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2576. the grande hall

I will color this piece at a later date.

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2577. Designing the Wild Things Plushes

Toy designer Mel Birnkrant designed the only toy tie-ins based on "Where the Wild Things Are" that Maurice Sendak liked.



 In a new set of pages on his website, he tells the story of how he developed the prototypes, and how his 30-year friendship with Maurice Sendak grew out of that working relationship.
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Creating the Wild Things Toys with Maurice Sendak, by Mel Birnkrant
Maurice Sendak (1928-2012)

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2578. Comics Squad: Lunch

Thank you to all who came out to An Unlikely Story to help me celebrate the release of Comics Squad: Lunch!
If you are ever traveling through anywhere near Plainville, MA, definitely stop by this great bookshop!


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2579. Day 3: Mélina Mangal

MélinaMangalMedia specialist, mother and author, Mélina Mangal writes to fill a void and inspire. Her books include biographies on award-winning authors like Virginia Hamilton, Mildred D. Taylor and Rita Williams-Garcia. They’re stories she didn’t see in bookstores or on library shelves, so she created them herself.

Her writing ranges from celebrating unsung trailblazers to giving voice to the experiences of African-American children. On her SCBWI page, she says, “My writing focuses on youth in nature, especially those whose voices are rarely heard, and the people and places that inspire them to explore their world.”

We are proud to feature Mélina on Day 3. Here’s her story:

The Journey

My writing began with letters: to my father in Vietnam, my grandmother in France, my pen pal in Jamaica. Around sixth grade, I discovered Langston Hughes and shifted my attention to diary writing. That’s when I first thought of becoming a writer.

It wasn’t until after college, working as a textbook production editor, that I tried to publish my work. My first published piece was a journal entry in an anthology. When the beautiful book arrived featuring luminaries like Alice Walker and Audre Lorde, I was both inspired and humbled. How could my unpolished debut appear alongside their work? I didn’t submit anything for five years after that. I couldn’t. I had to become a better writer.

Through a move across the country, graduate school, and a new career as a school librarian, I kept writing and reading and attending workshops. When my short story “Georgia’s View” (inspired by a Jonathan Green painting) was published in a literary journal, I was hooked. Writing short stories was addictive. So was children’s literature. My short stories began to feature children, and were published in anthologies such as Milkweed’s Stories From Where We Live series. After a writing retreat with editor Patricia Gauch, and a week with Rita Willgarciabioiams-Garcia at the Highlights Writing Workshop at Chautauqua, I was inspired to craft longer works. I moved back to Minnesota, got married, and started writing biographies of the inspiring people lacking from my library shelves, like the trailblazing author Virginia Hamilton, which became my first book. Rita Williams-Garcia and Classic Storytellers: Mildred Taylor came next. I wished their books had been available to me when I was a kid.

After the birth of my daughter, I became even more engrossed in picture books, and in delving deeper into my stories. I’m now spending more time exploring the visual images conjured by my words, after studying with Maya Cristina Gonzalez. My poem “Black Is” will be published in a collection by Reflection Press this spring.

taylorbioI spent the last couple of years researching and writing a picture book about the groundbreaking scientist Ernest Everett Just, which is due out in 2017. I can’t wait for young readers to learn about this inspirational man and his contributions to science.

The Inspiration

Although I had no problem reading, I became a Reader the summer before sixth grade when my family moved from a small town in Wisconsin to the ‘big city’ of St. Paul, Minnesota. I could walk to the library, and there I found books featuring all kinds of people—including people who looked like me. That’s where I discovered Langston and Maya Angelou. I read poetry, biographies, mysteries, and historical fiction, all of which I still turn to for inspiration.

Books by Jacqueline Woodson, Vaunda Michaux Nelson, and Tonya Bolden open my mind, while Tracey Baptiste and Jewell Parker-Rhodes fuel my love of nature, magic, culture, and spirit.

The Process

Ideas come easily to me. I don’t experience writer’s block, but I do suffer from what I call ‘dreamer’s deluge.’ I often have too many thoughts competing for attention. I typically have at least three projects of varying stages in the works. An idea starts with an image, or maybe a voice. I keep a notebook with me and jot it down. I write first by hand, capturing everything I can. I continue fleshing out details of characters by creating a character sketch. Poetry pops up when I try to get inside a character’s head. Later, I revise on the computer, then write by hand again when adding or changing scenes. Full-fledged stories take a long time to percolate.

