What is JacketFlap

  • JacketFlap connects you to the work of more than 200,000 authors, illustrators, publishers and other creators of books for Children and Young Adults. The site is updated daily with information about every book, author, illustrator, and publisher in the children's / young adult book industry. Members include published authors and illustrators, librarians, agents, editors, publicists, booksellers, publishers and fans.
    Join now (it's free).

Sort Blog Posts

Sort Posts by:

  • in
    from   

Suggest a Blog

Enter a Blog's Feed URL below and click Submit:

Most Commented Posts

In the past 7 days

Recent Posts

(tagged with 'authors and illustrators')

Recent Comments

JacketFlap Sponsors

Spread the word about books.
Put this Widget on your blog!
  • Powered by JacketFlap.com

Are you a book Publisher?
Learn about Widgets now!

Advertise on JacketFlap

MyJacketFlap Blogs

  • Login or Register for free to create your own customized page of blog posts from your favorite blogs. You can also add blogs by clicking the "Add to MyJacketFlap" links next to the blog name in each post.

Blog Posts by Tag

In the past 7 days

Blog Posts by Date

Click days in this calendar to see posts by day or month
new posts in all blogs
Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: authors and illustrators, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 449
1. Happy Chanukah!

amaliaChanukah
Amalia Hoffman sent this in to help us celebrate Chanukah. Amalia was featured on Illustrator Saturday: http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2010/09/18/illustrator-saturday-amalia-hoffman/

Bluebird-&-Dreidel--©-M-Kogan-12-14-2014

Michelle Kogan not only sent in the illustration above, but also the poem below to celebrate Hanukkah.

Hustle of Hanukkah
Michelle Kogan © 2014

Hustle of Hanukkah
somehow squeezing it in
In between holidays
falling often mid week

In between school and work
and numerous car trips
In between tradition
and finding your own way

In between Maccabees
the temples destruction
In between stolen oil
a miracle appears

In between night’s darkness
inner warmth radiates
In between lights glowing
throughout cold winter days

In between your mom’s arms
and between dad’s embrace
Making Hanukkah fit
in between for eight days

The poem below was sent in by Marie Wagner. Marie is an Artist, Author, Publisher, and Web designer. http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/marie-wagner.html?tab=artworkgalleries

ChanukahHankkah

Thank you Amalia, Michelle, and Marie for sharing your work with us.

Hope all my Jewish friends around the world have a wonderful holiday!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: authors and illustrators, Holiday, illustrating, Illustrator's Saturday, inspiration, Poems Tagged: Amalia Hoffman, Chanukah, Marie Wagner, Michelle Kogan

2 Comments on Happy Chanukah!, last added: 12/16/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
2. Scarletta Press Submissions

ScarlettaLogo380SCARLETTA PRESS accept submissions ONLY during their reading period (September 1 to June 1).

SUBMISSIONS ARE CURRENTLY OPEN.

They use Submittable.

While they seek to publish new voices missing from the literary world, they also want to make sure your manuscript will fit their genre community. The books they choose to publish are intellectually stimulating, adding relevant knowledge to readers’ minds. Their Junior Readers and Kids imprints focus on literature and picture books with educational twists, exciting illustrations, and engaging plots.

Genres they focus on include:

  • Children’s Fiction
  • Middle-grade Fiction
  • Educational Fiction/Nonfiction
  • Picture Books

They do not publish plays, screenplays, short story collections, or poetry.

With your cover letter, please submit a synopsis of your book and one or two chapters, no more than 30 pages. They accept both agented and unagented manuscripts.

Illustrators: Don’t forget that picture book publishers need you, too.

You may submit electronic submissions through Submittable. If you are including images–no more than one total file–please make sure to save and upload them in a .pdf format.

You may send your hard copy submission to:
Editor
Scarletta
1201 Currie Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55403
Please include a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) with any hard copy submissions to receive our response.

Special Instructions from Scarletta Publishers
*Please do not send submissions directly to any of our staff members.
**Note that due to the number of submissions we receive, we do not have the ability to notify authors of having received their submissions. While we understand that you may be anxiously awaiting a response to your submission, we ask that you do not send your manuscript more than once or send multiple inquiries about your submission’s status.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Artist opportunity, authors and illustrators, chapter books, Middle Grade Novels, need to know, opportunity, picture books, Places to Submit, publishers, submissions Tagged: Scarletta Press

3 Comments on Scarletta Press Submissions, last added: 12/15/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
3. Free Fall Friday – What Does It Take?

joan_charles_holiday

This wonderful holiday inspired illustration was sent in by Joan Charles. She is an illustrator, writer, graphic designer. Her work can be found in gallery exhibitions, magazines, and books. She illustrated the award-winning middle grade adventures Lost in Lexicon and The Ice Castle, written by Pendred Noyce. http://www.joancharles.com

In the last few months I have been asked how someone gets on Writing and Illustrating to show off their work, get an interview, and market a book. Here are the things I consider:

1. Do I know you? Have I met you?

2. Do you follow my blog?

3. Do you leave comments?

4. Do you promote Writing and Illustrating on your website, facebook, or blog?

5. Have you tweeted, reblogged, facebooked or shared information posted on Writing and illustrating?

6. Have you ever been featured on Writing and Illustrating?

7. Have you ever written or shared any information on Writing and Illustrating that would help other writers or illustrators?

8. If you haven’t done any of the above, do you have something to share that the readers who be interested in hearing about?

9. Have you published a book? Is there anything interested in how it got published or something you did that would interest readers?

10. Are you willing to do a book give-a-way?

I can’t know everyone by meeting them in person, but I can get to know you by leaving a comments or following my blog. I have many friends that I hope to meet someday. If you are writing or illustrating a book, you should be looking for people like me who have a large amount of followers and start working to make a connection.

I’m happy for everyone who gets something published, wins a contest, gets an agent, or wins an award and will be happy to include you in a Kudos post. But if you fit into the first seven on the list, you are considered family and will always get your successes promoted on Writing and Illustrating.

Tips: You shouldn’t wait until your book is about to come out to start building connections. Start doing that right now. Think about what type of things you could share that would help other writers. Maybe you don’t feel like you have anything to share, but I bet you do if you think about it. Have you attended a workshop or conference? Have you read a book on how to write or illustrate? You may be revising a story and have an epiphany. Did you learn anything useful during a critique? Maybe you run into an agent or editor who shared knowledge that could be shared?  The substance of all these things could be used to write an interesting article. It would be a great way to get your name out there and be noticed.

Just remember when you want to promote yourself, you can’t look like that is all you are interested in doing.

Submissions: Send to Kathy.temean (at) gmail (dot) com. In subject area write, SUBMISSION ARTICLE FOR WRITING AND ILLUSTRATING. Introduce yourself, bio, and send me your article or express you interest in writing an article on…(subject and your idea).

I love when people have a topic they would like to write about that will help other writers and illustrators. If there is not enough meat to the article, I will give you some ideas or suggestions to pump it up. So write something interesting, helpful and start submitting your article to build your list of places and people who will help spread the words when success jumps in your path.

I am sure you have gone to blogs or signed up for newsletters that end up just talking about their book or books. If you haven’t you are lucky. I know I have and it is very disappointing. In fact that tactic could turn someone off and cause them not to buy anything with your name on it. So be careful.

Don’t get buried in only thinking about writing only for your own blog. If you get your article on another blog, you are getting access to a whole new group of people who might end up following your blog. Be smart. Even if you have ten published books, do not turn down someone with a large following saying things like, “I want people to come to my blog, not yours.” This is a statement from someone who doesn’t understand the importance of marketing and someone not savvy enough to see how getting exposure to thousands of new people could be a huge win.

Remember: I am not the only blog with a large following. There are many that could provide opportunities for you.

I am looking to do a Kudos post next week. Any good things happening out there? Let me know.

Call for Christmas Poems or Hanukkah Poems and or illustrations. Will be posting them later this month. Send to Kathy.temean(at)gmail.com Put December Illustration or December Poem in subject area. Thanks!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

 


Filed under: authors and illustrators, inspiration, Marketing a book, need to know, opportunity, Places to sumit Tagged: Call for Illustrations, Call for Poems, Joan Charles, Pendred Noyce, Submitting your article

12 Comments on Free Fall Friday – What Does It Take?, last added: 12/5/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
4. Illustrator Saturday Favorites – Second Half of 2014

Every year I pick my favorite illustrations from the artists featured on Illustrator Saturday. It is not an easy task to decide. I am sure you probably would chose different illustrations. You can click on the link under each picture and give it a try. You might have been busy when an illustrator was featured. This post makes it easy for you to click over and see what you missed. If you were featured on Illustrator Saturday (since it started) please send me a new illustration and tell me what you have been up to since you were featured. It is a nice way to show off your talent. Put “Previous Illustrator Sat. Featured Illustrator” in the subject area.

Here are my favorite from the second half of 2014:

75503

Mehrdokht Amini: http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/09/13/illustrator-saturday-mehrdokht-amini/

Netjets14_final

Craig Cameron: http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/06/28/illustrator-saturday-craig-cameron/

rebeccacinderfloor

Rebecca Caridadhttp://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/08/09/illustrator-saturday-rebecca-caridad/

marcelocircus

Marcelo Elizalde:  http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/06/14/illustrator-saturday-marcelo-elizalde/

14promo1-original

Lisa Fields: https://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/09/27/illustrator-saturday-lisa-fields/

anna10

Anna Guillotte: http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/10/11/illustrator-saturday-anna-guillotte/

davidexoticwoman

David Harrington: http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/10/18/illustrator-saturday-david-harrington/

9781442467446_02_interior_480x480-75

Leeza Hernandez: http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/11/22/illustrator-saturday-leeza-hernandez-3/

14923

David Hill: http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/09/06/illustrator-saturday-david-hill-2/

sharonJune illokathy temean art

Sharon Lane Holm: http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/08/02/illustrator-saturday-sharon-holm/

ines10 woman of cats

Ines Huai:  http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/08/23/illustrator-saturday-ines-huai/  bearsled

Lita Judge: http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/10/04/illustrator-saturday-lita-judge/

colleenriver of wishes9hair lowered a smidge3tdep5_6_14_3NO-WORDS

Colleen Kosinski: http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/07/26/illustrator-saturday-colleen-kosinski/

maryhalloween

Mary Manning: http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/06/21/illustrator-saturday-mary-manning/

3_36_3A

Gregory Manchess: http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/11/29/illustrator-saturday-gregory-manchess/

robbear-sunshine-spring

Rob McClurkin: http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/06/07/illustrator-saturday-rob-mcclurkan/

beaver copy copy Mike Moran:

http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/05/31/illustrator-saturday-mike-moran/

Angela Padron illustrator intesive FINAL

Angela Padron:  http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/07/19/illustrator-saturday-angela-padron/

andrejasleepingonroof

Andreja Peklar: http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/07/12/illustrator-saturday-andreja-peklar/

72851

Maja Sereda: http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/11/15/illustrator-saturday-maja-sereda/

paperhohninterior

David Small: http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/08/16/illustrator-saturday-david-small/

masks850

Connie Steiner: http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/07/05/illustrator-saturday-connie-steiner/

Sarolta_TradizioniPopolariFriulane_Blog

Sarolta Szulyovszky: http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/09/20/illustrator-saturday-sarolta-szulyovszky/

575371_613048448713469_51855414_n

Laura Susan Thomas: http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/11/01/illustrator-saturday-laura-susan-thomas/

46289

Sholto Walker: http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/11/08/35367/

eskimo

Anne Wertheim: http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/10/25/illustrator-saturday-anne-wertheim/

IMG_7604

Annie Wilkinson: http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/08/30/illustrator-saturday-annie-wilkinson-2/

I am looking to do a Kudos post next week. Any good things happening out there? Let me know.

Call for Christmas Poems or Hanukkah Poems and or illustrations. Will be posting them later this month. Send to Kathy.temean(at)gmail.com Put December Illustration or December Poem in subject area. Thanks!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: authors and illustrators, illustrating, Illustrator Sites, Illustrator's Saturday, inspiration, opportunity, submissions Tagged: Illoustrator Saturday Favorites, Which is your favorite?

10 Comments on Illustrator Saturday Favorites – Second Half of 2014, last added: 12/6/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
5. Illustrator Saturday Favorites – Second Half of 2014

Every year I pick my favorite illustrations from the artists featured on Illustrator Saturday. It is not an easy task to decide. I am sure you probably would chose different illustrations. You can click on the link under each picture and give it a try. You might have been busy when an illustrator was featured. This post makes it easy for you to click over and see what you missed. If you were featured on Illustrator Saturday (since it started) please send me a new illustration and tell me what you have been up to since you were featured. It is a nice way to show off your talent. Put “Previous Illustrator Sat. Featured Illustrator” in the subject area.

Here are my favorite from the second half of 2014:

75503

Mehrdokht Amini: https://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/09/13/illustrator-saturday-mehrdokht-amini/

Netjets14_final

Craig Cameron: https://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/06/28/illustrator-saturday-craig-cameron/

rebeccacinderfloor

Rebecca Caridadhttps://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/08/09/illustrator-saturday-rebecca-caridad/

marcelocircus

Marcelo Elizalde:  https://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/06/14/illustrator-saturday-marcelo-elizalde/

14promo1-original

Lisa Fields: https://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/09/27/illustrator-saturday-lisa-fields/

anna10

Anna Guillotte: https://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/10/11/illustrator-saturday-anna-guillotte/

davidexoticwoman

David Harrington: https://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/10/18/illustrator-saturday-david-harrington/

9781442467446_02_interior_480x480-75

Leeza Hernandez: https://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/11/22/illustrator-saturday-leeza-hernandez-3/

14923

David Hill: https://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/09/06/illustrator-saturday-david-hill-2/

sharonJune illokathy temean art

Sharon Lane Holm: https://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/08/02/illustrator-saturday-sharon-holm/

ines10 woman of cats

Ines Huai:  https://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/08/23/illustrator-saturday-ines-huai/  bearsled

Lita Judge: https://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/10/04/illustrator-saturday-lita-judge/

colleenriver of wishes9hair lowered a smidge3tdep5_6_14_3NO-WORDS

Colleen Kosinski: https://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/07/26/illustrator-saturday-colleen-kosinski/

maryhalloween

Mary Manning: https://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/06/21/illustrator-saturday-mary-manning/

3_36_3A

Gregory Manchess: https://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/11/29/illustrator-saturday-gregory-manchess/

robbear-sunshine-spring

Rob McClurkin: https://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/06/07/illustrator-saturday-rob-mcclurkan/

beaver copy copy Mike Moran:

https://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/05/31/illustrator-saturday-mike-moran/

Angela Padron illustrator intesive FINAL

Angela Padron:  https://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/07/19/illustrator-saturday-angela-padron/

andrejasleepingonroof

Andreja Peklar: https://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/07/12/illustrator-saturday-andreja-peklar/

72851

Maja Sereda: https://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/11/15/illustrator-saturday-maja-sereda/

paperhohninterior

David Small: https://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/08/16/illustrator-saturday-david-small/

masks850

Connie Steiner: https://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/07/05/illustrator-saturday-connie-steiner/

Sarolta_TradizioniPopolariFriulane_Blog

Sarolta Szulyovszky: https://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/09/20/illustrator-saturday-sarolta-szulyovszky/

575371_613048448713469_51855414_n

Laura Susan Thomas: https://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/11/01/illustrator-saturday-laura-susan-thomas/

46289

Sholto Walker: https://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/11/08/35367/

eskimo

Anne Wertheim: https://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/10/25/illustrator-saturday-anne-wertheim/

IMG_7604

Annie Wilkinson: https://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/08/30/illustrator-saturday-annie-wilkinson-2/

I am looking to do a Kudos post next week. Any good things happening out there? Let me know.

