This month T2 artist, Jane Smith, is interviewing fellow T2 artist, Natalia Vasquez, on the blog, Bird Meets Worm. Read it today!
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This month T2 artist, Jane Smith, is interviewing fellow T2 artist, Natalia Vasquez, on the blog, Bird Meets Worm. Read it today!
We are excited to share that T2 Artist Jane Smith’s mama hen and baby chicks illustration that appeared in the April 2012 issue of Babybug magazine has been selected to be part of the Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles Illustration West 51 Exhibition. This is an annual exhibition juried by illustration professionals and we are honored she is included.
You can view the exhibition in person (Seeing the originals is always so amazing! Jane’s chickens are made with fabric and paper collage – so neat to see up close and personal.) at Gallery Nucleus in Los Angeles Friday, March 8th thru Tuesday, March 12th. There will a reception on Friday evening from 7-10pm. Come out a celebrate!
Well I’m still reeling from the launch of our new website last week. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, and I can’t tell you how good it feels to work from this new space. The Artists are settling in as well — the site is editable and accessible to them 24 / 7 which is nothing short of amazing — working out the kinks, uploading and editing their portfolios with notes to me along the way. I’m loving the conversations this has opened up and the new ways in which several of the Artists are looking at –”seeing” or “perceiving” — their work. Given a chance to show their latest and greatest illustration without overwhelming the website viewer is a challenge to be sure. For some, it’s obvious. For others, especially those Artists with various styles or artists who have come a long way in a short time, it takes some thought and doing.
Speaking of doing, how are those manuscripts and book dummies coming along?
Happy creating. And happy Thursday afternoon,
Natalia Vasquez will exhibit her illustration work alongside her super-talented colleagues from around the world in the 6th Children’s Book Fair, taking place June 26 – July 6, 2012 in Sibenik, Croatia. The exhibit honors 200 years of Brother’s Grimm Fairy Tales. Here’s the exhibition poster and Natalia’s beautiful work that will be part of the show.
Here’s a link to a Cleveland Plain Dealer article I was quoted in over a week ago. The article summarizes book editor, Karen Long’s, response to her experience at Book Expo America. Karen happened to be eavesdropping on my random conversation with a grade school parent I ran into at the airport on the way home. I’m so glad Karen introduced herself! I mean, when will I ever again be quoted in the same article as Richard Russo and Stephen Colbert?
I encourage you to read the article and note my optimism. It’s sincere and well documented even during these summer months of 2012. The editors I spoke with at the Expo and a full day of client visits in the city, tell me they are LOOKING for manuscripts (picture books and leveled readers in particular). Good ones. And those manuscripts will need illustrators if they aren’t written and illustrated by the same talent. Strong, smart, creative character sells. Original, inspired art sells. Good writing sells. Good books sell. But these things don’t appear out of nowhere. Like a successful garden they are cultivated and nurtured, planted and pruned, and sometimes they take years to bear good fruit. Don’t let this last part stop you. Sit down and get to work.
One of the most fun things to do as an artist is to collaborate with other artists. So I’m so excited share that I have been asked by my friend, the fabulously talented, Sara Wilson Etienne, to create a piece of artwork inspired by her new YA novel, Harbinger. She also interviewed me about the new artwork as well as my life as an artist. Come check it out here: www.sarawilsonetienne.com
Happy Holidays from T2 Artist Jane Smith! This is how her friends, Snake & Stegasaurus, celebrate Christmas. Visit her blog, www.birdmeetsworm.blogspot.com, to see pictures of this artwork in-progress as well as the initial sketch. Ho, ho, ho!
Super Jane is now blogging! Check www.birdmeetsworm.blogspot.com and get the latest scoop on the curious & creative activities of super star T2 artist, Jane Smith!
Continuing our T2 interview series, we recently sent five questions to the fabulous children’s author and illustrator: JANE SMITH. Here’s what she had to say:
1.) Jane, as a paper artist, how do you go about finding and collecting papers? And how do you keep them organized?
I find them everywhere from my mailbox to inside my Christmas presents to my local art supply stores! My collection is a large work-in-progress. I have old pantone papers from the days of manual paste-ups. I have tons of tissue papers, salvaged from presents and packages as well as from art supply stores. I have a variety of origami papers, color-aid papers and handmade papers. I always save the colored envelopes that the numerous holiday cards I receive throughout the year arrive in. I have a stash of paper sample booklets from my days as an Art Director. And I always keep the interesting colored wrappings that bouquets of flowers come sheathed in. I have also been using quite a bit of fabric lately and love shopping for beautiful patterns at my local fabric store.
