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1. Vanilla Ice Cream Before Breakfast

It’s sometimes hard to come out from behind my stories and articulate reasons for things, as the stories are not written that way. I don’t go into them with a reason or issue — only that the characters will treat each other with respect and tolerance. And that their dogs can do anything they like around the house. The rest will hopefully follow.”

* * *

Over at Kirkus today, I talk to author-illustrator Bob Graham, pictured here, whose books I consistently like. He chats with me about his newest book, Vanilla Ice Cream, coming from Candlewick in August, as well as what’s next for him.

That Q&A will be here here soon.

Next week, I’ll have some art from some of Bob’s books.

Until tomorrow …

* * * * * * *

Photo of Bob Graham used with permission of Candlewick Press.

0 Comments on Vanilla Ice Cream Before Breakfast as of 7/25/2014 12:10:00 AM
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2. Wildness



 

I don’t have art for you all today, but I will later this week.

This is just a quick post to, once again, point you all to the Wild Things! site. My co-author and I are still sharing stories over there, ones cut from the original manuscript of our book, and we will have a story-a-day until publication on August 5th. (We’re even going to have some fun with author videos after that.)

Yesterday, we had a short post about the precocious ones of children’s lit. (Can you guess what Maurice Sendak’s first illustrated title was? It may not be what you think.) That link is here.

Today, we have a short post on celebrity children’s books (which gets an entire chapter in our book). We have the nice folks at the Horn Book to thank for re-posting a piece Peter once wrote about the celebrity book trend. (And when I read the Twitter response mentioned in this post, I laughed so hard, my husband came in the room to ask me if I was okay.)

Later this week, we’ll look at some feuds, some early exits of children’s lit, a funky Buddha party, films and children’s books, and more. It’s all here.

Until Thursday …

0 Comments on Wildness as of 7/23/2014 12:19:00 AM
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3. Wildness



 

I don’t have art for you all today, but I will later this week.

This is just a quick post to, once again, point you all to the Wild Things! site. My co-author and I are still sharing stories over there, ones cut from the original manuscript of our book, and we will have a story-a-day until publication on August 5th. (We’re even going to have some fun with author videos after that.)

Yesterday, we had a short post about the precocious ones of children’s lit. (Can you guess what Maurice Sendak’s first illustrated title was? It may not be what you think.) That link is here.

Today, we have a short post on celebrity children’s books (which gets an entire chapter in our book). We have the nice folks at the Horn Book to thank for re-posting a piece Peter once wrote about the celebrity book trend. (And when I read the Twitter response mentioned in this post, I laughed so hard, my husband came in the room to ask me if I was okay.)

Later this week, we’ll look at some feuds, some early exits of children’s lit, a funky Buddha party, films and children’s books, and more. It’s all here.

Until Thursday …

0 Comments on Wildness as of 7/25/2014 12:10:00 AM
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4. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #391: Featuring Barbara McClintock


Author-illustrator Barbara McClintock is here today to talk about creating the artwork for Beverly Donofrio’s Where’s Mommy?, released in March by Schwartz & Wade, which Kirkus calls “irresistible.” This is a companion book to Mary and the Mouse, the Mouse and Mary, released back in ’07. Those of you familiar with the first title will know that Maria is Mary’s daughter, and Mouse Mouse is Mouse’s daughter. In this new book, Maria and Mouse Mouse are (separately) looking for their mothers, their experiences and goings-on fully parallel, as McClintock gives us a peek into each one’s home and surroundings.

Soon, Barbara will also see the release of another 2014 illustrated title, Jim Aylesworth’s My Grandfather’s Coat (Scholastic), which has already received two starred reviews. (Barbara also discusses below some other new projects. Fans of Adèle & Simon will be happy.) I haven’t seen My Grandfather’s Coat yet, but maybe she can come back to talk about it, especially since she’s also interested in talking further about the March Leave Your Sleep exhibit at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, as well as the Leave Your Sleep Carnegie Hall concert (back in April), which had, in Barbara’s words, “images from the book projected big as a barn behind the stage. Maybe [we can have] a discussion about ways picture books extend beyond their printed avatars.” (If you’re not familiar with Leave Your Sleep—with Natalie Merchant—you can visit this 2012 7-Imp post.)

I’d love to discuss those things, but for now, let’s look at Where’s Mommy?

I thank Barbara for sharing …

Barbara: Hi there, Jules! Great to be back at 7-Imp!

Thanks for inviting me to talk about Where’s Mommy? I had the great pleasure of working with Lee Wade, Rachael Cole, Stephanie Pitts, and Anne Schwartz again for round two of the mouse/girl adventure.

Where’s Mommy? is a definite nod to The Borrowers by Mary Norton. The Borrowers was one of my favorite books when I was growing up. I wished with all my might when I was little that I’d had my very own tiny family living under my bedroom floor, going about their life with furnishings poached from forgotten small stuff under the couch or lost in the back corner of cluttered kitchen drawers.

Beth and Joe Krush’s fluid black and white illustrations for The Borrowers were—and still are—enthralling. The Krushes really had their drawing chops down. Their loose, sketchy illustration style jumps out of a solid background in highly-skilled, realistic drawings. Love it!

The secret friendship, the risk of discovery, the parallel worlds — it’s all there in Where’s Mommy? with whiskers and tails added. I had a lot of fun thinking of all the modern household debris that would make perfect furnishings for a comfy contemporary mouse house. Just imagine what little midnight visitors to a recycling bin would find, making good use out of plastic berry containers and caps and bottles and used-up toothpaste tubes. And I now know where my missing set of ear buds might be.

Where’s Mommy? is a step away from my usual style. I was excited about mixing up the visual pacing by using very simple, minimal images along with those complex drawings that invite hunting for details. I relied on watercolor more than cross-hatch to get effects like that light-glowing-through-clear-plastic thing goin’ on in Mouse Mouse’s kitchen. The word balloons hearken back to my girlhood obsession with drawing comics, and I am over-the-moon thrilled with Chris Costello’s gorgeous hand lettering in the balloons throughout the book and on the front cover.


(Click to enlarge)

There was a vibrant conversation between Lee, Rachael, Anne and me about the dummy and elements in the sketches and finished art. We were definitely a team finding our way to making the book as engaging, energetic, and fun as possible.


“Sketches taped up on my studio wall”
(Click to enlarge)

I began the art for Where’s Mommy? right after I finished art for Leave Your Sleep, the last book I worked on to completion with my beloved editor Frances Foster. I’m so very lucky to have known Frances and worked with her on five and a half books. She was universally loved by her authors, illustrators, and anyone who worked with her. She was intensely involved with every aspect of my creative process, always available, always there for me. I’d send Frances an email at 11:30 at night and get an email back 15 minutes later. Her husband Tony referred to her weekends as “work ends.”

To have had such access to her inventive, brilliant mind was a a rare and precious gift. I still feel a deep sense of grief and loss, even feeling lost, but she was ready to take flight and leave all of us with her legacy and the memory of her elegance, wit, and genius.



Sketches and final art:
“If Maria’s parents knew there were mice in the house, they’d get a cat.”

(Click each to enlarge)


 



Sketches and final art:
“Have you seen Mom?”

(Click each to enlarge)

I’m working on finished art for Adèle & Simon in China at the moment. This was the last project Frances and I worked on together; we’d gotten to the sketch stage. Simon Boughton is my new editor on this book. He’s enthusiastically cheering me on with the book and is also being amazingly sensitive to honoring Frances’ vision and work on this book. I can’t imagine how tricky that must be, and I admire his tact and am grateful for his belief in my work. The book is really in place, but I admit to missing hearing Frances’ voice and reading her emails as I’m drawing crowded market streets in Hong Kong or coloring a scene of the desert near Dunhuang. My partner David Johnson encourages me to “channel my inner Frances” — not quite the same as actually being in contact with her, but it is a comfort nonetheless.



Sketches and final art:
“Where’s Mom?”

(Click each to enlarge)


 



Sketches and final art:
“Guess who!”

(Click each to enlarge)

Adèle & Simon in China, by the way, is looking FABULOUS! My son Larson DiFiori is getting his PhD in Chinese philosophy and ancient Chinese language studies at Brown and has been at my elbow as my go-to guy to answer questions — or put me in touch with people who can answer questions about China that come up as I’m working on the book. Plus he and David pop into my studio from time to time wearing funny hats and make me laugh. What could be better than that?


“Hey, what’s this? It’s my son Larson, wearing a klondike hat in my studio!
He just popped in while I was working to offer some comic relief.”

AND … there’s more! I’m also working on Emma and Julia Love Ballet with the wonderful, dear Dianne Hess at Scholastic Press. Emma and Julia shows a day in the life of Emma, a young girl who dreams of being a ballet dancer, and Julia, a professional ballet dancer. They both have breakfast, go to lessons, and are ultimately at the same evening dance performance — Emma in the audience and Julia on stage. They meet back stage after the performance, Emma with her dreams of the future and Julia with encouragement and the memory of her early dreams. I wrote the book thinking of my sister who loved ballet as a girl. I’m having a blast drawing and photographing dancers at a local ballet school, as well as drawing and inking the final artwork. Dianne, like Frances, is that rare breed of marvelous editors who is always there, always supportive and caring. This will be our ninth book together. Holy Cow, time flies!