Call for Christmas Poems or Hanukkah Poems and or illustrations. Will be posting them later this month. Send to Kathy.temean(at)gmail.com Put December Illustration or December Poem in subject area. Thanks!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: authors and illustrators, illustrating, Illustrator Sites, Illustrator's Saturday, inspiration, opportunity, submissions Tagged: Illoustrator Saturday Favorites, Which is your favorite?

0 Comments on Illustrator Saturday Favorites – Second Half of 2014 as of 12/6/2014 4:15:00 PM
Add a Comment
6. Best of First Half of 2014 Illustrator Saturday

Last Saturday I picked my favorite Illustrator Saturday Illustration from each illustrator who had been featured during the second half of this year. Even though I had picked my favorites from the first half on May 24th I still wanted to post the first half and added a new choice for each illustrator so there would be something new.

ELISABETH ALBA

albabattle-angel-final-s

albapiedpiper-b

http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/03/08/illustrator-saturday-elisabeth-alba/

OMAR ARANDA

29

omarbedfall

http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/05/03/illustrator-saturday-omar-aranda/

DENISE CLEMMENSEN

denisefoxes

denisecatintreecropped

http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/05/10/illustrator-saturday-denise-clemmensen/

MIKE CRESSY

cressyBubbles02

cressyWhenTheSunWentDownSML

http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/03/15/illustrator-saturday-mike-cressy/

MICHAEL DOOLING

michaelfossilcoverlast500

michaelfap_looking_glass_LG500

http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/02/22/illustrator-saturday-michael-dooling/

CHRISTOPHER DENISE

christopherabbeysnow

christopherbearcropped

http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/04/12/illustrator-saturday-christopher-denise/

ERIC FREEBERG

ericgoldilocks

ericsnowdog

http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/04/26/illustrator-saturday-eric-freeberg/

MELANIE HOPE-GREENBERG

melaniehgQ14

melanie07

http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/03/22/illustrator-saturday-melanie-hope-greenberg/

MICHELLE HENNINGER

michelleelvis

michellechoir_dvd_cover_paint_crop

http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/01/04/illustrator-saturday-michelle-henninger/

CAROL HEYER

carolliberty

carolblackwingsback

http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/02/01/illustrator-saturday-carol-heyer/

ALISON JAY

alisonfourfrogs

alisonflyingcropped

http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/05/17/illustrator-saturday-alison-jay/

SUZANNE KAUFFMAN

suzanneNight%20Owl_p24

suzannewonder_girl_balloon_facebook500

http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/01/18/illustrator-saturday-suzanne-kauffman/

KAREN LEE

karenleeSlider-Dead-Anyway

karenleeHFC What Is It_ final

http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/02/08/illustrator-saturday-karen-lee/

DANA MARTIN

dana800aladdin

dana800sinbad

http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/04/19/illustrator-saturday-dana-martin/

WENDY MARTIN

wendy05-2TristanIsoldeWendyMartincropped

wendyorch

http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/03/01/illustrator-saturday-wendy-martin/

BOB MCMAHON

bobBrunos Bakery

bobSing Clap Praise

http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/01/25/illustrator-saturday-bob-mcmahon/

ANA OCHOA

anafishing

anaducks

http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/01/11/illustrator-saturday-ana-ochoa/

LYN STONE

lynRumpletump-in-colour

lyncatdogfight

http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/illustrator-saturday-lyn-stone/

JENNIFER THERMES

jenniferflying witch

jenniferwhipingwind

http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/02/15/illustrator-saturday-jennifer-thermes/

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: authors and illustrators, illustrating, Illustrator Sites, Illustrator's Saturday, inspiration, picture books Tagged: Best of Illustrator Saturday first half of 2014

5 Comments on Best of First Half of 2014 Illustrator Saturday, last added: 12/15/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
7. Few Weeks Left For WeNeedDiverseBooks Campaign

WNDB_Infographic_square

You can help make a difference by making a donation.

 

There are lots of things you can receive by contributing to the cause. Example: AGENT critiques and EDITOR critiques from editors at Big 5 publishing houses.

An unforgettable opportunity to have a private dinner in NYC with incredible bestselling & award-winning authors Jacqueline Woodson AND Matt de la Peña

Coming soon – a limited number of discounted registrations for Fans of SCBWI – including a VIP critique at their annual LA conference in 2015! Many thanks to Lin Oliver, Sara Rutenberg and Kim Turrisi for offering this. Can’t wait to see how quickly they go!

Here’s the link to the WNDB campaign: http://igg.me/at/diversebooks Maybe even find something you could give as a holiday gift with your donation.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Agent, authors and illustrators, children writing, Editors, Events, need to know, opportunity, Publishing Industry Tagged: Agent and Editor Critiques, Matt de la Pena, Private Dinner in NYC Jacqueline Woodson, SCBWI Discounted Registrations, We Nee Diverse Books

2 Comments on Few Weeks Left For WeNeedDiverseBooks Campaign, last added: 11/10/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
8. New Agent Looking For Clients at Writers House

alec-shane-literary-agent-220x300Alec Shane has been promoted to agent at Writers House, which is one of the largest literary agencies in the world. It prides itself on providing an extraordinary amount of individual client attention combined with the full service benefits of foreign and sub rights departments, as well as a full accounting and royalty staff.

Alex began his career at Writers House as an intern in September of 2008 and simply refused to leave, so he was given the wonderful job of Assistant to Jodi Reamer. And while he continues to work under Jodi’s careful tutelage, he is now also in the process of actively building his own list and currently represent a fairly eclectic mix of Children’s and Adult fiction and nonfiction. He is eagerly looking for both.

On the fiction side, he loves mysteries, thrillers, bad-ass protagonists with a chip on their shoulders, beautifully told historical fiction (The Vietnam War, the Maccabees, and The American Revolution fascinate him in particular),well-researched adventure stories, and great horror. He says, “I haven’t been scared to turn off the light in far too long and something needs to be done about it.”

In terms of children’s books, getting boys to read again is especially important to him, and thus he’s particularly on the lookout for a fun middle-grade adventure series, ghost story, or anything else geared toward younger male readers.

On the nonfiction side, he’s attracted to odd, quirky histories, biographies of people he didn’t even know existed (but definitely should have), “guy” reads, humor, narrative nonfiction that sheds light on under-the-radar events and lifestyles, and all things sports. He is also currently up in the air as to whether or not he believes in ghosts, hauntings, and the supernatural, so if you have something that can convince me one way or the other, I’d love to see it.

Alex majored in English at Brown University, a degree he put to immediate use by moving to Los Angeles after graduation to become a professional stunt man. Realizing that he prefers books to breakaway glass, he moved to New York City in 2008 to pursue a career in publishing. Alec quickly found a home at Writers House Literary Agency, where he worked under Jodi Reamer and Amy Berkower on a large number of YA and Adult titles.

Twitter handle: @alecdshane.

He is looking for: Alec is now aggressively building his own list. “What I’m looking for in fiction: mystery, thriller, suspense, horror, historical fiction, literary fiction, and books geared toward young male readers (both YA and MG).

What he’s not looking for: Romance (paranormal or otherwise), straight sci-fi, high fantasy, picture books, self-help, women’s fiction, food, travel memoir.”

PROJECTS/SALES/BOOKS:

SHARK WARS, EJ Altbacker
THE BOOK OF BLOOD, HP Newquist
MONKEY TOWN, Ronald Kidd
HOW THE STATES GOT THEIR SHAPES, Mark Stein
SHARK WARS 6: THE LAST EMPREX, EJ Altbacker (Razorbill)
YOU MIGHT REMEMBER ME: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF PHIL HARTMAN, Mike Thomas (St. Martins)
SEEING AMERICA, Nancy Crocker (Medallion Press)

Submission guidelines: He accepts e-mail and snail-mail queries (although email is preferable), and will usually respond within 4-5 weeks. Please send the first 10 pages of your manuscript, along with your query letter, to ashane [at] writershouse.com with “Query for Alec Shane: TITLE” as your subject heading – no attachments please! If sending via regular mail, please include a SASE with proper postage.

Writers House
21 West 26th Street
New York, NY 10010
phone 212-685-2400

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

 


Filed under: Agent, authors and illustrators, Editor & Agent Info, Middle Grade Novels, opportunity, Places to sumit, Publishers and Agencies, Young Adult Novel Tagged: Agent Looking for Clients, Alex Shane, Fiction and Non-fiction

1 Comments on New Agent Looking For Clients at Writers House, last added: 11/12/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
9. Illustrator Saturday – Maja Sereda

majaMaja Sereda has illustrated number of picture books published in English, Afrikaans and other African languages. She has received 3 ATKV awards for best illustration (category ages 3–6) in 2008, 2009, 2011. And her book A kite’s flight written by W. Gumede won the Crystal Kite member’s choice award for the Africa region, 2011. Her latest book La Grande Fleur, written by Yves Pinguilly, was published in France (2013).

Maja tackles each project with great passion and enthusiasm, which she best communicates through her fun and quirky illustrations. Maja works in soft pastels as well as digital media. She loves drawing all creatures great and small, including little children!

Here is Maja explaining her process:

maja sereda wild strawberry mouse step 01

I create a sketch for my illustration using a colour pencil on 60gsm paper.
maja sereda wild strawberry mouse step 02

The sketch is scanned and rough colour dropped in.

maja sereda wild strawberry mouse step 03

I trace image onto final pastel paper and start pasteling.

maja sereda wild strawberry mouse step 04

I always work from left to right or from the center outwards in order not to smudge the pastel. It is a very delicate medium.

maja sereda wild strawberry mouse step 05

To create details I use pastel pencils, whereas for the fine outlines I once again bring in a colour pencil. Most often a brown.

maja sereda wild strawberry mouse step 06

Background is drawn last.

maja sereda wild strawberry mouse step 07

Final Illustration

maja sereda wild strawberry mouse step 08

Below: Snow Games written by Joanna Marple (www.utales.com) 2012

safe_image2

LA GRANDE FLEUR COVER

la grande fleur cover

La Grande Fleur was published in France by Oscar Editeur in 2013.

1376603_636489579706948_734902912_n

The book was part of the French/South African season.

maja sereda grande fleur 3 2013 590px

La Grande Fleur interior art.

79179

How long have you been illustrating?

I’ve been illustrating books since 2007.

579971_422883501067558_2100459035_n

What made your family move from Poland to South Africa when you were young?

My dad received a work contract and decided to take it. It was supposed to be a temporary move, but I fell in love with South Africa and persuaded my family to stay.

706076_491963414159566_1922324861_o

Have you ever gone back to Poland?

I like to visit from time to time. I still have family and primary school friends living in Poland.

61631

What University did you attend and what did you study?

I studied BA (Information Design) aka graphic design at University of Pretoria.

61626

What was the first painting or illustration that you did where someone paid you for your artwork?

I did a number of illustration jobs while working in the design/advertising industry, such as story boarding or product drawings. I believe the very first paid illustration job was my first book.

72349

What type of job did you do right after you graduated?

I moved to Dublin, Ireland for a year where I worked for a marketing company as a junior art director.

72351

When did you decide you wanted to illustrate for children?

It was in my final year of studies. I realized that I’ve chosen the wrong field. Design was simply not for me. It took me a few years before I could start freelancing and working as a full time illustrator.

314788_258686247487285_4015433_n

How many picture books have you illustrated?

Approximately 17 picture books, however I’m not counting illustration work done for educational books.

72853

Were any of them published by a US Publisher?

Unfortunately not, however I’m hoping it will happen one day soon. I’m always dreaming and wishing.

72353

What was the first picture book that you illustrated? And how did that contract come your way?

My sister put me in touch with a client who wanted to illustrate a story that her father wrote. It was small private project. Out of that book, an illustration of mine title ‘catching rabbits’ was born, which I sent to a local South African publisher. They replied immediately and asked me to pitch for a book. I had my first real book contract within in a week. I was over the moon.

72852

How do you connect with art directors and editors and find illustration work?

So far I’ve been very lucky. Work finds me. Nevertheless, from time to time I do like to contact a publisher via email and send them my updated portfolio.

739769_504452166244024_1194203407_o

Are you represented by artist agency? If so, who? If not would you like to find one?

I’m not represented by anyone at the moment and I am currently looking for US representation. In South Africa, the market is very small and a freelance illustrator can easily approach publishers directly.

72354

It looks like you have illustrated books in many different languages. How do publishers help you work with a book that is written in another language?

Even though my Afrikaans isn’t very good, I do understand it and therefore am able to read a manuscript without translation. Many of the other African languages are sent to me with the English translation. I’m currently studying French. One of my latest books LA GRANDE FLEUR written by Yves Pinguilly, was also translated for me into English.

72854

Have you done any illustrating for children’s magazines?

I do regular work for a local magazine Hoezit! It is also an Afrikaans publication.

73994

Have you done any work for educational publishers?

I work for educational publishers on a regular basis. This work however doesn’t inspire me and therefore doesn’t feature in my portfolio. I prefer to work on picture books for young children.

312453_258685500820693_5953662_n

What is your favorite medium to use to do your illustrations?

