Recording Day!

Today, BETWIXT and I begin a bit of a new journey.  We’ve been working on this new project for a while, mostly individually, but, we are bringing it all together today for a recording session.  Our goal is to eventually pitch our work to PBS or some other children’s network as an animated series.  Unfortunately, none of us knows animation.  But, we’re not letting that stop us.

Awhile back, I rewrote Sylvia McBye Learns To Fly, as a script instead of a children’s book manuscript.  And I grabbed 3 of my children for the parts of Zack, Paxton, and Sylvia.  One of my kids, the oldest boy, was stricken with a huge case of very dramatic stage fright combined with the issues that go along with being 14.  Seeing as it wasn’t worth the fight, I “fired” him from his job–he was thrilled–and “hired” a friend of my 11 year old son to fill the part.  It was probably a wise choice anyway.  The 14 year old’s voice was deepening quite a bit, so he may not have been the best Paxton.

Yesterday, I got my cast together to do some run-throughs.  And it’s funny.  The 8 year old girl is much louder and more emotive than two 11 year old boys.  After coaching and cajoling, however, I think it’s going to work.  TJ and Jared of BETWIXT will be here this afternoon with recording equipment.  I will send the 14 year old and the dog to the movies (or someplace) and we will capture these kids doing what they do–I wish I could say “on tape” here, but it doesn’t work that way anymore.  Digital is the name of the game; there is no tape to be found in this process.  So, I’m going to stop blogging right here, and pick up this afternoon when we have finished the recording.  Hang on…

Several hours pass….

Hey there!  I’m back!  4:30 in the afternoon, and the recording is done!  Overall, it was a great day of work.  Sailor seems to channel Sylvia straight from my imagination (or maybe I wrote the character with Sailor in my brain) and Starson and his friend Michael really delivered on Paxton and Zack.

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Even my Corgi, Sophia Loren got into the act by barking a voice for Flash.  The only one who was really not into the deal was Soda Pop, who normally meows loudly when you touch his tail.  Today, he was strangely silent except for one very pronounced hiss.  Oh well.  We’ll get him next time.

He was having NONE of it.

He was having NONE of it.

So, besides eating a bunch of vegetarian pizza and chocolate chip cookie bars, we accomplished the recording portion of our “pilot” project.  Jared and TJ did a great job helping the kids understand the process and get into character, and Jared totally rocked his professional recording abilities ALL OVER my photo studio.

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You can even notice Flash watching the proceedings from behind the children as they read their parts.  In the next couple weeks, I will have a sample of what we did that day, perhaps with a couple new illustrations for our storyboards, and some of Jared’s score backing it all up.  It was a good day.  As most days in Inclement are.

Tracy Lovett is an artist, author, illustrator, photographer, wife, mom, and all around creative gal trying to spread the message that creativity is one of our most important qualities.  She uses her books, photographs, and writings to encourage others to just take the chance and be creative. This BLOG is about her creative journey into all her creative endeavors, including writing for children and adults, art and illustration, photography and photo-illustration, and book-building from beginning to end.  There may be other “sidetrips” that can’t be predicted–so hop in and enjoy the ride!  You may learn more about Tracy here.  You may follow her on Facebook here.

A Mish-Mash

Some days are a mish-mash of activities and projects.  Today is no exception.  First off, I have to tell you about my visit to Northeast Elementary School, which occurred day before yesterday.  We had a GREAT time!  The kids and parents listened to me read two books–Bug Summer-Raining Ladybugs, and Sylvia McBye Learns To Fly.

Bug Summer--Raining Ladybugs

Bug Summer–Raining Ladybugs

 

Yes, THIS was the "lucky" book...

Yes, THIS was the “lucky” book…

In between, I did a quick Flash illustration, which made everyone very happy.

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After all the packing and preparation, it was a worthwhile way to spend the evening.  And afterwards, the hubster and I got to go out for a sandwich together, which rarely happens.

I have also spent more time on Soda’s Valentine, getting pages ready so I can eventually publish!  Yay!  Here are a few more photos that are all tricked out and ready for page design.

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Then I spent some time on the photography portion of my business—I do run a photography studio called Images By Tracy Lovett, and I had to design a customer book of images that we did of her daughter–here are a couple of the pages from THAT project.

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And you may learn more about my photography studio by checking out my Facebook page here.

