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Results 2,576 - 2,600 of 140,782
2576. Animated Hair

In his 1925 stop-action cartoon "Animated Hair" (video link), a hand seems to draw a series of faces. Then chunks of hair migrate into other positions to create portraits of Christy Mathewson, John J. McGraw, George Bernard Shaw, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, Charles Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Samuel Gompers, Elsie Ferguson and Babe Ruth.

These short films by cartoonist Sid Marcus (who later co-created the Tasmanian Devil for Warner Bros) were wildly popular and cheap to create. Fifty one of them were produced between 1924 and 1927, and distributed by Fleischer Studios.
More info from UCLA info sheet, page 3

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2577. Sticky Bunny Diner

Check out my new portfolio piece, inspired by my current chocolate cravings, and my daughter who loves bunnies.  I really enjoyed researching retro diner designs and colors for this piece.  Enjoy!

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2578. Kudos – Wow!


Laurie Wallmark’s book ADA, about a smart little girl who likes science and math was sold to Marissa Moss at Creston Books, by Liza Fleissig at Liza Royce Agency.

Laurie had a critique with Ginger Harris of the Liza Royce Agency at the last NJ SCBWI annual conference. She and Liza Fleissig expressed interest in Ada.

After six revisions based on their and Marissa Moss’s feedback, Creston books made an offer.


Emily Feinberg at Roaring Brook has bought world rights to INN BETWEEN by Marina Cohen, in a two-book deal.

The story follows 12-year-old Quinn, who is driving across country with her best friend’s family when a stopover at a creepy Victorian hotel in middle of the Nevada desert turns terrifying.

Publication is set for winter 2016;

John M. Cusick of Greenhouse Literary was the agent.

Nanciturnerstevesonpic191Nanci Stockton Turner-Steveson has signed a contract for Swing Sideways, AND another as-yet-unwritten book with Rosemary Brosnan, Executive Director at HarperCollins.

When I asked Nanci to describe the book this is what she wrote: My editor (wow, did you read that?) referred to Swing Sideways as a “timeless and heartfelt” middle grade novel.

It is the story of two girls from opposite sides of the country who meet one summer and form an unlikely friendship while struggling with their own challenges, and the discovery of a secret that links them together in a surprising and heart wrenching way.


Illustrator Nancy Cote ( featured on Illustrator Saturday) illustrated Tori Corn’s new picture book Dixie Wants and Allergy published by Sky Pony Press. Both Nancy and Tori are represented by the Lisa Royce Agency.

Dixie Wants an Allergy provides a comical and engaging approach for children who are beginning to learn about and who are coping with allergies—and who also have trouble finding what makes them unique. Corn’s playful text and Cote’s inviting illustrations encourage children to accept those with differences while learning that wanting what others have is not always a good idea. For ages 3 to 6, and a good addition to any preschool or Kindergarten classroom for read-aloud time. This book not only introduces children to the realities of allergies, which many of their peers will have, but also teaches the important lesson of being careful what you wish for.



Nancy Armo, who was featured on Illustrator Saturday has signed a contract with Peachtree Press for her first written and illustrated picture book titled, A FRIEND FOR MOLE.

Here is the Publisher Market announcement: Nancy Armo’s A FRIEND FOR MOLE, about an accidental encounter between Mole and Wolf, one afraid of the light, the other afraid of the dark, who together learn that friends are all they need to conquer their fears, to Kathy Landwehr at Peachtree, in a nice deal, for publication in Fall 2015, by Anna Olswanger at Liza Dawson Associates (World).


doll bones

I just learned that Eliza Wheeler, who was featured on Illustrator Saturday did the artwork for Holly Black’s DOLL BONES. I have had that book on my wish list since it came out. Had I realized the illustrations inside and out were by Eliza, I would already have it on my bookshelf.


What I don’t get is, out of the seven people in this post, only the first two let me know about their success. Are people just shy about doing something worth shouting from the rooftops? I tell every illustrator that I feature to please let me know when something good happens and I really do mean it. I am very happy to hear about good things when they happen. Please don’t rely on me to find them.

Congratulations to everyone!