My Grandfather’s Coat, written by Jim Aylesworth and edited by Dianne Hess for Scholastic Press, comes out this fall. Stay tuned!

Here’s a promiscuous hodge-podge of work-in-progress/process pics [from Where's Mommy?]:


“Working on spread of family at beginning of book. Why not have a Goya poster on the wall? I was fascinated by this painting as a child, and if I stop to think about it now,
it’s a little weird and scary. So I don’t stop to think about it!”


 


“Studio chaos!”


 






“Inked 1st page spread”


 



 



 


“Cover idea”


 



 


“Finding the perfect Maria-yelling-‘Mommy!’-head”


 




“Various failed attempts to get the right inked drawing of Maria yelling”


 


“At last — got the inked Maria head and everything else down!”


 


“Coloring”


 


“One of many dummies/revised dummies”


 


“Another dummy”


 


“Three little dummies”


 


“Early napkin sketch of mouse household objects”


 


“Things for Maria’s room”


 


“Cut-out, reassembled drawings for cover”


 






“Early sketchbook drawings”


 


“The end result”


 

WHERE’S MOMMY? Copyright © 2014 by Beverly Donofrio. Illustrations © 2014 by Barbara McClintock. Published by Schwartz & Wade Books, New York. All images here reproduced by permission of Barbara McClintock.

* * * * * * *

Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New kickers are always welcome.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

My kicks one through seven this week will be that I saw Hurray for the Riff Raff live in Nashville a second time this year. They always put on a highly entertaining show.

And it always makes me happy to see Barbara’s artwork. (And this recent Wild Things! post reminded me that I wanted to share some of her artwork here.)

It’s not that I didn’t have other kicks this week, but as usual, I’m typing past midnight (I’m a hopeless night owl), so I think I’ll hang it up for now.

But do tell: What are YOUR kicks this week?

10 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #391: Featuring Barbara McClintock, last added: 7/22/2014
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5. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #391: Featuring Barbara McClintock


Author-illustrator Barbara McClintock is here today to talk about creating the artwork for Beverly Donofrio’s Where’s Mommy?, released in March by Schwartz & Wade, which Kirkus calls “irresistible.” This is a companion book to Mary and the Mouse, the Mouse and Mary, released back in ’07. Those of you familiar with the first title will know that Maria is Mary’s daughter, and Mouse Mouse is Mouse’s daughter. In this new book, Maria and Mouse Mouse are (separately) looking for their mothers, their experiences and goings-on fully parallel, as McClintock gives us a peek into each one’s home and surroundings.

Soon, Barbara will also see the release of another 2014 illustrated title, Jim Aylesworth’s My Grandfather’s Coat (Scholastic), which has already received two starred reviews. (Barbara also discusses below some other new projects. Fans of Adèle & Simon will be happy.) I haven’t seen My Grandfather’s Coat yet, but maybe she can come back to talk about it, especially since she’s also interested in talking further about the March Leave Your Sleep exhibit at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, as well as the Leave Your Sleep Carnegie Hall concert (back in April), which had, in Barbara’s words, “images from the book projected big as a barn behind the stage. Maybe [we can have] a discussion about ways picture books extend beyond their printed avatars.” (If you’re not familiar with Leave Your Sleep—with Natalie Merchant—you can visit this 2012 7-Imp post.)

I’d love to discuss those things, but for now, let’s look at Where’s Mommy?

I thank Barbara for sharing …

Barbara: Hi there, Jules! Great to be back at 7-Imp!

Thanks for inviting me to talk about Where’s Mommy? I had the great pleasure of working with Lee Wade, Rachael Cole, Stephanie Pitts, and Anne Schwartz again for round two of the mouse/girl adventure.

Where’s Mommy? is a definite nod to The Borrowers by Mary Norton. The Borrowers was one of my favorite books when I was growing up. I wished with all my might when I was little that I’d had my very own tiny family living under my bedroom floor, going about their life with furnishings poached from forgotten small stuff under the couch or lost in the back corner of cluttered kitchen drawers.

Beth and Joe Krush’s fluid black and white illustrations for The Borrowers were—and still are—enthralling. The Krushes really had their drawing chops down. Their loose, sketchy illustration style jumps out of a solid background in highly-skilled, realistic drawings. Love it!

The secret friendship, the risk of discovery, the parallel worlds — it’s all there in Where’s Mommy? with whiskers and tails added. I had a lot of fun thinking of all the modern household debris that would make perfect furnishings for a comfy contemporary mouse house. Just imagine what little midnight visitors to a recycling bin would find, making good use out of plastic berry containers and caps and bottles and used-up toothpaste tubes. And I now know where my missing set of ear buds might be.

Where’s Mommy? is a step away from my usual style. I was excited about mixing up the visual pacing by using very simple, minimal images along with those complex drawings that invite hunting for details. I relied on watercolor more than cross-hatch to get effects like that light-glowing-through-clear-plastic thing goin’ on in Mouse Mouse’s kitchen. The word balloons hearken back to my girlhood obsession with drawing comics, and I am over-the-moon thrilled with Chris Costello’s gorgeous hand lettering in the balloons throughout the book and on the front cover.


(Click to enlarge)

There was a vibrant conversation between Lee, Rachael, Anne and me about the dummy and elements in the sketches and finished art. We were definitely a team finding our way to making the book as engaging, energetic, and fun as possible.


“Sketches taped up on my studio wall”
(Click to enlarge)

I began the art for Where’s Mommy? right after I finished art for Leave Your Sleep, the last book I worked on to completion with my beloved editor Frances Foster. I’m so very lucky to have known Frances and worked with her on five and a half books. She was universally loved by her authors, illustrators, and anyone who worked with her. She was intensely involved with every aspect of my creative process, always available, always there for me. I’d send Frances an email at 11:30 at night and get an email back 15 minutes later. Her husband Tony referred to her weekends as “work ends.”

To have had such access to her inventive, brilliant mind was a a rare and precious gift. I still feel a deep sense of grief and loss, even feeling lost, but she was ready to take flight and leave all of us with her legacy and the memory of her elegance, wit, and genius.



Sketches and final art:
“If Maria’s parents knew there were mice in the house, they’d get a cat.”

(Click each to enlarge)


 



Sketches and final art:
“Have you seen Mom?”

(Click each to enlarge)

I’m working on finished art for Adèle & Simon in China at the moment. This was the last project Frances and I worked on together; we’d gotten to the sketch stage. Simon Boughton is my new editor on this book. He’s enthusiastically cheering me on with the book and is also being amazingly sensitive to honoring Frances’ vision and work on this book. I can’t imagine how tricky that must be, and I admire his tact and am grateful for his belief in my work. The book is really in place, but I admit to missing hearing Frances’ voice and reading her emails as I’m drawing crowded market streets in Hong Kong or coloring a scene of the desert near Dunhuang. My partner David Johnson encourages me to “channel my inner Frances” — not quite the same as actually being in contact with her, but it is a comfort nonetheless.



Sketches and final art:
“Where’s Mom?”

(Click each to enlarge)


 



Sketches and final art:
“Guess who!”

(Click each to enlarge)

Adèle & Simon in China, by the way, is looking FABULOUS! My son Larson DiFiori is getting his PhD in Chinese philosophy and ancient Chinese language studies at Brown and has been at my elbow as my go-to guy to answer questions — or put me in touch with people who can answer questions about China that come up as I’m working on the book. Plus he and David pop into my studio from time to time wearing funny hats and make me laugh. What could be better than that?


“Hey, what’s this? It’s my son Larson, wearing a klondike hat in my studio!
He just popped in while I was working to offer some comic relief.”

AND … there’s more! I’m also working on Emma and Julia Love Ballet with the wonderful, dear Dianne Hess at Scholastic Press. Emma and Julia shows a day in the life of Emma, a young girl who dreams of being a ballet dancer, and Julia, a professional ballet dancer. They both have breakfast, go to lessons, and are ultimately at the same evening dance performance — Emma in the audience and Julia on stage. They meet back stage after the performance, Emma with her dreams of the future and Julia with encouragement and the memory of her early dreams. I wrote the book thinking of my sister who loved ballet as a girl. I’m having a blast drawing and photographing dancers at a local ballet school, as well as drawing and inking the final artwork. Dianne, like Frances, is that rare breed of marvelous editors who is always there, always supportive and caring. This will be our ninth book together. Holy Cow, time flies!

My Grandfather’s Coat, written by Jim Aylesworth and edited by Dianne Hess for Scholastic Press, comes out this fall. Stay tuned!

Here’s a promiscuous hodge-podge of work-in-progress/process pics [from Where's Mommy?]:


“Working on spread of family at beginning of book. Why not have a Goya poster on the wall? I was fascinated by this painting as a child, and if I stop to think about it now,
it’s a little weird and scary. So I don’t stop to think about it!”


 


“Studio chaos!”


 






“Inked 1st page spread”


 



 



 


“Cover idea”


 



 


“Finding the perfect Maria-yelling-‘Mommy!’-head”


 




“Various failed attempts to get the right inked drawing of Maria yelling”


 


“At last — got the inked Maria head and everything else down!”