After THAT, I was back onto Inclement stuff.  My friends Jared and TJ–the founding members of the band BETWIXT that I work with quite a bit, are coming down this Sunday to work on a collaborative project with me.  We have taken Sylvia McBye Learns To Fly and turned it into a script for what will hopefully become an animated children’s television pilot.  My 11 year old son, one of his friends, and my 8 year old daughter are going to read the parts for us, and we will record their voices so we can produce a finished audio portion of the show for future animation.  I am hard at work doing storyboards of the script as well.  Eventually, we hope to meet with people at PBS, maybe Nickelodeon, or other children’s tv networks to see if they are interested in what we are doing.

I was supposed to have a photo session this afternoon in my Studio, but one of the little ones wasn’t feeling his best, so we have postponed that until Saturday.  And that gives me  a bit of time to write my blog today.  After I am done here, I’m going to return to photography stuff for a few hours, editing some customer photos, and printing an order or two for Senior Portraits.

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Oh, and I played a game of chess with my son–partial game.  Chess and I do not get along, and I always lose interest about half-way through.  I also need to stretch two canvas portraits for customers today.

So, that is what my plans are for the rest of the day.  My sons (who are homeschooled) have had an art day today, working on “macro” projects–they have to design a macroscopic world, either real or imaginary–and do a drawing of it.  One of them is working on rendering a corner of his room, up close, complete with a tiny city and buildings that, at least in his imagination, exist in that space.  The other one is doing an outdoor scene, where the stems of plants are enormous and there are critters of all sorts living and breathing and fighting and dying, all on a tiny scale.  I wish I had time for this project as well….it sounds so fun and full of possibilities.  But alas, I have a full plate already.

See, that’s the thing about creativity, and creative jobs.  Sometimes, they require laser-sharp focus, and many times, you are running hither and nigh, accomplishing many unrelated or semi-related tasks just to get through the day.  But, that’s my life.

So, back to it!

Tracy Lovett is an artist, author, illustrator, photographer, wife, mom, and all around creative gal trying to spread the message that creativity is one of our most important qualities.  She uses her books, photographs, and writings to encourage others to just take the chance and be creative. This BLOG is about her creative journey into all her creative endeavors, including writing for children and adults, art and illustration, photography and photo-illustration, and book-building from beginning to end.  There may be other “sidetrips” that can’t be predicted–so hop in and enjoy the ride!  You may learn more about Tracy here.  You may follow her on Facebook here.

 

Come With Me To Inclement….And Pack A Bag!

Today, I’m taking Inclement on the road.  Not in a big way, but still, I’m going to be out there talking to kids about my town, reading a book to them, and doing a couple illustrations.

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This isn’t one of our Creative Collaborations that I do with BETWIXT–gosh, I REALLY have to do a blog post on those guys.

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No, this is just a simple half hour at a Family Fun Night at a school nearby.  But although I will be there just half-an-hour, it is an important night.  You see, not only is Inclement just about my favorite place in the world to spend my time, and a place that provides so many ideas I don’t have time to write about them, it is also business for me.  And an important rule in business is that you have to get the word out that you ARE in business.  You have to let people KNOW what you do.  In half an hour, over the course of maybe two books, I hope to say something or do something or read something that sticks in those parents’ and childrens’ and teachers’ minds.  Perhaps they will buy some books.  Perhaps they will hire BETWIXT and me to do a Creative Collaboration at the school.  Perhaps a Mom or a Dad somewhere will sit down and draw something with their child instead of telling them to go play video games.  Whatever happens, whatever the outcome of half an hour, it can’t be bad.

Half an hour is a very short time.  In the scheme of the universe, it is like a baby-biscuit nano-second.  But the process for preparing for that half an hour is huge.

Here is my list today:

1. Pack computer equipment.  When I read to large groups, I do so with a laptop and a digital projector.  Makes it MUCH easier for everyone to see the illustrations in the books.

2. Pack the cords for computer equipment.  This is a biggie.  If I forget the cords, what is the point of having the computer?

3. Pack my illustration supplies–easel, BIG PAPER (sheets of 3 feet x 4 feet), chalk pastels.

4. Trim 150 bookmarks to hand out.  I printed them yesterday, and today, I have to trim them.  I hate trimming.  Oh, and I have to pack these, so I don’t forget them.

5. Money.  I have to get change and pack the cash box.  People may want to purchase books.  Can’t forget this.

Wonder how it will work for MY fiscal crisis...