I keep my largest sheets of paper flat and clean inside a gigantic set of metal flat files that I adore. The sheets are all organized by color, plus a drawer just for patterns. Smaller pieces of paper are sorted by color into large envelopes that are stored inside plastic bins that keep them clean and dry. I also have a big plastic bin for paper sample booklets and another one just for fabric. And since I tend to remember every single piece of paper and fabric I collect, I would say that I have mental inventory list too!
2.) Who and what influences your work?
I have always been inspired by the Abstract Expressionist movement. I particularly love the work of Robert Rauschenberg, Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline and Louise Nevelson (her sculpture at the Columbus Museum of Art was a favorite even as a little girl!). I often visit these artist’s works in the permanent collection at the MOCA in downtown Los Angeles.
The DIY craft movement that has taken off in recent years also influences me. The movement swirls around the bright and colorful world of flea markets and craft fairs that are buzzing with homegrown creative energy. I can’t get enough of browsing on Etsy, and love purchasing everything from homemade pants to hand-thrown pottery to recycled glass bottle cups from individual artisans. It’s very exciting!
I also love the following things (in no particular order) and find that they often spark new project ideas: silly words like hootenanny & philodendron, everything southwestern from cowboys to succulents to beans & rice, cupcakes, Japanese pottery, vegetarian cooking, reading crime & horror novels, Samurai Jack, hiking and Bigfoot.
3.) You are currently creating and fine tuning book dummies for the children’s market. Briefly describe your process. Is it pictures first?
Actually, no, it isn’t! When I’m working on a dummy book, I start with the manuscript first and like to work it until it is pretty tight (usually 10+ drafts!). Then I pace out the text by cutting and pasting the manuscript into a blank dummy. This process reveals which pages have too much text, where the page turns are working and/or not working, where the climax is hitting, etc. and then I make revisions accordingly. Only then do I start thinking about the images!
At this point I start with thumbnails. Once I have worked out what the images need to be, how I’m going to accommodate the text and what pages are full spreads versus single pages, I start creating full-sized sketches. Like the manuscript, the sketches usually go through several round of revisions before becoming solid enough to move forward.
Once I am satisfied with the sketches, I put everything together in InDesign. With my background designing children’s novelty books, using a professional design program to create my book dummyAdd a Comment
1.) How did your career as a children’s illustrator get started?
Well, I took a zigzagged path to illustration. I started out as an editor and author at a small educational publisher called The Child’s World. I was drawing and painting in my free time and taking classes at The American Academy of Art on the weekends. (I had minored in art in college.) Eventually a larger company bought The Child’s World, and we were all laid off. The former head of The Child’s World decided to start up a new imprint, and she asked me to write some books for her. I showed her my art and asked her if she’d let me try my hand at illustrating too. Much to my delight, she said yes!
2.) What is your favorite illustration project to date?
I’m not sure if this counts because it’s not a completed project yet, but I recently totally reworked a book dummy for a story I wrote called “Miss Chicken and the Noisy Nuisance.” I tried it out on a 1st grade class, and they really yukked it up in all the right places. It was so rewarding!
3.) Name two of your favorite children’s books. One past. One present.
I love everything by William Steig, but especially “Brave Irene.” My favorite new book is “Dogs Don’t Do Ballet,” written by Anna Kemp and illustrated by Sara Ogilvie. Hilarious.
4.) Who and what influences your artwork?
I recently watched a very inspiring video of an interview with the brilliant illustrator, Pascal Campion. He talked about trying to capture a moment of emotion, how that motivates all of his illustration. That’s my ultimate goal. I think of the kids who will be looking at my art and what I want them to feel.
5.) Describe your perfect Saturday night.
Chicago is such a great city – so much to do! One Saturday night we took our kids and a couple of their friends into the Portage Theater, one of those beautiful old movie palaces, and saw some Buster Keaton movies accompanied by live music. Then we had ice cream. That was pretty perfect.
Ages/Grades: K-1 (5-6 Years old)
Buy it a this link:Amazon!
This is a short book for a kindergarten and first grader to read to learn about some things and actions that they can do to contribute to the improvement of the world. Kids in this grade (Kindergarten & 1st grade) sometimes see themselves as “little people” that are not as important because they do not drive a car or can speak with a firm voice. They look up to adults who are able to make a difference and role model after them. This book shows that their actions can help the earth too. The book mentions simple things like turning off the light before leaving a room, using two sides of the paper to color and draw, not always having to ask parents to buy the newest toys. This is helping them to become more independent, more mature, and more responsible for themselves as well as taking care of the earth. Recycling is mentioned several times in this short story book and they can even start to recycle. We sometimes overlook children as followers but if we show them what they can do to help out and they see it to as a result, they can soon be leaders; leading other children to do the same thing. This book doesn’t just show how children can be proactive, the kids (characters) in this book are being proactive by saving the earth one action at a time.
