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Viewing Blog: Elizabeth O. Dulemba, Most Recent at Top
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coloring page tuesdays, news and events, blog book tours, reviews, illustration and promotion, and general weirdness from a children's book author/illustrator.
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26. VIDEO: Never Alone

A classmate turned me onto this game available for iPad and iPhone (maybe Android too), NEVER ALONE. I don't really play games and I don't have the right device, but I was still able to enjoy the video about the story behind this gorgeous app. Click the image to watch a short video about it.

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27. Friday Links List - 21 October 2016

From The New Yorker: The Fantastic Ursula K. Le Guin

At HuffPost: The Latest Trend: Beautifully Illustrated Non-Fiction Picture Books

From 99U: Career-Propelling Money Advice for Creatives

From Digg: Paper Sculptures Made From Old Books Might Be The Best Way To Enjoy Literature

From Muddy Colors: (this may be a repeat, but deserves it) How to Invoice

From Muddy Colors: 20 Artists, from Photo to Final (!!!!)

From Steve Antony: My Guide to the Bologna Children's Book Fair - a while away, but good advice!

From Mile High Reading - Q&A With Adam Rex (Good!)

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28. Bomi Park's FIRST SNOW

We're getting a bit frosty before it's time, but I have to share this fabulous debut picture book by Bomi Park. All the way from Seoul, South Korea, she stopped by to discuss it with us...

e: What is your creative process, can you walk us through it?
Bomi: Out of the many possible subject matters, I’m always observing and keenly thinking about certain images, topics, or short words that might become seeds for my stories. If a seed has the potential to sprout, I save them up no matter what it is. Out of those seeds, I draw a thumbnail sketch which gives me a general idea of the story’s plot or allows me to examine whether the seed provides the framework to become a long story or not. Then I flesh it out.
      However, one slight difference I had from other authors was that I went from drawing a thumbnail to the original picture directly without sketching for three of my picture books (including books not yet published). You could say that it is like a composer who directly recorded a song through improvisation without making sheet music.
      The fact that this process was possible with three of my picture books was in a way really fortunate for me. It was because I was able to complete the books without much trouble or difficulty. However, I decided to change my method after experiencing a great slump from relying on intuition. After much trial and error, currently I’m sketching out all of the pictures and coloring them after some corrections. I don’t think that my first method of relying on intuition is wrong. This is because each author has his or her own way.
      I’m not sure how my process will change in the future. The biggest charm and appeal of drawing a picture book is changing my methods every time I run into difficulty and uncertainty.
e: What is your medium?
Bomi: It is hard to choose just one material among those that I’m familiar with.
      If it’s a material that best corresponds to the feeling of the subject, I don’t limit myself to one material or several materials. Instead I try to use everything that is on hand.
      I don’t really differentiate the process of sketching and coloring. I also don’t prefer planning out the process either.
      The main materials for “First Snow” were pencils, acrylic paint, oil pastel, ink sticks, digital work and others. However, the most important material was “paper” that had a rich texture. I spent a lot of time figuring out how to express white snow on white paper.
      The solution to that was using a paper with grain thick enough to hold slightly heavier paint and crayon. I wanted to express the warm and tender feeling of snow.