 


“Coloring”


 


“One of many dummies/revised dummies”


 


“Another dummy”


 


“Three little dummies”


 


“Early napkin sketch of mouse household objects”


 


“Things for Maria’s room”


 


“Cut-out, reassembled drawings for cover”


 






“Early sketchbook drawings”


 


“The end result”


 

WHERE’S MOMMY? Copyright © 2014 by Beverly Donofrio. Illustrations © 2014 by Barbara McClintock. Published by Schwartz & Wade Books, New York. All images here reproduced by permission of Barbara McClintock.

* * * * * * *

Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New kickers are always welcome.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

My kicks one through seven this week will be that I saw Hurray for the Riff Raff live in Nashville a second time this year. They always put on a highly entertaining show.

And it always makes me happy to see Barbara’s artwork. (And this recent Wild Things! post reminded me that I wanted to share some of her artwork here.)

It’s not that I didn’t have other kicks this week, but as usual, I’m typing past midnight (I’m a hopeless night owl), so I think I’ll hang it up for now.

But do tell: What are YOUR kicks this week?

0 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #391: Featuring Barbara McClintock as of 1/1/1900
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6. What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Matt Phelan


Anyone else remember Loretta Mason Potts, written by Mary Chase and originally published in 1958? That’s (mostly) the subject of my Kirkus column today, as the book was just reissued by The New York Review Children’s Collection. That link will be here soon.

* * *

Last week, I chatted (here) with author-illustrator Matt Phelan about his 2014 projects, Burleigh Mutén’s Miss Emily (Candlewick), released back in March, and his own picture book, Druthers (also from Candlewick), coming in September. (Pictured above is an early sketch from Druthers.)

Today, we’ll look at a bit of art from each book, as well as some sketches from Matt. I thank him for sharing.

Enjoy.



 

Early sketches from Burleigh Mutén’s Miss Emily


 










 

Final art from Burleigh Mutén’s Miss Emily


 


(Click to enlarge)


 


“Till the ribbon made her into a Maypole.”
(Click to enlarge and see text)


 



 

Early sketches from Matt’s Druthers


 





(Click to enlarge)


 


(Click to enlarge)


 


(Click to enlarge)


 



 

Final art from Druthers


 


“If I had my druthers …”
(Click to enlarge)


 


“I would be a pirate captain.”
(Click to enlarge)


 



 

* * * * * * *


 

DRUTHERS. Copyright © 2014 by Matt Phelan. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

MISS EMILY. Text copyright © 2014 by Burleigh Muten. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Matt Phelan. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

All sketches posted with permission of Matt Phelan.

0 Comments on What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Matt Phelan as of 1/1/1900
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7. What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Matt Phelan


Anyone else remember Loretta Mason Potts, written by Mary Chase and originally published in 1958? That’s (mostly) the subject of my Kirkus column today, as the book was just reissued by The New York Review Children’s Collection. That link is here.

* * *

Last week, I chatted (here) with author-illustrator Matt Phelan about his 2014 projects, Burleigh Mutén’s Miss Emily (Candlewick), released back in March, and his own picture book, Druthers (also from Candlewick), coming in September. (Pictured above is an early sketch from Druthers.)

Today, we’ll look at a bit of art from each book, as well as some sketches from Matt. I thank him for sharing.

Enjoy.



 

Early sketches from Burleigh Mutén’s Miss Emily


 










 

Final art from Burleigh Mutén’s Miss Emily


 


(Click to enlarge)


 


“Till the ribbon made her into a Maypole.”
(Click to enlarge and see text)


 



 

Early sketches from Matt’s Druthers


 





(Click to enlarge)


 


(Click to enlarge)


 


(Click to enlarge)


 



 

Final art from Druthers


 


“If I had my druthers …”
(Click to enlarge)


 


“I would be a pirate captain.”
(Click to enlarge)


 



 

* * * * * * *


 

DRUTHERS. Copyright © 2014 by Matt Phelan. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

MISS EMILY. Text copyright © 2014 by Burleigh Muten. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Matt Phelan. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

All sketches posted with permission of Matt Phelan.

0 Comments on What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Matt Phelan as of 1/1/1900
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8. Flop Sweat and Butt Trampolines

This week over at the Wild Things! site, my co-author and I are doing the following:

  • Taking a look at the phenomenon that is the author school visit — the good, the bad, and the ugly. (You’ll see, if you read this post over at Wild Things!, that the title of this post today here at 7-Imp tips its hat to that.)
  • Asking whether or not Beatrix Potter really yelled at young children. (The Horn Book’s Lolly Robinson gives us the low-down.)
  • Udder Indecencies of one sort or another; or, The Saga of the Unobtrusive Monster Penis (pictured above).

Tomorrow, we’ll have a post Leonard Baskin fans, in particular, will appreciate.

On Saturday, we’ll look at two of children’s literature’s most cryptic picture books.

On Sunday, we’ll look at some true tales behind famous awards speeches.

That’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it.

* * * * * * *

The above image is used with permission of Sergio Ruzzier.

0 Comments on Flop Sweat and Butt Trampolines as of 1/1/1900
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9. Flop Sweat and Butt Trampolines

This week over at the Wild Things! site, my co-author and I are doing the following:

  • Taking a look at the phenomenon that is the author school visit — the good, the bad, and the ugly. (You’ll see, if you read this post over at Wild Things!, that the title of this post today here at 7-Imp tips its hat to that.)
  • Asking whether or not Beatrix Potter really yelled at young children. (The Horn Book’s Lolly Robinson gives us the low-down.)
  • Udder Indecencies of one sort or another; or, The Saga of the Unobtrusive Monster Penis (pictured above).

Tomorrow, we’ll have a post Leonard Baskin fans, in particular, will appreciate.

On Saturday, we’ll look at two of children’s literature’s most cryptic picture books.

On Sunday, we’ll look at some true tales behind famous awards speeches.

That’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it.

* * * * * * *

The above image is used with permission of Sergio Ruzzier.

0 Comments on Flop Sweat and Butt Trampolines as of 1/1/1900
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10. Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Lisa Brown

It’s a sort of miracle that this breakfast interview is even happening, since both author-illustrator Lisa Brown and I are not morning people. Oh wait, right. It’s a cyber-breakfast, but still … If it were a real, face-to-face breakfast, you can bet that we’d be having our chat over an afternoon snack, despite the name of this blog.

Another thing we share in common? A deep and abiding love for coffee (which certainly helps make our mornings easier), so I’m glad she was willing to come have pretend coffee with me today so that we could see lots and lots of her art. In fact, she says her usual breakfast is “a cup of coffee, then some toast and peanut butter, maybe some fruit smoothie if there is any left over from my husband and son, who will have been awake and functioning WAY before I shuffle into the kitchen in my pajamas, exhausted with the effort of having to wake up and shuffle into the kitchen. Then more coffee.” I can get behind these multiple rounds of coffee.

This year, Lisa saw the release of two illustrated titles, Lemony Snicket’s

29 Myths on the Swinster Pharmacy (McSweeney’s McMullens, February 2014) and Cathleen Daly’s Emily’s Blue Period, which just received a starred Horn Book review.

I love to follow Lisa’s work, and it was good to have a chance here to ask her what she’s up to next. There is a freshness and warmth to her watercolors that can be terrifically child-friendly, but there’s also an edge to many of her books (especially for older readers) and paintings. (She’s doing a sketch a day this year, as you’ll read below, which you can follow here.) As Martha Parravano writes in that Horn Book review, her work can be elegant. Yet she also embraces the enigmatic, as with 29 Myths. And embracing the enigmatic is always good. (Embracing the Enigmatic. Band name. I call it!)

I thank Lisa for visiting this morning and sharing as much art as she does.

* * * * * * *

Jules: Are you an illustrator or author/illustrator?

Lisa: I like to say “Illustrator/Author/Cartoonist.”











Above: Lisa’s New Year resolution was to post a sketch for every day of 2014.

Jules: Can you list your books-to-date?

Lisa: As writer and illustrator:


 




 

As illustrator:

As co-author and illustrator:


Lisa: “To promote Picture the Dead, Adele Griffin and I would dress as Victorians.”

Jules: What is your usual medium?

Lisa: I jump between brush and India ink with watercolor and a purely digital style that I do with Adobe Illustrator. Lately, I’ve also been combining the watercolor stuff with some digital collage: I scan in my original watercolor and ink drawing, then layer it over different found or created textures that I’ve scanned into the computer.

Jules: If you have illustrated for various age ranges (such as, both picture books and early reader books OR, say, picture books and chapter books), can you briefly discuss the differences, if any, in illustrating for one age group to another?

Lisa: I find that there isn’t really a difference to my approach in terms of the age range of my audience. It has more to do with the subject matter; each one is different and so requires a different angle, whether it be different medium, structure or style. A humorous book about the Pope will look different than a board book will look different than a cozy bedtime book will look different than an illustrated ghost story for young adults.

Jules: Where are your stompin’ grounds?

Lisa: San Francisco most of the time. Cape Cod some of the time.

 


Color test for Emily’s Blue Period


 


Thumbnails


 



Early sketches and tests


 



“Jack is hiding behind a big couch. He won’t comeout. ‘This is my FORTRESS! No one can come back here!’ ‘Come on, Jack,’ says Dad. But Jack won’t budge.”
(Click to enlarge)


 


“THIS IS MY COUCH FORTRESS AND NO ONE CAN TOUCH ME!
NO ARMS ALLOWED IN MY FORTRESS!”

