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1. This Jim Woodring animated SPX poster is the trippiest thing you’ll see today

Via the SPX tumblr, a reminder that once San Diego Comic-COn is over it’ll be straight to the fall show line-up including the annual Small Ppess Expo in Bethesda, the annual Camp Comics for the indie inclined. Visionary master Jim Woodring created this animated poster, and a 3D version will be available at the show. […]

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2. Ronald Wimberly on asking artists for sample pages for free

On Tumblr, artist Ronald Wimberly wrote a very cogent post on why artists should get paid to do sample pages: A quick preface: Yesterday a friend of mine told me the story of how she was scouted by DC Comics to participate in their “talent” workshop. My colleague, who worked as a professional for 7 years […]

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3. The Covers That Weren't

original image by Joseph Maclise
In the Weird Fiction Review conversation I had with Eric Schaller, Eric asked me to talk a bit about designing the cover of Blood: Stories, and in my recent WROTE Podcast conversation, I mentioned an alternate version of the cover that starred Ronald Reagan (this was, in fact, the cover that my publisher originally thought we should use, until she couldn't get the image we ended up using out of her mind).

I thought it might be fun to share some of the mock-ups I did that we didn't use — the covers that might have been...

Front

(click on images to see them larger)

1a
1b
1a & 1b. These two are variations on an early design I did, the first one that seemed to work well, after numerous attempts which all turned out to be ghastly (in a bad way). 1b for a while was a top contender for the cover.


2
2. I always liked the idea of this cover ... and always hated the actual look of it.


3
3. I made this one fairly early in the process, using the Robert Cornelius portrait that is supposedly the first photographic portrait of a person ever made. It ended up being my 3rd choice for the final cover. I love the colors and the eeriness of it.


4
4. This never had a chance of being the actual cover, but I love it for the advertisement alone. As far as I can tell, that was a real ad for revolvers.


5
5. The inset picture is one I took in my own front yard. I like this cover quite a bit, but there's too much of a noir feel to it for the book, which isn't very noir.


6
6. Here it is, the Cover That Almost Was. The image is a publicity photo from one of Ronald Reagan's movies.


7a
7b
7c
7a, 7b, 7c. Once I found the Joseph Maclise image, I immediately thought I'd found the perfect illustration for the book. It took a long time and innumerable tries to figure out the final version, but it was worth the effort.


Actual cover

Back

Though the book designer Amy Freels ultimately did the back cover herself, I gave it a stab. As you'll see, we went back and forth on whether to use all of the blurbs or just Chris Barzak's and put the other blurbs on an inside page.

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
1-7. These are a bunch of early attempts. None quite works (some really don't work), and they would have all felt sharply separate from the front cover. We had lots of conversations about #4, though, as the publisher was quite attracted to the simplicity and boldness of it for a while.


8
9
10
11
12
13
14

8-14. I love these, but they're all too complex for the back cover. As images, though, they still appeal to me deeply. I also like that they use the Alejandro Canedo (or Cañedo) painting from Astounding (September 1947) that plays such an important role in the story "Where's the Rest of Me", though I also know we probably would have had to figure out how to get the rights to use it, and that could be a huge headache and a wild goose chase.


Full, final cover

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4. Break Out of Your Shell!

"Mussel Shells"
Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencils
on Canson Pastel Paper
The drawing challenge from my color pencil group this month was to draw seashells. As you can see, I tackled four of them including the inside surfaces. Despite my initial resistance (too hard, too repetitive, not my thing, etc., etc.), I learned a lot from this exercise, much of which can be also be applied to my writing life, starting with practice, practice, practice. 