At the moment, it’s soft pastels. I simply love the medium – the intensity and variety of colour is incredible. Most of my recent work has been done in pastels. In the past, I’ve worked with gouache, acrylic, ink, oil and Photoshop.

385421_297788616910381_1477267847_n

Has that changed over time?

I have grown a lot as an illustrator, I don’t think one ever stops growing and learning. When I started illustrating my focus was simply on creating sweet, quirky illustrations, but now I’m leaning more and more towards fantasy and also more personal work.

302143_258686600820583_4479956_n

What do you consider is your first big success?

My first book received an award for best illustration, it definitely inspired me to keep going.

421654_359595220729720_1334403947_n

Do you ever want to write and illustrate a picture book?

Yes, mostly definitely. I write and sketch ideas often – my big aim is to set aside some time and only focus on doing my own book. Perhaps this coming year! Recent trip to Reunion Island was very inspiring and I would like to use some of the incredible imagery in my book.

safe_image

Would you be open to working with an author who wants to self-publish a picture book?

Yes, and I have in the past although these projects are often tricky. There is the issue of budget, quality of the writing, etc.

1478931_670516119637627_132430521_n

84083

Do you take pictures or do any types of research before you start a project?

I take photographs, I search the web, look through books. Research is vital for any project.

476712_373393652683210_1057780199_o

Do you think your Polish roots or the South African culture is reflected in your art?

Little bit of both, however I do feel a stronger connection with my polish roots.

84113482

n

537694_408335669189008_739078367_n

What is the one thing in your studio that you could not live without?

I have so many things, it’s difficult to choose! Pastels of course, but also colouring pencils. I find them fantastic to sketch with, much better than the graphite pencil.

298978_258686347487275_1887358_n

Do you try to spend a specific amount of time working on your craft?

As much as I can, but I don’t have a specific number of hours in mind. I also believe it’s good to take breaks from drawing and creating. I love spending time behind the camera lens as well, especially photographing birds and insects.

293248_258685590820684_5386999_n

Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

Absolutely. Hasn’t it for everyone? It is incredible how we are all connected, we share our work and meet fantastic people online.

63165_474021379287103_1728579723_n

Do you use Photoshop or Corel Painter with your illustrations?

I use Photoshop for my digital artwork. I also use to help me plan layouts.

72350

Do you own or have you used a Graphic Drawing Tablet in your illustrating?

Yes, I use a Wacom tablet.

75080

Do you have any career dreams that you want to fulfill?

I have many dreams, it’s hard to summarize them all here. Ideally I want to have the freedom to write and illustrate my own books. Also create a product line using my art.

298838_258686484153928_2593260_n

What are you working on now?

I have one or two potential books to create. I’m still deciding which one to take on.

1380003_638003522888887_291839198_n

Do you have any material type tips you can share with us? Example: Paint or paper that you love – the best place to buy – a new product that you’ve tried – A how to tip, etc.

I love using 60gsm layout paper for sketching because it’s slightly transparent. I can always overlay my sketches and work over them.

388895_313254195363823_1820622979_n

Any words of wisdom on how to become a successful writer or illustrator?

Work hard, believe in your dream, make sure that the work you produce is of high quality and then be brave. Not everyone is going to be a fan of your work, but sometimes you simply have to look for the right audience.

316358_258685547487355_978813_n

Thank you Maja for sharing your journey and process with us. Please let us know all your future successes. We’d love to hear about them and cheer you on. You can see more of Maja’s work on www.childrensillustrators.com/majasereda and see more of  her portfolio on:  http://www.facebook.com/MajaSeredaIllustration

If you have a moment I am sure Maja would like to read your comments. I enjoy reading them, too, even if I don’t always have time to reply. Thanks!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: authors and illustrators, illustrating, Illustrator's Saturday, inspiration, Interview, picture books, Process Tagged: Illustrator Journey, Maja Sereda, University of Pretoria

6 Comments on Illustrator Saturday – Maja Sereda, last added: 11/16/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
10. Highlights Fiction Contest

Highlights Fiction Contest

header_highlights-corp_logo-transparent

HIGHLIGHTS 2015 FICTION CONTEST GUIDELINES

CATEGORY:

Mystery stories

PRIZES:

Three prizes of $1,000 or tuition for any Highlights Foundation Founders Workshop. (For a complete list of workshops, visit http://www.highlightsfoundation.org)

ENTRY DATES:

All entries must be postmarked between January 1 and January 31, 2015.

RULES:

No entry form or fee is required.

Entrants must be at least 16 years old at the time of submission.

We welcome work from both published and unpublished authors. All submissions must be previously unpublished and not found online.

Stories may be any length up to 750 words. Indicate the word count in the upper right-hand corner of the first page of your manuscript.

No crime, violence, or derogatory humor.

Entries not accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope will not be returned.

Manuscripts or envelopes should be clearly marked FICTION CONTEST. Those not marked in this way will be considered as regular submissions to Highlights.

SEND ENTRIES TO: 

FICTION CONTEST
Highlights for Children
803 Church Street
Honesdale, PA 18431

WINNERS:

The three winning entries will be purchased by Highlights and announced on Highlights.com in June 2015. All other entries will be considered for purchase by Highlights. For details about our purchase policies, please see our contributor guidelines: https://www.highlights.com/contributor-guidelines

Highlights for Children Fiction Contest Winners for 2014:

“Harold’s Hat” by Mike Allegra
“Easter with Baba Lena” by Vila Gingerich
“Heart Surprises” by Clare Mishica

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: authors and illustrators, children writing, Contest, opportunity, Places to sumit, publishers, writing Tagged: 2014 Highlights Fiction Contest Winners, Highlights Fiction Contest

6 Comments on Highlights Fiction Contest, last added: 11/18/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
11. Illustrator Saturday – Leeza Hernandez

leeza_johnlithgow

Leeza Hernandez is an award-winning illustrator and children’s book author, hails from the south of England, but has been living in New Jersey since 1999. In 2004 she switched from newspaper and magazine design to children’s books, and hasn’t looked back. With a few books now under her belt, she’s currently working on three new projects: a follow up to Dog Gone! called Cat Napped; a sequel to Eat Your Math Homework called Eat Your Science Homework, other released this year. In 2013 she illustrated a picture book written by acclaimed actor and author John Lithgow. Follow Leeza on Twitter @leezaworks. She also took over my place as the Regional Advisor for the New Jersey SCBWI chapter and is doing a great job.

Below is Leeza at six years old with her cat Minnie Weasle!

Leezawcat

Here is Leeza explaining her process:

The cover of Never Play Music Right Next to the Zoo took a fair amount of working out—between not giving too much away and showing to little that it looked too vague. The images show a handful of the different covers that were sketched up, then the progression of the final color cover.

Adobe Photoshop PDF

These are the thumbnail sketches for the book layout.

Adobe Photoshop PDF

Because there were so many animals in Never Play Music Right Next to the Zoo, I kept all my research pictures organized in a jumbo ring binder.

binderreference

But, no matter how hard I looked, I just couldn’t find an image of a yak playing a sax so had to use some creative license!

CreativeReference

Below you can see the process of the cover art.

ZooBook_Cvr_Color_final

Below is an up close look at the final cover.

never play music

What caused you to move from the UK to the US?

Work. I took an art director position at a newspaper in the late 90s which was the field I worked in back then.

9781442467446_02_interior_480x480-75

When did you decide you wanted to illustrate for children?

It wasn’t a conscious decision really, but in the early 2000s I discovered Illustration Friday (www.illustrationfriday.com)—a great source of inspiration but also a way to help you create illustrations for yourself based upon a weekly word prompt. Browsing through the site, one link led to another and I eventually landed at SCBWI (www.scbwi.org) and that was that!

Leeza_IF_wisdom400

This image was created for the Illustration Friday prompt “Wisdom” and received an American Illustration selection back in the early 2000s. I added it to my portfolio among a handful of painted images and it was what art directors responded to the most. I was encouraged to create more!

BN-AB341_lithgo_Q_20131019141529

What was the first picture book that you illustrated? And how did that contract come your way?

Eat Your Math Homework was the first trade picture book I was hired to illustrate, which came about after attending a Rutgers One-on-One Plus conference (ruccl.org). I met an editor at the luncheon who took my promo postcard away with her and about six months later the designer reached out to my agent asking if I was available-yay!

BN-AB342_lithgo_Q_20131019141920

How did you connect with John Lithgow to illustrate his book, Never Play Music Right Next to the Zoo ?

I was asked to do some samples (along with some other illustrators) for a book written by a ‘high-profile’ author but I didn’t know who it was until I found out I was picked for the project. It was all very mysterious and exciting!

BN-AB343_lithgo_Q_20131019142150

Have you met John Lithgow?

Yes, he’s lovely. We launched the book together in New York, it was so much fun. He sang his songs. I spared the audience and did not sing!

BN-AB344_lithgo_Q_20131019142409

How long did you have to illustrate Never Play Music Right Next to the Zoo?

This was one of the quickest turnaround books I have worked on and it was 40 pages. From initial sketches, through revisions and to final art was a little less than eight months total.

BN-AB345_lithgo_Q_20131019142620

I see you illustrated a second book with Ann McCallum this year, titled Eat Your Science Homework. Did you sign a two-book deal when you illustrated Eat Your Math Homework in 2011?

No two-book deal. It was simply an organic progression. Ann had an idea and submitted her proposal for the science book and a few months after they acquired the manuscript, Charlesbridge asked if I’d
illustrate it.

81tUZ1l70QL__SL1500_

Will there be a third book with Ann?

Yes! Eat Your U.S. History Homework is due to release in late 2015.

eat your math homework

I am assuming that Cat Napped! published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons came about due to the previous book you wrote and illustrated titled, Dog Gone! Can you tell us the story behind these two books?

Back in 2009 I won the Tomie de Paola portfolio award at the New York SCBWI conference—which was amazing. As a result, I was invited in to the Penguin offices to meet with an editor, publisher and art director and they looked at my work as well as a sample and manuscript for Dog Gone! and they took it. I was beyond thrilled and so, so grateful for the opportunity.

61GAMv+PjcL

During the time I worked on Dog Gone! I had this idea that I wanted to create a cat book in the same vein and I already had the title Cat Napped! noodling around in my head, but it took a while to flesh out the story. I remember having submitted the story along with a couple of other ideas to the editor and right after Dog Gone! released they took it.

A1iVTcr9IqL__SL1500_

Have any of the books you worked on won any awards?

Eat Your Science Homework was awarded a 2014 Junior Library Guild selection—awesomesauce!

eat your mathinterior

Do you have plans to write and illustrate another book?

Hahaha, yes of course! I hope I never stop.

leeza-rabbitscropped

What do you consider your first big success?

Wow, that’s a tough question. I’m not sure I can measure one big success that easily. Having a book published is amazing, but I also consider the ever-evolving process as a series of successful stepping-
stones and I do a little happy dance each time I move to the next one—because they all teach me something about myself and/or my work. Creative folks are such sensitive creatures and it can be
intimidating to put our work out there in front of people, so each time we are brave and face our fears head on, that’s a success. Actually, when I attended a SCBWI conference for the first time, I was so overwhelmed I almost didn’t go back the next day—so I’d say not giving up right off the bat was my first big success!

PencilOnArches

For pencil work, I use 2H, HB, 2B and 5 or 6B pencils on Arches hotpress 140lb paper.

PencilOnArches2What is on the drawing board now?

My schedule has been a little nuts lately so I am taking a rest-of-the-year break and finally getting around to updating my website, which has been somewhat neglected.

eysh-6-7

Do you ever use Corel Painter or Photoshop when illustrating?

I ‘collage’ in Photoshop. I take all the pieces that I create by hand, scan them in, then slice ‘n’ dice them into a final illustration. I think of Photoshop as my digital scissors and glue, but I don’t actually illustrate with Photoshop if that makes sense, like, I’m not drawing or painting digitally using brushes and filters.

herman-and-his-penguins

Do you own a graphic tablet?

No. If you mean a Cintiq or Wacom, that is. I’ve seen them in action though, wow!

hernandez_winter_a72dpi

Is there one thing that you did or happened that you feel really pushed your career to the next level?

I joined SCBWI. So far, this has been an amazing journey of education, connections, opportunities, projects and rewards, but it all started with this incredible organization that continues to play a role—LOVE SCBWI!

Hernandez_Wolf

Do you take pictures or other research before you start a project?

Before and during—yes. Having reference material gives me a much better understanding of what I am drawing than simply imagining. I like to begin by drawing realistically before I think about characterizing for a book because it gives me an accurate sense of anatomy, behavior, body language, etc., even though they’re very loose drawings. There were a number of animals in Never Play Music Right Next to the Zoo that I hadn’t drawn before, so I filled a ring binder with reference just for that project.

lhernandez_wolf

The original pick-up truck for Cat Napped! was a struggle, but after sharing with my editor, we realized it was too square and modern, so I went back and researched vintage trucks from the 40s and 50s. The end result was a bit of a hybrid but its softer, curvier edges suited the tone of the book far better than the angular truck I had originally drawn.

LeezaHernandez_Blog

The internet is a powerful tool—National Geographic (nationalgeographic.com), Nat Geo Kids (kids.nationalgeographic.com), NASA (nasa.gov), and Pinterest (pinterest.com) are some of my favorites but discipline is key. The amount of research I do depends upon the project but I have to be careful with the amount of time I spend researching versus creating the art.

leezaillustration1

I use a timer to stay on top of it. And even if I am not researching for a particular project, I carry a sketchbook with me and either have my phone or camera for taking any pictures. Inspiration strikes when I least expect it so I like to be as prepared as possible.

dog

Have you found most art directors and editors give you a lot of freedom when illustrating a book? Do they want to be involved all the way through the process?

Once, I was given very specific art notes for an educational book but the turnaround time was tight, so the notes were helpful for me to jump right in. I’ve received minimal notes for nonfiction projects if there was a point that needed to be demonstrated visually for some specific text. For example: the Homework books sometimes have charts.

leezadg_originalsample

For the fictional projects, I’m pretty much left to it for the first round of sketches, then the art director and/or editor and I discuss together. Sometimes, I’ll offer up additional sketch options for a handful of spreads if I have lots of ideas and can’t decide which direction to go. There can be a lot of back and forth on the cover, though.

leeza

What is the one thing in your studio that you could not live without?

My art materials—pencils, brushes, paper, inks, sketchbooks—I’d be kinda lost without them!

leeza in and outcropped

Do you try to spend a specific amount of time working on your craft?