The Industry: Under The Radar

It’s encouraging to see the work of writers and illustrators like Zetta Elliott, Kathleen Wainwright, Janine Macbeth, and Jerry Craft, who are paving a new way with Rosetta Press, Willa’s Tree Studios, Blood Orange Press, and Mama’s Boyz. Illustrators like Keturah Ariel Nailah Boo, Melodie Strong, and Peter Ambush are creating fresh, vibrant work, highlighting the significance of images in young readers’ lives.

Learn more about Mélina Mangal here.


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2580. Foggy winter woods



Foggy winter woods



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2581. For Fourth Year In A Row, Disney Co. Sweeps Animation Categories At VES Awards

The Walt Disney Company has now won 16 consecutive animation awards at the VES Awards.

The post For Fourth Year In A Row, Disney Co. Sweeps Animation Categories At VES Awards appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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2582. France’s César Nominations Announced: Animated Features and Shorts

Three French features and four shorts were nominated for César awards this year.

The post France’s César Nominations Announced: Animated Features and Shorts appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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2583. Poll Results: 60% of you skip ahead to read the ending of a book

Thanks to all who responded to my most recent poll, which asked "While you're reading a book, have you EVER skipped ahead to read the ending?"

Out of 126 respondents, 60% (or rather 59.52, rounded up) of you replied YES, with the remaining 40% saying NO.

Why did you skip ahead?

67% of you said it was because you were enjoying the book but found it so tense that you felt compelled to read the ending before going back and reading the rest. 47% said it was because they weren't sure if they liked how the book was going, so wanted to find out if it was worth reading to the end. The remaining 35% of you said it was because you weren't really enjoying the book but had to read it (for whatever reason), so needed to know how it ended.

Most of the comments elaborated on the reasons above. A surprising number of you said that you read the ending first on a regular basis, that you don't mind spoilers, that knowing where a book is heading actually enhances your reading enjoyment. Sometimes you want to know if a favorite character in a book or series is going to be killed off.

Some of you said it was because you were reading late at night and had to go to sleep but still wanted to finish the book.

Some of you were horrified at the idea of skipping ahead to read the ending, couldn't imagine how ANYONE would ever want to do this. 

Two of my favorite comments about why some of you skip ahead to the ending:

"Because I needed to prepare myself if Harry, Ron, or Hermione died!"

"I am, at my basest levels, an impatient cheat."

Curious about my other publishing industry surveys? Feel free to browse current and past Inkygirl Surveys online.

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2584. Smarter


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2585. Princess Theme

Here are a couple of princess images I created.  One was for a Halloween book and features my daughter with her friends and cousin. The other is a spread from A Little Princess which I stepped in to illustrate for another illustrator when she could not meet the deadline...I'm glad I took the job!



Halloween Counting Fun



A Little Princess

Watercolor Illustrations by
Steven James Petruccio


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2586. Weekly Sketch Roundup

Every day I post a sketch to social media, this is my favorite this week!





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2587. DESIGNER - suzy taylor

Designer Suzy Taylor was born and bred in London but moved to Devon six months ago. Suzy has been a papercutting artist for about ten years but is now changing direction into surface pattern and has just had her first design licensed by Museums & Galleries for wrapping paper for John Lewis and Waterstones (Dragonflies pattern above).  Blank Quilting in the US have also licensed some of her

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2588. Ice Cream for Breakfast

I scream, you scream, we all scream for...breakfast?!
This Saturday I will serve as Herrell's Ice Cream's "celebrity scooper" for their second annual Ice Cream for Breakfast fundraiser to benefit Whole Children. I'll be slinging ice cream from 9-10 AM. The fundraiser will go onthrough noon, and after I clean up I'll be signing books at Booklink Booksellers at 10:30. (Proceeds will also benefit Whole Children.) It all goes down in Thorne's Marketplace in Northampton, MA.




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2589. ‘Whoosh’ by Julien Grande

A fisherman in a storm has a strange encounter.

The post ‘Whoosh’ by Julien Grande appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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2590. Presidential Polar Bear Post Card Project No. 77 - 2.2.16


"Please take care of this bear"

If Paddington had been a polar bear - and had one last snowball in his jar and traveling case.

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2591. Books for Boys - Magnificent Matt is underway!

Cover sketch  
Pencil dust is beginning to pile up with the sketch work for picture book Magnificent Matt....
.


You may find that what really makes Matt magnificent is not his cape, goggles or his lightening speed ......  

