“Do you currently have a great studio?”—Anna Faktorovich, PhD Interview

Faktorovich: In the OUTBACK, one of your characters, Marq, seems to reflect some of your thoughts when he tells Driew, “‘I think I-4’s been under construction since they started. It’s like a house or this studio – a perpetual work in progress. Seventeen years of seeking a studio when what I wanted was out back all along.’” Then Driew proposes visiting a Kentucky State Park, and Marq agrees, and then he says he admires Marq’s drawings, and asks if they are for a new book, but Marq explains: “‘Actually, they’re not for new books. They’re from thoughts – past and present. I figured getting them on paper would free me to focus on the money makers…’” (148). Have you had any difficulties building an art studio in terms of constructing it, gathering funds for it and the like? Do you currently have a great studio? Is it open to the public? Do you think a modern artist needs a studio, and if so why?

AdamsI-4 (Interstate 4) is the highway that extends from the East Coast to West Coast of Central Florida. Informational text is included throughout OUTBACK and the series to educate both U.S. and international readers who may visit the places in the books. The continuous construction of I-4 and of a home is to show how environment shapes family life. The Family Tree Novel Series will have two editions: a novel and an illustrated novel version.

As an illustrator no one asks me, “Which character are you?” As an author, that’s the first question readers ask. My answer: I’m every character, action, and moment. In OUTBACK, Marq, Driew Qweepie’s father, is a freelance illustrator who never became a professional. I won’t cause a spoiler, but Marq’s back story is reveled throughout the series. His character is a compilation of numerous illustrator friends and the challenges we all face. Marq voices his concerns, like a parent, to help Driew and readers understand an illustrator’s career. Rarely do illustrators have a studio bigger than a table in a remote corner of their house. And when we get a studio, it’s years in the making.

Mark Wayne Adams and Elaine Goldberg.

I do think some artists need a studio, not a hideout. Every book I illustrate is created remotely: kitchen table, poolside, gymnastics practice, airport, or a Costa Rican rooftop deck. I’m an illustrator dad. While my children finish homework at the kitchen table, I work. During gymnastics practice, I work. Even while the family sleeps in on vacation, I work. Author/Illustrator is a family friendly career. Managing and committing to a work schedule is the greatest challenge.

I have three main “studios”: an outdoor patio table by my screened pool, the Kentucky book warehouse, and a Panera Bread. My best work is created in public. While illustrating Parts of Speech Parade: New York City, written by Irina Dolinskiy, I painted in various Orlando, Florida Panera Bread locations. Patrons compelled to comment would say, “I’ve been to New York City before!” Instant feedback and a new fan eager to purchase a prerelease copy of the book!

Ciao Rolling Carry On BagHonestly my art studio is a rolling bag, stocked with several pads of watercolor paper, Prismacolor pens, five favorite brush sizes, and a Grumbacher watercolor set (24 colors). One $40.00 watercolor set creates illustrations for approximately fifteen children’s books. The watercolor paper investment in each 32 page book is about 3 pads of 12 sheets (roughly $30.00). Gathering funds to start an illustration business is easy. For under $100, anyone can start an illustration business!

IMG_3796My business model is unique in that I license the digital illustrations to the publisher. All physical artwork remains property of MWA, Inc. The words “digital illustrations” in my contracts helped my business make choices. MWA, Inc. owns illustrations from over 40 children’s books (approximately 1,200 original illustrations). My CPA says the art is valued at the cost of the paper, $1,200.00. When sold as art, the value ranges from $500–$1,000 each. Most fine artists don’t consider illustration as art, but I beg to differ. This children’s book illustration collection could cover a football field; fill multiple art galleries at once; and continues to generate an annual income through reproductions. The reproductions generate more money than the original is worth. I’ve only sold a few originals to serious collectors.
Read the complete interview with Mark Adams, Award-Winning IllustratorAdams-Author Bio Photo-mwa.company-template with Anna Faktorovich, PhD

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Best Book Event Travel Bag

As an author and illustrator constantly on the move, I’m asked, “What’s the best book event travel bag?” The best event bag evolves from situations at events: “Did you have a safety-pin? Do you have a poncho? Do you have a Band-Aid?”

Below is a list of my longest lasting, preferred, and regularly used supplies for events. A good book event pack has everything necessary for events or airport travel. The big stuff: tents, tent weights, table, etc., are not a part of this list.

Ciao Rolling Carry On BagCiao Rolling Carry On Bag:  Rolling bags with retractable handles reduce heavy lifting. This bag carries up to 10 hardbound books either vertical or horizontal format. Deep pockets are found on left and right sides, front panel includes 3 exterior pockets and 2 interior pockets. It has enough storage space, to become a heavy hauler. Add a custom luggage tag with a book cover image to market your book while traveling. AGP Carabiner clip(s) are excellent additions to hold keys, or secure the bag while traveling. Use carabiner clips as makeshift chains too.

Best Sketchbook-3D-bookPaper/Writing Utensils: I generally carry a 6 x 9 inch Best Sketchbook. It is not only for drawing and writing inspiration, but also to track potential event and client contact information. Small notepads, post-its, and loose notebook paper are used for short-term purposes: signs, tracking inventory, spelling of customer names, and newsletter sign-up sheets. Pack a variety of sharpies, ink pens, or even a stylus to write on any surface from paper or clothing to digital devices.

Tripar Small Adjustable EaselTripar Small Adjustable Easels: These lightweight clear easels fold flat and look professional on any surface.

8-ft Tablecloth: Choose a lightweight or sheer fabric tablecloth that folds into a gallon Ziploc® bag. Press the air from the bag before closing to minimize storage space. A disposable plastic tablecloth is handy for outdoor events not only to cover tables, but also to protect books from water.

Marketing Materials: Business cards, bookmarks, price sheet, order forms, and shipping labels can all be stored neatly in an accordion plastic file folder for easy access. Using a waterproof filing system looks professional, minimizes search time, and protects documents from water damage.

Swiss Army KnifeCutting & Binding Supplies: Metal scissors, box cutter, or pocket knife are helpful, but not allowed on airlines or in some public buildings. Carry all sharps (scissors, pins, including zip ties) in a hard plastic pencil box. The container stores items neatly and can be removed easily. Duct tape, clear shipping tape, zip ties (various sizes), safety pins, and lightweight rope are handy for hanging banners, packaging supplies, and securing items.

Credit Card Processing: SquareUp credit card reader is still my favorite. I carry my reader in a neoprene case outside my bag for quick access. The SquareUp app syncs across digital devices and can be used by multiple users.

First Aid/Personal Products: Travel size first aid kit, Band-Aids, hand sanitizer, pain relievers, lip balm, deodorant, tissues/wipes, sunscreen, and snacks are life savers! Use a small grooming kit to store items neatly for quick removal and discrete needs.

Portable USB ChargerWeather Proofing: Plastic Ziploc® bags (various sizes), trash bags (various sizes), hooded poncho, hand-held fan, portable USB charger/flashlight, phone charger, and cable come in handy when traveling in the rain or long distances.

Yes, the Ciao Rolling Carry On Bag will carry this and more. With a decade of experience and four retired travel bags, I can say my event bag is “a speaker’s first aid kit.” Not all contents are used at events; however, they keep you out of a bind!