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A few months ago, several designers from Pink Light Design
were asked to design a fabric collection for Robert Kaufman, called Menagerie
. It's now available to view on their website and I was one of the lucky ones to have a pattern chosen for the collection. I did the chickens and they are shown in 3 different colorways. It's always so exciting to see my designs on products! In stores - Dec 2011.
Interview conducted by Yuko Shimizu.
1. You had a interesting start. You were an AD at Miami New Times and (kind of) forced to create your own illustration because of the budget cut and could not hire illustrators? Can you tell us a bit about that?
You know, I’ve told people about that and I do think it was true to some extent, but I think it really had more to do with my own desire to create layouts that were more conceptual than decorative. I really resisted relying on industry default solutions like perfectly aligned text columns and grids. As soon as I stopped assuming that page templates were unbreakable, my layout approach became very illustrative. Headlines and text blocks were treated as objects along with scanned found objects.
I also was doing these layouts in very tight time constraints. I often didn’t have a headline until an hour or two before the pages were due, which makes wanting to create these conceptual spreads even more tricky. I think it was through this process that my work just slowly morphed until one day it felt much more like illustration than layout design.
2. How has your experience as an AD helped and shaped your career as a freelance illustrator?
I worked with an amazing managing editor named Tom Finkel, now the Editor of the River Front Times, who instilled a deep respect for the craft of writing and the responsibility artists have in representing those words in images. As an editorial illustrator its too easy to sit alone in your studio and forget that an entire journalistic process has taken place before you were involved and will continue after your image is finished. When handled sensitively, an image can bring an entire new depth to the connection between the writer and reader. When not, our images have the potential to derail or undermine that relationship. I think that would have been hard to learn and really appreciate had I not been an AD first.
It also has some practical advantages. I’ve heard all those crazy and sometimes irrational comments that AD’s have to field from Editors. When I send in sketches I usually offer a simple one or two line pitch that I think will address issues that I think they may be facing. I also like to suggest headlines if there hasn’t been one written yet. It helps me distill the text down to a concise idea and it lets the eds know where my head is at on the story.
6 Comments on IF Interview with Brian Stauffer, last added: 10/15/2011
I know my title line sounds a bit wonky but it's something I've been thinking about for a while. Ever since Pittacus Lore was outed as James Frey and Jobie Hughes. A writer who I believe is part of the James Frey writing factory. Now about a year ago, there was a big uprising with James Frey getting all the credit and money for the blood work of young aspiring writers. But see James Frey isn't the only James who partakes of this.
James Patterson's young adult novel are not exactly written by him. I believe he outlines the story and then hands it off to another young aspiring author, but yet James Patterson makes the gabillion of dollars and I'm curious as to how much the second-titled author makes off of it.
Now, I'm not a hard hitting journalist so a lot of my information is from hearing other people, reading articles and just my own take of the subject. I know that these books are huge best sellers on the NY Times, USA Today, Boston Globe, LA Times, etc... But are they only best sellers because of the name of the author? (authors note: I have not read a Patterson or Frey/Lore book).
From what I've read of various reviews and through just people talking on twitter, they seem to be formulaic, dry and sometimes a bit derivative. But yet the big name author makes all the money. Why?
And to you the readers, now knowing that perhaps that big named author maybe hasn't had as big a hand in writing the book, does that make you reconsider reading future books by those authors?
I think there are writers out there who spill their blood, guts and every other gory matter into getting their books out there for us to read. Who write them late at night while children sleep, or during the day when their children are at school. I know of one writer who would write during his lunch hour! Don't these writers deserve our money? I guess I'm just disenchanted with these co-op book writers and the big-named authors that reap the rewards.
I look back on my portraits of Miss Eva.
Come on, now. Tell me you are smiling, too. I know you are. Could a child be more joyful?
Today I worked very hard with my gimpy arm in this ugly half-cast. Corporate work, mostly. Emails here and there. Lots of things to do, plenty of them. And then, at one point, I stood up. I had just spelled Frankfurt as Frankford and decided enough was enough. I walked the first 80 pages of my adult novel out of this room (the novel that had been 270 pages, before I tossed it entire). Went to another room. Sat on the couch inside gray, rainy shadows.
I did not know if my skinny 80 pages, 19,000 words, would work. I sat for two hours holding my breath.
I am breathing now.
And so my mood improves, and Miss Eva improves it even more, and in precisely an hour from now I'm going to get even happier, because I'll be where A.S. King will be, reading from her brand-new novel, Everybody Sees the Ants.
