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1. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to Donate $15,000 to Water for South Sudan

Long Walk to Water Cover (GalleyCat)Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) announced that more than 1 million copies of A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park have been sold. The publisher first released this book back in 2010.

The two-time Newbery Medal winner drew inspiration from the life story Salva Dut, one of the lost boys of Sudan, to write this novel. In honor of this momentous occasion, the publisher will donate $15,000 to Dut’s nonprofit organization, Water for South Sudan (WFSS).

Here’s more from the press release: “This source will provide fresh, accessible water to thousands of South Sudanese and allow hundreds of children (especially girls) to attend school regularly, rather than spending their days walking to and from the nearest well. HMH is also launching a matching gift campaign for employees in order to raise an additional $15,000 to furnish another well.” To learn more about Park’s book, watch her talk given at the TEDxBeaconStreet conference: “Can a Children’s Book Change the World?

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2. Creating a new style with Digital Watercolor

Digital Watercolor

I’ve been trying some new stuff for the last month or so here at the studio and I think it’s about time to let the cat out of the bag. For many years I worked traditionally, mostly with watercolor and airbrush. I don’t really miss the airbrush, that thing was a crazy amount of work and to be honest Photoshop just does a better job. The watercolor though, that’s a whole different story. I love the spontaneity of working in watercolor but trying to capture that look and feel digitally has been a challenge. I could never really get the subtle variations I wanted so it inevitably wound up on the back burner saved for another time. I supposed I could have just dragged out my old set of Winsor Newtons and scanned them but I really wanted to see if I could make this happen digitally. Here’s a little peak at what I’ve been up to. I’m pretty happy with the direction things are headed. Hopefully, as I get used to the brushes and how to mimic the translucency that make watercolor so special, things will only get better.


dinosaur digital watercolor by bob ostrom lunch time digital watercolor by bob ostrom grandma digital watercolor by bob ostrom beach digital watercolor by bob ostrom study digital watercolor by bob ostrom puppy digital watercolor by bob ostrom


The post Creating a new style with Digital Watercolor appeared first on Bob Ostrom Studio - 919-809-6178.

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3. On Comfort Reading And Fairy Tales

I have trouble sleeping some nights. Like last night. I'm in bed early Saturday morning and haven't slept since before 5.00 am - well before.

The thing I do when I'm unable to sleep is to pull out something I've read and reread. It soothes and the fact that I know what's going to happen means that I don't get my brain buzzing when I want to get back to sleep.

If you've followed this blog for a while, you'll know some of my comfort reading choices. Tolkien. Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan saga. Kerry Greenwood's mysteries. Terry Pratchett's Discworld. Josephine Tey's Daughter Of Time. Harry Potter. (And this morning I've been following Tor.com's HP reread. It's fun to read other people's thoughts on your own favourite books and enter the discussion)

This morning I've been reading some Andrew Lang Fairy Books, on my iPad compliments of Project Gutenberg.

I love fairy tales - I follow a few fairy tale blogs, which are always good value. As a writer of spec fic, I appreciate having the resources.

The Lang books, written in the Victorian era,  are a mishmash of everything from Grimm to D'Aulnoy, from Anderson to Greek myth(one story, while not mentioning names, is clearly a juvenile retelling of the story of Perseus). They come in different "colours". Many of the most familiar stories are in the Blue Fairy Book - Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, etc. The Brown Fairy Book focuses on international stories, quite a few outside Europe. The Pink Fairy Book has a lot of stories I've never encountered before.

Interestingly, Andrew Lang, though best known for his fairy tale books, wrote some fiction of his own, which I had on my iPad before it was wrecked and I had to download again. I'm still downloading books which didn't make it back in my initial download, as I realise that this or that book hasn't returned.  His own fiction, I vaguely recall, was crime fiction, or some of it was.

But he really comes into his own with the fairy tales - and I loved one of his introductions in which he explains why he doesn't call them folk tales, saying that he just can't see some small child asking his grandmother for "another folk tale, Grandmother".

They're a valuable treasury of world fairy tales and it's wonderful to have access to so much good stuff on Gutenberg, because I don't remember ever seeing any of these fairy books in the shops.

And a good, comforting thing to read late at night/early morning when you can't sleep.

Anybody got some favourite reading for sleepless nights?

