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1. Schneider Family Book Award

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The Schneider Family Book Award The Schneider Family Book Awards honors an author or illustrator for a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences.

Bibliography of Children’s Books about the Disability Experience (pdf)

Administered by:
American Library Association Award and Frequency:

Three annual awards each consisting of $5000 and a framed plaque, will be given annually in each of the following categories:

Birth through grade school (age 0-10)

Middle school (age 11-13)

Teens (age 13-18). (Age groupings are approximations).

The book must emphasize the artistic expression of the disability experience for children and or adolescent audiences. The book must portray some aspect of living with a disability or that of a friend or family member, whether the disability is physical, mental or emotional.

This award is given out on an annual basis.

Eligibility:

1.The person with the disability may be the protagonist or a secondary character.
2.Definition of disability: Dr. Schneider has intentionally allowed for a broad interpretation by her wording, the book “must portray some aspect of living with a disability, whether the disability is physical, mental, or emotional.” This allows each committee to decide on the qualifications of particular titles.
3.Books with death as the main theme are generally disqualified.
4.The books must be published in English.
5.The award may be given posthumously.
6.Term of eligibility extends to publications from the preceding two years, e.g. 2007 awards given to titles published in 2006 and 2005. This may be changed to one year when the award is well established.
7.Books previously discussed and voted on are not eligible again.

Application Instructions:

1.Complete the online application for each submitted title.
2.Send one copy of each submitted title to the Schneider Family Book Awards Jury members. (addresses included in the online application)
3.Send one copy of each submitted title to the ALA Awards Program. (address included in the online application)
4.Titles submitted for the Schneider Family Book Awards will not be returned.
5.Books must be received by December 1, 2014 to be considered for the 2015 award.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: authors and illustrators, awards, children writing, Middle Grade Novels, opportunity, Picture Book, Places to sumit, Young Adult Novel Tagged: America Library Association, Awards honors an author or illustrator, Schneider Family Book Award, Three Annual Awards

0 Comments on Schneider Family Book Award as of 9/21/2014 12:18:00 AM
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2. Illustrator Saturday – Sarolta Szulyovszky

Sarolta_SzulyovszkycroppedSarolta Szulyovszky was born and grew up in Budapest (Hungary), she studied Applied Art, after which she moved to Italy. Since 2004 she start activity in the field of graphics and illustration working in a graphic design studio in Udine (Italy). Now she lives and works as a freelance illustrator and graphic designer in a little city in northern Italy: San Daniele del Friuli.

She works for children’ s books, magazines, cover books, Brochure Design and Packaging Design.

Sarolta works both traditionally in acrylics, pencil and digitally.

In 2012 her work has been selected for the ‘Annual Illustratori Italiani 2012′ (Society of Italian Illustrators) and for the 30th edition of the exhibition ‘Le immagini della fantasia’ (Sàrmede, Italy) – 60 illustrators from all over the world.
2011 – selected for the 23rd Biennial of Illustrations Bratislava.
In 2010 she won the 1st Prize (Category Children’s Book) at the ‘Marosvásárhely Book Fair Award (Romania).

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Draft drawn in Photoshop, and the final illustration for a magazine. The commission was to illustrate the month of July. (Image: Progress_1)

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I needed a model to draw the woman so I photographed my son for the face and my hand for the hand!

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I found the fruit and vegetables on the internet.

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After sketching out the draft, I prepare an acrylic base for the background colour and, with carbon paper, I transfer the draft I have printed onto the base I have prepared. (Image: Progress_4)

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Here is the final illustration entirely painted with acrylics.

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Book Covers

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Book Covers

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How long have you been illustrating?

I began to illustrate children’s books 11 years ago. My first publication (2003) was a drawing for an anthology of world fables published in Italy, but I have only thought of myself as an illustrator since I began to devote myself entirely to this work in 2009.

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Did you go to college to study graphic design?

I began to study drawing at the age of 14, attending evening classes while I was studying at a science academy school in Budapest (Hungary). My dream was always to become a designer, so once I graduated from high school, I attended a textile design college and another college to study interior decoration, then went to the university “Nyugat-magyarországi Egyetem” on a Packaging Design course, but I never imagined that one day I would be illustrating books! I became involved in the world of children’s books illustration in Italy where I attended courses on advertising graphics and editorial illustration.

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What were you favorite classes?

At university, I really liked design and drawing from life, especially portraits.

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How did you decide to move from Hungary to Italy?

I moved to Italy not for work but for love. I met my husband in Budapest and, after we got married in 1997, I came with him to Italy.

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Do you feel the illustrating opportunities are better in Italy?

I don’t think Italy offers more opportunities for work in the field of illustration compared to Hungary or other European countries. Italy is currently undergoing a severe social, cultural and economic crisis and illustrators (and anyone who works in the cultural sphere in general) is often considered an amateur, and not a professional, and so they are paid little or nothing. However, I do think that Italy is an excellent place to study illustration: it is a country that boasts 50% of the world’s cultural and artistic heritage, a very stimulating environment for an artist, and there are excellent schools specializing in illustration.

It is very true that “no-one is a prophet in his own land” and so the first publications I had in Italy were due to the fact I was a foreigner: they were looking for foreign artists for multicultural editorial projects. After that, I was published in my home country and in other states.

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What was the first art related work that you were paid?

The first paid work was for the illustration of a children’s book translated into Italian from Hungarian, “Ha én felnőtt volnék” (If I were big) by Eva Janikovszky, published by L’Omino Rosso Editore, a small publisher in the region where I live. The book is a major classic in Hungary, a very entertaining story that I illustrated using digital techniques (Adobe Illustrator), which did not turn out to be my style.

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What do you think influenced you style?

I think my style has been influenced by many things: the popular Hungarian art passed on to me by my grandmother, who taught me embroidery, the late Renaissance painters in the Fine Arts Museum in Budapest, where I acted as tourist guide when I was a student and, of course, many contemporary illustrators that I discovered in books, exhibitions and on the web (Gianni De Conno, Gabriel Pacheco, Alice Wellinger, Pierre Mornet……. the list would be very long!).

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What type of work did you do right after you graduated?

After university, I gave birth to my two children and for 6 years I concentrated on being a mother….. although it was during that period that I discovered illustrated children’s books!

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How did you connect with the Wilkinson Studios? When did you join them?

I came across Wilkinson Studios in 2011 thanks to an illustrator friend of mine who was already working for them. I sent them my portfolio and they immediately gave me a job. The client was very pleased with the illustration and so we continued to collaborate and they included me among the artists they represent. It was a great honour for me.

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Do you do any exhibits to show off your work?

Yes, I am often invited to take part in joint exhibitions and I have had various personal exhibitions in Italy and abroad. In 2011 and 2013, my work was exhibited at the Biennale of Illustration of Bratislava, Slovakia and, 2007- 2012 every year at the “Le immagini della fantasia” of Sàrmede, the most important exhibition of children’s illustrations in Italy.

The last exhibition has just ended and it was “Il posto delle favole” (The place of fables), a joint exhibition by international artists in Rocca Sinibalda, a picturesque little town in central Italy. The next exhibition will be a personal exhibition of my work in Hungary in October 2014.

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When and what was the first children’s book that you illustrated?

The first book that I illustrated was, luckily, the one I mentioned as my first paid work.

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How did that contract come about?

The contact with the publisher came about through a friend we had in common, who was a book translator.

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Do you consider that book to be your first big success?

My first book was an important experience for me, I learned a lot, but I don’t consider it a great success.

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Have you published about children’s picture books for a US publisher?

So far, in the United States, they have published my illustrations in academic books and magazines, but I haven’t yet illustrated a whole book in the United States and I can’t wait to do so!

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Have you tried to write and illustrate a children’s book, yet?

My first successful book was actually one that I wrote and illustrated: “A hálás virág “(The grateful flower) is an autobiographical book that deals with the subject of diversity and the Great Mystery of death, life and rebirth. The story came from an episode that actually happened in my grandparent’s garden in Budapest. In 2008, the album won first prize for the best unpublished illustrated album for children aged between 6 and 9 years at the 11th International Competition “Syria Poletti: On the wings of butterflies”. It was subsequently published in 3 languages: Italian, Hungarian and Polish.

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Does the area where you live have a large artist community?

I live in the countryside near a little town in northeast Italy that lies between the Alps and the Adriatic Sea, a land of excellent white wines and ham. There isn’t a large community of artists here, but you live and eat well!

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What type of illustration work do you do?

I work both on children’s books and books for adults, and on Packaging. I work both digitally and with traditional techniques. I like to adapt my style to the text and always try out new things so that I continue to grow and renew myself.

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Have you won any awards for our art?

I have won various prizes but the most important was the one I received at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2013: the cover I illustrated of “Folyékony tekintet” / Liquid gaze (published by Libri, Budapest) was selected from the 12 most beautiful covers at the Fair by the Wall Street Journal.

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How many picture books have you illustrated?

So far, I have entirely illustrated 11 books, without counting the anthologies that include the drawings of several artists.

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What do you consider your biggest success?

The greatest success has been the last book I illustrated, “Folyékony tekintet” (Liquid gaze), a collection of poetry for which I drew the digital illustrations using only the colours black and red.

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Do you feel living in Italy has broaden your career as an illustrator?

For an illustrator, I don’t think it matters much these days where you live, an internet presence is more important because that’s where work meetings take place. 23. Yes, I have worked for Italian and Hungarian magazines and in the United States, for the Christian Reformed Church of North America’s Dwell Dive Magazine. 24. I use acrylic colours and sometimes I add some details in Photoshop.

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Have you done illustrations for any children’s magazines?

Yes, I have worked for Italian and Hungarian magazines and in the United States, for the Christian Reformed Church of North America’s Dwell Dive Magazine.

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What materials do you use to paint your color illustrations?

I use acrylic colours and sometimes I add some details in Photoshop.

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What type of things do you do to find illustration work?

To find illustration work, it is important to have a website or a blog, send your portfolio to the illustration agencies and publishers, and go to specialist fairs, like the Children’s Book Fair of Bologna.

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What is the one thing in your studio that you could not live without?

The thing I miss the most is the view from my window: the hill with the historic centre and the mountains. When I’m at home staring at a sheet of paper or a monitor all day, it is important sometimes to turn and look into the distance!

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Do you try to spend a specific amount of time working on your craft?

It is very difficult to work set hours when you’re a freelance. I often work at night to meet deadlines…

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Do you take pictures or do any types of research before you start a project?

Research is the first phase of working on an illustrated project and that often takes whole days. I have a folder on my computer where I collect photos and texts that inspire me and that might be useful one day. If I don’t find the photos I need on the internet, people in certain poses, for example, then I’ll use relatives or myself, taking the photos I need.

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Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

Yes, I think the internet has opened many doors, but it has also increased the competition.

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Do you use Photoshop or Corel Painter with your illustrations?

Yes, I use Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator.

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Do you own or have you used a Graphic Drawing Tablet in your illustrating?

Yes, I use a Graphic Drawing Tablet to sketch out drafts and add details to my illustrations.

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Do you have any career dreams that you want to fulfill?

My dream is to illustrate the Bible, especially St Paul’s Hymn to Love.

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What are you working on now?

At the moment, I’m working on two books: an illustrated album: The Garden of Tears, written by the French author, Laurie Cohen, and a Hungarian novel by Zoltán Hajdú Farkas.

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Any words of wisdom on how to become a successful writer or illustrator?

Above all, it is important to inquire within and understand ourselves. What would I really like to do? Devote time to personal works that haven’t been commissioned, be humble (we always need to learn), have a little entrepreneurial ability (we have to promote our work ourselves) and great steadfastness.

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Thank you Sarolta for taking the time to share your process and journey with us. We look forward to hearing about all your future successes.

To see more of Sarolta’s illustrations visit her at:

Website: http://www.saroltaszulyovszky.com/

Blog: http://saroltaszulyovszky.blogspot.it/  

Please take a minute to leave a comment for Sarolta, I know she would love to heard from you and I always appreciate it. Thanks!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

 


Filed under: authors and illustrators, demystify, illustrating, Illustrator's Saturday, inspiration, Interview, picture books, Publishing Industry Tagged: 1st Prize (Category Children's Book) at the 'Marosvásárhely Book Fair Award, 30th edition of the exhibition 'Le immagini della fantasia', Applied Art in Budapest, Sarolta Szulyovszky

2 Comments on Illustrator Saturday – Sarolta Szulyovszky, last added: 9/20/2014
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3. Free Fall Friday

IF metamorphosis final b

Dow Phumiruk is an aspiring children’s book illustrator.  She won the 2013 SCBWI On-the-Verge Emerging Voices Award that promotes diversity in children’s books.  Please visit her newly organized portfolio site at www.artbydow.blogspot.com.  The Emerging Voices Award 2014 opened for submission on September 15! Scroll to see Monday’s post about it.

