New Year, New Site & Other Happenings

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A Blog post:

New Year, New Stuff & Other Hapenings.

Hi. Hello. Nice to see you. It was quite the year.

I can't begin to explain how much happened in 2017.  My mother passed away early in the year, and my step-grandfather passed away about eight months later. Between those two deaths, my wife and I moved, we had our first anniversary, I changed jobs, and I gave myself the time to focus on my illustration and writing. Simply put, there was a lot of pain, growth, work, and celebration during the last year. What follows are a few of my highlights from 2017.

 

Forever young picture book art exhibition

One night (okay—many nights) over the summer, I was fretting about how my illustration work felt stuck—I wasn't making anything new since I was editing my first dummy and it was eating me up (I'll post about this in depth later, but I gave up all other creative projects until I finished my first picture book dummy). I was pushing myself harder than I had before, and wasn't feeling any results. That's when I saw a tweet by Nick Patton of The Picturebooking Podcast about a call for entries for a show he was judging, and submissions were closing in an hour. I had three pieces I felt...decent about, so I sent them in thinking "at least I could say I tried." A week later, I was shocked to learn my illustrations were accepted. A month or two later I was thrilled to learn they all sold during the show. Thank you to The Mosesian Arts Center, Nick Patton, and Kimberly Thompson Panay for including me.

 

I Got an agent!

Right?! It still feels surreal, but I signed with Paul Rodeen at Rodeen Literary Management INC in late November. I first met Paul when I drove him and Peter Brown around Houston in my beat-up Toyota Corolla back in 2012 or so when I was a bookseller at Blue Willow Bookshop. Peter was in for a signing/school visit, and Paul was tagging along for who-knows-what reason. We talked books, animation, and joked about the worst super powers (I will go on in unhindered length about why being super slippery is the best worst power and how I pitched that power to Jim Hart, the writer of movies like Hook and Contact back when I interned at Moonbot Studios). Paul and Lori represent a number of my heroes in the kidlit world, and it's still unbelievable to think I'm a client. I have a lot more to talk about and reflection on about getting an agent, but I'll do that in a later post.

 

Other 2017 Highlights:

  • Became a Roster Artist with the Shreveport Regional Arts Council
  • Joined the Northwest Louisiana STEM Alliance
  • Ran multiple STEM nights
  • Lead my first Professional Development Book Talk and workshop with Shreveport Educators
  • I read. A lot.
  • I joined Sarah Bray's Gathered Community (will post about that as well)
  • Started a writers group with my wife and two friends
  • Sarah (my wife) got her first tattoo
  • We ate a lot of pizza
  • We nearly unpacked all of our boxes in the new apartment

 

Goals for 2018:

  • Finish making more picture books
  • Blog semi-regularly
  • Read (and finish reading) more books
  • Be more social
  • Watch a movie in theaters every now and then

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Kirk Reedstrom