e: Is there a unique or funny story behind the creation of this story?
Bomi: “First Snow” was a picture that I painted to complete my course at an illustration school.
      While taking courses for several months, I put a lot of effort into making a three dimensional miniature house for an exhibition with the topic of “season” and “house.” However, less than one month before the exhibition I realized that my plan and image concept was wrong. I was devastated.
      However, I didn’t want to give up on the exhibition and after a lot of thinking I came up with a new plan called “First Snow.”
      I didn’t have much time, so I thought of the clearest image inside me and that image was of “A child rolling a snowball on a snowy day.”
      This was because I had worked for 6 years as a Christmas card designer before I became a picture book author. So it wasn’t difficult for me to think of winter and in a way it was the most natural thought I could come up with.
      It was only during the publish process that text was added. In other words, until the exhibition the book had been a picture book without text. Since the picture book didn’t have any text, each reading of the book had its own interpretation. This was amazing and very interesting. There were those who interpreted the book as a fantasy of a boy who couldn’t walk. Even now, after the picture book was published with the text, I think how it would have been like if it didn’t have the text.
      Although at the time I was bewildered from having illustrated the book in such a short amount of time, now I realize that it was the picture book that most reflected compared to other books I spent more time on. It is said that each author has his or her own breathing rate. I think my breathing rate must be very short.
      (I’m currently working on a nonfiction picture book with 100 pages and it’s just exhausting.)
e: What is your favorite or most challenging part of being a creator?Bomi: When I was little, I was the only child in a large extended family made up of adults. Although I received a lot of love and attention as the only child in the house, I was always lonely. Living under a quiet and serious atmosphere and being unable to play carefree as a child should, I spent most of time alone imagining trivial things and thinking of fantasies. Rather, I grew up as a mature child who hid her feelings to understand the adults.
      That may have been the reason, that even though I grew up to become an adult, I still developed a mentality of wanting to receive compensation for my childhood. This might have provided me with the motivation to become a picture book author.
      I want to live in an exciting story whenever possible and I also want to create “a world where children create for themselves” in which children can live without interference or attention of adults.
e: What are you working on next or what would be your dream project?
I’m currently working on a story about Korea’s lunar calendar seasons (subdivisions of the seasons) which are very distinct. The content is also very wide in scope and the book is quite long as well.
      Although it includes the fictional story of one child who lives in different animal’s houses every two months for one year and has various adventures and experiences of the past, it is true that the book is overall nonfiction, so it has many points to study, and requires a lot of energy and patience to create.
      If I complete the book, it will become a very rewarding journey for me. The book is very natural, and I’m continually surprised of my ancestors’ wisdom of dealing with 24 distinct seasons that only occur in the East. Therefore, I hope to introduce the book all over the world.
      Other than that, I always dream of freely imagining myself flying around in my stories.
Check out Bomi's work space...
e: Thank you Bomi! Learn more at the Chronicle Books website.

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29. What I'm Working On: Dissertation

It's backwards here in the UK - you write a Dissertation for your Masters and a Thesis for your PhD. So, I am in the thick of writing my Dissertation. No play time for me!
     My title is, "Comparing and Contrasting a Decade of the US Randolph Caldecott And UK Kate Greenaway Medal Children's Books to Identify Trends, Similarities and Differences Between the US and UK Markets." And it is fascinating. I am learning so much by really examining these titles and seeing how they are presented to their respective markets. You may be familiar with the Caldecotts...

     But how about the Greenaways? This is the equivalent award for the UK.
     Probably the coolest discovery I've made so far is the difference between the overall color palettes. Check this out - the US Caldecotts are on the left - the UK Greenaways are on the right.
Is that not the coolest? It's so fun to talk about!
      That's just a taste of what I'm learning. It's also why you'll only be seeing the top of my head for most of this term as I lean over reading, studying, and writing, writing, writing.

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30. Coloring Page Tuesday - Skull and Spider

      This is probably the only time I'll ever give you a spider to color. But this one is teeny, only a little bit scary. Halloween is just around the corner—I think I can handle it. CLICK HERE for more Halloween-themed coloring pages!
     CLICK HERE to sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted each week and... Please check out my books! Especially...
my debut novel, A BIRD ON WATER STREET - winner of six literary awards. Click the cover to learn more!
     When the birds return to Water Street, will anyone be left to hear them sing? A miner's strike allows green and growing things to return to the Red Hills, but that same strike may force residents to seek new homes and livelihoods elsewhere. Follow the story of Jack Hicks as he struggles to hold onto everything he loves most.
     I create my coloring pages for teachers, librarians, booksellers, and parents to enjoy for free with their children, but you can also purchase rights to an image for commercial use, please contact me. If you have questions about usage, please visit my Angel Policy page.