Thanks to my reluctance to start, I procrastinated like a pro. I answered email, cleaned my house, wrote more poetry; anything to avoid drawing. Finally the day came when I either had to get to work or go to my group empty-handed, aka "being a quitter." Not my favorite option. So with deep misgivings I started in with just one. Hmm. Not so bad. So I tried another. And another. And before I knew it I had drawn all four. Hey, I did it! Which made me realize:
  1. Repetition is valuable. One of the main things holding me back was fear of boredom: how could I draw four similar shells without losing my mind? The truth, however, was very different: first, the shells were NOT similar, and second, by repeating the process several times my technique improved as I got to the last shell. Practice, practice, practice! Whether you want to improve your drawing, write exciting action scenes or learn the intricacies of arranging a pantoum, it takes more than one attempt to get it right.
  2. Don't hide away in your "I can't do it" shell. Rather than setting yourself up for failure by aiming for the most incredible work in the whole of human history, start a dreaded project by drawing or writing in your most basic style: just get some shapes or words down on paper. Once that's done, tweak a little here, add a little there--before you know it your right-brain will be engaged and intrigued with all the possibilities. At this point, I dare you to stop.
  3. Shells make great writing and art journal prompts. The first time I wrote about a seashell in my art journal was an entry about playing with my grandmother's collection of shells from the Gulf of Mexico when I was a little girl. I loved holding those shells to my ear and "listening to the sea." You might have a similar memory, or you might want to write about your first trip to the beach, or your own collection of seaside finds. On the fiction side, including a seashell in a short story, poem, or novel could trigger all sorts of themes, associations, and plot twists--especially if the shell is rare and valuable!
  4. Artwork isn't always about drawing. How about brushing some ink or paint onto a shell and using it as a stamp in your art journal or mixed-media piece? Or pressing a shell into earthen or polymer clay? Drilling a hole into the top of a shell to add to a jewelry piece? Or simply painting and/or collaging the shell itself for a whole new look? 
  5. Using shells for meditation and mindfulness. No matter how small or seemingly insignificant, there's something profound about a seashell. Whether it's the patterning, the colors, or just the fact it once housed and protected some small and distant creature, shells make a good start to pondering life's mysteries. Add them to household altars, your writing room or studio, your garden or any other kind of creative sanctuary you like to visit. Personally I like to keep them all over the house in various nooks and crannies. 
Shells have always fascinated me, but that's no reason to take them literally and hide out inside one of my own. The drawing challenge for July is to draw green leaves. I'm so fired-up by the prospect I'm going to start and base an entire art journal on the subject. No hesitation, no holding back, just going for it. Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme! 

Tip of the Day: One of the things I love about drawing is how it relaxes and pulls me into what I could almost call a different dimension. Memories; new ideas for writing; the book I'm currently reading: my mind seems to just float along with the tide. While I was working on my seashell piece I was reminded of one of my favorite books that I hadn't thought of for a long time: Anne Morrow Lindbergh's Gift from the Sea. If you've never read it, or haven't read it for a long time, I can't think of a better text to check out for summer inspiration. Enjoy!

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5. Aloha

A small friend is turning 6 in two weeks.
She lives across the country,  
and we can't make it to the luau party.
We can't come for cake and balloons and birthday hugs,
but we can send pineapples
and kitties
and fancy toothpicks.
 They're like tiny, paper aloha hugs.
 

So, in shuttling wildebeests to soccer camp lately, 
I have discovered a few good surprises 
in being the carpool soccer mom.

 Books on CD. 
Car-goofy kids.
And sketchbook time
 while all my soccer players 
do their runs and drills.
Big chunks of sketchbook time 
help when working out new ideas.

 It's funny that I can sketch happy around a crowd, 
but I can't write a drop.
My thoughts turn to stone and my stories sink.
 But then, that's kind of a theme for me with words anytime lately.

I know some writers who scribble serious magic 
in coffee shops and airplanes. 

What about you?

When do you do your deep story work?
Can you create masterpieces with everyone there?
Do you thrive with hum and buzz?
Or do you like a hush when you create?

 


Wherever you find yourself this week,
I wish you peaceful breezes, sweet surprises, and
aloha.


Books {and CD books} we're enjoying this week:

Captain Cat by Inga Moore
Dream Friends by You Byun
Ling and Ting Share a Birthday by Grace Lin
Ling and Ting: Together in All Weather by Grace Lin
A Boy and a Jaguar by Alan Rabinowitz, ill. by Catia Chien
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin 
Chasing Secrets by Gennifer Choldenko
The Cat Who Came in Off the Roof by Annie M. G. Schmidt 
 
 







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6. School's out!


Goodnight, pencil jars. 
Goodnight, lunchboxes. 
 School's out!
Hello, sunshine books.
Hello, swing seats. 
Hello, sandy feet. 

Summer is in session!