ANNOUNCING THE WINNER OF DARLENE BECK-JACOBSON’S WHEELS OF CHANGE is: Drum roll please… Donna Taylor from Writer’s Side Up. Congratulations! Donna. Please send Darlene or me your email address so Darlene can send out your book.

Since I know so many in the audience love Eileen Spinelli, I thought you would want to read this interview Lora over at Words On A Limb had with Eileen. Here is the link:Eileen Spinelli Interview

joycebook

Joyce Wan just received her advance reader’s copy of her new picture book, THE WHALE IN MY SWIMMING POOL, which will hit book shelves in April 2015! A WHALE of a tale that is sure to evoke giggles from little guppies! ♥

At Running Press Kids, Lisa Cheng has been promoted to senior editor.

At Simon & Schuster Children’s, Jenica Nasworthy has been promoted to assistant managing editor.

Co-founder of start-up Ruckus Media and one-time president of Simon & Schuster Children’s Rick Richter is joining Zachary Schuster Harmsworth as an agent, working in their Boston office. Richter will represent children’s books as well as narrative nonfiction focused on history and military history.

Longtime editor Tom Miller will join Sanford J. Greenburger Associates as a literary agent on September 15. He will represent primarily nonfiction projects in the areas of diet and wellness, psychology and self-help, business, popular culture, spirituality, cooking, and narrative nonfiction. Most recently, he was an executive editor at McGraw-Hill.

Annie Nybo has been promoted to assistant editor at Margaret K. McElderry Books.

PLEASE DO NOT SUBMIT A FIRST PAGE FOR CRITIQUE IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO HAVE THE CRITIQUE POSTED. Thanks!

Rachel_Brooks_LPA_photo_17781343_stdAgent Rachel Brooks from the L Perkins Agency has agreed to be September’s First Page Critiquer.

Before joining the L. Perkins Agency, Rachel worked as an agent apprentice to Louise Fury. In addition to her industry training, Rachel has a business degree and graduated summa cum laude with a BA in English from Texas A&M University-CC.

WHAT RACHEL LIKES: She is excited about representing all genres of young adult and new adult fiction, as well as adult romance. While she is looking for all sub-genres of romance, she is especially interested in romantic suspense and urban fantasy. She is also on the lookout for fun picture books.

She’s a fan of dual POVs, loves both print and ebooks, and has a soft spot for marketing savvy writers.

Here are the submission guidelines for submitting a First Page in September: In the subject line, please write “September First Page Critique” or “September First Page Picture Prompt Critique” and paste the text in the email. Please make sure you include your name, the title of the piece, and whether it is as picture book, middle grade, or young adult, etc. at the top.

Plus attach your first page to the email. Please format using one inch margins and 12 point New Times Roman font – double spaced, no more than 23 lines. Send to: kathy(dot)temean(at)gmail(dot)com. Remember to also cut and paste it into the body of the e-mail, plus attach it in a Word document.

DEADLINE: September 19th.

RESULTS: September 26th.

You can only send in one first page each month. It can be the same first page each month or a different one, but if you sent it to me last month and it didn’t get chosen, you need to send it again for this month. Of course, it doesn’t have to be the same submission. It can be a first page from a work in process or you can use the picture prompt above.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Agent, Kudos, opportunity, Places to sumit Tagged: Agent at L. Perkins Agency, Dow Phumiruk, Editor Tom MIller joining Sanford J Greenbuger as Agent, Free Fall Friday, Publishing Industry promotions, Rachel Brooks, Simon & Schuster Children's

8 Comments on Free Fall Friday, last added: 9/19/2014
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4. How to Spot a Great Picture Book

dilysDilys Evans has been providing advice to young artists since 1978, when she founded Dilys Evans Fine Illustration.

Below is a summary of that advice—10 characteristics that she believes all outstanding picture books have in common.

Use it as a guide as you evaluate the picture books in your collection.

1. In the Beginning Was the Word
The pictures must be truly inspired by the story.

2. Preparation Is Paramount
The artist knows his or her characters, subject, and the setting inside and out.

3. A Great Cover Is a Great Start
If the cover art is compelling, it will make the viewer pick up the book and turn the pages.

4. The Artist Sets the Scene before the Story Begins
The inside flap offers a great opportunity to set the stage for the story or introduce a character.

5. The Endpapers Involve the Reader
Endpapers are another opportunity to add to the story or overall design of the book.

6. The Medium Is the Message
The perfect choice of medium to illustrate the text should convey every mood and nuance.

7. Every Picture Tells the Story
Every image is central to the story and moves it forward to the next page.

8. The Book Is a Form of Dramatic Art
Every scene must be carefully chosen to dully illustrate the drama and excitement of the story as it unfolds.

9. Art and Type Should Be a Perfect Marriage
The typeface should seem to be almost an extension of the art itself.

10. White Space Rules!
White space is a compositional element and not just a background to present the art.

Printed by the School Library Journal, September 2005

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Advice, authors and illustrators, How to, list, picture books, reference, Tips Tagged: Dilys Evans, Guide to Evaluate a Picture Book, How to Spot a Great Picture Book

5 Comments on How to Spot a Great Picture Book, last added: 9/20/2014
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5. Agent Building List

genevieveGenevieve Nine joined Andrea Hurst Literary Management as an intern in 2012. She has a background in professional editing and gets great satisfaction from developing authors. She’s a Creative Writing MFA candidate at the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts, holds a Certificate in Children’s Writing from the University of Washington, and graduated with honors and a B.A. from the USC School of Cinema & Television.

Genevieve loves books. Her tastes are eclectic, ranging from the classics to quirky. She’s drawn to the fantastic, the curious, and the unexpected. Genevieve is looking to represent authors who weave layered tales with well-developed worlds and characters who threaten to burst from the page. She appreciates smart and original plots with well-crafted twists. And no matter how zany or diabolical, every character should be undeniably human at heart.

When not reading or writing, Genevieve enjoys watching her Sherlock DVDs, planning future travels, and embarking on culinary adventures. She and her husband live in Seattle with their two naughty cats, Selkie and Napoleon.

Within young adult and middle grade, she’s looking to acquire:

Fantasy (open to all subgenres except game-related)
ŸScience Fiction
ŸMystery
ŸHistorical Fiction
ŸRetellings (classics, fairy/folk tale, myth)
ŸContemporary Realism (especially with elements of humor)

She also represents the following adult and new adult categories:

ŸMystery (detective/PI, amateur, cozy, historical, comic, caper)
ŸThriller (supernatural, historical, disaster, ecological)
ŸGothic/Hauntings/Quiet Horror
ŸHistorical Fiction
ŸRetellings (classics, fairy/folk tale, myth)
ŸRomantic Comedy
ŸMagical Realism
ŸFood Memoir
ŸTravelogue/Travel Memoir

She is not interested in the following:

ŸHard SF/Military SF/Space Opera
ŸGraphic Horror
ŸErotica
ŸReligious Fiction/Nonfiction
ŸShort Stories

Submission Guidelines: querygenevieve@andreahurst.com. Email queries only. ŸNo attachments. ŸInclude “Query: Book Title” in the email’s subject line. ŸPaste the first ten pages of manuscript below your query. ŸPlease state if manuscript has been previously self-published. ŸPlease state if query is a multiple submission and inform Genevieve if the project becomes no longer available for representation.

Follow Genevieve on Twitter (@GenevieveNine).

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Agent, Editor & Agent Info, Middle Grade Novels, opportunity, Places to sumit, Publishers and Agencies, Young Adult Novel Tagged: Agent Building List, Andrea Hurst Literary Management, Genevieve Nine, Northwest Institute of Literary Arts

0 Comments on Agent Building List as of 9/17/2014 12:10:00 AM
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6. Kidlit Online Novel Writing Class

Crafting the Kidlit Novel ​- Four Week Online Class

starts October 6, 2014

kamicroppedOne Bite at a Time: How Writing a Novel is Like Eating a T-Rex and Other Things That Bite Back 

With Children’s Authors

Kami Kinard and Rebecca Petruck

The idea of writing an entire novel can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be when you learn how to move in stages. Children’s authors Kami Kinard and Rebecca Petruck break down the elements of solid novel writing, beginning with the hook and on through pitch, character development, plot structure, and practical tools for writing through to the end. Though the focus will be on middle grade and young adult writing, the tools are useful for anyone who wants to complete a publishable work.

rebeccaNaNoWriMos! This class will organize your approach so you launch into November with a plan that will result in a novel-like construction and not simply 50,000 words.

Bonus Critique: Register before September 20, 2014 and receive a free five-page critique and 20-minute Skype session with Kami Kinard, redeemable within six months of the course’s completion.

In addition, you will be entered to receive a free written critique of the first chapter of your novel (up to 5 pages) from Agent Rachael Orr of Prospect Agency. 

You have the option of registering for the four-week class for $250 or the class PLUS a 25 page critique with a 60 minute telephone or Skype conversation for $350.

Click this link to register and read more: http://www.kidlitwritingschool.com/crafting-the-kidlit-novel.html

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: authors and illustrators, How to, Middle Grade Novels, writing Tagged: Agent Rachel Orr, Crafting the Kidlit Novel ​, Kami Kinard, online writing class, Rebecca Petruck

3 Comments on Kidlit Online Novel Writing Class, last added: 9/19/2014
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7. On-The Verge Emerging Voices AWARD

SCBWI Grant and Award Logos

The SCBWI established the On-The-Verge Emerging Voices Award in 2012 with funding from Martin and Sue Schmitt of the 455 Foundation. The grant was created to foster the emergence of diverse voices in children’s books.


Deadline: 

Applications accepted between September 15th and November 15th, 2014

Award:

Two writers or writer/illustrators will each receive:

  • An all-expense paid trip to the SCBWI Summer Conference in Los Angeles August 1-4, 2015 (transportation and hotel)
  • Tuition to the SCBWI Summer Conference
  • A manuscript consultation at the Summer Conference with an industry professional
  • An additional meeting with an industry professional
  • Tuition to the Summer Conference Writers or Illustrators Intensive
  • A press release

 

Eligibility:

Any writer or writer/illustrator from an ethnic and/or cultural background that is traditionally under-represented in children’s literature in America. (American Indian, Asian, Black or African American, Hispanic, Pacific Islander)

The manuscript must be an original work written in English for young readers and may not be under contract.  The applicant must be over 18, be unpublished, and should not yet have representation.

Guidelines: 

All applications will be accepted via email only between September 15th and November 15th at Voices@scbwi.org and must include the following:

In the body of the e-mail:

1. An autobiographical statement and career summary in less than 250 words.

2. Why your work will bring forward an underrepresented voice in less than 250 words.

3. A synopsis of your manuscript in less than 250 words.

Attached to the e-mail:

4. A PDF of your entire manuscript.  If the manuscript is not complete, it is not eligible.

The winners will be announced December 19, 2014 and the award presented at the 2015 SCBWI Summer Conference in Los Angeles, August 1-4.

When your work is published the author/illustrator should include in the acknowledgement “This book was made possible in part by a grant from SCBWI”

VIEW PAST WINNERS

Questions? voices@scbwi.org

Good Luck! Remember you can not win if you don’t submit.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: authors and illustrators, awards, Competition, Contest, opportunity, Places to sumit, Publishing Industry Tagged: ethnic and/or cultural background, On-The Verge Emerging Voices AWARD, SCBWI, Two Awards

1 Comments on On-The Verge Emerging Voices AWARD, last added: 9/16/2014
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8. Picture Book A to Z’s: Plotting in Picture Books

sudiptacroppedBonus Critique: Register before September 20, 2014 and receive a free picture book manuscript review and 20-minute Skype session with Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, redeemable within six months of the course’s completion.

Four Week Online Class starts October 6, 2014

Cost: $250

Author Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen is proud to offer the first in this series, a course on Plotting in Picture Books.

The Picture Book A to Z series is designed to be a collection of master level classes that cover all of the fundamentals of picture book craft. While each class is complete on its own, taken together, the series will teach you everything you ever wanted to now about picture books — and a lot more!

What You Will Learn

The ability to craft a strong picture book plot is one of the factors that separates unpublished writers from those who consistently sign publishing contracts to see their work in print. This course will teach you the essentials of creating compelling plots, starting with Arcs, Beginnings, and Climaxes — then literally taking you through the alphabet. Each topic will be explored in depth, both in the lessons and in the discussion forums and webinars. The writing exercises that are a part of the course are designed to help you apply the lessons to your own writing seamlessly and immediately. By the end of the course, you will never look at plotting the same way again!

How the course is structured:

  • Lessons will be posted daily Mondays-Fridays during the four weeks of the course. They will remain online for four months (until February 28, 2015) so students can work at their own pace.
  • ​​A weekly webinar will address topics related to the class. Webinars will also provide an opportunity for personal feedback from the instructors. They will be recorded and available for students to access for four months after the completion of the course.
  • Students will be able to interact with the instructors and each other via an organized, private message board hosted just for each class. This will be an excellent resource to form critique groups, to freely ask questions, and to support each other as you launch into your projects.​

Optional Add on Critique: Add an in-depth picture book manuscript critique with an hour-long Skype session with Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen at a special class-only discounted rate.

