Posted by: Kathy Temean | December 30, 2011

Free Fall Friday – January Critique Prompt

If you ever close to Port Jefferson, NY around Christmas they put on a celebration called the Dickens’ Festival. This oil painting by Amal Karzai was inspired by her neighbors roaming the streets in costume. You can see more of Amal’s illustrations at  And if you are an illustrator and plan to come the June conference you can sign up for her workshop “Photography vs. Imagination in Illustration.”

Now for the January Picture Prompt. Dianne Ochiltree will be our guest critiquer for January. This month you can use either of these illustrations for inspiration. Don’t miss out, you can learn a lot from a first page critique and Dianne does a great critique. She has published nine children’s books and does freelance editorial work. You can visit Dianne at:  

This month you can use Amal’s illustration above or the illustration below by Adam Hunter Peck for inspiration.  You can visit Adam at

Betsy Devany is back to with some questions and thoughts that may help you write your first page. 

It has been a few months since I have been involved with Free Fall Friday. I have missed working with Kathy, as well as writing about the wonderful picture prompts she has supplied me with each week. After losing my father in September, my attention shifted to my family and dealing with my loss. For me, healing took shape in the form of writing. I finished another novel, participated in PiBoIdMo, and completed two new picture book manuscripts, among other writing projects. In order to accomplish these goals, I committed to rising early each day to focus on my writing.

I buried myself in my work.  I wrote to stay connected with my father.

Then Kathy sent me this illustration and asked me to write about it if I had time. In truth, there is never enough time, yet this image spoke to me. The promise I made to help Kathy with Free Fall Friday came back to me—I studied the illustration.

This image reminds me of the path I have been on recently: a reflective path. A path filled with wonder and hope, and a path that has led me to helping with a project on gratitude. (More to come on this topic.)

This mermaid or girl seems content to be in a state of wistfulness. Or is she bored? Or feeling ignored? She seems to not notice the fish at all.

So it comes down to you. Ask yourself, what is she waiting for? What does she want? What are her dreams, her desires, and her fears? Has she always lived underwater? Is she content with her life? What would she trade in order to forge a new path? Whom does she yearn for?

Imagine that she, too, faces the beginning of a new year. What does she hope will change? What are her resolutions for the New Year?  What are yours?

I wish everyone a Happy New Year!

Betsy /

Please attach your double spaced, 12 point font, 23 line first age to an e-mail and send it to kathy(dot)temean(at)gmail(dot)com. Also cut and paste it into the body of the e-mail. Put “January 20th First Page Prompt” in the subject line.

For our Illustrator’s, I will post illustrations sent in that depict a winter scene on Illustrator Saturday January 28th. I will need to receive your illustrations no later than January 22nd. Please make sure the illustration is at least 500 pixels wide and include a blurb about you and a link to see more of your work.  Please send it to the e-mail address above, but put “January Illustration” in the subject box.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. OK, these illustrations ARE compelling. If something comes to me, I’m in 🙂
    And, of course, it’s nice to have you back, Betsy. I love that you got SO much writing done and it helping you with your loss…



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: