It's gray and chilly outside... a perfect day for staying inside with a good friend and a nice pot of tea.
My friend, Eliza Wheeler,
along with Linda Ashman
, author of the picture book I'm currently working on, are part of a new group blog called Picture Book Builders
. The blog was launched at the beginning of September and already has several really informative posts about making books for kids. Take a look!
And here's a peek
of the illustrations I did for Storytime Magazine
of Goldilocks and the Three Bears
Happy Weekending to you!
Hello there! I drew some rabbits.
And here are a few links to help get your week started...
A really wonderful blog post
, as well as a great podcast interview
, from Author/Illustrator, Mike Curato. Mike's debut picture book, Little Elliot Big City
, was recently released and I'm so very excited about this beautiful book! If you haven't seen Little Elliot
yet, please go find a copy as soon as you can.
I've really been enjoying Carter Higgin's blog, Design of the Picture Book
. If you haven't visited Carter's blog lately, I hope you'll take a few minutes to have a look.
A helpful blog post from Illustrator, Clio Chiang,
about watercolor skin tones, which I believe I came across in a facebook post from Illustrator, Diandra Mae
. (Thanks, Diandra!)
Marla Frazee's new book, The Farmer and The Clown
, is incredibly lovely. Have you seen it yet?
Throughout September I'll be interviewing the recipients of the 2014 SCBWI mentorship awards over on KidLitArtists.com
Stay tuned for some book giveaways in the coming weeks! Now I'm off to draw and paint. I hope you are, too! :)
I'm afraid that projects and deadlines have kept things quiet on the blog lately. And an especially beautiful Colorado summer has meant most of my free time has been spent outdoors.
The SCBWI Summer Conference in L.A.
was amazing and inspirational and a bit overwhelming. It's taken me awhile to get back into the swing of things. Meg Rosoff
wonderful, as was the writer's intensive. And it's always great to see old friends and to meet new ones!
There has been the tiniest bit of fall in the air the last few days. I really love fall... a season of cozy cardigans and crock-pot dinners, of change and of quieting down. This coming autumn holds new book projects as well as a new adventure for my husband and I (which I'll tell you more about later).
I hope that you're enjoying the last days of summer and that you're in the swing of things.
I'll see you again soon! :)
This morning I put the finishing touches on a new portfolio and tomorrow I head to L.A. for the SCBWI Summer Conference
. I hope to see you there!! :)
I long to go sit in a cool, dark movie theater and eat some popcorn. But, instead I'll be drawing, painting, putting together a book dummy, and working on my portfolio for the SCBWI Summer Conference
. The movies will have to wait.
If you're heading to the conference, too, you might like this blog post
from Author/Illustrator, Debbie Ohi, on tips for SCBWI conference goers.
Also, last week I was featured on Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast
and today I have a blog post about my childhood inspirations over on the KidLit Artists blog
. Maybe you'd like to take a look.
And here's an article by one of my favorite illustrators, Jon Klassen
, about his hero, William Steig.
And, just one more thing... I recently fell wildly in love with the work of Julia Sarda
. I think you'll like it, too.
For the last couple of weeks I've been locked away in the deep, dark, comforting solitude of an art cave. It's sort of strange and wonderful how creative slumps are sometimes followed by a torrent of ideas and inspiration.
I'm busy getting ready for the SCBWI Summer Conference
and have been putting the finishing touches on Baby Love
(written by Angela DiTerlizzi, published by Beach Lane Books), which will come out next spring.
What kinds of art things have you been up to lately? I'd love to hear!
Also, I was interviewed by the lovely folks at KidLit 411. You can read the interview here
Last week the inimitable Ben Clanton tagged me for an author/illustrator blog tour. Thanks, Ben!
Ben's next book, Rex Wrecks It!, comes out at the end of September. But, you don't have to wait until then to see his very excellent work. Mo's Mustache and The Table Sets Itself are just two of Ben's several books and if you haven't seen them yet you should head to the library immediately! Don't even finish reading this post. Go right away, before someone else checks them all out. Seriously.
Ok, now that we've settled that important business and you've returned from the library with Ben's books in tow, onto the questions...