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31. VIDEO: Just Some Motion

I love the sheer joy of Parov Stelar dancing in his living room - Just Some Motion. I dare you not to join him. Click the image to dance along.

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32. Fireworks!

I was stumped what to share with you today, dear readers, because I have been laid up in bed sick for most of this week. PAH! But no worries, this is Edinburgh. Sometimes, the wonder of this town comes to you. I started to feel a little better so had moved to the couch. After dinner, we heard an odd noise outside. And then again, and again.
     "That sounds like fireworks?"
     Indeed it was.
     Turns out the end of the 2016 Edinburgh International Festival was being celebrated with a Virgin Money Fireworks Concert on Calton Hill...which is right up the hill from our flat. This was our view. We got to see the whole thing. The ball of light on the left side of 'our tree' is the moon. The ball of light on the right is the fireworks show getting going.

     The show got bigger and higher - we really did get to see the whole thing from our living room window. But this shot with the moon was the coolest of them all! In all the nearby flats we could see our neighbors enjoying the show too. Any excuse to celebrate - that's Edinburgh. I love it here. :)

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33. Sunday in Cupar

I suppose it's an American thing to do leisurely Sunday gatherings too, but it's truly become part of our lives since moving to Edinburgh. Uni keeps me extremely busy, but I usually try to give myself one play-day per weekend, so I really value these gatherings.
     Karin's (Romania) and Antti's (Finland) flat was a warm and happy place, filled with treasures, where we all relaxed.

Here is our lovely hostess, Karin (photo by Nadee).

Catherine (Chile), Me (US), Antti and Karin.

Nadee (Thailand) and Antti.
Stan (US).
Boris (Taiwan) and his adorable new wife, Vicki (Taiwan).
Remember I said Boris saw seals on his trip up? He had to show us what they looked like, striking a pose in stripey socks.

Then the food came out - oh my! Antti spent two days cooking.

The centerpiece was lamb stew (called Sultan's Delight) served over mashed aubergines (eggplant), surrounded by tabouli, tadziki sauce, a roasted red pepper dip, a greens and garbanzo beans dish (which I also need to get the recipe for), and hearty bread. You'll also notice Nadee's spring rolls. (She created a cookbook last year for her MFA1, so we were dying to try some of her creations.)
And Vicki brought mushrooms all the way from Taiwan to add to noodles.
OMG - YUM!!! We ate SO MUCH!!!!
     The reason I mention everybody's home countries (including ours - the US) is because we counted up, and between us and the dishes, we had no less than 17 nationalities represented. I absolutely adore how international our lives have become here! It's such an easy and comfortable thing that I wish more people in the world would get to experience.
When it was finally time to leave, we all meandered slowly to the train station, taking some last group shots.

We got silly waiting for the train as we realized how many of us wore glasses. We traded them all around to compare how blind we were.
But really, when you see the world through other people's eyes, you are anything but blind. We are all just people, and we are friends.

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34. Friday Links List - 14 October 2016

From PW: We Need Diverse Books Launches Curated Books App

From HuffPost: Dragons, Fairies And Greek Gods - Why Should You Bother Sharing Old Stories With Your Kids?

From 99U: 5 Questions to Weigh When at a Career Crossroads

From 99U: The 5 Types of Personal Projects (And How You Can Justify Pursuing Them)

From The Bright Group: Tips for Illustrators: Make Your Online Illustration Portfolio Stand Out

From Picture Book Builders: Four Part Series: Editors at the Top! (Starting with Neal Porter)

At SLJ: D.I.Y. Censorship: An Infographic. Woah

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35. Vanya Nastanlieva's THE BEAR WHO COULDN'T SLEEP

This sweet new book written by Caroline Nastro is illustrated by Vanya Nastanlieva. She stopped by to talk us through her process.

e: What do you think makes an illustration magical, what I call "Heart Art” - the sort that makes a reader want to come back to look again and again?
Vania: Heart-Art : If I can feel something, anything, like emotions, mood, atmosphere, then there is a magic. If I am able to get closer to the character's soul, to his/her emotions, fears, dreams, then there is a magic, there is life, there is heart in it.
e: What is your creative process, can you walk us through it?
Vania: I am constantly learning and up-grading the process of my work. Sometimes it really depends on the the project I am working on and what I need to achieve in my illustrations. I do not have a specific or unique process/ style. Generally the idea drives my work, and then the creative process/style will follow the idea. I always try to experiment with a variety of new techniques and materials.

      I love my pencil and I love the process of drawing and sketching.
      I start with sketching, doodling, storyboarding in my sketchbooks and notebooks.

There I have many notes/ideas I make that I can refer back to anytime, it could be an image, a sequence or just simple words or even a text or very often a combination of everything above. I find it very natural and easy to focus on developing and getting to know my characters, the setting, the composition, when I use my black pencil. Once the rough sketches are to my satisfaction and the publisher's, as well I do the more detailed drawings. And next I add the colours to the black and white drawing.

Sometimes the colours could be on a different paper, sometimes I can add the colours on one piece of paper.

I use a more limited-colour-palette, probably because of my textile background.
      The computer comes in when I need to scan the illustrations and the different layers. I scan it, clean it if needed in Photoshop and then connect the layers all together, the black and white drawing with the colour ones. There could be some finishing touches, adjustments or arranging but generally my work is all hand-rendered.

e: For illustrators - what is your medium?
Vania: Pencil, pastel pencils, oil pastel, tempera, gouache, acrylic, watercolour, Photoshop. It could be from dry technique to mix media.

e: What was your path to publication?
Vania: Years ago, after I finished my high school, I had a solo exhibition in my home town. There was a writer who liked my drawing of animals very much and contacted me and asked me to illustrate his book, so I did.
      While I was studying at the National Academy of ART, I was juggling various part time jobs and doing illustrations for a children's magazine, then a newspaper for a short time. I also illustrated short stories written by my friends.
      The real break-through happened after I studied for an MA in Children's Book Illustration in Cambridge, UK. As soon as I graduated I went again to the Bologna Book Fair in Italy (this time more prepared). I met and made many contacts with publishers, art directors and editors, while showing my work and my dummies. I kept in touch with the ones who were the most interested in my work. I was lucky enough to meet the right people and then, after a while, I was offered my very first picture book deal and this is how it started.

e: What is your favourite or most challenging part of being a creator?
Vania: The Favourite - to be able to create, anything, anytime, anywhere, even if I don't have any a pencil, pen and paper (that is very unlikely, but it happens sometimes). I just do it in my mind, I make mental notes and try to remember the main idea or even very small things till I can get hold of some paper and a pencil and then write it down so I won't lose it.
      The challenge is to express and leave on the paper what is in my mind, in my heart. Sometimes the way from the heart to the hand can be very long and very challenging. But once you catch the flow it goes very easily and smoothly, just like fluid pouring from your heart through your hand and leaving the marks on the paper. I love it when this happens.
e: Is there something in particular about this story you hope readers will take away with them, perhaps something that isn’t immediately obvious?
Vania: I have always believed that everyone has his/her own special path to go through and discover himself/herself. And everything, everyone who she/he meets on this path is just a part of the big puzzle, the big picture and serves to rediscover and develop herself/himself.
e: What are you working on next or what would be your dream project?
Vania: At the moment I am working on a third book of my own. I wish I could say more but it is still at a very early stage.

e: Thanks Vania!

Kirkus Reviews said, "Cuddle up with this Bear and his pillow for a just-right bedtime story."

Visit www.northsouth.com for free, downloadable activities for The Bear Who Couldn't Sleep.

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36. Cupar

A lot of folks who work in Edinburgh live in Cupar. It's a short train or car ride in, prices are cheaper, and it's adorable to boot. We enjoyed looking around and Stan had fun playing with his camera. That's me taking pictures, although most of these images are his shots.

These adorable flower boxes were at several of the train stations we passed on the way up.
Here was the skyline.

Here are Stan, Karin and Catherine.
And me with Catherine and Karin.
Cupar has a cathedral, as all small UK towns should.
And old wonderfulness.
We also noticed a yard where you can go buy your classic British shed (they're a big deal here).
Karin's wee flat was just around the corner...

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37. Train Ride to Cupar

I've got another story which will take several posts to cover! My friends Karin and Antti invited the Fabulous Four to their sweet flat in Cupar. Karin graduated with her MA at the end of the summer, but happily she is still at the Uni as Artist-in-Residence. So, really we're the Fabulous FIVE! Karin invited us all up for a leisurely Sunday gathering. So, off to our friendly Waverly train station we went.
     I've shown you photos before, but here were some funny things I noticed this time, like this trash train. I know it's only rubbish, but isn't this totally cute? I would have loved to jump in that engine car and spun around in this when I was a kid.

When the train arrives, we have to sometimes wait while they run through it and clean it and such. You know it's okay to get on when the button lights up. You push the button to open the door. There's a lot of pushing buttons on trains, and anybody who knows me, knows how I LOVE to push buttons! (See Stan in the reflection?)
     So, Cupar is in the Kingdom of Fife - just shy of St. Andrews. In fact, we took the same train as to St. Andrews, but this time it was sunny. It made a difference!

Boris said he saw seals on the way up, although I have yet to spot any.

The lovely ride up got us to the sweet town of Cupar - more coming soon...

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38. Coloring Page Tuesday - Bright Ideas

     Are found in books - have a look!
     CLICK HERE for more coloring pages!
     CLICK HERE to sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted each week and... Please check out my books! Especially...
my debut novel, A BIRD ON WATER STREET - winner of six literary awards. Click the cover to learn more!
     When the birds return to Water Street, will anyone be left to hear them sing? A miner's strike allows green and growing things to return to the Red Hills, but that same strike may force residents to seek new homes and livelihoods elsewhere. Follow the story of Jack Hicks as he struggles to hold onto everything he loves most.
     I create my coloring pages for teachers, librarians, booksellers, and parents to enjoy for free with their children, but you can also purchase rights to an image for commercial use, please contact me. If you have questions about usage, please visit my Angel Policy page.

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39. Picture Book Month Calendar Now Available!

My calendar for PICTURE BOOK MONTH (November) is now available - CLICK HERE (or the image below)! I hope all you librarians and teachers out there will use my COLORING PAGE TUESDAYS images with your students!

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40. Screen Printing at the University of Edinburgh!

I shared the beginning stages of this project HERE - doing linocuts for relief prints. Here's the next phase. I scanned the relief prints and enlarged them to be printed onto trace, or tracing paper.

Sally walked us through the process of then burning our images into the screens, which is similar to photography. You're burning the image through the emulsion and you do that in a dark room, so, no pictures of that. Sometimes have wee spots that need covering up. Anywhere light gets through, paint gets through. So you do a stage of touch-up.
Then you mix your inks. There's a white base, which looks a lot like pudding. And then you drip the pigments in, literally drop by drop. You can see my color palette here. I chose to go with one of my fave colors first - orange.
Sally did a demo for us to show us how to afix our fabric to the printer table, weight our screen on top, apply enough ink, and drag it across our screen.
It has been nearly 25 years since I worked at Buster Brown Apparel, where I did screen printing almost every day. But the memories flooded back. I actually recalled the correct pressure and ended up with a fabulous result - WOOHOO!
It's not perfect to a trained eye, but I was absolutely thrilled. My fox will become a pillow soon - more on that later!

