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Hello world! - How To Be A Children's Book Illustrator (1 Comments)
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Adding to my alphabet of reading critters, I give you a lemur! They're so cute with their long ringed tails. Do you suppose they like to read THE JUNGLE BOOK? 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. AWARDS **A SIBA OKRA Pick!** **A GOLD Mom's Choice Award Winner!** **The 2014 National Book Festival Featured Title for Georgia!** **eLit 2014 Gold Medal Winner in the Environmental/Ecology/Nature Category**
Oh joy... I get to hang in a museum! One of my book spreads was chosen to be in the upcoming exhibit at the 2014 SCBWI WWA Illustrator exhibit at the Washington State Historical Society. Now... all I need is a frame. It's a great museum, only I don't get down to Tacoma very often.
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Barry Lee is an Atlanta based freelance illustrator who has a love for bright colors, weird characters and pop culture. He feels humor can be universal through illustration and gains inspiration everywhere from early eighties funk records to the Muppets. Follow him on Instagram @barrydraws for daily sketches.
You can see more of Barry’s work on his website.
This article is a post I wrote for the fabulous Writers Rumpus blog today, September 30th. While recently reading John Green’s Looking for Alaska, I was surprised by the shape of the story. I’ll get to that in a minute, but it reminded me of other authors who played with the structure of their narratives. […]
Their have been some fabulous new print arrivals at Mini Boden this Autumn. I love this colourful woodland scene (above & below) but there are so many colourful flower and bird prints this season I couldn't stop posting all the lovely images. Scroll down to see what is obviously going to be a bright Autumn Winter for Boden and go online to see full details here.
Next week is the release of STAR WARS: The Adventures of Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight. To celebrate, I’ll be doing events in my hometown, New York City, Boston, Austin and Miami.
Along with some familiar faces from “a galaxy far, far away”, I’ll be presenting and signing at my favorite hometown indie bookstore, The Odyssey Bookshop. Space is limited, so you’ll need to RSVP sooner than later. If you cannot make it the shop can take your order and ship a signed book to you.
From there, I’ll zoom down New York for NY Comic Con where the STAR WARS fun continues. As well, I am signing at the Dark Horse Comics booth and giving out a FREE promotional print for my upcoming book, REALMS: The Role Playing Game Art of Tony DiTerlizzi. Here’s the New York Comic Con schedule:
Autographing: Promotional Print for “REALMS: The RPG Art of Tony DiTerlizzi” Saturday 12PM – 12:50 PM, Dark Horse Booth
This image of a classic Advanced Dungeons & Dragons kobold marks a return to my roots as an illustrator for the beloved roleplaying game. Along with collecting my artwork from Planescape, Changeling and Magic the Gathering, REALMS will also feature a series of new paintings of some of my favorite monsters and characters from the game that started it all. We’ll be giving out this 12×18″ print FREE at the Dark Horse Comics booth, so come on by!
Panel Name: STORMTROOPERS vs. RED SHIRTS Sunday 11AM – 11:45 AM ET, Room 1A18
Conflicts in galaxies far far away have entertained us since the dawn of science fiction, but it we owe it to Star Trek and Star Wars helped to bring science fiction to the forefront of pop culture. Tony DiTerlizzi (The Adventure of Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight), Jack Campbell (The Lost Stars: Imperfect Sword), Karen Bao (Dove Arising), Tony Abbott (Copernicus Legacy: The Serpent’s Curse), Emmy Laybourne (Monument 14), Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam (Etherworld) discuss skiffy upbringings and these two influential classics. A formal autographing will take place immediately after the panel at Table 19 in the autographing area.
While in New York City, I’ll be participating in “Star Wars Reads Day” at Books of Wonder along with some other notable Jedi, including Tom Angleberger.
STAR WARS Reads Day
Saturday, October 11th, 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Join us for this spectacular event in a galaxy far, far away…
TOM ANGLEBERGER Emperor Pickletine Rides the Bus (Origami Yoda #6)
TONY DiTERLIZZI The Adventures of Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight
PABLO HIDALGO for Star Wars Rebels: A New Hero
MICHAEL KOGGE for Star Wars Rebels: Rise of the Rebels
MATTHEW REINHART for Star Wars: A Pop Up Guide to the Galaxy
Later in the month, I’ll be attending several book festivals, including:
Boston Book Festival Saturday, October 25th, 12:30 – 1:00 PM ET
First Church of Boston Auditorium
66 Marlborough St.
Boston, MA 02116
* I will be pre-signing books at 11:30 AM prior to my presentation
Texas Book Festival Sunday, October 26th, 2:45 – 3:30 PM CT
The Capitol, Extension Room E.2.028
1100 Congress Avenue, Between 11th and 12th Streets
Austin, TX 78701
*I shall be signing at the book signing tent immediately following my presentation.