Summery reads:


 



 Sam and Jump by Jennifer K. Mann
A Beach Tail by Karen Lynna Williams, ill. by Floyd Cooper
Listen to Our World by Bill Martin Jr & Michael Sampson, ill. by Melissa Sweet
Surf's Up by Kwame Alexander, ill. by Daniel Miyares
Ocean Sunlight by Molly Bang & Penny ChisholmIsland: A Story of the Galapagos by Jason Chin






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7. Help Out of Step Arts win a small business grant

We’ve covered Out of Steps Arts here a few times before. OOSA is an art collective that offers prints from some talented artists and sells their original art as well. They work with top notch people, and I’ve heard good things about them. Right now they’re competing for a $25,000 small business grant that FedEx […]

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8. New House Banners of “Cursed Child”

As Leaky stated on all of its social media, we will be honoring J.K. Rowling and the cast and crew of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’s wishes to “Keep the Secrets.” We will not be reporting on any content of Cursed Child, but we will share any small details that Pottermore–J.K. Rowling’s website–deems acceptable to share. No spoilers.

Just as the curtains were rising for the first preview of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child earlier this week, Pottermore shared a photo of Rose Weasley standing in the middle of the Great Hall, during what appeared to be a sorting ceremony. Read more of Leaky’s report on that here.

In that photo, the world was presented with a new set of House banners! Pottermore tweeted today, revealing a clearer picture of these banners as concept art.

 

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Every house banner incorporates its mascot into the initial of its house, rather than using what became known as “Harry Potter font.” As expressed before, multiple times, the play is a continuation of the books, not the movies (movie canon differs from book canon). Because of this, it is not surprising the banners differ from the movies, but could potentially fulfill the description of house banners in the books.

 

However, the banners do not seem to support official house colors; unless, differing from both book and movie canon, the house colors are now different. Because book canon and movie canon differ, many fans know that Ravenclaw’s house colors are different in the films than in the books. Ravenclaw’s colors are blue and bronze by book canon, and blue and silver by movie canon. In the movies, the shades of the other house colors don’t stay true to for either. If these new banners are representing house colors, Gryffindor and Slytherin’s colors are the only set of colors that have remained mostly true to both book and movie canon.

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9. 2016 Russ Manning Award nominees are announced and three of them are women

DCBOMBS_01_300-004_HD-mtv-1437594173.jpgThe wave of promising young female cartoonists that we've all been seeing change the face of comics got a bit of an endorsement with the release of this year's nominees for the Russ Manning the Russ Manning Promising Newcomer Award. The Manning Award, as it's commonly know, is presented every year at the San Diego Comic-Con as part of the Eisner Awards to "a comics artist who, early in his or her career, shows a superior knowledge and ability in the art of creating comics." The 2016 nominees are:

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10. Author – Artist Residency Tips

by Joyce Audy Zarins If someone from a school overseas invited you to do an author or artist residency in connection with your picture book what would you do? I said yes even before I knew the particulars. If that would be your reaction, there are a few things you may want to consider to […]

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11. Painting with Primaries

Our local school is building a Natural Playground, and they are holding several fundraisers. I was recently asked to be part of a Really Good Idea for a fundraiser, which I think would make a fun library program! The idea, which was hatched and hosted by the owner of our local craft shop, was this: local artists would each lead a classroom in painting a large 2-foot square painting which would then be auctioned off.
IMG_1399
I was happy to find out that I was chosen to work with the Grade Primary class (here in Nova Scotia that translates to Kindergarten). I went with a big flower for them to paint. I had them in groups of 3 — the painting had seven areas to be painted, and I had each group work on a section. I might be biased, but I love our painting the most. I love the colours and the freedom of expression that 4 & 5 year olds are unafraid to exhibit. I really didn’t paint much at all— I gave them tips, and once had to quickly grab a paintbrush from an over-exuberant artist who was about to turn the whole thing into a big smear.

I started in the classroom with a stack of books and talked to them about art in picture books.  I read Viva Frida by Yuyi Morales to them and we talked about the art in that book. Their teacher had been part of some workshops I did earlier in the school year, and she had them looking closely at the art in picture books, so this group of 4-5 year olds were pretty savvy about examining the pictures. We had a lively discussion about the art and how everyone can do art. I was impressed that they were able to determine the medium, and talk a little about shape and colour.