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41. VIDEO: How To Make The Perfect Pop-Up Book

My husband sent me a great link to a video about Matthew Reinhart and his process behind creating pop-up books. Click the image or the title to go watch at Digg: How To Make The Perfect Pop-Up Book.

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42. More Friends Come to Visit

We have so enjoyed all the friends who have come to visit us here in Edinburgh! Recently, we had our first couple stay in the guest room, Brad and Lisa Waggoner. Our wee flat with the two bedrooms and one bathroom worked FINE! Granted, Brad and Lisa are good friends and very easy.
     Sadly, they weren't here for very long. They had been giving a dog training week-long session in Sutton (?) beforehand, via their now international Cold Nose College (where we trained our doggie, Bernie), and were off to Ireland afterwards. Since I'm in the thick of studies, I didn't have much time to play during the day. Still, Brad and Lisa had time to wander during a day, and we had two nice dinners. This one was at one of our fave pubs, The Ox - just down the street.
And they bought us a thank-you dinner the night before at our go-to for guests, just up the street, The Educated Flea. Twas lovely.
     Here's hoping they come to visit again, as they'll be back soon to teach more doggies!

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43. Friday Links List - 07 October 2016

From Cynsations - In Memory, Barbara Seuling

At Houzz: The Science of Color: New Purple, Orange and Green Pigments Discovered (COOL!)

From Cynsations: Guest Post: Joy Preble on Life as an Author-Bookseller...or Bookseller-Author? VERY interesting! Wish it was longer!

From 100 Scope Notes: Name that Lego book cover - this is pretty cool. I wonder if this would be a philosophy for good design?

From The New Yorker: What Makes a Children's Book Good?

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44. Friday Links List - 30 September 2016

From FastCompany (via Cynsations): 7 Surprising Facts About Creativity, According To Science

From Fuse #8: The Sibling Reality: When Picture Books Stop Being Nice and Start Getting Real

From Brightly: Remembering Anna Dewdney, Her Llamas, and the Love She Shared

From Brightly: Do You Know How Much I Love You? One Mom's Journey Raising a Child with Bipolar Disorder by Donna Gephart

From Salisbury University - RIP Dr. Ernie Bond - a true children's book advocate.

From Mr. Schu Reads: Library Magic | A Guest Post by Adam Shaughnessy

I love this Norse Crisis Flow Chart from the DC and Marvel Comics Fan Page:

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45. Textiles Workshop!

Recently, the textiles department opened two spots for students from illustration to join in. Happily, I am one of them! So, every Thursday afternoon, I get to go hang out in this space with all these screens.

     The irony is that when I worked at Buster Brown Apparel early in my career, I was all about textiles. I was part of a stable of artists. We created the patterns, the artwork, and drew the designs for children's clothing. We also created the samples which salesmen took around to stores for consideration. That meant screen printing the designs onto the garments. Many, many days I was covered in paint up to my elbows and I loved it. Funny how my life keeps turning circles on itself!
     I'm already thinking about my exit show next May and realized I actually have quite a bit of textiles in my design. I didn't know how I was going to accomplish that part until this workshop came along. So, I am truly excited!
     This past Thursday we had our first induction. Sally is our fair leader.
     She taught us how to strip and clean a screen to get it ready for our own use. We also got a walk through of the inks we'll be able to work with.
Today, Saturday, I went shopping for fabrics to experiment on. Sally warned that we won't be able to use anything we create on the first day since we'll be so new to the process. So I didn't want to spend much money. Happily, I discovered the scrap bins at several fabric stores and ended up with this collection.
     I've also got my Animal Alphabet project from last year in there. This is going going to be my color palette and inspiration. Several of the animal squares are going to become pillows and curtains for my final display.
     But for this first day, we'll only be using one color. So I created some simple images which I cut out of linocut to relief print on Monday as the artwork for my screens. I figure these can become coasters, change purses or round pillows if any are indeed usable. (I'll add a photo when I have them ready.)
     All said, this is going to be FUN, and I'm thrilled that we'll have this space available to us to use every Thursday afternoon through next May! Woohoo!