Above: Some final art from Emily’s Blue Period (without text)


 

[The below images are an illustration from Emily's Blue Period ---the last image just below, that is---with reference images: the paintings on the wall, plus reference for the character’s stuffed animal, based on a toy horse belonging to Picasso’s son Claude.]

 






(Click to enlarge)

Jules: Can you tell me about your road to publication?

Lisa: Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted to write and illustrate picture books. But then I went to college, got a degree in English and History, and sort of lost momentum on my art. I started working for a magazine doing admin, editing, and production, and then went back to school for graphic design. In the meantime, my husband, whom I met in college, was busy becoming Lemony Snicket. So when I was ready and had paid off some student loans, I borrowed his agent and his editor and pitched (and sold) my first book.

Jules: Can you please point readers to your web site and/or blog?

Lisa: www.americanchickens.com; americanchickens.tumblr.com.

Jules: If you do school visits, tell me what they’re like.

 

Lisa Brown -- photo is © Ashley Thompson Photography

Lisa at a school visit, explaining where the picture book gutter is


 

Lisa: I used to do a specific presentation tailored to each of my books: How to Be, for instance, was a slide show starring my father-in-law pretending to be different animals, to ridiculous effect.

 


Lisa: “[This is] from a school visit slide show. My lovely late father-in-law,
acting ridiculous for me.”


 

Vampire Boy’s Good Night had pictures of my husband dressed up as a very low-rent vampire and stalking me in my studio and reacting to a light box.

 





(Click each to enlarge)

Nowadays, I do a presentation that talks about how I make a book, in general, with slides, cartoons, and the showing of sketch dummies. I always end my talks with a collaborative drawing for and with the students, which grew out of my work leading bookmaking field trips at 826 Valencia.


Lisa: “[This is] a cartoon I made based on a workshop I’ve run at 826 Valencia tutoring center for kids — about how to write ghost stories.”
(Click to enlarge)

Jules: Tell me how teaching illustration influences your work as an illustrator, if at all.

Lisa: I’ve just started to teach picture book writing and illustration at the California College of the Arts, and I absolutely love it. I find that the act of trying to explain what makes a picture book or an illustration successful helps me to figure out how to go about making a successful book myself. I also use the class as a bully pulpit to extol the importance of picture books as perfect little pieces of mass-produced art.

Jules: Any new titles/projects you might be working on now that you can tell me about?

Lisa: Mummy Cat, written by Marcus Ewert and illustrated by me, is all handed in and coming out in the summer of 2015.

 


(Click to enlarge)








 

The Airport, written and illustrated by me, is in process and coming out. [Below are sketches, color tests, etc.]

 






(Click to enlarge)


 

I dunno. I work unbearably slowly on things I care a lot about. Don’t tell my editor.

Mmm. Coffee.Okay, I’ve got more coffee, and we are sufficiently awake. It’s time to get a bit more detailed with seven questions over breakfast. I thank Lisa again for visiting 7-Imp.

1. Jules: What exactly is your process when you are illustrating a book? You can start wherever you’d like when answering: getting initial ideas, starting to illustrate, or even what it’s like under deadline, etc. Do you outline a great deal of the book before you illustrate or just let your muse lead you on and see where you end up?

Lisa

: When I’m writing the book myself, I start with an almost finished manuscript. I recognize that words will change once I get to drawing, but I need a text with a beginning, middle, and end upon which to build. Then I sketch out a tiny thumbnail storyboard of all the pages. It helps me if I can see the entire structure of a book all at once, number of pages and proportions and everything. I redraw my thumbnails bigger and bigger until they are almost full-size, and then I construct a dummy book. I need to see the book as a physical book, with turnable pages and set type, so I can grasp how everything is working. I was trained as a graphic designer, so I lay out everything in a layout program as if I am designing the final book. It often ends up very close to looking like the final book.

I’m also addicted to reference. I have stacks of books and folders of JPGs, sourced both on the internet and via my camera, for every book I do.

When it’s time to do the final art, I play around and test techniques and pull my hair out and cry and complain to anyone who will listen and then figure it out.

[Pictured below are some thumbnails and dummies, etc. from a presentation Lisa gives about how she makes a book. Click each to enlarge.]
























(Click each image above to enlarge)

2. Jules: Describe your studio or usual work space.

Lisa

: I work in a little studio apartment in the basement of a house where my best friend from high school (and senior prom date, pictured above) lives with his husband. It’s filled with books and pictures cut out from magazines and printed out from the computer and stuck all over the walls and with lots of tubes of paint and bottles of ink and stained brushes and a sink full of dirty coffee cups.














(Click each studio pic to enlarge)

3. Jules: As a book-lover, it interests me: What books or authors and/or illustrators influenced you as an early reader?

 


Lisa: “My brother and I watching Sesame Street, 1976.
I was terrified and obsessed with The Count.”

Lisa

: Oh I was, and am, SUCH a bookworm. My favorite books as a little kid were The Lonely Doll by Dare Wright, Georgie by Robert Bright, A Woggle of Witches by Adrienne Adams, and Sarah’s Room by Doris Orgel, illustrated by Maurice Sendak.


My chapter book obsessions: The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare, the Emily of New Moon books by L.M. Montgomery, The Girl With the Silver Eyes by Willo Davis Roberts, the Westmark books by Lloyd Alexander, and the Wizard of Earthsea trilogy by Ursula Le Guin. And I finally, after many an extensive internet search, found a book that I absolutely adored but had been unable to hunt down before, Elizabeth Elizabeth by Eileen Dunlop, published in 1977.

In high school, I became smitten with the work of Edward Gorey, with whom I have never fallen out of love.

 


Lisa: “A friend of mine won one of Edward Gorey’s fur coats at an auction,
and she let me try it on.”

Now I am immersed in reading a bunch of classic novels that I’ve never gotten around to exploring — for a book that I’m doing with more of my three-panel book reviews.

 



 



 


(Click each to enlarge)

4. Jules: If you could have three (living) authors or illustrators—whom you have not yet met—over for coffee or a glass of rich, red wine, whom would you choose? (Some people cheat and list deceased authors/illustrators. I won’t tell.)

Lisa: Tomi Ungerer. Quentin Blake. Isabelle Arsenault.

[Pictured below are sketches and finals from Lemony Snicket's 29 Myths on the Swinster Pharmacy

, including how Lisa applies digital texture and collage, as well as different versions of the same page.]

 


Thumbs
(Click to enlarge)


 


(Color test)


 


Final art: “‘What can you tell me about it that I don’t already know?’
Your lies bounce off its windows like spinning discarded tops.”


 


Reference image


 



Outtake
(Click sketch to enlarge)


 


Final art: “People get sick all the time,
but nobody gets better because of the Swinster Pharmacy.”


 


(Click to enlarge)


 




“…We followed one of them home one night and he lived in a house right across from another pharmacy. The employee, not the coat.”


 

5. Jules: What is currently in rotation on your iPod or loaded in your CD player? Do you listen to music while you create books?

Lisa: The Free Pop Electronic Concept is the album that is playing on my stereo right now. It’s kinda go-go jazz, I dunno. It sounds like a disco in a 1960s’ comedy. My husband put it on. He listens to music — all kinds, non-stop. I listen to it too, because I live with him.

When he’s out of town, I have been known to sit in silence for days on end — to his total amazement. When I’m drawing, I listen to NPR all day long. When I’m writing, it’s something without words, like Haydn or Bach, that I put on and then don’t hear a note.

That last album just ended and now, apparently, we are listening to the soundtrack to The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, 1958. Very orientalist.

6. Jules: What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?

Lisa: That I’ve seen every single episode of Golden Girls. More than once.

7. Jules: Is there something you wish interviewers would ask you — but never do? Feel free to ask and respond here.

Lisa: Q: Would you like another cup of coffee?

A: I thought you’d never ask.

* * * The Pivot Questionnaire * * *

Jules: What is your favorite word?

Lisa: “Ennui.”

Jules: What is your least favorite word?

Lisa: “Panties.”

Jules: What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

Lisa: My husband.

Jules: What turns you off?

Lisa: Fonts masquerading as hand-lettering.

7-Imp: What is your favorite curse word? (optional)

Lisa: “Fuck-ing A.”

Jules: What sound or noise do you love?

Lisa: Waves crashing on the beach.

Jules: What sound or noise do you hate?

Lisa: Kids whining in the supermarket.

Jules: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

Lisa: Librarian.

Jules: What profession would you not like to do?

Lisa: Receptionist who has to be at work early in the morning. I hate talking on the phone. I hate waking up in the morning.

Jules: If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

Lisa: “Come on in, and feel free to sleep as late as you like … for eternity.”

* * * * * * *

All artwork and images are used with permission of Lisa Brown.

The opening head shot of Lisa Brown and the studio pics are copyright © Kristen Sard.

The school visit photo of Lisa is copyright © Ashley Thompson Photography.

The spiffy and slightly sinister gentleman introducing the Pivot Questionnaire is Alfred, © 2009 Matt Phelan.

6 Comments on Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Lisa Brown, last added: 7/17/2014
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11. Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Lisa Brown

It’s a sort of miracle that this breakfast interview is even happening, since both author-illustrator Lisa Brown and I are not morning people. Oh wait, right. It’s a cyber-breakfast, but still … If it were a real, face-to-face breakfast, you can bet that we’d be having our chat over an afternoon snack, despite the name of this blog.