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4. How I Create Dimensional Painting with Underglazes on Clay

First I sart with a sketch on the greenware that compliments the body of the vessel

Working from the outer edges in, I  lay 3 washes of color glaze, lightest to darkest, leaving white in the center and shortening the length of the overlay from the outer edges toward to center

Next, I surround  the image with a complimentary or lighter color that will cause the main color to pop!
Next I add in the flat black spots

Then the really fun part. Using a very thin liner brush, I outline all edges and use crosshatching strokes beginning tightly at the outer edges and spreading as they go out.  Lastly, I did a little sgraffito around the edges of the black spots but I forgot to take an "in process" photo of that . You can see the effect on the finished piece below.       

                                            Available on my website. Just click on the image.

Here's another one, Sadly, it didn't survive the kiln. It had a big "S" crack in the bottom.

Here is how potters feel when they find a piece comes out of the kiln with an "S" crack in it! :

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5. Me Before You – Official Trailer

ME BEFORE YOU was a breakout novel for the enormously talented author, Jojo Moyes . With the film version set to hit theaters this summer, even more people will fall in love with the world created by Ms. Moyes. I dare you to watch this trailer and not cry.

And if you’ve already read ME BEFORE YOU, and don’t know what to do with yourself until June 3rd, pick up a copy of the sequel, AFTER YOU.



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6. Bristol Comic Artists....

It's interesting in a way that Art Trails in Bristol -where local artists from different areas open up their houses to exhibit their art- and we have them in South and North Bristol as well as areas such as St. Werburgh's- tend to ignore comic artists and their work.

I've mentioned before that there seems to be an almost entrenched "look down their noses" attitude amongst what might be called the "arty set" toward comic artists.  I've encountered this on more than a few occasions myself!

Comics are popular.  Whereas mum and dad are a little worried about dragging the kids along to look at art in someone's home or leave the kids somewhere while they do the trail, comics are a family thing.

Perhaps art trail organisers who are finding it difficult to draw enough people to their events ought to consider a central comic based event?  Or not.

But I thought I'd try to see how many comic creators there are in Bristol.  I know the main ones but I think there are more than about four -even Small Press creators.  So, if you are a comic artist living in Bristol leave a "Hello" and a link to your blog or whatever.  Let's see how many are out there.

As a footnote I'm betting with myself that no one bothers!

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7. Snow Will Fall...

"To illustrate a fairy tale is not an intellectual, scientific interpretation but a transposition of internal pictures and feelings."
                                    – Lisbeth Zwerger

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8. The Making of ‘Boy and The World,’ A Behind-the-Scenes Look [Exclusive Video]

A melting pot of graphic techniques was used to create the film: collage, colored pencil, felt pens, Bic pens, painting of all types...watercolor, acrylic paint.

The post The Making of ‘Boy and The World,’ A Behind-the-Scenes Look [Exclusive Video] appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

0 Comments on The Making of ‘Boy and The World,’ A Behind-the-Scenes Look [Exclusive Video] as of 2/5/2016 5:52:00 PM
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9. Interview: Tony Bradman

MWD interview - Tony BradmanI am delighted to welcome author Tony Bradman to MWD to celebrate the launch of the 30th Anniversary edition of his much-loved picture book Through My Window. We will be talking about it here as well as a … Continue reading ...

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10. Orphan of war. #lisafirke #yisforyellow #cisforchildike

Orphan of war. #lisafirke #yisforyellow #cisforchildike

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11. The Secret of Letting Go by Katherine Fleet (US & Canada Only)

The Secret to Letting Go by Katherine Fleet Release Date: February 1, 2016   About the Book One summer can change everything... Haunted with guilt after his girlfriend’s death, Daniel Hudson has no interest in committing to anyone. At the end of the summer, he’ll be leaving Florida for a new...

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12. Rich Resurrects BACK TO THE GUTTERS Comics Interview Show

12670276_1041497705891617_2369081923768827522_nJamie S. Rich, Senior Editor at Vertigo is resurrecting his interview series Back to the Gutters from it’s grave. New episodes start Wednesday February 17th and have a slew of guests from Vertigo projects and beyond including Benjamin Dewey (I Was the Cat), Sierra Hahn (BOOM! Studios Editor), Robbi Rodriguez (Spider-Gwen), Jeff Parker (Aquaman), Ibrahim Moustafa […]

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13. Tiny Valentine-y

Haven't you always wanted mini flashcards?
I thought they might be a fun Valentine-y gift. 
I like to carry around pocket-sized art decks, don't you? 
Because don't we all carry words on the go?
Who doesn't like a little
fun on a ring?
Or words on a string?

They're up in my shop
perfect word surprises
for your small people - 
or your pocket card collectors.

Local buyers can enter the code: LOCALPICKUP
on my shop to waive shipping fees 
and arrange a delivery option.
Here's to the small, the tiny, the mini,
the little bits of love and beauty in this big world
that make life sweet and good.

Tiny book favorites:

Enormous Smallness by Matthew Burgess, illustrated by Eric DiGiacomo
The Tiny King by Taro Miura
Tiny's Big Adventure by Martin Waddell, illustrated by John Lawrence
Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes - by Mem Fox, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

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14. Aquafortis, Oh, My Word, It's Our Blogversary.

(AF, If we were married, we would totally FAIL this anniversary thing. How did we miss 10 years last year????Well, if you're having fun, you must not notice where the time goes. Or something like that. Happy Blogversary.) This work is copyrighted... Read the rest of this post

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15. DC sinks to half of Marvel’s market share as sales drop in January

The Walking Dead #150There were a lot of drops in January's sales charts -- however, some of them may not have been as steep as they seem. Marvel's domination of DC increased in January sales figures just released by Diamond, as DC's market share was exactly half of Marvel's. Ouch. Holdin' on for a Rebirth, alright.

3 Comments on DC sinks to half of Marvel’s market share as sales drop in January, last added: 2/5/2016
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16. The Introvert’s Guide to Surviving a Conference

The truth is, I’m kind of a fake introvert. On those ubiquitous personality tests I hover right on the line between the two extremes. Nonetheless, a big social event like a SCBWI national conference can be overwhelming, and all the networking can push a pseudo-introvert like me to the point of social burnout. I’ve collected some tips below that have helped me have the best possible experience at one of these events. (If you want to learn more about what a SCBWI conference is, click here.)

Photograph of promotional postcards and portfolio for use at SCBWI NY Conference

Promo postcards and portfolio page, ready to go.

1. Homework

The seeds of a great experience are sown long before you get to the conference.

  • Try to read at least one book by every speaker. It makes their keynote more illuminating.
  • To be a real overachiever, come up with a question or two you’d want to ask each faculty member. If you ever end up sharing a table with them or in a Q&A session, you’ll be ready to participate.
  • If you’ve been to prior conferences, go through the contacts you made back then and refresh your memory. For extra credit, check out their websites to see what new stuff they’ve been up to. There’s nothing worse than introducing yourself to someone only to hear “um, we met last year.” (Sorry about that, Rodolfo.)
  • If you’re attending sessions with assignments, make sure to do your homework ahead of time.

2. Stuff you should probably bring with you

In addition to your underwear and toothbrush and so forth, don’t forget the following:

  • Your portfolio/dummy books/whatever.
  • Postcards and/or business cards.
  • A sketchbook/notebook and something to write with.
  • A copy of any of your recently published books that you want to show to your friends.
  • Copies of other people’s books that you want to get signed.
  • Warm things (it’s ALWAYS cold in the hotel. Plus it’s New York in February.)
  • Earplugs for sleeping if you’re sharing a room with friends.
  • Sleep mask (ditto to above.)

3. Networking tips for introverts, or something

I probably shouldn’t be giving advice at all in this area.

  • Try to avoid looking at your feet while talking to people.
  • Resist the urge to apologize for your work.
  • Be genuinely interested in other people.
  • Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself.
  • Don’t be one of those annoying, pushy people who stalk the faculty members.
  • Sit in the front. You can see so much better. Actually, never mind. DON’T sit in the front, because I want to sit there.

4. Chilling Out

For an introvert, a big conference in New York City is remarkably taxing. While the whole point of the conference is to network and go to keynotes blah blah blah, it’s okay to take some time to get away from it all in order to survive.

  • Use the gym or pool if there is one to get away from people for a little while.
  • Have your own room if you can afford it. This helps a ton, but it’s like $400 a night so I get it.
  • Skip a keynote if you have to. Or two.
  • Leave the hotel and go somewhere else. Cafes are good.