Wonder how it will work for MY fiscal crisis…

6.  BOOKS.  I can’t forget books.  This is probably the biggest pain as far as packing goes.  I have 7 book titles now, and I’m going to take some of each.  Which leads to 7 different boxes of books, and I never know how many to take of each, so I always bring more than I need….

7. I forgot this in the first part of the list–check to make sure all the book presentations WORK on my computer BEFORE I pack it up.  If the book doesn’t run on the computer, there is NO POINT in bringing the computer.

8. Babywipes.  No, I don’t have a baby.  But, they are very handy in cleaning my hands after I use chalk pastels for 10 minutes or so.

9. Water.  I always get thirsty.

10. Carry everything out to the truck.  This is where my 14 year old son comes in, AND his father, after he gets home from work.

11. Get ready myself.  See, I have to tell myself to do this, because I get out of the house so infrequently.  I planned my wardrobe last night, fortunately.

12.  Oh, another thing I forgot–my camera.  I have to pack the camera so I can get pictures of me doing what I do, so I can BLOG about it tomorrow to whomever might be reading this.

13.  Eat.  When I get busy like this, I forget to eat.  Then I get really hungry during my presentation, and sometimes I feel like I’m going to “lose my cookies”, and that isn’t fun when I’m reading to families.  So, I must eat before I leave.

Tastes just like chicken...

Tastes just like chicken…

I think that is it.  Lucky 13.  All of this, to get Inclement out there, in front of families, to hopefully enchant them a little bit, to make people see what I see when I visit that little place in Southwest Iowa, from which all magic and wonder flows–at least for me.

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So, tomorrow, I may have a tale to tell about my brief half hour.  Perhaps I’ll have a booking for a Creative Collaboration for next fall.  Perhaps I’ll have a new idea for a book.  I will definitely be working on Soda’s Valentine.  Finishing layout, so I can turn the file into a pdf and upload it!  Yay, getting closer.  But for today, my focus has to be on this half hour that occurs around suppertime tonight.  Think happy thoughts for me!  And pray I don’t forget anything.

Tracy Lovett is an artist, author, illustrator, photographer, wife, mom, and all around creative gal trying to spread the message that creativity is one of our most important qualities.  She uses her books, photographs, and writings to encourage others to just take the chance and be creative. This BLOG is about her creative journey into all her creative endeavors, including writing for children and adults, art and illustration, photography and photo-illustration, and book-building from beginning to end.  There may be other “sidetrips” that can’t be predicted–so hop in and enjoy the ride!  You may learn more about Tracy here.  You may follow her on Facebook here.

A NEW BIG Project….

I’ve been away from official blogging for a few months now. What can I say…life happened. Some of the changes are good, but one, at least, was quite sad for me. My 95 year old Grandmother passed right before Christmas.

So, that changed a few things for me, and made me rethink priorities. I’ve now got the weighty responsibility of archiving all of her photographs—there must be at least 500–and transferring them to digital format. Some of them are as old, or older than she was, so they are very precious to my family. I am amazed at how much looking at all this ancient history makes me simultaneously miss her, and also makes me feel close to her. I am lucky.

In addition, I’ve renewed my connection with BETWIXT, and we are hard at work on what we envision will be an animated pilot for a children’s television show based upon Inclement. The first episode is a retelling of Sylvia McBye Learns To Fly, with some added characters.  It has been written, and we’ve done basic recording for scoring purposes.  Now we are searching for the right animator to bring it to life.  In addition, I’m storyboarding the script.  So, lots of work ahead.

 

And I’ve started serious work again on my next novel, The Western Radio Hub, which is the sequel to Buck’s Rodeo.

Lots of exciting things happening there, and currently, our heroes are caught in a mysterious fog settling upon some version of the Loess Hills and an unknown person in pursuit behind them.  How I get them out is brewing in my head for tonight’s writing.

Finally, I have a BIG project I’m working on, one which I wish to share with anyone who may be interested.  Soda Pop has a new book!

And I am going to journal about the making of this book, from the beginning ideas clear through the publication process.  I’m hoping it will encourage others to follow their own creativity wherever it may lead them.  However, during this process of documenting the making of a book, there will be other “side trips” of creativity.  I am also a professional photographer, running my own portrait studio.  I am also a Mom, running my own family.  Writing and illustrating is just a part of what I do.  So, my BIG PROJECT is more than documenting my journey with Soda’s Valentine.  It is also about the entire process of my life, and how the process is messy.  Seemingly disconnected things all come together to form projects in ways that cannot be predicted.  That is how creativity works.  Randomness of experience, of talent, and complete chance all mesh together at exactly the right time in exactly the right way to form….well, hopefully….magic.

Some of the “magic” I was able to capture this morning, on what I call my Super-Fog-Walk….just a random impulse to walk in the fog with my camera.

So, join me.  If you are a teacher, please feel free to follow my progress as I work to bring Inclement into our “real” world, whatever that may be.  I may post excerpts from my novel one day, photos another, and then illustrations after that.  I may post creative ideas I did with my kids, or coloring pages, or game ideas, or how-to articles.  Follow along and spread the word.  Creativity is like that—like the revelation Dorothy Gale had at the end of the Wizard of Oz–all she was ever looking for was right there, in her own backyard.  Creativity is there, right there, in our own backyards.

Tracy Lovett is an artist, author, illustrator, photographer, wife, mom, and all around creative gal trying to spread the message that creativity is one of our most important qualities.  She uses her books, photographs, and writings to encourage others to just take the chance and be creative.  You may learn more about her here.  You may follow her on Facebook here.

31 Days of Halloween–Project 14

Another crazy weekend of photography for me, so I’m falling behind on my posts! However, we will persevere! Today, we are going to do some printmaking! You will need potatoes, paint ( I used orange and black, because of fast-approaching Halloween), paper, and small, sharp knives.

Small children will need an adult to actually cut the potato for them. My older kids–11 & 13, loved cutting their own potatoes for printing. First, slice the potato in half carefully, making a flat cut surface for your “stencil”. Then, come up with a plan. Are you going to make jack-o-lantern faces? My boys liked doing this, and, in fact, that was ALL they did.

So, play around with the potato and your knife, cutting out eyes, nose, mouth, and any other details. Obviously, the larger the potato, the larger and more easily you can cut your shapes. Our potatoes were not huge, but each potato “stamp” only took a few minutes to complete.

We then painted the surface of each potato stamp with whatever color we wanted to use.

Then, grab some colorful paper and stamp away! Experiment a bit with each stamp–because of variations in the cuts, each will require different amounts of paint, and different amounts of pressure.

Do NOT expect “perfection” from any one stamp or print. Have FUN with this! You can create Halloween cards for friends, stamp on fabric, or just make a whole lot of fun designs on paper!

And the magical part of all of this is that when you are done, you can THROW the potatoes away! This little project is quick, fun, and works with any theme or holiday. Experiment with different fruits and vegetables as well.

Check out my new children’s book,  I HATE HALLOWEEN, which can be purchased here, and visit Bug Summer on Facebook and post pix of your own Halloween art projects here!  Have a tremendous day!

31 Days of Halloween–Day 10

Complete Tracy Lovett – I Hate Halloween Interview

The Local Record program, hosted by Jenny Burkhiser of the Family Radio Network, had the privilege to interview our own Mayor Tracy about Fostering Pumpkins, Black Cats & Creativity: I Hate Halloween by Tracy Lovett for airing on Shenandoah radio station KYFR, 920 AM on October 27, 2012.

Sometimes less is more. And today, that is my philosophy. So far, we have had lots of projects and ideas presented in this October venture. Today, everyone—including me—has a moment to catch their breath, and perhaps catch up a bit.
Recently, I did an interview for a radio station nearby, and they were happy to give me an mp3 file of the whole deal, so today, I’ve posted it on this blog–click the blue link above all these words!   Take a listen if you have a few minutes, do some drawing or writing with a kiddo (maybe one of the previous projects!) and see if a more creative lifestyle suits you. Later, Gator!

Please see my new children’s book, “I HATE HALLOWEEN”, which can be purchased here. It’s a very funny book, and features my cat, Soda Pop on every page.  Please find Bug Summer on Facebook here, and become a fan–post pictures of your own Halloween projects there as well!

Bug Summer–The Beginning

A new FREE book!

Okay, a quick thing here today, but a fun little project to do with your kids, or for your kids as little gifts—a children’s book!  It’s called Bug Summer–The Beginning, and it is available now by clicking here.  Please note, you can do it as a screen quality pdf OR as a printable that outputs on ONE 8.5×11 sheet of paper (cardstock preferred) to cut out and assemble.  There is also a video tutorial about building this book, which is fairly simply done, but hard to visualize with written directions.  Give it a try, have fun with your children, and have a great Bug Summer!

The music on the video was created by two mutual friends who have formed the band BETWIXT, to create amazing music for kids, that, incidentally, is very catchy for adults as well.  They are awesome.  They are in my book, Buck’s Rodeo.  They will have their own picture book soon, as well.

Tracy Lovett is a wife, mother, author/illustrator and photographer living in Southwest Iowa. She has written and illustrated 6 children’s books in the past 3 years, the last being a novel for ages 12 and up called Buck’s Rodeo, which is available in dead tree format as well as a Kindle book. She is working hard to get the picture books on the Kindle as well.   You may find her books on Amazon, and by clicking here.  You may follow her on Facebook and on Twitter, and even dig her up on Pinterest.

I Wanna Be Sylvia

I love this book.  I mean I LOVE this book.  This one was easy.  This one was just a smile to pull off.  The idea came to me when I was riding in the car on the way home from my grandmother’s house on a windy April afternoon.  The clouds scudded across that new blue spring sky, and the wind lifted the hair from my forehead, making me remember the days that I ran free as a child, my feet tender-bare for maybe the first time that year, with a kite riding the waves of turbulence above  (and how come, looking back at things, it seems there were so FEW of those days?).  There is a POWER to flying kites.  The string thrums in your fist, the wind pulls it surprisingly strong, and when you’re a kid, you don’t realize what a FORCE the wind is, how it can rip off roofs and sail people catastrophically through the air.  You just can’t SEE it, that’s the thing.  It is invisible, powerful, and there.  I remember one childhood kite, a shaped like a butterfly, with long tails depending from each wind.  That thing climbed so high it was a dot with tiny ribbon thread tails, nothing but a string heading up up and away, into the air, disappearing into the distance and glare.

When I reached Junior High age, I would build my own kites, sometimes well, sometimes disastrously.  I have my own kids do this now, for fun, and for part of their homeschool curriculum.  I think I enjoy it more than they.  I don’t have to be coaxed away from the laptop to do it, at any rate.

I remember Charles Shultz’s Charlie Brown and his kite-eating tree.

I remember, vaguely, some sort of inflatable kite my dad purchased for a family picnic when I was small-small, before my parents divorced.  It was orange, and my memory has painted it as some sort of weird flotation device for the pool tethered to kite string, although I know that REALLY wasn’t how it was.  There was a kite-eating tree at that picnic as well, a harbinger of things to come for my family perhaps.

And so I wrote this book.  Because of all that.  And because I’m a bit like Sylvia.  She just believes in problem-solving.

Problem solved...

She works it out for herself, trial-and-error, and she knows no fear.  Now, that last part, about fear, ISN’T like me, not at all.  I think that all the stuff we’re afraid of as kids–vampires, ghosts, monstahs–they all make much more rational sense than the crap we get scared of as adults.  Mortgages, death, money, marriage, divorce, and all those other millions of miles of crap that is strewn across the roads of our lives really isn’t what we should be afraid of.  We should be afraid when we DON’T see the ghosts anymore, when the vampires disappear, when money takes over and do-or-die is all wrapped up in the divorce decree.  Sylvia knows she can fly, just because she KNOWS.  The perfect surety of a child.  She can build it, she can make it happen. Somehow, someway.   I wrote this because I WANT to be Sylvia.  And I want to feel that magic and that wonder of the kite string humming in my hand, pulling me to places unknown.

Watch the lil’ music video of the book here.

The music on the video was created by two mutual friends who have formed the band BETWIXT, to create amazing music for kids, that, incidentally, is very catchy for adults as well.  They are awesome.  They are in my book, Buck’s Rodeo.  They will have their own picture book soon, as well.

 
Tracy Lovett is a wife, mother, author/illustrator and photographer living in Southwest Iowa. She has written and illustrated 6 children’s books in the past 3 years, the last being a novel for ages 12 and up called Buck’s Rodeo, which is available in dead tree format as well as a Kindle book. She is working hard to get the picture books on the Kindle as well.   You may find her books on Amazon, and by clicking here.  You may follow her on Facebook and on Twitter, and even dig her up on Pinterest.