Another thing we share in common? A deep and abiding love for coffee (which certainly helps make our mornings easier), so I’m glad she was willing to come have pretend coffee with me today so that we could see lots and lots of her art. In fact, she says her usual breakfast is “a cup of coffee, then some toast and peanut butter, maybe some fruit smoothie if there is any left over from my husband and son, who will have been awake and functioning WAY before I shuffle into the kitchen in my pajamas, exhausted with the effort of having to wake up and shuffle into the kitchen. Then more coffee.” I can get behind these multiple rounds of coffee.

This year, Lisa saw the release of two illustrated titles, Lemony Snicket’s

29 Myths on the Swinster Pharmacy (McSweeney’s McMullens, February 2014) and Cathleen Daly’s Emily’s Blue Period, which just received a starred Horn Book review.

I love to follow Lisa’s work, and it was good to have a chance here to ask her what she’s up to next. There is a freshness and warmth to her watercolors that can be terrifically child-friendly, but there’s also an edge to many of her books (especially for older readers) and paintings. (She’s doing a sketch a day this year, as you’ll read below, which you can follow here.) As Martha Parravano writes in that Horn Book review, her work can be elegant. Yet she also embraces the enigmatic, as with 29 Myths. And embracing the enigmatic is always good. (Embracing the Enigmatic. Band name. I call it!)

I thank Lisa for visiting this morning and sharing as much art as she does.

* * * * * * *

Jules: Are you an illustrator or author/illustrator?

Lisa: I like to say “Illustrator/Author/Cartoonist.”











Above: Lisa’s New Year resolution was to post a sketch for every day of 2014.

Jules: Can you list your books-to-date?

Lisa: As writer and illustrator:


 




 

As illustrator:

As co-author and illustrator:


Lisa: “To promote Picture the Dead, Adele Griffin and I would dress as Victorians.”

Jules: What is your usual medium?

Lisa: I jump between brush and India ink with watercolor and a purely digital style that I do with Adobe Illustrator. Lately, I’ve also been combining the watercolor stuff with some digital collage: I scan in my original watercolor and ink drawing, then layer it over different found or created textures that I’ve scanned into the computer.

Jules: If you have illustrated for various age ranges (such as, both picture books and early reader books OR, say, picture books and chapter books), can you briefly discuss the differences, if any, in illustrating for one age group to another?

Lisa: I find that there isn’t really a difference to my approach in terms of the age range of my audience. It has more to do with the subject matter; each one is different and so requires a different angle, whether it be different medium, structure or style. A humorous book about the Pope will look different than a board book will look different than a cozy bedtime book will look different than an illustrated ghost story for young adults.

Jules: Where are your stompin’ grounds?

Lisa: San Francisco most of the time. Cape Cod some of the time.

 


Color test for Emily’s Blue Period


 


Thumbnails


 



Early sketches and tests


 



“Jack is hiding behind a big couch. He won’t comeout. ‘This is my FORTRESS! No one can come back here!’ ‘Come on, Jack,’ says Dad. But Jack won’t budge.”
(Click to enlarge)


 


“THIS IS MY COUCH FORTRESS AND NO ONE CAN TOUCH ME!
NO ARMS ALLOWED IN MY FORTRESS!”

Above: Some final art from Emily’s Blue Period (without text)


 

[The below images are an illustration from Emily's Blue Period ---the last image just below, that is---with reference images: the paintings on the wall, plus reference for the character’s stuffed animal, based on a toy horse belonging to Picasso’s son Claude.]

 






(Click to enlarge)

Jules: Can you tell me about your road to publication?

Lisa: Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted to write and illustrate picture books. But then I went to college, got a degree in English and History, and sort of lost momentum on my art. I started working for a magazine doing admin, editing, and production, and then went back to school for graphic design. In the meantime, my husband, whom I met in college, was busy becoming Lemony Snicket. So when I was ready and had paid off some student loans, I borrowed his agent and his editor and pitched (and sold) my first book.

Jules: Can you please point readers to your web site and/or blog?

Lisa: www.americanchickens.com; americanchickens.tumblr.com.

Jules: If you do school visits, tell me what they’re like.

 

Lisa Brown -- photo is © Ashley Thompson Photography

Lisa at a school visit, explaining where the picture book gutter is


 

Lisa: I used to do a specific presentation tailored to each of my books: How to Be, for instance, was a slide show starring my father-in-law pretending to be different animals, to ridiculous effect.

 


Lisa: “[This is] from a school visit slide show. My lovely late father-in-law,
acting ridiculous for me.”


 

Vampire Boy’s Good Night had pictures of my husband dressed up as a very low-rent vampire and stalking me in my studio and reacting to a light box.

 





(Click each to enlarge)

Nowadays, I do a presentation that talks about how I make a book, in general, with slides, cartoons, and the showing of sketch dummies. I always end my talks with a collaborative drawing for and with the students, which grew out of my work leading bookmaking field trips at 826 Valencia.


Lisa: “[This is] a cartoon I made based on a workshop I’ve run at 826 Valencia tutoring center for kids — about how to write ghost stories.”
(Click to enlarge)

Jules: Tell me how teaching illustration influences your work as an illustrator, if at all.

Lisa: I’ve just started to teach picture book writing and illustration at the California College of the Arts, and I absolutely love it. I find that the act of trying to explain what makes a picture book or an illustration successful helps me to figure out how to go about making a successful book myself. I also use the class as a bully pulpit to extol the importance of picture books as perfect little pieces of mass-produced art.

Jules: Any new titles/projects you might be working on now that you can tell me about?

Lisa: Mummy Cat, written by Marcus Ewert and illustrated by me, is all handed in and coming out in the summer of 2015.

 


(Click to enlarge)








 

The Airport, written and illustrated by me, is in process and coming out. [Below are sketches, color tests, etc.]

 






(Click to enlarge)


 

I dunno. I work unbearably slowly on things I care a lot about. Don’t tell my editor.

Mmm. Coffee.Okay, I’ve got more coffee, and we are sufficiently awake. It’s time to get a bit more detailed with seven questions over breakfast. I thank Lisa again for visiting 7-Imp.

1. Jules: What exactly is your process when you are illustrating a book? You can start wherever you’d like when answering: getting initial ideas, starting to illustrate, or even what it’s like under deadline, etc. Do you outline a great deal of the book before you illustrate or just let your muse lead you on and see where you end up?

Lisa

: When I’m writing the book myself, I start with an almost finished manuscript. I recognize that words will change once I get to drawing, but I need a text with a beginning, middle, and end upon which to build. Then I sketch out a tiny thumbnail storyboard of all the pages. It helps me if I can see the entire structure of a book all at once, number of pages and proportions and everything. I redraw my thumbnails bigger and bigger until they are almost full-size, and then I construct a dummy book. I need to see the book as a physical book, with turnable pages and set type, so I can grasp how everything is working. I was trained as a graphic designer, so I lay out everything in a layout program as if I am designing the final book. It often ends up very close to looking like the final book.

I’m also addicted to reference. I have stacks of books and folders of JPGs, sourced both on the internet and via my camera, for every book I do.

When it’s time to do the final art, I play around and test techniques and pull my hair out and cry and complain to anyone who will listen and then figure it out.

[Pictured below are some thumbnails and dummies, etc. from a presentation Lisa gives about how she makes a book. Click each to enlarge.]
























(Click each image above to enlarge)

2. Jules: Describe your studio or usual work space.

Lisa

: I work in a little studio apartment in the basement of a house where my best friend from high school (and senior prom date, pictured above) lives with his husband. It’s filled with books and pictures cut out from magazines and printed out from the computer and stuck all over the walls and with lots of tubes of paint and bottles of ink and stained brushes and a sink full of dirty coffee cups.














(Click each studio pic to enlarge)

3. Jules: As a book-lover, it interests me: What books or authors and/or illustrators influenced you as an early reader?

 


Lisa: “My brother and I watching Sesame Street, 1976.
I was terrified and obsessed with The Count.”

Lisa

: Oh I was, and am, SUCH a bookworm. My favorite books as a little kid were The Lonely Doll by Dare Wright, Georgie by Robert Bright, A Woggle of Witches by Adrienne Adams, and Sarah’s Room by Doris Orgel, illustrated by Maurice Sendak.


My chapter book obsessions: The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare, the Emily of New Moon books by L.M. Montgomery, The Girl With the Silver Eyes by Willo Davis Roberts, the Westmark books by Lloyd Alexander, and the Wizard of Earthsea trilogy by Ursula Le Guin. And I finally, after many an extensive internet search, found a book that I absolutely adored but had been unable to hunt down before, Elizabeth Elizabeth by Eileen Dunlop, published in 1977.

In high school, I became smitten with the work of Edward Gorey, with whom I have never fallen out of love.

 


Lisa: “A friend of mine won one of Edward Gorey’s fur coats at an auction,
and she let me try it on.”

Now I am immersed in reading a bunch of classic novels that I’ve never gotten around to exploring — for a book that I’m doing with more of my three-panel book reviews.

 



 



 


(Click each to enlarge)

4. Jules: If you could have three (living) authors or illustrators—whom you have not yet met—over for coffee or a glass of rich, red wine, whom would you choose? (Some people cheat and list deceased authors/illustrators. I won’t tell.)