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2592. Combined lab and studio

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2593. Learning Watercolors at the University of Edinburgh

Recently we had a visiting artist, Darren Woodhead, come in to conduct a watercolor workshop with the MA and MFA Illustration students. Hard to believe that in my entire art career, I'd never had a watercolor lesson. Wow, what a good one to start with! Darren is amazingly talented. You really need to have a look at his website before reading more.

     Darren started us off with just one color in a limited palette. I learned so many seemingly simple things, like working with tube paint, how much water to mix with the pigment, what sort of paper to use. Darren brought in skulls and a large stuffed heron named Patrick for us to render.
     Darren talked a lot about the simple nature of watercolor and how ironic it is that it's one of the hardest media to master. (He doesn't feel like he has - HA!)
     There were lots of sighs of frustration as we all struggled to create something we were happy with. Catherine took to it pretty easily.

     Nadee and Chiho did too.
     I must admit, though, I was one of the sighers. This is the only piece I was moderately happy with.
     To a non-illustrator, it may seem silly to become so angst-ridden over the ability to apply paint to paper, but that's what we're all about and it means the world to us!
      Darren was a great teacher as we took on this great challenge. And this was only the first day. Wait until you read about our plain-air exercise next week!

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2594. February 2016 Featured Illustrator Michael Lauritano

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2595. DESIGNER - james brown

This week saw a new entry in the Designers for Hire Directory. James Christopher Brown runs a studio called BRWN based in Jan Juc, Australia where he produces illustration, textile prints, graphic design and animation. James completed a degree in illustration at the University of Plymouth, UK and has been an illustrator for over 15 years. The majority of James’s career has been spent doing

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2596. SCBWI ANNOUNCES ON-THE-VERGE EMERGING VOICES AWARD WINNERS

The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators is pleased to announce the 2015 On-The-Verge Emerging Voices Award winners.  The annual award, established by SCBWI and funded by Martin and Sue Schmitt, is given to two writers or illustrators who are from ethnic and/or cultural backgrounds that are traditionally underrepresented in children’s literature in America and who have a ready-to-submit completed work for children. 

 

Congratulations to Jackie Dorothy for her manuscript Wind Rider, the story of one Arapaho boy’s struggle to protect his family from an evil shaman while the battle between modernization and tradition plague his tribe’s reservation; and to Judy Allen Dodson for Fast Friends, the story of Jesse Owens and Marty Glickman’s inspiring relationship during the race for the gold medal at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

 

Jackie is an active member of SCBWI’s Wyoming Chapter as well as a member of the Northern Arapaho tribe in central Wyoming and is the sixth generation of her family living on the Wind River Indian Reservation. Jackie blogs at www.ArapahoLegends.com and is currently unrepresented.

 

Judy is an active SCBWI member in the Carolinas Chapter and has been a librarian for several years. She believes strongly in providing authentic and positive images of African Americans in children’s literature. She multiple manuscripts and is currently unrepresented.

 

The winners will each receive a paid trip to the SCBWI Summer Conference in Los Angeles to meet editors, agents, and other industry professionals. The winning manuscripts will also be available to select agents and editors via a secure website.

 

The award is inspired in part by the SCBWI’s increasing efforts to foster underrepresented voices in children’s literature.  According to SCBWI Executive Director Lin Oliver, “every child should have the opportunity to see themselves reflected in the pages of a book. And all authors should have the opportunity to write their truth. SCBWI is proud to contribute to this important effort to bring forth new voices.”  

 

The grant is made possible through the generosity of Sue and Martin Schmitt of the 455 Foundation. Sue wrote: "Diverse writers need to know that not only do their voices and stories matter— but are necessary!  We live in a world where we must strive to understand other points of view and each other for the betterment of humankind."  

 

More information can be found in the “Awards and Grants” section at www.scbwi.org.

 

About Martin and Sue Schmitt

Martin and Sue Schmitt are the founders of We Can Build an Orphanage, sponsoring the Kay Angel orphanage in Jacmel, Haiti. The organization was established in 2007 with the mission to provide a home and education for abandoned children infected with or affected by AIDS in Jacmel, Haiti.  The Schmitts’ generous and continuous efforts to support SCBWI’s long-term goals also co-sponsored the 2007 Global Voices Program, which highlighted Mongolian artists and authors. To find out more information about the Kay Angel orphanage please visit www.kayangel.org.