Bonus Critique: Register before September 20, 2014 and receive a free picture book manuscript review and 20-minute Skype session with Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, redeemable within six months of the course’s completion. In addition, you will be entered to receive a free written critique of a picture book manuscript (up to 1,000 words) from Agent Rachel Orr of the Prospect Agency. 

Click this link to register: http://www.kidlitwritingschool.com/picture-book-a-to-zs–plotting.html

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Author, children writing, demystify, How to, opportunity, picture books Tagged: Online Writing Course, Picture Book A to A series, Plotting in Picture Books, Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen

6 Comments on Picture Book A to Z’s: Plotting in Picture Books, last added: 9/14/2014
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9. Illustrator Saturday – Mehrdokht Amini

photoMehrdokht Amini has worked on many books for children. One of her latest picture book “Golden Domes And Silver Lanterns” in collaboration with” Hena Khan” has been highly praised and has been selected in the 2013 ALSC notable children’s booklist, which is a list of best of best in children’s book.

She lives in Surrey, England.

Below are her clients:

The British Museum Press,
Chronicle books
Random House
Stentor Publication
Harcourt Publishing
Overbrook Entertainment
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Here is Mehrdokht explaining her process:

This is the step-by-step process of one of the illustrations of the book that I have written myself. At the moment I am working on some samples of this book to take to the publishers. The book is called “The day I met Poppito.”

In this image, the main character of the book has come down for breakfast and sees that his parents are very annoyed by this news that a family of hippos have moved in next door to them. The mother is particularly not happy with the situation.

I start the project by first sketching the overall composition that I have in mind and a bit of character designing.

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 Gradually I delve into more details of the image .The character facial expressions are especially very important to convey the massage of the picture.2

 

I scan all the sketches and save the files in tiff format to make sure all the details are kept as accurately as possible for next stages. Then I start to take photos for my image based on the composition. I might not use all the photos I take but at this stage I try to gather whatever material I think might come in handy in later stages of the work.

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I might need the texture of a plastered wall.

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Or details of a room because it is an indoor image.

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After the sketches are finished and I am done with taking photos. I start working on the background of the image.

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I brush the surface of a watercolor paper with GOLDEN Molding Pastes a few times on intervals to get the desired texture and then I color the surface with Acrylics in layers. I put one layer of color, wait for it to get dry then repaint it again with another color. That’s because sometimes I scratch the surface to get to the layers underneath and have a more interesting surface.

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I take then everything to Photoshop. Here the floor needs to be change so I make another surface for it.

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I then fit it into its place in Photoshop in a separate layer. In the “Hue/Saturation” I bring down the saturation of the floor layer to zero and finally put it in the “soft light” mode so the layer beneath could be seen through.

There I arrange the sketches on the background in a different layer and change their mode on “intensity” to be able see through them. Then I start painting on them with the brush tool.

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Using my photos I work a bit more on the texture of the wall and the staircase.

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I feet the table perspective doesn’t really work this way so I change it too.

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Eventually this is how the picture looks like when finished.

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Finished image

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Book Covers

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Book covers

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How long have you been illustrating?

I went to Secondary School of Creative Arts in Iran and I remember once a teacher asked us to choose a story and make illustrations based on that. I chose “The Red Shoes” by Hans Christian Anderson and it was the first time I tried to illustrate a book. I enjoyed the process so much that I decided then that I wanted to continue my career in that direction. What I enjoyed most and continue to take pleasure in was that for a short time it gives me the opportunity to live in an imaginary world and create my own characters and scenes and share them with others.

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I see you attended Alzahra University in Tehran. How did you decide to study Graphic Design there?

After getting my Secondary school certificate in Art it was a natural thing for me to continue my higher education in the creative field. As there was no BA course available in illustration I decided to study in Graphic design. At the time it wasn’t a very well known subject to study in Iran and studying art was considered by many parents as something for the students who couldn’t do very well in scientific subjects. So I guess it was a brave act for my parents to go along with my desire to become an artist.

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What were you favorite classes?

I enjoyed life-drawing classes partly because we used to laugh a lot during that course. The thing is, in Iran a lot of restrictions are imposed on art students. As ridiculous as it might sound, in life drawing classes no nudity was allowed. So we had to sketch the models all dressed up. We had to guess what was under the folds of clothes and so occasionally our sketches looked ridiculous. I also enjoyed photography courses. It was the pre -digital era and we had to develop and print our photos in the dark room. I loved the dark room anticipation of seeing the result of the work appearing gradually on the paper and the various techniques we could do with the developing materials on the photo papers.

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Now that you live in the UK, do you think the Universities are different than the ones in Tehran?

They are totally different. Here the art students have the freedom of expressing their feeling with no boundaries whatsoever. It is an essential ingredient for an artist which some might take it for granted. Over there, there are many taboos and lines that could not be crossed.

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Did you immediately decide you wanted to get your MA in Art Research or did you get a job right out of college?

I was still in college when I got my first commission to illustrate a book. It took me some years to go back to university to get my MA and the reason I chose Art research was because I felt a lack of enough theoretical knowledge in myself.

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What types of things do you study when you go for a degree in Art Research?

I am not sure weather such a course is available here in MA degree or not. But over there it ranges from history and philosophy of art to critical thinking in art.

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What was your most interest class while going for your MA?

For me it was a course during which we did lots of discussions on contemporary theories of art. We worked mostly on “A reader’s guide to contemporary literary theory” by Raman Seldon and Peter Widdowson. There I learned for the first time about the developments of modern art theories; A fascinating subject that change my point of view not only on art but also on life itself.

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Did the School help you get work?

No, Unfortunately in Iran schools don’t feel any obligation to find work for the students.

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Do you feel the classes you took in college have influenced you style?

No, I don’t think so. They help me a lot in term of having a better critical mind as an artist and choosing my path. But thankfully the professors didn’t try to influence our style. I think it is a catastrophe when the art teachers try to impose their ideas on students. They should probably just show the ways and let them decide.

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What type of work did you do right after you graduated?

Apart from illustrating books I did occasional designing jobs here and there but I have always been freelance.

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What was the first art related work that you were paid?

The book that I did for “Khane Adabiat” publication during my BA was my first paid job.

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Do you have an agent or artist rep.? If so, who are you with? When did you join them and how did the two of you connect? If not, would you like to find representation?

Yes, I decided to find an agent for myself last year because I am not that good at representing myself.

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At the moment I am working with “The Illustrators Agency“(www.theillustratorsagency.com) based in Australia. So far we have been connected only through emails. They have managed to find me two book commissions so far from “Cengage Learning” which is a global educational publisher and I am very happy to be able to work with them.

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When and what was the first children’s book that you illustrated?

There is a very famous Iranian poet called “Ahmad Shamlou” who sadly passed away a few years ago. He has a few long poems, which in form are quite rhythmic and seem to be written for children but their contents occasionally have some political connotations.

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One day when I was still studying for my BA I decided to work on one of these poems and as it was not very long for a whole book, I came up with this idea to illustrate it in a new format. Something like a big three folded brochure. It worked and subsequently I worked on other poems of the same writer and some other famous contemporary poets in the same format.

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How did that contract come about?

I didn’t have any particular publishing house in mind at that time. The only thing I knew was that most of the publishing houses were clustered around a few avenues around Tehran University. So when I finished the draft of the work, I took in my portfolio case and started searching around in that area for a children’s book publisher. By chance I came to Khane Adabiat and the editor of the time liked the idea very much. Every thing started from there.

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Do you consider that book to be your first big success?

I do. It was vey successful and after more than fifteen years copies of it is still selling in Iran. But it is greatly due to the fact that the poet is very famous in Iran and these series of his work were only published in collections and not individually -illustrated format. The new format of the book also made it stand out in the shelves of the bookshops. But if I could illustrate them again I would totally change the illustrations!

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It looks like you did a large amount of books with Khane Adabiat Publications. Are they the big publishing house in Tehran?

At that time they weren’t huge but after some years they made a good name for themselves in children’s publishing industry in Iran.

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Have you tried to write and illustrate a children’s book, yet?

This is my ultimate goal to be able to illustrate my own stories.

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What made you move to the UK?

I guess it was destiny that brought me here!

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After ten years of publishing with Khane Adabiat Publications, you get to do a picture book with a publisher in Poland and Harcourt in the US. How did those two books contract come about?

I came to live in UK ten years ago and at first I didn’t know how to continue my career here as an freelance illustrator so I decided to learn Photoshop and Corel draw and try to find a job as a Graphic designer. It took me 6 months to learn these two software and during the process of learning them I discover how powerful they could be as a tool for making illustrations. Eventually I did a few digital pieces and decided to have a website to showcase them. These were the ones, which gained me these two commissions.

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What was it like to illustrate a picture book for the British Museum in the UK? Did they have an editor or art director?

It was a great honor for me to work with the British museum. Apparently Helen East, the author of the book “How the Olympic came to be”, had spotted my website and recommended me as the illustrator for her upcoming book with The British museum. We had a few meetings with the editor of the time and discussed the sketches together. It was a really enjoying experience.

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How did that come about?

It was a year before the London Olympics and the book was the story of Olympics through Greeks myths and legends. I was supposed to get inspiration from the objects of British museum related to the story for my pictures. It was really fun because it gave me the opportunity to study the classical period of Greek art and learn more about Greek mythology. I particularly fell in love with their ancient potteries and all the delicate silhouettes painted on them, each telling different stories about Greek heroes and villains.

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How did you hook up with Chronicle Books to illustrate GOLDEN DOMES AND SILVER LANTERNS?

They had found me through childrensillustrators.com and contacted me to see whether I was interested to work on the “Golden domes and silver lanterns”.

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How did you connect with them?

Our contact was only through emails, which at the beginning created a bit of problem. We didn’t have the chance to discuss the pictures face to face and as a result my first round of sketches was almost completely rejected. I had imagined the settings to be depicted in an ancient time, whereas the editors and writer had a clear objective to have the story portrayed in a contemporary atmosphere.

I had to redo the sketches but I think eventually we were all happy with the final result.

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Do you feel living in the UK has broaden your career as an illustrator?

Living here has lifted many obstacles in my career. I have more access to different sources of inspiration and could keep myself up to date. In Iran many Internet sites are blocked and young artist have limited way of displaying their work or connecting with the rest of the world.

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What illustrating contract do feel really pushed you down the road to a successful career?

It is not one contract that helped me in my career but the whole portfolio of my work. Each piece has it’s own importance and has pushed me a bit forward. I am not completely satisfied with my early pieces and wish I had a chance redo them again but each had its own importance in my career.

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Have you done illustrations for any children’s magazines?

When I was still in the university one of the teachers who was running a magazine for children asked me to do some illustrations for her but after that I didn’t have the chance to work for a children’s magazine any more.

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What materials do you use to paint your color illustrations?

I usually make a background with the help of GOLDEN Molding Pastes and acrylics or whatever medium I think is appropriate. Sometimes I paint straight on this background or use other surfaces for different part of the illustration, then I scan all the materials and take everything to Photoshop and continue to work on the image from there.

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What types of things do you do to find illustration work?

For some years now I have been subscribed to childrensillustrators.com and had some commissions coming from that site. Occasionally I send samples of my works to the publishers who accept unsolicited materials. Social medias is a powerful tool for getting noticed too but it is very time consuming and needs lots of dedication. Right now I am hoping that my agent will find me work so I could have more time for the creative side of work.

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What is the one thing in your studio that you could not live without?

It is my digital pen.

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Do you try to spend a specific amount of time working on your craft?

Not really. When I start to work on a piece I lose the track of time.

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Do you take pictures or do any types of research before you start a project?

Yes, I do take pictures all the time and with the help of Photoshop might use them in my illustrations too.

The research phase is the first and one of the most important parts of the work for me. It helps me to have a more accurate picture of story in my mind. For example I had a commission few years ago to do a few pieces based on a short story that was related to Hispanic culture. I had to do a long research through photos, their art, history etc… to familiarize myself with the setting in that story.

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Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

Most definitely. All my commissions are coming from the Internet. But the truth is that as much as Internet had made the life easier for illustrators, in my opinion, it has created the problems of its own.

The industry is really tough and the competition for getting a commission is really high.

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Occasionally I am approached by clients who ask for a great amount of work in exchange for a ridiculously low fee. I usually say no because thankfully I’ve got other means to support myself, but I am sure there are illustrators in countries hit by economy crisis who might be happy to work with that amount of money. There are also graduate students who are willing to work for low fees just to have a published piece of work in their portfolio. So I guess it has created a bit of financial instability for illustrators too.

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Do you use Photoshop or Corel Painter with your illustrations?

Yes, I work with Photoshop all the time but I try to use it carefully. The problem with digital work is that if you limit yourself to just drawing with a digital pen and nothing more, the end product would be something bland with no spontaneity in it. In manual works you often make mistakes, an unintentional drop of ink on the surface or a wrong stroke of the brush etc… that make the work even more interesting. So I try to have a mixture of manual and digital techniques in my works.