Yes, even if it’s only for ten minutes, that’s my rule.

leezaDG_lastSpreadFinal

Do you have any career dreams that you want to fulfill?

To travel, keep making art, and continue creating books for young readers—that would be lovely!

leeza rock bandcropped

Thank you Leeza haring your journey and process with us. Can’t wait to see your career go forward. You can visit Leeza at her website: http://www.leezaworks.com to see more of her work.

If you have a moment I am sure Leeza would love to read your comments. I enjoy them too. Thanks!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Advice, authors and illustrators, How to, illustrating, Illustrator's Saturday, inspiration, Interview, picture books, Process Tagged: John Lithgow, Leeza Hernandez, Never Play Music Right Next to the Zoo

10 Comments on Illustrator Saturday – Leeza Hernandez, last added: 11/24/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
12. Happy Thanksgiving – Inspiration & Winners

thanksgiving2
Michelle Henninger sent this illustration in to help us celebrate Thanksgiving. Michelle prefers a traditional approach of pen/ink, and watercolor: with a touch of digital thrown in for good measure. She is a member of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, she was a New England SCBWI Ann Barrows Illustration Scholarship recipient. She was the first 2014 featured illustrator on Illustrator Saturday. She is represented by Christina Tugeau at CATugeau.

THANKSGIVING PRAYER
by Eileen Spinelli

Thank you for the world–still sweet.

Thank you for the food we eat.

Thank you for the honeyed sun

that spoons its light on everyone.

Thank you for the leaves that fall

in glowing piles near the wall,

for kindness in a stranger’s face

and every unexpected grace.

Thank you for the starry dark,

for children laughing in the park,

for cozy towns and sleepy farms,

for dreamers, dancers, babes in arms.

Than you for all hearts that sing

of hope in spite of everything.

Fall Favorites
by Carol Murray

Pumpkins, round, upon the ground,

and children playing ball,

Scarecrow tips his tattered hat,

and waves to one and all.

Sleek black cats on fuzzy mats,

reclining, large and small,

and every size has starlit eyes,

like diamonds at The Mall.

Wine is chilled, and home is filled

with friends, both short and tall.

Hooray! Hooray! Thanksgiving Day.

Favorite things of Fall.
by Carol Murray

A Thanksgiving Toast

Here’s to years of happiness

and months of sunny skies,

To weeks of reaching mountain peaks,

and days of caring eyes,

To hours of hope and tenderness,

and minutes of delight,

On second thought, we wish you love,

We’re giving thanks tonight.

Thank you to Michelle, Eileen, and Carol for sharing their work to help us celebrate Thanksgiving. Hope everyone enjoys the day.

Winners:

Darlene Beck-Jacobson won Gayle Aanensen’s book BETTER THAN GOLD.

Joanne Roberts won SPAGHETTI SMILES by Margo Sorenson.

Congratulations! Winner please send me your addresses so they can be sent out.

You may wonder why I did not post the poems for the Thanksgiving Poem Contest yesterday. That is because Carol Murray was the only one to send in a poem for the contest and the default winner. Thank you Carol.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: authors and illustrators, Contest, Holiday, inspiration, Poems Tagged: Better Than Gold, Carol Murray, Eileen Spinelli, Happy Thanksgiving, Spaghetti Smiles, Thanksgiving Poem Contest

5 Comments on Happy Thanksgiving – Inspiration & Winners, last added: 11/27/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
13. YA Books for Adults and Adult Books for YA Lovers

As writers and illustrators the holiday season provides an opportunity to support the publishing industry by buying a few books as gifts for friends and family.

Goodreads announced their 2014 Readers Choice Awards. Click the picture below to review the nominees and the winners in all categories.

readerschoicegoodreads

Here are 25 YA books that Epic Reads suggests for Adults. How many have you read?

25books

Out of the books pictured above I have read 7 and have 4 bought and ready to be read.
AdultForYA-EpicReads

Out of the 25 Adult Books for Fans of YA I have read 4 and 3 are waiting to be read.
PopularBooksForTeens-HGLessonsSmall

From the books pictured above, I have read 23 and 12 are bought and waiting.

There are so many more wonderful books I have read this year. How many of these books did you read? Did you have a book that was your favorite? It doesn’t have to be pictured. I’d love you to share.

Oh, don’t forget the picture books: Each time you buy a picture book you support an illustrator and a writer with your purchase and the book you buy might be the book that puts a child on the path to enjoying books for the rest of their life.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: authors and illustrators, Book, inspiration, list, Middle Grade Novels, picture books, Young Adult Novel Tagged: 2014 Goodreads Best Books, Adult Book for YA Lovers, Goodreads, YA Books for Adults

0 Comments on YA Books for Adults and Adult Books for YA Lovers as of 12/4/2014 1:05:00 AM
Add a Comment
14. Free Fall Friday – What Does It Take?

joan_charles_holiday

This wonderful holiday inspired illustration was sent in by Joan Charles. She is an illustrator, writer, graphic designer. Her work can be found in gallery exhibitions, magazines, and books. She illustrated the award-winning middle grade adventures Lost in Lexicon and The Ice Castle, written by Pendred Noyce. http://www.joancharles.com

In the last few months I have been asked how someone gets on Writing and Illustrating to show off their work, get an interview, and market a book. Here are the things I consider:

1. Do I know you? Have I met you?

2. Do you follow my blog?

3. Do you leave comments?

4. Do you promote Writing and Illustrating on your website, facebook, or blog?

5. Have you tweeted, reblogged, facebooked or shared information posted on Writing and illustrating?

6. Have you ever been featured on Writing and Illustrating?

7. Have you ever written or shared any information on Writing and Illustrating that would help other writers or illustrators?

8. If you haven’t done any of the above, do you have something to share that the readers who be interested in hearing about?

9. Have you published a book? Is there anything interested in how it got published or something you did that would interest readers?

10. Are you willing to do a book give-a-way?

I can’t know everyone by meeting them in person, but I can get to know you by leaving a comments or following my blog. I have many friends that I hope to meet someday. If you are writing or illustrating a book, you should be looking for people like me who have a large amount of followers and start working to make a connection.

I’m happy for everyone who gets something published, wins a contest, gets an agent, or wins an award and will be happy to include you in a Kudos post. But if you fit into the first seven on the list, you are considered family and will always get your successes promoted on Writing and Illustrating.

Tips: You shouldn’t wait until your book is about to come out to start building connections. Start doing that right now. Think about what type of things you could share that would help other writers. Maybe you don’t feel like you have anything to share, but I bet you do if you think about it. Have you attended a workshop or conference? Have you read a book on how to write or illustrate? You may be revising a story and have an epiphany. Did you learn anything useful during a critique? Maybe you run into an agent or editor who shared knowledge that could be shared?  The substance of all these things could be used to write an interesting article. It would be a great way to get your name out there and be noticed.

Just remember when you want to promote yourself, you can’t look like that is all you are interested in doing.

Submissions: Send to Kathy.temean (at) gmail (dot) com. In subject area write, SUBMISSION ARTICLE FOR WRITING AND ILLUSTRATING. Introduce yourself, bio, and send me your article or express you interest in writing an article on…(subject and your idea).

I love when people have a topic they would like to write about that will help other writers and illustrators. If there is not enough meat to the article, I will give you some ideas or suggestions to pump it up. So write something interesting, helpful and start submitting your article to build your list of places and people who will help spread the words when success jumps in your path.

I am sure you have gone to blogs or signed up for newsletters that end up just talking about their book or books. If you haven’t you are lucky. I know I have and it is very disappointing. In fact that tactic could turn someone off and cause them not to buy anything with your name on it. So be careful.

Don’t get buried in only thinking about writing only for your own blog. If you get your article on another blog, you are getting access to a whole new group of people who might end up following your blog. Be smart. Even if you have ten published books, do not turn down someone with a large following saying things like, “I want people to come to my blog, not yours.” This is a statement from someone who doesn’t understand the importance of marketing and someone not savvy enough to see how getting exposure to thousands of new people could be a huge win.

Remember: I am not the only blog with a large following. There are many that could provide opportunities for you.

I am looking to do a Kudos post next week. Any good things happening out there? Let me know.

Call for Christmas Poems or Hanukkah Poems and or illustrations. Will be posting them later this month. Send to Kathy.temean(at)gmail.com Put December Illustration or December Poem in subject area. Thanks!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

 


Filed under: authors and illustrators, inspiration, Marketing a book, need to know, opportunity, Places to sumit Tagged: Call for Illustrations, Call for Poems, Joan Charles, Pendred Noyce, Submitting your article

0 Comments on Free Fall Friday – What Does It Take? as of 12/5/2014 6:15:00 PM
Add a Comment
15. Illustrator Saturday – Lita Judge

masthead_11

19_me_and_crittersLita Judge is a writer and artist whose greatest passion is creating children’s books. She is the author/illustrator for over a dozen fiction and nonfiction picture books including Flight School (Simon & Schuster, 2014), Red Hat (S&S, 2013), Red Sled (S&S, 2011), Bird Talk (Roaring Brook, 2012), One Thousand Tracings, and Pennies for Elephants (Disney-Hyperion). Her background in geology, paleontology and biology inspires her nonfiction books. Lita spent several years working for the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology before turning to writing about dinosaurs and other natural history subjects. But her background with animals also inspires her whimsical fictional tales filled with characters who forge big dreams.

Several of her books have been selected as Junior Library Guild picks and they have received numerous awards including the 2013 Sterling North Award, the Jane Addams Honor Book, ALA Notable Children’s Book, the International Reading Association Children’s Book Award, Michigan Notable Book, and Kirkus Best Children’s book of 2011. She enjoys teaching both writing and illustration to students of all ages and shares much about her creative process in classrooms and on her blog and website.

Lita lives with her husband, two cats and a little green parrot named Beatrix Potter in Peterborough, New Hampshire.

toad_2

Here is Lita talking about her process:

For me, creating art for one of my books involves a lot of drawing to capture a character’s gesture or body movement and expression. For example in my newest book, Born in the Wild, to be released this October, I had to draw a lot of animals. But I didn’t want my readers to just know what a chimpanzee or orangutan looks like. I want them to feel a connection to them. I want them to look into the faces of my animals and feel like there is an animal looking back at them. I also want them to get an understanding of the intimate world of animals within their own world. How does a mother panda hold her baby, or a baby orangutan curl up and feel safe with its parent? To capture all this I first do hundreds of very loose sketches, focusing on body language long before I worry about details and paint.

A

B

C

D

Once I feel like I’ve captured that intimate portrait between the animals, I start focusing on the details, which describe their faces and bodies. Slowly my drawings become more refined until at last, it is ready for a light watercolor wash at the end.

E

F 09_Born_in_the_WildCover for BORN IN THE WILD

10_Born_in_the_Wild

Interior and end pages

11_Born

How long have you been illustrating?

The first book I illustrated came out in 2006. Then my first picture book, One Thousand Tracings, which I wrote and illustrated was released in 2007.

untitled

Above: Cover of One Thousand Tracings, 2007 Hyperion)

How did you get to work at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology?

Many kids outgrow the dinosaur-crazed phase after elementary school, but when I was 14, during the summer before high school, I still had set my cap on becoming a paleontologist. I was eager to get started so I wrote dozens of letters to museums, curators and paleontologists who were working in the field, and basically pleaded with them to let me work on their dig. I had heard the Tyrrell Museum was working on a dig with literally thousands of dinosaurs in a bonebed and they were from the Cretaceous, the age I particularly wanted to study. I guess I ended up writing so many letters to Phil Currie, he eventually called and said welcome aboard. So the day after school let out the following summer, I was on a bus to Canada. I returned every year to work there and went on to graduate with a degree in Geology.

K-2_Dinosaurs

Lita on dinosaur dig

Did you do illustrating work for them?

Not really, we didn’t have much time for anything other than digging up fossils. But I did do a few drawings on my own, and they asked if they could use them for t-shirts and mugs. That was a boost, to think I could draw dinosaurs perhaps someday for pay.

how-big_500

Cover of How Big, released 2013, Roaring Brook Press

Did you go to School to study art? If so, when and where?

My only schooling was in Geology, at Oregon State University. I never studied art in school. I credit all the bird watching and sketching I did as a kid for teaching me how to see, how to observe. Then later, I traveled to many great museums all over the world which, painting on location, and looking at great art.

05_Stockholm_cemetary

Field paintings from Europe. Above: Stockholm cemetery. Below: Paris museum.04_Paris

What was the first painting or illustration that you did where someone paid you for your artwork?

I think I sold a painting of a humming bird for about $35 at a Christmas fair. Back when I was a Geologist, I started drawing notecard and bookmark designs to get into doing art. Eventually I had over a hundred wildlife designs and sold them all over the country with a homemade catalogue I ran on a xerox machine. Then I started doing shows and craft fairs. Eventually I sold the business because I was spending all my time folding and filling notecard orders rather than painting. The dream was to paint, not fill orders. So I started showing and selling work in galleries. But I didn’t find my real home in art until I turned to writing and illustrating children books. The element of story is what made my art feel complete for me.

redhat

What type of job did you do right after you graduated?

I was an environmental geologist for the Forest Service. Spent a lot of time in the mud and rain working on the Oregon Coast.

RedHat_interior-7

What do you think influenced your style?

I don’t really think in terms of style. My art changes and evolves each time I do a story. I think it’s because I also write them and I have a wide range of interests — science, nature, historical, fiction, whimsical — so I do a broad range of stories. Each time I create a story it needs it’s own approach to the art.

RedHat_interior-8

thumb8

When did you do your the first illustration for children?

In 2006, my first book was to illustrate the middle grade book, Ugly, written by Donna Jo Napoli.

ugly

How did that come about?

I had sent an art dummy of a story I had written into Hyperion and my soon-to-be editor, Namrata Tripathi, called and asked if I’d like to do a cover for a book. Of course I said yes! I was so excited I illustrated several interior pieces as well, which made it into the book, so it turned into a nice project, and a lovely friendship with Namrata. When that was done I sent her another dummy and we were off and running on my first picture book together.

01_Cover-450x450

How many children’s books have you illustrated?

I’m working on my 20th right now. Several in the pipeline also.

redsled

About_001

When did you decide you wanted to illustrate a children’s book?

I’ve always wanted to on some level but when I was living in really remote areas on the west coast it just didn’t seem possible. I had never met an illustrator and really didn’t know how to go about getting published. When My husband and I moved to New Hampshire I was able to meet people in the field and soon after I began submitting work. Once my first book was in the works, I knew this would be what I would spend the rest of my life doing, I LOVE it!

bearsled

How long did it take you after that to get your first picture book contract?

