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SCBWIEPA Pocono Highlights #3 Zachariah Ohora

Dear Alison,

You sure do know the way to my nerdy heart. I can't believe that you went to all the trouble to create charts just for me...well, I guess it was technically for the blog, but we know who those charts were really for...I mean the post screams, "Kim, this one's for you!"

I don't have anything stat driven today, but I plan to gush on and on about Zachariah Ohora and the Character session I crashed at the SCBWIEPA Pocono Retreat. In last week's SCBWIEPA Pocono Highlights #2 post, I announced to the world that I am a closet illustrator.

For a while, I've felt the need to push out of my comfort zone and attend some different sessions. My theory was that if I sat in a room with creative genius that some of that genius would rub off on me. Well, that was theory until Zachariah informed us we were going to draw. Draw? DRAW. No one said anything about draw. I grabbed my things and acted like I had somewhere else to go. Fortunately, Zachariah called me out on it. He may not look like a pushy guy, and he really isn't--he just wants the world to embrace their creative side.

Not at all pushy.

With a sheepish grin (you'll have to reread this post to get that joke), I dropped my bags on the floor, pulled out my notepad, and chanted to myself, "I can do this. I can do this."

Zachariah expresses himself through illustration, so it's no surprise that his talk centered around a power point presentation with illustrations he created.

Zachariah adds layers to his characters. Take for instance an ordinary flying squirrel. Add a sweatband to his head and wrists. Dangle a camera from his neck. And you get....

Reading Nutrition
Some kids hide candy under their blankets. Mine squirrel away books. 
An eight year old's favorite book.

I decided to use one of Zachariah's illustration to demonstrate the importance of layers and backstory. The things we all need to develop rounded characters. 

used with permission from Zachariah Ohora

Zachariah gave us an assignment. Write down: a main character and an accessory. 

I wrote down:
Cowboy Boots 

(I've drawn hundreds of horses. I could handle a horse.) 

But, here's the catch. We didn't get to draw our own characters. No..., we switched papers. 
I ended up with a sheep and a tiara. 

My sheep began like this:

Then I added the tiara--notice the bull horns and cowboy boots, because really everyone needs a pair of cowboy boots (and a tiara). I also added descriptions because words are my medium.

A Kim Briggs Original. Prints available upon request.
PLEASE request...Seriously, what are you waiting for.

The side commentary reads: 

Thinks there's nothing wrong with a little spur.
Take the bull by the horns.
Not afraid to call for Baa-ck up! 

So Alison, I've always enjoyed adding a scarf or cowboy boots and a turquoise necklace (and the occasional tiara and feathered boa) to my outfits, but I don't always think about adding the tiara, cowboy boots, and sweatband to all of my supporting characters. It's the layers that make a delicious cake. It's the layers that make a flying squirrel into a girl's most treasured book.

Sharing the writing love one letter at a time,

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