Lisa: Tomi Ungerer. Quentin Blake. Isabelle Arsenault.

[Pictured below are sketches and finals from Lemony Snicket's 29 Myths on the Swinster Pharmacy

, including how Lisa applies digital texture and collage, as well as different versions of the same page.]

 


Thumbs
(Click to enlarge)


 


(Color test)


 


Final art: “‘What can you tell me about it that I don’t already know?’
Your lies bounce off its windows like spinning discarded tops.”


 


Reference image


 



Outtake
(Click sketch to enlarge)


 


Final art: “People get sick all the time,
but nobody gets better because of the Swinster Pharmacy.”


 


(Click to enlarge)


 




“…We followed one of them home one night and he lived in a house right across from another pharmacy. The employee, not the coat.”


 

5. Jules: What is currently in rotation on your iPod or loaded in your CD player? Do you listen to music while you create books?

Lisa: The Free Pop Electronic Concept is the album that is playing on my stereo right now. It’s kinda go-go jazz, I dunno. It sounds like a disco in a 1960s’ comedy. My husband put it on. He listens to music — all kinds, non-stop. I listen to it too, because I live with him.

When he’s out of town, I have been known to sit in silence for days on end — to his total amazement. When I’m drawing, I listen to NPR all day long. When I’m writing, it’s something without words, like Haydn or Bach, that I put on and then don’t hear a note.

That last album just ended and now, apparently, we are listening to the soundtrack to The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, 1958. Very orientalist.

6. Jules: What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?

Lisa: That I’ve seen every single episode of Golden Girls. More than once.

7. Jules: Is there something you wish interviewers would ask you — but never do? Feel free to ask and respond here.

Lisa: Q: Would you like another cup of coffee?

A: I thought you’d never ask.

* * * The Pivot Questionnaire * * *

Jules: What is your favorite word?

Lisa: “Ennui.”

Jules: What is your least favorite word?

Lisa: “Panties.”

Jules: What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

Lisa: My husband.

Jules: What turns you off?

Lisa: Fonts masquerading as hand-lettering.

7-Imp: What is your favorite curse word? (optional)

Lisa: “Fuck-ing A.”

Jules: What sound or noise do you love?

Lisa: Waves crashing on the beach.

Jules: What sound or noise do you hate?

Lisa: Kids whining in the supermarket.

Jules: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

Lisa: Librarian.

Jules: What profession would you not like to do?

Lisa: Receptionist who has to be at work early in the morning. I hate talking on the phone. I hate waking up in the morning.

Jules: If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

Lisa: “Come on in, and feel free to sleep as late as you like … for eternity.”

* * * * * * *

All artwork and images are used with permission of Lisa Brown.

The opening head shot of Lisa Brown and the studio pics are copyright © Kristen Sard.

The school visit photo of Lisa is copyright © Ashley Thompson Photography.

The spiffy and slightly sinister gentleman introducing the Pivot Questionnaire is Alfred, © 2009 Matt Phelan.

0 Comments on Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Lisa Brown as of 1/1/1900
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12. Celebrating 75 years of Madeline



 

Today over at the Wild Things! site, we celebrate Madeline, 75 years old and still showing off her scar. There’s some art from the book over in that post. Pictured above is my favorite illustration of all.

That link is here.

Until tomorrow …

* * * * * * *

MADELINE. Copyright © 1939 by Ludwig Bemelmans. First published in the U.S. by Simon and Schuster. First published by The Viking Press, 1958. Illustration reproduced by permission of Viking Press, New York.

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13. Celebrating 75 years of Madeline



 

Today over at the Wild Things! site, we celebrate Madeline, 75 years old and still showing off her scar. There’s some art from the book over in that post. Pictured above is my favorite illustration of all.

That link is here.

Until tomorrow …

* * * * * * *

MADELINE. Copyright © 1939 by Ludwig Bemelmans. First published in the U.S. by Simon and Schuster. First published by The Viking Press, 1958. Illustration reproduced by permission of Viking Press, New York.

0 Comments on Celebrating 75 years of Madeline as of 1/1/1900
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14. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #390: Featuring E. H. Shepard

Good morning, all. The illustrator to be featured in today’s post (E. H. Shepard is just filling in) needed a bit more time to get her work and thoughts together, and I said, hey, I’m a busy lady myself these days, so take your time. And so the post is delayed, but I can tell you that when I do post the art of this talented illustrator, you’re in for a treat.

I’m not without content, though, because as I’ve already mentioned a couple times here at 7-Imp, over at a new site (called Wild Things!), my co-author and I are sharing stories that were cut from our upcoming book, Wild Things! Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature — stories, that is, that didn’t make it to publication, on account of length.

And I have to say: It’s been a lot of fun to share the stories. Yesterday (here), we had some stories related to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and today we have some stories related to the Winnie-the-Pooh books. The story, in fact, about the real Christopher Robin, a.k.a. Billy Moon, always breaks my heart, especially the ending and his ability to come to terms with his fame. (“[T]o my surprise and pleasure, I found myself standing beside them in the sunshine able to look them both in the eye.” Oof. Gets me every time.)

So, I’m so sorry I don’t have art for you today (other than a bit of E.H. Shepard), but I can certainly point you to that post over at Wild Things!

* * * * * * *

Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New kickers are always welcome.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

1) The abiding generosity of Jama (and Mr. Jama).

2) I get to meet Jama in person (for the first time ever) in a few weeks! I’m inordinately excited about this.

3) This profile of Dahlov Ipcar was neat to read.

4) I’ve been prepping for this presentation, which I enjoy doing every July in Knoxville.

5) As a ginormous SNL fan, words cannot possibly express how happy this made me to see this week:

6) I already said this, but it’s been really fun to share cut stories from our book at the new site.

7) Showing Planet of the Apes (the original film, that is) to the girls. (I’m a big fan — of those original movies and my girls.)

What are YOUR kicks this week?

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15. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #390: Featuring E. H. Shepard

Good morning, all. The illustrator to be featured in today’s post (E. H. Shepard is just filling in) needed a bit more time to get her work and thoughts together, and I said, hey, I’m a busy lady myself these days, so take your time. And so the post is delayed, but I can tell you that when I do post the art of this talented illustrator, you’re in for a treat.

I’m not without content, though, because as I’ve already mentioned a couple times here at 7-Imp, over at a new site (called Wild Things!), my co-author and I are sharing stories that were cut from our upcoming book, Wild Things! Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature — stories, that is, that didn’t make it to publication, on account of length.

And I have to say: It’s been a lot of fun to share the stories. Yesterday (here), we had some stories related to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and today we have some stories related to the Winnie-the-Pooh books. The story, in fact, about the real Christopher Robin, a.k.a. Billy Moon, always breaks my heart, especially the ending and his ability to come to terms with his fame. (“[T]o my surprise and pleasure, I found myself standing beside them in the sunshine able to look them both in the eye.” Oof. Gets me every time.)

So, I’m so sorry I don’t have art for you today (other than a bit of E.H. Shepard), but I can certainly point you to that post over at Wild Things!

* * * * * * *

Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New kickers are always welcome.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

1) The abiding generosity of Jama (and Mr. Jama).

2) I get to meet Jama in person (for the first time ever) in a few weeks! I’m inordinately excited about this.

3) This profile of Dahlov Ipcar was neat to read.

4) I’ve been prepping for this presentation, which I enjoy doing every July in Knoxville.

5) As a ginormous SNL fan, words cannot possibly express how happy this made me to see this week:

6) I already said this, but it’s been really fun to share cut stories from our book at the new site.

7) Showing Planet of the Apes (the original film, that is) to the girls. (I’m a big fan — of those original movies and my girls.)

What are YOUR kicks this week?

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16. What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Amrita Das


“A child’s life is hard, especially if you’re cursed to be poor. It’s gone even before you start on it. … If you dream for a moment,
you’re asked why you’re twiddling your thumbs.”

(Click to enlarge and read full text)


 

This morning over at Kirkus, because I’m preparing for a presentation about the best picture books of the year thus far, I thought I’d weigh in my with tippy-top favorites.

Thank link will be here soon.

* * *

Last week, since I wrote (here) about Amrita Das’ Hope is a Girl Selling Fruit, an April release from India’s Tara Books, I’m following up with some art today.

Enjoy.

 


“At the workshop, I was asked to think of a story to draw. I didn’t know where to start. I wanted to draw women, but what story would these women be part of?
I thought of my own childhood. … and started to paint two girls under a tree.
Here they are: they’re dancing, happy to be jumping on the leaves. Everything’s green, the leaves rustle pleasantly, the birds chirp. It’s an idyllic scene.
But was my childhood really like that? Was this the truth?”

(Click to enlarge)


 


“It all started when I met that girl’s eyes: poor, inncocent eyes that said so much, even while she was so silent. …”
(Click to enlarge and read full text)


 


“The first night on the train, well past midnight, I woke up and looked for her.
She was not there! I panicked. …”

(Click to enlarge and read full text)


 


“This other girl was poor too, and her clothes were torn. She had lost a leg, but she managed to push her cart around confidently. … She’s her own creature, I thought, she’s walking around, she’s earning and supporting her family.”
(Click to enlarge and read full text)


 


“… We’re all in this together, I remember thinking, lost, but not quite. We have to take what we have, go our own ways, and try to make the most of it. …”
(Click to enlarge and read full text)


 



 

* * * * * * *


 

HOPE IS A GIRL SELLING FRUIT. Copyright © 2013 by Tara Books. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher.

