece of junk you get rid of at a garage sale—out with the old to make way for the new.
Or is he?
How big is his mother’s heart, exactly?
Only Memaw really knows…
You’ve decided to do it–you’re taking that daunting first step! You’ve decided to tackle that elusive goal, the thing you’ve been putting off for another day. You’re going to write your novel, go back to school, brave open mic night, train for a marathon, learn to speak a second language. Whatever it is, you’ve officially taken the first step–and now you need something to celebrate turning your “someday” (…) into “right now” (!)
That’s why I put together these products in my Cafe Press store. Nothing feels better than finally taking a first step. First steps need to be recognized–they’re the most important steps you’ll ever take!