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Do you own or have you used a Graphic Drawing Tablet in your illustrating?

Yes, it is many years now that I have one and I think it is one of the best tools that I have bought for myself so far.

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Do you have any career dreams that you want to fulfill?

I wish that one day I get the chance to illustrate a collection of the “One thousand and one night”.

Many artists have tried it so far, among the best in my opinion is the one by Edmund Dulac but I think it still has a great potential for exploration and hope that one day the opportunity rises for me to do it too.

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What are you working on now?

At the moment I’m working on a story that I have written myself called “The day I met Popito” I have finished the first draft of the story and I am working on some samples to take to publishers now. The story is about a family who one day finds out that a family of hippos has moved next door to them. They are not happy about having hippos as their neighbors at all but in time they learn to know and appreciate each other more.

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I think the message in the story is probably appropriate for our time. More and more people come across a situation where they have to co-exist with people who might be different from them. Different in color of skin, nationality, religion etc… we have to find a way to harmoniously live together and accept our differences.

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Do you have any material type tips you can share with us? Example: Paint or paper that you love – the best place to buy – a new product that you’ve tried – A how to tip, etc.

Recently I have bought this gadget from Wacom called “Inkling digital sketch pen”. While you sketch on paper with a ballpoint pen provided, it captures your sketches digitally and then you can transfer the files to your computer with a USB connection. It lacks a bit of smoothness and occasionally misses the lines if you don’t press your pen hard enough on paper but I found it a very interesting device to have for sketching digitally.

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Any words of wisdom on how to become a successful writer or illustrator?

Once, one my college professors gave me a good piece of advice, which I still remember. She said” if you try, all your life, to perfectly imitate someone else’s work or style you might end up becoming very good in it but your work has really no artistic value and doesn’t take you anywhere Eventually you would be just a good imitator. But if you try to draw one straight line, it belongs to you and it has some originality of its own.”

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Thank you Mehrdokht for taking the time to share your process and journey with us. We look forward to hearing about all your future successes.

To see more of Mehrdokht’s illustrations visit her at:

Website: http://www.myart2c.com

Please take a minute to leave a comment for Mehrdokht, I know she would love to heard from you and I always appreciate it. Thanks!

Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: authors and illustrators, illustrating, Illustrator's Saturday, inspiration, Interview, picture books Tagged: Alzahra University in Tehran, Golden Domes And Silver Lanterns, Graphic Design, Mehrdokht Amini

8 Comments on Illustrator Saturday – Mehrdokht Amini, last added: 9/13/2014
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10. Free Fall Friday – First Page Guest Critiquer – Kudos

Below is a double page spread from A LOVE LETTER FROM GOD that Laura Watson illustrated.

LauraWatson_LoveLetter_beach_800

I received a wonderful update note from Laura Watson who was featured on Illustrator Saturday last year. http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2013/08/10/illustrator-saturday-laura-watson/

Here’s what Laura wrote:

“I wanted to thank you again for the wonderful profile you did on me last fall. It led to at least one awesome job, that I know of, and tons of great exposure. Thank you so much!”

“I have a couple of recent projects that are now printed:

Farm Friends for I See Me! Inc. Personalized Children’s Books (http://www.iseeme.com/my-farm-friends-personalized-book.html#Tab-A-2 ) and A Love Letter from God by P.K. Hallinan (for Ideals Children’s Books.”

“I’ve also been working on projects for Capstone, Orca Books (in Canada) and a couple of self-publishing clients too. This has been my busiest year ever, so far. Just pausing to catch my breath and update my portfolio, etc. this week.”

Laura, congratulations on all your recent successes. I’m so happy I contributed to a good year.

cropped-creativity-cookbook-header-600dpi

Donna Taylor launch two blogs with week. Thought you might like to check them out. She has some give-a-ways on both blogs that you may like. They end Sunday night at midnight. 

http://writersideup.com and http://2creativitycookbook.com

Rachel_Brooks_LPA_photo_17781343_stdAgent Rachel Brooks from the L Perkins Agency has agreed to be September’s First Page Critiquer.

Before joining the L. Perkins Agency, Rachel worked as an agent apprentice to Louise Fury. In addition to her industry training, Rachel has a business degree and graduated summa cum laude with a BA in English from Texas A&M University-CC.

WHAT RACHEL LIKES: She is excited about representing all genres of young adult and new adult fiction, as well as adult romance. While she is looking for all sub-genres of romance, she is especially interested in romantic suspense and urban fantasy. She is also on the lookout for fun picture books.

She’s a fan of dual POVs, loves both print and ebooks, and has a soft spot for marketing savvy writers.

Below is the September picture prompt for anyone who is inspired to use it for their first page.

Anne_Belov_Ellie_and_edmond_and_pandas 100 r  copyThe above illustration was sent in by Anne Belov. She was featured on Illustrator Saturday http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2012/06/23/illustrator-saturday-anne-belvo/ She works in oils, egg tempera, and works with printmaking.

Here are the submission guidelines for submitting a First Page in April: In the subject line, please write “September First Page Critique” or “September First Page Picture Prompt Critique” and paste the text in the email. Please make sure you include your name, the title of the piece, and whether it is as picture book, middle grade, or young adult, etc. at the top.

Plus attach your first page to the email. Please format using one inch margins and 12 point New Times Roman font – double spaced, no more than 23 lines. Send to: kathy(dot)temean(at)gmail(dot)com. Remember to also cut and paste it into the body of the e-mail, plus attach it in a Word document.

DEADLINE: September 19th.

RESULTS: September 26th.

You can only send in one first page each month. It can be the same first page each month or a different one, but if you sent it to me last month and it didn’t get chosen, you need to send it again for this month. Of course, it doesn’t have to be the same submission. It can be a first page from a work in process or you can use the picture prompt above.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Agent, authors and illustrators, inspiration, Kudos Tagged: Anne Belov, Donna Taylor, First Page Critique, Free Fall Friday, L Perkins Agency, Laura Watson, Rachel Brooks

2 Comments on Free Fall Friday – First Page Guest Critiquer – Kudos, last added: 9/12/2014
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11. YA Authors are amoung the Top Earning Authors

LisaFieldsFallLeaves

This fun fall illustration was sent in and created by Lisa Fields.  She is an illustrator based out of New York City, who is represented by CATugeau Artist Agency.  She says she loves to focus on facial expression and color in her work.  LisaFields.com

Seventeen World’s Top-Earning Authors: Veronica Roth, John Green And Gillian Flynn New on List

Young adult author Veronica Roth‘s ranks 6th on account of her “Divergent” trilogy which sold a combined 6.7 million copies in 2013, earning her around $17 million from print and ebook sales between June 2013 and June 2014. She also benefited from the book’s 2014 film adaption, which grossed $270 million at the global box office. At just 26, Roth is the youngest newcomer on the ranking, and one of seven women on the 17-person list.

37-year-old newcomer John Green’s ”The Fault in Our Stars” propelled him to an estimated $9 million yearly paycheck before taxes and fees. The YA love story, which follows the trials of two cancer-stricken teens, has sold well over 1 million copies in the U.S. and spawned a weepy summer blockbuster.

Green is tied for 12th place with Gillian Flynn, who joins the rankings for the first time due to the continued success of 2012′s “Gone Girl.” While not a YA book, it is a New York Times bestseller that sold 1.2 million copies in 2013; a movie version starring Ben Affleck hits cinemas this year.

A 2012 Bowker Market Research study suggested 55% of YA books are bought by people 18 and older. Adults aged between 30 and 44 accounted for 28% of all YA sales, and the books are purchased for their own reading the vast majority of the time.

“The category has reached adult audiences and really become okay to read,” said Lori Benton, VP Group Publisher at Scholastic Trade Publishing. “Harry Potter was the very first one to reach that audience – it was quickly embraced by children, and just as quickly by adults.”

With $14 million in earnings, the original young adult tour de force, J.K. Rowling, ranks 8th on our list. She continues to earn from back sales of her iconic Harry Potter series, while Pottermore – a proprietary website she setup to sell Harry Potter ebooks – makes her a pretty penny. Unlike most authors, Rowling never signed over the digital rights to her books, so she sells directly to readers, earning far more from these digital sales than most authors do through ebooks.

READ FULL ARTICLE by Natlie Robehmed for Forbes:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/natalierobehmed/2014/09/08/the-worlds-top-earning-authors-veronica-roth-john-green-and-gillian-flynn-join-ranking/

JUNE 2013 – JUNE 2014 TOP SEVENTEEN BEST SELLING AUTHORS – SIX ARE YOUNG ADULT BOOKS (Bolded)

Here’s the List:

ALEX CROSS and MICHAEL BENNETT series: James Patterson 90,000 million. His books account for one out of every 17 hardcover novels purchased in the United States.

INFERNO: Dan Brown 28 million

JEWELS OF THE SUN: Nora Roberts 23 million due to paperback and e-book sales.

A PERFECT LIFE: Danielle Steel 22 million

POWER PLAY: Janet Evanovich 20 million

WIMPY KID: Jeff Kinney 17 million

DIVERGENT Series: Veronica Roth 17 million

SYCAMORE ROW: John Grisham 17 million

DOCTOR SLEEP: Stephen King 17 million

HUNGER GAMES: Suzanne Collins 16 million

HARRY POTTER: J.K. Rowling 14 million

GAME OF THRONES: George R.R. Martin 12 million

KING AND MAXWELL: David Baldacci 11 million

THE HEROS OF OLYMPUS: Rick Riordan 10 million

FIFTY SHADES OF GREY: E.L. James 10 million (Sold 29 million copies in 2012 the U.S. alone. Sales dropped off in 2013 to a combined 1.8 million, but an upcoming movie could boost 2015.

GONE GIRL: Gillian Flynn 9 million

THE FAULT IN OUR STARS: John Green 9 million

You too can join the list. All you need to do is write a great book, get a great Agent, how finds a great publisher, make all the Best Book Lists, sell it to a Hollywood Studio who brings it to the big screen then becomes a blockbuster hit and repeat year after year. So keep writing, because you don’t have a chance to make that happen any other way.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

 


Filed under: Hollywood, inspiration, list, News, Publishing Industry, success, Young Adult Novel Tagged: CaTugeau, Lisa Fields, Six YA authors in top selling Book list, Top Earning Authors

1 Comments on YA Authors are amoung the Top Earning Authors, last added: 9/12/2014
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12. Researching Fiction

erikaphoto-45Jersey Farm Scribe here on…

Researching Fiction

Umm, excuse me. You know what FICTION means, don’t you? It means it’s not a true story. I can’t research something that isn’t true. So fiction books can’t require any research.

That was how I felt at my very first writer’s group, before I was even involved in SCBWI. I was discussing how excited I was to be really getting into my first children’s book process. And someone asked me “So, how’d you do your research?”

I blinked a few times… and tried to pretend I understood the question. It’s not historical fiction, I thought to myself. So I squirmed around in my seat a bit and mumbled something like, “Well, it didn’t take much,” hoping that would change the topic.

But it led into a very valuable conversation that I will never forget.

ALL books involve research. (with the exception of some picture books)

If your book has more than 1000 words (and even many that don’t), some level of research is almost always necessary in order to develop the tangible reality of the characters. Does your character live in San Francisco? You need real street names, and even just some quick research of the city will show you that references to the hilly roads would add relatable layers to your story.

Is your character’s mother a nurse? Look into nursing schedules and rotating shifts, or some terminology that they may use.

Is someone preparing for college? What universities might they visit? What dorm names will they tour?

In order for your characters to be as alive to your readers as they are to you, there needs to be facts about them interwoven in the story that are laced in reality.

Obviously there are exceptions. Science fiction books or fantasy books create their own reality, and are more focused on sticking to the rules in the reality they have constructed.

But no matter the story, as writers, we are really jacks-of-all-trades.

Does our character fall in love with a gear-head? We have to become the mechanic. We have to know what that rough-edged muscle car lover knows. What he’d talk about, even if it’s while she’s rolling her eyes.

Does someone in the story ride horses? We have to fall in love with horses as well. We have to know if she rides Western or English, what class her horse competes in, and how many hands high the withers are.

And it’s not just facts. Human behavior is often the most important part of any story and we have to be in touch with the many facets of psychology. How actions and experiences shape personalities from all different perspectives.

We may have to understand the psychology of a child whose mother is in jail, or perhaps divorced parents that use them as a pawn. We may have to understand the subtle symptoms of how an overactive child might act, the struggles the parents might go through, and how it can affect the siblings as well.

The first time I thought about this, my initial reaction was… but I just want to write!

It seemed like a hindrance, another consumer of my precious time.

But as I’ve developed in my writing, I have come to really appreciate and enjoy the research side of any story. It brings the story off the paper, and links the creation into the tangible world.

In fact, I find myself constantly looking for ways to do MORE research. Maybe my character’s sister is off at college. Sure, I could make up a fake college name. But why? Why not use a real college, real dorm names and streets in the area?