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17. What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Amrita Das


“A child’s life is hard, especially if you’re cursed to be poor. It’s gone even before you start on it. … If you dream for a moment,
you’re asked why you’re twiddling your thumbs.”

(Click to enlarge and read full text)


 

This morning over at Kirkus, because I’m preparing for a presentation about the best picture books of the year thus far, I thought I’d weigh in my with tippy-top favorites.

Thank link is here.

* * *

Last week, since I wrote (here) about Amrita Das’ Hope is a Girl Selling Fruit, an April release from India’s Tara Books, I’m following up with some art today.

Enjoy.

 


“At the workshop, I was asked to think of a story to draw. I didn’t know where to start. I wanted to draw women, but what story would these women be part of?
I thought of my own childhood. … and started to paint two girls under a tree.
Here they are: they’re dancing, happy to be jumping on the leaves. Everything’s green, the leaves rustle pleasantly, the birds chirp. It’s an idyllic scene.
But was my childhood really like that? Was this the truth?”

(Click to enlarge)


 


“It all started when I met that girl’s eyes: poor, inncocent eyes that said so much, even while she was so silent. …”
(Click to enlarge and read full text)


 


“The first night on the train, well past midnight, I woke up and looked for her.
She was not there! I panicked. …”

(Click to enlarge and read full text)


 


“This other girl was poor too, and her clothes were torn. She had lost a leg, but she managed to push her cart around confidently. … She’s her own creature, I thought, she’s walking around, she’s earning and supporting her family.”
(Click to enlarge and read full text)


 


“… We’re all in this together, I remember thinking, lost, but not quite. We have to take what we have, go our own ways, and try to make the most of it. …”
(Click to enlarge and read full text)


 



 

* * * * * * *


 

HOPE IS A GIRL SELLING FRUIT. Copyright © 2013 by Tara Books. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher.

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18. Catching up with Author-Illustrator Matt Phelan

I’m never consciously thinking ‘wispy’ when I draw, but my line (and especially my pen line) does have an intentional sketchy quality. I like the term ‘lost and found line’ as a description.”

* * *

Over at Kirkus today, I talk to author-illustrator Matt Phelan, pictured here, about his 2014 projects, Burleigh Mutén’s Miss Emily, released back in March, and his own picture book, Druthers, coming in September. Both books are from Candlewick.

Matt’s response to the what’s-next question may or may not have made me squeal. (I think the Snow White project sounds pretty great.)

That Q&A will be here soon.

Next week, I’ll have some art from each book, as well as some sketches and such from Matt.

Until tomorrow …

* * * * * * *

Photo of Matt Phelan used with his permission.

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19. TOONs Thursday: Some Art fromFrédéric Othon Théodore Aristidès,Lorenzo Mattotti, and Yvan Pommaux


“And then, one morning, their father announced he was taking them with him to work.”
– From Neil Gaiman’s
Hansel & Gretel, illustrated by Lorenzo Mattotti
(Click to enlarge)


 


From Yvan Pommaux’s Theseus and the Minotaur
(Click to see spread in its entirety)


 


From Fred’s Cast Away on the Letter A: A Philemon Adventure
(Click to enlarge)


 

Last week over at Kirkus, I chatted with designer and editor Françoise Mouly about TOON Graphics, the new imprint from TOON Books. That conversation is here, and today I follow up with some art from the imprint’s three debut titles — Neil Gaiman’s Hansel & Gretel, illustrated by Lorenzo Mattotti; Yvan Pommaux’s Theseus and the Minotaur; and Cast Away on the Letter A: A Philemon Adventure from Frédéric Othon Théodore Aristidès, who went simply by Fred.

Enjoy.



 

From Neil Gaiman’s Hansel & Gretel,
illustrated by Lorenzo Mattotti (October 2014)



 


“They went so deep into the old forest
that the sunlight was stained green by the leaves.”
(Click to enlarge)



 

From Yvon Pommaux’s
Theseus and the Minotaur
(August 2014)



 


(Click to enlarge)


 



(Click either image to see spread in its entirety)


 



(Click either image to see spread in its entirety)


 



(Click either image to see spread in its entirety)


 



 

From Cast Away on the Letter A:
A Philemon Adventure

(September 2014)



 


(Click to enlarge)


 



(Click either image to see spread in its entirety)


 



(Click either image to see spread in its entirety)


 



 

* * * * * * *

All images are posted here by permission of TOON Books.

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20. What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week,Featuring Rilla Alexander and Bob Staake


Back cover character sketches from Bob Staake’s My Pet Book



 


Title page illustration from Rilla Alexander’s The Best Book in the World


 

This morning over at Kirkus, since women’s rights (given the news this week) are heavy on my mind, I write about Amrita Das’ Hope is a Girl Selling Fruit, an April release from India’s Tara Books. That link will be here soon.

* * *

Last week, I wrote (here) about Rilla Alexander’s The Best Book in the World! (Flying Eye Books, July 2014) and Bob Staake’s My Pet Book (Random House, July 2014). Now, that column also included Jen Bryant’s The Right Word: Roget and his Thesaurus, illustrated by Melissa Sweet and coming to bookshelves in September from Eerdmans, but I will have some images (preliminary images, final art, and some words from Melissa) next week.

Today, I have some art from Rilla’s and Bob’s books — and Bob shares some early sketches as well.

Enjoy!



 

From Bob Staake’s My Pet Book
(Random House, July 2014):
Early Pencil Work and Some Final Art



 


Alternate cover sketch


 


Alternate cover sketch: Splitting pet traffic
(Click to enlarge)


 


Another alternate cover sketch


 


Alternate cover sketch,
based on the Eldredge Library in Chatham, Massachusetts


 


The cover sketch Random House ultimately chose


 


Final revised cover sketch


 


Final dustjacket
(Click to enlarge)


 


Manuscript with syllable cadence notes


 


Pencil studies for the boy and the maid


 


Opening spread pencil sketch with typography notes
(Click to enlarge)


 


Final spread (though the text is different)
(Click to enlarge)


 


Black and white ink art for “Loyal Neighborhood Bookopolis” sign


 



Final spread, though the text is different
(Click either image to see spread in its entirety)


 


Final spread
(Click to enlarge)


 


Final spread, though the text is slightly different
(Click to enlarge)


 


Bob: “This is the ‘awesomeness and glory’ sketch. If you look closely, you can see that I erased the boy sawing off the octopus’ tentacle and
instead showed him tying two of them in a bow.”

(Click to enlarge)


 


Final spread, though the text is slightly different
(Click to enlarge)


 



Final spread, though the text is slightly different
(Click either image to see spread in its entirety)


 


Abandoned sketch


 


Pencil sketch for endpaper repeat pattern
(Click to enlarge)


 


Opening endpapers
(Click to enlarge)


 

From Rilla Alexander’s
The Best Book in the World!
(Flying Eye Books, July 2014)



 


“Read along. Read out loud.”
(Click to enlarge)


 


“Through pictures and words.”
(Click to enlarge)


 


“We’ve people to meet …”
(Click to enlarge)


 


“We’re almost at the end.”
(Click to enlarge)


 



 

* * * * * * *

MY PET BOOK. Copyright © 2014 by Bob Staake. Published by Random House, New York. All images here reproduced by permission of Bob Staake.

THE BEST BOOK IN THE WORLD! Copyright © 2014 by Rilla Alexander. Published by Flying Eye Books, London. All images here reproduced by permission of the publisher.

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21. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #389: FeaturingUp-and-Coming Illustrator, Brooke Boynton Hughes


(Click to enlarge)

It’s the first Sunday of the month, which means a student or just-starting-out illustrator here at 7-Imp. Today, I welcome Brooke Boynton Hughes, who has already illustrated one children’s book and is working on a handful of others now but is still relatively new to the field. It’s a pleasure to share some of her artwork today. Let’s get right to it, especially since Brooke gives us a few words of introduction.

Brooke: I’ve wanted to illustrate children’s books ever since I was little. When other kids my age were moving on to middle-grade books, I was still poring over picture books. I loved reading, but I was especially enthralled by visual storytelling. As a kid, I spent a lot of time drawing and becoming engrossed in whatever visual world I was into at the time. There were a couple of years where I drew almost nothing except for tree houses, and there was the year of underground rabbit houses. The imagined worlds that I created in my drawings felt really real to me. I guess I loved, and still love, residing in imagined worlds.


(Click to enlarge)


(Click to enlarge)

I attended Colorado State University where I earned a BFA in printmaking. In 2006, I received an MFA in figurative art from the New York Academy of Art. I concentrated on drawing and relief printmaking and made a lot of woodcuts that focused on folktales. Today, I use pen and ink and watercolor on Arches 140lb hot press watercolor paper to create my illustrations.


(Click to enlarge)


(Click to enlarge)


(Click to enlarge)


(Click to enlarge)

In 2005, while still in grad school, I joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and began attending their conferences. I’ve learned so much from SCBWI and have met most of my close friends at SCBWI conferences.