We have challenged each other to a game of ping pong, Mrs. King and me. Right now, though, the ball is in her court.
Find her there, Chester County Book and Music Company. West Chester. 7 PM.
Welcome to Author Mariah Stewart.
Mariah Stewart is the award-winning New York Times bestselling author of twenty-nine novels of contemporary romance and romantic suspense. A native of Hightstown, New Jersey, she lives with her husband and their dogs amid the rolling hills and Amish farms of southern Chester County, Pennsylvania, where she gardens, reads, and enjoys country life. She is currently working on the next book in her bestselling Chesapeake Diaries series.
Mariah's website: http://www.mariahstewart.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mariah-Stewart/106000742764985Interview:If you were a superhero what would your name be?
Mom. Aren’t all moms superheroes?What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
Yogurt and homemade granola (my husband makes the best!).Night owl, or early bird?
Early bird. Definitely.One food you would never eat?
Anything that can move on its own.Pet Peeves?
Not so many, but one thing that drives me mad: drivers who all but blow you off the road to get in front of you, then slow down to ten mph below the speed limit! Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?
Right now, I’m working on Home for the Summer, book 5 in the Chesapeake Diaries (summer 2012), and a possible short story (e-book only) that will bridge between books 4 and 5 in the series. I’d love for this series to go on for a while longer – can see books 6, 7, and 8 already!What inspired you to want to become a writer?
I’ve always loved good stories and found I love making up my own.Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
There have been so many! The first time I actually held my first book in my hands. The first time I saw my book in a book store. The first letter I received from a reader who told me she LOVED my book! The first time I made a bestseller list…I could go on and on. Every step of the way has been so rewarding!If you could jump in to a book, and live in that world, which would it be?
As long as I didn’t have to stay there forever – I’d like to spend just a little bit of time in the world that George R.R. Martin created for his Song of Fire & Ice series…just long enough to ride a dragon, then come home to tell my husband and kids about it!What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen?
Anne of Green Gables.What's one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
Read. Write. Read and write. Every day.What is your favorite Quote?
I have several – all regarding writing:
Many people hear voices when no one is there. Some of them are called mad, and are shut up in rooms where they stare at the walls all day. Others are called writers, and they do pretty much the same thing.
~ Anonymous ~
I try to leave out the parts that people skip.
~ Elmore Leonard ~
Writing is the hardest work in the world not involving heavy lifting.
~ Pete Hamill ~
I think I did pretty well, considering I started out with nothing but a bunch of blank paper.
~ Steve Martin ~When you were little, what did you want to be when you "grew up"?
Brian Selznick. Wonderstruck. New York: Scholastic, 2011. 608 pages. A former wishlist book, inspired by the Waking Brain Cells review. See also the BookPage review of The Invention of Hugo Cabret, which also describes Selznick’s early career and the inspiration for the novel’s unique style and structure. He had me at the first David Bowie [...]
President Obama would like to promote a new jobs bill. Shepard Fairey‘s posters were a big part of the president’s 2008 campaign so this time around Obama for America is running a contest for best poster design. There are no cash prizes. The designer must surrender all rights to his design to Obama for America.
Many designers are upset about this contest.
So here’s my two cents. I think this contest isn’t good for designers or illustrators. You may say, ‘So what? If you don’t want to enter the contest then don’t.’ The problem is that the perceived value of a designer’s time & skill is diminished whenever any one of us participates in a contest like this one. The administrators figure that these contestants place so little value on their time & skill that they’ll be willing to work for free and then let someone else profit from their work.
An artist will spend his entire career negotiating for bigger fees with each new project. When we say it’s okay to devalue an artist’s time and talent to zero it becomes really difficult to convince the next client that those commodities are worth anything at all. It’s easy to see why a plumber or mechanic charges what he does. Because art is subjective it’s often not so easy to see how we arrive at our fees.
This is just my opinion. You may want to read the guidelines for art competitions the Graphic Artists’ Guild came up with.
Doodling this I kept thinking, "Why would an octopus carry a plaid suitcase?" to which my right hemisphere responded, "Why wouldn't
an octopus carry a plaid suitcase?"
Photo taken by O. Senne
The hollyhocks in my front garden were growing too tall, so I cut some and stuffed them in a vase. Lovely, isn't it?