 

About SCBWI

Founded in 1971, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators is one of the largest existing writers’ and illustrators’ organizations, with over 22,000 members worldwide. It is the only organization specifically for those working in the fields of children’s literature, magazines, film, television, and multimedia. The organization was founded by Stephen Mooser (President) and Lin Oliver (Executive Director), both of whom are well-published children’s book authors and leaders in the world of children’s literature.  For more information about the On-The-Verge Diverse Voices Award, please visit www.scbwi.org, and click “Awards & Grants.”

 

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2597. WTHR Interview

Thanks go out to the Children's Museum and WTHR for having me on the news this morning to talk a little bit about creating the artwork for the Museum's "Pirates and Princesses" exhibit!  If you weren't up bright and early to catch the segment live, you can view the video here on WTHR's website.  My family visited the exhibit over the weekend, and had so much fun!  I hope everyone in the Indianapolis area is able to come and experience this storybook world, which features iconic movie props, a castle and a pirate ship to explore, an interactive dragon-fighting video game and dress-up pretend stations for the kids!

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2598. Spring book for Preschoolers will soon be here!

The 4th book in the Debbie Estrem's Seasons series for preschoolers
is coming just in time for SPRING!


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2599. Kevin Spacey Plays A Part-CGI Cat in the French Film ‘Nine Lives’

Even the Europeans are joining the CGI animal trend.

The post Kevin Spacey Plays A Part-CGI Cat in the French Film ‘Nine Lives’ appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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2600. Swatch: Making the Book Trailer

My new picture book, SWATCH: The Girl Who Loved Color, debuts MARCH 15th. Thank you to John Schu for carefully releasing it into the Wild today:

Swatch's life depended so heavily on music, so I knew that if I made a trailer for her, music would have to be the heartbeat of the whole thing. I thank my lucky stars for the opportunity to work with mega-talent / composer Steve Pardo, who wrote that heartbeat, his original melody: "Swatch's Song". 

Steve is prolific in his personal and professional work; his repertoire includes songwriting, performing, arranging, producing, recording for blockbuster video games, his project, Skewsound, and folk band Opal Puckkett, among other teaching and performing endeavors. 

He suggested enhancing Swatch's track with some live strings, namely, The Videri String Quartet (high masters of the video game soundtrack!) When he invited me to come watch Videri RECORD their track live, I jumped at the chance.

Here's a glimpse of recording day in Steve's studio in Somerville, MA. The Quartet is: (founder) violist Rosalie Samter, Jeremiah Barcus on cello, Lizzie Jones and Michael Hustedde on violins. They were all so casual, friendly, and unassuming (like most geniuses are) until the second their bows hit string and I was like: .........................................................................  just listen:

When their music filled that little room, there is no other way to explain it, except for the distinct feeling that Swatch was right there! Made of sounds and words and paint. Now with this new musical facet, she was somehow finally and utterly FREE, which is what (like her wild colors) she most wanted. No longer an idea, circling restlessly in a jar. She was a book, a song, someone who could be a friend to somebody new. Meeting Steve's interpretation of Swatch's spirit was truly incredible...

rosalie = sunbeam incarnate! 

rosalie = sunbeam incarnate! 

From Videri's gorgeous mission statement : 

Videri, a Latin word meaning "to be seen" and the quartet’s namesake, alludes to the role of music in illuminating visual narratives....to celebrate the dynamic link between music and storytelling

Ah. Confession: on the way home, I had a good cry. (Strings do that to me anyway) but this time they heralded something very specific: a long journey had ended, and a new one had begun. It was the moment Swatch was handed over to the Wild. We had spent a good deal of time together; this girl and Yellow, and Blue, and Bravest Green. They had set up shop in my brain and heart, through some tough seasons, spreading color and light even when I didn't want to pay attention; we remained devoted to each other. I will miss her. But this is the way of it! It's all set free in the end. This has to happen so the best, deep magic can start. 

There is magic between children and open books, paint and blank white, violins and silence: It is Wild possibility. Co-creation. Swatch is just about that: making things together. It took many people to get wild and make this trailer: Steve illuminated Swatch's story in richer color than I could have done alone. Videri sung her right out of thin air. Media artist Luke Boggia lended his talents to make Blue shimmer and butterflies dance. My husband Matt helped me storyboard, did the laundry, and believed the whole long way. Thank you to Brenda, Wendi, Alessandra, Martha, Kelsey, Booki for your enthusiasm.

Let's keeping making stuff together. It never has to end: as soon as YOU open the book, it will happen again!

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