I love to combine literacy with art lessons, and this project – and a Caldecott honour book – allowed me to do that. We also did a really great painting which will help raise money for a playground that will further their learning in the great outdoors. IMG_1401

So— to turn this into a library program, you could buy several large canvases (you can get them for a pretty decent price at dollar stores these days). Draw the outlines on the canvases, and have your program participants paint them in, using acrylic paint (again, a fairly inexpensive investment at dollar stores). These could hang in the children’s area, could be donated for charity fundraisers, or you could auction them as library fundraisers. Add a few books on art and a few art picture books, and you’ve got yourself a fairly simple, low-cost program that kids will remember each time they see those paintings. Host an art show in your library and you’ve got another program that will draw in the families of the kids who did the paintings. Art and literacy. They make good companions.

The post Painting with Primaries appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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12. Research is My Friend by Lauren Castillo

Lauren Castillo, a Caldecott Honor author and illustrator, kicks off this year's Author Spotlight Series with a piece about how important research is to her artistic process.

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13. Research is My Friend by Lauren Castillo

Lauren Castillo, a Caldecott Honor author and illustrator, kicks off this year's Author Spotlight Series with a piece about how important research is to her artistic process.

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14. Ready Set Draw! | Dan Yaccarino Draws ‘Doug Unplugged’

Ready Set Draw - Doug Unplugged Dan Yaccarino Featured Image

Award-winning author and illustrator Dan Yaccarino returns to Ready Set Draw to teach viewers how to draw Doug from Doug Unplugged. Doug is an inquisitive little robot boy who sets off to see the world beyond his home. After drawing Doug it is a good idea to go on a walk to explore your neighborhood.

Dan is joined by KidLit TV team member, Katya Szewczuk who learns to draw Doug too. Katya is an aspiring author and illustrator. You can find Katya’s work, here.

SUPPLIES YOU CAN USE TO DRAW WITH US

Did you, a child, or student draw Doug using this video? Share your images with us via FacebookInstagram, or Twitter! Use the hashtag #KidLitTV on Instagram and Twitter too. We can’t wait to see what you’ve drawn!

Watch Dan’s episode of StoryMakers to learn more about his books.
KidLit TV | StoryMakers with S. Dan Yaccarino Featured Image
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ABOUT ‘DOUG UNPLUGGED’
Doug Unplugged

Doug Unplugged
Written and illustrated by Dan Yaccarino
Published by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers

Doug is a robot. His parents want him to be smart, so each morning they plug him in and start the information download. After a morning spent learning facts about the city, Doug suspects he could learn even more about the city by going outside and exploring it. And so Doug … unplugs. What follows is an exciting day of adventure and discovery. Doug learns amazing things by doing and seeing and touching and listening and above all, by interacting with a new friend. Dan Yaccarino’s funny story of robot rebellion is a great reminder that sometimes the best way to learn about the world is to go out and be in it.

ABOUT DAN YACCARINO

Children the world over know Dan Yaccarino from his children’s books, Parent’s Choice Award-winning animated TV series Oswald (Nick Jr) and Emmy-winning Willa’s Wild Life (NBC and Qubo) and character designs for The Backyardigans (Nickelodeon), as well as his many illustrated toys, games, and other children’s products. His bold, stylized illustrations add wit and energy to the work of such prestigious authors as Margaret Wise Brown, Jack Prelutsky, Kevin Henkes and Patricia MacLachlan in addition to his own stories.

Dan’s internationally recognized art style has earned him a large following in Japan, exhibits in New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo, and Bologna, and a visit to the White House. Dan’s books have been translated into many languages and have inspired ebooks, children’s musicals and video adaptations. People all over the world enjoy Oswald, Dan’s animated television series about the wonderfully whimsical world of a lovable octopus, which Time magazine chose as one of the top 6 shows to watch on cable. Animation Magazine hails him as “an American original.”

Dan’s work has been recognized with a host of prestigious awards including the Bologna Ragazzi, The New York Time 10 Best Illustrated, ALA Notable and the Parents Choice Award. Over 1.5 million of his books have been sold to date.

Read more, here.

