new work finally coming

Hey all,
I know it's been a long time coming but I'm in the midst of a new illustration now. My motivation is having new work to enter upcoming competitions with. I'm sad that I already missed one of the deadlines I wanted to make, for the Illustration West competition a couple of weeks ago, but now I'm focused on getting work done for the NY Society of Illustrators competition. The deadline is Oct. 1 so it's still going to be very tight. It's been a while since I did one of my regular traditional-style illustrations so it's making me a bit nervous. But that's how it always goes. I mean, as an artist, with each new project it can be easy to freeze up and say, "I forgot how to draw!":) But you just have to push through it.
For this illustration I've decided to go with a different focus somewhat as I'm composing it to be used for a bookcover. This is a result of my experience at the summer SCBWI conference. I came away from that feeling like I should focus my efforts more specifically on the middle-grade/teen markets in the fantasy genre. These markets feature color covers with some black/white interior illustrations. I did a little reconaissance work after the conference and went to Barnes & Noble with my camera and took photos of all the covers from those markets that I liked (well, until a B&N worker stopped me and said I couldn't do that--luckily, I had already taken enough shots:). I then drew thumbnail versions of all the bookcover photos so I could get a feel for the way shapes are used and composed on those bookcovers.
I then drew up a design that I felt could be seen on a bookcover. I'm pretty happy with my drawing, so now I need to push through to actually painting it.
I've also been doing some sketches for another bookcover. For this one I actually read a teen fantasy novel and want to do a cover and some interior illustrations as an example of what I would do for that novel. That artwork is only at an early stage yet though.
OK, that's all for now.