Working on Projects

Staples Perforated Note Pads, Wide/Letter Ruled, White, 8 1/2" x 11 3/4", 12/Pack (23643/26785)

  1. Take a goal-first approach to solving problems. Prioritize always. Align new work against your goals.
  2. Look at the big picture.
  3. Solve one simple problem at a time. Don’t be all things to all people: Tackle one problem.
  4. Admit what you don’t know.
  5. Say “no” with confidence. Explain why ideas won’t work.

Autumn Breeze Critique Day

New Jersey



Saturday, November 11, 2017
10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. 
Princeton Theological Seminary,
Stuart Hall

Princeton, NJ 08542

  • One (single) fifteen minute critique session for full picture book or first 15 pages (+ 2 page synopsis) of a novel or portfolio review.
  • Two (single) fifteen minute critique sessions with two different faculty choices for full picture book or first 15 pages (+ 2 page synopsis) of a novel or portfolio review.
  • One (double) thirty minute critique session with same faculty choice for first 40 pages (+ 2 page synopsis) of a novel only.
  • You will not be able to sign up for more than two critiques. One double session counts as two critiques.

This event is open to all SCBWI members and Non-SCBWI members (with a non-member surcharge).

The Writer

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No one imaginative characteristic can transform your writing as transiently as color. Spending thousands of words over describing a scene, when a single color is all it takes to burst the scene upon the reader’s eye with perfect clarity.
Authors can often categorize characters through the colors with which they surround themselves. The color could set the mood of the scene.

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Writing Tips

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1. When writing have a specific technique. Make it be deliberate.
2. Stay focus on what is important.
3. Give yourself deadlines.
4. You need feedback and constructive criticism from other writers.

Working In Pen and Ink


When I work a freelance job overseas. I usually work in Pen and Ink; I choose a focal point when drawing on the bus as the bus is moving from one town to the other. I basically keep my pen down on the paper and draw in what I can see. I have great peripheral vision from working this way.
The landscape from one town to another or from one country to another does not change much. Some of my traveling bus drawing could be from miles and they all fit together. I am always amazed how the finish drawing works out. You basically capture the essence of a place more deeply, and make fewer mistake. The results of urban sketching are how the finish drawing comes to life on your paper.
I always pack a few sketchbooks and a small watercolor pad. I also have a few loose larger pieces of watercolor 140 weight cold press paper. The quick sketches I usually tint with a little watercolor.
I bring along a number of pen sizes and usually black and umber tones. I found this new fountain pen I never tried. I had fun playing with this new toy. I could have worked thin or very thick lines depending on how much pressure my hand worked on the paper. You could see this in the image of my drawing of Assisi.

My Italy Trip

Vatican City

My trip to Italy was very productive. I completed my freelance work and had time for myself to do few small watercolors of the Italian landscape.
In Rome my work was to draw architectural renderings as you see in the work enclose. I had to draw St. Peters Square in Vatican City.
I was very fortunate that the weather was absolutely beautiful. There were just a few rain drops in the early morning when I was drawing at the Vatican. I was lucky enough to get tickets when Pope Francis made one of his Wednesday morning visits.
I needed to paint study of the Madonna and Child at Padre Pio in Rotonda Italy. The study is on my website http://

During my visit to the Basilica of Padre Pio I heard a talk by one of the Padres who study with Padre Pio before he died. I drew very fast sketch of the Padre.

My dad’s mom, grandma Barbalace family are from the Italian mountains.
The trip was very enlightening and very work productive.

Drawing Padre Pio

Tips on Writing Picture Books

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1. Don’t preach
2. Unless you are an illustrator, publisher will choose their own
3. Picture books only 350 words or less and remember because it is short, doesn’t mean it’s easy
4. Picture books are rewritten over and over again
5. Read numerous children’s books
6. Read your own text out-loud
7. Keep in mind you’re writing for individuals that can’t read
8. Strong characters, strong story line and beautiful language the key elements
9. Make a dummy of your book and have someone else read it out loud

Writing and Illustrating Children’s Books


Balance your childhood with that of the children you now know.

Your inspiration for your children’s story likely comes from your own childhood. You need to get into the mind of your young self is key. Real-life emotions will help you to build out your story. Observing present situations will also offer a perspective of how children react to their feelings. This may have changed based on societal influences since your childhood.

Research the children’s book market. Learn a little bit about which books have succeeded and why. You need to get in the heads of the kids and really understand the key emotional triggers for that age group. Focus on the illustrations is another key factor. They need to be consistent. Children respond to the details in images, so if the main character is wearing a red had and later ends up wearing a blue hat, a child will notice and be confused about the inconsistency. The best children’s books have stories and characters that are relatable and visually memorable.

The child needs to have a character that they relate to. This is a very vital element for a successful children’s book.   The creation of illustrating children’s books is the ability to tell stories and convey messages through both words and pictures.

July 2018
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