Spend a Little, Get a Lot

Sometimes you have to spend a little to get a lot. That is what I tell myself every time I fork over the dough to attend another children's literature conference or a retreat. And the investment is always worth it, although the return is often completely unmeasurable. A couple of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be a part of a warm and wonderful retreat for published authors and illustrators, and yes, I did have to fork over a little dough to attend, AND, I spent my birthday weekend away from my loving family. 

And it was worth every penny, and almost every loving complaint about my absence. Over that far too short weekend, I gained camraderie, insight, pounds (yes-the food was excellent), new titles for my to-be-read list, friends, contacts, resources, skills, and confidence. Some of these gains are measurable (unfortunately in the case of pounds) and some are not. But I am richer for all of them. And grateful. And inspired. And freshly aware of what makes my writer engine hum-which is probably the most valuable insight I could have gained. 

I also came home with a few small but HUGE new skills in photoshop and wonderful insights into digital painting, as taught to us by the very talented Christopher Denise. Just a few clicks of the mouse on his big monitor, and whole new worlds opened up to we who were watching.

Anyway, here's a little sketch experiment using one of my simple and almost dumb new photoshop skills.

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And here is the wonderful book recommended to me by a wacky Brit that I know, Hazel Mitchell. I am not an absolute beginner, but I have taught myself what I know, and that is not much. So it is wonderful to have incredibly useful new vocabulary and tools at my finger tips! Feels almost like it was written just for me, not quite a luddite, but a sort of reluctant adopter. Now less reluctant!