Miami Book Fair November 21-23rd
Angela and I will both be presenting and signing at this favorite Florida fair. Look for schedule and details soon.
A small but loyal following at Defenders of Wildlife recently put some Harts Pass Comics imagery to work on their blog. Kylie Paul, Rockies & Plains Representative at Defenders, does a nice job of summing up the recent trajectory of potential wolverine protection and in the final two paragraphs makes a case for reversing the recent decision to deny protections:
It is a fundamentally American value to protect our land, air, water, and wildlife – that’s why Congress enacted the ESA. If we’re not willing to protect one of the rarest mammals in the Lower 48, a species with fewer than 300 individuals left south of the Canadian border and one of the lowest successful reproductive rates known to mammals, how imperiled does a species have to be to gain federal protection?
Defenders of Wildlife currently has an open petition to tell Secretary of the Department of the Interior Sally Jewell – who oversees the Fish and Wildlife Service – to reconsider the serious threats to the survival of wolverines and immediately reverse this unsupportable decision. Please take part!Add a Comment
I'm really looking forward to Fall. It's not here yet, weather wise, but I'm ready. I can't wait for pumpkins, colorful leaves, crisp air, and what I hope will be a very wet winter in this dried out state of mine.
I haven’t posted here since June for a simple reason: coping with a huge storm of sorts that blew my way. My mother had not been so well, so in January a pacemaker was installed. Rehab and all that. Then April 26th she had a stroke. Rehab again, driven by the delusion of optimism. We […]
Do you ever have those days when nothing goes right? When everything you try does not work? That was my day today, accompanied by a doozer of a headache. Photoshop just quit on me. I could not open CS5 or CS6. Finally at the end of the day the Adobe Twitter Support came through! Hooray! It works!!
While I was waiting for support to write me back I was able to begin writing my stories for Burt ad Briley, my new characters. Their conversations made me smile. All’s well that ends well. I will post another picture soon.
Wow, September flew by, didn't it? Yes, fall is in the air, the first colds of the season are making the rounds through our house, and the leaves are starting to change colour. There has been a flurry of activity here with the start of another hockey season for the kids, cadets for my eldest, and early morning cross-country practices. As for me, I am working away on the final art for another picture book as well as gearing up for the SCBWI CANEAST conference in Ottawa on Oct. 17-19. It also won't be long until I head off to St Lucia and Greneda for the Rainforest of Reading Festival in November.
To download the desktop calendar please select the screen resolution from the list above then right click and "save to desktop". Enjoy!
You know Mac and Jon. You love Mac and Jon. Now meet Sam and Dave. You’ll love Sam and Dave.
Don’t rush into the pages just yet. This is one of the best covers I’ve seen in a long while. If we weren’t so aware that Jon Klassen (that insta-recognizable style!) is a contemporary illustrator, I would wholeheartedly presume that it was some vintage thing in a used bookstore. A find to gloat about, a find that makes you wonder just how you got so lucky.
The hole. The space left over. The words, stacked deeper and deeper. The apple tree whose tippy top is hidden. Two chaps, two caps, two shovels. One understanding dog.
Speaking of two chaps, two caps, and two shovels, check out the trailer.
(I’ll wait if you need to watch that about five more times.)
The start of their hole is shallow, and they are proud. But they have only just started. Sam asks Dave when they should stop, and this is Dave’s reply:
“We won’t stop digging until we find something spectacular.”
Dave’s voice of reason is so comforting to any young adventurer. It’s validating that your goal is something spectacular. (Do we forget this as grownups? To search for somthing spectacular? I think we do.)
Perhaps the pooch is the true voice of reason here, though he doesn’t ever let out a bark or a grumble. Those eyes, the scent, the hunt. He knows.
(click to enlarge)
And this is where Sam and Dave Dig a Hole treads the waters of picture book perfection. The treasure, this spectacular something, is just beyond the Sam and Dave’s reality. The reader gets the treat where Sam and Dave are stumped. Do you want to sit back and sigh about their unfortunate luck? Do you want to holler at them to just go this way or that way or pay attention to your brilliant dog? Do you root for them? Do you keep your secret?