1. What am I currently working on?
I'm currently working on a few different projects. I recently finished the illustrations for a picture book called Baby Love
(written by Angela DiTerlizzi
and published by Beach Lane Books) that will come out next spring. I've started work on the cover of the second Cupcake Cousins
book (the first book, by Kate Hannigan
, published by Disney-Hyperion, came out on May 13th and should be available at your local library or bookstore). I'm also working on sketches for a picture book with Random House titled MORE!
and written by Linda Ashman
. I'm finishing up illustrations for a new UK magazine called Storytime
and I'm working on book dummies for two of my own stories.
2. Why do I write what I write?
Er... I wish I had a good answer for this one but, to be honest, I'm not really sure. Sometimes story ideas come from a character I've doodled. One of the stories I'm working on was sparked by a photograph of an old house that I happened to see during a time when I was thinking a lot about my grandparents. I suppose I write about things that I relate to in a personal way. My stories tend to be quiet because I am quiet.
3. How does my writing/illustrating process work?
I feel like I'm still figuring out my process, especially for writing. But, I think it goes sort of like this...
- I draw a character or a scene in my sketchbook that sparks an idea. Or I see something interesting at a museum or in a movie or photograph that causes a spark. I think it was Mo Willems who talked about ideas being like seeds in a garden. All of the little sparks of ideas are like seeds in my mind. Some of them germinate very slowly and eventually grow into something. Once in a very long while an idea germinates very quickly and has to be scribbled down in haste. And some of the seeds never take root. Or maybe they're still in there waiting for the right time.
- Once an idea seems like it might be viable I do lots of sketches. Sketches of the character, thumbnail sketches of the layout, slightly larger sketches to work out composition.
- Then I write. This part still feels scary and unfamiliar and exciting. I do a few drafts and maybe
show them to one or both of my critique groups. And then I write a new draft and show it to my critique group again... over and over. And then I work on a new story to give my critique group a break from the first story. And when it seems like I've waited long enough, I show the first story again, and re-write it again until I don't know what else to do. So far, that's pretty much how the writing part has worked for me.
- For the illustrating side of things, I do several sketches and when I've figured out more or less what my composition will look like, I do a large pencil drawing on Arches 140 lb. hot press watercolor paper.
Then I ink in the line work using FW acrylic ink
and a dip pen. When the ink is dry I erase the pencil lines and stretch the drawing by soaking the paper in water and stapling it onto a gatorfoam board
. Once the paper is dry I start painting with watercolors. Then I scan the finished painting into the computer and sometimes make a few corrections or adjustments in Photoshop.
So, there you have it! And now it's my turn to do the tagging! Up next is my good friend, Jessixa Bagley.
I admire Jessixa's work very much and her book, Boats for Papa,
will be hitting shelves soon. Take it away, Jessixa! (And thank you again to Ben Clanton
! Don't forget to check out his wonderful work!)
Hello there! Here are some links for you to peruse...
Some tips on writing picture books
from Mem Fox
A short video about the work of illustrator, Nikki McClure
A short video about the work of illustrator, Renata Liwska
Well, hello there! Here's a sample I did several months ago for a project that didn't work out.
And here are some links for you to peruse...
A lovely blog post
from Author/Illustrator Mike Curato
The Let's Get Busy podcast
features interesting interviews with several authors and illustrators
Congratualtions to my friends, Jessixa Bagley
and Corinna Luyken
, who both recently won portfolio awards at the Washington SCBWI conference! Hooray!
Have you registered for the SCBWI 43rd Annual Summer Conference
? I signed up on Monday and I hope to see you there!
I love a good list. I like organizing my thoughts in list form, and crossing an item of my to-do list is oh so satisfying. When I was little I illustrated all of my Christmas wish lists. Are you list maker, too?
Awhile ago I made a booklet of illustrated lists and this is one of the spreads. What were your favorite books when you were little? I'd love to know. :)
comes out today! Congratulations to author, Kate Hannigan
I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to illustrate Kate's very lovely story and I'm so excited that cousins Willow and Delia are heading out into the world. I hope you'll keep a lookout for Cupcake Cousins
at your local bookstore.
Here's the Kirkus review
of Cupcake Cousins
. And another lovely review from "This Kid Reviews Books"