This summer I’ve been working on putting the finishing touches on Baby Love, written by Angela DiTerlizzi and published by Beach Lane Books. Baby Love [pictured below] will come out next Spring.


(Click to enlarge)


(Click to enlarge)

I’ve started on the illustrations for the second book in a middle-grade series, called Cupcake Cousins. The first Cupcake Cousins book, written by Kate Hannigan and published by Disney-Hyperion, came out at the beginning of May. I’m starting on the illustrations for a picture book titled MORE!, written by Linda Ashman and published by Random House. I’m also working on two book dummies of my own stories and am getting ready for this year’s SCBWI Summer Conference.

Some of my favorite books when I was little were The Little Moon Theatre by Irene Haas, Where’s Wallace by Hilary Knight, The Clown of God by Tomie DePaola, and The Grey Lady and the Strawberry Snatcher by Molly Bang. Oh, and I can’t leave out How Tom Beat Captain Najork and His Hired Sportsmen by Russell Hoban and illustrated by Quentin Blake! And just one more: Come Follow Me by Gyo Fujikawa. I spent so much time with that one that the binding broke and the cover fell off.

Thank you so much for sharing my work, Jules!



Jules: Thanks to Brooke for visiting. Because she gave me permission to pull more images from her website, I’d like to share these, too. The last two are my very favorites:


(Click to enlarge)


(Click to enlarge)


(Click to enlarge)


(Click to enlarge)


(Click to enlarge)

All images used with permission of Brooke Boynton Hughes.

* * * * * * *

Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New kickers are always welcome.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

It was a distressing week in children’s lit, due to the very sad loss of Walter Dean Myers, and it was a distressing week for women’s rights in national news, so let’s work extra hard to find our kicks, shall we?

1) Though it’s challenging to get work done at home (since I always work from home) during the summers, I’m still enjoying more time with my girls — and especially more time for reading with them.

2) Remember how last week I was too tired to even leave kicks from re-organizing stuff in our home (mostly books)? Well, it feels good to be re-organized.

3) I love, in particular, what Sergio Ruzzier has to say in this interview about reading levels and children reading what they want.

4) We’re enjoying this CD:



 

And the cover art is by illustrator Marcellus Hall!

See? Here’s the best song:

 

5) Gelato.

6) Betsy Bird and I launched a website for our upcoming book, where we will share a story a day up until publication — stories, that is, which never made it in the book (but were in earlier drafts). Today’s story includes the best ALA conference photo ever.

7) I’ve lined up a book launch at Parnassus Books in Nashville for the book’s release, but I’ll try to remember to post about the website and the book launch here at 7-Imp tomorrow.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

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22. Finding the Right Illustrations with Melissa Sweet


(Click to enlarge)

Last week in my Kirkus column, I mentioned Jen Bryant’s The Right Word: Roget and his Thesaurus, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, coming from Eerdmans in September. It’s such a superb picture book, and today Melissa visits to share a bit about what went into creating the art for it.

Enjoy.

Melissa: The research for this book began when I visited a private collector who owns Roget memorabilia, including the original word book [from] Roget, which later became his Thesaurus.

Holding Roget’s book was like holding a hummingbird — delicate, diminutive, yet powerful. Though I saw his handwriting in lovely sepia ink, I knew that to mimic Roget’s handwriting would only be interesting for a page or two.

One of the most challenging types of picture books to illustrate is a biography of a writer. There needs to be more to the story than someone writing at their desk over and over again. In A River of Words, the poems of William Carlos Williams provided the visual imagery as a launch pad for the art. For this book, Roget’s lists became the inspiration. However, as I explain in the Author’s Notes, the only surviving lists were his Latin lists. Much of my time on this book was spent reading his original Thesaurus (published in 1852) in order find the right words—no pun intended—for the art. (This first Thesaurus was classified by “ideas,” similar to the way Linnaeus classified plants and animals.)

The words and pictures had to be intertwined. I crafted the content of the lists to reflect his age at the time, the setting, what he was studying. I confess to getting sidetracked by this book for hours on end (full disclosure: it was days and weeks on end), riveted by the beauty of his classification in his Thesaurus. I could not put this book down!

 



 

Every book starts with the dummy, but storyboards help determine pacing, even if it’s just a cryptic note. In this case, we weren’t certain if the book would be 40 or 48 pages, and this helps to see various paginations. I make three to four storyboards as I sort out the book.

 


(Click to enlarge)


 

On the right are the Latin lists Roget worked on as a boy. Illustrating this first list set the tone for the rest of the lists in the art.

 


(Click to enlarge)


 



Final art
(Click either image to see spread in its entirety)



 


(Click to enlarge)


 



Final art from the book
(Click second image to see spread in its entirety)


 

Once I had the word lists for a given spread, the collages had a life of their own. There’s no real way to know what the final art will look like. I just begin.

In this case [below], Jen had written a list within the text, which was incorporated into the art seen on the left-hand page. It made sense visually to hand–letter it.

This is a small version of the dummy, again for layout purposes. (I may end up making many dummies — even as an exercise, it helps tremendously to feel what the book needs next.)

 


(Click to enlarge)


 

A sketch for the left page:

The collage on the right [second image below] is partly carved out of an old book and partly crafted by adding to it.

Inspired by the text: “all the ideas in the world” led to using the words light and dark, universe, cosmos, etc. and visually creating depth in this collage with the celestial sky in the background and the natural world in all its minutia in the foreground.

Reflecting the mood of the spread, and since Roget’s word book included antonyms, this collage also includes pleasure; its opposite, misery; and associated words.

 



(Click either image to see spread in its entirety)


 

The [cover] sketch was very simple, enough to tell me this could work:

 


(Click to enlarge)


 


Final cover
(Click to enlarge)

It was such a pleasure to work with everyone at Eerdmans. There was a lot trust this would all work out with only my sketchy dummies to go by!

The production on this book is gorgeous. We’re all thrilled.

Logophiles (or logomaniacs, as a friend refers to word aficionados), here’s to finding the right word whenever you need it.

And to Jules: Thank you, with gratitude, much obliged!

* * * * * * *

THE RIGHT WORD: ROGET AND HIS THESAURUS. Copyright © 2014 by Jen Bryant. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Melissa Sweet. Published by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, Michigan. All images here reproduced by permission of Melissa Sweet and the publisher.

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23. Wild Things!: Website and Book Launch

Just a quick note to say two things:

First up, Betsy Bird and I have launched a website for our upcoming book, Wild Things! Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature, coming from Candlewick Press in early August. It will have handy info, like appearances, book order info, etc., but together, for every day until our release date, Betsy and I will reveal a story that didn’t make it into our book. It’s, as Betsy describes it, the Director’s Cut.

Saturday’s post (when the site went live) was an introductory/hello post. Yesterday, we shared what has to be, hands down, the best ALA Conference photo ever. And today’s story is a tribute to the generosity Maurice Sendak had for up-and-coming illustrators and includes a story from author-illustrator Barbara McClintock about calling him up out of the blue in 1975:

I thought…well, he’d know how I should get involved in children’s books. He could give me advice, which is a little like thinking you could call Meryl Streep and ask for advice about becoming an actress. But I decided that I would call him. And I thought that I didn’t really have much to worry about, because he would do only one of two things: He would either tell me what I wanted to know or he’d hang up.

All those posts are at the new site, and again, we will post daily for a while.

Secondly, I’ll have a book launch for the book at Parnassus Books on August 7, 2014, at 6:30 p.m. The public is invited. Here’s the info.

Until tomorrow …

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24. “We used to laugh so hard at The Stupids Step Out that milk would trickle from our noses at the dinner table.”

I’m having fun at the site for Wild Things!, where my co-author and I are sharing a story a day, at least till publication of our book in early August — stories, that is, which were cut from our original manuscript. So, yeah. I’m now running two blogs at once — or at least, co-running one and running another, but hey, it’s been fun to share these stories over there. I’ll sleep during the apocalypse.

I posted about it the other day and mentioned our first posts. Here’s what’s going on this week:

  • On Tuesday, we told the story of what happened when Charles Dickens said to Hans Christian Andersen, why don’t you swing by and stay with me sometime? (Big mistake.) That is here.
  • Today, it’s a tribute to James Marshall and a touching story about his resting place. And that is here (and that is where this post title comes from).

Tomorrow we’ll take a look at Twinkles Lowry and Slim Hyman: The Untold Story. Friday, we’ll have a tribute to Nancy Garden, and on Saturday we’ll take a look at The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (or When You Might Want to Rethink Buying Your Own Tropical Island).

It’s all here.

In the meantime, see you back here at 7-Imp tomorrow.

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25. Catching up with Author-Illustrator Matt Phelan

I’m never consciously thinking ‘wispy’ when I draw, but my line (and especially my pen line) does have an intentional sketchy quality. I like the term ‘lost and found line’ as a description.”

* * *

Over at Kirkus today, I talk to author-illustrator Matt Phelan, pictured here, about his 2014 projects, Burleigh Mutén’s Miss Emily, released back in March, and his own picture book, Druthers, coming in September. Both books are from Candlewick.

Matt’s response to the what’s-next question may or may not have made me squeal. (I think the Snow White project sounds pretty great.)

That Q&A is here.

Next week, I’ll have some art from each book, as well as some sketches and such from Matt.

Until tomorrow …

* * * * * * *

Photo of Matt Phelan used with his permission.

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