The text placement on each page is sublime. If Sam and Dave plant themselves at the bottom of the page, so does the text. If the hole is deep and skinny, the text block mirrors its length. This design choice is a spectacular something. It’s subtle. It’s meaningful. It’s thoughtful and inevitable all at once.
(click to enlarge)
And then – then! Something spectacular. The text switches sides. The boys fall down. Through? Into? Under? Did the boys reach the other side? Are they where they started? Is this real life? Their homecoming is the same, but different. Where there was a this, now there is a that. Where there was a hmm, now there is an ahhh.
I like to think that the impossible journey here is a nod to Ruth Krauss and Maurice Sendak’s collaboration, A Hole is to Dig. That’s what holes are for. That’s what the dirt asks of you. It’s not something you do alone or without a plan or without hope. Sam and Dave operate in this truth. They need to dig. There’s not another choice.
When I was in school in the Mesolithic Age we actually drew on this thing called paper with devices known as pencils. Now days art students often draw on electric tablets or monitors even though we encourage our students to stick with the paper and pencils for a while longer. But all of this technology has not only sped up the illustration process and made it much easier to make corrections - it's also made it much easier to teach!
The Cintiq monitor by Wacom or other pressure sensitive graphics monitors have enabled teachers to perform "draw overs". I just started doing draw overs last year for both my online and UVU students. In the past I had to do a little drawing off to the side of my students work - it was good but really doesn't compare to actually drawing on top of their drawing to show what decisions I would have made. If I had done that on an original drawing on paper it wouldn't allow for seeing the students drawing without my "drawover" - in other words the original drawing would be altered forever with my crappy drawover on top. The student would have had no way to continue working on their drawing after my critique.
It is amazing for teaching online because we're only dealing with sketches that have been scanned and emailed to us. We have to be able to show our students what we're talking about - so this technology has actually been a key factor in us being able to teach online. Above you can see some of my UVU students work (draw a polar bear / Viking) and my rough little drawover which doesn't go into detail but focuses on general construction. It makes teaching so much more satisfying and - fun!...Thank you Wacom!
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I'm still incredibly busy with our three-month old little girl and haven't really had time for art, but I'm trying to keep my fingers in it and as such, I'll be participating in a group show next week. This will be my first ever gallery showing, so I'm really looking forward to it! I'll be showing only older work, but it's still a great chance to come and see original works up close by fourteen different artists. If you're in the area, I hope you can make it!
Don’t be afraid of the difference between literary and commercial fiction like these Scaredy Scouts illustrated by B.L. Bachmann below.B.L. is a writer and illustrator living in Los Angeles. Her mission is to make people smile, and even giggle :) See more at http://www.blbachmann.com
I spent last week running two writer’s retreats in Avalon, NJ. The agents at the first retreat were Sarah LaPolla from Bradford Literary and Carly Watters from P.S. Literary. The agents at the second retreat were Ammi-Joan Paguette from Erin Murphy Agency and Heather Alexander from Pippin Properties.
It was a gorgeous week. Everyone received a full manuscript critique with an agent and a full manuscript critique from everyone in their group. I have to say, I think both of the sessions were the best retreats I have put together. The agents were top notched and each writer in each group took extreme care with their critiques, so we walked away with lots of ideas for revisions and with many doors open with the agents. On top of that, everyone meshed well and we had a tons of fun. Can’t think of anything that was missing.
During the week the question came up about the difference between Literary Fiction and Commercial Fiction. Lucky for us, Sarah LaPolla had written an explanation on her blog and gave me permission to post it on Writing and Illustrating.
Here is Sarah:
I don’t think writers should get too hung up on labels, but it’s important to know what genre you’re writing. You’re expected to give an agent an immediate sense of where they can sell your book, but even more than that you should be able to know who you’ll be next to on a bookshelf so that you can read your comparison titles accordingly.
Figuring out thriller vs. mystery vs. suspense or paranormal romance vs. urban fantasy vs. supernatural horror can be difficult, I know. In these cases, it’s best to just choose the closest and let a professional decide the best way they can sell it. But the line between literary and commercial isn’t as vague. You shouldn’t claim your book is literary fiction if it isn’t. For one, it’s rare you’ll find an agent who looks for literary fiction and genre fiction with the same fervor, if they take on both at all. You don’t want to get a rejection based on a mislabel. Secondly, literary fiction is quite different than genre fiction, and not learning the difference can reflect a lack of research on your part.