The day's routine went well. Did a lot of creative writing this morning (on my UNNAMED WIP), proofed a client document and sent it through, reviewed 3 chapters of a client manuscript. I'll probably finish that job tomorrow.
Two other clients sent work
This question comes Shelby @ Lost in A Book
How do you get the blog button URL when using Picasa photo editing?
Honestly I'm the wrong person to ask! I am not that familiar with Picasa. My skills when it comes to photo editing are basically non-existent. Lori Lawson from Imagination Designs
did the graphics for my blog. I have a really cool snipping tool that allows me to easily crop any image on any site and save it as a new picture. Other than that I can't do much when it comes to graphics.
I can't find anywhere on Picasa to grab a URL so I don't use it.
When I need to create a button or graphic I just upload an image to photobucket.com and edit there. Photobucket is easy to use and simple. The image is hosted on their website and I grab the URL code off that site.
All of the above probably makes little sense to anyone but me so please check out these links for a better tutorial on how to make a button. They really are very simple and a great addition to your blog.
Make Your Own Button for Blogger: Oikology 101
Blog Button With Text Code: A Heart for Home
How to Make a Blog Button: Amy Lynn Andrews
How to Create a Blog Button: Savvy Blogging
Do you have a question for me? Send me an email toobusyreading(at)gmail(dot)com or fill out the form below.
By: Ellis Nadler
Blog: Ellis Nadler's Sketchbook
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I've got a bee in my bonnet about birds on the brain.Pen and ink with watercolour 25cm x 34cm. Click to enlarge.
Don't be afraid. Sona Babajanyan's artwork won't hurt you. This talented artist only wants to send chills down your spine.
Nautical contraption fashioned out of newspaper
I'm working on improving my painting skills. I'm not abandoning my color pencils, but I am painting more of the backgrounds and assembling things in Photoshop. I re-discovered a couple of books I already owned (thank goodness) that have been a great inspiration. The above is The adventures of the Dish and the Spoon
by Mini Grey (sorry, she doesn't have a website-gasp). I just love everything about this book: the layout, the art, the colors!
It has a bit of a graphic novel layout as you can see here.
written by Kate Banks is another great book. The story is about a boy who wants to collect something and decides it'll be words. This book inspired my son to collect words in a box and 'write' stories with them.
I just love how Boris Kulikov
illustrated the words, stories, and collections. So clever!
By: Storied Cities,
Blog: Storied Cities
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Since last week's selections all contained an immigration theme, I thought I would just continue in the same vein through the month. I had planned to review a series of immigration book around the Fourth of July, but never got to it. Now is as good a time as ever, right? After all, in October we celebrate a man who many people consider to be the first modern European immigrant.
Today's selection, coincidentally, is about another Jewish immigrant. His homeland is never specified, but the title character in Heidi Smith Hyde's Feivel's Flying Horses is a wood carver specializing in fearsome lions and ornate desks for synagogues. When he immigrates to New York, leaving his family behind, he finds work in the Lower East Side making more mundane tables and chairs. One day he finds a job making carousel horses in Coney Island. He earns enough money to send for his family. When the elaborate and beautiful carousel is finally complete, they family is able to ride it together.
I found this to be a lovely, touching story which celebrates many things: the artistic influence immigrants have our culture, the struggles and joys they faced when they came to America, the difficulty of leaving loved ones behind, the potential rewards of hard work (not just monetary) and, of course, the pleasure of a simple carousel ride. Johanna van der Sterre's illustrations are pleasantly nostalgic but not sappy, and she gives us a fun view of old Coney Island (be sure to find the sliders). An author's note gives further historical information.
I think you'll like it.
Read another review at Feathered Quill or Amusing the Zillion.
Read about another Coney Island tradition in Mermaids on Parade.
I have not read it yet, but there is another Carousel/Coney Island/Jewish Immigrant picture book: The Rose Horse.
Big Kid says: I've never ridden a carousel at Coney Island. But we did at Prospect Park.
Little Kid says. Those are horses!
Thousand Lights and Fireflies
Alvin Tresselt ~ John Moodie~ Parents' Magazine Press, 1965
Online late tonight. The day simply escaped me. To set a calm, relaxing mood into the evening, I'll share some images and thoughts to help close the day.
In the city everything is squeezed together. The buildings are so close they have to stretch up into the sky to find enough room. The streets are full of cars, and the sidewalks are full of people -- hurrying, scurrying - going all the time.