CONNECT WITH DAN YACCARINO
Website | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

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Ready Set Draw!
Executive Producer: Julie Gribble

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15. StoryMakers | Julie Hedlund & Susan Eaddy

STORYMAKERS - Julie Hedlund and Susan Eaddy Featured Image

Author Julie Hedlund and illustrator Susan Eaddy collaborated on My Love for You Is the Sun, a beautiful book that celebrates the many ways we express love for others. In this craft-based episode of StoryMakers, Eaddy teaches Hedlund and host Rocco Staino how to make a relief sculpture based on the illustration style used in the book. The author and illustrator provide examples of additional activities parents, caretakers, and teachers can do with children. Viewers are encouraged to explore color and texture creation.

Julie Hedlund is familiar to many aspiring and established children’s literature authors. She is the founder of 12×12, a year long picture book writing challenge where members write 12 drafts in 12 months. Hedlund celebrated five years of the 12×12 challenge in early 2016.

We’re giving away three (3) prize packs for this episode of StoryMakers. Each prize pack includes a of copy of Julie Hedlund’s picture book, MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN and art supplies to make your own clay art inspired by Susan Eaddy’s work. The giveaway ends at 11:59 PM on May 31, 2016. ENTER NOW!

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ABOUT ‘MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN’


My Love for You Is the Sun
My Love for You Is the Sun - Julie Hedlund
Written by Julie Hedlund, illustrated by Susan Eaddy
Published by Little Bahalia Publishing

My Love for You is the Sun is a love letter from parent to child, written in verse and expressing that timeless and unconditional love through metaphors from the natural world. My love for you is the sun, a tree, the rain, a river but of course, its also about more than familial or parental love, its about the universal, infinite nature of love itself, and as such, will hold crossover appeal for all ages. Edited by best-selling childrens book author Emma Walton-Hamilton, and illustrated with the amazing clay art of Susan Eaddy, this melodious tour of parent-and-child animals in their various habitats will mesmerize children at bedtime, and help them feel a connection with the loved one sharing it with them. With soothing verses evoking the beauty and wonder of the natural world, combined with stunning, hand-sculpted clay illustrations, this book is one families everywhere will read again and again.

ABOUT JULIE HEDLUND

Inspired by my two children, I began writing picture books. I took a course in children’s book writing and joined the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators in order to learn more. All while continuing my “day” job.

Finally, in the fall of 2009 I attended a regional SCBWI conference in Denver. I was swollen with inspiration, hope and desire to not only write, but to make a career from writing. On the drive home, I had an epiphany — “What if I could feel as inspired, driven and hopeful every day as I do today?”

So I made the decision to leave my job – right as the world economy collapsed. Everyone, myself included, thought I was crazy, but I no longer felt like I had a choice. I knew I needed to give a writing career a shot, and that I needed to start immediately.

I began writing my blog, signed up for a few social media networks, wrote another picture book manuscript, signed up for an SCBWI national conference in New York and never looked back.

People often ask me why I write for children. I write for children because I want to make their lives better through books.  Yes, books educate children, give them adventures, escape, and entertainment.  But books also give children hope.  And what could be more important and profound than that?

Read more, here.

CONNECT WITH JULIE HEDLUND
Website | Facebook | Twitter

ABOUT SUSAN EADDY

One of the reasons I enjoy clay so much is that I don’t really know how to do it.  Each illustration is a discovery process as I study nature and animals and try to figure out how to bring them to life in clay.

My finished clay critters live in pizza boxes, and I suspect that they play at night while we slumber.

I was an Art Director for fifteen years, and won some international 3D illustration awards and a Grammy nomination. But my passion is, and always has been, illustrating and writing for children.

I am the Regional advisor for the Midsouth SCBWI, and a member of the SCBWI Bologna Team. I love to travel and have done school visits anywhere in the world from Taiwan to Alabama to Hong Kong.

Read more, here.

CONNECT WITH SUSAN EADDY
Website | Twitter

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StoryMakers
Host: Rocco Staino | Executive Producer: Julie Gribble | Producer: Kassia Graham

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16. 3000 chairs


Because... of this poem by Children's Author Nicola Davies, and the #3000chairs project.
It's worth every second it takes to read.

My husband and I had the opportunity to spend time in Kosovo with war survivors - refugees who returned to their homes carrying life-wrenching scars of war, with stories that ached in the hearing, and burned in the telling.