The common argument, however, is that all books are technically literary. Right? Well, yes and no. Saying all books are literary is like saying all Young Adult novels are about characters under 25. The genre labels can be misleading, which is why it’s important to know what they mean.
If you’re unsure about which you’ve written, here’s a quick definition of each:
Literary fiction: The focus is on character arc, themes (often existential), and the use of language. I like to compare literary fiction authors to runway designers. The general public isn’t mean to wear the clothes models display on the runway. They exist to impress the other designers and show the fashion industry what they can do. Literary writing is a lot like that, but on a more accessible level. Many dismiss literary fiction as “too artsy” and “books without a plot,” but this isn’t true. At least not most of the time. The plot is there; it’s just incidental. Literary fiction is meant to make the reader reflect, and the author will almost always prefer a clever turn of phrase over plot development.
Commercial fiction: For the purposes of this blog post, I’ve been using this interchangeably with genre fiction. Basically, all genre fiction is commercial, but not all commercial fiction is genre. There is also “upmarket” commercial fiction, which I’ll get to later. Unlike literary fiction, genre fiction is written with a wide audience in mind (aka “commercial”) and always focuses on plot. There is still character development in genre fiction, but it is not as necessary. Characters get idiosyncratic quirks, clever dialogue, and often learn something new about life or themselves by the end. The difference is that their traits are only skin deep. The reader stays with them in the present. Rarely do we see a character’s past unless there is something pertinent to the plot back there. Genre fiction has a Point A and a Point B, and very little stands in the way of telling that story.
Keep in mind that an agent or editor will rarelyprefer you to play with these formats, especially if you’re a debut author trying to find (and build) your audience. If you’re writing a plot-driven genre novel that adheres to a sci-fi, romance, or thriller structure, don’t try to load it with literary devices and huge character back-stories that aren’t relevant to the plot. It won’t impress an agent if you have a super literary genre novel. It will more likely confuse us and make your book harder to sell.
“Upmarket” fiction is where things get tricky. Books like The Help, Water for Elephants, Eat, Pray, Love, and authors like Nick Hornby, Ann Patchet, and Tom Perrotta are considered “upmarket.” Their concept and use of language appeal to a wider audience, but they have a slightly more sophisticated style than genre fiction and touch on themes and emotions that go deeper than the plot.
With debut authors, I think the main source of uncertainty tends to come from what they set out to write vs. what they actually write. Genre fiction is written with a clear purpose. The author has an idea and writes a story to accomplish their goal. Literary fiction can be more accidental. A writer may start with an idea, and then discover along the way that they don’t want to write about that anymore. They’ve fallen for their character’s personal tale or the images they want to evoke within the reader. If the writing ends up falling somewhere in the middle, then it might be considered “upmarket.” Or, it could mean it needs more focus one way or the other.
What’s important to remember is that none of these types of fiction is better than the other. It’s all about personal preference, based on what you like to read and how you write. If an agent doesn’t represent a certain genre, it doesn’t mean he or she think it’s bad. It just means you’re better off with someone else. Be aware that a genre label can influence an agent, but be honest about what your genre is. It wastes everyone’s time – most importantly, yours – if you try to guess what you think agents want. We want books we can fall in love with that fall under in genres and styles we represent, whether they’re young adult, adult genre fiction, or literary to a Proustian degree. That’s all.
You should drop by and take a look at Sarah’s blog: http://glasscasesblog.blogspot.com/ Sarah has agreed to be a Guest Blogger in the near future on a different subject, but another enjoyable post that will broaden your knowledge.
“Metaphor lives a secret life all around us. We utter about six metaphors a minute. Metaphorical thinking is essential to how we understand ourselves and others, how we communicate and learn, discover and invent.” – James Geary
If you haven’t watched James Geary’s brilliant TED talk about metaphors, you should! Ten minutes might break open everything you think you know about this topic.
The longer I watched this 'duet' the more I liked it. Marc Martel has a great voice, and does a surprisingly good impression of Freddy Mercury (he is the lead singer of Queen Extravaganza, a Queen tribute band - endorsed by the original members of Queen). It's pretty great:
Once while staying as a guest at the estate of Walter Fawkes, J.M.W. Turner was asked to paint a watercolor of a British man-of-war.
His process of painting was extraordinary. According to an eyewitness, "He began by pouring wet paint onto the paper till it was saturated. He tore, he scratched, he scrubbed at it in a kind of frenzy and the whole thing was chaos -- but gradually, and as if by magic the lovely ship, with all its exquisite minutia, came into being, and by luncheon time the drawing was taken down in triumph."