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46. Authors for Refugees

I am so proud to be participating in Authors for Refugees - an auction to provide urgent aid to refugees held in camps around Europe. I'm offering a picture book critique. Want to bid? CLICK HERE! (or the image below). You have until midnight (UK time), Sunday, 2nd of October.

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47. VIDEO: KanDenKo

This is just the coolest thing ever - KanDenKo, future with bright lights. Click the image to watch on YouTube.

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48. Prep for Textile Printing...

I told you about my first textiles class last week. This week I'm preparing some experimental pieces to work with on Thursday. Sally warned us that we won't be able to use most, if any of what we create (we're new to this!), and that we will only be working with one color. So I created some simple designs that I can use if they turn out, and trash if they don't. I began with sketches during a lecture...

     I wanted to work off a simple shape - mostly a circle. Although I liked the oval fox too. Next, I drew them larger for linocuts. I dyed the substrate with some cheap dye I had on hand to be able to see what I was doing.
     Sadly, I committed a total rookie mistake and cut my finger. (No stitches necessary - just a plaster/bandaid.) I wanted to do linocuts because I wanted the happy accidents you get with that wood-cut look. Although, I didn't mean that kind of accident - PAH!
     Once I had those completed, I went to the print studio. I couldn't find the black ink, so created a dark hue with prussian blue and raw umber. It was lovely. Of course, the black ink was right in front of me the whole time. I just didn't see it. But the color I ended up with was so nice, I'm glad I missed it. I'll probably create my own black from now on!
     I tell you, so much of art is happy accidents or just working with what you have on hand! I rolled out the ink and here's the first round.
I did these small so that they'd be quick to produce and create a nice chunky line effect. I really like the way they print up.
     I did several runs because no two are ever alike. The ink density varies, the smoothness, texture, etc.
     The only down side with relief printing is you can't take your victory with you when you leave - it's still wet. So, I'll go back to the workshop tomorrow to get my prints for scanning. I'll keep some at the small size because I think they'd make great coasters. One of the print room techs recommended buying cork flooring - brilliant! Some pieces I'll blow up for potential change purses or pillows. (I bought some zippers when I went fabric hunting this weekend.) All said, I'll be curious to see how these turn out. More soon!

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49. Coloring Page Tuesday - Moon Mouse

     I've heard of the man in the moon, but how about the Mouse in the Moon? What a great spot to read!
     CLICK HERE for more coloring pages!
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my debut novel, A BIRD ON WATER STREET - winner of six literary awards. Click the cover to learn more!
     When the birds return to Water Street, will anyone be left to hear them sing? A miner's strike allows green and growing things to return to the Red Hills, but that same strike may force residents to seek new homes and livelihoods elsewhere. Follow the story of Jack Hicks as he struggles to hold onto everything he loves most.
     I create my coloring pages for teachers, librarians, booksellers, and parents to enjoy for free with their children, but you can also purchase rights to an image for commercial use, please contact me. If you have questions about usage, please visit my Angel Policy page.