I was pretty fortunate. I sent out work I think in early November and got that first project on Valentine’s Day 2005. But I had been drawing and drawing and drawing, and painting for years before then. I had built up a huge body of work before attempting to get published and I think that helped me.

14_RedSled

I see you illustrated a second book by Donna Jo Napoli. Did you know you were doing that book when you signed to do UGLY?

No, Donna Jo hadn’t even written it. It just grew naturally from the fact that Ugly was received well and we both had fun on that project.

bearmoose2

What was the first book that you wrote and illustrated?

One Thousand Tracings. It’s a true story about a relief effort my grandparents did to help people who had lost their homes in Europe after WWII. I found letters and foot tracings in my grandmother’s attic after she died and knew immediately I wanted to write about this amazing thing they had done to help all those families.

06_Red_Sled

How did you find a home for that book?

I sent it to my editor at Hyperion about a week after I turned the art in for Ugly.

07_Flight_School

08_FlightSchool

12_FlightSchool

What book would you say has been your most successful?

Hmmm, I really don’t think of success in terms of how many books sold or how many editions. I think a book is successful if I as an artist got to create something I feel passionately about, and it connects with readers who also feel passionately about the same thing. Some of my nonfiction books may not sell as many books as Red Sled or Flight School, but I still feel like that little girl obsessed with dinosaurs craving to make a living as an artist when I create them and that is better than any measured success. And they solicit such beautiful responses from kids who share the same obsession, so it’s a pretty wonderful feeling. And my fiction, well that’s a dream too. To create a character that people respond to, that makes them smile or feel a connection, that is the best. I leave others to worry about book sales and things, and I just worry about making the stories I love. My career feels like a dream come true, so I guess all my books are successful in their own little ways.

13_FlightSchool

What book award are you the most proud of winning?

Kind of the same feeling, I’m just so grateful when any group of librarians or teachers or reviewers gathers a group of books together that they love and decides to bestow an honor on one of my books. I treasure each nod I’ve received and am thankful because they always make me believe a little more each time I really get to keep doing this beautiful, fantastic, crazy career!

flight_school-_interior-17

Have you worked with educational publishers?

No.

23_FlightSchool

Have you done any illustrating for children’s magazines?

No. I’ve been asked for both, but I can never seem to pull away on the stories I’m brewing up. My imagination seems to keep my docket pretty darn full these days.

flight_school-_interior-12

Do you have an Artist Rep. to represent you?

I work with a literary agent, Linda Pratt, who I adore because she keeps life sane for me, juggling all the contracts and turn-in dates. But more importantly, she is my sounding board for stories. She always gives me a safe creative place to bounce around ideas.

BTBG_feet_1

What types of things do you do to find illustration work?

Nothing, other than I just keep writing stories. I work on them nearly every day. As soon as one is turned in to my editor and I’m waiting for feedback, I turn to the next. I don’t worry about projects, just about stories, and somehow that has kept me fully employed since the day I started.

protoceratops

What is your favorite medium to use?

Pencil and watercolor.

15_BITW

Has that changed over time?

My approach changes each time I launch into a new story. Sometimes I have a whimsical story that has to be light and fresh and very gestural. Another time, I may be working on a nonfiction that needs a more detailed approach. I’m working now on a book that takes place at night and has an element of mystery so things are dark with kind of magical lighting and a big beautiful moon. Another story I’m working on now is for much older kids and it’s kind of dark and at times very sad and scary, so that means a huge departure on my approach. I love not having a set style. It means I have to reinvent myself a lot, and that can take a lot of hours at the easel, but it is never boring.

HowBigSlider4

What I really want to know is how did you find such a great studio? Did you buy the house because of that room? Had it been a church?

I build it. My husband and I found a piece of land and I designed it. We had been saving and dreaming for a very long time, so the studio grew out of that energy. I found a salvaged church window and lugged some niches home from France that were made out of 15th century oak and were in a church that was sadly destroyed in WWI, but they have a home with me now. And I carved ravens for the roofline outside to reflect my background. I was born on the Tlingit Indian reservation in Alaska and the ravens are my homage to their beautiful art and culture that inspires me. I’m grateful for everyday I get to create in this space!

16_studio

17_studio
What is the one thing in your studio that you could not live without?

Natural light and my critters!

18_studio

IMG_8236

Do you try to spend a specific amount of time working on your craft?

I just work. Really I don’t keep hours. I just wake up every day eager to get back to the stories, and march on through the day and into the night and through the weekends. I hate being sick because that’s about the only time I’m not working and that for me is just plain boring. There is always at least 3 unfinished stories on my easel and a few more whispering in my ears, so as long as that is true, I’ll be working. I occasionally slip out for a bike ride, but I’m pretty much to be found with pencil or brush in hand.

20

Do you take pictures or do any types of research before you start a project?

I do lots of research and quite often take pictures. That is always a fun part. My parents are wildlife photographers and my grandparents were research biologists. So I think I came to love that part of the work naturally. I do a lot of photo shoots with kids and animals, whatever the need may be. Have had fun over the years, travelling to places I paint, working with elephants, taking back trips up into the back country, feeding giraffes. Research is the fun part indeed!

22

21

Which illustrated book is your favorite?

Ah, that is like asking a mom which is her favorite kid. OK, I may have a special fondness for a certain penguin (in Flight School) but don’t tell the others. And I’m working on two books now that I’m bursting to let out in to the world, but that will have to wait. I’ll just say Paris, Owlets, moons and fun!

thumb4

Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

Oh yes, it’s a wonderful way to connect with people you would never meet otherwise. I get offers to speak and all sorts of wonderful things come out of the fact that people can so easily find your website and get a sense of what you have to offer. And I’m grateful for wonderful friendships with other writers whom I rarely see but keep in touch with.

entering

Do you use Photoshop with your illustrations?

I do a lot of planning with Photoshop. I find it a wonderful creative tool hat helps me really explore and push a composition in a way I can’t with just pencil. I love how I can really play around with values as well so that you don’t have to muck around too much in guesswork with real paint. That never works well with watercolors.

04molly_tony

Do you own or have you used a Graphic Drawing Tablet in your illustrating?

I do use one a lot in the planning stages. And a little in the final art- again it really depends on the story and what effect I’m trying to get. They are wonderful for some things, but I find a good old fashioned brush loaded in paint my favorite tool.

penniesfor elephants

last-spread-art

Do you have any career dreams that you want to fulfill?

To keep doing books that excite and interest me for the rest of my life! To never ever have the feeling that I want to slow down. And to travel to more wonderful places that allow me to soak up their beauty and capture their essence in a story. To continue connecting with kids, teachers, and parents over stories and feel in some small way your work was a part of their imagination and life. That’s all I want.

24_Born

What are you working on now?

Well I have 5 books in various stages. Some I can let out of the bag, and a couple that need to stay inside where it’s safe and warm just a little longer. My next nonfiction book, BORN IN THE WILD, coming out with Roaring Brook has already gotten two starred reviews and will be released on October 21st, so that’s exciting. Then I have a picture book about my Parrot, Beatrix, coming out next spring with Atheneum entitled, GOOD MORNIGN TO ME! It’s a fun story about life with a very happy and exuberant parrot. Then I have a book I’m illustrating about a pygmy marmoset that has been a delight work on and took me on a mental journey to the Amazon, pretty fun (coming out with Boyd’s Mill). And then my owlet book set in Paris which I’m working on now (to be released with Dial), and then… oops, I can’t tell you what I’m working on after that, but it’s a big project that has pushed me to extremes and I can’t wait for it to be ready to break out of the studio and into the world.

02_GoodMorning_covers_Page_2

Cover of Good Morning to Me, to be released Spring 2015, Ateneum

Cover_1000

ducks

Do you have any material type tips you can share with us? Example: Paint or paper that you love – the best place to buy – a new product that you’ve tried – A how to tip, etc.

My all time favorite brush is an Isabey Petite Gris brush, all sizes. It’s shaped kind of flat and fat so it holds gobs of paint while still keeping a good point. I bought my first in Paris after I dropped my brushes in the Seine, and man am I glad I did, because this brush paints like a dream. I also love cheep bamboo calligraphy brushes as I do a lot of line work. My tools are pretty simple 4b pencils, arches watercolor paper, Windsor Newton paint.

Tricycle

scan098

Any words of wisdom on how to become a successful writer or illustrator?

It sounds kind of flippant, but I mean it in all sincerity – don’t worry about success. Just worry about the writing and/or the art. People want good stories, they crave them, if you focus on the craft, on making it the best piece of art or writing humanly possible, the “success” part of it will fall into place, at least enough so that you get to make a comfortable living at it and keep doing it. I honestly don’t think about number of books sold, etc, I’d go crazy second guessing every whisper of an idea that comes into my brain and I’d give up on it long before it had the time and nurturing from me to grow into a real story. But if you just focus on the art, and the writing, it will grow into something others can love. Just make a Utopia for yourself of your work, and the other “career” part of things will come out of that.

26

Sketch for upcoming book, Born in the Wild

BTBG

teeth

parrot

Thank you Lita for sharing you journey and process with us. Please let us know when your new picture books come out. We’d love to see them and cheer you on. You can visit Lita at: http://www.litajudge.net

If you have a moment I am sure Lita would like to read your comments. I enjoy reading them, too, even if sometimes I don’t have time to reply to all of them. Thanks!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Advice, authors and illustrators, demystify, illustrating, Illustrator's Saturday, inspiration, Interview, picture books, Process Tagged: Born in the Wild, Flight School, Lita Judge, Red Sledge

16 Comments on Illustrator Saturday – Lita Judge, last added: 10/4/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
16. SCBWI SPARK AWARD – Self Published Books

The Spark Award is an annual award that recognizes excellence in a children’s book published through a non-traditional publishing route.


 

THE INAUGURAL SPARK AWARD WINNERS

 

Deadline:  Books may be submitted between September 15th and December 15th, 2014 for books published in the 2014 calendar year. Books published in previous years and re-issues are ineligible. Books submitted outside of that period will not be considered. You may only submit one title each award period.

Award: The winner and honor recipients will receive: a Spark seal to display on their book;  commemorative plaque; the opportunity to have their book featured and autographed at an SCBWI conference of their choosing during the year the award is won, featured in the SCBWI online bookstore and publicized through SCBWI social networking sites. The winners will also get the opportunity to attend any conference of their choice tuition free (other than for extras such as critiques and intensives).  Winners will be announced in March 2015.

Guidelines:

1. You must be a current SCBWI member with membership current through April of the following year to apply.  If you are a member now but your membership is scheduled to expire before that time, you will need to renew your membership in order to be eligible for the award.

2. Both the author and illustrator (if the illustrator’s name appears on the book) must be members to apply.

3. You must have published a book intended for the children’s or YA market in one of the following categories: Board Book, Picture Book, Chapter Book, Middle Grade, or Young Adult.

4. The book may be fiction or nonfiction.

5. The book should have been self-published either through an established self-publishing enterprise or individually self-published.  The book cannot have been previously published in any print or digital form prior to the self-published form.

6. SCBWI reserves the right to disqualify books published by enterprises that we believe, in our discretion, operate in a predatory or unbusiness-like manner.

7. The entry must be submitted in traditionally bound form, contain an ISBN number, and provide evidence of Copyright Registration.

Evidence of Copyright Registration can be an electronic recipt or email showing you filed with the US Copyright office. If your book originated outside the US you must follow the copyright laws in your country.

8. All applicants must include a cover letter with your name, the name of your book, the genre of your book, the publishing method for your book (including the name of any editor/copyeditor/designer who was retained in the creation of the book), your book’s ISBN and a synopsis of your book.

9. Applicants must submit one copy of a printed and bound copy of the book and a cover letter to SCBWI via a traceable mailing method (i.e. FedEx, UPS, US or International Mail with tracking number). Please do not double package your book.

Send copies to:
SCBWI Spark Award
8271 Beverly Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90048

Please note that books submitted will not be returned.

10. One winner and two Honor Book recipients will be chosen in two categories:

Novels: This includes: young adult, middle grade and chapter books

Picture Books: This includes: board books, picture books, readers, and fully illustrated novelty books.

There will be two rounds of judging. The first round will be judged by an SCBWI panel; the second round will be judged by a panel selected from industry editors, agents, authors, illustrators and/or booksellers.

11. Books may be entered for either the Spark Award or The Golden Kite Award, but not both.

12. Judging will be based on a number of criteria, including but not limited to: quality of writing and concept, quality of illustrations (if applicable), professional presentation, editing and design, appropriateness of content for the targeted age group of the book.

SCBWI reserves the right not to award a SPARK AWARD in any given year.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: authors and illustrators, awards, children writing, Competition, need to know, opportunity Tagged: SCBWI, Self Published Authors, Self Published Books, Spark Award

0 Comments on SCBWI SPARK AWARD – Self Published Books as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
17. Illustrator Saturday – David Harrington

Harrington, DavidDavid Harrington’s affinity for art began at an early age, when he enthusiastically drew on floors, walls, furniture, and other inanimate objects. A native of southern California, Harrington pursued a career in illustration by enrolling in the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, where he earned a BFA with honors. As a student, his favorite classes were figure drawing and painting. 

In his professional career, Harrington has illustrated numerous children’s books. He believes that they open a door to a new world, and he admits that he studied books for hours on end as a child. In addition to children’s illustrations, Harrington creates advertising images for toys, games, food packaging, educational materials, medical equipment, and various other products. 

Bold lines, sharp contrast, and vibrant colors render Harrington’s images stunning and memorable. He portrays real emotions such as fun and excitement through playful and accentuated cartoon images. The clarity of detail that Harrington gives to the page can bring a child’s imagination to life. He is the recipient of a WWA Spur Awards Storyteller Award for his illustrations in Pecos Bill Invents the Ten-Gallon Hat. David lives with his wife and children in Laguna Hills, California.

Here is David sharing his process:

This illustration is from a book I’m currently working on where some bandits steal all the ice cream in town during the middle of summer!

Whistling Willie illus 1

 

First, very rough, fast sketches trying to capture the energy, mood, emotion etc. Once I have a rough sketch I like then I keep tracing it and making revisions until I get to the final sketch.

Whistling Willie illus 2

I put the final sketch on a medium value, textured background. I keep it on a separate layer so it can be removed later.

Whistling Willie illus 3

Starting with the face, I put down a thin, base skin tone letting the background texture show through. Then I start building up the dark tones adding just a little red color to the nose and cheeks and a few high lights.