The country is stretched out for miles and miles, rolling over hills and valleys and broad flat farms. The houses sit apart so that they can look at one another. The wind goes where it wants to, and birds fly in all the open space.
But, city or country, children are the same. They all like to play.
Well said Mr. Tresselt, old friend.
The Land of Lost Buttons
White Snow Bright Snow
Bonnie Bess the Weathervane Horse
Read along on Facebook, tumblr, Twitter and Etsy!
The Inquisitor's Apprentice, by Chris Moriarty (Harcourt Children's Books, 2011, upper middle grade)
In an alternate late 19th-century New York, the tenements are packed with magic-using immigrants, each ethnic group with its own flavour of spellworking. 13 year old Sacha has grown up in a Jewish neighborhood taking the local magic for granted--like Mrs. Lassky's bakery, where customers can by a mother-in-latke ("you pick the perfect son-in-law, we do the rest!") or "deliciously efficacious knishes....guaranteed to get any girl married within the year."
But in Sacha's New York, practicing magic is against the law--the wealthy few make no profit from what they can't control. And so the NYPD includes Inquisitors--policemen whose job it is to solve magical crimes. When Sacha reveals that he can see it when people work magic, Inspector Wolf takes him on as an apprentice Inquisitor.
Now Sacha and fellow apprentice Lily Astral (of the fabulously wealthy Astral family), are following Wolf through the city as he tries to solve what could be his most important case yet. Someone is trying to kill Thomas Edison....and there are even darker machinations at work, as capitalism and magic clash!
I utterly loved Moriarty's magical New York, the best magical New York I've ever read. I loved the details of how each ethnic group has its own brand of magic, I loved the fun Moriarty had with his rich families (John Pierpont Morgan becomes J.P. Morgaunt, owner of the Pentagle Shirtwaist Factory), and Andrew Carbuncle write a best-selling memoir, Wealth Without Magic. And I loved seeing Teddy Roosevelt, Thomas Edison, and Harry Houdini in this strange setting!
I adored Inspector Wolf. He reminded me a bit of Lord Peter Whimsey, crossed with Howl, with a dash of Eugenides, mainly because he is very, very good at not revealling all that is going on inside his brilliant mind. Although, looking back at his description, none of them (especially Lord Peter) would be as sloppy:
".... he seemed to go to great lengths to be as unglamorous and unmagical as possible. His long, lanky legs were encased in baggy trousers that had never seen the inside of a tailor's shop, let alone a fitting spell. His jacket hung off his bony shoulder like a scarecrow's sack. His hair looked like it hadn't been brushed for weeks. His spectacles were covered with smudges and fingerprints. And his dishwater-gray eyes wore a sleepy, absentminded look that seemed to say Wolf was still waiting for the day to bring him something worth waking up for.
As far as Sacha could tell, the only remotely interesting thing about Maximillian Wolf was the extraordinary collection of food stains on his tie."
I also enjoyed the unlikely friendship that grew (slowly, and with difficulty) between Sacha and Lily. Part of the difficulty comes from the vast difference in their social status, and this is just one of many ways in which Moriarty brings themes of religion, class, immigration, and prejudice into his story telling. These issues simultaneously drive the plot and give depth to the characters and their actions. With its subtext of social justice and its New York setting, this would make a great book for the fan of mg sff to read while Occupying Wall Street. (In fact, I just learned, after typing that, that
It's that spooky time of year again, boys and girls. And what better way to celebrate than with a Halloween-themed picture book!
My son and I enjoyed Alethea Kontis & Bob Kolar's second collaboration. There are layers of fun (monsters, costumes, silliness) mixed with subtle education (letters, vocabulary, and my favorites - irony and sarcasm!).
I've been following Bob's work for years and really appreciate the attention to mood here. His style wouldn't normally strike me as the right match for 'spooky', but that's a sign of his talent - something I think f often when pondering dream (or nightmare!) assignments. Oh, and for the young fans, there's a great website for the book, loaded with games.
I know, it doesn't look like much right now.
They never do at this stage though, do they?
I'm back to my Polychromos for this. And this is two very light layers so far.
And no, I'm purposely not telling you what it is. Yet.
I'm doing a "like my Facebook page and leave a comment" thing over on my FB page. http://www.facebook.com/PaulaPertileArt
I will draw a name out of a hat of those people who leave a comment, and he or she will win a print of this when its finished.
This is small - about 6" square. And edible. And seasonal.
Here's an update. Forty five colors later in about 1 square inch ...