SJE: This book is the 6th social justice element. The children in the book do not want the world and earth to go “bad” because of all the wasting of water, paper, and electricity, so they do something about it. They put their desire into action. They turned off the water while brushing their teeth, they use two sides of the paper, and they turned off the lights before leaving the room (being proactive and putting their action to work, showing to others what they are doing so it can be spread).
Activity: After reading this book, you can discuss some ideas and make a GOALS LIST on what the kids can do at home to improve the earth. They can spread the word of recycling and conserving energy to their parents, friends, siblings, etc. By the end of the week, they can see if they can finish and complete the GOALS LIST. Also, you can introduce recycling to them and have a recycling race. Have a bunch of recycleables spread out and mixed up on the ground and they have to have a race on who can fill up the different recycleable cans the fastest (paper, glass, cans, etc)
Illustrated by our own Johanna van der Sterre, “Why Do I Have to Make My Room” (Tricycle Press, 2011) was given a glowing and starred review by Publisher’s Weekly.
Why Do I Have to Make My Bed? Or, A History of Messy Rooms
Wade Bradford, illus. by Johanna van der Sterre, Random/Tricycle, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-58246-327-8
Why is it that, throughout the ages, kids’ chores are never considered complete unless they also make their beds? Bradford, a children’s playwright making his book debut, and van der Sterre (Feivel’s Flying Horses) have compiled a terrific people’s history, moving backward in time with generation after generation of child asking the titular question. “Me already clean cave!” says a prehistoric boy to his harried, leopard-skin clad mother. “Me hunt mammoth! Me dust stalagmites. Me make fire! Why me have to make bed? It just get messed up again!” But centuries of pleading have clearly done no good, because the irrefutable reply is always the same: “Because I said so.” While playing up the timelessness and universality of the human condition (at least as far as chores are concerned), the text and pictures underscore the evolving demands and trappings of domestic life. With its clever premise, keenly observed visual comedy, and easygoing pedagogy (an excellent afterword draws more directly on scholarship), this book deserves a place on the shelves next to the Magic School Bus series. Ages 4–7. (Feb.)
December 1st and there is snow outside my window. Fantastic!
I’m committed to re-energizing the T2 Blog in 2011 with thoughtful and relevant “blog-able” content as it pertains to art, illustration, children’s books and related technologies, the fantastic T2 Artists, and our fine and ever-changing industry. We’ll feature news on book releases, artist interviews, industry interviews, illustrating and writing tips and techniques, digital publishing, promotions and the like. Join us in this new season of awesome “blog-ability!”
To kick things off, yours truly is responding to a series of random questions – both personal and industry-related – submitted by T2 Artists and our fans and followers on Facebook (http://tiny.cc/c5003) and Twitter (@Tugeau2). Psssst: if you’re not yet following us, please take appropriate measures!
How did you come to realize that you wanted to do what you’re doing now? (Carol C.):
Carol, in the simplest terms, I lucked out and started dating an artist! Jay, my husband, was a working illustrator for children when we met back in 1997. His Mom, Chris Tugeau, was (and still is) an agent for children’s illustrators (shout out to www.catugeau.com). Watching Chris successfully grow her own business, seeing the fun she had going to work every day, following her into NYC for client visits, and listening to her talk about her artists and the excitement of book deals and book promotions, well, I just knew I wanted “in.” I LOVE books and people and art. And I grew up with a family-run business. So I was always sure that I’d one day own and operate my own company. I had several ideas about what that company might do (graphic design, PR, editing, sales), but back then I’d never have guessed children’s art. Learning the business happened over the course of a year or so (I say I’m STILL learning even after seven years), but it felt right from the very beginning. Chris was very generous to show me and my husband the ropes of this niche business and share a wealth of information (a career) we’re thankful for to this day.
What character from kid lit did you most identify with as a child? (Janet M.):
I have two. Ramona Quimby and Laura Ingalls. I grew up with them both and enjoyed their imaginations and resourcefulness.
What character from kid lit do you identify with today? (Janet M.)
I have three young kids, so I’m the Mom in every picture book. I yell, I say “NO!”, I teach, I give good hugs, lots of love, and big goodnight kisses. I’m even starting to look like some of these characters! Lol.
Can you describe a typical work day? (Sehee J.)
Email, email, email, email, phone call, phone call, email, email, phone call, email, email. And then I realize that it’s 3:30 and I haven’t gotten darn thing done. Seriously! I have to consciously STOP and take time to focus on contracts, business development, staying current with industry news, and upcoming projects/trips/promotions. Every day is different, really. And that’s a good thing in my book.
How can you manage all this stuff? (Sehee J.)