Whistling Willie illus 4

I keep building up the darks and start introducing some blues, purples and greens into the shadows.

Whistling Willie illus 5

When I have the colors and values of the face where I want them, I’ll start on the rest of the figure working from light to dark.

Whistling Willie illus 6

For the ice cream, I put down a medium tone trying to let the background texture show through. I then added a lighter color to one side and hit the other side with a faint shadow.

Whistling Willie illus 7

Lastly, I added the background, leaving some of the original texture untouched. I removed the sketch and then I add fine line detail.

spaghetticove2r

Spaghetti Smiles by Margo Sorenson – published by Pelican Publishing Press (September 15, 2014). How many books have you illustrated for Pelican Publishing?

Spaghetti Smiles was just released and that was the fifth book I’ve illustrated for Pelican Publishing and I’m working on another right now.

spaghetti

How long have you been illustrating?

I’ve been illustrating professionally for about 25 years.

davidexoticwoman

How did you decide to attended At Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA to study fine art?

During high school I took some Saturday classes at Art Center and fell in love with the school.

jumpoutboat

You say in your bio that figure drawing and painting were your favorite classes? Is that still a favorite thing for you to illustrate?

Absolutely, anytime there are figures in an illustration, whether they are stylized or realistic, it’s always fun and they bring life to the piece.

wave

What was the first art related work that you were paid?

I painted store windows at Christmas time when I was a teen.

partingthesea

Did the School help you get work?

Yes they did, I got some work doing movie poster concept sketches for Warner Brothers right after graduation.

shiver

Do you feel the classes you took in college have influenced you style?

I don’t know, my style has been changing over the years.

octoman

What type of work did you do right after you graduated?

About six months after graduating I took a full time job as an art director/illustrator at a small company doing mostly sports art.

holdinghead

How did you make the decision to jump into freelance work?

I had been trying to make the transition to freelance by working at night but then when I got laid off unexpectedly from my full time job, I decided that -Now is the time.

giant

When did you decide you wanted to illustrate for children?

I did a lot of soft drink advertising work for a good client and he asked me if I could illustrate a Children’s book, so I gave it a shot- and loved it!

tiger

When and what was the first children’s book that you illustrated?

It was called Gabby, about a little girl and a science fair project that went wrong resulting in a giant bubble-gum monster.

tigermountain

Do you consider that book to be your first big success?

No, but it opened my eyes to how much fun Children’s book are to illustrate. I love creating characters.

tireswing

Do you have an agent or artist rep.?

No, I don’t have a representative but am not opposed to one either.

whipit

Do you have any desire to write and illustrate your own picture book?

Yes I have written some books and hope to be an Author/illustrator someday.

soupsup

Are you the same David Harrington who does fantasy art?

No that is another David Harrington, although I have done some fantasy art over the years.

cook

How did you get the contract to illustrate, Since We’re Friends: An Autism Picture Book at Sky Pony Press?

I don’t remember how I got that contract, but I remember it was two books.

fishbowlcage

How long did you have to illustrate each one?

The whole process from sketches to final illustration takes about four to five months.

artclass

Would you be willing to work with an author who wants to self-publisher their picture book?

Yes I would if I like the story.

jumpingfish

What illustrating contract do feel really pushed you down the road to a successful career?

I did about a dozen Book covers for Pee Wee Scouts from Random House and that led to more work.

pp-secret-sauce1

When is the title of the pirate book that you are working on and when is it coming out? Is that your next book that will hit the book shelves?

It’s a cowboy book titled Whistling Willie and should be released in the Spring of 2015.

jumpingjack

Have you done illustrations for any children’s magazines?

Yes, mostly Club House magazine.

library

What materials do you use to paint your color illustrations?

Well it started with acrylic paint and pencils and over the years has transitioned to a Mac computer, graphic tablet and Photoshop.

redponytail

What types of things do you do to find illustration work?

Once or twice a year I send out promotional post cards to publishers. But word of mouth is how I get most of my work.

lady in red

What is the one thing in your studio that you could not live without?

My Mac!

splat

Do you try to spend a specific amount of time working on your craft?

I try to find time to experiment and learn new techniques or try different media. I love oil painting and sculpting!

snowgirl

Do you take pictures or do any types of research before you start a project?

Yes I do a lot of on-line research and look for inspiration.

ghost

Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

Yes, it has changed everything about this business, from research to communication to the way finished projects are delivered.

sandystone

Do you use Photoshop, Illustrator, or Corel Painter with your illustrations?

Yes, Photoshop and sometimes Illustrator. I have tried painter and that’s a good program too.

balc

Do you own or have you used a Graphic Drawing Tablet in your illustrating?

Yes, Wacom Cintiq, it’s amazing!

hand

When did you start using the computer to paint your illustrations?

That was a very slow transition, about 15 years ago I would just add the final details to an illustration in Photoshop. Then at some point I would finish a painting half way and then complete it with the computer using a mouse. Now, all or almost all of the art is created using a Graphic Tablet.

pyramid

What are you working on now?

Right now I’m jugging about 12 different illustration jobs including Whistling Willie from Pelican Publishing.

cleocat

Do you have any material type tips you can share with us? Example: Paint or paper that you love – the best place to buy – a new product that you’ve tried – A how to tip, etc.

My favorite is Winsor & Newton oils on canvas, from Art Supply Warehouse in Westminster, CA

cowboy

Do you have any career dreams that you want to fulfill?

Yes, I would like to illustrate the stories I’ve written.

santa

Any words of wisdom on how to become a successful writer or illustrator?

You must be persistent, never give up and always strive to improve.

birds

Thank you David for sharing your journey and process with us. Please let us know when your new picture book comes out , in addition to all your future successes. We’d love to see them and hear about them, so we can cheer you on. You can visit Daivd at: http://www.davidharrington.com/

If you have a moment I am sure David would like to read your comments. I enjoy reading them, too, even if I don’t always have time to reply. Thanks!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Advice, authors and illustrators, demystify, Illustrator's Saturday, inspiration, Interview, picture books, Process, Tips Tagged: David Harrington, Spaghetti Smiles

7 Comments on Illustrator Saturday – David Harrington, last added: 10/19/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
18. New Writing Video Series by Lin Oliver – Free

need writing advice

 

free video series


subscribecropped

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Advice, authors and illustrators, Courses, demystify, How to, inspiration, opportunity, revisions Tagged: Free Writing Video Series, Lexa Hillyer, Lin Oliver

2 Comments on New Writing Video Series by Lin Oliver – Free, last added: 10/19/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
19. Polis Books Actively Seeking Submissions

PBlogo

Polis Books is an independent digital publishing company actively seeking new and established authors for our growing list. We are currently acquiring titles in the following genres. Submissions in the following genres should be to submissions@polisbooks.com.

We are currently acquiring:

• Mystery

• Thriller

• Suspense

• Procedural

• Traditional crime (i.e. ‘cozies’)

• Science Fiction

• Fantasy

• Horror

• Supernatural

• Urban Fantasy

• Romance

• Erotica

• Commercial Women’s Fiction

• New Adult

• Young Adult

• Humor/Essays

We are not currently acquiring:

• Children’s Picture books

• Graphic novels

• Short stories or stand-alone novellas

• Religion

Submission Requirements:

• Query Letter

• Three Sample Chapters

• Author Biography (include information about personal blogs, Twitter handle, or other social media outlets you feel we should be aware of)

Query letter and sample chapters should be emailed as attachments (not in body of email) to:

submissions@polisbooks.com

They will reply requesting more information on a submission-by-submission basis. 

They give a small advance and 40% royalties.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: authors and illustrators, Book Contracts, need to know, opportunity, Places to sumit, publishers, Publishing Industry, Royalties Tagged: Acquiring new and established authors, Digital Publishing Company, Polis Books

0 Comments on Polis Books Actively Seeking Submissions as of 10/20/2014 12:22:00 AM
Add a Comment
20. Polis Books Actively Seeking Submissions

PBlogo

Polis Books is an independent digital publishing company actively seeking new and established authors for our growing list. We are currently acquiring titles in the following genres. Submissions in the following genres should be to submissions@polisbooks.com.

We are currently acquiring:

• Mystery

• Thriller

• Suspense

• Procedural

• Traditional crime (i.e. ‘cozies’)

• Science Fiction

• Fantasy

• Horror

• Supernatural

• Urban Fantasy

• Romance

• Erotica

• Commercial Women’s Fiction

• New Adult

• Young Adult

• Humor/Essays

We are not currently acquiring:

• Children’s Picture books

• Graphic novels

• Short stories or stand-alone novellas

• Religion

Submission Requirements:

• Query Letter

• Three Sample Chapters

• Author Biography (include information about personal blogs, Twitter handle, or other social media outlets you feel we should be aware of)

Query letter and sample chapters should be emailed as attachments (not in body of email) to:

submissions@polisbooks.com

They will reply requesting more information on a submission-by-submission basis. 

They give a small advance and 40% royalties.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: authors and illustrators, Book Contracts, need to know, opportunity, Places to sumit, publishers, Publishing Industry, Royalties Tagged: Acquiring new and established authors, Digital Publishing Company, Polis Books

0 Comments on Polis Books Actively Seeking Submissions as of 10/20/2014 5:34:00 PM
Add a Comment
21. The Horatio Nelson Fiction Prize – No Fee

NO FEE WRITING CONTEST:  PRIZE: $5,000.00. 

DEADLINE: 10-31-2014.

horat

Black Balloon Publishing will accept submissions for the 2014 annual Horatio Nelson Fiction Prize between October 1st and October 31st, 2014. The winning author receives $5,000 and a Black Balloon book deal.* There is no reading fee.

WRITING CONTEST WEBSITE

Black Balloon Publishing invites entries of finished, unpublished and original fiction manuscripts of over 50K words to The Horatio Nelson Fiction Prize. The winning author receives a $5,000 cash prize and a book publishing deal with the company.Submit only unpublished fiction manuscripts (50,000 words and up) written in English. Short stories, previously published as collections, are still eligible. The initial entry process requires you to submit a partial manuscript of under 4,000 words.Black Balloon Publishing is a well-known author-friendly indie press based in New York, NY. The company publishes crossed genres of creative fiction, narrative, and nonfiction that showcase experimental forms of strong storytelling.

Black Balloon will announce a winner on Monday, February 2, 2015.**

Submission Guidelines:

  • Fiction manuscripts only, please (novels or short story collections)
  • Manuscripts must be complete, unpublished and original. Prior print or digital publication of individual stories from an unpublished collection is acceptable; please ensure your submission acknowledges all outlets in which individual stories have been previously published (if a work is discovered to have been posted or published elsewhere—and not openly acknowledged by the author in advance—we will remove the manuscript from consideration).
  • Self-published novels and story collections are ineligible, including work that has been published digitally.
  • Manuscripts must be over 50,000 words in length
  • International English-language submissions are welcome
  • Submissions must be received between October 1st and October 31st, 2014

DEADLINE: October 31, 2014

Use the link below to submit (scroll to the bottom of the page).

https://electricliterature.submittable.com/submit/35240

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: authors and illustrators, Book Contracts, Competition, Contest, earn money, opportunity, Places to sumit Tagged: Black Balloon Publishing, Horatio Nelson Fiction Prize, No Fee Publishing Contract Contest

0 Comments on The Horatio Nelson Fiction Prize – No Fee as of 10/21/2014 2:00:00 AM
Add a Comment
22. Free Fall Friday – Book-Give-a-Way: Karen Romagna

Here is your chance to win a copy of Karen Romagna’s new book, VOYAGE. All you have to do is leave a comment and be willing to write a short review of the book if you win. The review can be on your blog, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Facebook, or Goodreads. (See more at bottom of this post.)

Voyage Covercropped

Karen Romagna has just finished illustrating her first picture book. Voyage launched at The National Book Festival in Washington, DC on August 30, 2014 and is available in bookstores October 1, 2014. Written by former US Poet Laureate, Billy Collins, Voyage is the tale of a young boy setting off for an adventure on the open sea. Karen used the softness of watercolor in illustrating this wonderful dreamlike tale.

Romagna, Karen Headshot cropped

Karen is a traditional painter. Her illustrations are primarily done in watercolor However, she also loves painting in oil.

Karen grew up surrounded by art, music, brothers, sisters and parents that always supplied paint, paper, and the freedom to try new things. She lives in rural New Jersey where she and her husband, John, raised two sons, Matt and Tim, in a house filled with music and art… and hopefully a spirit that has allowed her sons to try new things too.

For those of you who are not a member of the New Jersey SCBWI, Karen is the Illustrator Coordinator for the New Jersey Chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

Romagna_Boy reading book

I asked Karen if she would share the story behind Voyage and it’s beginning. Here is what she told me:

“Voyage” had an interesting beginning. Billy Collins wrote the poem back in 2003 in celebration of John Cole’s 25 years as Director of the Center of the Book in the Library of Congress. As John Cole wrote at the beginning of Voyage, “The creation and presentation of “Voyage” was wholly in the spirit of the Center of the Book, which was created to stimulate pubilc interest in books, reading and literacy.”

In 2013 Bunker Hill Publishing approached me wondering if I might be interested in “a collaboration with the poet Billy Collins!”  Well…, of course!  The publisher had seen a copy of the poem hanging on the wall in John Cole’s office and approached Billy with the idea of making it a picture book.

Billy Collins likes to pick the illustrators for his books and went surfing the net. He came across a painting of mine that made him think I should illustrate this poem. He asked the publisher to get in touch to see if I might be interested in this project. Well… “Of course!” Bunker Hill had an illustrator in mind for the book as well and asked me to submit a sample illustration along with a thumbnail dummy. Wanting to make sure I was giving myself the best shot, I asked the publisher if he wouldn’t mind telling me exactly which illustration Billy Collins had seen that made him feel I was the right artist for his book. “Of course!” he said “It’s the one of the boy in a boat.”

Well, my heart melted… that was not one of my illustrations… it was a portrait of my younger son, Tim. There was always something magical about my second child. He would find himself in a great adventure with a piece of rope that he’d found.

In the end I was chosen to illustrate “Voyage”. …so Tim will carry on this great adventure for a long time.

You might be interested in watching this video of Billy Collins and Karen Romagna talking about the book at the National Book Festival where she launched her book in Washington, DC. I laughed when Karen said she almost threw out the email from the publisher she received asking if she had any interest in illustrating the book thinking it was junky mail. Thank goodness she didn’t. Congratulations, Karen!

 

If you would like more changes to win you will get additional entries when you Tweet, reblog, or talk about Voyager on Facebook (Must check back and let me know what you did, so I can enter the right amount of tickets with you name on it.

DEADLINE: November 3rd. Winner announce November 4th.

Check back next Friday to read the four first page critiques.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: authors and illustrators, Book, illustrating, inspiration, Picture Book, Process, publishers Tagged: karen Romagna, NJSCBWI Illustrator Coordinator, Voyage

11 Comments on Free Fall Friday – Book-Give-a-Way: Karen Romagna, last added: 10/24/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
23. New Poll – Vote For Your Favorite Halloween Poem

©-Michelle-Kogan-Cats-&-Spider-Illo-10-2014-

Almost missed sharing this wonderful illustration sent in by Michelle Kogan. She is an illustrator/painter/instructor and writer from the Chicago area. Here is her website: www.michellekogan.com Her cards are available in her Etsy shop – www.MichelleKoganFineArt.etsy.com

Last Thursday I posted the Halloween Poems sent in for the holiday. I was impressed with the talent out in the audience and will repeat this for other holidays. I decided to create a poll and let everyone chose their favorite poem. I left out Eileen Spinelli on purpose.

I will give the winner of the favorite Halloween poem a chance to be interviewed by me on this blog and show off their work: Book, illustrations, Poems. The winner can hold on to the win for when their book comes out or they can use it immediately. So if you had a poem on last Thursday’s post or have a friend who had their poem posted on October 30th, vote and tell all your friends to vote, too.

Click here to read the poems: 

Voting is open until November 9th.

Take Our Poll

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: authors and illustrators, Competition, Poems, Win Tagged: Carol Jones, Carol MacAllister, Carol Murray, Donna Weidner, Jane Resides, Kelly Fineman, Pia Garneau, Poll - Vote, Robert Zammarchi, Vivian Kirkfield, Wendy Greenley

1 Comments on New Poll – Vote For Your Favorite Halloween Poem, last added: 11/5/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
24. Interview with Author Margo Sorenson

margoAuthor of twenty-nine books, Margo Sorenson was born in Washington, DC, and spent the first seven years of her life in Spain and Italy, living where there were few children her age, so books became her friends. She finished her school years in California, graduating from the University of California at Los Angeles. After teaching high school and middle school and raising a family of two daughters, Margo is now a full-time writer, writing primarily for young people of all ages, toddlers through high schoolers. Margo enjoys writing for young readers since she believes they are ready for new ideas and experiences, and they really enjoy “living” the lives of the characters in books. 

Besides winning recognition and awards for her books from various groups, including the American Library Association, Margo was invited to donate and archive her working papers with the internationally-known children’s literature collection, the Kerlan Collection, at the University of Minnesota.

A couple of weeks ago I featured illustrator David Harrington. One of this new books was Spaghetti Smiles written by Margo. I thought it might be fun to hear about her journey as a writers, so I interviewed Margo and below are the answers to the questions I asked:

spaghetticove2r

What was the inspiration behind writing Spaghetti Smiles?

The primary inspiration for this book was the question I always tell students during school visits: “What if?” Watching and listening to people in many different places can serve as the impetus for a wacky and crazy idea, if you ask yourself, “What if?” about what you see and hear. For example, for SPAGHETTI SMILES, one of my ideas was generated by the fact that our daughters used to have sleepover birthday parties in elementary school, and what they loved to do was to have “make-your-own-pizza” parties. The girls would line up in front of all the ingredients and create their own pizzas, some making faces and some making designs. I always wondered, “What if?” the pizzas could rearrange their own faces? The other “What if?” question popped into my head when our favorite Italian restaurant lost its neighbor, a toy store. The store remained vacant for some time, and I wondered, “What if?” a bank moved in next door? Or a post office? Or a gas station? What if things got mixed up between the restaurant and its new neighbor? What would be some of the wacky things that might happen? Because I love cooking Italian food and Italy (and lived there as a little girl) and reading, everything fell into place.

AGREEMENT

Back Cover of SPAGHETTI SMILES

How long did it take you to write your new book?

I wrote the first draft in 1992! Yep, that’s 22 years! There was a lot of revising and there were many, many rejections of various versions, but, I really wanted young readers to find out about Jake and Uncle Rocco and let their imaginations loose, so I kept going.

spaghetti

Title Page

How long did it take you to find a home with Pelican Publishing?

I queried them in 2010, received an invitation to send the manuscript in 2011, and received the offer in 2012. It took two years to get it published, which is fairly typical for a picture book. As you well know, publishing does move slowly, but, the book was worth the wait, because I am so happy with everything that Pelican has done for the book, including signing up awesome illustrator David Harrington, whose whimsical illustrations really bring the story to life!

Spaghetti illustration 10-11.0

What did you major in at the University of California in Los Angeles?

I majored in medieval history – yes, I was a geek, and you could say I still am!

It sounds like you lived in lot of places around the world. Is there a story behind that?

My father was in the US Diplomatic Service when I was young, so I was partly raised in Spain and Italy, before I returned to live in the US for the first time – what a shock! J After I grew up and married, my husband’s job took us lots of places, which is why we lived in California, Hawaii, and Minnesota. Different locations are great for writers, because absorbing the new atmosphere and all the sensory details can combine to make writing richer and more varied.

Spaghetti illustration 26-27.0

What inspired you to start writing children’s books?

Some of the parents of my students encouraged me to write, after I had taught their kids to write for national contests, such as the Scholastic writing contest.

What was the title of your first published book?

My first published book was HOW TO SNEAK UP ON A GOOD BOOK, a reading record book that I co-authored with my school’s terrific librarian, Anne Polkingharn. It is now out of print, since people realized they could Xerox many of the pages (gasp!) and thus stopped buying it! It was fun devising creative projects that kids could use to report on books they read, and it is the only one of my 29 books that is out of print.

Spaghetti illustration 24-25.0

 

When did that come out and how did you get the contract for that book?

That was published in 1994, and I researched educational publishers, happily finding Perfection Learning Corp. J Then, they offered me contracts to write a total of 21 more books for them for their enrichment and supplemental literature reading program, many of which are for reluctant readers.

Do you have an agent? If so, who?

I do not have an agent, nor have I ever had one. I wouldn’t mind an agent, but, open communication would be key. Being in the loop and knowing what is going on are very important to me. I’ve been very, very fortunate to have wonderful editors and publishers, so an agent hasn’t been necessary. For example, North Dakota State University Press/North Dakota Institute of Regional Studies just re-released my middle grade historical fiction TORI AND THE SLEIGH OF MIDNIGHT BLUE as an ebook, simply because they believe in the story, which means a great deal to me.

toriandthesleigh

It looks like you have written books from young children to young adult, plus fiction and non-fiction. Do you gravitate to one more than another?

That’s a hard question –except for the non-fiction! Although I loved learning about new ideas and had fun writing the books, I am pretty much done with non-fiction, simply because some of it felt like homework! I wrote TSUNAMI and HURRICANE before the internet was as ubiquitous as it was today, and I trudged through the snow (yes, really!) to the Edina (MN) City Library to do my research. Making sure facts were correct and making sure they were explained in a way that makes sense to young readers were a challenge – and I ended up using about forty bibliographic sources for each one. Whew! What was fun was making some lasting friends writing TSUNAMI when I interviewed the two geophysicists who ran the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center and the International Tsunami Warning Center, and we are still in contact to this day. When my family goes to Hawaii, we try to stop by the PTWC in Ewa Beach, Oahu, and say hello! I enjoy writing picture books and I enjoy writing young adult, but, because of the current young ages of my grandchildren (the Adorables) I gravitate more to writing for younger readers right now. But, as a writer yourself, you know that is liable to change anytime!

At this stage in your career, do you still find you need to revise when writing a new book?

Whoa! Are you kidding? J I’ll put manuscripts away for a while and then take a look at them much later and wonder, ‘What was I thinking???’! It’s all about revision, all the time!

Do you still receive rejection letters?

Absolutely! When I do author visits, I always ask the kids to guess how many pounds of rejection letters I’ve received (that’s just the letters, not the manuscripts!) – I’m up to over 35 pounds!

Do you feel your writing style has changed over the years?

My writing style has definitely changed – thanks to editors and my critique partner, children’s author Bonnie Graves (    THE BEST, WORST DAY, MYSTERY OF THE TOOTH GREMLIN, etc.). Her voice rings in my ears: “Spare! Spare!” I hope I use words more economically these days – and I definitely use fewer (if any!) adverbs. Some of my earlier books like DANGER CANYON (still my best seller!) use more adverbs than I’m comfortable with using these days, but that doesn’t seem to keep young readers from reading them!

canon300

Are you someone who follows a daily routine with your writing?

I don’t follow a daily routine, unless I am working on a manuscript. Then, I start early in the morning, (with plenty of coffee!), and write like crazy. If I’m not working on a manuscript, I’ll try to daydream “what ifs” in odd moments, and write those ideas down to work on later.

Do you ever do any research when you write a fictional picture book?

I definitely do research when I write fictional picture books. We writers owe it to our young readers that the backstory is accurate, even though a lot of it might not even appear in the story. When I was writing Ambrose the Medieval Mouse stories (AMBROSE AND THE PRINCESS, AMBROSE AND THE CATHEDRAL DREAM) for Liturgical Press, I even sent the manuscripts to my former medieval history professor, the late Dr. Bryce Lyon, professor emeritus, Brown University, for vetting, making sure all the details were accurate. He was delighted to be of use and was a big help. As one example of many, my manuscript read, “Peasants and farmers crowded into the cathedral,” and he wrote me that “peasants *were* farmers,” so I deleted “farmers.” He was tickled that I dedicated both books to him as well as to my dear, supportive family.

abrosa

 

How do you market yourself to secure school visits?

My author website has a whole section on my author visits, and I try to make sure that my name is found on various websites that list authors who do school visits. I also do twenty-minute complimentary Skype visits, and there are some websites that list those, as well, including that of my virtual author friend Kate Messner. Sometimes, I’ve even gotten a school visit through Twitter, such as this past September, when my friend and School Library Journal Librarian of the Year Michelle Colte (Hale Kula, Schofield Barracks, Wahiawa, HI) suggested through a Tweet to another librarian, Debbie Vandersande of Kahala Elementary, that she contact me for a visit – and it happened!

What is your greatest success story?

My greatest success story is when I hear from young readers that something I wrote spoke to them in some way – that they connected with the characters and the story. That’s really the reason I think that any of us authors write; when I was growing up, reading broadened my horizons and let me live lives I never thought I would, and I hope I can do the same for young readers.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on a YA novel set in Italy, which is under submission, and a number of picture books, including UPSIDE-DOWN PUPPY and NO NAP, GRANDPA. I love the whimsy of picture books and thinking outside the box, and I love to hear young readers giggle!

Do you have any words of wisdom for writers looking to publish a book?

Yes, though it’s always tricky, since writing is so personal, especially at the very beginning of a writing career. One of my favorite sayings is from Ellen Kozak: “The First Commandment for writers is ‘Thou Shalt Not Fall In Love With Thine Own Words’.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done that – it’s embarrassing, actually! Find a good critique partner, take your time, revise, revise, revise, and never give up.

Spaghetti illustration 32.0

Thank you Margo. I enjoyed reading your answers. Good Luck with the book. Keep in touch. Use http://www.margosorenson.com/ to read more about Margo and her books.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: authors and illustrators, inspiration, Interview, picture books, Process, Tips Tagged: Margo Sorenson, Spaghetti Smiles

8 Comments on Interview with Author Margo Sorenson, last added: 11/6/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
25. Illustrator Saturday – Sholta Walker

MeSholta Walker was trained and graduated as a painter in 1988 and since 1995 he has worked professionally as a full-time artist and illustrator.

The great majority of his work has been for children, with clients across the World, including Harper Collins, Random House, Egmont, Annick Press, The BBC, Macmillan and Oxford University Press.

Most of the illustrations you see here combine digital techniques with more traditional skills and media. He uses vigourous ink line work, which is usually digitally coloured and enhanced. This has given him an opportunity to produce illustrations for my clients which give great scope for expressing ideas.

Some of the work shown here is also available as limited edition
prints.

His published books include Long Grey Norris, King Arthur, Bug Wars and The Beastly Beast.., a compendium of short stories by author Garth Nix. I have recently completed work for a book by Michal Kozlowski called Louis, the Tiger Who Came From the Sea.

Here is Sholta discussing his process:

Creating ‘Bug!’ and Brer Fox

Image 1a

I made these drawings a few years ago. Both at the time were fairly experimental, but borrowed heavily from methods I was already regularly using. Brer Fox was a character I was asked to develop along with his nemesis Brer Rabbit, for a UK publisher. Bug! I made when I worked briefly with an animator-friend while he was working on his Masters Degree in animation.

Image 1b

 

The picture always begins with a drawing on paper. If I’m working on a character I always rough him or her out in pencil. It usually takes several attempts to create the character I’m after. It’s important to get this stage right. Any decisions made now will set the tone for the whole image and are likely to remain with you to the end of the project. The drawing process helps inform the image you have in your head, which then feeds back to your drawing. At its best this busy two-way street of drawing and imagining is a marvelously efficient creative process.

Image 2a

When I have the character I want, I either trace it through a lightbox or work directly over the top in Indian ink with a dip-pen. The type of commission will dictate how free and expressive I am with the pen. In the case of Brer Fox particularly, I was trying to work very freely. One way I do this is to create all the initial pencil sketches as quickly as I can. When I find the drawing I like I then reproduce it by drawing over the top with my pen at a similar speed. This gives the drawing energy and enables me to exploit the naturally temperamental nature of a traditional drawing nib when it’s loaded with ink.

Image 2b

While still fairly loose, Bug! was a little more considered. Also, I created the bug character and his background as two separate drawings and combined them in Photoshop later.

Image 2c

Once the ink is completely dry, any pencil marks are erased and the drawing is scanned and opened in Photoshop. The ink line now has to be separated from the the paper surface. To help improve definition I usually increase the contrast before selecting out the black lines in one piece. The drawing part of the scan is then pasted into a new document, creating a new layer over a white background layer. The original scan is now discarded. At this stage I take the opportunity to have a good look at the image and to erase any dust specks and unwanted ink spots that were picked up in the selection. I may also make any adjustments or small additions to the drawing using Photoshop’s pencil and brush tools. Finally I ‘multiply’ the layer to prevent any whitening of the pixels in the final artwork. Because I like the honesty of a hand made ink drawing I make no further digital enhancements to it.