Remember this weekend there are two great book signings in the North Jersey area:

S is for SEA Glass

Doris Ettlinger

Fair Haven NJ – May 16, 3:30-4:30 pm 

River Road Books

Clinton NJ - May 17, 1-3 pm 

Clinton Book Shop

Pandemic Book Launch Party 

Yvonne Ventresca

Sunday, May 18th, 2 pm 

WORDS Bookstore

179 Maplewood Avenue, Maplewood, NJ 07040


Talk tomorrow,



Filed under: Kudos, Middle Grade Novels, picture books, Publishing Industry, Young Adult Novel Tagged: Eliza Wheeler, John Cusick, Laurie Wallmark, Marina Cohen, Nancy Armo, Nancy Cote, Tori Corn

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2579. roomy as summer

This was made for the brilliant STEW magazine recently.



Filed under: children's illustration, poetry, songs, summer

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2580. Sleeping Bears, Ninjas and Bowers, oh my!

I just returned from a book signing at the IRA 59th Annual Conference in New Orleans. Many thanks to my friends at Sleeping Bear Press. Amy and Audrie were in high gear to pull everything together during the show. 

I finally met author, Denise Brennan-Nelson, who joined me to sign Maestro Stu Saves the Zoo. Denise is very funny and overflowing with great story ideas. I hope we connect on another book project in the future.

Before my book signing, I went undercover into the Scholastic Book area and managed to meet two of my Ninja brothers, Dav Pilkey and Dan Santat. Its pretty obvious that Dav and Dan have had more experience in Ninja action posing...I'll have to ask them for a few pointers. 

The flight home was a bumpy ride. Storms were popping up all over but above the clouds was a beautiful place to be. I  shot a few pics of the amazing clouds, escorting us back to Ohio.

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2581. Coloring Page Tuesday - Jada Reads...

     There's a movement going on in kidslit right now - to point out the lack of diversity in children's books and to get it fixed! As our country grows more racially and culturally mixed, our books should reflect that. Right now, they don't - work needs to be done! Every child should be able to find themselves within the pages of a good book. Jada agrees!
      It's one of the reasons I'm so proud of the diverse books I've done throughout my career - check them out! (Literally!)
     CLICK HERE for more coloring pages! And be sure to share your creations in my gallery so I can put them in my upcoming newsletters! (Cards, kids art, and crafts are welcome!)
     Sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted each week and... Please check out my books! Especially...

my debut novel, A BIRD ON WATER STREET, coming out next week! Click the cover to learn more!
     When the birds return to Water Street, will anyone be left to hear them sing? A miner's strike allows green and growing things to return to the Red Hills, but that same strike may force residents to seek new homes and livelihoods elsewhere. Follow the story of Jack Hicks as he struggles to hold onto everything he loves most.
**A SIBA OKRA Pick!**
**A GOLD Mom's Choice Award Winner!**
**The 2014 National Book Festival Featured Title for Georgia!**

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2582. The Akira Project Crowdfunds Fanboy-Approved ‘Akira’ Trailer

Hell hath no fury like a fanboy spurned, but that usually doesn’t occur until after the film in question has been released to theaters. Tired of having their expectations dashed by disappointing news of the long anticipated live-action "Akira" adaptation, fans completed their own live version of a trailer for the popular manga-turned-anime, one that attempts to “do 'Akira' justice” by following the source material as closely as possible.

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2583. Going Round and Round

Sometimes one feels like they are spinning and making circles; yet not getting anywhere.
But circles can be a good thing. Going over that manuscript or art project just one more time sometimes hits you. Wham-   and you really see what was missed, even after so many passes before.


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2584. The Low Mileage Runner: How to maximize your performance off of low volume

A headline caught my eye recently: “Be a better runner without running.” *About face* Now I respect the news outlet that ran the article but the snark in me can’t resist thinking, “This kind of thing belongs in Runner’s World next to the column ‘How to get faster in your sleep!’”

track dreams

Track dreams…but you still need to actually run on the track too. ;)

In seriousness though, yes there are ways to improve your running and get faster that aren’t running. HOWEVER, these are thought of like ‘extras’…you still have to run.

Everybody and every BODY handles a different amount of volume and quality. Not everyone can log 110 miles per week, with a hard speed session, endurance session, and long run in a 7 day cycle. Some people can run 170 miles per week just fine, others get hurt going over 50…waaah-waahh it’s not fair but that’s how it is.

