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The official blog of Liz Goulet Dubois -- a children's book illustrator and product designer. She integrates real fabric into her illustrations- the result is tactile, cozy art. Clients include: Scholastic, Highlights, Golden Books, Little Simon, Houghton-Mifflin, and Macmillan-McGraw Hill.
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I had the pleasure and luck to attend the New England SCBWI’s most excellent Whispering Pines Writer’s Retreat again this year (I believe this is my 5th year). It takes place in paradise (also known as URI’s Alton Jones Campus in W. Greenwich, RI). Lucky for me, this isn’t so far to travel; yet it is like being a world away!
We started with a first night first pages panel…
…followed by a pleasant Kid Lit Jeopardy deathmatch.
Valkyrie Lynda fields the questions while Julia Boyce writes upside down and backwards to keep score.
Events take place in and around the campus, but mainly here in the Lodge…
Retreat Directors Lynda Mullaly Hunt and Mary Pierce got the day rolling on Friday with some shout-outs to the volunteers who make it all work.
Accolades and to Laurie Murphy and Linda Crotta Brennan for their assistance!
The mentors this year were stellar!
Erin Dionne, Shauna Rossano, Mary, Sara Crowe, Lynda, Bethany Strout, and Kelly Murphy up front. Missing from this shot: Leslie Connor!
First up was my amazing illustrator friend Kelly Murphy, who was very up front and realistic about what it’s like to work with authors and publishers. Her work is dynamic and recognizably hers, no matter the subject. She takes a lot of care to do manuscripts justice in her art.
Some of Kelly’s originals were on display while she signed books.
Erin Dionne is the author of several books that are huge hits in our house. Her talk was about marketing, and it was fun to hear how she makes connections and cultivates community in the real word and online.
Author Leslie Connor had some great insight into tapping into the truth when writing. Having that element of truth allows readers to invest in your characters and care about what happens to them. Such a good point.
Food! The food is incredible at Whispering Pines. And it just keeps coming. And then the plates disappear. It’s a magical way to live for a few days!
Every meal comes with excellent conversation as well!
First pages, second night…
…followed by FIRE!
Cameron Kelly Rosenblum stokes the fire and the silly conversation, all with the same stick.
Now pretend that you have stayed up WAY past your bedtime talking, laughing, and having a great time. Good!
Shauna Rossano, Associate Editor at G.P. Putnam’s Sons, got the last morning started with some great tips on catching an editor’s eye right away by making those important first impressions.
Sara Crowe, Agent at Harvey Klinger, Inc. gave us some valuable insight into her process of reviewing books for representation. Submissions to her must not only ring true to her, but imply a way she can market it to editors.
Here’s Bethany Strout, Assistant Editor, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. I had met her at the Blueberry Fields retreat in Maine last year, and she was just as smart and approachable here. She draws from both her knowledge and instincts to choose manuscripts for her publisher.
Alas, all too soon, it comes to a close. I love reconnecting with many of my writer and artist friends in the region here; it really is a charmed event.
Just a few of the lovely folks as seen at WP… Jennifer Thermes, Janet Costa Bates, Cameron Kelly Rosenblum, and Kim Savage.
A few parting shots, until next time…!
So, we have a blizzard occurring at the moment here in RI. Anytime there is a serious quantity of snow, those of us who were alive at the time remember the legendary Blizzard of 1978. I know I do! I was 11 at the time, and it made a huge impression.
So, when asked to come up with a winter themed Newport Creamery kid’s menu, I thought it would be interesting for todays’s kids to hear about the storm that many of their parents lived through. A lot has changed in the meantime, especially the ability to know a storm is coming well in advance. We all have SO much information these days that it’s hard to envision a time where we could literally be caught off guard by weather!
The menu cover shows what I remember it being like (sort of). There were actually no cows or other farm animals at my house then. But snowdrifts halfway up the house? Yes! A mom who barely made it home on time? Yup. A dad who got stuck downtown at the Providence Marriott for 3 days, and then decided to walk home to Scituate? Yup. There was no school for days on end, and no power either. We had a fireplace and could cook some things in it. I remember making impressive snow forts and sculptures after all was said and done.