Image 3a

 

Image 3b

In the case of Bug!, the character’s colour was created in Illustrator. I imported the line drawing (without the garden) into Illustrator, then, on a new layer, between the white background and the drawing layer, I put in the colour in a series of simple, fairly roughly drawn shapes. In more complex images I may create the colours on several layers, but on a simple image like this, one colour layer is sufficient. Brer Fox was slightly different. He stayed in Photoshop because in this case I didn’t want the flatter look that Illustrator tends to give my drawings. The layering technique however is identical, with the basic under-painting on the figure created using the lasso tool to make a shape into which I drop the colour. Further painting, shading and colour were then added with various brush tools. A basic background layer is also quickly rendered at this stage.

Image 4a

Image 4b

To create the textures in Brer Fox I went back to paper and ink. All the effects in this image are made using either ink applied through a mouth diffuser, (a simple breath-powered spraying device) or from an old toothbrush. The results are then scanned and separated out as in the original drawings. They are then collaged into the artwork, each on a separate layer. For Brer Fox I also experimented with some scans of torn paper. With Bug!, only the garden received this treatment. Once colouring of the insect character was complete in Illustrator, I returned him to Photoshop and combined him with the garden scene that I had drawn and coloured separately in Photoshop using the textures I made in a similar way to those previously described.

Image 5a

Image 5b

Finally, I added any extra bits and spent some time continuing to tweak the drawing. Some layers are switched off or discarded and occasionally some basic effects are added as in Brer Fox’s drop shadow. I’ll often go back at this stage and draw some new elements (extra flowers maybe) that I think might further improve the image. These will then be scanned and added to the drawing, colouring them up as necessary. A key feature of much of my work is that the process remains very fluid right up to its completion.

9780007474202_p0_v2_s600

How long have you been illustrating?

Full-time, around twenty years. I spent a few years before that working part time on occasional commissions that came my way.

 

160-68051

 

What made you choose to you study art at Cheltenham College of Art in London?

That’s Cheltenham College of Art in Cheltenham, England. Cheltenham is a large town about one hundred miles West of London. I had a bit of a shaky start in fact. In England, most visual arts degrees begin with a year-long Foundation Course, which most students are expected to complete, usually at a different college, before beginning their three-year degree proper. My foundation year was very enjoyable and successful, but I left still unsure in which direction I was going to take my art. Eventually I chose Fine Art with a painting specialism, but I think my lack of certainty was picked up during the several interviews I attended at various art colleges and found to the surprise of most people that knew me that I wasn’t offered a place at any of them on the first round. So I got a job and tried again a few months later. I was finally accepted at Cheltenham. I’d like to say this was the college I had my sights on all along; that I had studied the work of the tutors and lecturers there; that I was drawn to the verdant Cotswold Hills that rise majestically above the town, but none of that would be true. Nope. It turned out they were the only college that would have me.

Reading

 

 

What was the first painting or illustration that you did where someone paid you for your artwork?

I’m not too sure, but I think it was probably a tiny drawing for one of those classified small ads you see in the back of newspapers. It was around 1986.

63584

What type of job did you do right after you graduated?

When I graduated I had no idea what to do. Looking back I think plenty of ex-students, particularly with art degrees find themselves in a similar situation. I’m not sure how it is now, but there was absolutely zero consideration given by the colleges as to what their students would do when they left. I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing because fine art courses should not be job-training courses. So when I left I discovered two things pretty quickly: first, I needed to earn some money and second, degrees in Painting do not make you very employable. I was no longer comfortable at home, so I moved to London where most British students seem to pitch up after graduating. I worked briefly at the famous Cornelissen and Son art shop near the British Museum. The shop’s been trading since 1855 and has and still does supply materials to some of the greatest names in British Art. Then I bought a bike and spent a year as a bicycle courier, risking life and limb on the London streets.

 

160-68056

 

How did you decide you wanted to go into the freelance art business?

After a year or two of struggling to pay my way in London, I thought I needed to make a decision. As a child, making pictures was always something I enjoyed doing and was good at. My degree had pointed me towards traditional oil painting but at that time I could see no way that I was going to be making oil paintings for a living. It was a very slow start. My dad was publishing a music magazine at the time and he managed to convince the editor (thanks Paul!) to ask me to try illustrating a few things. The jobs were very occasional and fairly straightforward, but it was these simple commissions that really got the ball rolling for me. I continued working in various low-paid jobs, but it was those occasional illustration commissions that gave me a sense of purpose. Doing something I enjoyed while being paid to do it. I decided fairly quickly that this was what I needed to pursue.

46289

When did you decide you wanted to illustrate for children?

I never decided, my work seems to lend itself to that. When I began as an illustrator I just drew stuff. I had no idea what the illustration business was like and never gave a thought to the idea that illustration could be classified into ‘types’. After my degree, my first portfolio consisted mainly of miniature versions of what I had been producing at art college. Many were very dark and introspective, typical art student stuff really. The colours were full of dark reds and blues. Lots of angst. I was still somewhere between a painter and an illustrator. All my techniques were from three years’ training as a painter working in oils on canvas, so as an illustrator I really had to start from scratch. That meant finding new materials and methods that suited my approach and were practical. As my work developed, much of it became brighter and I found I could express and develop in my work a kind of knowing humour and a sense of the absurd that I have always enjoyed and has always been a part of my character I think. Adults seem to like this at least as much as their children and it appears in most of my best work. I think that this has always been there in my work even during my student days, but as I’ve evolved as a working illustrator I’ve learned to refine it and make it more accessible.

160-50122

How did you get the job to illustrate Buzz and Bingo in the Starry Sky with HarperCollins?

Wow, that one was quite a while ago. It came through my agent. In fact, now I think of it, it was probably the first full book commission I had with Harper Collins. I think it was also the first book I illustrated digitally. It was actually part of a series for young readers and as far as I’m aware has been very popular in British schools. I have met several parents over the years that know me by name and then realize their son and daughter is learning to read with one of my books. It’s always nice when that happens. My sister lives in Spain and she called me one day to say that her daughter was reading a book I had illustrated as part of her reading program. That was perfect because I had included a dedication to her and her brothers on the title page. I think my sister cried.

160-60658

Have you done any other books with HarperCollins?

Yes several. At least four or five.

160-39371cropped

What was the first picture book that you illustrated? And how did that contract come your way?

My first picture book was probably one of the Buzz and Bingo series. I had illustrated a few books before that, but they were more for slightly older readers, so they weren’t strictly speaking ‘picture books’. I had worked on other commissions for Harper Collins prior to Buzz and Bingo so I had built up a bit of a track record. I often think that is, at least in part, how it works. Once a client is happy you can make a deadline, you are professional and reliable and assuming they like what you do of course, you are likely to be asked to take on bigger projects.

 

160-49667

How many books have you illustrated?

Well, if you mean both part books and as full cover-to-cover commissions, then the answer’s probably hundreds. If you mean whole books, then probably around thirty.

160-49673

Before you had an Art Rep., what did you do to help connect with art directors and editors and find illustration work?

It was a long and painful process. Once I had set my mind to being a professional illustrator I knew I needed to start building a portfolio to show round. I put together about fifteen drawings that included several of the commissions I had been picking up as well as some of my own work. One idea I had was to buy a few magazines and find articles in them that I felt I could illustrate. If they were successful I would then include them in the portfolio. The next step was to travel to London from Bath where I was by then living and show my work around. In those days, before the internet and online portfolios, this was the only way to do it. I must have spent a fortune on fares, not to mention postage for all the mail shots I made. I picked up very little direct work from all this effort and expense, but I don’t regret it at all because I really got to see what it was I needed to do while showing me what the publishing, design and advertising world outside my studio really looked like. I also still remember to this day some of the dozens of busy art directors and designers I saw who, almost to a person, patiently leafed through my portfolio and usually sent me away with some valuable words of advice. Anyway, I did that for a year or so until I decided it was time to reassess the situation. It was then I turned my mind to getting an agent. I thought if I found the right one, they would do all that work for me.

160-62680

 

How did you connect to your artist agency, Illustrationsweb.com? How long have they been representing you?

Yet another trip to London in around 1995 with a list of illustrator’s agents in my pocket finally brought me together with Illustration, which is Illustration USA Inc’s parent company. At that time they lurked up a flight of stairs in a dusty old office in the heart of Soho, West London. They were called Garden Studio then and had been since 1929 when they were first established. It was there I met the excellent Harry Lyon-Smith who took my portfolio away and told me to come back after lunch. When I returned he offered to represent me and that was that.

The Tin Soldier

Tell us a little bit about the 200-year-old building in your backyard and the studio you have in there.

I think it was once just a simple stone outbuilding. It was converted to something reasonably habitable about twenty-five years ago and given an electricity and water supply. I’m in Somerset, England, so everything older than about a century is built from stone. The walls are two feet thick, which is normal in old buildings here, but it makes mobile (cell)-phone use next to impossible. If anyone needs to call me at work it’s landline only I’m afraid. Oh, and the roof leaks a bit. I sit beside a window that looks out onto our garden and an apple tree that produces a rare local apple called Ashmead’s Kernal. If you can ignore their gnarled and crusty appearance and take a bite you’ll find they’re incredibly juicy and sweet.

160-59054

Have you done any illustrating for children’s magazines?

No, not so far.

914318-19484

What is your favorite medium to use to do your illustrations?

Dip pen and Indian ink. Then Photoshop and Illustrator.

160-66411

Has that changed over time?

Yes. When I began as an illustrator I developed a way of working that had its beginnings in my pre-art college mid-teens. I would create a pencil drawing that I would render in water-colour and gouache. I would then work over the whole thing in coloured pencil, before putting an ink line drawing on top. This made for beautifully vibrant illustrations, but was hugely labour-intensive. It meant I would often be up all night for even the simplest commissions. I realized this wasn’t sustainable, so in around 2000 I bit the bullet and bought an Apple Mac. Over the next year I figured out a way of working that still retained plenty of me, but was just far more efficient.

160-63532

 

What do you consider is your first big success?

Probably Louis, the Tiger Who Came From the Sea. It’s a difficult question really because I’m very self-critical and I’m usually reluctant to pore over past work too long. I’m always thinking about the next opportunity to get it ‘right.’

160-76425

How did that come about?

Apparently out of the blue. It’s how all the best work comes. You’re sitting around one day trying to remember how you ended up doing what you do when the ‘phone rings. Or the email arrives, as it usually is these days. In the case of Louis the Tiger, Colleen Macmillan at Annick Press contacted Stacey at my agent’s New York office and offered me the commission. They had seen my portfolio and decided I was the one they wanted to illustrate Michal Kozlowski’s wonderful story. It’s great when that happens.

Heads or Tails2

 

Do you ever want to write and illustrate a picture book?

Yes

160-33497

Would you be open to working with an author who wants to self-publish a picture book?

Absolutely. In fact I’ve illustrated a few of these already. Initially I was quite wary of working with self-publishing projects because commissions like these can lack structure and any real management process. I worried the job could really get out of hand. Before you commit I think it’s important to read the manuscript (don’t forget they’ve usually not been through any kind of editorial process) and also try to get a clear idea of what the client (author) is expecting from you and what if any experience they have of producing a book. The great thing about self-publishing commissions is they often give you great creative freedom because there are no sales departments controlling the process as so often happens with established publishers.

55755

Do you take pictures or do any types of research before you start a project?

Very rarely. If an illustration requires a certain animal for example I usually reach for one of several natural history or wildlife reference books I keep. I recently completed ‘How to Slay a Werewolf’, a new book for Conran Octopus here in the UK. The story’s set in early Twentieth Century England so I had to get the clothes more or less accurate and then there was the werewolf of course, which required a fair bit of preliminary work. The internet has changed everything. In the past research usually meant repeated trips to the local library and bookshops and owning shelves groaning with reference material. Now most research is a mouse click away.

160-30510

Have you done any work for educational publishers?

Yes, lots.

160-67727

Has all your work come from European publishers?

No. I have worked on projects from around the world. My agent has seen to that. As well as most of Europe, I’ve worked for clients in the USA, Australia, Canada, South Korea and South America.

160-82913

What is the one thing in your studio that you could not live without?

My bicycle, hanging on the wall.

160-82914

Do you try to spend a specific amount of time working on your craft?

I don’t usually need to make a conscious effort to because I’m usually busy. This was one of the reasons I was drawn to illustration in the first place. I knew if I was a working illustrator and I was getting regular work, the commissions would keep me busy – I wouldn’t have to risk being stricken too often with that dreaded lack of motivation so many artists can suffer from.

160-82917

Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

Absolutely! Having my work on the web is like having a private art gallery in every home and office on the planet that has access to the internet.

160-82921

Do you use Photoshop or Corel Painter with your illustrations?

Photoshop.

160-82920Do you own or have you used a Graphic Drawing Tablet in your illustrating?

I couldn’t work without one. Working with a mouse is about the same as drawing with a bar of soap.

160-86961Do you have any career dreams that you want to fulfill?

One or two. I really need to write and illustrate a book.

160-67720

What are you working on now?

I’ve just completed the front and back cover art for a self-publishing project actually. Very imaginative. Very weird…

160-86754Do you have any material type tips you can share with us? Example: Paint or paper that you love – the best place to buy – a new product that you’ve tried – A how to tip, etc.

Yes: If you work digitally invest in the best and biggest display you can find. Preferably two. Don’t forget it’s your canvas. If you make your pictures on paper, remember, if you want your work to outlast you, use the best paper and media you can find.

160-72771

Any words of wisdom on how to become a successful writer or illustrator?

Whatever you do don’t follow fashions. Be you and keep being you.

72546

rosetti160-64976

Thank you Sholta for sharing your journey and process with us. Please let us know all your future successes. We’d love to hear about them and cheer you on. You follow Sholta on Twitter @Sholtawalker
or visit his agency at: http://www.illustrationweb.us/artists/SholtoWalker/view

If you have a moment I am sure Sholta would like to read your comments. I enjoy reading them, too, even if I don’t always have time to reply. Thanks!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Advice, authors and illustrators, illustrating, Illustrator's Saturday, inspiration, Interview, picture books, Process, Tips Tagged: Cheltenham College of Art in Cheltenham, England, Ilustrationweb.com, Sholta Walker

0 Comments on Illustrator Saturday – Sholta Walker as of 11/8/2014 2:14:00 AM
Add a Comment

View Next 25 Posts