Not only does this add a layer of reality, but it can add interest for marketing as well! People like to see their town name in print. Got a character who loves sports? Use real teams. Other fans will cheer right along with them.

The characters we paint have more than just the story we put on paper. They have a past, and a future. Part of our job is to do the research, to delve into everything in their lives and in the lives of those around them. This is just one of the many ways we add tangible, relatable layers to our story.

Because simply put, our manuscripts are worth it!

Erika

Erika Wassall is a writer, a farmer and a liver of life. She is a member of SCBWI and a proud Mad Scientist, bringing science experiments right into children’s classrooms, and hearts. She has a small farm in New Jersey with sheep, chickens, pigs and vegetables. Check out her new website at www.TheJerseyFarmScribe.com where as a first generation farmer, she often takes the long way, learning the tricks of the trade on The Farm. On her website is also The Shop page with tips and a free Q/A from her husband’s mechanic shop, and The Writer page where she shares stories, experiences and characters from the heart. Follow her on Twitter at @NJFarmScribe. She’d love to hear from you!

Thanks Erika for another valuable, well written post.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Advice, article, Author, children writing, inspiration, Process, reference Tagged: Erika Wassall, Guest Blogger, Jersey Farm Scribe, Researching Fiction

0 Comments on Researching Fiction as of 9/10/2014 1:30:00 AM
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13. Pledge This Before Starting a Thriller Novel

For my next manuscript I plan to write a thriller, so I bought
How to Write a Damn Good Thriller: A Step-by-Step Guide for Novelists and Screenwriters by James N. Frey to study.

damngoodthriller

I thought you might be interested in James Frey’s list of what to pledge before starting your novel.

A thriller is a pulse-pounding supsense. In the US, mysteries are not considered thriller, though they share some common elements.

In a mystery, the hero has a mission to find a killer.

In a thriller, the hero has a mission to foil evil.

To write a damn good thriller, you need a killer attitude. Pledge to yourself to do the following:

  1. Commit yourself to creating strong conflicts in every line of every scene.
  • Decide you will have fresh, snappy dialogue and not a single line of conversation.
  • Decide to write quickly when drafting. Fast is golden.
  • Give yourself production quotas of at least a thousand words everyday, even if you have a tough day job like kissing up to bad bosses. Three or four thousand would be better.
  • If your significant other complains your thriller writing is taking up too much of you time, get a new significant other.
  • Commit yourself to this: You will not have any major characters that are bland and colorless. They will all be dramatic types, theatrical, driven, larger than life, clever.
  • Create a step sheet for the whole novel or screenplay. You might start your first draft if you know your opening and have an idea for the climax.
  • Trick the expectations of the reader and create nice surprises from time to time.
  • Have your character in terrible trouble right from the beginning, and never let them get free of terrible trouble until the climax.
  • Have powerful story questions operating at all times.
  • End each scene or section of dramatic narrative with a bridge, a story question to carry the reader to the next one.
  • Always keep brainstorming and think about what’s happening off scene.
  • Make charts for the major characters that tell you what they’re doing when they’re not on scene.
  • Try to be fresh. Don’t use the same old cliches.
  • Be sure your prose is colorful and sensuous.
  • Keep the clock ticking and the excitement mounting right to the climactic moment.
  • Talk tomorrow,

    Kathy


    Filed under: Advice, Author, Book, demystify, How to, list, Writing Tips Tagged: How To Write A Damn Good Thriller, James N. Frey, Writing a thriller novel

    0 Comments on Pledge This Before Starting a Thriller Novel as of 9/9/2014 2:23:00 AM
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    14. Pledge This Before Starting a Thriller Novel

    For my next manuscript I plan to write a thriller, so I bought
    How to Write a Damn Good Thriller: A Step-by-Step Guide for Novelists and Screenwriters by James N. Frey to study.

    damngoodthriller

    I thought you might be interested in James Frey’s list of what to pledge before starting your novel.

    A thriller is a pulse-pounding supsense. In the US, mysteries are not considered thriller, though they share some common elements.

    In a mystery, the hero has a mission to find a killer.

    In a thriller, the hero has a mission to foil evil.

    To write a damn good thriller, you need a killer attitude. Pledge to yourself to do the following:

    1. Commit yourself to creating strong conflicts in every line of every scene.
  • Decide you will have fresh, snappy dialogue and not a single line of conversation.
  • Decide to write quickly when drafting. Fast is golden.
  • Give yourself production quotas of at least a thousand words everyday, even if you have a tough day job like kissing up to bad bosses. Three or four thousand would be better.
  • If your significant other complains your thriller writing is taking up too much of you time, get a new significant other.
  • Commit yourself to this: You will not have any major characters that are bland and colorless. They will all be dramatic types, theatrical, driven, larger than life, clever.
  • Create a step sheet for the whole novel or screenplay. You might start your first draft if you know your opening and have an idea for the climax.
  • Trick the expectations of the reader and create nice surprises from time to time.
  • Have your character in terrible trouble right from the beginning, and never let them get free of terrible trouble until the climax.
  • Have powerful story questions operating at all times.
  • End each scene or section of dramatic narrative with a bridge, a story question to carry the reader to the next one.
  • Always keep brainstorming and think about what’s happening off scene.
  • Make charts for the major characters that tell you what they’re doing when they’re not on scene.
  • Try to be fresh. Don’t use the same old cliches.
  • Be sure your prose is colorful and sensuous.
  • Keep the clock ticking and the excitement mounting right to the climactic moment.
  • Talk tomorrow,

    Kathy


    Filed under: Advice, Author, Book, demystify, How to, list, Writing Tips Tagged: How To Write A Damn Good Thriller, James N. Frey, Writing a thriller novel

    1 Comments on Pledge This Before Starting a Thriller Novel, last added: 9/8/2014
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    15. Darlene Beck-Jacobson – Book Give-a-Way

    darlenepicnewDarlene’s Debut Historical Novel WHEELS OF CHANGE launches on September 22nd. I am only too glad to be part of Darlene’s Blog Tour.

    Darlene gave me an advanced copy and I loved the book. It is a middle grade book, so YA readers don’t expect to find steamy and edgy. What you do find is a well-written book that everyone will enjoy. I like that she based it on some real life events that happened in her Grandmother’s life.

    We are very lucky. Darlene has agreed to give one lucky visitor a copy of her book. All you have to do is leave a comment below to have a chance to win. Want to up your chance? Then twitter about it, post on facebook, or another social media site, and let me know. I will add your name on a piece of paper for each thing you do. On September 18th, I will announce the winner and have Darlene mail out your copy. Please note: Darlene will pay for US shipping and any other reasonable shipping, but she may have to refuse shipping to every country around the world.

    Three Fun Facts About Darlene:

    1. Even though I can’t swim, I snorkeled in the Great Barrier Reef in Australia thanks to a life jacket and swim ring. It was magnificent…and scary. Without the swim ring there was NOTHING to hold onto.
    2. I like trying new food and have enjoyed the following:
    • Frog legs (tastes like chicken wings) and Escargo (garlicky and melts in the mouth) in Paris.
    • Ostrich (like filet mignon) in Lambertville, NJ
    • Crocodile (chewy and fishy, like clams) and Kangaroo (like ground beef only better) Both in Australia
    • Buffalo (leaner and more tender than beef) in Western Canada
    • Passion Fruit (sweet and delicious) in Hawaii
    • Conch (heavenly) Florida keys
    • Panga Fish (BEST fish I’ve ever eaten, bar none) in Vollendam, Netherlands

    Food you couldn’t pay me to eat again: Poi (wallpaper paste tastes better) and Vegemite (way too salty)

    1. I love learning new things and have taken classes in:
    • Flint napping
    • Navaho rug weaving
    • Origami
    • Crazy quilting
    • Pisanki (Polish egg decorating)

    Three Fun Facts About Darlene’s Grandmother – the real Emily Soper:

    1. She was a debutante in Washington DC Society and travelled in the same social circles as Alice Roosevelt.
    2. She lost her standing in society when she married my grandfather for love instead marrying for money and status.
    3. She was 4 feet 11 inches tall.

    Filed under: Author, Book Tour Tagged: Blog Tour, book give-a-way, Darlene Beck-Jacobson, Wheels of Change

    10 Comments on Darlene Beck-Jacobson – Book Give-a-Way, last added: 9/8/2014
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    16. Laurie Wallmark – Writing Books for Children

    princetonlogo

    Do you have an idea for a children’s book? Would you like to share your story with children around the world? Well, Laurie Wallmark is teaching
    WRITING BOOKS FOR CHILDREN at Princeton Adult School.

    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThurs 7:00-9:00pm

    October 2 – November 6

    In this course you’ll explore: the many joys of writing for children; types of children’s books; elements of a great story; tips to make your writing sparkle; traditional vs. self-publishing; printed books and e-books; avoiding scams, and much more.

    Here is the link to sign up.

    Share it with your friends who may be starting out on their path to publishing.

    Most of you already know Laurie, she was a wonderful Assistant Regional Advisor while I was Regional Advisor for the New Jersey SCBWI.

    Here is a little bit about Laurie you might not know:

    Laurie is pursuing an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She has written numerous articles and stories in children’s magazines (Highlights, Spider, Cricket, and others). Her debut picture book, Ada, will be published by Creston Books in 2016.

    Visit Laurie’s blog entitled “All News, No Schmooze: News and Notes for Busy Children’s Book Writers” at http://www.lauriewallmark.blogspot.com.

    Talk tomorrow,

    Kathy


    Filed under: Author, children writing, How to, need to know, opportunity, Process, Publishing Industry, Self-publishing Tagged: Laurie Wallmark, Princeton Adult School, Writing Boooks for Children

    4 Comments on Laurie Wallmark – Writing Books for Children, last added: 9/7/2014
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    17. Illustrator Saturday – David Hill

    dhDave Hill graduated from Glasgow School of Art in 1983 and began his career as a painter with exhibitions in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Liverpool and London.

    He worked in the video game industry for ten years as a concept artist producing character and environment designs in both 2D and 3D.

    As a freelance illustrator Dave’s passion is children’s books although he has also illustrated comic books, storyboards, greeting cards and product packaging.

    Dave produces most of his work digitally although he still accepts traditional commissions and paints in oils and watercolour.

    step1

    The rough sketch.

    I begin by preparing a rough sketch in Painter using a custom pencil. I prefer drawing in blue line because its less obtrusive than black or grey.

    step2

    Inking

    I create a new layer and begin inking over the blue line rough, tightening up as I go along and working on multiple layers as I draw new areas.

    step3

    The finished inked drawing is flattened onto one single layer.

    step4

    Creating a mask in Photoshop to help with colouring.

    The inked layer is set to ‘Multiply’ so that all white areas of the drawing become transparent and this is renamed ‘Line’ and placed at the top of the stack in the layers palette. I create new layers beneath the line drawing and block in each area of interest with different colours which will easily let me select and isolate a specific area of the image.

    step5

    Colouring

    In Painter, I hide the mask layer and create a new blank layer for the colour. I don’t need to be precise at this moment so my brush work can be loose and fluid which is the look I prefer. Painters ‘digital watercolour’ brush variants are terrific at creating that rich dabbled texture of traditional watercolour painting and because I’m laying in washes I need to use large custom brushes to achieve that effect.

    The large brushes are difficult to control but it’s ok if the colour bleeds over the line work at this stage.

    step6

    Edit in Photoshop using the masks.

    Once I’ve blocked in the main areas I need to tidy up the edges and to do this I select areas using the mask I made in Step 4. By simply selecting with the magic wand tool I can very quickly balance up the coloured layers and remove any colour that has bled over the lines. I do this in Photoshop because it’s far superior at colour management and much more accurate than Painter at selecting intricate areas.

    step7

    Adding detail

    Back to Painter and on a new layer I start adding the finer details and use my masks to help if needed.

    step8

    Creating the background.

    I usually create my backgrounds as separate files because I like to play around with brush marks and textures. These are pretty experimental exercises and they’re great fun to do but they can result in really big file sizes which is another reason for doing them separately from the main image.

    I begin by using washes to build up the sky keeping things simple as I want the figures to stand out heroically. I also want to create the illusion of depth so I keep the sky soft and I add some texture to the ground since it’s in the foreground.

    step9

    I drop the flattened background into the main image file at the bottom of the layer stack. Some of the sky shows through the figure work because they were painted with semi-transparent washes and I need to rectify this.

    step10

    Using my coloured masks I simply select and fill the areas with pure white.

    step11

    This white mask is then positioned between the figure layer and the background layer and the illustration is complete.

    75198

    Can’t show you all of David Book Covers, because there are too many, but the above cover illustration was created for SPLASH written by Lucy Courtenay and David Hill.

    Below are some additional covers to view:

    75202

    14941

    81867

    81869

    81876

    14940

    22509

    59889bigger

    ABOVE AND BELOW: Front and back Book Cover

    50797bigger

    When did you know you wanted to be an artist?

    As far back as I can remember. From a very young age I realized that I attracted attention whenever I drew pictures and this made me feel good.

    5582

    How did you decide to attend Glasgow School of Art?

    The Glasgow School of Art and especially the ‘Mackintosh’ building is famous the world over not only for its architecture but also for its reputation as one of the finest painting schools there is, so the opportunity of actually studying there and painting inside those hallowed walls was such a thrill. I knew I just had to go there to benefit from the expertise of the tutors and staff if I was to be serious about a career as an artist.

    81874

    What was your favorite class?

    Life drawing
    5584

    What was the first piece of art you did and someone paid you for your work?

    The first paid commission was a very long time ago when I was aged 12 or 13 and was a watercolour landscape of the River Clyde in the village where I grew up. I think I got £20 (about $30) for it which at that time seemed like a small fortune.

    6479

    How did you get involved with doing the art for video games?

    By pure chance as it happened! I was in a print bureau in Glasgow having some of my comic book pages and character designs photocopied when the creative director of ‘VIS games’ walked in to get some stuff copied too.

    He had nowhere to lay his artwork since mine covered the entire counter space, but instead of being annoyed he started leafing through the illustrations and asking if he could have copies made for a games pitch he was preparing. We struck a deal there and then and that was the start of a brilliant 10 years in the games industry.

    5720

    Can you tell us a little bit about lanarkshire, where you live now? Is it near London? Is it a strong artist community?

    Lanarkshire is a large county comprising several satellite towns on the outskirts of Glasgow, which is roughly 400 miles from London. Coatbridge, the town where I live is formerly a ‘coal town’ but all of the mining and steel industries have gone now, leaving the town much cleaner and greener. There isn’t a strong art scene in the town but Glasgow with its rich history is only 10 minutes away and it has a wealth of artworks dating from the Renaissance to the present day.

    5607

    How did you get interested in doing illustrating for children?

    I always loved including a narrative element in my work and telling stories with pictures led me initially to drawing comic books. I did this for several years before I realized that my real passion was children’s stories. I used to write adventure stories for my children when they were young and adding illustrations to those ideas was the first step in finding my vocation.
    70727

    Have the materials you use changed over the years?

    Yes indeed! I graduated with honours in Fine art so my materials were all traditional painters tools. Charcoal sticks, putty rubbers, sables, oil paint, turps and oily rags. They cost a lot of money too.

    Nowadays and for the past 18 years I’ve been working digitally. This was a conscious decision as it suits the nature of the industry where editing artwork can be quite extensive and time consuming. This would be disastrous for ones profit margin in a traditional workflow but is made relatively easy in a digital workflow. I still draw occasionally in pencils and I miss the smell of linseed oil and getting my hands dirty. I don’t miss the expense though and I love the Undo button.

    5920

    Do you have an artist rep?

    I do have a rep. It’s a very open agreement though compared to some agencies, which suits my creative exploration. I keep my own clients and any new work that comes directly to me. I would be interested in forging new relationships with other reps but only if it’s not exclusive and allows me to work with my own clients too.
    7627

    When did you illustrate your first children’s book? What was the title of that book?

    My first book was ‘Speak Along French’ by Isabelle Bennett for Mantra Lingua Publishers in 2005.
    22504

    How did that job come your way?

    The art editor saw my website which had gone ‘live’ just two weeks before. I couldn’t believe my luck.

    50779

    How many children’s books have you illustrated?

    Seventy Five
    22507

    How did you get the contract with HarperCollins to illustrate SPLASH?

    Through my artist rep. I love that book. It was a real joy to draw and I had so much fun with the changing weather.

    75189

    Was that the first contract to illustrate a picture book for a US publisher?

    No. It was done for Harper Collins London.

    ‘What happened to Merry Christmas’ for Concordia was my first U.S. contract published in 2006.

    50792

    Have you thought about writing and illustrating your own books?

    All the time! I have loads of ideas and character designs but no time to pursue their development. I’m always too busy illustrating for everyone else which is a nice complaint I suppose.

    75203

    Are you open to illustrating self-published books for other children writers?

    Yes. I work a lot with self-publishing authors and have done many books like this. I’m working on two right now both of which are for American authors.
    70724

    Have you done any work for educational publishers or children’s magazines?

    Yes. I do a great deal of educational illustration. I’ve only done the odd job for magazines though.

    5583

    What type of things do you do to find more illustration work?

    I don’t really have to look for work anymore. I’m very fortunate in that I have built up a respectable client base and they return to me or if it’s a new client they’ll come directly to me through my website. If I did have a quiet spell I guess I’d prepare a digital portfolio and send it out to as many publishers as possible.

    7628

    Do you ever use paint as a medium or is it all digital?

    It’s all digital.

    7630

    When did you start working digitally?

    In 1996 when I started working as a concept artist in the video games industry.

    14920

    Do you use Photoshop with your illustrations?

    Yes. Photoshop is priceless in my workflow because of its stability and efficiency at handling and processing extremely large files. I use it at every stage of my process and flit between it and Painter constantly, using each programmes strengths to maximum effect. Final stages of an illustration like compositing and colour balancing are always done in Photoshop.

    14934

    Do you use other software programs when you illustrate? If so, which ones?

    Most of my colouring is done in Corel Painter which beats photoshop hands down when creating an organic looking illustration. Painters brush engine is fabulous. It feels so natural and you can create digital artwork that looks just like it was made using traditional media.

    I use Adobe In Design for creating dummy books to help me get a better idea of the flow and pacing of the story. I build the page layouts, drop in the script and then import my rough sketches to give a clear view of how the final book will look and feel.

    I also use Adobe illustrator when scale able artwork is required or if the client is looking specifically for a more graphic approach.

    22506

    Do you use a graphic tablet to draw your illustrations?

    Yes. I use a Wacom intuos 3

    14943

    Do you spend a specific amount of time working on your own illustrations?

    Unfortunately I can’t seem to find the time to do my own illustrations.
    14923

    What is your biggest success story? The thing you are most proud of doing?

    Making a living as an artist is probably the biggest success story for me but the work I’m most proud of doing is probably an illustration titled ‘Dancing Mouse’. It was done as a self-promotional piece way back at the start of my career and shows my daughter Amy watching in amazement at a little mouse doing a handstand.

    The amount of work this one image alone has generated is quite staggering, so for that reason it’s my most successful piece.

    14937
    Do you still exhibit your art?

    Not in the conventional sense, but I subscribe to a couple of online galleries who host my work.

    32384

    Do you take pictures or do any other type of research before you start a project?

    I take photographs of everything and anything and also buy licensed pics from image banks whenever specific references are needed. I do quite a bit of historical illustration where attention to factual detail is of paramount importance so having good reference is essential.

    32385

    Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

    Absolutely. The world is your market place and getting a website to show my work has been the biggest factor in my success. Most of my clients are British or American but I also have clients in Ireland, Israel, Egypt, Germany, and South Africa. Being able to transfer digital files electronically has made things so much faster, safer, cheaper and easier.
    75205

    Do you think your style has changed over the years? Have your materials changed?

    My style changes to suit the demographic of each particular job. As a professional illustrator I think it’s beneficial if you can adapt your style to encompass a variety of situations and not limit yourself to a single area of the market. One day I’ll be drawing realistically for 7th graders with perhaps close attention to historical detail, the next I’ll be drawing for 4 year olds completely from my imagination.

    41764

    Do you have any career dreams that you want to fulfill?

    Yes. To one day have my own story books published. Oh how I would love that!
    41765

    What are you working on now?

    I’m doing 3 book covers for different authors, a picture dictionary for Egyptian/English Schools, some black and white spots for a poetry book, an isometric map of a fictional American town and two 24 page picture books for independent self-publishing authors.

    41768

    Do you have any art type tips (digital or traditional) you can share with us?

    I work digitally so my tips relate to that process.

    Mask! Mask! And Mask! I can’t stress how important it is to produce accurate masks before you start to colour digitally. If done properly your production time will be drastically reduced and your work load will be so much more streamlined and made much more manageable due to the control you’ll have over isolating, editing and finishing.

    70726bigger

    Decide on a file naming convention at the start of your project and stick to it. Save regularly with Sequential numbering to keep your files organized and easy to find. On average I have about 15 variations of each illustration saved throughout the production process.

    14921

    Any words of wisdom on how to become a successful writer or illustrator?

    Dedication. I work on average 14 hours a day but it’s worth it to be doing something I love.

    Build up a reliable reputation by always meeting your deadlines and your clients will come back time and time again.

    Draw everything you see that interests you and take a sketch book and camera with you always.

    Get your own website or rent space on one of the many host sites out there. You need as much exposure as possible and the web is a window to the world.

    14922

    Thank you David for taking the time to share your process and journey with us. We look forward to hearing about all your future successes.

    To see more of David’s illustrations visit him at:

    Website: http://www.davidhillarts.co.uk/

    Please take a minute to leave a comment for Annie, I know she would love to heard from you and I always appreciate it. Thanks!

    Talk tomorrow,

    Kathy


    Filed under: authors and illustrators, illustrating, Illustrator's Saturday, inspiration, Interview, Process Tagged: David Hill, Digital Painting tops, Glasgow Scool of Art, video game industry

    2 Comments on Illustrator Saturday – David Hill, last added: 9/8/2014
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    18. Free Fall Friday

    CALL FOR ILLUSTRATIONS: Need illustrations for this blog. I would love to show off your illustrations during one of my daily posts. So please submit your illustrations: To kathy (dot) temean (at) gmail (dot) com. Illustrations must be at least 500 pixels wide and include a blurb about yourself that I can use.

    Below is the September picture prompt for anyone who is inspired to use it for their first page.

    Anne_Belov_Ellie_and_edmond_and_pandas 100 r  copyThe above illustration was sent in by Anne Belov. She was featured on Illustrator Saturday http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2012/06/23/illustrator-saturday-anne-belvo/ She works in oils, egg tempera, and works with printmaking.

    Here are the submission guidelines for submitting a First Page in April: In the subject line, please write “September First Page Critique” or “September First Page Picture Prompt Critique” and paste the text in the email. Please make sure you include your name, the title of the piece, and whether it is as picture book, middle grade, or young adult, etc. at the top.

    Plus attach your first page to the email. Please format using one inch margins and 12 point New Times Roman font – double spaced, no more than 23 lines. Send to: kathy(dot)temean(at)gmail(dot)com. Remember to also cut and paste it into the body of the e-mail, plus attach it in a Word document.

    DEADLINE: September 19th.

    RESULTS: September 26th.

    You can only send in one first page each month. It can be the same first page each month or a different one, but if you sent it to me last month and it didn’t get chosen, you need to send it again for this month. Of course, it doesn’t have to be the same submission. It can be a first page from a work in process or you can use the picture prompt above.

    I will post this months Guest Critiquer next week.

    Talk tomorrow,

    Kathy


    Filed under: authors and illustrators, inspiration, opportunity, submissions, Writer's Prompt Tagged: Anne Belov, Call for Illustrations, First Page Critique, Free Fall Friday, Picture Prompt

    2 Comments on Free Fall Friday, last added: 9/7/2014
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    19. Illustrator Saturday – Annie Wilkinson


    Filed under: Uncategorized

    0 Comments on Illustrator Saturday – Annie Wilkinson as of 8/30/2014 1:17:00 AM
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    20. Illustrator Saturday – Annie Wilkinson

    imageAnnie Wilkinson is the youngest of eight children and the mother of two. She works in a variety of mediums including traditional and digital, creating bright and whimsical illustrations for both books and products. She also has a background in design and as a fine artist, two skills that she calls upon quite frequently when illustrating. She is currently working on her own picture book.

    Clients include:

    Simon & Schuster –  Macmillan
    LadyBird Books –
     Hallmark 
    CJ Educations – American Greetings
    Oxford University Press – Hasbro  
    Yeowon Media – National Geographic

    HERE IS ANNIE  EXPLAINING HER PROCESS:

    All of my work is done on the iPad. For the project for Story Corner, the guidelines were really loose – the story was to take place in outer space, after that I had a lot of free reign to draw whatever I like.

    IMG_7792

    So I started with some quick thumbnails, using the app Paper by 53. I had some loose concepts – riding space beasts, hanging out in a space garden, swimming with ‘star fish’.

    IMG_7793

    I like to share the thumbnails with the client to see if they’re happy with the general idea and composition, and if they are I then work on more refined sketches. Mostly I use the Vellum app to create my sketches.

    IMG_7794

    There’s also an app called Art Studio that functions like Photoshop, I can make selections and move things around if I need to refine the composition a little.

    process4

    When the sketches are finalized, I create the colour versions in Paintbook, which is a vector drawing app.

    IMG_7795

    Sometimes at this stage, depending in the spread size, I might have to export the pdf file to my computer and add textures in photoshop.

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    Since these we’re going to be playing cards, The iPad could actually handle their print size, so I added my textures using iColorama.