Know your body. Know your limits and maximize them. Just because you can’t RUN more than 50 miles per week does not necessarily mean you can’t beat the runner doing twice your volume. Enter QUALITY.

Here are a few quick tips on maximizing your training if you’re a runner who is a little more ‘fragile’: (ie: improving your running with running less and doing other stuff)

* Extend Your ‘Week’: By this I’m talking about viewing your training cycle as 9-10 days rather than the standard 7. Meb Keflezighi has talked about doing this as he’s aged, and many masters runners work off of a longer training week. This allows for more recovery between hard workouts.

* Rule of 10 and Baby Steps: If you’re injury-prone already you know you need to BABY your body a bit. Only increase your miles by 10% each week. Then be honest with what your mileage ‘max’ is. If you start getting extra creaking when you kiss 50, stick there and supplement with extra cross training instead of miles.
stress fractures suck
* Swap Your Easy Runs: Plan your miles for the week and ‘save’ them for your hard workouts and long runs. Those are the days that will give you the most bang for your mileage buck. Cross train on the easy days; to be honest the benefit of easy days are mostly just getting the steady cardio in…you can do that running or cross training. The former is just a lot easier on your body.

* Seek Soft Surfaces: The pavement is harder on your body than the trails, track, and treadmill. Seek these softer surfaces. Also know that lots of downhill running exponentially increases the impact on your joints, so steer clear of huge, sharp downhills.

* Get More Efficient: Most injuries are a result of a weakness and muscle imbalance. Fix those and you’ll be running more efficient and most likely be able to handle running more. All the more reason to fix your form, get a stronger core, and solve why you might be stuck in a vicious cycle of injuries.

* Fitter With Cross Training: Ideally you want to be doing your hard workouts as running because this will translate the best for racing but you’d be amazed by how fit you can stay with cross training workouts. So if you have to do some of your ‘running’ workouts on the cross trainer don’t freak out and remember it all comes back to effort. Go hard, get your heart rate up, feel the burn in your legs and lungs, and you’re getting work done.

Not EVERYTHING that will get you faster comes from running more miles. Think outside the box, learn your body, and maximize your potential.

Though the snark in me still has to end with this: “but, duh, you still have to do some running.” ;)

More articles on cross training and workout ideas!

More articles on injuries, recovering, and how to prevent them!

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2585. ‘Ping Pong’ Recap: ‘Where Did I Go Wrong?’ (Ep. 5)

Ryuichi Kazama continues his victorious streak with a singles win at the Youth Olympics, while Sakuma and Peco realize they aren't cut out for the sport after witnessing Smile's continued improvement. At the halfway point in the story, we seem to be in a transitional stage in which the relationships of the players to one another and their attitude towards the sport are changing. The episode didn't have much tension to it partly as a result of that. There was no strong driving narrative force. That made it one of the less memorable episodes so far.

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2586. Number One Sam and an interview with Greg Pizzoli

Number One Sam by Greg Pizzoliby Greg Pizzoli

published 2014 by Disney-Hyperion

I’m honored and thrilled to have Greg Pizzoli back to the blog this week. About a year ago we talked about Kroc and The Watermelon Seed, and in the many weeks since, that thing (and Greg!) won the Geisel Award! My kindergarteners call him ‘the BURRRRPPP man’ which I’m pretty sure is the highest praise any mere mortal can achieve.

But today! Today is the birthday of Greg’s latest and greatest, Number One Sam. This is my favorite tweet about it:Screen Shot 2014-05-11 at 3.47.57 PM(And side note, you should follow Matt Roeser at Candlewick cause he has impeccable taste and eyeballs.)

And this (!) is the trailer:

breakerGreg chatted with me about process and art and picture books, and I’ve read these answers about a billion times and am still learning. Enjoy!

Your spot color. Wow! Can you talk about why such a stripped-down design with a limited color palette is such a powerful visual device?

Great question!

To be honest, I’m not sure. But, I think it comes down
to working from an intention, and just having a plan, or restrictions
set in place from the beginning. You can’t just grab another color
from somewhere – when it comes time to make final art, we’ve done
rounds of pantone tests and paper tests, and the limitations and
possibilities are in place, so nothing is casual. Maybe it makes you
consider things in a way that is unique to working in that way?