I wish a chair for every child running from war.
I wish refuge.
and hope.
and light.

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17. Room of Love


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18. 100 days of color on paper

100-Day-Project-elle-luna

The 100 Day Project begins today. I’m wary of committing (even in a vague personal challenge kind of way) to any non-work or -family task that lasts a hundred days, but I love following this project on Instagram and found a way I can make it work for myself. As a way to help keep my daily sketchbook practice going strong, my ‘project’ will be to put color down on paper every day for a hundred days. Paint, colored pencil, fountain pen ink, collage…whatever medium I feel like on a given day will count.

To participate in the project, you share your daily efforts on Instagram with the hashtag (#the100dayproject). Now, will I manage to keep up with that part for a hundred days in a row? Not likely. I generally only feel like sharing a tiny fraction of what goes into my sketchbook. But that’s okay. The rules are malleable in voluntary internet challenges, right?

So today is Day 1. This morning I was showing Huck the delights of wet-on-wet watercolors and this little fish turned up of its own accord. At least, I see a fish. My IG friends see a man’s profile.

100 Days of Color: Day 1

Don’t worry about diving into this late, if you’re of a mind to participate. Follow elleluna on Instagram for more info, or visit this post for particulars.

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19. Data Recovery And How I Recovered My Book

How I Lost My Novel And Discovered Free Data Recovery

books and glasses data

 

One of the amazing things that I will always be grateful about in my 10 years of writing experience is free data recovery software that rescued my already complete novel that I almost lost after my computer crashed. I didn’t begin writing from a young age until later when I developed interest for reading novels. The twist, suspense and outcome of most fiction stories I read really fascinated me.

 

Juggling between family life, paying bills and writing my novel were real challenges for me when my writing career was in its budding years. The burning desire to write really pushed me to overcome all odds over the years. I started with publications that paid me quite well to meet my basic needs. I also wrote for several travel magazines. As the passion for writing developed I discovered that I could actually write stories that most people could relate to and put them in novels. My love for novels and life experience keeps my writing passion alive which is a hobby that I favor most. The time I lost one of my complete novels that I had saved in my PC is however fresh in my mind.

 

It was an ordinary morning when I settled in my study with a cup of coffee to begin my day’s work. I started my computer and it just send me a string of error messages. I knew that my computer had crashed and that my hard drive was dead. This was a big frustration because my latest complete novel that I had not published was right in there. I frantically checked for any loose cables but everything seemed fine. I booted my computer into a safe Mode and amazingly gained access to the system. My joy was however short-lived because I couldn’t find even a paragraph of my novel. The thoughts of losing my novel that I had painstakingly written were racing in my mind and I panicked. I had heard about free data recovery tools but I didn’t know any credible source that could help me.

 

My best friend Tim recommended me to use a free data recovery program and directed me on finding one that had once saved him when he had lost his thesis paper before his final examination in college. I navigated through the software’s website at binarybiz  and found out that the software could recover lost files from hard drives, memory cards, mobile phones and other storage media. I checked for an option to get the software and found the downloading option which I quickly used.

 

The first thing I did after downloading the free data software was to specify the file I was looking for to get precise search results and then activated the scanning process. This was through after a few seconds. With the software, I could preview the details of the file that I wanted to recover. I then went ahead and followed the simple instructions on the interface to help me recover the file containing my novel. This was through soon than I had expected. The software did not overwrite data and was very brief and easy to use.

 

I recovered my novel and successfully published it which would have been impossible without the free data recovery software. I have so far attended and hosted numerous book talks. I am currently working on another novel and on my website. I also find time to write for other websites and recommend the data recovery software for users looking for solutions to recover lost files.

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20. Postcards and clever cows


Guess what came in the mail? 
Here's a hint: they rhyme with "host-guards" and "wizness-bards."

Don't they look exciting?

I'm pretty smitten with the packaging from Moo.
I think they know about the little party that happens whenever new cards come.
Happy dance. Confetti.
They even send encouraging little notes that say things like, "you're delightful."

And can you see the cutest little business card box ever?
Even the postcards come in their own box.
Genius.

My husband heard me squealing to the postcard boxes,
"You are so cute! You are so clever! I love you. You are fabulous!"
He thought I was talking to my art.
Nope, just the gorgeous packaging. 
And I do love the way my cards look and feel,
so I suppose I was cheering for me, too.