So, after THIS blizzard passes through, and you find yourself in a Newport Creamery, check out the kid’s menu. Go ahead, just ask for one. Here’s a peek at the inside. J. Joseph Garrahy, the Governor of RI at the time, appears inside since he was the one who had to deal with the situation. I hope kids will like this issue, and that it sparks conversation!
I am happy to say that my artwork is currently appearing in a brand NEW little magazine published by our friends at Highlights.
Highlights Hello is designed for the youngest babies and toddlers, and is even printed on rip-proof coated paper and stitched like a little board book.
I love illustrating for this age group. Here is my “Find It” feature, which is like baby’s first Hidden Pictures!
Well, hello, little blog- so good to see you. I’ve been away for while, mostly getting a kid through an extended hospital stay (she’s good now!), and scrambling to catch up on everything else. But hey! Here’s some stuff that showed up recently!
One of my new FRED items, Mr. Tea (a tea infuser shaped like a little guy), was on the Today Show today. Here’s the mighty Al Roker mocking it now!
Watch the whole segment HERE, whereby you can see Al declare, and I quote, “Oh, that’s disturbing. That’s just not right.” HA! He’s right, you know.
More good stuff:
The December 2012 ELLE Magazine: After you’re done checking out Jennifer Lawrence, perfecting your rosy cheeks and dramatic eyes, check out my Pizza Peddlar on the Gift Guide pages! And now you know how sexy women REALLY think.
Changing themes, here’s the December 2012 Issue of Family Circle (not to be confused with Family Circus, Little Billy). They have Mr. Tea featured in their 50 Presents Under $50 Gift Guide.
Ooh, la la! Qu’est ce que c’est? It’s one of my older-but-wiser items, the Chopstick Kids, featured in the Canadian style magazine, Signature. This is the Fall 2012 issue. Très bien!
I will be coming back to Benefit Street this Fall for the annual RISD Alumni and Student Art Sale, which takes place on Saturday, Oct. 6th, from 10am – 4pm.
It’s always good fun… if you go, find me! I will look something like the photo below… except I will have more books and different stuff!
It’s free, open to the public, rain or shine.
All that stuff from my previous post was merely from one day. One giant, LONG day! This post is about the Saturday happenings.
First up in the morning was the “Our Favorite Art Directors” panel. Steven Charny (Rolling Stone), Paul Buckley (Penguin), and Thomas Schmid (Buck TV) were there to show what they do in their respective companies, and the kinds of things they look for in art.
There was a “debate” about whether or not you should get an MFA or not. I nearly skipped this one, due to the fact that I will never get an MFA… but these two guys- Marshall Arisman (Chair, MFA Illustration for the School of Visual Arts) and David Porter (Illustration Professor at RISD) made it an interesting an broader discussion.
They both sort of agree that an MFA isn’t as necessary as life experiences and developing your own conceptual thinking.
Tim O’Brien, a photo-realist with a self-described “aggressive” style, changed the course of his own career when he discovered he kept being hired to do work he wasn’t enthused about. I thought it was a good point- that you have the power to change the course of your career if you want to.
Yes, Tim did the Hunger Games book art, amongst many other unbelievably excellent pieces. Check out his website.
Here is Tommy Lee Edwards, creator of beautiful concept art that is used in all kinds of ways… comics, video games, movies, etc. He likes to help create a feel for the world of each movie or game, something that other people can refer to. I think he’s been successful at that- I definitely connect his art with some of the movies and related media I’ve seen.
Robbi Behr and Matthew Swanson started up Idiots’ Books on their own, after ditching the comfort of the real world and moving into a barn. Their story and their collaborations are charming, funny, and mostly weird. They are great role models for doing whatever the heck you want and making it work.
Sketchbooks… what do they mean to you? Here are 3 rampant sketchbookers- Jillian Tamaki, John Cuneo, and Marcellus Hall. Jillian said that her sketchbook is a personal place and a respite from clients. Marcellus likes to use his for “reportage”… bearing witness to everyday life.
