Another fabulous #Storystorm is coming to a close. Last year, in an effort to get a fresh perspective, I decided to take my stash of 30 ideas and create a sketch every day in February, one for each Storystorm nugget (inspired by a #kidlitart sketch-a-day challenge going on at the same time).

I was looking for a quick way to vet some of the ideas, and also shake up my development process. A Famous Illustrator whose workshop I attended at an SCBWI LA conference said that he considered his projects to be wordless stories until the images were in place, THEN he wrote the text. That struck me as a great plan–I had been doing the opposite, figuring I had to have the story written and polished before embarking on the art . . . only to find that my enthusiasm had sometimes left me by the time it came to creating the art.

I think the 2019 experiment was successful–some of the ideas never made the leap from thought to image. Some landed neatly (TOO neatly?), and some took massive coaxing to find a foothold on the other side (scroll down to see the day-by-day efforts). Overall, around seven seemed to me to be worth pursuing.

I wrote about the experience in a post for Tara Lazar’s 2020 Storystorm challenge, and several fellow Storystormers expressed an interest in trying the same thing–Sue Macartney came up with the awesome hashtag: #sketchsquall. So, here we go! I’ll be posting my images here, and on Twitter (@BonnieAdamson) and Instagram (bonnie_adamson). Feel free to follow along–or, better yet, join us! You don’t need to have participated in #Storystorm–we all have snippets of ideas scribbled on post-its or frantically typed into phone apps in the middle of the night. Use what you have! Several non-illustrators have said they’ll be trying the image-before-words process, too. If you’re shy about sharing your work (I don’t encourage anyone to reveal images that might give away the particulars of a unique idea)–you can simply post insights and progress by adding the hashtag.

See you February 1!

In the meantime, here is a squirrel.

Day 28: Success!

The #kidlitart28 challenge is over! It’s actually been a great help, although sometimes the “warm-up” sketches, as these were intended to be, pretty much ran away with the day.

I’ve learned that the few NF  #Storystorm ideas just didn’t seem to spark any fun image ideas. And that when in doubt, I default to birds: owls, ducks, geese, chickens as well as generic birdies. Who knew?

So now the task is to go back through the #Storystorm list and see which ideas survived intact, which morphed into something worth pursuing, and which should be abandoned for now.

Day 28 is in honor of all the eccentric female relatives I grew up hearing stories about, mostly great aunts and cousins who defied convention in one way or another.