Have you been a national conference or book fair? What tips would you suggest? Feel free to share in the comments!


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17. Giveaway: Dark Energy by Robison Wells (US Only)

Dark Energyby Robison WellsRelease Date: 3/29/2016   About the Book DARK ENERGY is a thrilling sci-fi adventure and an inventive twist on aliens, from the author of VARIANT and BLACKOUT. Five days ago, a massive UFO crashed in the Midwest, killing thousands of people. Since then, nothing—or no one—has come out...

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18. Giveaway: Riders by Veronica Rossi (US & Canada Only)

Riders by Veronica Rossi Release Date: 2/16/16   About the Book Riders. A new fantasy adventure from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Veronica Rossi.For eighteen-year-old Gideon Blake, nothing but death can keep him from achieving his goal of becoming a U.S. Army Ranger. As it turns out, it...

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19. Week in Review, February 1st-5th: Black History Month Week 1

Week in Review

This week on hbook.com…

Black History Month

For Black History Month, we’ve selected articles by and/or about African American children’s book luminaries — one a day throughout February, with a roundup on Fridays. This week’s selections:

Preview the March/April 2016 issue of The Horn Book Magazine

Reviews of the Week:

Read Roger: HB NB February

Out of the Box: 

Lolly’s Classroom: The past made present | Class #3, 2016: Two historical fiction books and Three nonfiction books

Events calendar

See overviews of previous weeks by clicking the tag week in review. Find us on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest to keep up-to-date!

The post Week in Review, February 1st-5th: Black History Month Week 1 appeared first on The Horn Book.

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20. Comics are dead.

http://www.hauntedisland.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Heworth-Graveyard.-Gateshead.jpgTo be honest I think comics have died for me.  Its not comic reading fans now its "I want to be trendy" and screw fans for every penny possible while insulting them. 

I'm not just talking about comic publishers but the gutter slime distributors and even the comic shop owners who only want Marvel and DC shit on their shelves and fuck anything that isn't making them a lot of money.

The festered turds who trade on Amazon and Ebay and over inflate already over inflated prices on "rare"/"Vintage"/ "Must have" issues that are anything but.  These comics were printed in huge numbers. But these people get away with it because "chumps pay cash".   

Books don't achieve the huge bids a dealer wants then there's an excuse why that book hasn't been on sale or listed even though it has been listed and you've been in contact with the seller.  Or their little helpers who move in quick before the bidding stops and, uh, "out bid" you...a week later the same book is listed again.

True fans leaving comics -I wonder why?

Comics are dead.

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21. Giveaway: The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins (US Only)

The Great Huntby Wendy HigginsRelease Date: 3/8/2016   About the Book New York Times bestselling author Wendy Higgins reimagines the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, “The Singing Bone,” with The Great Hunt, a dramatic, romance-filled fantasy in which hunters compete to kill a great beast and win the hand of the princess....

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22. Presidential Polar Bear Post Card Project No. 79 - 2.4.16

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23. News Corp Revenues $2.16 B in Q2, Down 4%

News Corp, the umbrella company that owns HarperCollins, earned $2.16 billion in revenue in fiscal Q2 2016, down 4 percent from the comparable quarter last year.

The company attributed the drop to several factors including “lower consumer revenues at the Book Publishing segment.”

Revenues also suffered from foreign currency fluctuations of $141 million and the adjusted revenues only declined 1 percent. The company also reported lower advertising revenues at the News and Information Services segment.

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24. BLP Public Landing Header



Book Launch Parties are listed below in alphabetical order by author or illustrator.

Or you may use the search box to the left to find books using other criteria.


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25. Open Road Books Now on Hoopla Digital

Open Road Integrated Media has teamed up with app maker hoopla digital to add its e-book catalog to hoopla’s app.

Titles including: The Color Purple; Up the Down Staircase; Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee; M.C. Higgins the Great and The Hero and the Crown will all be available through Hoopla’s content library.

Hoopla digital works with North American public libraries to distribute e-books and interactive content to patrons through computers and mobile devices. Their catalog includes more than 440,000 movies, TV shows, albums, e-books, audiobooks and comics.

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