Christy Karacas is the guy behind Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim show, ‘Superjail!‘ I have never seen such violent and creepy animation, frankly… and I am
By: Liz Goulet Dubois
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Conferences, Shows, Appearances
, Inspiring Stuff
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, dan santat
, ICON 7
, jessica hische
, julia rothman
, Lynda Barry
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The ICON 7 Illustration Conference was held right here in RI this year, sponsored in part by good ol’ RISD. That was good news for Eric and I…we had our tickets reserved months ago, and it was finally held this week.
The weather was perfect, the city was looking’ good for the hundreds of illustrators that came to town. We didn’t manage to get to any of the workshops that occurred on previous days, beyond going to the RISD Icons art show opening at the Woods-Gerry Gallery (the show is up until June 24th, so you can still catch it).
Our first full day of stuff was Friday the 15th, and it started early. The darkly chipper Masters of Ceremonies were Jennifer Daniel and Nicholas Blechman.
Gregory DiBisceglie, creative manager for Campaign Planning and Special Projects at Macy’s, showed how he tries to raise the bar of creative experiences that Macy’s offers. Why, there’s one of his special projects now… art created by Chris Buzelli for Macy’s Flower Show.
Here’s the art powerhouse Bob Staake, with a page from one of his children’s books. He started off working in a well-regarded cartoony style, but has since morphed into more graphic looks. He says that since art is always subservient to something else, he likes to shake up his style depending on the need. He also like to surprise an art director with unique takes.
My favorite point he made was that art directors come to you because you’re a thinker. So true. Style and execution is less important than concept, so long as the art gets your point across effectively. I find this very true in product design, as well.
Christopher S. Neal, Josh Cochran, and Sam Weber came to talk about the importance of community and collaboration, as learned in the Pencil Factory studio space in Brooklyn. They not only collaborate with each other, but with lots of varied clients.
The importance of collaboration was a theme that kept popping up throughout the conference. Apparently sequestering oneself up in a studio all alone with no input is not the best way to achieve good art, or to get anything to happen with your art. Huh… go figure!
Here are the folks from the Children’s Book panel: Cecily Kaiser (Abrams), Chad Beckerman (Abrams), and Elizabeth Parisi (Scholastic), with Rachael Cole (Schwartz & Wade/Random House) as
I went to my good friend Lynda Mullaly Hunt’s “official” book launch in Glastonbury, CT last night, to celebrate her new book, One for the Murphys.
It was a GREAT turnout, and Lynda, in her usual Lynda-esque way, had the crowd riveted with snippets, stories, and her trademark irreverence. She is a one-of-a-kind public speaker, and I am in continuing awe of this skill!
I had read the ARC/preview copy of the book, but this was my first chance to see the real thing. Gorgeous! Nice spot-UV printing on the cover, and fancy end papers that relate beautifully to the content of the book. I’m pretty psyched to be in the acknowledgements section, too… what an honor!
Such an amazing crowd! It was fun to see so many folks who know Lynda from different stages of life come out to support her and the book.
Writer girls from RI: Mary Pierce, Laurie Smith Murphy, Lynda, and Me. It was a little bit of a drive, but we didn’t want to miss it… and I am so glad we went!
Now, get out there and check out this book- you’ll be glad you did.
Here’s my review of it on Goodreads.
Here’s Lynda’s book trailer.
It will give you a good feel for the flavor of this lovely and thought-provoking book.
What a blow to lose Maurice Sendak this week. Somehow, he seemed like he would just always be there. I’m glad he was writing, working, and being his straight-shooting, famously cantankerous self right up ’til the end. He was the Book King. I knew this as a kid, too.
Here are two of my all-time favorite Sendak books from childhood. They made such a huge impression, that looking back at them now literally brings me back to being a kid.
First up: Some Swell Pup, or Are You Sure You Want A Dog?
Here’s my dog-eared (haha) copy from 1978. This book is genius, straight up. Every kid (and adult) who is contemplating getting a dog should be issued this book. That is from my adult-perspective view. But as a kid, I found this book hilarious and ridiculously frank. The good, the bad, and the ugly is explored with an unblinking eye.