I know for me, if I’m doing a book that is printed in a limited color
palette, it can feel restrictive in one sense, but there is a real
freedom within the limitations, if you know what I mean. There’s not
endless guessing the way there might be with a CMYK book. Obviously we
do lots of tests and make sure we get the base colors right for the
book, but once that is done, I can start carving out the drawings and
not worry too much about the colors, because we’ve done so much work
on the front end. It’s a challenge I enjoy.

Here’s a photo of a spot color test proof.Number One Sam by Greg Pizzoli

Why do you think your stories are best suited to the form of the picture
book. What can you do in this form that you might not be able to in another?

This is a tough one, Carter. Boy, I come to your blog looking to have
a good time, maybe show a video or something, and you slam me with
this “why picture books” stuff. Sheesh. “Gotcha blogging” right here.
But that’s fine, I’ll play along.

I’m kidding, of course. But, it is a tough one. I guess it’s not all
that complicated for me. I’ve always loved picture books and I think
it’s because there are so many possible ways to solve the problem of
telling a story with text and images. It’s a cliche I think, but you
really can do anything in a picture book. But here again, I like the
restrictions. As much as I might complain to my editor that I “just
need one more spread” to tell the story, it’s actually nice to have a
structure where you have to fit a complete world, with a character, a
problem, and (maybe?) a solution to that problem in only 40 (or so)

There’s something about how deliberate every decision has to be
that is super appealing to me. I’ve been working on writing a longer
thing recently, a series, and it’s not as though I’m not deliberate
when working on it, but I’ll admit that it feels as though not as much
is hinging on each line or picture in the same way. With picture
books, you don’t have room for anything to feel arbitrary. I like

Also, I thought you might want to see these. Sam started out as a
print of a weird dog (top) and then I made a print of another
(cuter) dog, and he kept coming up in my sketchbooks until he became
Number One Sam (bottom).Number One Sam by Greg PizzoliNumber One Sam by Greg Pizzoli

What do you think are the most important considerations when creating a book trailer?
How do you think through compressing an already spare narrative into a short
animation? Are there aspects to animation you wish you had access to in
picture book art or vice versa? (I guess mostly I’m curious about how book
trailers share storytelling space with picture books and what they can do
differently. Does that make sense?!)

Ya know, it’s a complicated thing this book trailer business. I am
really happy with the two we’ve done so far, but I definitely can’t
take all the credit. Jimmy Simpson, directed and animated both the
trailer for The Watermelon Seed and for Number One Sam, and he is
pretty incredible to work with. Both times we started working, I had
already finished the book, and I had a very basic sense of what I
wanted the trailer to be, but he figures out all of the transitions
and added all of the touches that make them work as well as I think
they do. For example, the “wink” shot from the Number One Sam trailer –
that’s all Jimmy. And of course, he does all of the animation.

I draw the stuff, which is somewhat complicated because you have to
keep everything separated, meaning draw the arm on a different layer
from the body, and the hand on a different layer than the arm, and the
ear on it’s own layer, etc. Basically everything needs to move
independently of everything else, but my characters are pretty simple,
so it’s not too big a deal.

And the music is key. My buddy Christopher Sean Powell composed the
music special for both trailers. What a talent, right? He plays in the
band Man Man, and has his solo music project called Spaceship Aloha,
and was a part of a pretty seminal band from these parts called Need
New Body. I’m thrilled we get to work together on this stuff.

But, to your actual question, I see the trailer and the book as
completely separate things. They have their own pacing, and their own
objectives. With the book, you want everything to feel complete, and
have an emotional pay off of some kind. And you have the narrative arc
to keep things together. With the trailer, it’s more of a tease. You
don’t want to give it all away. And I guess our objective is to just
make them fun and unique.

Book trailers have become more popular, and there is a sort of
template for how they are done that we have tried to stay away from.
We just want them to feel different enough to maybe stand out. It’s a
super small community in some ways, and my book trailers certainly
aren’t racking up millions of views or anything, but we enjoy making
them for their own sake, partly I think because we all just like
working together. If other people dig them, and check out the book on
top of that, that’s icing.