Ha! Yes, I have a husband, three kids, an old house, a large family, and a business. Life is very full. I get nervous when people ask me how I manage all this stuff. I’m not sure. I guess like every working Mom I rely on strategic planning, my husband, good babysitters, a caring family, coffee, and my Blackberry. And I work from home, so there is no fuss with travel, wardrobe and makeup until I hit the road for meetings and conferences.
What is the hardest part about the job, what do you struggle with? (Sehee J.)
Good question. I think the hardest thing about being an agent is that I’m so invested in this whole Team of artists. I work to make a living, and the Artists are relying on me to perform, to help them make THEIR living. It’s a lot of preDisplay Comments Add a Comment
The Best Mariachi in the World, published by Raven Tree Press, is almost set for release! I recently got to see a finished copy for the first time, and I’m happy with how it turned out.
I have posted a bigger preview with more pictures on my Mariachi blog here: http://mariachibook.blogspot.com/2008/09/book.html. Exciting!
Remember the time you waited until no one was around, crawled under the Christmas tree, peeled back the corner wrapping of your present and took a peek? This is going to be something like that.
Except that this time, Mrs. Nicole Tugeau Claus is fully aware and gives a wink and a nod. I was asked to paint the image for this year’s Tugeau 2 holiday card. Knowing I wanted to show a variety of animals and convey the hope and magic of the season, I sketched and rendered the following illustration.
The next challenge was to create a piece of spot art for the back of the card that played off the main illustration. This is a fun part in creating narrative illustration…to give visual hints as to what may happen next. In this case, the subplot is easy to catch. A gift is given, it is received…and the mouse soars.
So if you receive one of these holiday cards in the mail, just act surprised. How did we know … it’s what you’ve always wanted!
currently painting: 6 illustrations for May/June 09 Ladybug Magazine
currently writing: short stories and poetry for a themed anthology
I painted this the other day in a festive mood after our first snowfall of the season. I was also inspired by some Ernest H. Shepard drawings I saw on a blog. Sometimes, in weather like this (it’s currently -4 with wind chill) I feel like a mouse in a burrow — and I mean that in a good way.
Anyhow, I’m really, really proud of the work I did with my little card business. It was a springboard for so many different things creatively, it’s hard to even begin making a list for you without writing a book. Professionally, as far as helping me gain both self-confidence and business acumen, nothing can match the experience - and especially at a time in my life when I was so in need of direction.
Here is one of the cards that was in my line back then. I’ve always loved this one, and in the following years, I’ve found that the “stage” concept has clearly adopted itself as a running theme in my work. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Two Tugeau 2 artists won awards for their poster art the Annual New England SCBWI Conference (April 25-27, 2009). About 50 artists took part in the contest and showcased their own illustrated concept of the theme “Many Voices”. T2 artist Kathy Weller won prizes in two categories: Best in Show, Published Artist and Third Place, Viewer’s Choice. T2 artist Dani Jones won Second Place, Published Artist. Yay for T2 artists!!
Here’s sneak peek into the making of Dance Y’all Dance, a picture book written by Kelly Bennett that I illustrated and is being released this November (Bright Sky Press). It was the most fun project I’ve ever worked on. The story is set in the not too distant past when families, farm hands and cowboys & gals would get together on weekends at the local honky tonk. I did some research into clothing styles, period furniture, Texas symbols and olde timey dance halls, then chose to keep the colors vivid and saturated to give the book a contemporary look.
Once I had the scene sketched, I redrew it on Strathmore 10-ply paper with a Berol Prismacolor pencil…then laid a wash of ultramarine & yellow ochre. With a wet q-tip or small brush, I picked out highlights.
Using the new tones as a guide, I start to lay in color in gouache, working from dark to light. What interests me now is the design of shadows, losing and finding edges and letting a little of the wash show through as line. I make an effort to not have perfectly symmetrical faces as I believe it lends to more effective expressions.
I continue building layers of paint to emphasize form, adding texture, patterns, detail and highlights. Finally scanning into photoshop, I clean and fine tune the piece.
So there you have it. I love playing with color. I love visiting my works-in-progress (aka “children”) every morning. I love this job!
Working on: another country-themed book offering, but that’s all I’m gonna say right now! In the meantime, here is an interview I did on the author’s website, if’n you’re interested: http://www.kellybennett.com/books/danceyall.html
I’m excited to announce the grand opening of my etsy store Super Hoot! Super Hoot is a collection of original, one-of-a-kind artwork and apparel for you and your little ones. The collection features mixed media collages on canvas and sewn cloth collages on clothing & accessories by me, (super) Jane Smith. I’d like to invite you to check out Super Hoot at: www.etsy.com/shop/superhoot
I hope you find something you love and that if you do, you will share Super Hoot with your friends & family! Enjoy!