Poppy the Scared Chicken

My niece had to write and illustrate a short story for her Spanish class and she shared her story with me. It's about a chick who's afraid of the outside world and refuses to hatch. She also happens to live on Jupiter, though she's meant to look like a fairly normal Earth-born chick. Without second-guessing the details of this quirky tale, I decided to try illustrating her story as a quick personal project. This is the result. In retrospect, I should have made some of the illos spreads, incorporating the text. And I could have made the illos more soft-edged vignettes. Next time.

Joined a critique group FINALLY

Today, I attended my first children's book critique group. I've been meaning to do this so am glad it finally happened. The group meets monthly at a local library in one of their meeting rooms and reviews and critiques illustration and pictures. The tables form a rectangle so we all face each other. First we do introductions, then we count the number of folks sharing and divide by 2 hours. Today, each person had 12 minutes. I shared my rough book dummy and read my story. Here's one of the more fleshed out drawings-in-progress:

Pre-title page sketch

Pre-title page sketch


  • Get out of your own head for a change
  • Hear how others experience your work.
  • Get encouragement.
  • Share with other creators with similar experiences.
  • Get unstuck and next steps.
  • Get inspiration.
  • Make new friends.


  • Bring several copies of your story text so folks can jot down their comments as you read.
  • Bring clear images on a display board, as well as a pointer, so folks can gather round and easily see your story progress visually.
  • Join several critique groups. More feedback equals more information for how to improve your work.
  • Arrive 5-10 minutes early to greet everyone and build rapport. After the meeting, folks may not want to linger.
  • Prepare your stuff the day before the meeting to avoid last minute craziness.

I'm looking forward to sharing revised work next month.