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    If I find the textures wash out some of the details then I will paint over some of the edges and add more shadows and highlights using either Photoshop or procreate.

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    How long have you been illustrating?

    I have been illustrating as a job for about 6 years, but for about 5 of them I was also working as a web & graphic designer . This is the first year that I am solely illustrating. I have always loved drawing!

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    Where do you live?

    I live in Vancouver, BC Canada

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    Did you go to school to study art?

    I have not. I am completely self-taught, but I do dream about going to art school some day – maybe when the kids are old enough.

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    What area of art did you study?

    I took an independent course with Geraldo Valerio “http://www.geraldovalerio.com” a Brazilian illustrator who was for a time living in Vancouver. I had belonged to a drawing Meetup group, and on a message board there, several people had mentioned taking his course on illustrating children’s books and how it was better than anything offered by the universities or libraries.

    After my first illustration job, when I started to realize it was something I might really like to do, I thought I should learn more about it and enrolled in his course. It was extremely helpful to have someone with experience to turn to! Even though he’s no longer in Vancouver, we still email every now and then and I still ask him for advice.

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    What was the first art related work that you did for money?

    Prior to working as an illustrator, I played in bands for many years, and toured a lot. These would have been my first paying art jobs.

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    What was the first job you took after you graduated from school?

    I did take a multimedia course about 15 years ago that was a very basic introduction to Adobe & Macromedia (who originally created Flash) software – it was just enough to get you going on everything and it was up to you if you wanted to take it further. I had expected that I would move into web design from there, but my first job after finishing that program was illustrating and animating Ecards in Flash for a Toronto company. It’s funny now that I think about it, it didn’t give me the idea that I would be an illustrator! I think probably because looking back at it my illustrations were fairly crude!

    cover

    How did you find your first illustrating work?

    Robeez Baby Shoes gave me what I consider my first real illustration job – they had a job posting for a web designer, and I applied and sent them a link to my online portfolio, which also contained some of my artwork. They got back to me saying the job had been filled but would I be interested in doing the illustrations for their shoes. Prior to this it hadn’t even occurred to me to be an illustrator! (Robeez shoes designs)

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    Have you done any illustrating work for a US publisher?

    I have done work for a few publishers, including Simon & Schuster, National Geographic, as well as a handful of educational publishers.

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    How did you start doing greeting cards?

    Not long after the Robeez job I was contacted by the Bright Agency in the UK http://www.thebrightagency.com, and I have been with them ever since. Another illustrator who was also working for Robeez, Ken Gamage http://www.sparklefishworld.com told me about http://www.childrensillustrators.com which is based in the UK, and I believe this is where Bright found me. Bright works in both publishing and art licensing, so my greeting card work was through them.

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    What made you want to illustrate children’s books?

    I had not thought originally that I could even be an illustrator! I was always drawing but in my mind it was just a hobby. I met another illustrator when our bands played a show together, Jenn Playford, http://www.jennplayford.com, who I think at the time had just got her first illustration job, and her telling me about it put the idea in to my head. I didn’t really do anything about it until I got the Robeez job though! I guess children’s books seemed the best fit for me, given the way I draw, which tends to be cute and colorful.

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    How many books have you illustrated?

    I’m not sure I can count them all! I’ve done around 4 books for the Korean market, 1 in New Zealand, 3 in Canada, a few in the UK, and maybe 10-15 for the US market, which would mostly include the educational market.

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    What was your first picture book?

    My first picture job was with Rubicon Publishing in Canada, with AD Rebecca Buchanan, now over at Pajama Press, she was lovely to work with.

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    When and how did that happen?

    They found me on a portfolio site, practically the day I finished my How To course with Geraldo, so I was pretty glad I’d taken the course. It was called “Splish-Splash” and had 4 illustrators illustrating about 4 pages each, so it was the perfect job to start with.

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    Of the picture books that you have published, which one is your favorite?

    It may be because it was the most recent one I illustrated and so am not tired of looking at it yet! I’m actually still working on it, but it’s called Nanna’s Magic Globe for Benchmark publishing. Another favourite I did recently was for Story Corner, which is a brand new company in the Uk – not a picture book but illustrated story cards, where the child lays out the cards and then tells their own story – that was a particularly fun job for me because I was allowed input in what happened in the story, and also because it involved telling the story in a non-linear fashion. (Thumbnails in paper by 53, Sketches in Vellum, final art for Story Corner)

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    When did you decide to get involved in children’s illustrtation?

    A big thing that happened was having kids of my own, and reading books to them – there are so many beautiful picture books out there! I particularly love Isabelle Arsenault and Oliver Jeffers, whose work really borders on fine art. I also am a big fan of Sophie Blackall, Peter Brown, Giselle Potter – there’s so many!

    p71

    How did you connect with LadyBird Books?

    This was a job through my agent – I had done a test illustration for The Secret Garden (which also happened to be one of my favourite books as a child!) and my AD thought my rendition of Dickon made a good Peter Pan, so I got to do both books.

    IMG_7797

    (The Secret Garden, Ladybird Books)

    How did the get the contract to do My Wonderful Clothes for Korean Publisher, English Hunt?

    I was approached by them, this book was slightly different than the other books I’d done in the Korean market as it was an English reader. I love working with Korean publishers as they are so invested in picturebooks!

    IMG_7798

    (My Wonderful Clothes, EnglishHunt)

    What do you consider is your first big success?

    Getting paid to draw! To be honest, it’s still an ongoing thing – I’m one of those people who can be their own worst critic, and I’m still trying to make art that impresses me as much as other illustrators work can.

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    How did that come about?

    Luck :)

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    How do you promote your work to get more business?

    I have a few portfolio sites that I try to keep updated regularly, and most of them have news sections which I find helpful. I also started sending out email newsletters to keep in touch with previous clients, I do one every 6-8 weeks or so. When things are slow I remind my agent I need work.

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    What materials do you use to paint your color illustrations?

    All my work is done digitally. Originally it was done traditionally because I was never comfortable drawing with a graphics tablet, where your hand is drawing in one place and your eyes are somewhere else. In the beginning I would have loved a Cintiq but couldn’t afford one, then I got an ipad. I went from oil pastel drawings to vector illustrations, because the limitation of the iPad is the print size of your drawings. I grew to love it so much that I only occasionally think about the Cintiq still.

    IMG_7604

    (Personal work, ipad)

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    Do you use do any black and white illustrations?

    I have not done many, except for the comics I like to do in my spare time.

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    What type of paint and other materials do you use to when illustrating a picture book?

    Everything is done on the iPad, even sketching. I discovered I hate the tedium of scanning! I tend to do thumbnails first, generally in Paper by 53 or a Bamboo Paper, sketches in Vellum, and color in Paintbook, which is like Adobe Illustrator except that it behaves much like a pixel based painting app, rather than making shapes. I usually export this as a pdf and then do final touch ups in Photoshop on my mac. The funny thing is that I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with digital – it certainly makes it easier to make amendments and clients love layered files, but I just love the look of traditional materials. So I’m always trying to make that aspect better. Ultimately, a good drawing and good composition is the most important thing!

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    Has your style changed over the years? Materials?

    I’m really hoping it’s getting better! I am always, always trying to make my work better. I’m getting in to using textures a lot lately. There’s a great ipad app called iColorama which let’s you paint your textures using masks, and then I usually do a little finishing work using Procreate, which is a great painting app but can only print up to around 10-11 inches, which makes it difficult to do spreads. I have been known to deal with single pages when the app can’t handlethe spread size and then stitch them back together in photoshop.

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    Have you done illustrations for any children’s magazines?

    I have done work for Laybug and Cricket in the US.

    Cover-final

    (Cricket Magazine Nov/Dec 2013 issue)

    Have you done any work for educational publishers?

    Tons! A lot of my work comes from Educational publishers and so for that I am grateful :)

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    What is the one thing in your studio that you could not live without?

    Given that I work on an iPad my studio is not one specific location, but I like it best when I have my ipod and dock to listen to music or podcasts while I work.

    IMG_7594

    Do you try to spend a specific amount of time working on your craft?

    Yes, but I don’t think of it so much as that. I love drawing, so I have my work drawing, and my hobby drawing, which is usually playing around with different apps or doing comics. Another fun aspect if doing greeting card work or licensing art is just drawing whatever you feel like and maybe someone can turn it into a card. So I’m not consciously trying to improve myself unless I’m in the middle of the job, and mostly this happens at the sketching stage – can I make this drawing better, more visually interesting? Sometimes that is constrained by deadlines, though!

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    (illustration of Mary Anning for http://www.coolchicksfromhistory.tumblr.com

    Do you have an agent? 

    I work with The Bright Agency, who are based in the UK but have offices in New York also.

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    Do you take pictures or do any types of research before you start a project?

    Yes, lots on internet research. I’m currently working on a book that takes place in Kenya. I’m always looking at images of how things look, their clothes, their houses, vegetation, etc. Some clients want the pictures of trees, for example, to look like actual trees you might find in the area, some don’t mind if you make everything up.

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    Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

    Absolutely. If it wasn’t for the internet I would probably have to move to New York and walk around every day with a hard copy portfolio.

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    Do you use Photoshop or Corel Painter with your illustrations?

    I use Photoshop along with a hundred ipad apps :)

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    Do you own or have you used a Graphic Drawing Tablet in your illustrating?

    I have an old Wacom Graphire tablet that I use for photoshop touch ups. I’ve tried all kinds of styluses for the iPad, but the ones I like the best are the microfiber tipped ones,as there is no drag whatsoever. I suffer from tendonitis, so when it gets bad I just start drawing with my finger!

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    Do you have any career dreams that you want to fulfill?

    I’d love to do more picturebooks, and maybe write one of my own.

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    What are you working on now?

    I’m currently working an interactive iPad storybook, which is my first. I’m also doing a small job for a family in the US who are doing a book as a gift for their daughter. I’m working on a second book for Benchmark while waiting for feedback on the final artwork for the first. And I have a couple more books coming up very soon with Cantata Learning, who are a new Educational publisher in the US.

    IMG_7758

    (Illustration for the Boston Family)

    Do you have any material type tips you can share with us? Example: Paint or paper that you love – the best place to buy – a new product that you’ve tried – A how to tip, etc.

    For traditional materials, I love Koi watercolours and Holbein Acryla Gouache. Also I’m a fan of Caran D’ache oil pastels.

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    Any words of wisdom on how to become a successful writer or illustrator?

    All the old stuff is true! Keep drawing as much as possible. Go to the library and find those illustrators that inspire you!

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    Thank you Annie for taking the time to share your process and journey with us. We look forward to hearing about all your future successes.

    To see more of Annie’s illustrations visit her at:

    Website: http://www.anniewilkinson.com/  

    facebook: https://www.facebook.com/anniewilkinsonillustration

    Please take a minute to leave a comment for Annie, I know she would love to heard from you and I always appreciate it. Thanks!

    Talk tomorrow,

    Kathy


    Filed under: authors and illustrators, illustrating, Illustrator's Saturday, inspiration, Interview, Process Tagged: American Greetings, Anne Wilkinson, Hallmark, Illustrator Saturday, Simon & Schuster

    5 Comments on Illustrator Saturday – Annie Wilkinson, last added: 9/1/2014
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    21. The Jane Lumley Prize – Poems

    janelumley

    The first annual Jane Lumley Prize For Emerging Writers is open for submissions till November 30th 2014!

    The Jane Lumley Prize is awarded annually to a writer who has yet not published a full length book of poetry or prose. The prize alternates each year between prose and poetry, and the inaugural year will seek to recognize the brilliance of an exceptional piece of poetry.

    ELIGIBILITY: 

    The Jane Lumley Prize will only be awarded to writers who have not published a full length book. However, they may have published a chapbook, and/or found a home for their works in other literary journals. We also invite unpublished writers to submit their poems for consideration.

    If you know the editor and/or any staff member of Hermeneutic Chaos Literary Journal, you must not submit your work. If such a relationship is identified, your entry would be disqualified.

    GUIDELINES :

    You may submit a maximum of six poems for consideration in a single word document. The poems must be original and previously unpublished.We welcome submissions of all forms of poetry, including prose poetry.Each poem should not exceed 2 pages.​Please remove all identifying information from the poems themselves, for all the entries will be read anonymously. However, you may include a brief third person bio in the cover letter.We encourage simultaneous submissions, but we request you to withdraw your work in case it finds an acceptance elsewhere by clicking on the withdraw link on Submittable.

    You must create an account https://hermeneuticchaos.submittable.com/submit/34128
    Enter your information to create a new account below.

    If you already have a Submittable account, please .

    Talk tomorrow,

    Kathy


    Filed under: Contest, opportunity, Places to sumit, Poems, poetry, publishers Tagged: Emerging Writers, Hermeneutic Chaos Literary Journal, Jane Lumley Prize, This year's Contest - Poetry, Unpublished writers

    0 Comments on The Jane Lumley Prize – Poems as of 8/31/2014 3:05:00 AM
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    22. The Making of Storybooks – Studio B

    HAPPY LABOR DAY! 