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50. Hazel Mitchell's TOBY

Thanks for inviting me to visit your blog, Elizabeth, Toby was happy dancing when he heard!
      I’d like to share a little about how I created the art in TOBY published by Candlewick Press Sept 13th 2016. It ‘s a departure from my previous books, which have tended to be brighter and using more digital creation. As the author and illustrator of TOBY (my first solo gig!) I knew the feel I wanted for the book from the get go and that was to create an emotional mood in the illustrations, coupled with a retro look. People have commented that it feels very ‘British’ in tone – which is fine by me! (As I’m British).
      Pretty much all of my art is created first using graphite, usually something soft in the 6B -9B area, or in some cases with dipping pen. In Toby I used graphite on 300lb Fabriano hot press paper. In previous books I’ve used cold press to get a rougher feel, but I wanted a smoother look for Toby. I start, as we all usually do, with thumbnails, rough sketches and incomprehensible scrawls, the meaning of which sometimes even the artist has no idea about! Sketches and visuals came first for me with this book.
I’d been drawing Toby since I adopted him in 2013 and these sketches turned into scenes.
     I began to weave a story around him and a young boy who adopts him. I linked scenes together, added more sketches to make sense of the story as I went along.
     I never did write a manuscript as such. The scenes were written on index cards and swapped around until the arc was achieved. I scan my roughs in to the computer so I can piddle around with them in photoshop, I add gray wash for depth and love being able to cut and paste easily.
It’s then easy to save in PDF format and send to the art director and she in turn can add notes and comments. I’ve worked with photoshop since the late 1980s, it’s second nature now and an important tool in my studio.
      When sketches (and revisions) are approved I move on to finals. Always an exciting moment! How will I create the looseness, not get too tight and detailed, create the mood I am looking for? I tried a few samples pieces and decided on the following technique:
      In a previous book (Imani’s Moon by JaNay Brown Wood, publisher Charlesbridge) I’d used a technique most commonly seen in oil painting (although J.W.M Turner used it in watercolors too) the grisaille. First I lightly trace the sketch onto the final paper on my lightbox then complete the pencil work in soft graphite. Then I paint the grisaille, which is a monochrome underpainting in one color, often burnt sienna or prussian blue or gray. My underpainting for Toby was in burnt sienna which gave me soft lights and darks. I didn’t stretch the paper because the watercolor wash I was using would be fairly light and without salting or much texture work. (In Imani’s Moon I stretched the paper, because I punished the paper quite a lot to get texture).
      Once the underpainting is completed and dry (the pencil does not smudge as much as you’d imagine, so I don’t fix it before the wash), I scanned at 400dpi CMYK tif file and imported into photoshop. Then I turned it to grayscale.
      (So why, you may well ask, do I use burnt sienna in the first place? Well, I somehow can see the light and darks better in that color and the mood, which was for a fall season in the book, so it made sense to me). I could have left some of the brown in once in photoshop, but it would have given the book a very sepia feel which my art director (Ann Stott at Candlewick Press) and I decided against. The overpainting of colors gave it warmth.
      The final stage in my process is to paint over the underpainting (on a separate layer in photoshop) using a brush set to ‘color’ and the layer setting is ‘color’ also. I use only a couple of brushes, a soft edge and hard edge at different sizes, and very light colors so that the texture and pencil work show through in the finished art.
      I find this is the best of both worlds! I get the happy accidents and freedom of hand-done work with the speed and ability to make fast changes with digital art. All the pages go ready to be sent to production as digital files.

      Hints – always work in CMYK. Work only a little larger than the page (125% ish) so that things don’t get ‘too tiny’ and the lines are standardized. Make sure you see a proof from the production department PRIOR to F&G’s. Try and get an ICC file from your production manager before starting work in photoshop ... it will help with color proofing on and off screen.

Hazel Mitchell has always loved drawing and still cannot be reliably left alone with a pencil. She has illustrated several books for children including Imani’s Moon, One Word Pearl, Animally and Where Do Fairies Go When It Snows? ‘Toby’ is her author-illustrator debut from Candlewick Press. Her work has received several awards and been recognized by Bank Street Books, Learning Magazine, Reading is Fundamental, Foreword Reviews, NYCReads365, Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles, Charlotte/Mecklenburg , Chicago and Maine State libraries among others. Originally from England, where she attended art-college and served in the Royal Navy, she now lives in Maine with her poodles Toby and Lucy and a cat called Sleep. She still misses British fish and chips, but is learning to love lobster. See more of her work at www.hazelmitchell.com. Repped by Ginger Knowlton, Curtis Brown Ltd.

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