What types of trophies do you have lining your shelves? What kind do you
wish you had? Side note: What would a book called Number One Greg be about?

Beyond my published books, which I kind of think of as trophies in a
way, there are a couple. Last year when I finished the art for Number
One Sam, my editor Rotem sent me a trophy that I keep on my bookcase.
And recently I was looking through some old family photos and found a
first place ribbon that I had won for a school wide art contest in
the 1st grade. My family moved around a ton when I was little, so the
actual winning piece was lost. I remember it though! It was a big
piece of yellow poster board with a marker drawing of outer space.

Maybe it’s time to do a space book?Number One Sam by Greg PizzoliNumber One Sam by Greg PizzolibreakerAnd now for some art from Number One Sam. Thank you, Greg! (Click to make any of them larger.)Number One Sam by Greg Pizzoli Number One Sam by Greg Pizzoli Number One Sam by Greg Pizzoli Number One Sam by Greg Pizzoli



Tagged: book trailers, CMYK, disney-hyperion, greg pizzoli, illustration, spot color

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2587. Watch This New Mini-Doc About Joy Batchelor on Her 100th Birthday

Today is the 100th birthday anniversary of one of the most important women who ever worked in animation: Joy Batchelor. With her husband, she ran the studio Halas & Batchelor, which was the largest English animation outfit for a good part of the 20th century and made that country's first feature-length animated film, "Animal Farm."

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2588. Blog hop to Janice Hardy's Fiction University - GIVEAWAY!!

Today's Southern Appalachian Book Tour visit for A BIRD ON WATER STREET is at Janice Hardy's, Fiction University, to discuss "How To Tackle a Story That Is Bigger Than You."

"Over a decade ago I found myself in a small wood-paneled room surrounded by a crowd of angry people I didn’t know. Well, I knew two of them. My husband, and the new friend I’d made when we moved to the small mountain community, who invited us to the meeting. . . . I sat with my mouth open wondering what I had stumbled into. I didn’t choose to write A BIRD ON WATER STREET that night. I was chosen to."
     And one of the commenters at Janice's blog will win a FREE, signed and dedicated copy of A BIRD ON WATER STREET! I hope you'll hop on over to read more!

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2589. top tips for hosting your own author visit!

Getting an author to visit your school, library or festival is a brilliant way to inspire kids to read and fire up their creativity. I find a lot of kids don’t really understand that the name on a book cover is a real person. (It’s not some sort of box with a button that you push, and out comes a book.) And when they can see right in front of them that a writer or illustrator is a person who walks and talks and laughs and gets excited about stories, and occasionally makes mistakes, they get an inkling of possibilities: Hey, maybe this is something I could do, too!

It’s so much more exciting to read a book by someone they’ve met. And if they get hooked on a story or two by that author, they may go on to read other authors, and it can open up to them a lifetime of reading, drawing, and enjoying books and stories. But any author will tell you that it's the host's preparation that can make all the difference between a wildly successful visit and one that make much less impact.

During the past few years, I’ve picked up a few things that could be helpful if you’re thinking of organising your own Author Visit. (And when I say ‘author’, that can mean a writer or illustrator, they’ve both authors of creative work.)

* Book as far in advance as you can. If you're hoping to book an author for World Book Day, you’ll need to add in extra time, possibly a whole year. Alternatively, you can organise a school book day on another day and have a much better chance of getting an author, particularly at shorter notice.

* Expect to pay your author. You get paid; they should, too. Remember an hour-long school event still can mean several hours of travel, possibly an overnight stay if the author’s coming a long way, preparation time, time away from their regular work, being tired the following day, and the inevitable follow-up head cold. You can read a good article by Nicola Morgan on author visit fees.

* Discuss book sales in advance. Book sales are important: if kids gets excited about an author and a particular book, it makes perfect sense to put that book into their hands right away so they can read it. A signed book may be something they treasure for their whole lives and it will remind them of the visit. Also, it helps the author to carry on doing their job; publishers don’t have a lot of patience for slow sales and will drop authors quickly. John Dougherty’s written a good article about books sales.