The story begins when a “mysterious stranger”, who seems to be a dog himself, leaves a puppy on the doorstep of a brother and sister. The initial joy of owning a puppy soon turns to reality when the pup does everything “wrong”… and they do everything wrong.
This book was way ahead of it’s time, if you think about how many books use the “graphic novel” approach. This story is laid out like a comic book, and the details in each panel are spot on. The puppy pees. It poops. It shreds things. The kids fight over it, yell at it, hold it the wrong way, and get aggravated with each other. It’s real. And there is a happy ending, but it’s a realistic one. All is not happy until the kids really get what’s involved in having a dog. And they do, the hard way!
It’s so obvious! You’ve got to love! Love! Love!
Next up: Higglety Pigglety Pop! Or There Must Be More To Life.
I mean, really. Just the title. There was nothing like this on the bookshelves in the early 70s, when I first found it. I recall repeatedly borrowing it from my grammar school library and poring over the illustrations, and the surreal words. The story was weird. It had layers. The pictures felt real to me.
It was moody. And a bit scary. Jennie the dog leaves a life that’s just fine in search of “something more”. She becomes a nursemaid to a baby that won’t eat,
Here are the car logos from last post, installed in my studio. Donny Osmond, Lowly Worm, and an a chorus of wide-mouthed frogs find them inspirational. I will use them as cheerful reminders to stay motivated!
Hello out there! I have not had the chance to blog due to Circumstances Beyond My Control. But mercifully, things are getting back under control again, and so, let the posting begin!
I found these recently at an antique mall near me. They are, of course, metal logos that used to be adhered to cars. These two stuck out with me. I like the idea of a hunk of rolling metal being thought of as “Valiant” or “Dynamic”. That’s just good marketing! And great typography, while we’re at it. I decided that these terms were just as useful in my studio as they were on a car. So now, I shall attempt to keep up a valiant effort and create dynamic art and products!
I also like them because they remind me of this:
May this be a terrific spring for everyone!
I was so sorry to hear about J. Joseph Garrahy’s death today. He was the former Governor of Rhode Island. Back in 1977, when I was 10, I won an art contest and got to meet him at the State House. It was a big moment for Little Me. It was one of the first times that art had made things happen for me, if you know what I mean.
Then, the next year, Garrahy was the hero of the Blizzard of ’78! Everyone here remembers him as the guy in the plaid shirt and the “take charge” demeanor that helped us all dig out of the mountains of snow and problems.
I drew this portrait of him in 1982. He was Governor from ’77-85.
(NOT a great portrait, but then, I never was a realist!)
I had met him again in recent years, and he was still a smart, friendly and excellent guy.
He will be missed. Perhaps he will be hanging out with Salty now, sharing a heavenly Del’s, and looking over Little Rhody!
The ol’ Chat Rabbit has been largely silent for a number of weeks due to holiday happenings… but I have a new book that just came out on New Year’s Day. It’s all about everyone’s favorite President, Abe Lincoln! Words by the incomparable Marion Dane Bauer, pictures by me, and published by Scholastic.
Get yourself an copy and witness… Abe as a boy!
Abe debating stuff!
Abe at war!
Honestly, so to speak, this book is intended to be a first look at Lincoln for the preschool set. I had to do a lot of research to make sure things were portrayed as accurately as possible, but still readable and visually interesting for very young children. It was a challenge! This is a companion book of sorts to the Christopher Columbus book I illustrated a couple of years ago. Here’s hoping this book finds it’s way into many kids’ hands!
By: Liz Goulet Dubois
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, Conferences, Shows, Appearances
, Theater Stuff
, daniel radcliffe
, Fred and friends
, how to succeed in business
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So, I was in New York for the NYIGF last week, helping set up the booth for the FRED company, where I design homegoods and the like.
Setup went well- and the booth looked positively smashing, I must say!
I wouldn’t cross that line if I were you…
After, we had a little time to jump into the Museum of Modern Art’s store and check things out.
They periodically carry Fred items, and I found one of mine, the Half Pint creamer inside.