By: Evil Editor,
Blog: Evil Editor
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Our guest blogger is Hannah Rogers, literary agent. Her website is here.
Hi! I'm Hannah. It's a thrill to talk to the famous "evil minions." I wish I had minions, although I wouldn't call them that. Maybe Hannah's Flunkies. I'd prefer something that rhymes, but all I can think of is Hannah's Bananas.
Anyway, I'm known as the first agent to accept manuscript submissions of only the first sentence. It's a big time saver. Not only does it save me reading time and you writing time, but I'm able to respond within hours, sometimes minutes. Depends on whether I'm at my computer when your sentence comes in or out to lunch with my unpaid intern, Chelsea.
I have a theory about writing. My theory is this: If you can come up with a fantastic first sentence, the book will practically write itself. That means your manuscript doesn't need to be complete to submit to me. In fact, all you need is one sentence.
Why write a whole book, only to have agents read the first sentence and reject it? I say there's a better way. Write the first sentence, submit it to me, and if I give you the go-ahead, write the book. If I don't, you've saved months of futile work.
Being a twenty-first-century agent, I'm into digital everything, including responding to submissions on my Twitter account. I post your sentence and tweet my reaction to it. Tweet tweet! What this means is that if your first sentence is more than 140 characters (For instance: The package that came in the mail contained the diary of a man I'd never heard of, but what intrigued me even more was the two missing pages.), it won't fit, and if it's much more than 100 characters, there may not be room for me to say something like, I love that sentence; please send me the complete manuscript now or whenever you finish the book. See, that was 97 characters. So Hemingway those first sentences, don't Tolstoy them.
You may be thinking, I'm not a twitterer, so how will I see your response? You can go to my website, where my most recent tweets are on the front page. Or you can become a twitterer (tweep), which requires only a fake name and an email address. Then you can .
You may also be thinking, Since when are Hemingway and Tolstoy verbs? That was my way of saying, If you make Hemingway and Tolstoy verbs on page 1 of your manuscript, most agents will reject you immediately, but not me, because I've done it myself.
You can submit your sentence by going to Submissions on my web site or even as a comment to this post. I challenge every Evil Minion to send me one fantastic first sentence today. Who knows? I may be tweeting you a book contract tomorrow.
Due to a tiny snafu, the National Book Award committee nominated 6 books for the Young People's Literature category instead of 5.
Hey, more to read and love, right? And I would have been heartbroken if Chime (my review) hadn't made the list. Ooh, and both Inside Out and Back Again (my review) and Okay for Now (my review) are so good!
Haven't read the others - have you?
Blog: Book Hooked
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This is my first book by Trigiani, even though I think I own almost every single one of her novels. After reading this one, I'm going to need to make reading them a priority. This is more of a biography/memoir of her two Italian grandmothers and the legacy they left her through their lives and the advice they passed down to her. I really enjoyed the differences (and some similarities) between the advice given to Trigiani by her Italian Catholic grandmothers as opposed to what I learned growing up from my Southern Belle grandmothers.Writing
It was typical memoir writing - the point of the book wasn't that the writing was especially lyrical or literary, just that the author conveyed the lives and inspirations of her family, which she accomplished well. I do have to admit that as much as I enjoyed the book, I had a few nit-picky grammar moments, mostly related to subjects and verbs not agreeing. Not something that turned me off from the book, but just something that jumped out at my inner English major.Entertainment Value
I think this would probably make a good bedtime read. It's perfect for picking up and reading chapter by chapter. It's not a story that is unputdownable, but it's perfect for picking up and reading bit by bit as you have free moments. It's full of great stories about her grandmothers and the issues they dealt with as immigrants and widows, as well as full of fun tidbits of advice they shared. I definitely recommend picking it up and giving it a try.
Knowing a picture is worth a thousand words, I sometimes only send images in my email.
To editors who have
completely lost all their senses rejected a project:
To people I am reminding (again!) about something past due:
My auto-responder when I'm "working from home"
Today, it was this particular image. Can you guess what I heard about that prompted this reply?
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THE WINNER OF THE WITCHFINDER TRILOGY IS...
BETH KEMPCONGRATULATIONS BETH! - please could you contact me via the blog email with your postal address and I'll get the books sent out to you asap. If you go to the header bar and CONTACT ME it will link you straight to the blog email.
AND A BIG THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO ENTERED,
I REALLY WISH I COULD HAVE GIVEN YOU ALL A PRIZE!