* Discuss event format. Authors are all different; some will prefer working with large assemblies and some will want smaller workshops. You can negotiate over e-mail or by phone with them what kind of sessions will work best with the room sizes and school timetable.

* Display your children’s work. Kids get way more excited about doing something creative if they know their efforts will go up on the walls, not stuffed into a desk and forgotten. If you do this well before the author visits, it will create a good creative atmosphere. (Most teachers do this, but I've visited a few schools with no work on the walls at all.)

* Don’t worry about CRB checks. Unless the author is doing long-term work with the group, or one-on-one sessions, this isn’t legally necessary and takes up a lot of time and money. A good reference is much more valuable.

* Prepare your kids. If you whip up excitement in advance, kids will pay far, far more attention on the day and come away much more inspired than if they come into the auditorium wondering, who is this person, some eccentric supply teacher? Set projects based on the author’s work. Perhaps create a wall area featuring the author, with photos, book covers, illustrated characters, things the kids have researched about him or her and written or drawn. Let your author know in advance that you've done a project, so the author can tailor their presentation to something more in-depth than a basic introduction to the books. (They will have to assume no one has read the books unless you tell them otherwise.) One of the best schools for this I’ve ever encountered was Green Lane Primary, have a look at their preparation work here.

* Check out the author's website. Besides being good research, he or she may have materials you can use in advance or as follow-up to the session.

* Come up with a good system for book purchases. Don't expect kids to remember to bring money on the day, have a good pre-order system in place. Your kids WILL want books after a good author visit, and it’s a shame to let them down.

* Get in touch. Contact the author at least two weeks before the event to pin down any final details. Be sure the author has:
- your contact name and number; also a contact name and number for the person who's collecting him or her from the station if it's not you
- If the author is driving, supply information about parking
- Expected arrival time
- Schedule of events with group sizes and age groups, including book signings, breaks and lunch time
- Any further details about book sales
Ideally, all this information should all go on a sheet of paper that the author can print out, so they don't have to piece together lots of different information in e-mails, possibly missing an important detail.

* Think about photos. Clear in advance which kids can appear in them: it's great to have a photo of the author with some of your children, perhaps holding up work they've done during the visit. Useful for the school website, newsletter, perhaps to print and hang up in the class as a reminder of the visit.

* Local media: do you want to alert them? It's good publicity for the school and the author!

* Assess your supplies: White board, flip chart or visualiser? Remember that if you invite an illustrator to draw on your interactive white board, you won't have original artwork to keep and pin up on the wall; it never looks as good printed out. If the author uses a flip chart, the pictures they draw will be large, like posters; if a visualiser, you'll get notebook-sized drawings. Consider the size of the room: a flip chart can be hard to see from the back of a large auditorium, whereas with a visualiser, you can enlarge the image on-screen.

Using a visualiser

* Buy new marker pens. Every author knows the feeling of discovering on-stage that a pen's a dud. Three test swipes of a used pen won't always reveal which ones will work for more than a minute. An author visit is a big deal; invest in a pack of new markers, they don't cost that much. Make sure you have enough flip chart paper if the author wants a flip chart, and check that the flip chart stand isn't broken.

* Check your tech. If the author has a Powerpoint presentation, try to download it at least a few days in advance and test that it works on the school machines. If you're swapping between Powerpoint and a visualiser, make sure it works. If you’re getting the presentation from them on the day (on a USB stick?), be sure you leave enough time for setup before events.

* Arrange lifts. Makes sure that, if the author is coming by train, that someone meets them at the station and brings them to the school. There’s nothing more dispiriting to an author to start their day trudging through the rain, any supplies they’ve brought getting soaked, and being late because they can’t find the right entrance.

* Make the author feel welcome right away. Be sure the front receptionist knows the author is coming, and knows their name when they greet them.

* Be a guide. Make sure someone's always around to help the author navigate the staff room, lunch room, setting up powerpoint, etc, finding the toilet. Staff rooms can be very intimidating places!

* Take part in whatever the author is doing with the kids. Kids take their cue from their teachers: when they see their teachers taking part, they take the activity much more seriously. The worst thing teachers can do is chat in the back, or ignore the author and mark papers. And it's illegal to leave the author alone in the room with the children (It's sad that this law has to exist, but it's also a boon for visiting authors, whom I've heard sometimes used to get abandoned while teachers went out for smoke breaks.)

