Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Day #167 - #176: Now I'm Really Cheating

The bad news is... I'm still slacking at this blogging stuff.

The good news is... I've been relatively productive. Some of that has been related to West Side Story, which closed on Sunday. But other than that I've been working hard on my graphic novel.

There's just not enough time in the day, even if I am on summer break!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Day #166: West Side Story -- All Day Long!

We had back-to-back shows of West Side Story. Both performances went well... I watched the evening performance (Act One), and I drew ducks during Act Two.

Joel and Elysia watched a matinee. And we had Chipotle between shows. I don't know if I have mentioned this, but Chipotle is my number one favorite place to eat.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Day #165: Cheri's Birthday!

We celebrated Cheri's birthday today... Nothing too incredible... but we did get her that cool present (the Tool Box I mentioned -- yes, my wife loves tools!) And she got some other nice gifts from her Mom and some of her friends.

Speaking of friends, in the evening we went to a dinner party with many of our not-so-old friends from the girls' pre-school days. We used to have a monthly dinner party with this crew, but life happened and we haven't done it for a while. It was great to see everybody again. (And we made our own pizzas.)

Hopefully Cheri had a great day. I love her so much!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Day #164: Cheri the Handy Woman

The girls came up with a great idea for a birthday present:

She's very skilled at fixing and building things... and over the years we've gotten way too many tools, and that corner of the garage just isn't organized anymore. I think she's going be surprised and (hopefully) delighted.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Day #163: Spy Mission!!!

Mission Details:

Woke up at 7am

Left on our mission at 8am.

Picked up Dylan and Fiona Perry at 8:30am

Discovered first clue hidden in the Bridge at Bark Park.

Went to Marie Callendar's for pies and muffins. (Discovered next clue in Pie Bag)

Went to the pre school at College of the Canyons (the kids revisited their old classroom.)

Searched for Buffalo at Hart Park.

We were attacked by the Toxic Twins (Marcus Langston and Stevie Beecher in Guy Fawks masks.)

We escaped to the Canyon Theatre Guild. (Sam aka Richard Hannay gave up his life defending us!)

Went to Central Park where we were attacked by a drone (operated by the Toxic Twins -- who by the way are poisonous to the touch.)

We escaped again and ate lunch at IN-N-Out.

We went to Valley Produce for snacks/dessert. I was kidnapped by the Toxic Twins and they called the spy kids on their cell phones and gave them several steps (like going to the duck pond and doing the hokey pokey) in order to set me free,

Finally: We had a stand off at the Bridgeport Lighthouse. The Toxic Twins were almost triumphant until I encouraged them give each other a victorious high five, where upon they instantly poisoned each other and died.

It was a good day.

Back home, despite the drought, we threw water balloons at each other, including the Eklund kids!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Day #162: Prep Day

I spent most of today driving around doing errands... but also getting ready for two fun, exciting events: Tomorrow's Spy Mission with the girls and the Perrys... AND.... Cheri's 51st birthday party!!!

I hid a couple clues and did some location scouting for the first, and bought a couple presents for the second.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Day #161: Duck Town - Sneak Peek

Here's a first glimpse of Rainbow Sprinkles, the main character of "Duck Town." I love drawing this kid!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Day #160: Time to Play Catch-Up

Once again, I have fallen behind on my daily blog! It's turned into a weekly, half-assed blog!!! But good things are happening, now that Cheri and I have gotten through with the floor installation project. 

Today (Sunday) we worked the West Side Story Matinee, and then I got back to work on illustrating Duck Town. 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Friday, June 12, 2015

Day #158: The Floor is Installed!

It's a grainy photo... but you can see my wife's handiwork.

And guess what! I was actually useful during this whole process. It turns out that Cheri has an Achilles' Heel. She can't put in finishing nails. I, however, have a knack for the task -- so I actually felt useful.

There's a strong possibility that Cheri was just pretending that she wasn't an expert at finishing nails, just so I could feel slightly competent at something.

And as if all this wasn't enough to do... we had to go work backstage at West Side Story!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Day #157: Home Improvement

Well, today was devoted to working on Mackenzie's new floor.

That's about it. Except I will add that my wife's talents never cease to amaze me. How can she be so awesome at everything???

No time for creativity today... but while I'm doing this mindless labor, I'm hoping that my subconscious is working out a few plot details for my graphic novel.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Day #156: A Long Detour

I'm feeling blue today because I really wanted to work on "Duck Town," but it's not in the cards for me. I'm helping Cheri install a new floor in Kenzie's room. (And I'm also playing chauffeur for the girls.)

So, yesterday I was in Orange County, today and tomorrow we are putting in floor. Friday we'll probably finish the floor, put the room back together, and then we've got West Side Story at night -- and I'm the default stage manager. Saturday we have two shows, and then we've got Sunday matinee. Maybe on Sunday evening I'll get to draw a little bit -- if I have the energy. Finally, on Monday I'm going back to Orange County to (hopefully) finish the editing project with Joshua. Who knows what's happening the rest of the week. Probably lots of stuff.

I know I'm whining, but it's frustrating when you really want to throw yourself into an artistic project, but you've got all of these other responsibilities. On top of that, I feel lame because my drawings aren't that great in comparison to the Dan Santats and Peter Browns of the world. So, sometimes I think to myself, I need to really put my foot down and make time for my graphic novel. And then another voice in my head says, "Why bother, Wade? You are mediocre at best. Why should you selfishly take time away from your duties as a husband and father in order for you to waste time with something so pathetically juvenile?"

Don't worry -- I don't pay very much attention to that pesky voice. Duck Town is coming. I just don't know when it will get here.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Day #155: Brainstorming with Joshua

Today begins a detour away from Duck Town. I needed to go to Orange County today to work on an editing project (something for friends at the Canyon Theatre), and I needed Joshua's help. So, the bad news was I didn't get to draw anything for Duck Town. But the good news is: Joshua is the best person to bounce off my ideas. He can always help make a good idea great.

In between editing stuff, he helped me generate some "world building" details. Specifically, I've been trying to decide what the interior of the duck homes will be like... Joshua also helped me brainstorm the daily lives of the townsducks. I've decided there's going to be a mill on the island, and that will be the main industry... but I haven't decided what kind of mill. Perhaps it grinds up crackers?

Monday, June 8, 2015

Day #154: Thanks, Ed Emberley

Worked more on the Duck Town graphic novel. It's going slowly but steadily. Today, I spent a lot of time drawing roads, cars, and distant cities, and I totally used all of my childhood memories of Ed Emberley's books.

Remember these???

Did you use these books when you were a kid? (Or a grown-up?) What kind of worlds did you create?

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Day #153: Camp Omigosh in Print!!!

The Kindle version isn't available until June 25th, but guess what??? You can now order a print edition of Camp Omigosh!!!

What are you waiting for? Go get it today! 

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Day #152: "20 Master Plots - And How to Build Them"

I've got a big stack of books, and since it's summer (and we've stopped watching Netflix at night) I've finally found the time and energy to do some recreational reading. Although, truth be told, it's not exactly recreational since it's really a bunch of books to help enhance my storytelling abilities.

Today's book is one I've had for about a year, and I'm only one fourth of the way through it. It's great though, and I'm enjoying taking my time. It describes twenty different plots templates, starting with adventure and ending with tales of excess.

If you are interested in writing novels (or screenplays) I highly recommend this book.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Day #151: Trouble on the Set

About forty-five minutes before our Friday evening performance, Jim -- the guy who plays Lt. Shrank as well as our set designer and second-in-command stage manager -- was not able to clearly speak to us. We were worried that he was having a stroke, so we called for an ambulance. It's a good thing we did, because it was indeed a stroke, fortunately a minor one.

Patti called her husband and convinced him to take on the role of Lt. Shrank. He pulled it off amazingly well. (And since his character is a detective he was able to hold a clip board!)

Backstage was tricky, but we pulled it off. This was a total "The Show Must Go On" moment.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Day #150: Pick-Up Rehearsals Kinda Suck

I was complaining with Patti, the co-director of West Side Story, about how pick up rehearsals at our community theater really aren't that productive. The cast has a great time blowing off steam and acting zany, since they never take their performances seriously. I suppose there's something useful about the group-bonding/comedy aspect... but for me, as a director (and today as a stage hand) it just seems like we're not utilizing the time well. 

Next time I direct, I might not bother with them... This was time I could have spent drawing ducks!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Day #149: Rainbow Sprinkles

A while ago I created a picture book about a girl who goes for a walk to an ice cream parlor. Along the way, she kindly offers to walk a neighbors dog... and then more neighbors ask her to walk their pets, and a misadventure ensues.

I sketched a picture book dummy for that idea, and that helped me develop the spirit of the main character, the unsinkable six year old girl named Rainbow.

Since then, I've been asking myself a lot of questions about this protagonist. Where does she live? Who is her family? What does she want out of life? Those questions led to my latest, craziest project, a graphic novel that I'm currently calling: Duck Town.

I'm not the best artist in the world. Heck, I'm not even the best artist in my house. But I've been having a great time drawing this kid.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Day #148: My Advance Arrived!

Got something in the mail from my publisher regarding one of my upcoming picture books. What kind of something? Part one of my advance!

$5100... Still cannot believe it. In my estimation, my agent Abigail is on par with Wonder Woman.

I wish I could just lump that dollar amount into my Challenge Goal Total. However, long before I began the challenge Cheri already decided what would be done with the amount. It's going into our checking account, mostly -- going towards bills. Some will go into savings, which is good, and a large chunk will be designated for some household repair project. 

But $500 dollars will be used to fund my SCBWI conference this August, so that's exciting for me. 

Monday, June 1, 2015

Day #147: Even Though I'm on Summer Break...

That doesn't mean I necessarily have a lot of free time... at least not right now. The girls are still in school, so that means I've been driving them to classes, karate lessons, volunteer meetings, and theater stuff.

It makes me appreciate what Cheri goes through during the rest of the school year. She probably clocks more miles than an Uber driver.