    Since it is now September, I figured I would post this opportunity for those children’s writers and Illustrators who live within driving distance in Michigan, New Jersey , PA, and New York to met David Small and Holly McGhee.

    The third poster down: Studio B in Maplewood, NJ is bringing together five children’s author/illustrators to discuss the process of writing a children’s book.

    You can see all the details in the posters below:

    Bookbug-CATCH-THAT-COOKIE-PROMO1

    Catch-That-Cookie-Maplewood-Library-smaller

    scratches-scribblesPoster-082214

    A COMPLETE LIST OF APPEARENCES:

    Wednesday, September 10, 2014, 6 P.M., Kalamazoo Public Library

    A Conversation with David Small & Hallie Durand

    315 South Rose Street , Kalamazoo, MI 49007

    Here’s the link.

    Thursday, September 11, 2014, 5:00 P.M., Bookbug, Kalamazoo

    Cookie hunt & Book signing

    3019 Oakland Dr, Kalamazoo, MI 49008

    And here’s the link for that one.

    Saturday, September 13 2014, 3:00 P.M., Maplewood Library

    Scavenger hunt & Cookie decorating, with a live rogue cookie!

    51 Baker Street, Maplewood, NJ 07040

    http://www.maplewoodlibrary.org/kids-events/

    Sunday, September 14, 2014, 12:00 P.M., Paramus Public Library

    Scavenger hunt & Reading, with a live rogue cookie!

    E116 Century Road, Paramus, NJ 07652

    RSVP 201-599-1309

    Sunday, September 14, 2014, Studio B Honcho

    Scratches & Scribbles Event for aspiring or already arrived Writers & Artists

    60 Woodland Road, Maplewood, NJ 07040

    http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/830322

    Monday, September 15, 4:00 P.M., WordsMaplewood Bookstore

    Hallie Durand & David Small

    Quick Drawing Lesson, Shapes & Contours, & Book Signing

    179 Maplewood Avenue, Maplewood, NJ 07040

    Talk tomorrow,

    Kathy


    Filed under: Advice, authors and illustrators, children writing, How to, inspiration, opportunity Tagged: David Small, Hallie Durand, Mark Your Calendars, Studio B, The Making of Storybooks

    4 Comments on The Making of Storybooks – Studio B, last added: 9/2/2014
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    23. Ten Tips to Juice Up Your Protagonist

    Most writers know every story needs a protagonist with a problem, but your MC also needs to be interesting, compelling, and sympathetic to keep the readers wanting more. We want our characters to jump off the page and grab our readers by the throat. Plus, we want our readers to remember and think about our characters and our story long after they close our book.

    Here are ten ways to make your protagonist do just that: 

     

    1.  MC has a problem that needs to be solved

    Make sure your protagonist is the one with the problem and no one else can solve this problem (or solve it as well as he or she can. The MC has to be central to the entire issue.

    2.  MC has the ability to act

    Don’t let your protagonists go around just reacting to things when they happen. Your MC should make things happen and move the story along through his or her choices and actions. A protagonist who knows what she wants and makes the story happen is a far more compelling character than one who sits around and waits for the story to happen. Make sure your protagonist is more than just someone in the middle of a mess.

    If this is not happening in your book, you need to adjust your story in order to get your protagonist in a position where they can affect the change.

    3.  MC needs reasons to act

    You can always give your MC something to do, but they need to have good reasons for their actions or your story will start to stretch credibility as to why they would get involved in something that clearly don’t care about. If you want to have your protagonist risk their life or happiness, make sure it’s for a reason readers will understand. NOTE: This is where a critique group comes in handy.

    4.  MC needs a compelling quality

    Like I said in the beginning, we want to make our MC interesting. Maybe they’re funny, smart or twisted. Maybe your MC has an unusual talent, skill, or quark. Whatever you choose, there needs to be a quality that makes a reader want to know more. Most times the thing that is compelling is also contradictory, making the reader want to know how these two things work together, thus hooking the reader.

    5.  MC has something to lose

    Just having a reason to act isn’t enough, so think about having your MC lose something that matters. This is a powerful motivating tool that will enable you to force your protagonist to do what he normally wouldn’t. You can have them take risks they would never take if there are consequences hanging over their head. This will make readers worry that your MC might suffer those consequences and lose what matters most to him.

    6.  MC should have something to gain

    An important aspect of the story’s stakes that’s sometimes forgotten or not thought through well enough is giving the MC something to gain. Readers want to see a protagonist rewarded for all their hard work and sacrifice, and a reason for your protagonist to keep going when everything says give up.

    7.  Give Your MC the capacity to change

    The sole of the story is character growth. It’s what turns it from a series of plot scenes to a tale worth writing. Giving your protagonist the ability to learn from his experiences and become a better (though not always) person will deepen your story. Your MC shouldn’t be the same person as they were when the story began.

    8.  MC needs an interesting flaw

    It is the flaws that make your MC interesting. Flaws let you show character growth and give your protagonist a way to improve themselves. Maybe your MC knows about this flaw and is actively trying to fix it, or perhaps he or she hasn’t a clue and change is being forced upon them. This flaw could be the very thing that allows your MC to survive and overcome the problems. Of course, it could also be the cause of the entire mess.

    9.  MC has a secret

    You don’t want your MC to be predictable – boring. A good way to keep your protagonist interesting is to have your MC hide something. Readers will wonder what that secret is and how it affects the story. Having your protagonist be a little cryptic, will keep your readers dying to find out.

    10. MC needs someone or something interesting trying to stop him

    Don’t forget that your protagonist needs an antagonist standing against him. The stronger the antagonist is that goes up against your MC, the more tension, suspense and victory you will provide for the reader. Give the reader a villain they will love to hate. The payoff will be keeping your readers turning the pages and reading into the wee hours of the morning.

    Do you have another tips for juicing up your characters? We’d love to hear it.

    Talk tomorrow,

    Kathy


    Filed under: Advice, article, How to, list, Process, revisions, Writing Tips Tagged: Juice Up Your Protagonist, Ten character Writing Tips, Writing compelling characters

    9 Comments on Ten Tips to Juice Up Your Protagonist, last added: 9/3/2014
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    24. Romantic Body Language

    boyandgirlteenMost writers add a little romance to the mix while telling their story. I found this over at http://www.Changingminds.org. It really isn’t a site for writers. It is a site to help us learn the signals people send through body language in order to communicate better, since 50% or more of what we communicate is done with body language. It is a very comprehensive site that covers everything.  

    I figured we could use some of the information to enrich our characters by adding a little BL. It would be a great tool when you want a character to say one thing, while signaling something completely different with their body language.

    Below are some body movements that signal to a person of the opposite sex that you are interested in romance.

    From afar

    From afar, the first task of body language is to signal interest (and then to watch for reciprocal body language).

    Eyes

    The eyes do much signaling. Initially and from a distance, a person may look at you for slightly longer than normal, then look away, then look back up at you, again for a longer period.

    Preening

    There are many preening gestures. What you are basically saying with this is ‘I am making myself look good for you’. This includes tossing of the head, brushing hair with hand, polishing spectacles and brushing clothes.

    Enacting

    Remote romantic language may also include enactment of sexually stimulating activities, for example caressing oneself, for example stroking arms, leg or face. This may either say ‘I would like to stroke you like this’ or ‘I would like you to stroke me like this’.

    Similarly, the person (women in particular) may lick and purse their lips into a kiss shape and leave their mouth slightly open in imitation of sexual readiness.

    Objects held may be also used in enactment displays, including cigarettes and wine glasses, for example rolling and stroking them.

    Displaying

    Attractive parts of the body may be exposed, thrust forward, wiggled or otherwise highlighted. For women this includes breasts, neck, bottom and legs. For men it includes a muscular torso, arms or legs, and particularly the crotch (note that women seldom do this).

    Faking often happens. Pressing together muscles gives the impression of higher muscle tone. Pressing together and lifting breasts (sometimes helped with an appropriate brassiere) makes them look firmer and larger. Holding out shoulders and arms makes the body look bigger. Holding in the abdomen gives the impression of a firm tummy.

    This is often playing to primitive needs. Women show that they are healthy and that they are able to bear and feed the man’s child. The man shows he is virile, strong and able to protect the woman and her child.

    Leaning

    Leaning your body towards another person says ‘I would like to be closer to you’. It also tests to see whether they lean towards you or away from you. It can start with the head with a simple tilt or may use the entire torso. This may be coupled with listening intently to what they say, again showing particular interest in them.

    Pointing

    A person who is interested in you may subtly point at you with a foot, knee, arm or head. It is effectively a signal that says ‘I would like to go in this direction’.

    Other displays

    Other forms of more distant display that are intended to attract include:

    • Sensual or dramatic dancing (too dramatic, and it can have the opposite effect).
    • Crotch display, where (particularly male) legs are held apart to show off genitalia.
    • Faked interest in others, to invoke envy or hurry a closer engagement.
    • Nodding gently, as if to say ‘Yes, I do like you.’

    THE CLASSIC ROMANTIC PURSUIT:

    • Girl fancies boy and makes eye contact.
    • Boy is attracted and continues eye contact (pursuit).
    • Girl looks away (rejection)
    • Boy looks away (retreat)
    • Girl looks at boy and holds eye contact for longer (pursuit)
    • Girl looks away again (rejection)
    • Boy goes over to girl to say hello (pursuit)
    • Girl plays hard-to-get (rejection)
    • …etc.

    Rejection works because of the Scarcity principle, where we desire what we cannot have.

    Up close

    When you are close to the other person, the body language progressively gets more intimate until one person signals ‘enough’.

    Close in and personal

    In moving closer to the other person, you move from social space into their personal body space, showing how you would like to get even closer to them, perhaps holding them and more…

    Standing square-on to them also blocks anyone else from joining the conversation and signals to others to stay away.

    Copying

    Imitating the person in some way shows ‘I am like you’. This can range from a similar body position to using the same gestures and language.

    Lovers’ gaze

    When you are standing close to them, you will holding each other’s gaze for longer and longer periods before looking away. You many also use what are called ‘doe eyes’ or ‘bedroom eyes’, which are often slightly moist and with the head inclined slightly down.

    Where the eyes go is important. Looking at lips means ‘I want to kiss’. Looking at other parts of the body may mean ‘I want to touch’.

    A very subtle signal that few realize is that the eyes will dilate such that the dark pupils get much bigger. This is one reason why dark-eyed people can seem attractive. Light-eyed people (typically blue) make the pupil easier to distinguish, so when their pupils do get bigger the signal they send is easier to read.

    Touching

    Touching signals even closer intimacy. It may start with ‘accidental’ brushing, followed by touching of ‘safe’ parts of the body such as arms or back.

    Caressing is gentle stroking that may start in the safer regions and then stray (especially when alone) to sexual regions.

    Talk tomorrow,

    Kathy


    Filed under: article, Character, inspiration, reference, Writing Tips Tagged: Body Language, Changing Minds, Communicating through Body Language, Romantic Body Language

    2 Comments on Romantic Body Language, last added: 9/3/2014
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    25. Agent Looking to Build List + Call For Illustrations

    Illustrators: If you have an illustration you would like to show off, please email it to me. All illustrations need to be at least 500 pixels wide. Thanks!

    Rachel_Brooks_LPA_photo_17781343_std

    Rachel Brooks – Junior Agent

    Rachel is actively building her client list.

    Before joining the L. Perkins Agency, Rachel worked as an agent apprentice to Louise Fury. In addition to her industry training, Rachel has a business degree and graduated summa cum laude with a BA in English from Texas A&M University-CC.

    WHAT RACHEL LIKES: She is excited about representing all genres of young adult and new adult fiction, as well as adult romance. While she is looking for all sub-genres of romance, she is especially interested in romantic suspense and urban fantasy. She is also on the lookout for fun picture books.

    She’s a fan of dual POVs, loves both print and ebooks, and has a soft spot for marketing savvy writers.

    TO SUBMIT: Send a query letter (with an author bio in it) and the first 5 pages of the manuscript pasted into an email (no attachments) to rachel [at] lperkinsagency.com. Please only query one agent at this agency.

    Email: rachel@lperkinsagency.com

    Twitter: @RachMBrooks

    REMEMBER:

    • Attachments will not be opened unless specifically requested.
    • We only accept email queries. We do not accept queries by snail mail, phone or social media. All snail mail queries will be discarded unopened
    • We will only consider one manuscript from one writer at a time to one agent at a time. If you have written more than one manuscript, choose the one you think is the most promising and pitch that to us. Do not pitch all of them.

    Talk tomorrow,

    Kathy


    Filed under: Agent, authors and illustrators, Editor & Agent Info, opportunity, Places to sumit Tagged: Agent Looking to Build List, Call for Illustrations, L Perkins Agency, Rachel Brooks

    0 Comments on Agent Looking to Build List + Call For Illustrations as of 9/4/2014 1:26:00 AM
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