* Remember that authors aren't teachers. While authors pick up techniques with practice, they're not actually trained in crowd control. You and your teaching assistants need to keep a close eye on the kids at all time, particularly the ones you know have special needs.

* Have a book signing system. If an author is signing hundreds of books, have someone go through the queue, find out who the children want the book dedicated to (usually themselves, but sometimes a sibling or friend). Write the dedication name on a post-it note and stick it to the book. Then the author won't get the spelling wrong, or have to wait for the nervous child to spell out slowly his or her name phonetically.

* Help out at the signing. Make sure the author isn't mobbed while signing. If the author is signing lots of books; he or she may not have time or energy to sign little bits of paper, which will probably get crammed into rucksacks and lost. Don't make the author be the bad guy refusing to sign things; ask the author what he or she prefers, then let the kids know what they can expect.

* Flowers aren't necessary. If your authors are traveling by train, don't thank them with a flower arrangement that will be cumbersome to carry at rush hour. Instead of budgeting for a gift, just pay the extra into their fee. The author can use that money to buy a drink (or help toward the rent).

* Follow up the visit! Think about ways of following up the visit. Did the author set the kids a challenge? Is there a theme you could take up for a more in-depth project?

Here are some examples of follow-up activities by Portway Junior School (see more here!):

And follow up work from James Allen's Prep School (more here!):

* Keep the paperwork simple. Do everything you can to keep the author from having to fill out reams of forms after the visit. (I’ve occasionally been given up to 50 sheets of paper to go through, including detailed questions about pension schemes!)

Don’t be scared off by the sheer number of tips I’ve given you! Most of these are common sense things, but teachers and librarians are busy people, and it can help to run though a checklist. Remember, a good Author Visit is one of the best gifts you can give your children, and the effects of it may last a lifetime.

Check out Nicola Morgan's Ten Top Tips for an Author Visit and another great post she's done for authors from the point of view of the organiser.

And you can learn more about Author Visits over on the Society of Authors website.

If you'd like to print out a text version of this checklist, you can download it here as a PDF.

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2590. SketchCrawling in the Rain

I discovered the monumental and slightly rusty underbelly of Castlefield a couple of months back, when I was invited a to run a SketchCrawl for SCBWI. On that day, we were supposed to be drawing inside MOSI, so I got less than an hour to explore outdoors with my sketchbook, but I was determined to go back and spend a bit more time, so chose it as the location for this month's SketchCrawl North meeting.

What I didn't know, was that the weather forecast was going to be heavy rain on and off all day, with the possibility of thunder and lightning at lunchtime. Great.

Come Saturday, four of us left behind the irritatingly blue skies and glorious sunshine of Sheffield and took the train to Manchester. It was already raining when we met up with a dozen others outside Deansgate station. 

Most of the group decided to opt for the warmth of MOSI, but a few of us tough-nuts braved it, sheltering under the railway arches. I love the strong contrasts you get, even in bleak, grey conditions. I managed the painting at the top, but the rain was getting heavier. It was splashing in under the arch so I had to keep moving further and further back. I just about got finished by the time we decided to give it up and get a coffee to warm up.

We headed for MOSI, where we discovered lots of our team in the cafe, luxuriating in soft sofas and painting the view out of the huge, picture windows. There was no soft space left, so I sat on the floor again (my poor bottom) and did the sketch above.

I had booked Dukes 92 for lunch, which had a huge table we could share. By now though our numbers had swelled to over 20, so we expanded to two tables, scoffing and chatting and watching Matthew draw his cooling food (as always). 

The sun was out now, so I decided to go back to the railway for another go at my beloved bridges. I braved a view that had me sitting out in the middle of the pavement so, naturally, it began raining again after about 30 minutes! I scurried back under my arch and tried to finish off the painting above, but soon retreated back to MOSI. 

I didn't want to draw the museum's exhibits, but I remembered this wonderful, Victorian window in the Air and Space building (the same iron and glass building I drew the outside of, from the cafe). 

I got lots of attention, including a little boy of about five: "How much do you sell your paintings for?". He told me he 'didn't paint as much as he would like' and that he 'liked collection art' (!)