Well done, Moo.
But maybe I'll keep my crowing in until everyone's asleep.  






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21. How Arts & Crafts Created a Space to Talk and Heal

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Today’s guest blogger is Emily Townsend, an Elementary School Counselor at Lowrie Primary School in Wilsonville, Oregon.

Last year I worked daily with a fourth grade student whose father passed away right before Christmas break. He grieved mostly internally, and became increasingly distant, disengaged, and behind in school.

After feeling like I had tried almost all the tools in my toolbox, I remember setting a velvet poster in front of him – one of the Melissa & Doug Sea Life Reveal posters I purchased from First Book.

I think I was hoping for a calm moment when we could both color and just spend some no-pressure time together being mindful. Although this student had never mentioned any affinity or affection for art, as soon as he picked up the markers to begin filling in the poster he started talking about his father and his feelings for the first time ever at school.

He and I made paper airplanes, learned how to draw jungle animals using the Kids Art Series: How to Draw book I ordered from First Book, and made intricate tangles of doodles while looking at the Draw What! Doodling Book I received in the same order. And he talked. And eventually started feeling better.

The post How Arts & Crafts Created a Space to Talk and Heal appeared first on First Book Blog.

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22. To do: Roz Chast’s chuckle-filled exhibit at the Museum of the CIty of New York

Well this is pretty cool, and has flown mostly under the radar of my usual comics sites: Roz Chast has an exhibit up at the Museum of the City of New York. It runs from April 14th until October 9th, so you have plenty of time to go see it...and you should. Best known for her 2014 award winning 2014 memoir Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, Chast's droll cartoons capture urban foibles of dread, fatalism and UES (upper East Side, to non New Yorkers) neuroses with a levity that barely masks how deep they cut. One of the exhibits mentions that one of her biggest influences was Charles Addams, and it easy to see how Addams' loose penwork and gallery of characters informs her work. She also shifted his emphasis on the lugubrious and horrific to internal anxieties over health, parental guidance, mid-life crises and geographic uncertainty.

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23. Picture Book Roundup - kind, find, and confined

It's been a while since I've done a picture book roundup.  Here are three that struck my fancy:

Kind. This boy is the best!

Have you seen Elephant? 

Written and illustrated by David Barrow.
Gecko Press, 2016

A kind young boy plays hide-and-seek with his elephant friend and takes care to keep the game going, despite the fact that his friend is a very poor hider! Have you seen Elephant? is bright and cheerful and funny, and above all - kind. This is the first book I've seen from Gecko Press and the first by David Barrow. I love it!





Confined? Can the colortamer catch them all?

Swatch: The Girl Who Loved Color

Written and illustrated by Julia Denos
Balzer Bray, 2016

Bright, bold, and expressive, Swatch is a color tamer - trapping and using colors in the most fantastic of ways. A bold and fearless artist, no color had escaped her artistic eye ... no color but one,
"Morning came, and there it was, fast fading and fierce, the King of All Yellows, blooming in the sidewalk crack in spite of the shadows. Swatch was ready .... At last, Yellowest Yellow would be hers."
Or would it?

This is the first book that Julia Denos has written as well as illustrated. I would love this book even if my favorite color were not the hero of the story!


Find. Where is that cat?

Spot, the Cat 

Illustrated by Henry Cole
Little Simon, 2016

A beautifully detailed, wordless book - more than just a seek-and-find, it follows the path of an adventurous cat in the city and the boy who wants to find him. Join the young boy and search the city for Spot, the cat.


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24. Lost in the museum

You go to the museum. Stand in line for half an hour. Pay 20 bucks. And then, you’re there, looking at the exhibited artworks, but you get nothing out of it. You try hard. You read the little annoying labels next to the artworks. Even get the audio-guide. Still nothing. What do you do? Maybe you’re just not into this specific artist. Or maybe you’re not that into paintings in general. Or art.

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25. Two May Residencies

Iceland, 2015 Being invited for an artist or author residency is such an honor. Last May I went to northern Iceland for a week long artist residency to help seventy kids in grades one to ten paint murals. The school was Valsárskóli in Svalbarðsströnd, which is across the fjord from where my son Eric and […]

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