Even though it was an exhausting day of show setup, I really wanted to see if we could score some tickets to How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, starring Daniel Radcliffe, currently running on Broadway. Holy cow! We got tickets! In the very last row!
The coolest thing about NYC, in my opinion, is the preponderance of theater going on at any given time. You could see a new play every day, and probably never run out of options.
Here’s what the Hirschfeld Theater looks like from outside… oddly enough, there was a giant line of people waiting to get in, but because we were picking up our tickets at the box office, we went in first.
The Hirschfeld Theater has lots of (surprise, surprise!) Hirschfeld cartoon art on the walls!
1 Comments on New York, New York…or, Close Encounters of the Daniel Radcliffe Kind, last added: 8/19/2011
I had the fine good fortune of joining a small group of über-talented writers on the first Blueberry Fields retreat in Yarmouth, Maine. Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect of it, but I was more than willing to find out.
First impressions are everything:
The setting was beautiful, ethereal, and perfectly conducive to getting your writer’s groove on. The sessions were casual.
The results, unforced.
Between poolside art experimentation and word games, we had a first pages reading…
off-the-wharf lobster dinner…
and time to settle in for readings from our works in progress.
The comfort level, along with the high level of writing quality made for a seriously inspiring evening!
Not pictured: TONS of laughter and beautiful food, long and meaningful critiques, frogs, turkeys, yelping foxes and other things that shall remain unpictured!
We had the opportunity to pick organic blueberries from the hundreds of bushes on the property.
Congratulations to all the recent graduates out there! Whether you are moving from Kindergarten to First Grade, from 8th grade to High School, or heading off to college in the fall… well done!
In the Spring of 1989, just before I graduated from RISD, I was very lucky to be “recruited” immediately for a job at Russ Berrie and Co., Inc. The company was in New Jersey, which meant my first real move (since I commuted to college). Russ was famous for it’s giftware at the time, and I was put into the Plush division. Yep- designing stuffed animals for a living! Practically a dream come true!
I recently found some pertinent plush designs from way back then:
“Going nowhere fast”… haha!
This little grad turtle was a typical job. A “Product Planner” would decide what they wanted to see, and then have an artist (like me) draw it up and specify (spec) colors and materials for the manufacturer to work from. Then, we would receive a sample product. The sample would usually be presented to the decision makers (including Russ the man himself), for possible inclusion into one of the upcoming lines. Often, items didn’t make it into the line for one reason or another.
This design for “Gradzilla” was a different story. When we designers were finished with our regular work and had extra time, we could freely design items (of any type) as a “Designer’s Day” item. I was a speedy worker, so I drew a lot of these kinds of things.
Did they ever get produced? I have no idea! They probably at least made it to the sample stage. I heard recently that the once great and powerful Russ company was going out of business. So sad! But the world keeps a-turning, and we must go forward!
Good luck to everyone as they move forward!
It has become a tradition (cue the Fiddler on the Roof theme!) for my mother and I to hit Brimfield twice a year- once in spring, and once in the fall. Brimfield is a town in Massachusetts that becomes the antique mecca of the US three times a year. The town is overtaken by a baffling quantity of antiques dealers from all over the country, selling every possible thing ever made. That is what I like most about it. While I may be seeking certain things for my various collections, mostly I like to take pictures of the oddities that I never expected to see. And so, I share them with you! I hope you appreciate the old and odd, too!
Who you lookin’ at, punk?
I didn’t expect to see Harrison Ford, for example.
Harrison and Mom, together at last!
Are they live, or are they cooked?
Here you can see a set of the original, deadly steel-tipped Jarts, along with a painting of…questionable content.
What is going on in that painting?
I can’t buy everything, but IF I could, this would be amongst the purchases:
You can never have too many wooden bunny carts, I always say.
Here’s another one of those “Wha???” kind of items. They are plaster wall hangings depicting… human peas?
OH, the humanity!
These make me want to be a chocolatier, so I would have an excuse to own them all!
I adore anything mini-kitchen related.
Some folks are very good at displaying stuff.
Brushes with destiny!
4 Comments on Antiquing In the Brimfield Tradition, last added: 5/25/2011