I laboured too long over the window and was getting bored with all the detail. I looked at my watch - only about 5 minutes before I had to leave to meet the others back at Dukes 92 for the sharing session. I desperately needed to draw something less fussy, so I quickly sketched what was in front of me, which I think might be a microlight (no time to check), then rushed off. 

As usual, we all thoroughly enjoyed admiring each other's work from the day, sneaking a look back through all the sketchbooks and swapping sketching tips. 

I had a new sketching pen with me, which I was given by Super 5, one of the sponsors of the forthcoming Usk Symposium

I didn't get around to using it during the day, so did a quick trial in the bar, sketching a few people around the table, before lending it to various others to have a go. It's very smooth and glides beautifully across the paper in all directions. There's a raffle to win one if you are interested (deadline May 30th). It gives a subtly variable line as you can see in the sketch, which I think really adds life to a drawing. It's not as wide a variance as my trusty Sailor though. It depends what you are after.

Thanks to everyone who turned up on Saturday, despite the dreadful forecast, and especially to the new members and to those from the Manchester Urban Sketchers group who joined us. One of the lovely things about SketchCrawling is all the interesting new people you get to hang out with.

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2591. ‘I Decided to Leave’ by Dan Britt

It was 9:54 when I decided to leave... Read the rest of this post

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2592. Voyage


1. Ducks do not make good leaders. Although they are arguably among the most optimistic of species, it is due in no small part to their chronic shortsightedness.

2. However, if you need to be bailed out, a bunny is the first critter you should call.

3. Bears will sink your boat.

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2593. SURTEX 2014 - flyers part two

More fab flyers today with a variety of designers who will be showcasing new work at Surtex. We start with designer  Lesley Grainger who will be debuting new categories and themes, such as, florals, holiday, christmas, inspirational, patterns and of course all new baby & kids in Booth 647. Below : Tamara Kate grew up on the colourful Caribbean island of Trinidad, where one cannot help

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2595. ‘Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return’ Has Record-Breaking Bad Debut

If you didn't hear about last weekend's opening of "Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return," don't worry because no one else in America did either. Opening in 2,575 theaters, the film eked out $3.7 million, which is the worst opening ever for an animated feature in saturated release (over 2,500 theaters). The previous animation record holder in this dubious category was the 2011 Weinstein Company release "Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil," which grossed $4.1M from 2,505 theaters.

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2596. Draw Tip Tuesday - Office Art

Welcome to Draw Tip Tuesday!
You don't need fancy art supplies to make cool art.
Do you work at an office? Not a very inspiring place? Well, you still may have a moment to make a little doodle. Post-its are perfect for those.

Now this is just a tiny bit about hand lettering, but there's more where this came from. 
In my upcoming class 'Awesome Art Journaling', we dive way more into this. Just saying!

If you would like to join the class: it starts May 26. Click here to enroll today!

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2597. Meeting drawing

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2598. Editorial Submission :: Igor Gnedo

Post by Natalie




Igor Gnedo is an illustrator based in New York. Since graduating from Fashion Institute of Technology in 2013, he has been working as a freelance graphic designer and illustrator. His work varies in theme, media, and style and includes editorial illustration, book covers, and posters. The greatest influences on his work include German Expressionism woodcuts, graphic design, and typography.

See more of Igor’s work on his website.

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2599. Today is Edward Lear's Birthday

In honor of the day, I link to 

The Birth (and Death) of Edward Lear


Edward Lear’s Cat

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2600. fruit tree, fruit tree

So here's another thing I have on this month; I am exhibiting, as part of the Derbyshire Open Arts weekend, on the 24th-26th, at Pear Tree Café in Whaley Bridge. That's if I have anything to put on the walls. I've never had so much work on. I'm not complaining. I just can't quite keep up.
I'm off to Amsterdam shortly to film my classes for next semester's Sketchbook Skool. And then there's the little issue of the MASSIVE book/bench, in my living room, that I have to start, I mean finish, by the end of this month. That'll then be making it's way down to the streets of London ready for the Books About Town trail which begins in July. 
 I'm exhausted just thinking about it all. Coffee! Please!! Make mine a quadruple espresso.

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